Monday, June 30, 2008

making old friends new

So one of my school chums who didn't get to go to the reunion called me on the phone today. We talked for close to two hours. Catching up, reminiscing, and laughing. It was wonderful. This is a person who in school was always a smiling face, good at everything, and smart to boot. Above all, she was a really nice person in a world where she didn't really have to be. I have a feeling she still is. How cool is that?

Its probably been 20 years since I saw her last, and she lives in a whole 'nother part of the country these days, pretty much in a whole 'nother world, with culture, museums, and lots more people than live around here. Still she said, she misses "home."

I hope we can leave time in our lives for each other and hold onto this renewed friendship. This is a person worth having as a friend. All this talk of Reunion and high school and reconnecting doesn't really speak to all that we have let go of in our lives to get where we are going. Of course you can't keep it all. Of course you can't go back. What you left isn't there any more. But you CAN create something new and good, and it could be a little easier when you are starting with something sort of familiar.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

the ants go marching

We had a lovely rain on Friday evening, which I talked about. Saturday ever-vigilant Raine came and told us, "There are ants." Ron went to check it out. There WERE ants! It looked like they were swarming. In our house. Lovely.

Ron took down the curtains (into the laundry they went) from the front window... they were all over the place around the front window, floor to ceiling. He sprayed them with poison and we waited and we watched. This morning we vacuumed and wiped. Ron caulked the windows, hoping that would prevent entry. We kept watch for them, and everything seemed OK, so we put everything back and, well, this afternoon, there were some more. Not as many, but still plenty. Once again the process of getting rid of them.

We are hoping they are not from a colony that is in our cinderblock walls, splitting and branching out into the house... (and why inside???). We will try to prevent these from getting started inside the walls, although I'm not sure how we can be sure of that.

Now, I am not phobic of ants, although I certainly don't want them living inside my house. Not even inside the walls. When I was a small child, I had a recurring nightmare that ants were crawling all over the walls of my room, and across the bed, and they were stinging me. My parents would have to come to my room, look everywhere for any sign of an ant and then, finally, maybe, I could go back to sleep. Looking back, it was probably that an arm or a leg fell asleep, and was tingling as it woke up that would trigger this dream for me. Still, I certainly would NOT be happy to wake up in the night to that dream coming true...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

high cost of energy

I opened my electric bill for June today. Let me just say, "YIKES!" and " Owie!" Almost twice the amount from the month before. Yes I know, I know. Time to conserve and all that. Yes, I do think it is a good idea - a great idea in fact. Yes, we have the refrigerated air now, and I know that costs more (but a jump of almost double in one month?). The weather has been hot, too (but a jump of almost double in one month?). And fuel prices are rising like crazy, if it costs more to drive, of course it will cost more to stay home, too (but a jump of...? well, you get the idea...).

Time for lights out, and computers off, not to mention the TV and other juice sippers. Yes, its green. Yes, its good for the environment, and ultimately good for me as well. And less ultimate all the time it would seem. Where is that wind turbine? I think I need one... or maybe two.

At any rate, here's the post, and the computer's going off for the night (angst). Ahh, but there will be more tomorrow.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Wow, we just had rain! It was a good storm with a lot of water, and man it smelled great. The lightening and rolling thunder were beautiful as well. Well, of course the power went out, now that you ask. Funny how the power goes out, and after you light the candles, everything you can think of to do involves electricity in some way... no, not the radio... popcorn is out (electric stove), hmmm. If I can find a link, I'll post it with this... and this would be the time to check it out. OK, I couldn't get a video, but check out the lyrics to this song by Cheryl Wheeler.

So what about the neighbors? I went out front after the rain died down to enjoy the afterglow and the breeze and the next door neighbors were sweeping water out of a low spot on their patio. I heard them sweeping and asked if they had gotten water in their house, and they said no, but explained about the low spot. They ended up coming over and sitting and chatting until the power came back on, just a friendly, casual visit and it was nice. They really seem like nice people.

Earlier this week, I saw a kid out mowing one of the other neighbor's yard and got him to come and do mine. It was the neighbor's grandson, and they both seemed really nice. Enjoyed meeting them and all.

I really like my neighborhood. Especially on my street. It is convenient to school (at least Raine's), and to town. When I hear sirens coming our way, I worry about which of my neighbors have been hurt or fallen ill, not which drug dealer is busted now. I really like that. I like that Raine will be going to our neighborhood school, and her friends will be in the neighborhood as well.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

do you watch Oprah?

