Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Bailout Thoughts

Well, the House rejected the government's current bailout plan...

but is that a bad thing?

I'm sure a number of prominent CEOS are crying into their gold-lined champagne glasses...

and I'm equally certain that Husband's right -- if it weren't an election year, and House members would have to explain to suffering constituents why they were rescuing corporations...and not them --

well, the bailout might have passed at the speed of light.

Gather Little by Little has their own take on the subject:

http://www.gatherlittlebylittle.com/2008/09/30/government-bail-out-fails-thats-a-good-thing/

What's yours?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cocooning

This rush of cooler air is making me think more about Home Cooking. But I still have zip extra time, what with the roofing, the house-y stuff and getting ready for the Phoenix gig this weekend.

So how can I indulge this urge?

Well, one possibility is cooking something easy. How do Mama's Spaghetti, Salmon Cakes or Oatmeal Apple Crisp and other goodies sound to you?

http://www.recipe4living.com/Common/Article.aspx?id=63368

Here's another thought...a good soup that takes only a few minutes to make:

'HOMEMADE' FALL SOUP

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can milk (whole milk makes it creamier, but 2% or skim is fine)
1/2 - 1 cup vegetables of some kind, chopped
1/2-1 cup chopped meat (two kinds, mixed together is best -- try sausage and ham, chicken and ham, hamburger and pork roast)
1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika
fresh-ground pepper

That's it! Mix together and heat slowly for 5-10 min. Serve hot, wih a light sprinkle of pepper. Makes two large bowlfuls. (Double as needed for your family)

Last night's version used a leftover sausage patty from Saturday's breakfast, a handful of chopped ham from Sunday dinner, plus chopped red pepper and kale (the latter, leftover from a restaurant meal).

If you keep a container in the fridge, and take a minute after each meal to stash bits and pieces of meat and veggies, you can literally make this soup in one or two minutes.

I know. This sounds TOO easy. Trust me. This soup will taste like you've been working on it for ages. It uses up leftovers. It goes well with cheese sandwiches, PB&Js ...or in our case, a leftover burger from Red Robin.

Try it.

A recipe for oatmeal bars is calling my name...and I've got other work to do. See ya later.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Is This Bailout Really Being Handled Right?

...my beady little mind immediately starts wondering whether Congress can actually keep the average person's interests in mind, rather than their corporate big-bucks contributors.

Do I sound cynical? Well, I feel that way.

Dave, normally much more suspicious than I am, is surprisingly upbeat. After all, he points out, there's one critical part of this equation right now:

It's an election year!

If those up for re-election want to keep their jobs, they cannot just ignore Joe Q. Public that easily. So perhaps they will consider what the average taxpayer thinks.

Then again, maybe not.

Sweden had similar troubles in the early 1990s (which I did not realize back then, being more occupied with kids' backpacks and spelling bees). They handled the situation quite differently -- and the country actually came out of it in better shape.

Read here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/23/business/worldbusiness/23krona.html?em

I'm hoping Congressmen read the New York Times, too. Who knows -- perhaps we do have a chance.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Catching Up...Slowly

Finally, I feel like I'm starting to make progress.

The roof is progressing (albeit slowly)...but I shouldn't have to worry about that in a few weeks.

The house is (slowly) getting cleaner.

The deadlines are (slowly) getting finished.

I actually even cooked this week, instead of relying on canned soup and frozen pizza. We had luxurious meals all last week -- but those were thanks to Mom, not me.

Gosh. What if I actually get CAUGHT UP?!?

The world would end. Total chaos. The mountains would fall over. Probably even "dogs and cats living together," like Bill Murray says...but oh, it would be lovely.

Friday, September 26, 2008

How Do I Know Fall's On Its Way?

*Trees down in the Flatlands are changing now. (The mountains got started weeks ago.)

*Hummingbirds are gone...two weeks later than usual. (They normally take off right around Labor Day.)

*Air, even when the sun in shining, has a bit of a chilly nip.

*Suddenly I have an interest in cooking -- mostly soups and stews. Is this the "nest-maker" kicking in?

*Snuggle afghans and pillows are back out and in use. Ditto the fireplace.

*Roof is progressing! We're going to push ourselves this weekend...Daughters #1 and #2, as well as Daughter #2's boyfriend, are set to help out this weekend, too. Then next week, we're hiring someone to come finish off...whew.

What do you look for as signs that fall is near -- or here?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Need A Quick Loss of Appetite? Read This...

still wandering about in food-dom, and found this...

A photo of a twelve-year-old McDonald's hamburger.

Next to a fresh one.

