Wednesday, February 25, 2009

News

My dad is dead.

He died this morning, while I was at the judging breakfast. Strange, while I was getting ready, I kept praying for him and my mom. And for weeks now, I've had the feeling that Wednesday was going to be an important day. But I had thought it would be next Wednesday...not this one.

The service is next Monday. He and Mom talked last night, and he wanted me to stay and do my job. If I could have gotten there in time, I would leave now in a heartbeat. But he is gone.

I'll finish my job here. Then I can go and be with Dave (who is driving in with the girls), Mike, Lori and my mom.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In Virginia

Made it to Hampton, Virginia. Dead beat and plum tuckered out, as Husband would say. It's nearly 10 p.m. East Coast time..but wait, that's only 8 p.m. my time! Why am I so pooped?

I'll tell you why...it has a lot to do with not sleeping much. And when I do, it's not quality sleep. Bad nightmares, weird reruns of inconsequential things...and if they're not strange enough, I just make up stuff to worry about.

Weird.

Dad is hanging in there. He's back home, and his hospital bed has been set up in the living room, where he can watch tv if he likes (thankfully, we got them cable for Christmas), or meet with visitors. He's had a lot of them in the past day. They only stay a few minutes. (Also thankfully)

The hospice nurse told Mom to tell me that she didn't think Dad would make it until Monday night. One factor, nurse said, was that Dad's knees were cold, and his legs above and below were hot -- a sign that his body was starting to break down. (I'm not commenting on this...I have no idea...it's what the nurse said.)

However, he went and sat at the table for supper tonight, and also spent some time sitting in his chair. He seems more coherent, though he does sleep a lot. (I can't talk to him on the phone again -- not a good sign.)

So instead of taking the train Sunday, I'll fly back either late Saturday night or really early on Sunday.

God willing, it will work.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Buzzing

...at least that's what seems to be in my ears all the time -- a faint, harassed buzzing.

Packing to leave tomorrow -- including making up more kits. (They'll go fast -- the fabrics have already been cut, thankfully.)

Phone rings regularly -- friends and family asking for news.

An increasing list of diddly stuff that "has" to be done before I go. (Most of it will be put off.)

A few piano lessons to give.

A lot of handout photocopying to do.

Some orders that need to go out.

Illustrations for the upcoming book.

And all I can think about is my dad, scheduled to head home tonight. Hospice has been called; he'll have a hospital bed at home, and morphine for pain. And he can stay there until the end.

Brother still says, 'Go finish your teaching -- then come.' Mom would love it if I was there now. (So would I.) This quilt teaching business is hateful, when it means you have commitments made years ago that you must honor now.

Yes, I could cancel it all -- but it wouldn't be the right thing to do. Even through the buzzing, that is crystal clear.

Back to work. I'll check in now and then. Please pray for my dad...and mom. As well as Brother and his wife, who are taking the brunt of it until I can get there.

Thank you.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dad Update

I know some of you blog friends have been following the health of my dad, suffering from bone cancer:

He's back in the hospital for a few days, to get re-hydrated. Radiation's stopped. (The doctor said it's helped control the pain, and that's all they planned for. I don't understand this, since Dad is still saying he's hurting.) Dad is too weak, though, for more right now. And there is no sign he'll get stronger.

Sometimes he's lucid, sometimes he's not. It comes and goes.

But Dad gets to be home soon-- where he wanted to be in the first place. Doctor told my mom 2-4 weeks. My brother thinks 2 weeks. I just want to be there. Have got to do the Mancuso conference first, which will take all next week.

Hang in there, Pa. I'm coming as soon as I can.

Weekend Thoughts

Living in a garbage truck? Why not, when you see this one! It's better than some of our apartments:

http://laughlines.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/22/the-optimists-vacation-2008/

And don't miss out on the decorated truck slideshow afterwards...those Germans get all the good stuff, though. We Americans have to make do with just a Pringles truck.

* * * * * * * *
Daughter #1 came to Castle Rock yesterday to celebrate Husband's birthday. She insisted she had to go back last night, so DH dutifully took her to the lightrail, some 15 min. drive from us. (Meanwhile, a storm had literally come up out of nowhere, and it was blowing like crazy.)

