Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday (Really, Sunday) Musings

It's past 1:30 a.m., but the fabric and embellishment kits are piled on the tables, waiting for students later this morning. A bunch of bolts of trim are piled in a corner, along with the fabric freebies I plan on handing out. The buttons are ready -- books stacked, ribbon roses and laces out. I can't wait for class to start. But as a result, I don't feel like sleeping, either! The curse of the quilt teacher...

In spite of an attack of nervousness (after all, this is my home guild!), the lecture for the Colorado Quilt Council went great. I saw plenty of old friends, and I showed Crazies ranging over two centuries, including a 70s hostess gown (with Woody Woodpecker-themed ribbon on the sleeves) modeled with great verve by Chris. I love to watch people's faces as they start processing Crazy history; for many, their only introduction to the style are Victorian era silk quilts. Even those are often admired for their stitching and color -- but rarely are the reasons for using those stitches...or colors...or fabrics...or designs...discussed. That's my job, to get people to thinking on a deeper level about these fascinating visual scrapbooks of the quiltmaker's life and passions.

I love this job.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Ditherings

Ever get to concentrating on your work...look up...and realize it's after 3 a.m.? And you have no idea where the time went?

*Ahem.*  Don't ask how I know.

As usual, there are nine hundred bazillion things to do and pack up before leaving tonight for the Colorado Quilt Council gig. Thankfully, we don't have far to go; the hotel is about 45 min. drive away. Husband is looking forward to vegging out and watching basketball while I'm working...speaking of b-ball, did you see that AMAZING Kansas State/Xavier game last night? After two overtimes and a bunch of heart-stopping shots, either team could have won...and deserved it.

If you're interested in coming to the lecture, the topic is "Amazing Crazies," and the Colorado Quilt Council meeting is tomorrow at Silver Creek High School in Longmont. I'll be showing plenty of great quilts, as well as passing on research I found while writing my book called (what else) CRAZY QUILTS. Meeting starts around 9 a.m.; the talk is about 10. Go to the Colorado Quilt Council website for details and a map.

Just found a new blog I'm sure you'd like: Jenn of the Thrift Shop Romantic has not only a good eye for quality, but a deft hand at decorating. She's big into eclectic style, and has a soft spot for the quirky Victorian period, embroidery and unicorns -- just my speed. Her post on vintage Christmas postcards is especially good. (Yes, I know it's closer to Easter. Hush.) The current post (on needlepoint pictures she found -- lucky girl!) is interesting, too. Take a look.

The sky is clouding over -- our newest storm, though just a pup compared to Wednesday's brouhaha, is creeping in. The boys are curled into balls, and eyeing the suitcases and quilt boxes -- a sure sign they Know What's Up, and are contemplating sneaking into a suitcase, if only they could get away with it. (They forget they're more than 100 pounds each.) Back to work...quickly.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cell-Made Quilts

How often do you hear about quilts being made as a rehabilitation effort? Fine Cell Work, a fine arts group, has been working with British prisoners since 1998, teaching them embroidery and quilting. The resulting pieces let cellmates learn new skills and earn some money. The quilts are pretty interesting, too, as is the title of the page: "Quilty as Charged." (Take special note of the "Jail House Rock" pillow -- what a kick!)

Take a look at these photos, and you'll find out more about the group at the same time...enjoy.

33 Online Freebies

...and all yours, thanks to All You Magazine!
Go here for the complete list.

(Thanks, One Frugal Girl, for the heads-up.)

The Age of Wonder

I've been ploughing through a fascinating book by Richard Holmes -- The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science. Holmes parades through a cast of characters that is still influencing modern thought today -- and these people lived in the 1700s!

I haven't gotten far... only through Joseph Banks, Captain Cook's botanist (who paid for the privilege, bringing along his own greyhounds and servants) and William Herschel, who along with his sister Caroline, discovered Uranus. Next are the professional balloonists, and Davy, the inventor of the Davy safety lamp -- an indispensable boon to miners. (I saw one at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, while lecturing there. Since Husband's name is David, it was memorable!)