And they don't look too different from each other:

http://aht.seriouseats.com/?ref=sefooter

Eergh. Maybe I'll go eat a tomato, instead.

Yum

I must be hungry...

My favorite (new) blogs found today are all about cooking.

This one has some of the most delectable-looking photos ever...a real celebration of produce:

http://www.teaandcookies.blogspot.com/

But she's also a graceful, meaningful writer. You'll want to visit her.

And this one is just making me drool for Japanese food!

http://www.eatenintranslation.blogspot.com/

(I rushed over and got out a package of sushi nori to munch on while reading posts -- plus a cup of tea.)

Unfortunately, she stopped posting, once she came home to Australia after teaching in Japan for some years. I wish she'd go back...or at least tell us what she's noshing on now.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The folks got back to Michigan in one piece. Dad insisted on driving much of the way, and paid for it by sleeping in his favorite chair last night, instead of bed. My mom's dizziness has subsided. And now I do not need to explain to my brother that I killed one parent (or the other) by having them come visit us in Colorado. (A definite fear)

Whew.

We continue on the roof -- but a ray of light is showing. First, both girlies, plus a boyfriend, will be here tomorrow and Saturday to help. And DH has found a guy who'd be willing to finish the roof for us. I told Dave we MUST have done a good amount of the work already, because Mr. Roofer's quote is actually quite reasonable!

My 'roofpan hands' may soon be a thing of the past. One more weekend to go.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We've Got A Winner! And...the Kidnap

Congratulations, LouAnne Sassone! You've won the birthday pack drawing. Take a look at LouAnne's blog. I enjoy her approach to crazy quilting, stitching -- and life:

http://gettingtocrazy.blogspot.com/

(Happy blog anniversary to you, LouAnne!)

We'll be offering more freebies in the future -- stay tuned.

* * * * * * * * * * **** *** ** ****** * **** ****

Last Friday. Dad was propped up in the chair, snoozing. Mom was cutting fabric and chatting away. I was on the computer, booking tickets for Phoenix. (I'm headed there next week to do a gig for the Phoenix, AZ guild.)

The doorbell rang, the dogs arfing away. It was two dear friends, Chris and Jo. "Grab your bag, pack it for 24 hours, and come with us," they said. I looked at Mom, who was laughing. Dave, who had just gotten home, was laughing. Chris and Jo were smirking. What was going on?

Well, it was a full-scale kidnapping, birthday-style. They refused to tell me each development until we were right there -- but we had coffee out on the patio at the 16 Street Mall to start. (A great place for watching strange people, horse-drawn carriages, buskers...) Then to the hotel -- with another good friend, Lizzy, peering from behind the door! Then on the Broker and a wonderful meal. And refreshing, renewing talk...until our eyes drifted shut at 3 a.m.

The next day, we ate a leisurely breakfast, then I got a facial! (Wonderful, but a little unnerving when you're laying there in your bra, being observed -- and commented on -- by three bemused friends.) Finally, it was on to see "Les Miserables," a stomping, shouting musical based (sort of) on Victor Hugo's novel. And finally, we had birthday cake in the park, then supper before heading home. Dazed, content and somehow refreshed.

It was one of the nicest weekends ever.

I am so grateful to have these loving friends.

It was a wonderful memory to keep me going -- because my actual birthday was difficult. Dad wasn't doing well. Mom had dizzy episodes, which turned out to altitude sickness. (24 years of visiting us here at 6250 altitude, and she gets it this year?!?) That made Dad want to leave NOW. And he sure didn't want to go into Denver for a birthday supper, even if it did save the girls (coming from Boulder via bus and lightrail) an hour of travel.

Fine. Ok. We'd wait until the girls got into town, and go somewhere local. Only that took more time...with the folks not seeming to understand that we couldn't go out to supper RIGHT NOW because the girlies weren't there yet. So they ended up peeved -- the girlies had to eat quickly, then turn right around and leave for home again -- and the relaxed birthday supper turned into a gobble-and-rush affair. (Oh yes -- and Dad refused to come.)

Sigh.

The folks left for Michigan yesterday morning, more than happy to leave. I heard from them this afternoon -- they were almost to Chicago, three hours drive from their place. Mom's dizziness had subsided. Dad was driving. And I really, really hope this is not the last time I ever see him.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

An Insider Look at Publishing

If you're a writer...if you're considering writing a book(s)...this gives a closer look at things like royalties, advances -- and when they DON'T pay off for the publisher. (I only wish that writing and publishing quilting books paid as well.)

http://nymag.com/news/media/50279/

Postedy Post

BLACK BEAN BROWNIES?!?
Well, according to Cheap Healthy Good, they taste terrific. They're certainly easy:

http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2008/09/bride-of-frankenfood-black-bean.html

And Frugal Dad has an interesting list of all the ways he wasted money, time and effort -- maybe you goofed up this way, too.

http://frugaldad.com/2008/09/23/seven-ways-to-ruin-your-financial-future/

Monday, September 22, 2008

50 YEARS

It's finally happened...

the birthday.

