Sunday, August 31, 2008

more oberlin pictures

A few more pictures today.

As we were driving to Vermillion along Highway 6 there was a detour sign. We had no idea why they would have a detour sign until we came to this bridge!

After getting lost for the 10 zillionth time and after getting all of the supplies in the SUV from WalMart, I had to make a quick turn around and this is the result. Yes, Michael is ok. Luckily, it was only the Ramen Noodles that fell on him.

This is the Jesse Phillips Physical Education center where the indoor tennis courts are. I'm sure a lot of tennis will be played indoors when the snows come.

This is the view out of the dorm window.

This is the small kitchen area on the floor. There is a fridge that I'm sure if you kept food in would be gone before you got back to it, and a microwave and sink area for washing dishes.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

oberlin pictures

Just some pictures to share from our trip to college.

Traveling is exhausting!

Jumping in Lake Erie in Vermillion, Ohio

Do you think we bought enough stuff? The guy at WalMart said we set the record for spending the most money at one time in his line. I asked if we got a prize for that and he said he would definately remember us if that counted for anything.

The split double dorm room. It is a shared room, but there is a wall in the middle with a door you can close off for more privacy. That's really nice.

Happy weekend

Whew, the weekend is finally here. Feels good to sleep in until 7am and not have places to be and things to do. We went to the movies today for our aniversary. We used to go all the time when we were dating and before we had kids, but we haven't been to the movies in years. We saw a really stupid movie, Tropic Thunder, which had way too many bad words in it, and would have been really funny if they could have cut all of that, but it was nice just getting time alone with hubby.

I'm hoping to get some quilting time this afternoon and just relaxing. I'm also hoping to get some pictures of the trip loaded onto the computer to share, but if not, that's ok too. Destressing is the name of the game today!

Friday, August 29, 2008

the scissors story

Ok, I have to tell you the story of the scissors and the airport security. You see, I like to take some yarn and knitting needles along when I fly. I don't fly all that much, but when I do, I know there will be a lot of time to sit around with nothing to do and I hate to waste time. So, I packed my knitting bag with a whole bunch of yarn, some circular needles and a pair of the lamest safety scissors I could find. These safety scissors will almost not cut anything, but I knew they could not cause any troubles getting through the security at the airport. I didn't want anything to slow us down on this trip because I didn't want to miss our flight out of Sacramento. Here is a picture of the safety scissors I packed in the knitting bag.

After we missed our flight out of Sacramento, we went through security and taking a 4 year old through the security line can be a challenge. You have to send him through the gate by himself, with ticket in hand, and hope that they will catch him on the other end. He has to take his shoes off and unload everything into those grey tubs and then on the other end put everything back together while praying that he doesn't decide to just run away as you stand there without your shoes and wallet and purse and camera and everyone thinks you are a hijacker.

So, I'm worried about all of this and not really thinking about the knitting bag. They are running the bag through the Xray machine back and forth several times and the guy says to me, 'Lady, is this your bag?' Oh, yes, is there something wrong?

I need to check the scissors in this bag. I laughed and though, what a silly man. I told him that I picked out the safest safety scissors that don't really cut anything at all so I hope they are ok, but if not, he can keep them. I'm trying to keep an eye on the 4 year old, grab my shoes and stay calm.

He reaches into the side pocket of the knitting bag and pulls out these scissors.

I had forgotten that these were even in the side pocket of the knitting bag. I almost died! I start to sweat and the blood rushes out of my head and I said, OH NO<>
The man looks at me and walks over to another counter with my GIANT scissors and measures them. He comes back and says, oh, no, these are fine and puts them back in the bag and sends me on my way. At this point, I don't want the scissors anymore and I'm afraid that all the other passengers have scissors the same size! These things scare me because you really could hurt someone with these scissors if you really wanted to.
I remember when you couldn't even take fingernail clippers on the plane! Boy have times changed.

ready for the weekend

Boy, short weeks are sure long. This was a 3 day work week that seems to never end. I have a pile of papers that need attention and they will get that this weekend. So will my quilting! I heard about a student at my high school that had a heart attack this summer and had to have open heart surgery. He will be getting a quilt made this weekend. Stay tuned for progress on that because I have three days to touch fabric again! I have missed working with cutting and sewing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Aniversary

Yesterday was my 20th wedding aniversary. We didn't do anything special to celebrate because my daughter had open house and we had a picketing event for our school. Yeah, I come back from my trip to talks of a strike at work. Wow, that was fun. We are still in contract negotiations from last year's contract and the school district doesn't want to offer us anything--gloom and doom is forcast and the union says they can pay. So, there wasn't time for much celebrating between getting home from work, getting dinner going and getting out to picket and then off to Back to School night. When I got to the picketing, they informed us that the two sides were in contract negoations and both sides had agreed to budge so looks like we will have a contract in the next few days.

