Aug 28, 2015

this and that

Here I am! Before the search party comes looking for me, LOL. I'm still here plugging away, keeping busy with I am not entirely sure what. It seems like one minute I am out walking laps and the next winding down to go to bed. This week I had Bama Belles, two sides of a queen sized quilt to finish binding and the guild newsletter to get out in addition to the usual household stuff. Well, the kitchen floor still needs mopped. I even snaked the bathroom drain this week and wondered why I didn't do it weeks ago.  Yuck but man, does that water drain out well now!

That is the quilt that I was binding, or actually one just like it.  Sorry I have no clue about the pattern source or pattern name.  I was not asked to make any blocks or do any of the applique or might be privy to that information.  Some were sewing the blocks at one of the sew-in's but it was obvious they had it well in hand without MY assistance.

The one pictured is the guild opportunity quilt but they made a 2nd one just like it to be given away at the guild Christmas party.  Anyone that helped work on this is eligible for the drawing.  The opportunity quilt might be hand quilted?? and this one I had was machine quilted.   Being the opportunity quilt it is one of the guild fund raisers at the quilt show come June 11, 2016.  I was piddling with the binding at the last two quilt meetings we had but did not get very far with it.  Aline had put it on the quilt and hand finished two sides and turned it over to me---yeah, me who hates doing it but does a good job.  Just to get it finished up I drug it back out Wednesday afternoon, put Oscar outside and set up at the kitchen table.  The backing was a dark background floral with burgundy colored binding and not the easiest thing to see but I kept plugging.   I told myself I would work on it till 7 pm and would quit regardless of how much was left then.  Woohoo,  the whole thing was done by 6:30 so Oscar and I headed out for last walkies of the day.  Closest I've been to doing something quilt.

I don't have any quilt pictures from our meeting the other day.  Several of us had been out of town (not that I personally was working on anything, LOL) and we were doing hand work-- Beverly, Lois and I were all doing binding while Bev was working on her yo-yo throw. Lois didn't have tops to pin either though Jane was prepared to help her out if she had.  Mildred came a bit later and we all went out to lunch at McAlister's Deli out near our mall.

This past Wednesday was National Dog Appreciation Day.  Well, mine spent his literally in the dog house.  Naughty boy kept banging into the hallway gate and running under the bed, first the master bedroom, then my room and so on.   I don't want him up the hall or why put the gate up??

Skyler rats him out though, standing guard at whichever one Oscar has chosen.  I walked in my room after yet another escape and Sky was on the blanket chest with his tail puffed up like a bottle brush---dead give away.

I have been quite frustrated with him.  He won't come out.  Growls and snaps if I make some attempt to force him out.  He waits till I go outside or into the kitchen to try to go to----sneaky! However, he has been  brazen about it too.  Glynda suggested I try her First Alert Bark Genie thing with a loud NO and see if that would be a deterrent.  It works IF I catch him but sends Skyler leaping over the gate to get away from it.   A facebook pal suggested a food enticement.  We tried that---he poked his head out long enough to get the bite of string cheese but not long enough to grab his collar.  Eventually he comes out and does that cute act "flop and pet my belly" though I am not falling for it.  Outside he goes for awhile.

I was debating about replacing his gate with something he won't be able to barrel through but thought I would try this first.  I had his old gate in the closet so I used it to reforce the first as the bars are touching on the side he goes through.  It worked well last evening though I was mostly in the living room once I got done with the newsletter.  I had been working at the kitchen table but Oscar was logging some outdoor time till I was done.  He has gone near it once that I know of.  Normally when I go off to the desk or sewing room,  shower whatever he waits for me on the loveseat as you see him pictured or on the floor in front of the gate.  I may still replace his gate with something I can walk through as this gives me a double chance of tripping over it.  My niece has a Carlson extra wide walk through gate that has extensions on it that might work for us.  This setup just gives me a double chance of tripping over it.  Stepping over just one gate has led to two falls and several near misses.

Skyler was helping me re-load and recharge my Ipod for walking.  The dude said I had a "low battery" after I finished up my morning 2.2 miles.

Yep, still walking most days.  Took Tuesday off for our quilt meeting but I still try to go 6 out of 7 days, weather permitting.  I was having some shoe issues one day and had to cut it short.  At least I hope that was the problem.  My left heel and ankle was giving me fits and had me wondering "heel spur?"  while I knew I was getting a blister on my right heel.   It seems to be better with some change in shoe padding and inserts and a change in socks.  Meanwhile,  the town is having its Heritage Days in a couple weeks and there is a run/walk 5 k.  I was half considering trying it.  I know I can walk 3 miles/day but usually that third mile is in 3 separate trips with Oscar on the lane.  Maybe not quite ready yet.