The only horrible part -- I can't gobble. This is meaty stuff, to be savored and thought about with each page. These people, and their observations and discoveries, had a huge influence on modern culture -- along with the furniture, home and objects they lived with. Including textiles.


I'll be speaking for the Colorado Quilt Council Saturday morning in Longmont, CO -- you're welcome to come! Visit CQC's website for directions and time .

I'm also teaching a class on how to make and embellish Crazy quilts -- but alas, it is full. (I'll be doing another one in October of this year for the Rocky Mountain Crazy Quilt Society (Denver, CO); just ask for instructions on how to enroll.)

If you visit the CQC meeting on Saturday morning, be sure to stop by the sales table afterwards, and say hi! 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Luke Gets A Homer!

Our friends, Kerry and Cathy Kennedy, are having trouble keeping their buttons buttoned -- they've got a new grandchild in Texas, and son Luke hit a homer while his team was playing in Coors Field! How many high school seniors can say that?!

Take a look -- Luke's baseball game report is about 1:39 into the video. Congrats, Luke. We're proud of you, too.

Are You Getting What You Pay For?

Do you really get your full money's worth in the products you buy? April Dykman at Get Rich Slowly has a thought-provoking post on this subject, including cosmetics. (Especially don't miss the blogger who compared Crisco with a fancy face cream...and guess what won!! One of the comments says it's better than diaper ointment for clearing up a baby bottom rash.)

Here's the general post -- don't stop reading until you finish up the comments. (Some good stuff here, from people who know from experience.)

The Sun Is Shining!

We had a luxurious sleep-in, then sausage and blueberry pancakes...


It's still chilly out, but the snow is done. We lost power a few times, but thankfully those periods were an hour or so, at mostYesterday, while waiting for the flakes to start, I came across a clump of daffodils, cheerfully nodding in the cold wind. They've taken up residence on the dining room table -- a reminder that spring will soon be back.

Grocery Cart Challenge has some interesting ideas for using milk jugs...including an Easter basket!

And Almost Frugal is holding a giveaway -- gift cards to a variety of merchants. Contest ends March 30.

back to business -- but it's nice to have a break.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Buried Under A Pile of Snow

I took Daughter #1 home this afternoon...just as we hit Broadway (and the remnants of a big accident), a wave of rain and snow hit. By the time we unloaded, the three of us, including dog Jack, were soaked.

Getting back on the freeway was an exercise in scariness; I could barely see a thing until *BANG* the rain stopped, as if a knife had cut it short around Evans. By the time I hit Castle Rock, the skies were clear -- directly over town. A big bank of dark gray clouds surrounded, like a pack of dogs waiting to attack.

I raced around and did the necessary errands, then tore home and got the sheets off the line. By the time a client arrived for some appraisals, barely half an hour had passed -- and it was blizzarding like crazy. It hasn't stopped since. We've had the lights flicker several times, but so far, the power's still on.

Will we keep having power? Will school still happen tomorrow?  (Whoop -- Husband just saw they're cancelled!) Stay tuned. In the meantime, you can see a bit of what Castle Rock -- and a big chunk of central Colorado -- is enduring, by checking out this live camGarden of the Gods, further south, looks even nastier.  And this messiness is occurring only a mile or two from our house outside Castle Rock.

The weirdest part? We've gone from the 60s to 20s in only a few hours...the clouds had a nasty resemblance to tornado clouds (with the exception of that creepy green tinge), and Husband swears he heard the wind making a low, grumbling noise. (Tornados make a chugging sound not dissimilar to the 'grumbling' of a freight train.) Didn't notice any funnel clouds...but all the same, creepy.

Stay warm and snuggly tonight.

Free Coffee Samples!

Courtesy of Nescafe's Taster's Choice...

Just apply here, and you've got six different kinds to choose from. (The Mama loves this stuff, and she's getting a sample, too.)


Monday, March 22, 2010

Another Storm's Coming!

