Saturday, January 31, 2009

Car Shopping

Kurt and I managed to wrangle some time off yesterday without the kids and used it to go new car shopping. I love my Honda CRV, but it is 11 years old with 119,000 miles and is getting a little tired. There are times when I need to pick up a few extra kids, so I was looking for a car with a third row seat, but I don't like driving a big car. The first car we drove was a Kia Rhondo. It is called a mini mini SUV and drives like a car. It has a third row of seats though and can fit 7. They still have 2008's left over so we could get a good deal on it. I liked driving it and it seemed to be a good size . The interior is a little utilitarian, but it still had all the basic features I need. They even had an all decked out one with leather and a sun roof.

Another car I liked was the Toyota RAV4. I almost got one when I bought my Honda years ago, but went the other way. It is more expensive, but also has a nicer interior and more substantial feel. The last row of seats is a bit cramped, but the middle row will fit 3 comfortably.
I'd love to get a hybrid, but the only options there are bigger cars, and they start getting expensive in a real hurry. I did the math and it would take 20 years to make up the price difference with the savings in gas.
I slept on it last night thinking I'd reach some conclusion in the morning, but nothing has come to me yet. I've got rock climbing again this morning, this time for my Girl Scout troop. Maybe I'll think about cars again after that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Today was our first Daisy field trip. I am always so happy when something happens that I didn't have to plan. What a relief to have someone else doing all the leg work! The whole service unit is going rock climbing on Saturday, but we all thought that might be a bit much for our new troop (and the tickets were already sold out). So we scheduled our own personal session at the indoor rock climbing gym. What could be cuter than 6 kindergarteners in rock climbing gear? A couple of the girls were a little aprehensive when we started, but they got over it in a hurry and were scurrying up the walls with ease by the end of the day. Even the mom's got in on the fun, although I won't post any of those pictures, it was very amusing. I'll be back on Saturday with my own troop, I think it will be too crowded then for me to get much climbing time of my own in.

I finished the quilting on OHR last night and got the binding ready to go. I just need to attach it to the quilt and I will be almost done. I'll get a picture when it's finished. That's my January goal almost done just as January is almost done. I'll have to pick out a February goal next.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Camping and Such

I worried a lot about the weather being too cold to camp this weekend. Although it did get a little chilly at night, it was quite nice during the day. This was the weekend for the annual leader daughter camping trip hosted by our Girl Scout Service Unit. I took both girls for the first time this year as it is Sydney's first year as a Daisy Scout. Much camping fun was had by all, from geo-caching and fishing to s'mores and campfire songs. We found two caches in our first try with the GPS, but didn't manage to catch any fish. I'm pretty happy about that 'cause I didn't bring anything to clean or cook the fish with if we had caught any. Honestly, I forgot to bring the bait, but Girls Scouts are always prepared and everyone else seemed to have plenty to share.
Sydney took a little power nap in the afternoon while Anna was off to do a mail-box trail with her friend Meredith. The day ended with the required campfire songs and s'more roasting session. I'm always amazed at how readily we hand sharp pointy stick over to young kids and sent them over to a roaring blaze with only a hat or bandana for protection.

Ryan was pretty excited to have all of us girls out of the house and had all sorts of "boy time" planned for the men folk at home. They were both a little sad that there was no football on TV, but they still managed to have some quality time together.

Most of the weekend was booked, but I did manage to lay out my Old Hurricane Road quilt on Sunday afternoon while everyone else was busy with an Odysey of the Mind practice. This is my UFO of the month for January, and I'm running out of time to get it finished up. I got a few rows quilted before dinner tonight, and I think it will finish up pretty quickly. I'm going to put some palm frond like shapes in the dark colored rectangles and some sort of circular hurricane type shape in the pinwheel areas. I'm tying it all in to my theme of "Florida in the Fall". I'm hoping by the time I get this one finished up I'll have come up with some inspiration for my Double Delight border.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yes We Can

Today was a better day than yesterday. Calmer at least. We had a fire alarm during Forensic Science today and had to postpone our lab for a day. When they turned on the heat, the dust set off the alarm. I guess that gives you an idea of how often the heat gets turned on around here. There are serious freeze warnings out for the rest of the week. The shrubberies all look like ghosts because people have them draped with sheets for protection. It all works out for the best though, because there is another open house at school tomorrow, and now we'll be doing a lab while it is going on. I just hope it warms up before our camping trip next weekend.