Do I feel different?

Nahhh.

But over the weekend, I was kidnapped and forced to enjoy the celebration. More on this in a bit...

sorry for the weekend's blank spaces, but when you're a hostage, not much gets done.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lost and Found

A lot of things are in this category nowadays...including my stocks. (Except it's generally the opposite for them, poor babies.)

Like a wooden Viking shield -- the first one ever found in Denmark:

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-science/20080919/EU.Denmark.Viking.Shield/

And a mystery ship uncovered on the Alabama coast by Hurricane Ike:

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-science/20080919/Ike.Mystery.Ship/

And a handwritten Mozart score, rediscovered since the early 1800s:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/sep/19/classicalmusicandopera.france

Dad and I had a long talk this morning -- something I would have missed, had I gone to the funeral in Missouri. I was able to tell him how I felt about him. Not that he didn't already know, but it was good to make sure he knew. This is a guy who adopted me when I was two. He didn't have to when he married my mom -- but he insisted on it. And he has never treated me any differently than my little brother, who has a full blood claim on him.

I love my dad. And I'm a lucky woman -- he loves me, too.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Grasshopper Season...Or Is It Ant, Instead?

Kelly at Almost Frugal had an interesting post yesterday on 'aha' moments...read the comments too:

http://almostfrugal.com/2008/09/17/what-do-you-do/

My own 'What Do You Do' is more prosaic. What do you do when there are several different things to do...but you don't know which to start first? I don't mind saying that if I REALLY don't want to do any of them -- like cleaning the toilet, putting away stuff, vacuuming -- I'll force myself to do one job, but for only 15 minutes. Then I give myself permission to do something more enjoyable for 30 min.-- like ironing, watching Judge Judy (what a feisty thing!), putting the bead boxes back in order, stacking fat quarters, that sort of thing. Then back to the Yucky Job. Do this two or three times -- and the Yuck is done!

I spent some happy moments down in the storage room, putting the shelves back in order and making space for the folks' special gift: dozens of quart jars of home-canned tomatoes. There's nothing like popping open one of these on a snowy day, for chili or soup...it's almost as if the summertime air drifts out with the aroma of tomato. Seeing the jars neatly stacked, along with cans of veggies, soup, stew, I felt like a millionaire. Or maybe an ant -- let the local grasshoppers beware!

A bushel of peaches went into the freezer -- wash 'em and pack into plastic bags, store flat in the freezer. That's it! If you only let them defrost for a few minutes, then run under warm water, the peach skins will slip right off. Then the still-frozen fruit is perfect for slicing into smoothies, peach crisp or onto ice cream. (Warning: do NOT let them defrost completely...all you'll have is mush.)

We're set. Now if we can get the roof done, too...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Don't forget to take advantage of our latest giveaway... One lucky person posting on the blog this week is going to get a Happy Birthday gift pack that includes charms, buttons and other embellishments, plus enough fabric to make the Easy Ways pieced top in my new book CRAZY QUILTS. All you have to do is enter a comment from Sept. 15 - Sept. 21. (More than one on more than one days, and you're entered more than once!) We'll randomly draw an entry on the 22nd...and send you your prize.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Weird, Just Weird

A good friend sent this along -- I wasn't sure whether to be fascinated or horrified! (Perhaps the impulse for both starts at the same place.)

This is from the blog of Ben Witherinton. He is a Christian writer that I like. I just thought this was too funny... Like a good rain on parched ground, a good analogy can bring an otherwise turgid discourse, sermon, lecture to life. On the other hand, a bad analogy can stick in one's brain like a bad song, or a really bad smell or taste in one's mouth. Here below are some analogies 'attempted' in high school term papers. You might want to put on your sunglasses before reading these, because some of them are so blindingly brilliant you may need to look for cover :) Let me know which is your favorite.

BW3Actual Analogies and Metaphors Found in High School Essays:

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes witha pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie,surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
18. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil,this plan just might work.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame...maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
23. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
26. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.
27. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
28. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to make sure my nose hair isn't glistening...

Decision Made

THANK YOU THANK YOU for your kind words about my dilemma. This has been a rough week.

