Friday, September 30, 2011

Necessary evils...

Not so evil after all.

Yesterday I went to the lab that I usually go to for blood tests and such.  It was in the waiting room was standing room only and the overflow was lined up outside.  I have never seen it that busy.  Since I was in a lot of pain (there was no way I would be able to stand for long to wait) and I had to be fasting for the test also, I asked the receptionist what time they opened in the morning.  Her response was just plain bitchy in words and attitude.  (I concede that she was having a busy day dealing with impatient people, but still.)

So this morning I got online and looked for other locations of the same med lab company (one my insurance takes).  I found one nearer to an easily accessed and new building (the one I USED to go to was kind of run down and not too clean looking), and the staff was awesome.  The tech didn't balk at all when I told him we would both be happier if he would just start out with a butterfly in the back of my hand.  (I know that sounds terrible to a lot of people, but for me it is the ONLY way to achieve results.) 

Since I already had my phone out playing Words With Friends (hi Caroline!) while I waited, I asked if I could take a photo.  He said they really weren't supposed to allow it...but then he asked if I would just be getting my hand in the frame.  When I said yes, he told me to go ahead.  Then he asked me what my plans were for the photo.  I told him I blogged.  He grinned, and said his wife was a blogger too.

I know this is a weird thing to post about.  Normally I can't even look at the process, but looking at it through the camera wasn't bad at all...kind of detached myself from the actual deed, I guess.  They took five big ol' vials full, and then we were done.  No long wait.  No germs in an overpacked waiting room.  No bad attitudes.  I will definitely be going back to this place when needed.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


A rainy afternoon at home. Sitting in cloudy gloom...listening to thunder...watching my sweet husband dozing on the sofa.

 Such a welcome drink for our thirsty landscape.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I'm reading Wednesday...

I have been having a lot of pain lately. Last night my shoulder decided to take the spotlight, and woke me up continually. And today it has been miserable. I hope this book has some constructive ideas for relief and prevention.

 And my trusty tens unit is paying for itself today. I don't know if it helps the condition in the long run, but it seems to make it feel better while it is turned on and the light electric current (from a 9 volt battery) courses through the electrodes on my shoulder.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Words With Friends...

I am a bit of a game junkie.  And I'm a little competitive.  When my friend, the other Kathleen, was here in June, we played Scrabble.  It wasn't pretty.

So imagine my surprise when she asked me to play a new game she just found out about from a coworker...Words With Friends.  It's a Facebook / phone app...basically just like Scrabble.  Very fun and user friendly.  Games can go on for days, as time allows for players.  OOOOOhHH!  I just got a msg that she's my turn!!!  Be right back.

HA!  I'm still ahead.

One problem.  She says she will only play with me until October first.  She's using me to get ready for play with her mother and her brother...a sparring partner, if you will.  Hrmmff!!  Oh well.  I'll take my fun where I can get it, and I'll give her a work out.

And I'm going to see if her brother will friend me.  I hear he's the one to beat in their family.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Making ready Monday...

I know.  I know.  It's way too early. 

Don't worry, it's not staying up.

But I got rid of our decades-old Christmas tree after the holidays last year.  So when I noticed that the trees were on sale for 40% off last week at Hobby Lobby, I decided to get busy.  I went around to the competition and really looked at the trees...they were less expensive, but they were also cheaply made.  So back to Hobby Lobby, where I had already picked out the style I liked best.  It's an investment.

Quality and prices researched...check.
Tree purchased...check.
Tree home and in house...check.
Tree assembled to make sure I could do it alone...check.
All pieces accounted for and in good working order...check.
House smells like a fresh-cut fir tree...uh...nope.
Tree packed away again till Thanksgiving weekend...check.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday's snail mail...

My endeavor to send 52 letters in 52 weeks continues.

Know what this card looks like to me?  It looks like I need to start playing with vintage fabrics and my sewing machine.

