Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Snail's-pace Progress

Let it not be said that I didn't get something accomplished this weekend because it sure as heck wasn't the housecleaning!  I made some progress on my crazymomquilts quilt-along although not as much as I would've liked...after all, we did need clean underwear. 

I really liked how well the blocks went together when I followed Amanda Jean's instructions to the letter (funny how that works) and once I got a rhythm going, I set that pedal on fire ya'll!  I left that Singer gasping for air and begging for mercy...it was kinda like being sixteen again, only, back then, that was boys.

Big whoop, I got two whole blocks done, but that's more than I would've accomplished had I not sewn at all (Ma, what are you doing in my head?  Outta there, now!!)

I've got a nice little stack of strips ready to go under the presser foot, so I can grab a minute at the machine here and there.

The flip side of that is I decided 'baby-sized' just wouldn't be big enough, so there's plenty of strips left for me to wind up with a generous lap quilt.

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quilt-Along Progress

Since today was my day off and, miracle of miracles, no one got sick, I decided to work a bit on my quilt-along project from Crazy Mom Quilts.  

I spent the morning cutting fabric into 2 1/2" wide strips which quickly got boring, not to mention the fact that precise cutting is almost impossible when be-bopping to what's playing on the radio.  So, I switched to stitching and pressing and stitching some more and this is what I accomplished...

Many thanks to Amanda Jean for her suggestion about using a very short stitch length and pinning (which I never do) to help everything go together a little more smoothly.  You can check out her blog at http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WalMart Made My Day

If you're easily offended or have a sense of humor that doesn't accomodate the off-color, please skip this post.  Come to think of it, you're probably better off skipping the whole blog as my sarcasm will be utterly wasted on an unappreciative audience.  Just sayin'.

Ever had one of those days when you're convinced it just doesn't pay to get out of bed?  I was so delighted my workday had come to an end, I practically tackled the tech that took over my department.  I know I've never been a fan of a co-worker saying 'Oh, thank God you're here!', but he seemed to take it all in stride (and probably performed an exorcism after I left just to be on the safe side). 

I considered my day off tomorrow to be the silver lining for the crap that was my workday today...until I got home from the grocery and began unloading my purchases. 


Nothing...makes...my...day...quite like discovering that I'm the proud owner of jumbo size balls.  Smile.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Husband Gone Wild

Landscaping and its associated physical labor and sweat are, to be perfectly frank, not things that blow my skirt up.  I'm happy when Hubby takes down the Christmas lights by late January (February if he's really pushing it) and that the grass isn't tall enough in the summertime to hide slithering critters like children or snakes.  We have, thanks to Hubby's hard work and militant anti-weed campaign, what our HGTV-watching junkie daughter calls curb appeal.

Despite the heat, the grass isn't totally dead, just a little...crunchy...and the shrubs, hardy devils that they are, are as green as ever.  True, they've endured some hardship due to various septic tank/AC/neighborhood tom cat issues, but they're doing alright.  So, I was a bit surprised when Hubby said late last week that he'd be having someone come out to remove certain portions of the shrubbery, specifically those on the sides and back of the house.  Oh-kay.

This is what greeted me when I got home yesterday...notice, this isn't the side or back of the house.

Please imagine lush green vegetation while I observe a moment of silence...

This is the landscaping equivalent of a bikini wax gone horribly wrong!

I maintained my calm, yes I did, thank you sweet Jesus!  I knew when I asked, no begged, Him for an arm around my shoulder and a hand over my mouth, He'd know what I really meant was to put me in a choke-hold until my unholy (and illegal) urges passed.  I did not slam the front door, kick the dog or rip Hubby's head from his neck.  I merely clenched my jaw, smiled that smile that quells backtalk and sends the dog to cowering on her beddy-bye and said 'I'm fine' in response to his 'How was your day, dear?' and judging from his deer-in-the-headlights look, scared the begeebers out of him with my frightful display of calm.  This also works well when he wakes me from a sound sleep for things other than fire and blood loss.

NOTE TO SELF:  Never leave offspring and now, the spouse, unattended.  Sigh...