I did today, and I think it was fate. Suze Orman was on, helping a woman who's husband committed suicide, leaving her monthly bills running 10K per MONTH, $72 in the bank and $500K in debt. One of her points was that with some financial planning, you can create a cushion for yourself, and with awareness, you can and SHOULD keep track of your family's finances, whether or not you are "in charge" of them.

The really great part, was that Suze Orman's book can be downloaded for free from until some time tomorrow. They were giving her book away to her veiwers! How cool is that? I think it is very cool, and I went and downloaded it. I haven't had a chance to read through much of it yet, but I'm looking forward to it. I think and I hope that she can answer the questions that I was asking in my blog the other day.

I'm willing to listen to and consider her financial advice because I have heard her several times on NPR, and I think she is down-to-earth and realistic. I also respect the way that she helped the woman on the show, showing her how to get help where she needed it, and what kind of help to ask for, and how to get back on her feet again. She did it in such a human, sympathetic and respectful way that I was really touched.

So, look for this book! I'll let you know if any parts of it are particularly helpful, and I would appreciate a report in kind from anyone else who reads it ( or any other helpful book).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


My friend Fran's post this morning - ok, she posted it late last night - was about being grumpy, or in her words "grembly." Good word, by the way Fran. There must be something in the air, because it has definitely been stalking me lately too. I think this afternoon, it caught me with a vengeance.

Some things went well today, in fact most things went well, but still not with the expected outcome, appreciation, or something. Maybe its just the aches and pains that also have seemed to catch up with me today too. I know that some of it is my own fault (and maybe more than some, but we don't like to admit that, do we). Surprisingly enough - or maybe not surprisingly at all - there are some levels that I am not a good communicator on... That definitely contributed today to my grumpy feelings.

So, before I start whining, and REALLY complaining, I think I'll just end this with the hopes and expectations that tomorrow will be a better day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


One of my cousins has been in Ruidoso, visiting her parents. She brought her daughter and her grandchildren, and they had planned to go to White Sands this afternoon. I got a call from my uncle about 3:30 telling me they were going to go, and asking if we wanted to meet them there. He apologized for waiting until the last minute to let us know, but it would be great if we could manage it.

Well, what the heck. Neither Ron nor Carl were up for it, but Raine asks weekly if we can go to White Sands. It is one of her favorite places. So, Raine and I ate dinner, and took off for White Sands. We got there about the same time they did, and we went around the circle one way, and met them going around the other. We quickly parked and unloaded, setting out some chairs and some KFC (they usually like to picnic there, and if we hadn't already planned dinner, we would have too). The kids took off up the dune, making fast friends as they went. They slid down on the sleds. They dug and tumbled. They took pictures and we watched the sunset. We caught up on who was doing what, and generally enjoyed ourselves.

I love when I can do something at a moment's notice. Usually I enjoy myself at it - or I wouldn't be willing to take of in a moment. Sometimes I wish our family unit could be a little more spur of the moment, activity-wise, but even my planning for outings doesn't always work out. Still, you couldn't have asked for a nicer evening at White Sands than this was.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Where do those of us go for financial advise who don't have a lot of money? I mean, I do need information, and help. I suck at finances. But, I don't want someone to just try and sell me investments, or insurance, or really, anything. I need to know what papers to keep, what to get rid of... I mean I know, save your tax returns for 7 years. But, what else?

How much do these people get paid? How do you choose a good financial adviser?

I don't have enough money for anyone to slaver over, and I never will. My parents were not good examples of fiscal know-how. They were financially responsible, paid their bills, worked for their livings, etc. They taught us very little. Pretty much, I think they really didn't know much to teach us. Savings, budget, investments... if they had those, they didn't share their knowledge of how to pick, how to arrange, how to make them work.

I just know that paying the bills puts me - like it did my mom - in a really bad mood.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"final"reunion thoughts

Well, some of the people I had hoped would be there were not. Some that I wanted to come - and tried to talk into it - did not attend. Still, I had a really nice time, filled my social meter to the top and over-flowing (I'm not really fond of crowds) and talked to a lot of former classmates.

I didn't attend the 10 year reunion. I wasn't one of the popular kids. In the 10 years since graduation, I had not married, become thin, rich nor famous. I hadn't become strikingly, unexpectedly, beautiful. I had not accomplished anything amazing. There wasn't anything to show off. I had kept in touch with the classmates who were my particular friends, so did not need to go to the reunion to see them.

I did attend the 20 year reunion. I enjoyed it. I had found "my niche" and was in a personal comfort zone. The main thing that I discovered at the 20 year reunion was that a lot of my classmates had "gotten over themselves." It was a pleasure to find that they were real people with real lives and experiences. It was interesting to touch base with so many of them.