I was washing dishes and talking to my mom when they both reappeared -- the temp had literally dropped from 60 (this afternoon) to 18. Cars were wiping out everywhere...the guy behind them disappeared for a minute as he whirled around toward the ditch...and they limped to the lightrail stop, only to see it leave as they pulled up. Daughter has only one chance to catch the bus to her mountain cabin, and she was pretty sure she'd miss it. (I have recurring nightmares of her anyways, shivering in inadequate jacket and no gloves, waiting for a bus that never comes. Sigh.)

So Daughter was back to spend the night. And welcome she was.

I took her back this morning, with the sun blazing fit to kill. The highways were just slushy, but when we turned off toward the train station downturn, the same pattern repeated itself -- icy streets, ambulances, police lights flashing. And some moron in a van almost creamed us at a stoplight.

It was a relief to get home, to a leftover chunk of Red Robin's "shrooms" burger, a slice of Sachertorte, coffee and the morning paper. (You eat your favorite breakfast...I'll eat mine!) Now to a pile of lovely fabric and samples to sew. What a pleasure on a sunny Colorado Saturday morning.

Friday, February 20, 2009

David Brick, Happy Birthday!

Husband, my best friend and treasured companion, has his birthday today! I'd like to get something splashy for him, like an ATV or a trip to Panama; he's a wonderful guy, and deserves it. But I will continue to be a responsible adult, and behave...

So I cooked him an omelet and steak for breakfast, and it's supper with friends tomorrow night.

Lunch at Red Robin with the girlies, a Sachertorte birthday cake and a few (sigh) modest presents... and my love and affection to him forever.

Happy Birthday, my darling.

Cellphones and Shipwrecks

Drop your cellphone into the sink...the toilet...or elsewhere?

This quickie video may help:
http://www.switched.com/2007/08/15/how-to-save-a-wet-cell-phone/

Basically, you:
*pull the battery RIGHT AWAY
*don't push any buttons
(so the water doesn't distribute itself further)
*sink the phone into a pan of uncooked rice for 24-48 hours...the rice acts as a dessicant to pull moisture out and (hopefully) make the cellphone usable again.

Unless, that is, you wear your cellphone while soaking in a hot tub (as Husband did one memorable evening).

* * * * * * *
A new shipwreck found -- and this one's a visual stunner:

The French battleship Danton, a casualty of WWI, was found almost intact in the Mediterranean, about 2/3 mile down on the seafloor somewhere between Italy and Algeria. A pipe-laying expedition accidentally surveyed the ship in 2007, and are showing photos now:

http://news.aol.com/article/danton-battleship/352109

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tale of A Rose

Did you hear about the man who woke up from a coma...just as they were getting ready to turn off the machines?
http://news.aol.com/health/article/man-in-coma-has-miracle-recovery/349065

This actually happened to a cousin, as well. Kayleen had been in a horrific traffic accident, and the doctors said she was brain dead. But she wasn't! It took time, but eventually she came out of the coma...and recovered.

* * * * * *
Working on the California Gold book today -- and researching a special flower. When pioneers moved west, they often took along cuttings of a tough-as-nails yellow rose they called "Harison's." According to Deborah Bedford, author of A Rose By the Door:

George Harison, an attorney and amateur rose-grower, discovered the species in the 1830s growing in his backyard. The roses were fragrant and hardy... Harison gave a slip to Thomas Hogg, a local nurseryman, who assigned it its first and perhaps most accurate name, given how far it would soon range: “Hogg’s Yellow American Rose.” A second nurseryman, William Prince, better equipped to propagate and distribute it, renamed it ‘Harison’s Yellow.’ In an 1846 rose catalog, Prince wrote that his rose was brilliant and beautiful. He also wrote that “a hot sun makes its blooms expand and lose much of their beauty.”

The rose cuttings were kept moist stuck into a potato, or wrapped in damp rags. So many were planted that some historians say the path of homesteaders can literally be traced by the Harison's Yellow rosebushes still thriving by house and cabin foundations.

I've wanted a Harison's for literally decades, but couldn't find one anywhere...until High Country Roses in Utah hove into view:

http://highcountryroses.com/Qstore/Qstore.cgi?CMD=011&PROD=1079916052&PNAME=Harison%27s+Yellow

http://www.highcountryroses.com

It is really (I mean really) dry here; in fact, our area, in spite of being at 6,250 ft, is categorized as "High Desert." Very little grows easily, except for columbine, day lilies, iris and -- ironically -- dandelions. But the Harison's is known for triumphing in such conditions. I ordered it, as well as a mystery pink rose that thrived in the neglected Fairmount Cemetary in Denver. (The second oldest in Denver...)