Maybe this weekend I will have time to celebrate a wonderful milestone.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm home

Boy, it feels good to be home, but I came home to bad news. My Conure (parrot) died while I was gone. I think he ran out of food and nobody thought to check on him while I was gone. I had him for 8 years. A student gave him to me my first year at my high school because she no longer wanted him. He was a very good doorbell and watch-bird and always let me know when someone came to the door. The kids feel really bad that they didn't realize he was out of food and I should have remembered to remind them, but things were pretty busy. We will bury him in the backyard this afternoon.

The flights home were of course filled with adventure too. Eventhough I drove from the college to the airport every day of the trip, I got lost yesterday and ended up visiting several towns on the way back to the airport when I really needed to be there on time. I managed to get there with plenty of time because there were no lines to check in, but the self check in said I had to have help because I was traveling with a small child and they had to move his seat for weight distribution on the plane. Now, really? 50 pounds is going to make the plane fly differently? Wow, that is scary! I didn't check any bags this time because I wanted to just get out of there when I got home so I figured that would make things go quicker.

We had about 2 hours of waiting time for the plane and decided to have a snack of ice cream. I had given all of my cash to my daughter and had $6 left. I didn't realize that the snack places only took cash and luckily the ice cream only cost $5.99. The lady felt sorry for me and was going to help me pay for the ice cream when I couldn't find enough. Luckily I found another dollar in my pocket and we enjoyed our ice cream together.

Then, it was past time to board and the plane hadn't landed. I had about a 2 hour layover in Chicago so I wasn't too worried. When they made the announcement that the plane was having mechanical difficulties and that the mechanics were working on it, then I started thinking I might not get home. As people started lining up to get transferred to other flights, they decided they had fixed the problem and loaded us on the plane.

We sat on the runway for about 30 minutes (already an hour late for takeoff) and finally black smoke starts coming out of the left engine. I'm thinking this isn't a good sign. Finally the pilot comes on and says that they were having troubles starting the left engine, but luckily they have all these safety features built into the plane and they used their secondary ignition and got the engine started. Oh, great! I feel safer already!

We finally take off and have to circle Cleveland for 20 minutes until they can get us into a flight pattern that won't crash into other planes for landing and finally make it into Chicago aobut 30 minutes before my next flight. The whole flight, Michael is reading the safety manual. He wants to go down the inflatable slides and have the oxygen masks come out and is very disappointed that we don't crash.

We have to run from our plane to the furthest terminal and when we get there, I asked if we had enough time to go to the bathroom as the plane had already boarded. Luckily we did, but we didn't get time for dinner. We got on the plane and the pilot comes out and says they are re-programming the computer so we have to sit for another 20 minutes. They wouldn't let us off because they didn't want us to wander away.

Finally we are on our way. Michael played video games for the whole 4 hour flight and I tried to sleep. The lady next to me moved seats so I had some extra room. 2 minutes before we landed, Michael fell alseep and then didn't wake up until this morning. There were several nice people who helped me with my bags and getting him into the shuttle so we could get home.

Now, I hope my students will be nice today because I only got about 5 hours sleep.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

check in day

Today is the day! She checks in and I go home. Yesterday we found out that for $40 we could store her stuff in the room early. Nobody told us that so we stored some of the things at the coach's house and now he has to bring those things to the college today, but at least we got to take all the things from the car to the dorm and get in yesterday and unload the first batch of items into the room. Today we get over there at 9 and hit the mail room for the 7 boxes of clothes and books and then start unpacking. At least we will have time to eat lunch together in the dining hall and be able to take some time to talk to people in the building before I have to rush out of there at 3. I'm feeling better about the day knowing that she has some things in the room. Today is going to be a busy day and I can't wait for things to be back to normal. I fly back into Sacramento around 11pm California time and have to go back to work tomorrow. It's going to be a long day tomorrow too. I hope the kids behave for me =)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dear Santa

I want at GPS for Christmas. Maybe one inserted into my brain. Do they perform those types of operations? Think my health insurance would cover it? I purposefully picked the hotel at the airport because I didn't want to get lost getting here. It took me an hour to get from the car rental place to the hotel on the day we landed. Yeah, an hour because I missed the second turn. Turn left, turn right. That's it, pretty simple directions, but I didn't see that the turn was right there and went all the way around the airport again, got on the wrong freeway, drove 20 minutes the wrong way, then had to come back and go around the airport again.

Yesterday after shopping at WalMart, we were supposed to meet the tennis coach, his family and the assistant coach and his wife for dinner. The coach lives about 10 minutes from WalMart. We took over an hour to get there. I drove on the wrong road and turned on the wrong street and just kept going because I have no idea which direction South is around here. My daughter says, mom, if you have to drive with the visor down, you are going West. Oh, thanks.

We finally got there and had pizza and the little guy had the best time running around. After spending 4 hours in WalMart shopping he was ready for some running.