As I mentioned earlier, Husband's Uncle Bill died Monday morning...funeral is tomorrow in Missouri north of Kansas city. Some ten hours drive away. Plane tickets just weren't feasible.

Should we go? Bill was very dear to both of us for many years, though in recent times we were not as close. Neither of Dave's brothers could make the trip. His aunts were elderly...who knew how much longer they would last. (Bill was 91.)

Complicating things --

*The roof(s). We must get these done before the snow flies.

*My parents, still here, visiting from Michigan. My dad's health is uncertain enough that leaving him and Mom here -- no real knowledge of where to go for medical care -- is really frightening.

*Our finances, which have been soaked up by the roofing costs (less of an issue -- I am learning more and more that this isn't the most essential thing to consider at a time like this. People are more important than money -- always.)

At first, we, along with Daughter #1, were going to leave tonight, drive most of the night, then leave to come back after the funeral. Twenty hours drive in two days.

Then Dave came home, unsure. He was so busy at work that he literally could not find the people to ask for the time off. Was God telling him this wasn't the right decision? Dave looked exhausted, telling me this. (He's been busting himself even more with the roofing than I have.)

Daughter #1 was hesitating. (Both she and D#2 have the flu. Bigtime.) Still willing to go...but hesitating.

I felt more and more unsure about leaving the folks. (Nearly all of your comments suggested I stay home with the folks, and let Dave go on his own. I love Husband and feel terrible sending him off to bear a burden by himself. I didn't want to do this.) But...my going meant other issues.

After a long talk, we decided -- we'll all stay home.

I made several phone calls, to Bill's daughter, our aunts. I'll send cards and a donation to the family's choice, the hospice that took care of Bill.

It wasn't the easiest decision, but my mind is at peace about it.

Thanks for helping me -- us -- make it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One Beautiful Crazy Quilting Blog!

Take a look at Susan's wonderful blog, especially this post on Japanese-style needlework:

http://plays-with-needles.blogspot.com/2008/09/kazuko-aokis-wonderful-needlework.html

But don't stop there. Her earlier posts are just as interesting. Don't miss the Tea Therapy block!

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

the sun is shining...in fact, it's downright simmery. The folks and I drove up in the mountains to Nederland and Daughter #2's cabin. (She had the flu. Oh goody.) Had lunch at an Indian restaurant, then drove down to Boulder to see Daughter #1. (Who also had the flu. Oh double goody.)

Trudged home in time for two piano lessons, and a voice lesson. Please God, do NOT let Dad catch any of this flu.

One side of the garage roof is shingled...and it's beautiful. The shingles look like cedar shakes. Dave and I had a long talk a few nights ago...it's time to ask for help. Paid help. Thank God.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday's Bits and Pieces...and a Dilemma

Have you seen Saturday Night Live's version of Sarah vs Hillary?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PxJfaNgDoE

(smothered laughter here)

I ache. All over. Hands. Bod. Spent the weekend on the roof, pretty much...made some progress on the house, and one side of the garage is almost done with shingling. Husband and I had a long talk last night -- when he admitted he wanted to finish this job before the snow flew, he finally said, "Guess I should call Ken -- (the local handyman specialist) and see if he can help."

It means more $$ spent...but I would enjoy not having aching hands all the time.

Husband's uncle died this morning -- funeral's in Trenton, MO on Thursday. I loved Uncle Bill just as much as Dave did -- he was a cantankerous, opinionated guy, but treated us both with much love. (And he was Dave's mom's little brother...which means even more now that Mom has been gone for more than three years.)

My folks are still visiting here, planning to stay through next Monday. (My 50th b-day is a week away.) My dad's health has stabilized some, but any extra effort causes him pain, and his face goes gray. (I dread his having to make the trip back to Michigan.) We planned to do more work on the roof this week...and Husband was going to a men's retreat this weekend. Well, ha. So much for that.

One of us has to go -- no matter what. Husband definitely should. I want to, as well. But what about my folks? They say go -- they'll stay and take care of the dogs. I don't think this is right. Do we boot them out early? Do I just not celebrate a birthday this year? (Not that I would mind it that much...) What about the roof? The business stuff that needs to get done?

Do I even have a brain to think with?

Stay tuned...

* * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * ** * * * *
And now, a new giveaway!! One lucky person posting on the blog this week is going to get a Happy Birthday gift pack that includes charms, buttons and other embellishments, plus enough fabric to make the Easy Ways pieced top in my new book CRAZY QUILTS. All you have to do is enter a comment from Sept. 15 - Sept. 21. (More than one on more than one days, and you're entered more than once!) We'll randomly draw an entry on the 22nd...and send you your prize.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I spent most of today just being with Mom and Dad -- watching 'Ice Road Truckers' (our mutual fix), cowboy movies...and just trying to let Dad know I loved him. Quietly.