It's nice to think of roses when you're staring out the window at a tan, windswept landscape. There will be more about the Harison's in the book, too -- including a rose-themed pattern. I just have to remind myself to use only one 'r!'

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Better

Got a much-needed pep talk yesterday from one of this blog's Faithful Readers about not trying to do everything for everyone. (Thanks, Marcie.) She's right, of course. Running myself into sleeplessness isn't going to help me...or the ones I love...or my customers and students.

Other things that helped:
*Making a list of everything I can think of that needs doing -- then sorting it into 'before' and 'after' this upcoming trip.
*Prioritizing: what I absolutely need for the trip. What absolutely needs to be done before I leave.
*Concentrating on doing the items on the 'absolute' lists first.
*Getting help with some things. (Daughter #1 spent last evening cutting fat quarters for kits, for example.)
*Admitting to myself that I am not Mrs. Perfection, and just doing what I can.

My dad is not going to get better. This may well be the beginning of the end. I can't change that. I can, however, change how I respond to it. I've made my peace with God about Dad being in His hands. (Not that God needed me to do this -- but I think He understands that we weak and mortal humans need to do it, for our own sakes.) I've told Dad how much I love him, and how important he is to me. There is nothing left undone in that respect.

I just need to keep trudging on.

* * * * * * * * * *

Some great stuff:

J.D. at Get Rich Slowly has some powerful thoughts on confidence and failure:
http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2009/02/17/how-to-build-confidence-and-destroy-fear/

Laurie at Crazy Aunt Purl gives an easy pattern for Fair Isle-style handwarmers:
http://www.crazyauntpurl.com (Feb 16 post)

And get a load of the inventive birthday cakes Life As Mom made!
http://www.lifeasmom.com/2008/05/bake-your-cake-and-eat-it-too.html

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tired

Hanging on...but barely.

A batch of appraisals and reports need to be finished and mailed in before I leave next Tuesday for the Mid-Atlantic show. One quilt needs a few more hours of repairs, then binding. The new book (on California gold, gold, silver, copper, mining, etc.) is begging for time spent on it. And I must finish a few sample tops to take with...and ship a few packages...plus send out invitations to a bridal shower in Michigan for our new niece, to be held while I'm there in early March...

And Husband's birthday is Friday, which means celebratory meals, a birthday cake, presents, etc.. Go figure. (Actually, he's been very understanding about this part -- which makes me all the more determined to do up something nice for him.)

Then there are the everyday things, like a sinkful of dishes, three wet shirts (that need ironing), an ice-clogged freezer and the round of meals/cleaning/errands that make up life.

Can't I run away to Panama? (Husband says he'll join me.)

Finally I realized I am obsessing about some of the silliest of the items -- like whether people who go to the bridal shower will be able to see Niece's favorite colors. (I'll scan the paint chips sent, and e-mail anyone who's interested. Problem solved.) Or whether I can get the bathroom scrubbed by tomorrow. Or whether one of the dogs (who are both old, and have been having health problems) will die before I get back home.

Or -- and this is probably what's really bothering me -- whether my dad can make it a few more weeks, until I'll be there to see him. The doctors discovered a new line of tumors down Dad's spine, and he just had the fourth treatment of what is definitely a stronger, more agressive radiation than any before. To top it off, he also got the flu...which means achiness, fever, chills, weakness, vomiting, and -- if he's lucky -- sleep.

Dad has eleven more treatments to endure. He is definitely getting weaker. I must do this upcoming gig. I must also give this uncertainty to God -- there is nothing I can do about it.

* * * * * *
George Washington is crossing the Delaware...in a new frame!

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-entertainment/20090216/Washington.Crosses.Delaware/

But, as the Met museum spokesman quipped, "George Washington crossed the Delaware, but we can't get him off the second floor of the Metropolitan." The canvas is room-sized, and rolling it -- the way it first got into the museum a century ago -- would cause too much damage. So the frame will come to HIM.

And The Simple Dollar has a long, thoughtful look at his approach to finances lately, including his primary goal in life. (Hint: it's NOT about money.)
http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/02/16/whats-first-whats-next/

And I'm off to seal some envelopes for a wedding shower, then memorize the folds on my pillow. After all, it's midnight.... g'night.

Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff

Happy Presidents' Day!

After a luxurious sleep-in (and French toast, instead of pancakes!), it's back to work...plus an appraisal to do this afternoon. Life never stops.