Today's plan is to get a bike and twin extra long sheets and check out the dorms if we can get in a little early to take some pictures. One of the girls on the tennis team is an RA so we think she will be able to let us take a peek inside the dorms.

We were able to leave the big, expensive things at the coach's house yesterday and he is going to bring them tomorrow. It was a good think the rental car lady felt sorry for us and gave us a free upgrade to the SUV. We packed that thing so full and when I made a turn (one of the many from being lost) the Top Ramen fell on Michael.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Off for fun

We are headed out her soon to explore the Ohio area, visiting the lake and sight seeing. We got a free upgrade on the rental car and have an SUV for all the stuff we need to buy so plan to do some shopping for the dorms. Hope to check in later with pictures of the adventures so far.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

what a day!

Well, we started off getting to the airport an hour early and that wasn't early enough. It wasn't the security that made us miss our flight, it was the check in process. The ticket lady said to get in the self check in line and by the time we got to the front of the line, it was too late to check in by yourself, you needed someone to check you in. They told us to go to another line where they would help us and by the time we got to the front of that line, the plane had left. They booked us on another flight, this time through Denver. But, that meant 4 1/2 extra hours at the airport. That was 4 1/2 hours I could have slept last night.

So, we got on that flight, but didn't get to sit together. The first flight was ok, but there were thunderstorms in Denver, which meant a bumpy ride into the airport. As we were getting ready to land, the stewardess said something I've never heard before. She said, in case of emergency landing, do not go back for your personal belongings! I thought maybe she knew something was going to happen, but we managed to land safely.

We had about a 2 hour layover in Denver and managed to get seats together on the next plane to Cleveland. But, after getting on, we found out we had to wait for baggage from other planes. The bags arrived, but it was shift change time and there wasn't anyone there to load the bags onto our plane. 1 1/2 hours later, we finally were able to take off. We managed to make up some time in the air. Again, another bumpy ride because of the thunderstorms in both Denver and above the Great Lakes. A lady behind me kept saying she was going to throw up. I just hoped she had her barf bag handy!

After getting in around 9:30 local time and getting the rental car, we tried to find the hotel which was at the airport. The directions from the rental car place were make a left and a right and you are there. It took me an hour to find the place. I think I will ask Santa to get me a GPS for Christmas!

I have a funny story to tell about a pair of scissors and the security inspectors, but that will wait until tomorrow. It's 12:22 local time and I need to get some sleep =)

Friday, August 22, 2008

new glasses

Isn't he handsome!

100th post

Wow, I had no idea that I could keep up with this for so long. And who would have thought I had so much to say?

Tomorrow is the big day, off to Oberlin! I'm excited and nervous and scared and afraid that I'm going to forget something. I'm not a list maker but with so many things to remember, I feel like I need to make a list of everything that I need to do in the next 24 hours. Tomorrow at this time, I will be on an airplane and I hope I don't forget a child somewhere or forget to leave lesson plans for Monday or forget to take my suitcase!

But for now, I have to get ready for the 2nd day of school. More rules, more talking, more wahhh, wahh, wahh, wahhhh. I can't wait until we get to do some actual learning.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

kids are back

The kids are back to school today and the excitement is there. Boy am I exhausted today! The first day of school is all talking, rules, expecations, I feel like the adults on Charlie Brown! Wahh, wahhh, wahhh. All day long. If I never talk again this year, I will have talked myself enough for a lifetime just today.

I'm going to write it here, so I can come back and read it later. It looks like I will have good classes. My 6th period will be my most challenging, with the most talkers and my 4th period has some talkers too. My 5th period is the quietest and 3rd period will come in as the second quietest. I like to write down these first impressions and then half way through the year come back to see how wrong I was!

My own kids had great first days. Good classes, happy to be back with friends, even some homework. It will be nice to get back into a routine again for another year.

1 down, 179 to go!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

2nd day back...I'm tired

Boy, working is tiring! Who would have thought the laying around all summer having fun would NOT prepare you to run around, think and get ready for high school students? It is sort of like getting ready for a marathon by watching it on TV.

Not only am I not ready for school to start tomorrow, but I'm not ready for my daughter to leave for college on Saturday. I can't quite figure out which thing to think about first and know I'm going to forget something, whether it is going to school or the airport on time. Maybe I should make a list of what needs to get done and then try not to lose the list. Or, maybe I should just take a nap.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

first day back to work

Today was the first teacher day back to work and I'm exhausted, but had to share that I gave the quilt to the tennis coach and he and his wife loved it. They even said it goes perfectly with their decor. My daughter picked out the colors so she did a great job on that. They loved solving the Sudoku puzzle on the quilt and he said now he can fall asleep on the couch and it will be ok.

I was also honored with a special award at school today. The principal gave it to me for making an impression on a student whose father died in a car accident right before graduation. This girl had few friends, yet when her name was announced for graduation, the entire senior class stood and applauded. My mom and I made her a quilt and gave it to her science teacher to give to her after graduation. Although I don't make quilts to get recognition, it was pretty cool to get this special award.