This year was the 30 year reunion. Not so many came to celebrate, although I think we did well with attendance. The committee - especially Alan and John worked really hard to contact as many people as they could. I was looking forward to seeing people and finding out where they were now, and reconnecting with some of them. And it worked. There was something I didn't expect, though. I connected with some of my classmates for the first time through the process of the reunion. THAT was the special part. That is what I will remember from this experience, and take forward with me. Thank you all for a very cool weekend!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

creature creator

Raine loves it... She was on my computer all day today, pretty much, making new creatures. They are colorful, and interesting, and each different from each other. They tend to all get a name like Trex (t-rex). Finding a theme here? Me too.

I'm going to have to limit the time she can spend with this creature creator, or I will never get to use my own computer!

Friday, June 20, 2008

so I...

went to the reunion mixer. The lights were low and the music was high, and someone invited a bunch of people I didn't know... wait... let me read your name... that sounds familiar. Hey!

There were more people there than I thought there would be, and I was happy to talk to the ones I recognized, and OK, even the ones I didn't recognize. There were plenty of those around.

SO tomorrow is the dinner, and maybe even some catching up with old friends before that starts. But for now a really short post, because its late, and I'm tired, and kinda talked out for the moment (don't faint).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

the next game

I've talked a couple of times about gaming, and particularly the online, massively multiplayer ones. I've also mentioned Civilization, and how much I like that game too...

Electronic Arts is putting out a new game soon, called Spore. You create a race of beings that evolve from protozoa like creatures, and can go as far as space. They released the creature generator today, and Ron was putting together cool looking creatures like crazy. Raine even got in on the act, and was having a blast with them. You can make them dance, and other emotes... change their mood, etc.

I've tried downloading the creature creator on my computer, but haven't been able to get it to work yet, Grrrr. But I will. The game isn't out yet, but what a marketing ploy! Make your creatures... then you'll want to buy the game and watch them evolve!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gearing up

My 30th high school reunion is this coming weekend. I think I've mentioned that before. But it is this weekend. Now. Get ready! Pick your outfit! People are getting to town for it.

Working with the reunion committee has been a great experience for me, seeing these people in the light of all-grown-upness. My light AND theirs... Connecting and reconnecting, and hearing about people I know or knew from a different perspective. It is very cool.

We did some final planning tonight, tried to get things ready for Friday, and we talked. Talked for a couple of hours, and it was good. I know that I'm not really expressing myself well, but let me see if I can get the idea across. I work in a high school, and there are days when I see myself and my classmates in these high school students. I encourage them when I can, and try to let them get a glimpse of what is on the other side of that high school diploma, what life is really like. I'm getting a different version of my own glimpse now. All the different lives, and experiences and stories that my classmates have. Some I'm sure I'm glad I did not have to live through, others are more amazing. The places people have seen and the things they have done... and come out the other side saying "Wow! What a ride!" Its kinda cool, really, getting that looking back at yourself looking forward feeling.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

photos, etc.

I took this photo of my daughter (in the white shirt) and my niece (in the green) last month when my niece was visiting. We went to the park, and they had a lot of fun. We walked around looking at stuff, and Raine wanted to climb a tree. Shelbi had no problem scampering up, and Raine took it a little slower. I snapped this photo and one of each girl separately. I'm really happy with how they turned out, all three of them. The tree really adds interest and character, and I could never reproduce it, if I wanted to.

I'm a big photo sharer. The internet, and e-mail makes it easy to do. It is the only way for some of our relatives and friends to keep up with the changes. Kids grow and change so fast...

Monday, June 16, 2008

It SHOULD be easy

To take a picture of something, and post it in a blog. I mean, I'm part of a techno-geek family. We have more computers living in our house than people. We own digital stuff! So, when Fran asked me to post a picture of the dress I made this past weekend, I didn't think it would be a major project...

First the camera didn't like the fabric and.... no WAIT! that wasn't first... FIRST the camera wasn't charged up, and whatever I did - you know, plugging it in and waiting for it to charge - didn't charge it up. This morning when I took pictures, I had to have it connected to the plug... on about a 3.5 foot cord. No, that isn't very long. I tried plugging it in a couple of places, but ended up a little too far from the garment, I think. Then, SECOND the camera didn't really like the fabric, and I would point it and find my shot, and it would "auto focus" from clarity into fuzziness. And, not just once. I think I took 4 or 5 different shots. I tried it hanging and lying... hanging was better, but...