* * * * * * * *

Have you heard about the Texas fireball? Brace yourself...this really is weird:
http://news.aol.com/article/mystery-fireball-streaks-across-texas/344276

And the lady who threw a very memorable temper tantrum at the airport? (Must have been a Monday...)
http://www.gadling.com/2009/02/16/woman-throws-tantrum-after-missing-her-flight/

And, courtesy of the "I-Don't-Feel-So-Bad-About-My-Own-Goofs" department, Cheap Healthy Good's newest Hall of Shame:

http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2009/02/chgs-hall-of-shame-ii-even-shamier.html

* * * * * * *
I'm currently on the lookout for different presents for Niece's upcoming bridal shower in early March. This Amazon special caught my eye: a graceful little glass pot and a selection of tea 'flowers', all packed in a bamboo box, for $12.50. That's 62% off -- Wow! (Order two, and you get free shipping.) The tea balls look all dried up, but put them into near-boiling water, and a graceful little flower unfolds. Not only that, they make multiple cups of great tea. (The flower can be used three times.)

I bought just the tea flowers at a Chinese market a few months ago, and paid nearly $10. If you're looking for a pretty present for a birthday or Mother's Day, this may be just the ticket. Go to:
http://www.amazon.com/Numis-Bouquet-Bamboo-Teapot-Flowering/dp/B000FFIL92/ref=xs_gb_A1GKXIBI69TRMC?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=441937901&pf_rd_s=right-1&pf_rd_t=701&pf_rd_i=20&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=06ZGCZ346Z6KVV9DH9QX

Or just visit Amazon.com and click on their 'Goldbox' deal. But don't wait...these are good just for the day, and in limited quantities. (I ordered five.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Global Warming...Or Cooling?

I'm confused.

This article argues that global warming is worse than ever. And accelerating at a rate far worse than scientists predicted. The blame is whumped squarely on the shoulders of nations like India and China, and their nasty coal-powered factories. (Whew, we 'enlightened' countries can straighten up and draw a big sigh of relief. We're off the hook.)

Here it is:
http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-general/20090214/NEWS-US-CLIMATE/


On the other hand, this appeared elsewhere on the Internet:

The data are just in from the National Climatic Data Center and they show that for the year 2008, the average temperature across the United States (lower 48 States) was 1.34ºF lower than last year.

Worldwide we set cooling records in 2007 as seen below. Is this all a part of man made global warming???

To top that off our January in 09 set all kinds of cold records throughout the country and world.

We have had the greatest drop in temperature ever recorded for one year, verified by all four of the world's most respected sources between 2007 and 2008..
UK’s Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature anomaly (HadCRUT) Dr. Phil Jones
The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies(GISS) Dr. James Hansen
University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) Dr. John Christy
Remote Sensing Systems of Santa Rosa, CA (RSS)
Source:Global ∆T °C
HadCRUT - 0.595
GISS - 0.750
UAH - 0.588
RSS - 0.629
Average: - 0.6405°CThe data are just in from the National Climatic Data Center and they show that for the year 2008, the average temperature across the United States (lower 48 States) was 1.34ºF lower than last year.

Worldwide we set cooling records in 2007 as seen below. Is this all a part of man made global warming???

To top that off our January in 09 set all kinds of cold records throughout the country and world.

We have had the greatest drop in temperature ever recorded for one year, verified by all four of the world's most respected sources between 2007 and 2008..
UK’s Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature anomaly (HadCRUT) Dr. Phil Jones
The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies(GISS) Dr. James Hansen
University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) Dr. John Christy
Remote Sensing Systems of Santa Rosa, CA (RSS)
Source:Global ∆T °C
HadCRUT - 0.595
GISS - 0.750
UAH - 0.588
RSS - 0.629
Average: - 0.6405°C

So...Colder. Hotter. Colder. Hotter. Which is it?

* * * * * * * *
It's definitely chillier around here, even though the sun is shining. But we need the moisture -- bad. A houseful of company was fun this afternoon, but so was the long, luxurious nap both Husband and I needed -- big-time. Tomorrow is a vacation day for him; that means sleeping in and pancakes for breakfast. Too bad quilt writers/teachers don't get the day off, too!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Just in time for Presidents Day: a very interesting assessment of the Best and the Worst Presidents:

http://news.aol.com/article/president-rankings/344005

Eight judges chose these. I don't agree with all of it -- but hey, that's America.