Monday, August 18, 2008

final day

Today is my final day of vacation. I wanted to spend it doing fun things. I needed to spend it doing things that needed getting done. So, I compromised and did a little of both. I did some cleaning, the preschool teacher is coming for a home visit on Wednesday, I guess to make sure the kids feel comfortable with her. I needed to find my kitchen table again. I know it was in the kitchen the last time I saw it, but that has been months. Who knows where it could have ended up.

I also wanted to get some more quilting done. I read everyone's blogs about pantograms. I have a vague idea of what a pantogram is. It is a picture that you follow with a lazer, pointer or other object while quilting. The picture is a continuous line drawing and as you stitch, the picture comes out on the quilt. Since my machine didn't come with a lazer, pointer or other such object, I emprovised and taped a giant knitting needle to the side of the machine. Then, I held that in my left hand and used it to guide my eye as I followed the paper pattern on the table. First, I had to hand copy the design from the template. I got a book of templates a long time ago (beginning of the summer?) from JoAnn's and never could figure out how to use them. So after asking for some advice, I just decided to try it out and see what a mess I could make of things.

It isn't as easy as it sounds, following a line on a paper with a giant knitting needle and a sewing machine. I should get someone to take some pictures of me trying to do this so when I am good at it, I can look back and laugh at myself (and so you all who know how to do this can laugh at me now). It is sort of like singing underwater while chewing gum and walking. You can do each thing independently of each other, but putting them all together is going to take me some practice.

The other thing that was hard was knowing how much to roll the quilt between rows. At first I was rolling too much because I didn't want to overlap the stitching and there are some gaps in the quilt, but I think they will be ok. I will post pictures when I get on the other computer, the kids are on it now, playing games.

The crazy thing that happened while quilting today was the quilting foot just broke! It was a $25 foot that I got with the machine just over a month ago (the package says 30 day guarantee--it's been 35 days) and I don't know how it happened, since I was watching the giant knitting needle, but I looked up and half the foot was stitched to the quilt and the other half was still on the machine. The foot was made of plastic so I understand it breaking, but the weird thing is, the needle didn't break so if the needle hit it, it must have been a really weak plastic foot.

Good thing the machine came with its own metal darning foot so at least I have something to use. I finished the quilting with the metal foot and it worked just fine. I'm not going to spend another $25 for another plastic foot. I think I will write to the company and see what they say about why it broke. It is frustrating that I didn't see it happen!

The other thing I don't like is when you aren't watching the stitching happening, but are watching the paper pattern, you can't see the thread run out. I was going along 6 inches before I realized that the bobbin thread ran out. Like I said, chewing gum while walking and singing underwater. I'll get it eventually. At least I didn't have any thread breaking problems =)

Sunday, August 17, 2008


My daughter and her boyfriend went scuba diving yesterday! As exotic as that sounds, it was at the local Sports Chalet in the pool. They do this for free, hoping you will get hooked and sign up to get certified as a scuba diver and then buy all the equipment from them.

The instructors were great and very patient and the kids had a great time!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sudoku anyone?

I finished the quilt for Ariel's tennis coach this morning. I realized when I woke up in a panic that I'm running out of time to finish things so that was my goal for the day and to have it done by 10:30 in the morning feels really good, especially since the migraine is back in full force. I'm wondering if I have a pinched nerve or something in my left shoulder that is triggering this thing because it started when I was putting the binding on the quilt and that requires a lot of left shoulder use. But who has time for a headache when there are only three days left of vacation? Not me!

This quilt is based on the Sudoku puzzles. I'm no good at them myself, they involve numbers and you remember how much I hate those guys. Each row vertically and horizonally should not contain the same fabric square. Now, I have made about 10 of these and the second one I did had a mistake (ode to the Amish I say) and there was one square that had two of the same fabric pieces in it so I say each row SHOULD not have two of the same fabrics in it. Look closely and see if I did it this time. I used a solved Sudoku puzzle from the internet and matched each fabric to a number and then sewed them together following the solved puzzle. If you are really up for a challenge, you can solve the puzzle first and then do the sewing.

I made the quilt top back in January and then it sat until today when I finally got around to adding the border and finishing the backing so I could quilt it. The quilting and binding really doesn't take a lot of time, it's just getting the quilt ready for all of that which seems to take forever. I like to think of it as 'aging' the quilt properly.

The backing has a pucker in it and I'm washing it now, hoping that it shrinks enough so the pucker isn't noticible. I'm usually pretty good about keeping the back tight, but this quilt is bigger than my normal ones. The sides are a little wavy as well so I'm hoping a good washing will help with that too.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Well, the tennis coach from Oberlin emailed this picture today, saying that Lewismania is spreading throughout the college in preparation for my daughter's arrival. Not sure that the two are related, but it is nice to think that maybe someone is getting ready to welcome her. This is the rock in the middle of the college square that students paint with messages and this happened to show up today.