I spent a little time this afternoon working on my Inauguration Quilt. It came together quite quickly, now I just have to decide if it is done yet. The space where I want to hang it usually holds a larger quilt, and I don't like to have pieced blocks on the outer edge, so it might get another round of something. I used Tonya's free pieced letters and then added some wonky stars in the corners. I'm not thrilled with the "a" in can, but otherwise I'm pretty happy. I had a tough time with the "W" but I think it worked out OK. Someone posted a tutorial recently on the stars, but I can't remember who. (Did anyone else see that one?) I used leftover flying geese triangles from the Double Delight to make star points on 2 inch red background squares and then put them together to make 9 patches.
UPDATE -- I just figured out why the "a" seemed a little odd. It's backwards! Sometimes I am a little dyslexic. I hate to go back and rip it out, but I can't leave it in that way. Maybe I can make another and applique it over the top? I'll have to ponder that one overnight. I'm not ready to grab the seam ripper right now. Big Sigh.
UPDATE #2 - Quilt Pixie was kind enough to remind me where I saw the star tutorials. It was Belinda at Brown Dirt Cottage who was kind enough write one. I used triangles rather than squares for the points, but otherwise used the same process. I know I say this a lot, but wouldn't a whole quilt of those little wonky stars be just too adorable?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not Enough Hours in the Day

I'm sitting here watching inauguration coverage on TV, thinking about all the things that I should be doing. The list goes on in a never ending cycle and changes little over time. However, some moments are bigger than the present, and I am not going to miss the inauguration because I needed to fold a load of laundry. Instead I worked on the quilt that I've been turning over in my mind since election night. It took me a couple of hours this afternoon to put the letters together, and maybe this evening I can decide what I am going to do with them. The finished quilt will be a wall hanging that can hang in the foyer.
I was still at school during the swearing in ceremony, so some of us gathered and watched together. My school is strongly conservative and my students, for the most part, are not happy to see a democratic administration coming in. I cautioned them all that we would not watch any of the coverage if they could not contain their negative comments. I'm thrilled to see a change coming and am full of optimism and hope that we will all see some real change in the future.

It was a crazy weekend, and I'll be playing catch up all week. I think I mentioned on Friday that I was going to be learning how to camp this weekend. The weather was not exactly ideal, but I made it through all of the required training without any frostbite. I must admit that I was feeling pretty sorry for myself after shivering through all of Saturday and thought about bailing when they started warning us about hypothermia as the day ended. I stuck it out though, and by Sunday it had started to warm enough that a few brave souls started to shed their outer layers. My lips slowly turned from purple back to pink and I started to feel better about life. I am now literate in 6 types of outdoor cooking (stick cookery, one pot, propane, dutch oven, box oven and advance stick cookery) and a wide variety of camping tools and paraphanelia. We were back about dinner time, tired and smelly, and I spent the rest of the evening unpacking and such. I was so hoping to come back to a clean house and neatly folded laundry, but the rest of the family was frantically busy all weekend with ice skating and OM and birthday parties. All the usual weekend fun. The house never does well with the usual weekend fun, so I spent my time on Monday afternoon putting it all back together.
We were off yesterday for MLK day and I took advantage of having an extra day to get in one more long run. I was still feeling horrible about bailing on my last run and wanted to get in just one more. Meisje was kind enough to bring her son to babysit, and we took off from here to get in 24 miles. We took two Gatorade breaks and one break to deliver Anna home from a sleepover, meaning the whole run took about 5 hours, but the running time was 4 hours and 16 minutes which made me pretty happy. I think it's only three more weeks until the marathon now, so I get to start enjoying the taper. I don't have any time goals in mind for this marathon, I just want to run a nice steady race and not lose time in the second half.
No nice afternoon nap followed the long run, instead I was getting ready for last nights Girl Scout meeting. Kurt scheduled his Cub Scout meeting for the same time, so we made it a combination meeting, his boys were learning about fun and games and my girls were practicing leadership skills. By the time we ushered all of them out at 8:05 last night, I was just about ready to collapse.