...the snow is supposed to start tomorrow afternoon. Projected total:  1-2 FEET. And this is March???

The Mama and Joy left on Amtrak tonight, thankfully headed east. (The storm's coming from the West.) The house seems a little empty, now they've gone, but Daughter #1 is spending the night. Lovely.

Here's an interesting thought: use a dropcloth to upholster your furniture! Normally, I'd say this was a bit strange, but the chairs in Homebody Holly's post are quite lovely. Take a minute while you're there, and read some of her other posts; she's got great ideas.

And now 'regular' life begins again...whatever that is.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Sunday Uplifter

Daughter #1 sent me a video of Christian the lion, who had been raised as a cub by two guys, and eventually was relocated to the wild after he'd gotten too large (and more than a little unruly). Both men missed their friend, in spite of being told that there was no way the cat would remember them. They went to Africa, anyways...

And here's what happened.

If you found this interesting, check out the full version.

I dare you not to cry.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Your Latest Spot for (Rude) News

Get set for not only the basic daily stuff, but some surprising takes (and back stories) on what's going on today. I try hard not to miss the daily posts on The Daily Beast. Today's news, for example, featured the latest on March Madness. (Kansas lost -- weird in itself -- but to Northern Iowa! One player asked in the locker room afterward, 'Did we really win??') Then it covered the health care debate...Lady Gaga's lawsuit...and some creepy 16-year-old (or 14-year-old) who got on a Walmart's public address system and asked "all blacks" to leave the store. (One wonders which clerk let him do it. I've been a checkout clerk -- you have to know how to operate them.)

Granted, there's a certain amount of lippyness going on at times...but The Daily Beast is generally a fair place; it treats conservatives, moderates and liberals with the same veiled sarcasm and amusement. Think a genteel Monty Python, the Fox Channel or your gossipy Aunt Martha on her weekly coffee visit with your mom. (And the little kid version of you safely eavesdropping under the tablecloth.) Refreshing.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tales from the Economic Downturn

Salon has "Pinched," a whole series of articles on people and lifestyles that have been hit by financial problems. But these aren't your standard "oh woe is me, I was a moron and lost my house" screeds. Instead, they cover everything from a kid at Duke University who lives in his van (so he can attend grad school) to hipsters who are using their food stamps to buy healthy food. Some good ideas on making the most of your fast-food dollars, haggling and work ideas, too. (Well, most...a few get weird.) I was particularly touched by the single mom who had a job and a master's degree, but still needed to take her kids to a food bank to get by.

Take a look -- but plan on being there for a while. One article leads to another...and another...and...

Snowy Day...and Dover

There's a layer of ice underneath the feathery stuff. It took forever to chip off the windshield, so I could have coffee (and sit like a slug until I completely woke up) with my early-bird friends.

It's still snowing. And snowing. And snowing.

A good day to stay inside, and get some work done! 

If you like unusual graphics, there's a great free place to get them -- Dover Publications has a weekly sampler of selections from their huge library of titles. Here's this week's sampler, including a very quirky anatomical clip art book. Just request that you be put on the e-mail notice for upcoming samplers. Think of the places a skeleton or two would come in handy!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


After two days of glorious 60s weather, clouds have papered the sky, the wind is up, and we're getting warnings of a spring blizzard roaring in tonight and tomorrow.

It's not terrible news; we did our traveling earlier in the week, when Daughter #2 and I took the Mama and Cousin Joy to Garden of the Gods. (They said they were impressed, but we spent a lot of time fielding comments, finding bathrooms and hustling people places where they wouldn't feel chilly.) I have a boatload of appraisals to finish off, and watching the snow will be a good stimulating factor to Get Them Done.

I would love to tell you something wonderful has happened this week, but it has been all I can do to keep business stuff going, make sure I'm at commitments promised, pick up/take people to the train station, and schlep the Mama off to see her granddaughters, as well as a few quilting events. It'll stay this way through next Monday evening, when the Michiganders head back home.