And according to these health experts, you're not supposed to blow your nose during a cold:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/health/10real.html?em

Hmmm...this could start a new national trend: Mass Dripping. What's next -- are they going to tell us when we can use the bathroom during the day? (No doubt the implied threat will go something like this: if you don't go When We Tell You, chances are you'll blow up...or the world will end. Or both.)

I cannot seem to stop flirting with the current flu -- neither can Husband. We teeter in, pull out, and repeat. It hasn't stopped us from going to work, appointments and such...but it has the capability of making us totally exhausted when we finally go make it home.

It's definitely affected our Valentine's celebration. (Though I made us a fahncy dinnah, and Husband gave me a zany card and a bottle of lavender lotion...he got a card and a box of chocs from yours truly.) We are still upright...but barely.

And we have 5 Sunday dinner guests coming tomorrow.

Think I'll get up early, tackle what I can...and just apologize for the rest.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Weird

Made a near-midnight trip to the bank, boys in tow. They love to stick their heads out the windows and sniiiiffff the chilly air. Husband feels better about me going out, if I'm chaperoned by two 100-pound Weimaraners. (Even if their woofy exteriors conceal the fact that they're just big goofy marshmallows underneath.)

I turned into the neighborhood... what's this? A big wave of fog rolling in? Wait a minute -- that smells like smoke!

A flash of light caught my eye. One of our next-street-over neighbors had flames two or three feet high shooting out of their chimney. I roared over there, hopped out of the car, lights still on and music in loud mode (complete with two confused dogs, who didn't notice anything amiss). Banged on their front door. "Your chimney's on fire!"

Neighbor stepped out, and looked up at the chimney with near-boredom. "Oh yes, I did just start burning some papers...it'll go out pretty soon."

We stood there five minutes or so, until the flames died down...and the chimney interior glowed bright red. "See?" Neighbor said. "It's fine." I got the serious impression that he was puzzled I'd even stopped.

He thanked me casually, and I left. The smell of char still hung over the neighborhood, even after I got home and let the boys out for Night Patrol.

Speaking of other weird things, do you ever watch Monster Quest? This History Channel series covers all sorts of strange things, including buddy Bigfoot, UFOs, Nessie, and who knows what else: http://www.history.com/content/monsterquest/full-schedule

They did a show on Werewolves ("Dog Men") in Wisconsin that still gives me the creeps. The episode on Bigfoot sightings in Colorado, only about 20 or so miles from where we live... also high on the shiver list.

The latest episode was on cattle mutilations on the Western Plains, including southern Colorado. A good section of the show featured a forensics expert who pooh-poohed the reports, announcing that the sharp cuts, stripped-away organs and skin were just the work of predators. He sounded convincing enough that I almost forgot:

*Several little-reported cattle mutilations have occurred in our neck of the woods in recent years. In other words, it's more common than you would think.

and:
*We know good people, first- and second-hand, who cannot explain these at all. One of our friends is a retired insurance adjuster who grew up in the area, knew many ranchers and owned a spread himself. Denny knew what a scavenged carcass looked like, from decades of experience, and he said the ranchers who were reporting these were level-headed people who weren't easily spooked.
Our friend did not believe that little green men and their saucer buddies were causing the mutilations -- but he didn't know what was.

Gives you pause.

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

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Are They REALLY Adults?

Sigh...this is how I feel about the girlies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_dkyByzD-Y

State Farm's got it right...

They say they're 22 and 20 years old, respectively...I'm not so sure.

More Valentine's Thoughts

Watching the Charlie Brown Valentine specials, and thinking...

Gather Little By Little has some great Valentine tips:

http://www.gatherlittlebylittle.com/2009/02/emotional-bank-account/

What can I do for Husband? He is such a wonderful guy...even a bazillion dollars, blown on ATVs and month-long trips to Mexico, wouldn't be enough for him.

I'll do my best:
*a nice slab of ribeye, grilled rare, with baked potato and crisp Japanese veggie mix alongside

*a hand-lettered Valentine on a lacy heart

and no doubt, what will be his favorite:

*shirts ironed, cookies made...and the garage cleaned!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ideas for Your Valentine(s)

It's done! It's finally done! I feel like prancing around the house now that Quilt #2 is in the mail and on its way to the client. What a relief...this has been on my 'to-do' plate for way too long. A few small jobs to finish off, and the restoration plate is a bit cleaner.

Whew.

MoneysavingMom has some nice links (and ideas) for Valentine's Day:

http://www.moneysavingmom.com/money_saving_mom/2009/02/valentines-ideas.html

Think I'll go take a nice hot bath to celebrate. (And soak the aching wrists.)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cleaning A Rug -- Easy!