Now, if you think that was the end of the problem, oh no! it is not! So, I took a few pictures, and figured I would look for the clearest, and use that... I mean we are not asking for a perfect picture here. So, I take the memory chip out of the camera and put it in my computer. I have all kinds of slots for different size memory chips for just such things as cameras. But, when I tried to save the pictures from the chip to the hard drive, I ran into more problems. I opened the pictures with the program that I usually use, and tried selecting and saving them. It went through the motions, but the actual work was not done. I tried a different program, and then it wouldn't respond. I went to "My computer" to look on the chip, and then THAT wouldn't respond. I thought that called for some kind of response, so I rebooted the computer. No, that didn't help.

I took the memory chip with me to Target, where I picked up the roll of film I had dropped off on Saturday - some good pictures, by the way - and put the chip into the machine and ordered some prints... one hour. No, Target didn't mess them up, I picked them up a little over an hour later, no problem. They weren't as clear as I had hoped for, but still, I had one that would give an idea of what the outfit looks like, more or less, and all I had to do was scan it in.

So, here we are, almost 9 PM, and the darned picture is finally scanned, rotated, cropped, and ready to go into the post, IF I can smoothly insert it (I hope, I hope). OK, done... SO, here is the dress and jacket. The shiny bits are not wrinkles, but the all-over thread design on the fabric. (One of the things I was hoping to pick up with the camera.) One loop and button on the front of the jacket.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

when did it happen?

When did I get to be the adult? No, I don't mean when was I allowed, I mean, when did it sneak up on me, capture me and post a sign above my head. Notice I didn't say that it beat me into submission, adulthood is still working on that, but I have a good hold for the moment, and I won't go easily.

Do you wonder about these things? Oh, I don't really mean the responsibility part. I do, but that is different. You can be responsible, and take care of the bills, and the important stuff and all that. Its important, and it is one of the marks of an adult. You can have kids, and be a kid (just look around the high school that I work at). I don't really mean _an_ adult, I mean _the_ adult. There's a difference. Do you think your parents felt the same way about it? I don't think mine did. They may not have had the luxury. My grandparents also lived into their late 80's and 90's, so it may not have hit my parents like it has me.

Still... I guess it has something to do with age. Time passing if nothing else. The previous generation goes, and there you are the matriarch or patriarch of your family. Whether it is because you are the oldest of the "kids" or maybe it fell to you some other way, it doesn't really matter. Responsibility I already mentioned, parenthood? I know I would like to leave some sort of family continuity to my daughter, but the family dynamics are fluid and changing. Distance and time. There are cousins and aunts and uncles that she has never met, and may never. By the time she is old enough to appreciate them, and be ready to keep the ties bound, the ribbons may be gone.

I think about it. I don't know what to do about it, really. I think about it, though. Meanwhile, get your chores done.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I wanted

to show everyone the outfit I finished today. My latest sewing project. The thing is, I didn't finish it. I got a lot done on it. The dress is a simple A-line, and I still need to put in the hem. It doesn't even have sleeves, although you still have to finish the arm holes, so there is facing around the arm holes and the neck line. I don't mind doing facings. In fact, sleeves are about the most annoying, and they aren't much. Actually the MOST annoying thing is cutting something out. Once that is done, the rest is cake.

The rest of this outfit is a short sleeved jacket. Even in the winter around here, I don't do much long sleeved anything. The jacket needs more work, finishing the sleeves, and putting in the hem. Both the dress and the jacket are of the same fabric, and the pattern shows putting braid about an inch and a half above the hem of the jacket, and around the sleeves. I got a machine that would do decorative stitching, so I could do that instead of adding trims, which I can never seem to have patience for putting on well. I have to do a little experimentation to see what stitch - if any - to add to both garments.

If I can get it finished tomorrow, I'll post a picture of the finished outfit, like I wanted to for today.

Friday, June 13, 2008

New way of listening

SO, what kinds of music do you like? I like a lot of different kinds, actually, and they are mostly not found on the radio. Well, at least not around here. OK, so we live out in the boonies, socially speaking, and radio has long been a wilderness here. Carl solved it by getting Sirius radio. It has a lot of channels and a lot of variety, but you do have to pay for it.

Ron came by a different solution. There are streaming radio stations on the internet. I doubt that is a surprise to many people. What you might not have thought about is that there are independent streaming radio stations on the internet. These are generally run by music lovers sharing the type of music they love. Some are commercial ventures and others are not. Ron worked for a while as a DJ for one of these stations. Now he is DJ-ing at another.