Tomorrow will be mostly on the roof...the skies finally cleared up this evening, and it's supposed to be a nice weekend.

So, in the meantime, check out this interesting thread:

http://smallnotebook.org/2008/09/10/what-did-your-parents-teach-you-about-money/

And this longer answer to the same question:

http://www.remodelingthislife.com/2008/09/11/humble-beginnings/

I'll tell you my opinion shortly. What's yours?

Money, Money

The folks came in from Michigan last night...my dad looking particularly awful. Once again, I remembered I probably don't have long to live with him.

This morning was better. Dad looked healthier, Mom more cheerful, and life in general seemed rosier...

I have work to do, but somehow don't have the gumption to start a new job. Think I'll work on the quilt restoration, instead.

Here are two money-related carnivals that are especially interesting this week:

http://thecopyeditorsdesk.com/2008/09/09/the-carnival-of-money-stories/

http://bankergirl.com/archives/182

Our skies are gray and rainy today -- no working on the roof until it clears up a bit. Maybe I'll build a fire in the fireplace...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another review of CRAZY QUILTS

http://craftside.typepad.com/craftside/2008/09/crazy-quilt-whe.html

And this one, I'm especially honored by...

Remembering 9/11

The Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum will be displaying the "Freedom Quilt" through the end of the month:

http://www.quiltindex.org/basicdisplay.php?pbd=RockyMountainQuiltMuseum-a0a0x5-a

This quilt was made by the students of Yasuko Saitoh as a remembrance to the people of the U.S. after the horrors of 9/11.

See it in person at the museum in Golden, CO... for more info, visit
http://www.rockymountainquiltmuseum.com

I Will Survive

(with apologies to Gloria Gaynor:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv6lHwWwO3w )

It's been hours, lying in bed, going through the List of Things That Need to Get Done Right Now:

*clean the house (it's deplorable, after weeks spent on the roof -- piles everywhere)

*put away the quilts and other flotsam and jetsam from the last gig (see piles remark above)

*other biz stuff. (Staffers help with this -- but they've been off most of this week, so we're behind. I thought we'd be slow right now. Why in the world did I ok their time off? They've been cutting fat quarters most of the week, making kits for Quilter's Gathering, my November gig. Why didn't I insist they take care of The Other Stuff first?)

*finish those quilts in the process of restoration...one has just a few blocks to go. (Why can't I get them DONE and GONE?! What is the matter with me?)

*the roof. Yes, the roof. The garage is still not shingled. Dave found yet another problem with the drip edge (which he fixed), but it means that shingling still has not started. It's getting colder -- how much time do we have left before it snows? (In the meantime, I'm still playing Destructor on House Roof Part #1.)

*50th birthday. Only a week or so to go. How in the world am I going to handle things From Now On if I can't seem to get my act together Right Now?? I'm older Than I Was (whatever the heck that means). Fatter. (Actually, Self reminds, I'm getting thinner...a positive result from all this roofing business.) Grayer. What's next?

Sigh. Turn over, snuggle next to Husband and try not to think about my hands aching. (What's that? A shoulder twinge? Good God, have I wrecked my shoulder now in this roofing business?) Boy oh boy oh boy. Christmas...what in the world am I going to do about the holidays? (Why this is bothering me now, I have no idea.) The refrigerator needs cleaning. The inventory shelves for the biz are a mess...and don't forget, those quilts still need to be put away, and a few contracts signed. Peaches -- can we eat up this box before the parents arrive from Michigan today...with three bushels more?

This needs to be updated, taken care of before it goes bad. That needs to be scrubbed and tidied up. Every to-do pile, mental or otherwise, threatens to topple over and smother me. Sigh again. Curl up against Warm Husband, who is blissfully snoring away. How in the world am I going to Get Through This?

Finally I gave up, got up...and saw this post for AOL:

http://news.aol.com/article/dad-credits-boys-illness-for-sea/169626?icid=100214839x1209456653x1200503775

A dad and his autistic son, swept out to sea. (Son got caught up in a tide, and dad tried to rescue him.) Both retrieved, in spite of spending hours adrift in icy water.

Others, falling off cliffs, down chimneys, trapped under buildings, who survive:

http://news.aol.com/health/article/why-some-survive-disaster-and-some-die/166845?icid=100214839x1209073155x1200512078

Our roofs may be patchwork, but we've still got them -- and each other. Our family is together, and we love each other. Our health is good -- bills are paid -- we're hanging in there.