Who is it going to, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you who it's NOT going to.  It's not going to my friend whose grandmother's vintage quilt top is sitting in my bureau waiting to be quilted...where it has been languishing for more years than I want to admit.  I tried to give it back to her, but she wouldn't take it.  Imagine...she wants me to actually get it quilted!  So I don't want to send her something that might remind her of that fact.

Of course, maybe it's just my guilty conscience

accountability stats:  21 weeks / 38 40 letters

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Is anyone else as frustrated with blogger as I am?...

Why does the formatting become more difficult with each update?  I absolutely hate it that my text won't sit close to my photos!  I don't dare hit 'publish' without previewing, and after each preview the compose window looks like the spacing is crazy.  The little pencil edit icon that used to be at the bottom of a new post is gone, so I'm having to go to the list of posts to select what I'm working on to make an edit.

Does anyone use Wordpress?  I've heard it's harder to learn, but I'm so frustrated with Blogger that I'm getting desperate.


What I'm Reading Wednesday...

Over the weekend, I read Sophie and the Rising Sun by Augusta Trobaugh. It was okay. I've read enough books about Southern ladies for awhile, though.

photo credit:

Now I'm reading The Upright Piano Player by David Abbot.  It opened with such a tragic event...I hope it lightens up a bit.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Making it Monday...

This is Polly the Pirate Witch.  Counted cross-stitch and bead work done on perforated paper.

Well, I'm not exactly making this's already done! Woohoo!  And it's been packed up and mailed and everything...early even.  But I wanted to show it to you all finished.

I made it for my early birthday present. Her birthday is the day before mine...just a week before Halloween. So I wanted to send it early so she could have it out with other decorations.  (And so it wouldn't get lost in the shuffle around here between now and then!)

I don't send gifts...I don't even send cards...I'm just really bad about it--which is WHY I'm doing the 52 letters in 52 weeks challenge this year--but when I saw this kit, it just reminded me of her so much...she's a little bit of a pirate.  :)  I kind of like it without the hat, so I didn't attach it...thought I'd let her decide whether to attach it or not.

Seeing it hanging from the china cabinet knob shows the actual size better.

I loved making it.  The thing I love most about counted cross-stitch is starting with a blank slate and seeing the progress made.  Makes me smile.  There's a pattern that's been packed away for ages that I'm thinking about pulling out now.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday's snail mail...

My endeavor to send 52 letters in 52 weeks continues.

This week I wandered across a blog called The Handmade Card Blog.  Sounded like something I needed to check out, and the very first post I read got my creative juices flowing. 

This is my spin on what I saw there.  The distressing pad was a brand new one, so the inking is a little heavier than I had intended...but I'm practicing imperfection and using what I have on hand, so it's going in the mail.  It's going to a friend who is a fellow fan of Dean Martin, and the printed background is a page from his biograpy.  I'm wondering if she'll notice.  :)

accountability stats: 20 weeks / 36 letters

Friday, September 16, 2011

List of 100 things...

I have somehow managed to bring on another muscle spasm in my back.  Luckily I still have some muscle relaxers in the medicine cabinet...hope they are still good.  Also trying a little electro therapy and taking it easy.

Anyway, I decided to go through my list of posts and see if there was anything in draft form worth saving, and came across this one.  Not sure where I found this originally, but it has been sitting in draft form for a l-o-n-g time.  Decided to go ahead and post it.

You bold the ones you’ve accomplished. Some of these I have no interest in.  Some I hope to accomplish in the soon-to-someday range...those are the ones in green.  And looking at it in preview, I see there are some formatting errors...and I just don't care...publishing as is.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (I've watched one from above in an airplane--that was super cool.)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (No, but used to be a foster parent.)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping...(well, not completely, and not on purpose...don't ask)
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (well...I had a teacher, and I'm not very good, but I've spent a lot of time and effort on it)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - - doesn't take much to satisfy me
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (hmmm... I've paid for the coffee of the person behind me at a drive thru)
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma...I tried
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check - that's what happens when the hubs is in charge of balancing the checkbook
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone - OH yeah
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (participated in a publishing a cookbook once)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (not the brightest thing I've done)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Called 911
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cellphone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I'm reading Wednesday...