I'm off to a leader meeting tonight, cookie orders are due or I'd think about skipping out entirely. Next weekend is leader daughter camping and I am hoping hoping hoping that it warms up before then. Sydney has never been camping and I am not going to take her out into the bitter cold to freeze. The poor kid would never want to camp again.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Border Options

I snuck out of the house today on the excuse of needing to mark papers for school and had a lovely lunch at Jason's Deli and visited Joann's in search of some border fabric. I found a nice green and some more of the gold for the border I had in my mind. They are having a HUGE sale right now, and everything was 50% off! Then I came home and started playing with options. I started by setting some extra 9 patches on the diagonal with different combinations of blue and green. I thought it was nice, but Kurt thought it was too busy. He always thinks that a pieced border is too busy, always for the same reason, "the middle is already too busy". I liked the way that the blue looked and started messing around with an applique border. I'm pondering making some little flower blobs out of more pink 9 patches and connecting them with some green leaves and bias vines. No decsisions yet, I'll let it simmer. As much as I'd love to jump in and get it all finished up, I've got to pack for camping in the morning. It's still really cold here, so I'm trying to find lots of warm clothes. I think I found a pair of gloves, but they don't match, and Anna has a purple scarf I can steal. We used to have warm clothes, but they get worn so rarely that it seemed like a waste of space to keep them on. We're off school on Monday, so I can use that time to try to catch up on all of my normal weekend things like laundry and cleaning.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


It's not "Done Done", because I still need to make some border decisions, but the top for Double Delight is to the flimsy stage (Insert Big Woohoo Here)! I'm thinking of a 1.5 inch gold border and then a 3.5 inch in the blue or the green. I don't have any of those fabrics, but that's still what I'm thinking. Tomorrow is Friday, so maybe I'll have time to sneak out to Joann's after school and pick something out. I should inventory my backing stash at the same time and see what I can cobble together. I still have Old Hurricane Road all layered and ready to go, so I'll have to have a basting party very soon. and then get ready to go crazy with some quilting. I'd love to be able to do it this weekend, but I have to go to camping training. I've been camping with for years. Camping in college when we were too poor for a hotel, camping with my family on holidays, camping with my troop. I'm not a professional camper, but I'd say I'm at least competent. The Girl Scouts like training though, so I'm going to a camping training weekend with Sheila, my co-leader. I realized on Wednesday that I had missed a Team Meeting on Monday, so I'm feeling like a slacker all around. Cookies are underway already, so I won't be able to slack too much and still get it all done.

I'm still figuring out the new computer, I don't have all the right software on it yet to edit the pictures the way I'm used to, so for now, I'm just uploading them HUGE. It's always the little things you get stuck on when you have to switch over to a new machine. I got a new desktop at work last summer and I still can't find the exact right version of my favorite test generator program so that I can open up all of my old tests. Fortunately, my old laptop is still hobbling along, so I keep going back and forth when I need to find something old. So many issues our ancestors never had to deal with!

Oh, I almost forgot the weather update. Everyone is posting snow pictures on their blog and going on about how cold it is up north. We've had the same cold front come through down here and it almost got to FREEZING last night. I don't think it really did freeze, the hibiscus is very sensitive to frost and it looks fine, but still, ALMOST. I had to wear a jacket and gloves when I went out running this morning. BRRR. I tried hard to see my breath, but maybe it had warmed up by then. Even worse, I actually caved and turned on the heat this afternoon. I always hate to do that. Mostly 'cause I like to say, "the heat, no I haven't turned that on in years!) now it's all blown and I'll have to fess up. It may not seem all that harsh to those of you up north who have insulation in their houses, and own winter coats, but we're just not equipped to deal with it down here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Long Lost Friends