God hasn't stopped loving us, or caring. (He cares about YOU too, by the way, in case you're also up and sleepless, wondering what you're going to do.)

So what am I worrying about?

I'll plan yet another list -- this of First Things First. Another list, for staff at Brickworks. Have a fresh peach....juice runs down my chin. They are so sweet this time of year, and Colorado's Western Slope has terrific ones, in spite of the drought.

Make up the guest bedroom with fresh sheets and flowers for the folks, who are arriving here from Michigan sometime this afternoon. (Also practice apologies for the piles, which my mom is bound to comment on.) Enough milk for breakfast -- get more later. Piano lessons this afternoon. No, put those aside for now -- I'll worry about them later.

Back to bed and warm Husband. I'll survive this too, God willing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yum!

The Mama mentioned a new salad making the rounds in Michigan -- watermelon mixed with onion, greens...and basil viniagrette! This is a refreshing mix of sweet and sour...I've seen tomatoes sliced and mixed in, as well.

This got me to thinking about other 'interesting' foods...including a slice of meat in aspic I gagged down one sunny afternoon in Nuremberg. (It was the cheapest thing on the menu...and I didn't quiiite understand the German translation!) If your penchant is for this sort of thing, you'll find a full list here, including an incredibly revolting Tripe Wiggle. It's all courtesy of Slashfood:

http://www.slashfood.com/category/retro-cookery/

Don't think this isn't real -- it is! My grandma would whip out all sorts of meat jello types, including headcheese. Fortunately, she didn't usually go quite this far...

Erghghgh.

And on a better note, some very good chocolate chip cookies, courtesy of the New York Times.

Very Good Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from a recipe by Jacques Torres)

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour (for high altititude, make sure these measurements are rounded)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content
Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

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Could you get by on nearly $3 a day? This teacher vowed she'd do just that --

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1052710/How-cash-strapped-teacher-beat-credit-crunch-living-1-day-YEAR-drunken-bet.html

Could this be a short-term solution for bills you know are coming up soon? Hmmm...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Want to Make $75 -- Fast?

Three posts in one day! This is stretching it, even for me...

but I couldn't resist telling you about this special.

Bank of America is offering $75 -- yes, seventy-five bucks -- if you open an online checking account with them, and add $25 to it in the next thirty days.

No fees to keep the checking account going, if you set up a direct deposit with them. But that deposit seems to be minimal. Another spot says it's a "Free Access Checking" with no monthly fee for use. Double check before you finish applying. (Read the fine print before you take advantage of this or any other special offer...you're responsible for what you do.)

Go here for more info:

http://www.bankofamerica.com/promos/jump/75ssccheck_olb/?adlink=000302072y080000j691

Brrrr....

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but ours is definitely getting chilly...

and a free pair of long underwear for a kiddo would be welcome. Ohgeezorganic is doing just that -- giving away a pair of well-made, organically-produced cotton long johns. They come in some beautiful colors, including my favorite, Purple Sky.

Go to SageandSavvy here, and she'll tell you how to enter...

http://www.sageandsavvy.com/2008/09/giveaway-ohgeez-organic-clothing-co.html

And the OhGeeze site is here:

http://ohgeezorganic.com/

More Lessons From Life

Yanking off shingles this morning, I came across a strange metal patch on the wood...a beer can section, tidily nailed to cover a hole! The guy didn't waste the rest of the can, either -- two more patches showed up further down.

Hey, waste not, want not.

This must be the same moron who left empty Coors and Budweiser cans underneath the garage roof, as well as cigarette butts under the shingles. (He used Coors for the roof patches -- hey, only the best for quality repairs.)

He also scattergunned his nails at the roof peak of the house, making extra work for the Destructor duo. Unfortunately, he also used cheap nails -- and the heads often came off by themselves, leaving Daughter #1 and me thinking every creative word in the business. Ever try to pry out a headless nail? #@!!!$

The bottom layer shingles on the house are literally shredded. I've had to pull them off in bits and pieces. The good part in all this mess is that we are making progress; I am definitely getting back into shape; and we've spent more time with Daughter #1 (who comes down from college to help) than we have in months.

The folks are driving here from Michigan tomorrow to spend a few weeks. Mom said to leave the household chores --she'd do those while she's here. I feel guilty about it...but it will be a big help!


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Panic Moments. Ever made a mistake that you need to fix -- fast?