I recognize the yarn store in the background buildings and the candy shop as well.


When checking out the fence work today, I noticed something that wasn't there yesterday and I had to smile. The kids were trying to open the gate and were saying that they couldn't reach the latch from the front side. I told them we would have to put a string on the latch and hang it to the other side so they could reach it and this morning when I came out, there is a bright pink string hanging from the latch. Maybe the language barrier was just a convenient act so the fence guy could do what he wanted and get away with it. He obviously understood our conversation, or maybe he puts a bright pink string on everyone's latch. But, it made me laugh this morning.
The mystery of the day is these skeletons. I found them yesterday while digging up some plants in front of where the gate would go. I know what they are, because I buried the animals there about 3 years ago, but I'm wondering if you can guess what animals these are from. If you think you know, please leave a comment. Looking at the front teeth on the full skull, you will know why that guy died.
Today I'm hoping to get the quilt done for the tennis coach. Time is running out and I need to have it finished by Tuesday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Today was the end of the headache. Yesterday after I posted that the headache was gone, it came back worse than ever. So, today I waited until this evening to post that it is officially gone! Hooray!

Today was also the end of the fence work. The guy worked from about 10am until around 7pm to finish up a small portion of the fence as well as my gate. He asked me about it yesterday and we agreed that the gate would hinge by the house and swing in. I wanted it to swing out, but he said it would hit the house. So, today I had daughter #2 at a tennis lesson and get a call from hubby asking if I wanted the gate to swing in or out. I said, if he was giving me a choice, I wanted it to swing out. Well, the guy wanted it to swing in. Then, why did they ask me again? So, they decided to have it swing in. I came home and the gate swings in from the other side of the fence post. Not the side by the house, like we had talked about, but the other side, so now we have to move the trampoline so the gate will open. If the gate had opened out, it never could have hit the house.

There must have been some reason the fence guy chose to hang the gate from the other side of the fence, but since the language barrier was there, I couldn't ask him why he did that. I will learn to love the gate that hangs from the wrong side and swings the wrong way. I will. Really, I will.

I will be able to plant things on the front side of the fence this way and the gate won't swing and kill them at least. Maybe that's what the guy was thinking. I'm sure it will all be for the best.

Today was also the first and last day of my dog grooming career. We have two little dogs that my hubby's friend found abandoned and they were getting pretty shaggy, kind of like my son, so I decided to give them a trim. Well, the trim turned into a shave and that is pretty bad. I will post a before and after shot and let you be the judge. I was trying to save $60, but you all know the story of the mother who gives her son the haircut and then ends up spending twice as much to get it fixed. I don't think I will be taking these dogs out in public. The kids made me promise not to touch the second dog and to take her in for professional help. At least I didn't try this on my son.

Harper is on the left, Lily is on the right.

Harper after the haircut

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Before or After?

Which do you like better? Before, or After?

Shaggy or Clean Cut?

Back to school means hair cut time.

freaking out

Aaaaaah! Do you realize that it's almost Back to School? I hate those commercials! And I hate this time of the year!

But, I think I finally beat my migraine, or at least it wore itself out. Yesterday as Ariel was packing for school and boxed up almost all of her clothes that are getting shipped today, I realized that we are almost out of time. We have about 5 days of freedom left before someone else tells us what to do and when to do it. I hate being told what to do. So, today is back to school shopping and shipping off college things and getting ready to go back to school. ICK.

Yesterday we found out that my older son needs glasses. Well, he probably doesn't really need them, but has trouble seeing the board sometimes and has 'weak 20/20 vision' so he is getting glasses for those times when he can't just get up and come to the board to see better. He thinks it is cool. I wonder how long until this first pair breaks. He picked out a pair without rims on the bottom. I had no idea that was a bad idea until I got home and hubby says those will break really fast. Why didn't the lady tell me that? He is a kid and will probably break them, but since he doesn't need them all the time, if they break, he can wait until next year and then get the steel plated, double thick, nerd glasses that won't break.

The other thing we learned is that he is colorblind. When they gave him the colorblind test with the little book that has the numbers made out of colored circles, he started saying numbers that were not there. I started to laugh because I thought he was trying to be funny and then I realized that he was colorblind! His dad is colorblind too and we are always making fun of him because he will say, bring me the purple shirt and there are only blue or green shirts to pick from. So, then they gave him another test where there were different colored discs and he had to line them up in order of closest colors. The first disc was blue and he had to pick out the closest color to that. He picked a green one, eventhough there was a blue one right there. It was really weird to watch. When they tried to analyze him, he didn't fit any of the patterns for normal color deficiencies. So they tried to label him red/green color deficient, but will have to re-test him next year and see if anything changes.