Ron likes to play jazz of all kinds, a little swing in there, and he hunts up a lot of unknown artists that you won't hear other places. THAT is the cool thing about these independent stations, the artists don't have to be sign with a major recording label for you to hear their work! I've heard him screening artists, and creating play lists, and of course not everything out there is worth listening to, but a lot of it is worth listening to at least once. So, if you are interested, Ron DJ's on Tuesday evenings from 5PM to 8PM Mountain Time on Take a listen. If you like it, let him know - of course there are other DJs at other times, so try their shows out too. If this music isn't your style, then try out other streaming radio shows. You never know what you might hear!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

staying up late

I'm not a night owl, I'm really not. Still, on these summer vacations, I find myself up later and later. It's cooler, it's quieter, and the alarm doesn't go off at 6 AM. It must be Carl's fault. yeah. sure. A couple of nights this week I've walked into the living room, and he has some movie or another on, thanks to the Encore channel or something, and we sit there through the thing. Sometimes it's a bad movie, like Prelude to a Kiss (there is just so much Meg Ryan being adorable that I can take). Tonight's movie was better. Vacation, with Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black, among others. One of the high points of the movie is that Eli Wallach (doubt I got it spelled right) is in it.

Other nights, its a book that keeps me up. Right now I'm reading White Night by Jim Butcher. It's the series of books that inspired the television series. I can't tell you how they compare, because I never watched the series, although I probably would have enjoyed it. I never knew when it was on. I caught a glimpse of one of Butcher's books at a friend's house, and asked if I could borrow it. She was nice enough to gather up all that they could find of the series so I could read them. I picked one at random, and, so far so good! Finished reading one of Lawrence Block's assassin books, which I enjoyed as well.

You know, it's late now, in fact. And here I am blogging away. I know late like this is not my best time for thinking clearly, nor probably for writing, but here I am, typing away. You would think I could manage posting something a little earlier, when I would make more sense, but evidently not. In any case, it is off to sleep for me now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

back to the pool

Today my friend came to the pool with us to watch Raine's swimming lessons. She doesn't have kids, and her niece and nephew live far from her, so she does the vicarious aunt thing with Raine. They both seem to enjoy it.

The pool that Raine is having her lessons at this summer is a new one. The old pool was finally unrepairable. This one is behind some tennis courts and not right on a busy street. It is also a good kiddie pool. It has that beach kind of construction with an area that you can really just walk out of the pool at... then it deepens, but only to about 3.5 to 4 feet deep. There are splashy fountain things in this area so the pool is good for cooling off, wet play. There is a set of about 5 lap lanes and an area where there is about a one story slide with a double curve (kind of a figure 8 I think) that has a landing zone that is roped off from the rest of the pool.

Now, Raine loves the water, and is not afraid of it at all. This is her third year of swimming lessons, and she is really getting the hang of it (the first 2 years were "preschool" kinds of lessons, getting the kids to go underwater, starting to float, etc). This year she is really starting to swim. Its only a few strokes at a time, but her feet are up and kicking, and she moves, so it is good. At the end of the lessons, some of the other classes were getting to go down the slide, but Raine's instructor had not taken them down it. He had two or three kids who really seemed afraid in the water, AND the kids were really cold in the pool, and he had a hard time keeping them in for the whole lesson last week. This week, it has warmed - HEATED - up, and the kids are doing really well. Raine kept asking me when they were going to go down the slide. I told her to ask her instructor. She finally did (good job!) and he asked the other kids if they wanted to go on the slide, and it was unanimous. They headed up the stairs.

I mentioned that the slide is about 1 story tall, right? Raine doesn't have any problem with water, but she does have a hard time with heights. She won't climb in the play sets at the fast-food restaurants. She will go on a slide at the playground, although some of the higher ones she has to work up to. Well, she climbed right up those stairs and slid right down the slide and had a great time at it.

Today they got to go again, and at the end of the firs slide, when the lifeguard who was "catching" put her on the side of the pool, she exulted, "That was AWESOME!" and she jumped up and down and clapped, and made happy noises (as only a 5-year-old can do), all the way back up the stairs, while she was waiting for her turn and as she was sliding back down. Yes, I could hear them from across the pool. I guess it was really, really fun.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


We got a shredder last weekend. Well we had one before (whenever that was), but it disappeared. In the mean-time, we were saving up papers that needed to be shredded, or ripping them into a few pieces, and if we weren't too lazy, putting the pieces in different trash bags. Or, just ignoring the issue with the thought that no-one really wants our credit score OR our identities, that's how boring and sad WE are.

So you get the idea that the household papers needed to be weeded out and organized, right? I worked on it today. Filled up a trashbag... OK, not a huge leaf bag, but a tall kitchen bag, plus some. Not bad, huh. I didn't quite finish as I need to look at some insurance papers still and see what needs to be saved, shredded, etc. Looking at that stuff makes me want to do something else REAL BAD, so I put it off until tomorrow. Still an accomplishment for what it is.