Quilt Along with Crazy Mom Quilts

Amanda Jean from Crazy Mom Quilts is hosting a 36-patch quilt along and she's invited everyone!  See her blog http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.com for all the details. 

I have taken exactly one class in my entire quilting career and can honestly say I'd rather have my brain yanked from my cranium through my nose.  Didn't the ancient Egyptians do that?  Anyway, I'm a tad apprehensive as this will be my first quilt-along and I've no idea how I'm going to keep up, but hope springs eternal as they say (I don't know who they are, but I think they lie) and I shall endeavor to persevere.  I know Amanda Jean probably thought 'This broad is craaazy!' when I asked in all sincerity if a quilt-along meant that I actually had to keep up with the group.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for not sending me a snarky reply or a referral to a psychiatrist, Amanda Jean! 

I finished Week 1's assignment last night: choose your fabrics; and set a personal speed record 'cause the process only took three days (go me!)  A pattern requiring even two coordinating fabrics is enough to make me cross-eyed, but I managed to pick out a total of twenty-four all without turning into a drooling, quivering, gibberish-muttering pile of mush.

I started to go for soft and understated, but quickly snapped out of it when I realized it was one of those  other voices in my head and, behold, this is the result.  I'm going for baby-sized, but I'm thinking these seizure-inducing prints are better suited for the adult crowd so I'll add multiple borders to make it lap-sized.  We shall see... 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

When the Shitake Hits the Fan It's Mom's Day Off

The dictionary defines the word oxymoron as a combination of contradictory words.  Parenting-related examples include, but are not limited to, compliant child, family vacation and Mom's day off.

If ever the shitake hits the fan and, be honest, with children it surely will, it will happen the evening prior to or the day of Mom's day off.  Diarrhea?  Fever?  Projectile vomiting?  Avian flu?  That depends, is tomorrow Mom's day off?  No?  Then never mind.  Yes?  Then yes to all four conditions and maybe just a touch of Ebola for good measure.  It.  Never.  Fails.

Yesterday was my day off.  I had plans.  The fact that my plans involved doing as little as possible is irrelevant- I had plans!  With that in mind, I'd stayed up 'til the ass-crack of dawn Friday only to be summoned to Paige's room within thirty minutes of my head hitting the pillow because she didn't feel good.  Mind you, I don't feel good is my kids' code for 'Daycare is a snore/I didn't finish that homework assignment I've known about for six weeks and I'm toast.'  It all depends on the time of year and is a statement with which I typically take a grain of salt. 

So, I bedded down on the floor (she sleeps in a twin bed and though I have lost 15 pounds, I refuse to sleep with any part of me hanging over the edge of the bed.  Yes, I still believe the Boogyman lurks under there-sue me!).  By 0430, she was up, her face a lovely shade of fuschia, left eye swollen shut, right eye and nose ballooning nicely and mouth resembling Goldie Hawn post-Botox.  Shee-it!!

By 0515, we were in the ER (at my workplace..on my day off..YIPPEE!) getting mega-doses of industrial strength Benadryl and steroids thanks to her brush with poison ivy.  I spent the remainder of the day plugging her with fluids, Trix cereal and drugs while laundering everything she touched and barking commands to stopstopstop scratching and daubing her lovely bumpy rash with calamine lotion.  Which reminds me: calamine lotion SUCKS!  Someone, somewhere is making a nice chunk of change hawking that crap-shame on you!  And lest you think all that Benadryl kept her in Lalaland and I'm just making up all that other crapola, the ER nurse (I hope her day was filled with green globs of snot, oozing pustules and syphilitic lesions) gleefully informed me that the steroids would make her hyper thereby cancelling out any sedative side benefits of the Benadryl.  Awesome!  I had to remind myself that homicide is illegal even if it meant silencing her chirpy get-well-soon sendoff as we departed for home.