My old college friend Grant was in the area this weekend to run the Disney Marathon. He's been pretty busy theme parking it, but we went over yesterday evening to have dinner and catch up on old times. We brought the kids along to meet everyone and ended up at a Chicago style pizza place. Oh how I miss true Chicago deep dish pizza. When we lived in Chicago we had our favorite place and were frequent visitors. We looked hard for something equivalent when we moved down here, but never found anything close.
Grant is so much the same as when we were in college. Despite his new found interest in running marathons, he is exactly the person I remember. I wonder if I have remained just as stable over time? My life seems so different from college, but I'm sure beyond all the outside changes I'm just as similar underneath. It all seems like so long ago, and at the same time, I remember it like it was yesterday. Time is such a funny thing. Kurt and I have been together over 20 years now and will celebrate 15 years of marriage this summer. I still see myself as the same person I was in college though. Sometimes I'm shocked to look in the mirror and see a middle aged lady looking back at me!

Sydney was a little tired I guess and passed out cold before we were done. I can't blame her, it was probably 8 by the time we finished eating, and that is bed time around here. I never get tired of taking pictures of the kids sleeping in odd places. Some day I'll make each of them a collage and have it framed.

I spent the afternoon prepping a forensic science lab for tomorrow. It is on toxicology and I spent forever trying to cobble together the right chemicals. Despite the vast warehouse of concoctions at my disposal, surprisingly few of them are actually toxic. I guess it is a good thing that it is so hard to find poison.

Weekly running summary

Miles for the week 20.98

Miles for the year 42.73

Saturday, January 10, 2009

18 is less than 26

My last long training run was 23 miles. It went so well, I was sure that 26 would happen just as easily. I should have stopped to consider a few small facts, I spent most of the week sick, preventing from running much this week, and I'm still not back to 100%. I was doing pretty well for the first 15 miles or so. Then I started to get tired. Really tired. I know it seems silly to complain about being tired after running 15 miles, but I still had 11 more to go! Meisje and I met up with Tom at that point and I kept plodding along, but I could see myself falling further and further behind. Then my legs turned into lead and I couldn't keep caught up on breathing. When I started to get nauseous and dizzy, I finally gave up and called it quits right before mile 18. No 26 mile training run for me. I still have 4 weeks until the marathon, theoretically I have time for another long training run, but both of the next two weekends are booked already so I'm running out of time in a hurry. Sorry for the quality on the picture above. It is a picture of a picture from the Space Coast Marathon on Thanksgiving weekend. It's been great to have friends to run with. I would have given up long ago if I was out there on my own.

I got showered and had lunch when I got home and then puttered around with some more double delight blocks. All of the double nine patches have been happily complete for a while now, but I'm moving along slowly on the rolling stars. There are a lot of points on that puppy that need to be matched. I'm not one of those "perfect point" people, but the mistakes in this one really seem to pop out. There is also a lot of bulk at the seems where the points meet, so I'm trying to work with that as well. Still, I'm just about to get it tackled. I was running out of pink and didn't have enough to cut the setting triangles, so I put in an order to connecting threads for some pinks and some thread. I had to add a couple of more odds and ends to the cart to get to the $50 minimum for free shipping. That came in yesterday and now it is washed and ready to go. I could get this puppy finished this weekend if I am very lucky.

I promised to take the kids to see a movie in the morning tomorrow, and we are driving to Orlando for dinner. We don't usually drive to Orlando for dinner, but there is a story there. I got a call from a long lost college friend of Thursday. Grant is in town for the weekend to run the Disney Marathon! I didn't even know that Grant was running, I never would have guessed it. I hadn't talked to him in almost 5 years, it was great to hear from him again. I'm glad he's better at keeping in touch than I am, he filled me in on the happenings of all of our old college friends, so it was a bit of a walk down memory lane for me. I'm looking forward to seeing him again and to meeting Sarah, his wife.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thursday is a Good Day