I finished Lye In Wait by Cricket McRae a couple of days ago. It was a cute, light-reading mystery. Easy escapism.

Yesterday I picked up An Inconvenient Wife by Megan Chance at the library.  Late nineteenth century New York wife diagnosed with 'hysteria'...what we might call depression and anxiety today.  Really looking forward to getting into this one.

I picked up a couple of other ones at the library too, but at the moment I can't remember what they were.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Family history...

Don't these two guys look jovial?

Bobby's Social Studies project was due today.  It was fun working on it with him this weekend...going through pictures and information...even finding some new documents online.  He wrote about two from his dad's side of the family, and one from his mom's side...who lived at the same time and both immigrated to the United States. 

His other grandmother, Abuela (pronounced us anyway), provided an amazing book that had been organized and copied and bound by a very dedicated member of her family.  I was so impressed.  I need to get all my scraps of paper in one place!  We printed a copy of the final report for Abuela, because I knew she'd like to see it...she's a fact, she was Jared's teacher way back before we even knew we'd be related someday.  We laugh about all the 'projects' Jared had that year he was in her class.  She once assigned a 3D build of either a log cabin or a tipi (teepee?  sp?), and since Jared inherited his mother's procrastination gene (in fact it mutated before it got to him!) we were scrambling the night before it was due.  We ended up building a log cabin out of doggy beef sticks.  Abuela thought it was wonderful.  :)

I love helping the kiddles with projects.  Special one on one time.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Catchin' up Monday...

Well let's see... 

My endeavor to mail 52 letters in 52 weeks continues.

Saturday's snail mail went out today instead.  Had to go to the post office for more stamps, and actually sent this along with something else that required the trip. Not a very good photo, but this was a fun little card to make.  Inspired by some of Patricia Zapata's work over at A Little Hut.  I happened to have floss and beads sitting here from my completed (woohoo!) project.  I'll show that here soon.

52 in 52 accountability stats:  19 weeks / 35 letters

Tonight I made this...

really, really yummy Chocolate Pecan Pie.  This recipe kicked it up a notch from my regular recipe, with the addition of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a healthy shot of bourbon.  This photo isn't the greatest either, but I couldn't wait for the pie to cool completely before cutting and serving.  My Kentucky friend gifted me with a really good bottle of Kentucky bourbon as a house warming gift last Christmas, and though I think she gave it to me just so I'd have some to serve when she visits, I thought baking with it was a worthy use. 

The crazy cat lady, called me this evening and stroked my ego.  I love her.  Kind words coming from someone whose work I admire as much as I do hers, are high praise indeed.

We are back over 100 degrees F again.  Fires are popping up all over.  And I have either had a summer cold, or I am having a reaction to smoke and/or allergens in the air.  It's lovely.

I have my iced coffee ready for the commute tomorrow, and my lunch packed.  Things are ticking along.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

News and weather...

Blessed relief!  The last few days have been MUCH cooler...95 degrees F instead of 105...and the nights are cool. 

Now if we could have some rain, please.  There are wildfires all over the state.  About an hour and half away from us there have been 1400 homes lost.  It is so sad and scary.  Nearer by, around San Antonio, there are other smaller fires that have caused neighborhood evacuations.  Rain, please.  Please, rain.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Seven thoughts on the seventh...

I'm pretty frugal in general, but the purse strings have gotten a little too relaxed.  I think this has occurred over the months since we have moved.  On the days I work, I blame the commute for not wanting to grocery shop, cook, etc.  And being so much closer to amenities makes it seem not as important to consolidate trips as it used to be.

Also, I topped off my gas tank the other day, and it cost $25.  I always zero my trip odometer when I fill up, and when I looked at it, it was sitting at almost exactly what a round trip to work is for me.  It had not registered until then that I am spending $25 for every day that I drive in to work...kind of cuts into my take-home.