I was taught that colorblindness is a sex linked genetic disorder on the X chromosome so it comes from me, which means it was passed from my mom since my dad doesn't have colorblindness. Very interesting. I wonder if my grandfather on my mom's side was colorblind or how far back it could be traced on her side of the family. My daughters each carry the gene, so their boys will have a good chance of being colorblind as well.

Want to know if you are colorblind? Take the test here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

the pears

So, I decided to share the pears, but then I look out the window and see the fence guy picking more of the pears. He already has a pile of about 20 of them and there are only a few left and here he is picking more. Well, I just couldn't take it, so I go out there and start speaking loudly to him! Ok, I was yelling at him and said, "Hey, leave some pears on the tree!" He says, "Oh, do you want those other pears?" I said, "No, you can have the ones you picked, just leave some on the tree for me." So he says, "I had to cut the tree because it was in the way of the fence. You can have the pears." I told him he could have the pears he picked, but not to pick any more pears from the tree. He went off munching on the two pears he had in his hand.

I found the two little branches he broke off that were in his way on the ground today and they did not have any pears on them yesterday. I still don't understand people!

So, today, I picked the rest of the pears from the tree so the kids could have some pears. The pears aren't ripe yet, but they will ripen on the kitchen counter over the next week or so. And next year, there will be more pears and we won't have to get another fence and nobody will bother the poor pear tree so the kids can pick their own pears.

I also took this opportunity to clean out under some of the bushes and trees that are along the fence area and dug out an oleander bush that the old owner planted. I love the look of the oleander, but hate the bush so out it went. When I move around, my headache isn't as bad as when I sit still, so I plan to do a lot of moving around today to see if I can get rid of this thing once and for all.

It is frustrating that this migraine has lasted 7 days now and everything I have thrown at it hasn't worked. I'm beginning to wonder if it is caused by something else...

Monday, August 11, 2008

New fence

Today work started on the new fence. The old on has been falling down since we moved in 3 1/2 years ago. We have been fighting a losing battle of putting boards up as they came down with the wind and the dog, but as we put one up, two would come down. Finally, the neighbor said, let's put a new fence up. Sure, only $1600 and we will have a new fence. That's $1600 each. Plus another $250 for a gate for me. I love gates.

So, today the old fence comes out. The work crew came around 10am and started taking out the old fence. The guy told me about 10 times that there would be no fence for 2 days because the posts have to dry for 2 days. The posts are to be steel instead of wood so they won't rot. We never had problems with the posts rotting, it was the beams between the posts that fell apart and then the nails came out and then the boards fell down. But, we have to have steel posts this time. That's what the neighbor wanted anyways and like the saying goes...Good fences make good neighbors.

So after coming home from the doctor to get my shot to take away the 6 day migraine (which isn't working by the way) I see a pile of pears by the fence guy's tools. MY PEARS. What is is about migraines, doctors and my bushes? You see, at my old house, I went to the hospital one time for a shot for a migraine and came home to all of my rose bushes cut down to the ground (about 20 of them) because the neighbor decided that they needed trimming. He just came into the yard and chopped them about 6 inches above the ground. I was all drugged up and woozy from the medicine like I am today and was out there yelling at the neighbor about my rosebushes! I bet that was a sight. That was one of the main reasons we moved from the old house. That neighbor was always doing things like that.

So, today, I decided that I would just share the pears with the fence workers. They did leave about half the pears on the tiny tree. It just makes me wonder about people sometimes. They didn't ask (they don't speak much English) just picked the pears and made a nice little pile, right where I could see. At least they left a few for me! I better get out there later tonight when they leave and pick the rest of them or I may not get any this year.

Last Tournament

Couple of photos from the last tournament.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tournament and Binky Patrol

Well, Jr. Tennis is over. She came in 3rd in this tournament and it is really weird because her last match she played another girl with the same first name. How strange is that? She won the last match she will ever play as a junior player which is a great way to end your career. I'll have to ask my husband what her total career record is. I'm sure he will know or at least be able to figure it out. She thinks it is over .500 since she started playing around age 14.

Today was also Binky Patrol Sunday. I'm the area coordinator for the local chapter and I started the group back in 2004 after my mom encouraged me to get one going in my area. She had belonged to the Long Beach Binky Patrol for years and had donated hundreds of quilts and afghans to her local group and when I started making baby blankets and found out there wasn't a local group to donate them to, I decided to start my own group. The first meeting there were about 70 people who showed up and dropped off blankets. I haven't been very good at keeping up with the numbers but if I had to guess, I would say we have donated over 2,000 blankets in the last 4 years easily. Most of them go to the local hospital both to the NICU and to a program called ABC (A Baby is Coming) where parents take child education classes and when they graduate, they are given a quilt and baby items.

Today, one of the ladies, who also works at the hospital shared that she had to draw blood from a baby in the NICU and saw one of the tiny quilts she had made and got to share with the mother of the baby that she made that blanket and talked a little about Binky Patrol. She was so proud that our blankets were being used on these tiny babies and it made her want to make more blankets.