J.D. posts about this subject in his valuable "Get Rich Slowly" website:

http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2008/03/28/dont-panic-coping-with-financial-mistakes-and-setbacks/

Most of the responses talk about stocks. My most recent just happened last night. It's been chilly and bleak here, so I built a roaring fire to welcome Dave home from work. I thought I'd gotten the dampers open. Well, I hadn't. Dave arrived just in time to see a huge wave of smoke billowing out of the fireplace, the phone ringing, and me frozen, trying to get the smoke detector to shut up. Fortunately, with all of the house windows open, the dampers adjusted, and ten minutes later, we were almost back to normal.

I still smell like smoke. A little. At least it's a change from roofing tar.

Monday, September 8, 2008

We've Got A Winner!

Seesawstar, you've won a dozen ribbon roses!! Congratulations!!

Stay tuned for more freebie drawings in the future...they're coming.

Good Work Well Done

TV show's done!

And I wasn't that terrified...

Didn't get much sleep the night before, though. Visions of demos, samples and Crazies whirled in my head, mixed in with the old inn I was staying in, bears (the inn warned they liked to wander around at night down the alley, and the sidewalk), ghosts (except there weren't any)...

The show, in spite of having an audience, was nearly as easy as just sitting down and talking to Ricky and Alex. ( I do like them very much -- Alex, I'd spent a wonderful day with while taping a 'Hanky Panky' segment on Simply Quilts.) Oh yes, and making a huge mess of fabrics and embellishments all over the demo table!

After picking up...and signing books...and stuffing everything in the poor Cherokee... I drove 2 1/2 hours to home -- to spend a few hours hauling shingles up on the roof. Nothing like roofing to put everything back into perspective.

The garage is tar-papered, drip edge hammered on, and ready for shingles.

Daughter #1 and I played Destructor on the first section of house roof last night -- more to come.

Af

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Off to the Races...and the Quilt Show

we're still in tarpaper and shingle stage on the garage roof -- but it will have to wait for a few days. I'm off to tape a segment on Crazy Quilts for "The Quilt Show" in LaVeta -- about three hours drive down to southern Colorado

My part is September 6 (Saturday) in the morning -- wanna come keep me company? Meet Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims? See some great quilts and learna few techniques?

Visit http://www.thequiltshow.com/ for more information. Audience members will each get a goodie bag from Brickworks, and have a chance at several door prizes.

Would love to see you there!

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The new edition of CRAZY QUILTS is out...and going fast. Amazon just got a new shipment of books a few days ago -- and as of last night, only one copy was left. We still have a batch of books, though, and we're offering a better price than Amazon! Visit the Brickworks website to order a copy:

http://www.cindybrick.com/

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I'll be back sometime late Saturday, 'dead beat and plum tuckered out,' as Dave says. (He's staying here to continue The Saga of the Roof, along with Daughter #1.) This taping business is very freaky -- I always feel like a deer in front of the headlights.

Off to it...have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

CRAZY QUILTS reviewed again --

This time, in PieceWork Magazine's "Book Marks" section, September/October 2008 issue:

This is what they had to say:

After reading about the history of crazy quilts from their probable origin in the costume of the commedia dell'artes Harlequin through their heyday in the Victorian era to the present, and after admiring page after page of brilliant, outrageous crazies, you will certainly want to create one of your own. Thankfully, Crazy Quilts also covers the basics of planning, constructing (three methods), finishing, and embellishing your own quilt. An appendix offers a selection of historic embroidery motifs. Irresistible.

Hooray!

Hellen Kelley: Another Quilting Spirit Passes On

This courtesy of Ricky Tims...
From her local newspaper:

I want to let you know about the death of one of our authors and a NE Minneapolis resident, Helen Kelley, who passed away on Sunday evening, Sept. 1, 2008. In August, Helen was inducted into the Quilting Hall of Fame as the 38th Honoree to receive this prestigious award.

Helen was known throughout the national quilting community through the column she wrote since 1983 for Quilters Newsletter Magazine, the oldest continuously published magazine dedicated to quilt-making and quilt history. In addition, she wrote seven books including three compilations of her columns, Every Quilt Tells a Story, Joy of Quilting and Loose Threads, all published by Voyageur Press, an imprint of the Quayside Publishing Group.

Helen started using a sewing machine when she was a child and taught herself to quilt as an about-to-be bride. In 1972, the Minneapolis Tribune featured a story about a family quilt she had made from quilt blocks garnered from friends around the world for her daughter's wedding. The unexpected news coverage brought Helen local interest and opportunities to teach quilting in the Minneapolis community.

In 1978 Helen was a founding member of the Minnesota Quilters and served as its founding president. Today, the Minnesota Quilters have over 1500 members. Helen taught quilting all over the world and was known not only for her skills as a teacher, artist and quilter, but as much for her warmth and humor and the joy she brought to the quilting community.