We had three mornings this week with the humidity down and cooler, that little hint of fall around the corner.  Up to the 80's by afternoon but even that is a blessing after all the 90's and super sticky ones we have had this summer.  They say it is supposed to warm up again this weekend and rain chances increase.  I'll whine and say "but, but I liked it like it waaaaaaaas"  I miss baking and making things that go in the "real" oven.  I mean, I LIKE salads and sandwiches but it is getting old.  I keep seeing recipes to Pin that DO require an oven, not a toaster oven, and I just have to wonder "where in the heck do YOU live that you think that will work for MY evening meal too?"   Yeah, maybe in October it would be great!   The closest I've come is Baked Oatmeal and I did use the toaster oven for that.  Or a little bread shell pizza.

Time for a veggie break and maybe make a low cal version of iced coffee.  I picked up a cup of senior coffee (yes, it has come to that!) from Jack's earlier today when I was out on errands and stowed it in the fridge so it might have cooled enough that the ice won't dilute it.  Got some Torani sugar free syrups for it too.

THX for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead------

Aug 16, 2015

Checking in

A year ago I was in Buena Vista, Colorado at my niece Amber and Greg's wedding having gone out to help my sister prepare the food for the reception and meals for the crowd we expected to feed.  Then on to spend a few days in Illinois with my parents.  Well I was off to Illinois again this year and not posting about it till after the fact.

Earlier this month,  two weeks ago to be exact, I piled into the car and drove up to my brother Steve and sister-in-law Jan's home near Nashville, TN.   Because they are downsizing their home, there is no guest room so I got to spend a bit of time with my friend Cindy and her husband John before bedding down for the night on two successive Sunday's.

Come Monday morning (the 3rd), the three of us were heading up to Illinois to see family and friends for a few days.  However, the true purpose of the trip was to help the third "kid" down the line celebrate a milestone birthday.   He knew he was having a party but NOT the entire guest list!  SSSSH.    While they went on to the Chicago area, I stayed with my parents.  Here is Mom to the left and my Dad holding Lily at the party, not happily it would appear.  (My nephew Drew is in the background and Lily is blocking his Uncle Mark.)

Mom and I didn't sew, cut or any of that stuff.  I supposed I could have taken something up to sew but I brought my embroidery along and didn't even touch it.  Not in the mood.  I was time to catch up, rest, read.  I did keep up my walking though while I was away.  I did 1.8 miles in laps but you have to walk to the park and back which I think added another mile to the proceedings, Dad said.  He walks daily, maybe even twice a day, but goes way early.  Definitely earlier than I can drag myself out of bed!

I borrowed the car on Wednesday to do the nostalgia tour past my previous home and apartments in Bloomington-Normal.  Before leaving their town, I stopped by the town cemetery to "talk" to my husband and see the headstone that had been placed last fall.  Once I left our B-N home site and a run by Miller Park, I stopped at Gene's for a vanilla cone as DJ and I would do occasionally on a summer night.  It was about 6-7 blocks from our house and we would walk over and sit on one of the benches.  We walked to Miller Park too for 4th of July celebrations lugging the lawn chairs.

In addition, I drove past the places I had worked.  I knew from the Pantagraph feed on Facebook that the old Mennonite Hospital where I worked in two separate 6 year stints was being torn down.  I may have mentioned this earlier?  What a gigantic mess of rubble!  The nursing school building is still standing as it has been used for some time now by Illinois Wesleyan University, the campus buildings are a block away as is my first apartment.  When I graduated from Mennonite School of Nursing in the early 70's, it was still a hospital based 3 yr. diploma school for registered nursing with some college courses taken at Illinois State University.  10 plus years later it became a baccalaureate program and based entirely at ISU as one of its colleges.  There is a remnant of the Long Term Care wing left where I had last worked and a three story section above the lobby.  I'm guessing they have to clear up the bricks and such before that can come down.  Sad for me to see---the hospital I trained and worked at was absorbed into BroMenn Healthcare merging with the old Brokaw Hospital shortly after we moved to Alabama.  It later changed hands and is now called Advocate BroMenn.  The school/dorm building still stands but is not "my" school.  Nothing stays the same, nor should it perhaps.

I had hoped to catch up with a friend and former co-worker while I was there but turned out she was vacationing in Florida.  She was between terms at ISU where she is an adjunct professor at yep, Mennonite College of Nursing.  We did have a good chat on the phone when she returned my call.  I also met up with an old friend Tom who was doing an afternoon of grandpa detail.  He and the kids picked me up on a street legal two seater golf cart type thing and we chatted while the kids played.  Later that evening I met Herb and Phyllis at Avanti's for supper.  GOT to have an Avanti's fix while I am home!  We stopped at Steak and Shake on the way back Sunday but I didn't make it to Schooner's this trip for beer batter onion rings and pork tenderloin (as big as a pizza pan--they ask how many buns you need).  My sister says we have a date next time I'm back!

Jan and Steve came back down to my folks on Friday.  After lunch, my niece Kristine came with Lily and Diane came from work.  Saturday was Dave's bday party.  His jaw dropped when he saw the long distant family.  My sister-in-law Ann and niece Allison did a great job getting things ready for the party and her sisters pitched in too.