We had a good turnout today, but I forgot my camera so will only be able to share some pictures of some of the blankets, not pictures of the ladies who were at the meeting.

I had the great joy of getting to teach a lady how to make some quilt squares today. I was working on making string quilt blocks today and got 10 of them done and will add those to the other blocks I was working on earlier.

Since my migraine is back, I think I will upload the pictures later tonight or maybe tomorrow. Just had to share the story of my day.


I hit the 5,000 visit mark today! Wow, who would have thought that many people would want to see what I'm up to? Not me!

Today also marks the end of Jr. Tournaments for my oldest daughter. Today is her last day of playing them before going off to college. She plays the semi-finals this morning at 9 and then if she wins, the finals at 12:30. I can't stay for that one because I have Binky Patrol. Even if she loses, she still has to play the consolation round, so I will miss her last match ever, but we have had a good time of it. She is happy to be done with Jr. Tennis and is glad to be moving on to College tennis, but there are things she will miss, like going to Jamba Juice after the matches and playing doubles with some of her good friends that she has met through the Jr. tournaments.

I have a feeling I will be crying a little bit today.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

busy, busy

I amaze even myself with what I can get done when I'm feeling well. I've had a migraine the last three days and have not been feeling well at all. This has been one of the worst migraines in a very long time. Today I woke up feeling almost normal and decided to make up for lost time.

Look at what I got done today! I managed to sew some of the blocks together over the last three days, so don't think I did it all today, but I did most of this today, with the help of my two middle kids. They arranged the blocks and pinned them for me so I could quickly sew the blocks together into quilt tops. Some of these will go to the Girls' State project for the raffle and some will go to Alycia for her Quilts of Valor project. It felt so good to get back to sewing!

Did I ever mention that my 4 year old is my photographer of most of my quilts on this blog? He does a pretty good job 95% of the time don't you think?

Friday, August 8, 2008

I was wrong...

Remember waaaaaay back to one of my first posts about how I am no good with numbers? Well, my dad read my post about the Olympics and realized that I had the dates all wrong. The 1976 Olympics were in Canada, not Los Angeles. Those were in 1984, but we did go see the bike races. It wasn't right up the street, but they were on the freeway that went past my house. Close enough, if you don't know the real story =) I was in Canada, visiting my cousins during the 76 Olympics and we had our own Olympics in their backyard after watching them on TV. It is a good thing we have the internet these days when memories like mine can't keep up with dates!

The Olympics are HERE!

I love the Olympics! I remember in 1976 when the Olympics came to Los Angeles. (that seems impossible because I'm only 25 so wasn't old enough--tee--hee) and the bike races went past our house in Long Beach and we ran up to the freeway to watch them go past. There was also an Olympic swimmin pool--I think built before the olympics for practice or something that we used to go to.

My sister and I used to watch the olympics and then go out and try to do everything we saw on TV. We even took synchronized swimming classes. I was pretty good. I could lay on my back and hold my leg up and not sink under the water. I don't know how synchronized I was with anyone, but I didn't sink under the water, so maybe it was sink-ronized swiming we were doing. We took diving classes too, but I would only dive off the low board. I tried diving off the high board and ended up doing a belly flop and that was the end of the diving career for me. I have never liked heights.

We tried gynmastics, but being totally inflexible, that was pretty much out too. Plus, I'm one inch short of 6 feet, so about twice the height of a gymnist and I'm sure at least twice the weight as well.

The opening ceremonies are on TV tonight, eventhough they already happened. I don't like the time difference when you can read about the events on the internet before they happen on TV, so I have to be careful getting on the internet in the morning.

I plan to get a lot of hand crafting work done while watching a lot of TV these next two weeks. How about you?

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I have a love/hate relationship with Freecycle, you see I'm the owner of the local group so I see all the behind the scenes goings on with the group and all the troubles it brings but I also see all of the wonderful things you can give and receive for free on it. Today I picked up an almost brand new sewing machine from a wonderful lady whose sister had given it to her before her death 4 years ago. She felt guilty for not using it and when she found out that I had some students making pillowcases for kids with cancer, she knew this was the perfect use for the sewing machine. I have a student waiting for a machine and I can't wait to pair the two up and get her started. That's one more person helping me work through my fabric stash!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New project

Yesterday I got an email from the lady in charge of Girls' State asking for some quilts for an upcoming raffle in September so I started working on those yesterday. I got one quilt top done and blocks made for another. Then, today before the migrane made me stop, I got the blocks made for the 3rd quilt done. She asked for 6 quilts and I think that is do-able. Here is the first one. I plan to write words in the white stripes, things like America the Beautiful, Land that I Love, etc. I am hoping to get these done before I have to go back to work on Aug 18.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Deb's quilt tops

My online friend Deb, who really got me hooked on quilting and introduced me to several online quilting groups sent me these two quilt tops yesterday. She broke her hand and said she would not be able to quilt them, but wanted to help in my quilting ministry in sending quilts to Kazakhstan to the orphanage. That's where most of the quilts I'm making are going for now. I hope to get them quilted before school starts in 2 weeks because I'm not sure how much time or energy I will have for quilting once school starts up again.