Next Saturday is speaking at the Colorado Quilting Council in Longmont about Crazies...the Sunday class that follows is full, but there are plenty of spots Saturday morning! (See the Colorado Quilt Council website for info.)

Helpful tips: 18 ways to find great clothes at thrift shops, thanks to Get Rich Slowly.
    And a look at the New Essentials, courtesy of Tight-Fisted Miser. (Thanks, dudes.)

Have a great Friday, dears.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Musings

Did we just have a weekend?

I'm not sure.

SATURDAY:  The Mama and Cousin Joy came in at the crack of dawn Saturday morning...early on Amtrak, which is never early. (Guess I have to stop saying that.) By the time Husband brought them home, the hallways were free of dog hair, and the breakfast casserole bubbling in the oven. 

A few minutes of peace, then rushing to pack the car, stuff the relatives inside, then down to the Western Mining and History Museum. Talked about the new book, Quilts of the Golden West. Had tea, with goodies. Talked again. Things in a rush, with people talking, asking about the quilts, mentioning their own collections. A wonderful talk with Eleanore, who was demonstrating spinning and dyed wools. (She told me something I've got to double-check -- according to Eleanore, the vivid red wools in old-time Navajo rugs came from...unraveled British redcoat uniforms!)

The end of Lecture #2, busy with packing up, stuffing now-tired bodies in the car...a quick nap..then on to a fundraiser for friend Chris' school. An international foods buffet (Russian, Vietnamese, Irish, African, Mexican...), silent and live auctions. Home about 11 p.m.

SUNDAY:  (Don't forget the time change) Worship Team practice at 7:45 a.m. Two full services, rushing the Mama and cousin Joy home in between. Raining/snowing like crazy. Lunch at Red Robin. Husband stayed home for a long, sleepy nap while I took Mama and Cousin Joy to Boulder to see Daughter #2. (Cousin Joy sprang for a wonderful slice of lemoncello cake at the Cheesecake Factory, which I practically fell asleep on.) On the way home, a quick stop to see Daughter #1 at her waitressing job. Rain/snow still pouring down. Temperatures dropping -- the wet streets icing over. (Dead Man's Curve, part of I-25 just south of Littleton, especially 'iffy.') Home in early evening, after a stop at the grocery store. (Whew, trying not to show relief.) Popcorn, "Marley & Me," some biz stuff, looking longingly at bed -- but too tired to sleep. (Have you ever been this way?) Fell into bed like a dead woman, about 12:30 a.m.

Figuring that the rest of the week will be like this morning: start a job --stop to get something for someone --start again --answer a question -- start again -- make/get a phone call -- start again...

It should be interesting.

Speaking of that, I just backed into a previously-visited blog...Pioneer Woman. (Go here for her confessions, but she's also got some easy -- and great recipes; stuff on remodeling; and a long and loving look at her ranch life with Marlboro Man and four kids.) A bit zany, just like my life -- but comforting.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Women in Mining in CO Springs...School Cuts...and the Midnight Knitter

You wouldn't expect anything less than this odd mix, from this blog, right?   :)

School stuff has been a brooding interest lately... it's not that I couldn't use more edjimication (Popeye-style), but because our local school district has to cut more than $40 million from Somewhere. They're supposed to make the announcement any day now where the ax(es) will fall.

Husband is a trainer for special ed and regular bus drivers and their assistants (TEAs). He took a 20% hours cut last year...will this mean more hours gone? We have many friends who are teachers, and are dreading what could happen. One friend has already offered to quit her job, if it will mean that others can keep theirs.

I wish the Powers That Be would GET ON WITH IT, and make the announcements!

In School News:

*The teacher who thought writing "Loser" on a 6th grade student's assignments would somehow motivate her to do better. (Give me a break.)

*Kansas City (Missouri side) will be closing nearly half of their schools. Just imagine what that's going to do to employees, families and students.

And in the World of Freaky, someone in West Cape May, NJ has been clothing the trees in a park with bright knitted sleeves! (Take a look at the photo -- who, and why???) Some people have been calling this person the Midnight Knitter, because he/she apparently operates during the dark of the night. A performance artist? An eccentric? Someone who's worried about the poor, chilly trees? This one's a curious one, all right.