It just takes dish soap, a hose and a push broom.

And it's the same method the 'big boys' of rugdom use.

I had no idea!

http://20dollarsaday.livejournal.com/55585.html

Stitching, Stitching

Still on the couch, finishing up some quilt restoration (or two, or three)...but I'm at third plate, heading toward home. This morning, it's The Greatest Story Ever Told (surprisingly heartbreaking), Blackadder Goes Forth (of special interest to you House fans, since Hugh Laurie takes a prominent part) and maybe a pirate movie or two.

Hey, fingers at work, mind easily entertained.

Speaking of easily entertained, try this little ditty on how women should smell:

http://living.aol.com/holidays/valentines-day/romance/smells-that-turn-men-on-and-off

And back to stitching. A lovely day, too...darn it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Working...And Watching

Haven't budged much from the couch today -- am trying hard to FINISH, once and for all, this quilt restoration. I'm close.

Saw both Mummy movies, two specials on UFOs, and now it's Star Trek. At least I can keep my mind busy at the same time as my hands...

Hope your weekend's more fascinating than mine!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Vietnamese, Anyone?

Daughter #1 and I met for lunch today...she came into downtown on the bus, and I picked her up after a morning of appointments. We stopped at New Saigon, billed at one of the best places in Denver... http://www.newsaigon.com/

And they're right!

Husband and I have been going there since Daughter #1 was a baby. Chicken with lemongrass; crunchy spring rolls wrapped in lettuce with a sprig each of cilantro and mint; strong coffee with a layer of sweetened condensed milk, poured over ice; crab and asparagus soup. YUM.

Vietnamese cooking incorporates Chinese, Japanese and French elements...but has a light, bright hit of flavor all its own. Try some here:

http://www.vietnamese-recipes.com/

Then Daughter and I hit one of the local Oriental grocery stores. A 25-pound bag of Rose rice went in the cart, along with curry paste, bok choy and other fresh greens, including cilantro and mint (mixed with coconut milk and garlic for Daughter's famous sauce). A bottle of cooking wine and bag of tangerines added to the mix. Daughter, fascinated by all the staring, glassy-eyed fish, nabbed one for grilling; I got a pound of octopi (wonderful in stirfry tonight with tofu and a handful of shrimp). Some (Vietnamese) lady in the checkout line gushed over the rice -- said she'd never seen Americans buy that brand before. (It was the sticky type.) She made a big fuss, asking Daughter if she had a rice cooker. (She does.)

Daughter's Fan club meeting over, she headed for home -- and work. I headed for home -- and work. I miss her already.
I do wonder how she got that fish home on the bus, without someone asking her about it!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Bad...And the Good

From the "Don't-Point-Fingers" Department:

(Denver Post) "More than 200 college student leaders are to descend on the opulent Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs on Friday and Saturday to learn about rural poverty, homelessness and market-based approaches to poverty eradication."
You read that right. College students are attending a weekend conference to learn more about poverty and dealing with it -- at one of the most opulent, snooty hotels in the state.
The rep for the El Pomar Foundation, who is sponsoring the conference, says, "This year, as we have done every year, a competitive bid process was undertaken to determine where the conference would be held, and the best bid came from The Broadmoor." (She also noted that El Pomar's offices are on the hotel grounds.)
Husband snorted when I read this tidbit..."Notice she doesn't say cheapest."

Serves me right. I keep fussing about extravagance in Washington D.C. and elsewhere -- but it's in Colorado's backyard, too. Sigh.

* * * * * * * *
President Obama, when capping a $500,000 salary limit for executives of companies the government is bailing out:
"We don't disparage wealth. We don't begrudge anybody for achieving success. And we believe that success should be rewarded. But what gets people upset -- and rightfully so -- are executives being rewarded for failure, especially when those rewards are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers."
* * * * * * * *

And finally, people who did some good with their money and actions:

http://news.aol.com/article/teacher-gives-2-million/329228

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

E-Trade...Baby!!!

The E-Trade Baby commercials just make me grin. How about you?

You can see them all at http://www.etrade.com/baby

or...the best of the batch -- the so-called outtake commercial:

https://us.etrade.com/e/t/jumppage/viewjumppage?PageName=etrade_super_tv_ads&SC=SMSB09&coid=HP_MAIN09_O_P_HP_MAIN_ETBaby_PostGame09_020109_URG

Just don't laugh so hard you spit up.