Monday, June 9, 2008

movies and kids

I took my daughter and her bestest friend to a movie today. Of course it was Kung Fu Panda and they really enjoyed it. We got some popcorn and a bottle of water and they got to pick the seats. We were the first ones in the theater, so they REALLY got to pick their seats. It was almost the first seats they came to (it was all by itself, to allow room for a wheelchair). So, we sat allll the way back at the top of the theater. I started to push them further in, somewhere in the middle, which is where I generally like to go, but I thought, "hey, let them sit where they want, it's their outing. I'm just along for the ride (driving?)." They sat quietly through the entire movie, watching it and sharing popcorn.

Anyway, this may not be Dreamworks best offering ever, but the story (while predictable) was satisfying, the voice talent good, the timing was also good, and the movie was just about the right length. I was very entertained, and the message (I hope this isn't a spoiler for anyone) was a positive, believe in yourself type of message. Plus, it had all kinds of martial arts action, even some of that very stylistic stop action stuff, and it was all G rated, and still looked nice. The kids came out of the theater wanting to try out their martial arts moves, but were persuaded that it should wait until later.

A good time was had by all, and I would recommend this movie as good summer theater kid fare.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

not sewing

But, getting ready to sew. I cut out a dress and matching jacket today. Blue fabric, almost sky blue, and it has an all over stitched design of leaves, almost like eyelet, but with no holes. I really like eyelet, but I don't intentionally wear holes, usually... hey! don't look in that hole! I have a khaki piece that I want to cut a pair of pants out of, and shorts too if there is enough. I want to sew up the other pants I have cut out though, and wear them to see if I like that pattern or should try a different one. I cut out some shorts for Raine and a top for me a couple of days ago. I'm not really one for camouflage, but this is dinosaur shapes, and Raine wanted a whole wardrobe from it. She'll have to settle for shorts, I think. I even have some coffee bean fabric that I have for Carl a shirt. Maybe I'll even get that cut out.

OK, honestly, for those who don't know (although the people who mostly read this blog already do know), I have tubs and boxes and crates of fabric. Some of it came from my mom's stash (and she's been gone more than 10 years now), some of it was passed along from friends for one reason or another, and most of it I bought at some time or another. I know there are people who have more fabric than I do, but... I could clothe my family for years without buying anything but thread, probably.

Speaking of clothing, and sewing, though. My friend who does so much sewing is thinking of sewing up some of her smaller pieces and donating clothing. I love that, and have some pieces that I've been saving for just such an occasion. I think I may even call the place and see if there is anyone in particular need, and what size... We might could get some start to school wardrobes ready for them.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Going green

So there's a new channel now, called something like Discovery Green.. .or something. Its all about being ecological. I know a lot of people interested in the topic, and interested in ways to be green, including myself. We all know some ways to conserve our resources, and others take, well, a lot of the other kind of green to get going. Still some interesting renovation kinds of shows, and some other kinds of shows as well... like for instance one I watched today.

A group of pretty and young friends who just love doing anything ecological are filmed "being green." What exactly does that mean??? Well, the get filmed being attractive and encouraging other attractive people to be ecological. A few of them have jobs, one is a real estate guy who works in an office, but designs ecological renovations. Another is an actor (I think they mentioned Entourage) who is having a house renovated (stripped down to the lumber bones and rebuilt). This renovation is supposed to make the house a "green" house, as they are using renewable resources etc to build with. It is definitely going to be a luxurious and beautiful home as well, and worth multiple millions most likely. One of the other people is a carpenter/handyman, who works on ecological upgrades and projects with a green theme. Think Andrew Danjumbo with a mission. This guy was the only one on the program that broke a sweat (and even then it was quite attractive). The others rode their bikes, wandered through the farmer's market, got themselves invited to a flower farm, stirred a little compost in a compost pile, then called their carpenter friend to build a compost box for some people the flower woman knew.

Evidently, all you really need to be green, is to be rich and cute. Ok, so maybe the show will be less... pretentious? self absorbed? in future episodes, but really... will I be interested in watching them? Can I call their carpenter friend to help me out with MY eco-projects? I know I'm not cute enough for TV, so probably not. I think their concept of encouraging green living is a good one: walk, ride your bike, grow your food, use renewable resources. I'm not sure they really accomplished that today, and I'm not sure I was interested enough in them to find out if they ever do accomplish it. I'm probably not their intended demographic, and maybe that is the problem, but I would like to see the real people, who have already made these life choices show me how to do it, and how its working out for them. What problems did they have to deal with? How did they over come them? Can the woman who grows all those organic flowers really make a living in CA selling them at a farmer's market???