So I need to tighten the belt...cut more responsible.  So I thought I'd use the 7th to lay out seven steps I can will implement immediately.

1.  Take my lunch to work.  (I really hate taking my lunch, but it's an immediate step that can save big.)

2.  Menu planning and grocery shopping...NO EXCUSES!  Which will lead to...

3. Eating out less in the evenings.

4.  No running to the craft store for just one thing and coming home with two sacks full...use only craft supplies on hand!

5.  Cancel an unused membership.

6.  Use up toiletries before buying more.

7.  Conserve gasoline!

What I'm reading Wednesday...

photo credit:  Bethany House publishing

This week I'm reading Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson.  It's about Civil War widows who head to Nebraska to homestead.  I have a soft spot for stories of Nebraska homesteading, and I am really enjoying this one...especially since I got it free as a Kindle ebook special.  :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Making this Monday...

Today I am making a mess.

Bobby has a school assignment to research family history, and Kasey asked if he could come over one afternoon this week to look at family photos and documents.  First thing this morning I pulled out a box full of photos to get them organized a little.  I know, I know...they shouldn't be in a box.  I actually have photo albums to put them in, so maybe now is a good time for me to start that little project.

This represents one-fourth of all the vintage family photos my parents had.  After Mom passed away I painstakingly divided all of them as equally as possible into four equal batches. I labeled the boxes A, B, C, and D, and my sisters and I drew from a hat to see who got which box.  I figured we could ask each other later for copies if we were so inclined, but if we had to sit around discussing and dividing them together, we would never have gotten through all that had to be done when distributing the household goods in the limited time we had.

It is sad how few of these photos are labeled with names.  I can actually identify all of our direct family members.  But a lot of these are photos that my mother brought home from other relatives' homes after they passed away, so they are photos of in-law's nieces and nephews etc. 

Exhibit A: I have no idea who the child in this photo might be.
However, I am greatly amused by what is written on the back.

It reads: "This was my first experiment with an electric flash bulb.  It wasn't so good of sister but I took it especially to show you the chair.  I am enjoying using it so much.  The wood refinished beautifully."

Hmmm...experimenting with photography...sharing images of her home and latest furniture project.  I'm thinking that this person would be a blogger if she were around today!  I love the wallpaper and radio...the huge open dictionary and the encyclopedia volumes on the shelves...the berried-branches arrangement barely showing on the right-hand side...and yes, the chair is very cool.

'Sister' is pretty cute too...even if she was only propped up there to have an excuse to take a picture of the chair.  :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday's snail mail...

My endeavor to send 52 letters in 52 weeks continues.

I was especially pleased with the way this card turned out.  I made it for Lynne who had a birthday on the same day as Carey's.  I knew just how I wanted it to look, because I pop into her etsy shop  pretty regularly, and I always gravitate toward her tree beads.

And just because I was so happy with it, I'm going to show you an angle that shows its dimension a little better. 

 accountability stats: 18 weeks / 34 letters

Friday, September 2, 2011

Seed for thought...

A week or so ago, I opened a package of assorted pastel bugle and seed beads to use in a project and dumped them in a bowl.  It has been on my kitchen countertop since then.

Every time I walk by the bowl, its contents remind me of bird seed.  Very pretty bird seed.

This is the kind of photo that my husband usually catches me taking, and he invariably asks, "You want a picture of that?"

Tomorrow I'll show you what I used the beads on.  And I'll put the beads away.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Whine alert...

I'm tired of the heat.  The summer doldrums have moved in and made themselves at home.  It is unbearably hot, and dry, and my mood is suffering.  It has been over 100 degrees F for about three months now.  It's not even cooling off much at night.

I'm tired of the drought.  Everything is brown and brittle...dead.  We do not bother watering the yard except for the trees to try to save them.

I'm tired of my own company.  I'm cranky.  I'm completely unmotivated.  And my patience wears wafer thin.

But today is the beginning of September.  A friend once told me that we always have at least a brief cool front by about the third week in September.  A hint of Autumn.

So I'm waiting.  Enduring.
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