First Financial Advice

Cash Money Life has the results of a very intriguing question: "What was the first piece of financial advice you ever received?"

http://cashmoneylife.com/2009/02/04/what-was-the-first-piece-of-financial-advice-you-ever-received/

I was amazed at how many of these mentioned saving 10% of your earnings. My first advice was from my parents -- Dad only went as far as eighth grade in school, and Mom completed a year of nursing school (and college) before dropping out. They said, "Put half away for college, tithe 10%, save 10%, and you can spend the rest."

By the time I started college, I had roughly $2000 saved for it...and that was back at 1976 prices. With my folks' help, and working any part-time job I could find, it got me through both college and grad school debt-free. (Husband's case was different...even with the GI Bill, we still ended up paying back $10,000. But even that wasn't too bad.)

* * * * * * * * * *
I had my own share of financial bad news this morning...a royalties check from CRAZY QUILTS was, I thought, supposed to hit Chez Brick this week. And, in its turn, pay off a bunch of membership, subscriptions, advertising, etc. that always come due the first of the year.

I misread the fine print. The check won't come until the end of this month. That means lean living -- quilt teachers just don't have that many gigs in the early winter. And somehow figuring out how to cover these bills. Fortunately, since things are bit quieter this time of year, my staffers took January and a few weeks of February off. (Snowboarding calls.) It means I cover their work -- but I don't have to pay their salaries.

It's not the end of the world. Our living expenses are covered. We have lots of groceries stashed away. (I can't help myself in the early fall..the ant approach goes into overdrive.) I have a ton of fabric for sewing. (The samples for the new book on gold/silver/copper are in progress.)

We'll get by. Just makes me feel a little Mamsie Pepper about it all.

They Still Don't Learn...

Wells Fargo just recently got a $25 billion boatload of bailout money from the U.S. Government.

It lost $2.3 BILLION in the last three months of 2008 alone.

So what do the farseeing executives of Wells Fargo do?

Schedule themselves a lavish junket to Las Vegas -- most expensive hotels rooms, natch. Entertainment. Prizes. Gambling. For 12 whole days.

After someone (I'm guessing the media) found out and alerted congressmen (and us), the event was suddenly cancelled.

Morgan Stanley, who also has a place in the bailout lifeboat (but only at a paltry $10 billion), planned to send its top employees to a hotel in Monte Carlo this April. (That's in Europe, folks -- Monaco is one of the more expensive places on earth.) A similar trip to the Bahamas was scheduled. Suddenly a company spokesman announces that both events were cancelled on Monday. Again, after someone finds out and publicizes them.

Reasons given -- 'Well, people need to be recognized. And we're not using bailout funds to do it.' Just money that could be used to re-hire the people who were laid off. Or maybe even (gasp) pay back bailout funds.

What were these people thinking!?!
Husband: "They're thinking about cutting a fat hog -- that's what they're thinking."

Why didn't Congress "add some teeth to the agreement," as Husband says, and prohibit this from happening to OUR hard-earned money?

http://money.aol.com/news/articles/_a/bbdp/wells-fargo-another-bailed-out-firm/327746

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pass It On!

Cupcake Studio, bless her crafty li'l heart, has a new 'hit'... you're supposed to stick with one word, but I'm going to expand it to two. Feel free to post your own answers on your site...or here! And once you're done, send it on...

and do take a minute to visit Cupcake's blog -- it's got some wonderful graphics. (I am eating my heart out over all the trims and embellishments.) Here she is:

http://www.cupcakestudio.blogspot.com

And here's your 'survey' -- I'm giving you (and me) two words, instead of just one:

Where is your cell phone? shirt pocket
Your significant other? darling Husband
Your hair? graying
Your mother? worried
Your father? going downhill
Your favorite thing? contentment, peace
Your dream last night? working
Your favorite drink? strong coffee
Your dream/goal? accomplishments travel
What room are you in? living
Your hobby? mysteries, design
Your fear? recriminations, arrogance
Where do you want to be in six years? content
Where were you last night? couch, '24'
Something that you aren't? pompous
Muffins? indifferent
Wish list item? Mexico, Europe
Last thing you did? e-mail
What are you wearing? denim shirt
TV? NCIS, Leverage
Your pet(s)? Weimaners
Friends? encouraging, spicy
Your life? changing
Your mood? waiting, working
Missing someone? brother
Drinking? milk, coffee
Smoking? nope
Your car? Cherokee
Something you're not wearing? watch, shoes
Your favorite store? thrift, antique
Your favorite color? cobalt blue
When is the last time you cried? Saturday ("Defiance")
Where do you go to over and over? mental travel
My favorite place to eat? QDoba's, Willie's
Favorite place I'd like to be? Mexico, Vienna

Now it's your turn!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl Commercials...and Stuff

I'm sorry the Cardinals lost. Man, the fourth quarter of the Superbowl was CRAZY. If the game had gone another minute, the final score -- and winner -- could have been completely different. That's the kind of football to watch!