I worry somewhat that eco-friendly living is something that will be one more line between the haves and the have-nots. That is sad because some of the eco-friendly concepts are very self-sustainable, and would be sooo very helpful for those at the low end of the economic ladder.

Friday, June 6, 2008

lord of the rings online

In which I feel like a total goob.

I know I have mentioned that I like playing massively multiplayer online games. I met Ron while we were both playing one of them. I've played several, always at a touristy kind of level. I'm not a twitch gamer, I don't do PvP. When I was in Denver, and pregnant with Raine, Ron fixed up his recliner so I could sit in it with my feet up and play a little while. Of course every time I got comfy in the recliner, I fell asleep. He offered to level up my character for me, so we would be near the same level, but I found that without gaining the experience myself, I didn't know what new skills were brought by the new levels, and I didn't get to practice using them... so it didn't really work out.

Right now, we are kind of between games. Well, I should say that I am between games. Ron and I played a little City of Villains, which was fun to a point. The character generation in CoV is GREAT. The missions tend to be monotonous after a while. Same old, same old. SOOoo Carl talked us into playing Lord of the Rings Online, and he and Ron play quite a bit of it. Carl also plays World of Warcraft, which Ron just got really tired of. Me? Well, it seems like there is always something else that needs to be done around the house; childcare, dishes, organizing, crafts, yard work. As I said, I pretty much play at a touristy level, and stuff takes my attention away from the game frequently, like Raine, or needing to pee, or something shiny... Then the rest of the group moves on without me, and I die and well... So playing Lord of the Rings is kind of frustrating and I feel pretty useless with my character. Not as much fun as feeling needed. So, I don't know about this game. The gamescape is pretty, the characters are as good as any, and I guess the skills are OK, unless you're a noob like me. Mostly it is the exploration that I miss... I never really get to learn my way around.

Well, enough of this semi-complaining... That really wasn't the point of the post. I just was kind of writing about how sometimes you just gotta suck it up. And then wait for something better to come along. Or something like that.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

sewing guild

Before I was married, I belonged to our local sewing guild. It was fun to get together with the nice women who made up the group and learn from their sewing experiences, and share things we had made, etc. It was one of the activities I liked to share with one of my long-time friends as well. It was fun! One day during the summer, we met at my house, and used a bunch of our odds and ends of fabric and notions, and the kid clothes patterns that anyone had and made quite a few outfits that we donated to a group that works with homeless children.

Then I got married, moved to Colorado, had Raine and finally moved back. But I didn't join in the sewing guild when I came back. I visited a few times, and enjoyed it, but when it came down to making the commitment of time and money, I just couldn't do it.

Finally life has become more settled. Financial stresses have eased a little, Raine has grown a lot, and I've been feeling like I want to do more sewing, generally. I really appreciate the skill and knowledge that group offers, and as I mentioned, I think they are generally nice women. I like nice people. My friend let me know earlier this week that their meeting was tonight, and it was a sew-in. They were going to make pillow pouches for women who have just had breast cancer surgery. The little pillow gives you something to rest your arm against instead of the surgery site. I went and helped sew these pillow pouches, and even though there were only seven of us there, we got quite a few of them made. (The first ones took the longest, of course).

Well, I think I will join the guild again. It is a low-stress group, with a lot of good activities. Things that I am interested in, like creating projects and entering them into the fair each year. Some of the members even get involved in judging. (I wouldn't be competent at that) They share sewing tips and techniques, and have guest speakers, and they do some nice projects together. I've only been almost five years in making this decision... I won't be five more in following through.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

emptying boxes

I emptied two boxes today. I've also been cleaning my closet. Slowly. Although, two boxes... I mean, practically manic, for me. I can't believe that will all the culling and packing and storing and sorting that we did for the remodel, that I still have so much that I can get rid of... Still I've come to enjoy the feeling of things that are no longer in my house.

We got some of those space bags and I've put some of the baby afghans, and clothes in them, and some other fabric keepsakes. They reduce quite a bit in size (of course I pack them fuller than they pack them on TV) when you vacuum out the air. Why is it that when it becomes smaller, you expect it to weigh less? I mean, you sucked out the lightest part, so logically the weight should be about the same. Still, I was surprised when the bags where as heavy as they were. Sigh. Now, I just have to figure out how to organize the bags.

I had tried some of those big ziplock bags, but I think the space bags are more satisfactory... at least so far. I really didn't have a lot of luck keeping the others closed, and part of the point of putting things in a plastic bag is to keep it closed and keep dust, etc out. Or is that just me. Still, I still have some of those bags, and will try to figure out something to do with them. Including perhaps, trying not to fill them too full.