I always enjoy Thursday. It isn't the weekend yet, but you've made it past the hump while still having time to finish what needs to be done for the week. It helps at my house that the housekeeper comes every other Thursday. I come home from work to a clean and peaceful house with the pressure of restoring order gone for a brief respite. If we are going out to dinner, it usually happens on Thursday so that the kitchen can stay spotless for just a while longer. Tonight I bucked tradition and made dinner for the family. I was in a mood to try new recipes. As a child, I remember my Grandfather making potato pancakes out of leftoever mashed potatoes. I don't know why I have that memory, because he wasn't from a generation where men did much of the cooking, but the images still linger in my mind. So tonight I combined potato pancakes with home made applesauce and some turkey sausages. Quite a departure, from our usual fair, but it was fun to branch out. I got a few more Rolling Star blocks put together for the mystery quilt, no new pictures yet, but I may get a few more together after the kids are in bed.

I do have exciting vacation news. For the first time this year, my school is taking a "winter break" week in February. We still end up with the same number of days off, but they've grouped all the random holidays together to make a week! My kids don't get the week off, so Kurt and I have booked a Caribean cruise for that week. Him mom is being kind enough to come and stay with the kids (Thank you so much Bonny!!!), and we will have 5 days and 4 nights of relaxing dinners, calm afternoons and random leisure time. I'm already starting mental a list of books to read and handsewing to bring along.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fighting Through

I've been fighting off a head cold since Monday. I got sick earlier this year and made it through without taking any sick days. I staggered through each day and then came home to sleep until it was time to get up and go to work again. I decided this time to nip it in the bud and took a sick day today to stay home and rest. I feel 100% better now, so I think my plan worked. I did take some time between naps to get a little more done on the double delight quilt.
I got out the shapemaster and made quick work of the nine patches. They were turning out so darn cute that I even cut extras to whip up a couple of baby doll quilts for the girls. While the kids did their homework this afternoon, I FINALLY finished squaring up the square-in-a-square blocks. Yikes did that take forever. I got enough of those sewn together to lay out on the floor and appreciate. It's 9:30 now and I'm ready to call it a night.
I'm quite happy with the way this quilt is turning out. I'm glad, because some of the steps have been fairly time consuming. I would hate to have put in all that work and not been happy with the outcome.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Big Fat Cheater

I try not to peek ahead on mystery quilts. I get motivated by wanting to see what is next and therefore wait to look ahead to the next step. If I had one more day to sew my little heart out, I could finish this quilt up. One more day is not something I have. School started again today and I should come up with some lesson plans, the laundry still isn't put away from the weekend and 9 girl scouts will arrive at my house in just a few hours. So instead of diligently finishing each step, I've gone ahead to the end and gotten enough of each step done to know what the pattern will be. It's not as bad as it seems. Step one and two are completely sewn and half squared up. The strip sets for step 3 are sewn, they just need to be sub-cut. Still, even if I don't have enough time to finish, I had enough time to start, so I'm a big ole cheater and I don't regret it a bit. Now that I've satisfied my curiosity, I need to go figure out what the scouts are going to do and make the house presentable. The kids are home all day today, so making the house presentable is a bit like pushing Jello up a hill.
While I'm on the subject of things I wish I had more time to adequately enjoy, I got a new laptop yesterday! I've been shopping for one since before Thanksgiving as mine is on it's last feeble little legs (it is flashing error messages at me as I type). Of course, as soon as I got it home, Kurt whisked it off -- to get it set up for me -- and I haven't seen again yet. So I'd love to hop on and play, but It goes on the "later" list as I take care of the immediate necessities. I am going to take time to peek in on everyone and see if they managed to get to a more satisfying stopping point than I did before Monday happened. Happy quilting.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I'm still plugging away on step 3. Normal Sunday activities got in the way. Exciting things like laundry and grocery shopping took up a large proportion of the day. We did get the tree down, and restored at least one room to some semblance of normalcy. I'm back to school tomorrow, but the kids don't start back until Tuesday. We've got a sitter coming, so they are all excited about that

Sunday running report:
Miles this week 21.75
Miles this year 21.75

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Step 2

After plugging away during the free moments today, I finally finished step 2! I still have a bit of squaring and trimming to do, but decided while I was at it, I should go ahead and cut out step 3. I'm still not happy with my pink/reds, but I'll try to use what I have. If it doesn't work, I can always make a nice baby doll quilt and find something new.