The Mama is on her way here via Amtrak, with cousin Joy. She'll spend about a week here, making chocolate chip cookies for Husband, and helping me out. Their train comes in at 7:30 a.m.... but I have a gig tomorrow, too. Should make for an interesting weekend.

Come hear me talk about mining, women, gold & silver, and of course...quilts! There will be a lot of them to look at, too. It's all at the "Women in Mining" weekend at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry --
tomorrow, March 13, including a 11 a.m. lecture (and a 2 p.m. repeat), with an Edwardian-style tea in between. The museum is on the northern edge of Colorado Springs, and very easy to get to via I-25.
Should be lots of fun.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Growing Up Poor

I bumbled onto this long involved post (including 400-plus comments!) on what "Being Poor" means.

A lot of thoughtful ideas here, though some are fueled more by frustration and anger, than they honestly reflect a desire to Stop Being Poor. Some are apt to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and vow they'll never again have to practice some of their previous economies. Examples:
     No more mac & cheese (Why not? It was a treat to us! My father hated the stuff, and we only had it when he was out of town.)
    No more secondhand clothes. (Some of my best luxury outfits have come from our local thrift shop -- smack in the middle of one of the wealthiest counties in Colorado.)
    No more used cars. (So paying for the automatic $ loss when you drive the car off the lot

So -- reading this stuff also means wearing the Hat of Common Sense while you're processing it.

We may not have had much money growing up -- by federal standards, I guess we were poor. (We've qualified for the label some of our married years, as well...a status we've both found amusing.) But we never took welfare or food stamps. We had a huge vegetable garden, raised our own meat, and bartered and traded with cousins for other stuff. (My first car, a present from Mom and Dad, was a hand-me-down purchase from cousin Steve...something I didn't know until a few years ago!)

Maybe this is less about being poor more than it is thinking poor. Being poor can be temporary, until your job prospects get better, or you're out of school, or you can afford to move away. Thinking that way, however, can take you over for the rest of your life. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thinking about St. Patrick's Day...

I don't have any trouble with corned beef and cabbage, colcannon, boxty, or any of those goodies...

But I've never found a soda bread to go with them that doesn't taste a bit, well, 'gassy.'

Thanks to Kathleen over at, though, I think I may have the answer -- Pretzel Bread. Its makeup sounds similar. Who knows -- this one may well work.

Recipes for the other stuff will be coming in the next week...

And yes. I am part-Irish!

The Appraisal Soapbox

Did you know that today is National Get Your Quilt (And Other Stuff) Appraised Week?

Or so it seems...

I did an appraisal this morning, got a pile to do yesterday, and more the day before. Many people start to think about doing this for donation value on their quilts (especially their old ones) -- that's part of the reason for the uptick in business. I have noticed a big rush for it right around tax time. But many of the appraisals are not done for that reason at all. I hear everything from "this is going to my daughter, and I want her to know about its value" to "I'm putting it in a competition" to "I've always wanted to do this."

What do I know? I just do my job. Seriously, though, having your pieces appraised is a smart thing to do. It protects them, in case of theft or damage. It gives them documentation -- which any good appraiser can tell you raises their value in the future. And it gives you a chance to analyze your work, or that of the quiltmaker.

It's more reasonably priced than you think. I charge $45 for a detailed report that can take up to 1 1/2 hours...and gives you a printed-out appraisal for your files (and mine). But I also do multi-quilt reports that are much less per piece -- even as little as $10 per quilt. So if you've considered doing this...well, consider it a bit harder. The best place to find the best in appraising, textile-wise, is the PAAQT website. It lists appraisers by state, as well as name, and includes several helpful articles.Every one of the appraisers listed are also certified by the American Quilter's Society, the only organization in the country that focuses on textiles, and several are certified by other organizations, too.

Think about it.