Today I was working in the sewing room trying to clean and organize. It seems that I can work for about an hour before getting distracted and starting another project. I don't know how anyone can completely organize their sewing room without stopping to work on a project. Yesterday I worked for a little while until I realized I needed a pincushion. So, I had to stop working and make one right then and there!

And the best news was my daughter came home from camping yesterday. She had a great time and the only animals she saw were one lizard and a few cows. I guess the rattle snakes and bears heard they were coming and hid!
And the end of the lost DMV paper story is I finally got so frustrated that I decided I would just pay the $34 for new registration papers and stickers and went to the DMV yesterday. I had to wait about 45 minutes because I didn't make an appointment. There was a guy there who had made an appointment and he had been waiting an hour! Good thing I didn't call ahead =)
When I got up there, the guy said they were going to give me new registration papers and stickers for free anyways with the plates, so I spent all that time looking and worrying for nothing! ARGH. Oh, well. Learned something new here. If you ever lose your DMV registration papers and stickers, take the license plates off your car and run them over with the lawn mower. Take them in and buy new plates. It will cost you $18 for new plates instead of $34 for new stickers and registration papers.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Up for a Challenge?

Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville

Has posted a challenge today to use up some of the ugliest fabrics you have in your stash and pair them together to make a wonderful quilt. She is calling it a Fungly Challenge (fun-ugly).

I'm so tempted to try this one out because I have some really ugly fabrics. Why is it that I'm drawn to the ugly fabrics? I have so many really nice fabrics, but it seems like I really like the ugly fabrics and love the challenge of trying to work with them to make a quilt. I found a pattern in one of my books and can't get it off my mind, called something like Sow's Purse. It takes ugly fabrics and cuts them small and mixes them together to make a 'silk purse out of a sow's ear' or so the saying goes. The quilt picture has stuck in my mind and looked really neat and I want to try it out, eventhough I have so many nice fabrics that are aslo calling my name.

But, I don't think I will get any quilting time today. Daughter #1 is coming home from camping today and I have to finish cleaning up her room. We stole her book case (she is going off to college and can't take it with her) and I'm still looking for that DMV paper and I still have a lot of work in Daughter #2's room to help her finish getting things put back together. I have to build her a bookshelf that came with the desk so she can finish putting things back together and there is a little more work in the boys' room.

But, visions of quilts dance in my head...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

keeping busy

My oldest went camping with her boyfriend's family on Thursday and will come back tomorrow. I'm trying to keep busy so I don't miss her too much. So, yesterday it was work in the other kids' rooms day! It started around 7 in the morning and finished around 9 at night. We painted daughter #2's room after emptying it almost completely. We took apart her bed so the boys could have the bunk beds back. She is getting a new to her bed off of Freecycle. She picked a nice green color called Fiddle Head Fern. I wonder if there really is a fern called Fiddle Head. Wouldn't you know? A quick Google search shows there really is such a thing. What did we do before Google? Just sit and wonder and never know the answer to our questions. I remember we would ask our teachers and they would say, that is a good question. I will get back to you and then never did.
So, we painted the walls and I learned that if you use a really small brush, you can get the edges of the room near the top and bottom of the walls nice and neat easier than taping it off. Last time I painted, I taped and made a big mess. Her room wasn't as bad as the other rooms I painted, but boy if you look at the other rooms in the house, I got paint on the ceilings and on the baseboards.
So, then, we had to put the bunk beds together in the boys' room. Well, they have things under their beds from years of them cleaning their rooms. So, hubby helped them clean out their room when I went to the hardware store to try and find a little part that was missing from the bunkbed. I got a piece that wasn't the right size and just fell in the hole so the trip was a loss but at least it got me out of cleaning some of the mess up =)
Today's plan is to finish painting the Freecycle bed and get that put together for daughter #2 adn start putting her room back together. We still have to go through the closet in the boys room and all the clothes to see what fits and what they need for SCHOOL (ick, the dreadded 4 letter word!) Nobody is allowed to say that word around here, you must spell it out.
Alright, off this computer and get to work...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

my dad's paintings

I'm going to share some of my dad's paintings today because I'm helping paint my 2nd daughter's bedroom and probably don't have much time to work on anything of my own. Please leave comments for him. He started painting about a year and a half ago and I think he is doing a great job! He is totally self and book taught, never took a class, just fiddles around in his basement until he gets them 'just right'. The iris is one of my favorites. The lilies is a huge one that he painted while up for my oldest's graduation and hangs over the fireplace.

Here's the new scarf pattern I'm going to try as soon as I get a minute to sit down today. Not sure what color it will be, probably green since that is my oldest's favorite color.