I had a 10 mile run this morning and then went home for a nice steamy shower. I used up the last of the shampoo and was trying to take the cap off to recycle the bottle when it broke and the sharp edge sliced three of my fingers. I sit and cut away day after day with a rotary cutter and then cut myself with a shampoo cap! That takes talent.

I made some progress on my January goal of organizing the kitchen today. I cleared out some more dishes and glassware that we don't need and tidied up two sets of cabinets. Not a huge undertaking, but it's all about baby steps. We'd better have that garage sale soon or the attic and garage will overflow.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Step One

In celebration of having the house painting done, I settled in today to sew myself silly on the Double Delight mystery quilt. I spent some time studying the mini batch of 10 blocks I put together yesterday and decided I didn't like the yellow I was using. After switching to another shade, I pulled the DVD player from the car and settled in to sew all those together. They are all pressed and waiting to be trimmed down.
Sydney was in need of some mommy time, so I sat and watched her dance her little heart out to Barbie and the Island Princess while I cut out the pieces for step 1-B. I sewed up just a few and am happy with the two greens that I substituted in where Bonnie is using brown. Now I should decide If I'm going to be good and finish all the squaring up or save that and move on to the next step. Either way, I need to get to bed early tonight, I've got a long run scheduled in the morning so I should be well rested.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2009! I hope everyone made it safe and sound into the new year. I celebrated the holiday in solitude as everyone else in the house was fast asleep. I turned on the TV to watch the festivities and happily cut out the first step of Bonnie's new mystery. I decided to build the quilt around a stack of shirting fabrics that I have been collecting for a while. They are fairly historic looking, so I was trying to find other fabrics that look less modern. Not having much of a stash of reproductions made it a little hard. I found several blues and greens that worked, but have almost no pink that didn't look too little girlie. I found a couple of reds that worked well, but I don't know if I want to do another red white and blue quilt. I don't have any browns, so I'll use the greens instead. Fortunately the first step doesn't use any of the pink/red, so I can save that decision for later. It's good that the mystery comes in steps so that I don't have to figure everything out all at the same time. I had everything cut out and organized into nice little groups of 10 last night right after the ball dropped. I've been cleaning and organizing this morning, but sat down and chained a set of 10 through the machine to get an idea of how the colors will look together.
Yesterday afternoon I organized a group of friends to go see Twilight together! I've finished all of the books now, so it seemed like a good time to see the movie. I'm glad I read the book first, it has the same plot and characters as the movie, but so much more detail. It was nice to get out without the kids and spend some time with grown ups for a change.
As far as new years resolutions go, I am going to break down my goals one month at a time. So here's the plan for January:
The WIP I am going to tackle this month is Old Hurricane Road, my version of Bonnie's last mystery. It's been finished for quite a while, but got put away when the Girl Scout quilts took over. All three layers are ready, it just needs to be basted and quilted.
As far as the house goes, I'm going to pick one room each month to focus on. Maybe then I won't feel like I have to tackle the whole thing at the same time. So January is going to be the kitchen. We've been in the house for almost 5 years now, and all of the cabinets could use a good dose of purging and organization. I also want to get some sort of pull out drawer/organizer to put under the stove top for the pots and pans. I got a start this morning by pulling our everyday dishes and rotating in a set that used to be our "good" china. Our old dishes were getting pretty tired and chipped, so I threw them in a box for the garage sale. We have a disaster drawer that keeps the kids stuff, I'll look at that again, as well as going through the pantry and fridge. If I finish all of that and have time, the baseboards and grout could use a little attention.
The marathon training is still in progress on the fitness front, I think I only have one more long run left before the taper, I should check on that.
So that is enough of a plan to get me through January, I'll think about February when it gets here. Now I'm going to go through the mystery quilt ring and see who else has joined in on the mystery.