Mom's day off , indeed!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Random Quilty Stuff With a Dash of Sarcasm

Saturday afternoon, Mom and I got together to sew for what I told Dear Hubby (in all honesty) would only be 'a few hours'.  Nine hours later, I came home and judging by his facial expression, the man was glad to see me.  Something about being cooped up, alone, with the co-conspirators children.  I'd like to say I felt the slightest twinge of guilt, but I'd be lying.  This is, after all, the man who left me home alone for an entire week to attend a car show in Ohio...sorry, hon, but the Sympathy Train has departed the station.  He knew what he was in for when, at hour #4, he asked in all seriousness, if I was intending to come home and cook or would I be staying to hoot with the owls.  Silly man!  Who am I to disrupt an extended period of child-free quiet and partake in some conversation that isn't punctuated by someone's exuberant bodily expulsions?  I haven't gotten that much done since Mom's spring retreat.

It's kind of hard to see the edges, but here's the meat of my next charity quilt made from all the leftover half-square Thangles triangles.  I'll post an updated picture when it's got some borders.  I'd like to point out that I'm not mathematically nor pattern-making gifted, but I figured out the measurements for the corner and setting triangles all by myself (back pat).  After cutting.  And re-cutting.  And cutting some more.  And, okay, after unsewing a bunch of triangles that wound up on the wrong side of their respective pinwheel blocks.  I'm utterly fabulous, not perfect...GEEZ!

And, as if I weren't crazy enough, I bought another set of Thangles (that hysterical shrieking laugh you hear belongs to my Mother who thought, after all the witching I'd done about the last batch of Thangles, that I'd truly lost it), this time in 1" finished size to use with a roll of 1 1/2" wide strips that snaked their way into my stash.  I know, I know, I must've been feverish but I think they'll make a nice set (or two) of placemats.  After all, this package makes 1000 half-square triangles.  Oh, goody!!

Mom and I are planning a couple of retreats in the fall, so I shipped my Featherweight, Lennie, off to be cleaned and serviced...I miss her terribly already.  Standing in for her is another Singer baby of mine, Eleanor, of whom I am almost as fond.  She's operated by a knee-lever; she's too uptown for anyone to stomp all over her, thank you very much. 

Happy quilting, ya'll!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

The other day, the kids and I were at the local WalMart when Dear Daughter expressed a desire, no a need, for a set of walkie-talkies.  Her reasoning, she explained patiently as I stood there with my mouth agape, was that walkie-talkies would eliminate the need for her to yell across the house for me.  Yeah, all 1500 square feet of our mansion.  DD is at that age where the pitch of her voice can reach such dizzying heights that the neighborhood dogs cringe in horror.

For you child-free folks, let me explain the differences in hearing between moms and their offspring.

Children can hear:
Yes and maybe.  The word 'no' in child vernacular translates to that white-noise sound the TV makes when the station goes out.  I can whisper yes or maybe from Mars and they can hear; no will never register even if I shrieked like Christina Aguilera belting out the national anthem (and I know the words to that one).

Moms can hear
The slithering of TV remotes off the bedroom dresser at midnight.

The hurried shoving sound of that crappy-grade math paper into the bowels of a desk.  You know, the one that requires a parental signature.

Lost socks calling from the depths of the sofa cushions and (eeeewww!) worn undies crying pitifully from the dark confines of the closet.

Astonishingly, Moms can hear the absence of flushing and running water.  I know children the world over are, at this very moment, stunned by this revelation...mine have yet to recover from the shock.

Some people (men), can feel the weight of a stare.  (Side note: this ability goes away after men marry.  Scientists are still working feverishly to discover WHY.)  Moms hear the stare from the bedside at all hours of the night, from the I'm about to vomit on the carpet/I'm scared offspring.

Moms can hear an ant fart in Idaho.

You  need walkie-talkies like I need a third functional armpit.  Over and out.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's All Part Of The Plan

I never fully appreciated how sneaky clever women could truly be until I became a mother.  It's amazing what a little reverse psychology or well-placed visual cue can do toward getting Them (man and children) to do what you want.  Is that a bad thing?  Hmmm, I'd say, in the absence of feeling any twinge of guilt, no.  And I am rather good at it.

Paige already knows how to pin blocks together...

Crikey, Mother!  Put down the camera already!!

...so I was somewhat hopeful she'd embrace the whole quilting thing and we could bond whilst fondling fabric.  Alas, this was not in her plan and that was that.  My mother once tried to teach me sewing when I was younger..I wonder if she's getting a chuckle at my expense now.