Often Husband and I prefer college ball. Anything can happen then -- top teams can lose to tiny ones. (Witness Michigan's loss to Appalachia State -- ouch.) Professional teams seem to be more into hurting someone. Brute strength rules, whether or not the flags go down.
There was some of that in this game..more than a little pushing, punching and mouthed name-calling...but some great football, too. (Congratulations, Steelers, for not giving up.)

And the commercials!
You can see every one via this site:
http://superbowl.fanhouse.com/

Alec Baldwin carried the day with his 'alien' take on Hulu:
http://superbowlads.fanhouse.com/quarter4/Hulu-Alec_Baldwin/2409778

Most of the commercials, with the exception of some disgusting ones for GoDaddy, 'Moose' (for Monster.com) and the 'horsey' funny ones for Budweiser, were 'okay...' good enough for regular play, but not worth spending too much time on. ('Pepsuber' sucked big-time.) Most prompt a mild chuckle or two.

My heart still belongs to the cat herders of a past SuperBowl:
http://www.spike.com/video/cat-herding/2666557

And the carwash guys:
http://www.spike.com/video/gm-car-wash-dudes/2819693

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
From the "Historical-Stuff-Happens" department:

Marie Antoinette's beech tree blew down, after enduring for more than two centuries:
http://news.aol.com/article/winds-kill-marie-antoniettes-tree/319230
(The article says it's going to be made into paper. I'd rescue it FAST and do something souvenir-wise! Maybe even sell cuttings?)

The HMS Victory was found:
http://news.aol.com/article/british-shipwreck-found/324768
Said to have 100,000 Portuguese gold coins as part of its cargo. Though they haven't found the gold yet, there's already arguing about who it belongs to. Assuming it exists.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go spin some gold out of straw...or quilts.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How was Your Weekend?

It's been a long one.

My "baby," the California Gold exhibit, came down at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. It was time...the exhibit had been up for three months. I still felt like throwing myself against the entrance and moaning "Noooooo..." But I was a good girl. Together Karen, RMQM's collections manager, and I took the exhibit down, and started hanging the next one, a Depression era look at Sunbonnet Sue and other 30s/40s goodies. It's going to be a real pastel charmer -- you'll want to visit it at http://www.rockymountainquiltmuseum.com/

Went out for burgers with our friends, plus the movie "Defiance." REALLY good -- you've got to go see this, especially if you have an interest in WWII history. I'd thought of myself as reasonably well-read on the Holocaust...but I'd never heard of the Bielski brothers.

A big batch of appraisals are finally finished up. Now to clean up around here, and get some serious restoration work done. I've got some corny musicals saved up, for just that purpose. (Quilt restoration uses your hands and eyes -- but your mind can still enjoy the antics of Judge Judy and Gene Kelly.)

Ebay Selling Coach is offering a free e-book on selling! All you have to do is download it:
http://ebaysellingcoach.blogspot.com/2009/01/paying-it-forward-free-book-for-moms.html

And I intend to try out Gen X Finance's method for making a salad that will last all week:
http://genxfinance.com/2009/01/22/how-to-prepare-a-salad-to-last-all-week-for-just-a-few-dollars/

Dad update, in case you're wondering:
It's not good.
His pain is a constant problem now. (Bone cancer is known for being particularly painful -- after all, your bones are being eaten out from the inside.) His medication hasn't been doing the job -- doctor just put him on a higher dosage of Oxycontin. No more pain...but Dad's mind kind of went south. Very confused -- and being a big man (6'3", though he's shrunk a bit now), he is very tough for my 5'2" Mom to handle. If he doesn't want to step to the bathroom, for example, she's not strong enough to make him!
The longer we can keep him out of the hospital, the better...but some kind of changes are needed. Clearly the Oxycontin will not be enough to handle his pain soon, either.

Past midnight. Time for bed -- and a fresh start tomorrow.