I took my camera but didn't take any pictures.  My sister took these and I borrowed from Facebook which she wanted us to do anyway.  From left,  Jan, brother Steve, Lily and me and my sister Diane who is Lily's Nana

Sibling shot but missing our sister Janet.  The birthday boy is in the melon colored shirt which he wore to match Allison's dog Sophie's party dress, LOL.  On the end is our youngest brother Phil.  He came with his daughters.  His wife and the two boys were in Springfield, MO getting the oldest son John set up in his apartment at college.

We started the trip back to TN on Sunday the 9th with them dropping me off at Cindy's home where my car had sat.   Monday the 10th I drove on back to Alabama.  I was in Gadsden about 11 and stopped for an early lunch as I knew the cupboard was bare.  My friend Jane had given me her copy of Fannie Flagg's "All Girl Fililng Station Reunion" book on tape to listen to on  the drive and I was happy to have it.  It really helped to take my mind off the journey especially during the hilly windy part that has me clutching the steering  wheel a bit too tightly outside of Chattanooga.  I am not fond of driving in TN to begin with, as that was always DJ's leg of the trip back to IL.  I'd do KY, part of Southern IL and AL on the way home.  

Tuesday would be a return to the usual laundry and errands.  I had cancelled the Belles meeting for Tuesday as several of us were going to be gone around that time.  I  had packed for an extra day just in case I didn't come back till Tuesday.  The suitcase was stuffed with dirty laundry by the time I got home. 

Of course, I was happy to see my furry friends.  They seemed happy to see me too!  Skyler is still spending a good bit of his time up high atop the pass through.  Lately though he is, even sitting on the refrigerator which he would never do before as well as getting on top of Oscar's crate---bunk beds.  I was piddling on the notebook in the kitchen so both of them were in there with me when I took the picture.  A bit dark but Oscar IS in there amongst the camo bedding, LOL.  Can't find Skyler in any of those two spots?  Try MY chair in the kitchen where he seems to be hairing up another chair pad, LOL.

In the middle of all that, I had another birthday but no big deal there.   Dave's is the day before mine and someone asked me if we celebrated mine as well.  Nope!  It was all about him as it should have been.  I did that milestone three years ago, thank you very much!   Jane, Aline and I did go out for lunch on Friday but we all three have summer birthdays.  Jane's went by quietly and Aline will not be available on her day.

 However, I did get this lovely fabric bundle as a present to myself.  You know how much I love Bonnie and Camille fabric!    This is the "hello darling" line that was just released and I knew I wanted some of it when I saw it online.   Not entirely sure i it ends up in its own special project or appears with some of the bits of previous lines in a resumed Farmer's Wife Inspired Sampler that I set aside two or three years ago.

 BUT I should not buy any more fabric till I make some effort to sew something up from my existing stash.  I have really gotten out of the habit of sewing!  Oscar can start logging a couple hours outside and let me get back to what I love.   I miss my lovely sewing room.  Hold my feet to the fire.

Friday afternoon I discovered that the a/c was not working properly.  It is set at 77 usually and with a fan assist, it stays fairly comfortable in the house.   I set it there and it stays ON--not what DJ used to do and we constantly disagreed about.  It kept getting warmer and warmer till I realized it had hit 82 in the house!  I could not remember what firm DJ had used nor find it in his directory and called the neighbors for their recommendation.  The guy came out a few hours later but could not find anything wrong.  Whatever checking he did got it cooling again but he said that the bearings might be going out in the motor.  He was not going to change it out till it really crapped out, nor did he charge me for a service call.   He told me what to watch for and said to call if it acted up again down the line.

I was good until about 3 pm yesterday. Another power surge zap.  Temp back up to 82, blades not moving, casing hot to touch.  Shut it down, turn to fan, call him back.  There was a mix-up about the motor, it being Saturday afternoon and everything was closed.  It hit 85 in here and stayed there.  Once the sun went down I could put a fan in the bedroom window and by morning, it was 80 in the hallway, a little cooler in the bedroom. By 4:30 am the crickets and whatever else it is that buzzes were driving me nuts!  I shut the window but could not get back to sleep.  Actually it was not too horrible last night, thanks to a cooler night,  though I now have a sinus headache that does not want to quit from the fans hitting me right in the face.

He came out at 10 am today and had the motor replaced by 1030.  It was back to 82 by then but now back to cooling, slowly coming down currently at 79.   I'm going to finally head to the shower when it drops another degree!  No service fee or trip charge or a fee for it being the weekend which I appreciate.  Not money I necessarily wanted to spend but you HAVE to have a/c when it is in the 90's and 76 % humidity at one point today.  No time is a good time when something involving plumbing or electricity goes kaput on you.  Let's hope next week is dull as dishwater!

Happy to be home and not ready to take off till a few months down the line when I will go down to the Fort Myers, FL area to see DJ's son and daughter-in-law.   Woohoo!  Once I ran the proposed dates and flight times passed LuAnn she said "Book it!"  and I did, LOL.  There is a 3 day quilt retreat coming up too but not an overnight deal.  Things to look forward to.

Guess that's it for this installment.  THX for stopping by though I suspect some of you may have been checking to see if I updated.  Well, this time the stop was rewarded!