The list of honors that Helen has received throughout her career in quilting and service to her community are long and impressive:

1995 Artist of Distinction, Fiber/Metal Arts of Minnesota
1998 Minnesota Quilter of the Year
1999 Renaissance Quilt was selected by a prestigious national committee of quilt-makers and quilt historians organized by the International Quilt Association as one of the 100 best quilts of the 20th century
2000 Minnesota Textile Center's Spun Gold Award

Until her death, Helen continued to lecture, teach, and exhibit. A 30- year retrospective of her work was on exhibit in Marion, Indiana, at The Quilters Hall of Fame during her induction and her work was also on display at the Minnesota Quilters show in Rochester in June.

More information about Helen can be found on her website at:
http://www.helenkelley-patchworks.com

Stupidest Purchase You've Ever Made?

Two hawks were wheeling in this morning's cool breeze, one nearly motionless while the other divebombed..."for rabbits or kitties," Dave said, paused in mid-hammer. (Our current kitty, Big Boy, has managed to avoid coyotes, hawks and owls for more than a year now, though he no longer speaks to us. We're the food providers, of course, and the garage is mouse-free...but that's the extent of our worthiness to His Nibs.)

one more board tonight, then we put on the last round of tarpaper, the drip edge and start nailing on shingles. Finally. Yes, I sound like I know what I'm doing. But really, Dave just tells me the words and I do whatever he says. Works for me.

I had never realized that Little Brother had done four roofs in his time, including working on the house as a kid, when the folks demolished a rickety outside set of stairs that we loved to play on -- and were undoubtedly a death trap. Grandpa DeVries, a retired farmer from Corsica, SD, often came and played on our farm, combining, plowing and putting up hay. Mike said he re-did the roof after the stairs were gone.

Beats me -- I must have been helping Mom with canning, or playing with my Barbies. (Note to adult self: do not rebuke any future grandchildren with abusing their Barbies. Remember that you used to nibble your Barbies' toes off -- even the early ones, which would be worth big bucks now. If they had their toes, that is.)

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Gather Little by Little has an intriguing new post: What was your dumbest purchase?

http://www.gatherlittlebylittle.com/2008/09/03/dumbest-thing-spent-money/

Ours is easy -- back in the early 1990s, we invested $7000 (or so we thought) in a partial share of a wireless license. A California company was doing radio shows about bidding for these, how they were limited, going to be worth big bucks, etc. etc. We did our research -- called the Better Business Bureau, checked references, and so on, before sending the check.

I had the strangest impulse to stop payment right after it went out in the mail...but I didn't.

We never heard from this company again. We never saw a cent of that money. My only comfort was that it was from an extra-large tax refund, and we didn't 'need' it -- and we hadn't purchased a full share!

Other lessons learned:

*listen to your gut. If something feels wrong, it is.
*never assume that because the BBB hasn't heard of the company, that it's fine. It isn't.
*don't trust everything a reference says. Even the saleswoman said she was investing her parents' money in this because it was a sure thing. Ha.

I should have bought Barbies, instead!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Roof Roof? Doggone? Get It??

I know. Horrible pun. Spank me very much.

No, I am not going to talk about the roof...maybe just a quick mention.

Tarpaper in the hot sun smells and sticks like...well, tar. And if the wind is blowing, it enjoys wrapping itself around you...and wiggling...and doing anything but laying flat. You must make it obey. You have to be the boss.

One side of the garage sports a lovely cover of black you-know-what. The other has the biggest tarp I have ever seen. That sucker has to be 20' x 30'. Wow!

And we have replaced umpteen rotten boards on the roof of that doggone garage.

Tomorrow or Wednesday -- the house!

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If you like textile history, and enjoy a good mystery, as well, you'll want to take a look at this site:

http://www.antiquequiltdating.com/

Kim Wulfert has been studying quilts and fabrics for decades; some of her most recent articles have been about John Hewson, a very early American printer who actually made a George Washington handkerchief -- commissioned by Martha! Hewson is also famous for fabric medallion-style motifs that were often featured in quilts from the period. (We're talking Revolutionary War times, here!)

Kim doesn't just talk about Hewson on her site...but the Underground Railroad...redwork..and all sorts of intriguing ideas. Your mind will be buzzing after you've spent some time with her.

Don't miss it. And Happy Labor Day!

Mousey News...And Updates

     I don't know if it's because of the heat -- or the bushel basket of appraisals and gigs I've had this month -- but I am re...