So, I'm not zooming through the organization, but I am doing some, and at a fairly steady pace. I'll be taking some stuff away tomorrow, to Good Will. I'll also feel good in my own good will that my home is a little better today than it was yesterday.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

being thankful

I had kind of a close call the other day, and reading Fran's blog reminded me of it. I was driving on Triviz (one of the streets Fran lived on while here - one she talked about, but didn't name) and a driver going the other way was slowing down, with his blinker on, to make a left turn. As I passed that truck, I noticed that the truck behind him was following pretty close, hmmm maybe too close. As I passed the second truck, I heard the crash. I don't think it was a bad accident, as neither vehicle was going very fast, but the first truck was pushed across the lane of traffic that I was in. Behind me, fortunately... there but for grace... You know what I mean?

Well, I did go on my merry way, picking up my brother from his appointment. I was thankful though. Thankful to be missed. Thankful that I didn't have to worry about fixing my car, and even more thankful not to have to worry about fixing my body... at least from that.

Then, Monday morning, I realized that I had forgotten to go get my license renewed the week before. OOoopps! Doh! (all of those things). So then I could have gotten a ticket the week before for my license as well, maybe. One more thing to be thankful for! Thankful for remembering too, by the way, and taking care of THAT right away. Thankful for MVD Express, too by the way, extra fees, but well worth not having to wait so long.

Monday, June 2, 2008

dinner and...

Just so you know... the potato salad was awesome. Really yummy, and yes, I put the pickles into the pan with the onion and celery. We had bacon sandwiches with it for dinner. Yummy again. It will probably be even better tomorrow as all the flavors will have had even more time to meld together.

My daughter has a hard time with things like Potato salad and Chicken salad. To her, salad has lettuce in it - or SOME kind of leafy green - which she has still decided not to like. So I think she has identified those leafy greens to BE the salad... and she sees potato salad and asks where the salad is. The conversation kind of goes around in a circle. This is potato salad. But where is the salad? Potato salad doesn't have lettuce in it, it has potatoes, and other yummy stuff. Do I like potato salad? You like potatoes, don't you? Yes, but I don't like salad, is there salad in it? Its called potato salad.... I think you can get the idea from there.

We are going to try a Reuben casserole recipe some time this week. Mmmmm It sounded good when a friend of mine talked about it, and so, since we like sauerkraut, we are going to try this casserole. Try new things, but keep the tried and true... my to-do for the day.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

cantaloupe and potato salad

Summer, right? We got a cantaloupe at Sam's today. They looked so pretty, and I've been wanting one. You kind of have to be careful at Sam's, things are often on the edge of good. Last week they were already scary, so we passed. I cut it up a little while ago and MMmmmmm. So, do you know how to pick a cantaloupe? Who taught you? My mom and her mom taught me. There are a few things to check. First, look for the stem end, the little belly button. The melon should give a little bit when you push (now, don't try to poke your finger through, ewww). Then, smell the melon. If it doesn't smell like a cantaloupe, it won't taste like one either. In fact, if you don't smell them when you are walking by, they probably aren't very ripe.

How about a watermelon? We got one of those last week when the cantaloupe weren't good. Our Great Uncle taught Carl & I how to pick those. Our folks gave us the "chore" as soon as we learned how. Thump them. You want to hear a hollow sound, and deeper is usually better. Of course, you don't want a soft one. Some people thump with a finger, but OW! I use my knuckle instead.

So... how about potato salad. I'm pretty picky, and I pretty much only want home-made. I will eat some store-bought to be polite, because I have at least a few manners. I do like the home-made kind, at least the way I make it... Here are some of the things I've learned about making potato salad. I like to boil some carrots and a couple of eggs in with the potatoes. The carrots add a little color, and I think they are yummy. I cut them pretty small, and you could pretty much smash them in and they would disappear. I use dill relish or dill pickles, and some mustard along with mayo. I don't like my potato salad too juicy though, bleah, so I don't go over board with either. Onions and celery give a little something and salt and pepper to taste. Oh yeah, and bacon, if you got it (or can eat it). Bacon makes anything better. Just ask me, I'll tell you. If you have some and you are going to cook it, through in the onions and the celery for a little sautee while you are at it. Now, don't look at me so funny, but I bet if you threw the pickles in the pan with the onions, bacon and celery, that would be tasty too. (don't tell me you've never fried pickles with a hamburger!) Nice thing about potato salad is that it is a cook ahead dish. The night before, when the house has cooled off, you can boil up your potatoes, etc, and you don't have to make the house hotter for dinner. That is a consideration here in the hot southwest.