Anyway, Paige has been begging for a desk like her brother's, only her room is roughly the size of a shoebox and trolling local stores has yielded nada in the way of suitable prospects.  And then, it hit me...an unfamiliar feeling I hadn't felt since I gave birth..(gasp)...it was an intelligent thought!  O.  M.  G.

The perfect-sized desk for Paige, complete with it's own little stool was just waiting for me in the dining room.  Needless to say, she was thrilled...her very own desk!  Hers, all hers!   Why, yes, you clever things, there is a sewing machine ensconced inside and now it's in her room and with luck, will whisper sweet nothings about bobbins and needles and fabric and how cool would it be to hang with Mom!


Apparently, the whole Sewing Machine Whisperer thing is starting to work because the other day she asked when she'd be old enough to go to retreat with me.  Mmmm, hmmm...told ya, it's all part of the plan.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Just Out Of Curiosity...

Why, you may ask, is there a picture of my raggedy tennis shoes staring you in the face?  It's because my children have warped me beyond all hope of redemption and I want you to share in the joy.  Um, no
actually, that's not it (although some days I wonder).  It's 'cause I'm weird and curious, or maybe just curiously weird...because that's how the Good Lord made me and, if my Mom's to be believed, it takes all kinds.  Which brings me to my BIG BURNING QUESTION OF THE DAY:

How many of you cannot, under any circumstances, sew with your shoes on?  

I am proudly raising my hand, ya'll.  I have tried.  Repeatedly.  Nope, not gonna happen.  Something about decreased sensitivity to the pedal that's underfoot if I'm sporting a shoe.  Geez, does that ever make me sound like a man (cringe).  So, it's shoeless I shall go: in the summer's heat and winter's cold; in rain and sunshine; uphill both ways with a 50 pound knapsack on my back.  Oh, wait, that last part's another story.  Yes, I'm weird.  Deal with it.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

That's Stupid With A Capital 'S'

Contrary to what my children believe and may even tell you given the right incentive, I am not a stupid woman.  Or, at least, I didn't used to think so, but now I'm not too sure.

I generally refrain from asking Dear Hubby any question regarding my appearance because, to be honest, his gaze rarely makes it past my boobs and if the issue in question isn't swinging from my bodacious rack, he couldn't give a fig.  Last evening, I lost what was left of my freakin' mind after my well-documented 'Bathroom Breakdown' and asked what I can only call one of my all-time stupidest questions ever.

Me to Dear Hubby: 'I don't get it.  Why the hell does everyone think Kim Kardashian is so hot because of her ginormous ass?  So's mine, so does this make me hot?'  (I can see you cringing.  Wait for it..it gets worse.)

Hubby to Me: 'Well, her butt goes like this...' (At this point, he holds his hands in front of him as if cupping the butt in question and moves them back toward himself demonstrating that her butt pooches straight out.)  'As opposed to this...' he continues (At this point, he again holds his hands in front of him and moves them apart as if demonstrating the polarizing properties of magnets.) 

As Professor I. Just Fubard continued with his Booty Lecture, he began to slump further into the recliner like a jellyfish washed in with the tide and by the end of it all, he was sporting an expression that fairly shouted Oh, shit, I hope she doesn't go all Lorena Bobbitt on me!   You remember Ms. Bobbitt, don't you?  I forget what her Dear Hubby's transgression was, but she whacked off Mini Hubby and flung it from her car window.  I wonder if she'd like a pen-pal.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dear Family

I'm about to embark on a full-out rant.  If  you subscribe to the theory that a mother and wife would never, publicly or privately, ass-chew her family or curse a blue streak, you'll want to skip this post.

Let me start by saying, in print, so that it may be recorded for posterity, that I wholeheartedly love my Dear Hubby and Sweet Offspring.  I would not be the person I am without them in my life.  'What I am' on any given day depends on my mood, the phase of the moon and what I like to term compliance with generally accepted standards of personal space.  I am either:

1) Endlessly and forever enamored of all things 'family'; their various bodily expulsions (You mean your children can't fart on command?  Oh, bless your heart!), and their ability to make me melt with a head tilt/eyelash flutter/sincerely delivered 'I love you, Mama' (I love you too, dear.  Now, tell me what you really want).