More gray skies are moving in, fitting for this lovely surprise rendition of "Rainy Day"...sung by Bette Midler and Johnny Carson. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Flowers...

Like more fresh flowers in your online world? Many thanks to Web Weaver for sharing their lovely stuff... go here for more.

Taking a Fresh Breath

Our fresh, sunny spring day has been replaced by glowering clouds... here comes the reminder that Winter Is Not Done Yet. It's been that kind of few weeks, too.

Erin over at Coupon Cravings is one of my favorite sources of coupons, discounts, second only to Money-Saving Mom for Good Deals. Erin's got a "Cash to Clutter Challenge" that certainly sounds interesting right now, surrounded as I am with piles for the past gig, the upcoming lecture, and various paperwork. Basically, she's proposing a sort-of contest to see if we can get rid of some of the flotsam and jetsam in our lives, while improving life.

It's a good proposal, particularly getting rid of Stuff has been helpful to this girl, who has been slowly whittling away $60,000-plus in debt. (Read her progress in the update. Thanks, Sense to Save, for sharing her story.)

In the meantime, I'm sending you a spray of pink roses...just to say how much I appreciate your coming around. Online friends like you are wonderful to know.

Monday, March 8, 2010



The good news: my blog was compromised, all right -- but not by a virus. So if you follow my blog, you don't have a virus spreading mayhem through your computer's metal veins.

The bad news: my blog was compromised -- by a rogue program called malware that automatically tries to send you to different websites, instead of reading my stuff. (Not that my musings are that brilliant, but...)

The good news: it seems to be gone now, thanks to some preventive work on our end, and a complaint to Blogger. What it is:  AntiSpyWare.Xpantispxware . Husband, my local IT expert, has some suggestions:

If you believe your computer has been infected, you can check it by doing an online scan from Norton at:  .  Another place to check is at McAfee at:
If you don't already have antivirus protection installed, I would highly recommend it.  You can get it free from Avira: or from AVG at:
Also, make sure you have Windows Firewall enabled unless you have separate firewall software running.
My webmaster has double-checked the Brickworks and Classy Girl websites, and they're fine. 
Thanks for hanging in there with me. Hope your weekend went well.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday chores

Next week is full of appraising, deliveries...then two lectures at the Museum of Mining and Industry. That means this weekend has been full of chores and prep work. We have this family phrase: "It's an exciting world...and we're part of it." Said sarcastically, of course!

One of my online buddies has had some trouble with a virus she thought was connected to the Brickworks website. This is interesting, not because we've noticed anything wrong with the website (we haven't). BUT I've had some trouble connecting to the blog to post for the past few days. (Every time I tried, another website would flash on temporarily.) It seems fine now -- but make sure your virus detection software is on and working. Even our local credit union said a new (and powerful) Venus virus has been hitting lately.

I'll write Blogger to mention this, and have my webmaster check things out -- just in case. These are scary times, and it's well worth taking extra precautions.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Old Movies...And Dean Stockwell

Husband came home for lunch this afternoon, as is his wont, and turned on TMC (Turner Movie Classics) while he was eating his carrot cake. The movie on was Kim, starring Dean Stockwell and a red-bearded Errol Flynn. An "Indian" boy, who really turns out to be the orphan of a British soldier named Kimball O'Hara, becomes the helper of a Muslim holy man. While on their travels, little Kim visits the same British regiment his father mentioned, and gets sent to school. On holiday, he goes on a secret mission for the Army, helped by his friend Mahbub Ali, a feisty horse trader who is also a secret agent for the British.

The movie was a real adventure -- lots of swashing, buckling, exotic costumes, horses and people falling off the Himalayas. And surprisingly good! It got me to thinking about Dean Stockwell. I know him best as Scott Bakula's boss in Quantum Leap, but Dean has been acting since he was a kid, from How Green is My Valley to Gentleman's Agreement (with Clark Gable). He's now 74 -- consider that! This man has been working for more than five decades, and is still going strong.

I hope I can keep going that long in my own work.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Elf Slippers!

Wouldn't a snuggly, cosy pair of elf slippers be just the thing for a gloomy, dreary day?

Now you can make them yourself, thanks to this easy tutorial. They'll  make good use of that beloved sweater that's too small, or developed a nasty hole somewhere.

Many thanks to Kris of Resweater for sharing this frugalicious pattern. She's not only got an intriguing blog, but a shop, Artfire, for purchasing "repurposed" sweaters and other goodies. Homebody Holly is running a giveaway from Kris' business, too, if you hustle over there. (It ends Thurs night at 9 p.m....EST, I'm supposing.)

I intend on visiting Kris regularly to see what she's up to. Wonderful stuff!

And the Waves Roll On

Did you hear about the Mediterranean cruise ship hit -- and severely damaged -- by three very large waves? Two people died, and several others were injured.

What I find especially curious about this, is that there is a strong tradition of large waves coming out of nowhere -- causing incredible mayhem, or even sinking the ship -- then disappearing as suddenly as they came. For a long time, because there were only sudden disappearances, or shocked survivors' accounts, these were pooh-poohed as just a fantasy. Finally, thanks to a few events that are too big to ignore (including photographs and video), these waves are being given some credence.

Who knows what causes them? Some suggest underwater earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. Others say they're 'backwash' from typhoons or earthquakes on the other side of the world. No proof for anything...yet.

All that is known is that these rogue waves arrive -- and they kill.

When they come in a set of three (like the ones that hit the cruise ship), they're called the "Three Sisters." When the Edmund Fitzgerald, a Great Lakes superfreighter, sank in Lake Superior in 1975, she went down without a peep -- no distress signals or other communications. But the Arthur Andersen, another ship near the "Fitz's" last location, and in intermittent contact with her that stormy night, reported being hit with three gigantic waves in succession, with no warning. The ship barely kept afloat. Its captain thought it quite possible that the Fitzgerald, which was listing and reported water washing over its decks, hadn't had a chance.

Shades of the "Three Sisters."

For more on rogue waves, also known as freak and monster waves, read here -- but be sure to do it while listening to this. Good for a getting-gradually-grayer day like today.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Life is Better

Sorry for the silence of the past was a llloonnng week.

I have never had so many odd things happen during a gig. Ever. Strange things, like 2 (out of 5) boxes never arriving at the show. (One never did -- the other was sent here, instead of Virginia.) Too many classroom kits -- too few books. (Sigh.) Paperwork disappearing, just as I was getting ready to submit it. (Turns out a student accidentally packed it up with her stuff.) Having trouble walking or standing all week, no matter what I did.

And the reminder that I had been at this show when my dad died a year ago. Going through that anniversary made the heart sore. (The Mama was wonderfully brave, but it was rough.)

The plusses, thankfully, kept me going. A wonderful, funny roommate. (Thanks so much, Laura.) The lecture hall had a LOT of people who seemed to enjoy learning more all the secrets quilts could hide. And the classes were great fun, messy as all getout and very absorbing. My students were the best!

Finally got home from the Mid-Atlantic conference 1 a.m. Monday morning, after being in a plane for more than four hours. Exhausted. Husband, the big dear, gave me a footrub after I'd limped into the house. Turns out I had a row of blisters on both feet. No wonder I'd had so much trouble all week!

Then a day later, I spent the morning as an 'expert witness' in a trial, certifying that the replacement value I gave for a needlepoint rug was the accurate one. (The judge sided with yours truly. The defendant's lawyer didn't like that too much, and spent his time sneering creepily at me. Freaky.)

Now, after a few loads of laundry and a suitcase or so later, catching up on the Judge Judy and
Three Stooges episodes taped while I was gone. I've got some stitching to do, and books that were ordered during the quilt conference are getting shipped out.

Besides, it's a beautiful day. The bare feet are slowly healing, thanks to Husband's tender care. Clothes are blowing sweetly on the line. It's time to put in spinach in the raised bed I dug last fall, and start plants. (Here's an easy way to make newspaper pots for planting.)

Life goes on.