2) I'm the lone passenger on Batshit-Crazy Airlines to Looneyland with a brief layover at Tranquilizertown.

I'll leave you to guess what today was for me.  No, smart-ass, I'm not talking Independence Day.

Dear Hubby and I have been married fourteen years; our eldest will turn twelve next month.  So, in fourteen friggin' years, I have not bathed, showered, peed or pooped without a big person, little person(s) or four-legged child crashing my party of one.  We live IN A TWO BATHROOM HOUSE ya'll!  Three out of five occupants pee outside because that's what pets do or, for the two-leggeds, just for shits and giggles.  What is it about my bathroom occupation that's such a crowd pleaser?  When the offspring were little, I was one of those lucky mommies who had her own Pep Squad... Yay, Mommy pee-peed in da potty!  Have I missed something?  Is this really the 50 yard line at Cowboys Stadium, Talladega or game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals?  And all along I thought it was my bathroom...silly Mommy!

Perhaps it's because, while seated or dripping wet, I am for all intents and purposes, a captive audience.  And don't get me started on the one time I had the balls to (gasp!) lock the bedroom door.  'What if you'd fallen', Hubby intoned in his best Darth Vader imitation.  Well, I could've hit my head or busted out some pearly whites, but guess what, they give you PAIN MEDS in the Emergency Department that make you very sleepy...it would've eventually been QUIET which is what I was going for in the first place!

I do not need, nor desire, anyone else's presence while I'm tending to my business.  Wife in the shower should never be equated with booty call.  I am not looking for sex covered in soap suds, shampoo dripping into my eyes, razor in hand.  I am dirty (not Christina Aguilera 'dirrrty'), tired and am looking for the only in-house source of peace and quiet.  I do not care that your sibling has accused you of ingesting nose goblins (don't lie--I've seen it in living color) or that you've been called a slang term for male genitalia (frankly, there are times when you ARE one.  Just sayin').  I do not care that the boo-boo you got two years ago doing something I told you specifically not to do and which has left a rather nice scar, inexplicably hurts and hell, no I won't kiss it and unless you're experiencing voluminous blood loss or the house is aflame, all I want is for you to GET OUT, GET OUT NOW!

I wasn't aware that every time I set foot inside the bathroom, I'm setting myself up for some kind of time trial: zero to flush in 60 seconds. 'Sorry, you've failed to qualify because that last pass was 0.02 seconds longer than last time'.  Also, please trust me when I say that my posterior largesse prevents me from falling in.  WTH!?!

Unless you want graphic details of my toileting or bathing exploits (and now's a good time to remember that I work in a hospital laboratory and our idea of 'cool' and 'good time' involves bodily secretions, excretions, parts and the occasional parasite and that I know any number of descriptive medical terms which will forever turn you off to eating peas, carrots and blue icing or from ever having carnal knowledge of anyone, ever) I'd suggest you just let the matter drop and let me enjoy a modicum of tranquility.

All my love,

Friday, July 1, 2011

For Lil' Miss

I don't ever have a specific someone in mind when I make my charity quilts.  This one, however, is different and will be going to a little girl in the area.  I hope its bright, sunshiny-ness makes her day and perks her up a bit.

I had the border/sashing/backing fabric left over from a previous project I'd made for my daughter.  My Mom had purchased it with me in mind because, in her words, it looks just like me...which is just her nice way of saying I think this is butt-ass ugly fabric and I immediately thought of you.  Aw, Moms say the darndest things, don't they?  And I'm not sure P is entirely convinced this isn't her quilt...I still see her checking her room to make sure HER quilt is still there.  Geez, do you think she knows I perform a semi-annual clean-out of her and her brother's rooms?

Personally, I love orange and don't think it gets used enough.  I mean, why settle for being an extra in a placemat when you can be the star in a full-sized quilt?  And who among us can resist brightly hued, obnoxiously large flowers?  I am so gonna make a rockin' senior citizen, ya'll!  I had to piece the backing a bit, but I think it turned out rather well and, not to toot my own horn, but the binding is divine!! 

For those who are keeping track, this is number 10 charity quilt for 2011.  Only two more until my goal...and it's only July!