Sunday, July 31, 2011

Productive Day

Well, maybe not ever, but certainly feel like I've gotten a lot accomplished: swept, mopped and vacuumed floors, cleaned bathrooms, swam a few laps, did laundry, went grocery shopping at Sprouts (Lisa arrives home tomorrow, and she's requested lots of fresh fruit/veggies), finished the NY Times crossword puzzle - and the day is still young!  I do have a Target run to make, but then I figure I can kick back and relax.

financial meltdown?

Pretty sad that the 'powers that be' have been having so much difficulty behaving like rational adults and getting it together to work something out.  Whatever happened to 'playing nicely together' and compromising?  Maybe they need to post some reminders at the Capitol, like the basic wisdom of "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum. .  In the meantime, here's DILBERT's take on the situation:
As long as I'm sharing comics, today's ZITS (which often seems to be SO relevant in my Life With Alex) could be seen as just another take on the same situation:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

ice cream block

I finished up my August BOM for Foothills.  The 'assignment' was to use our favorite flavors for the two scoops.  No contest there, because if it's not chocolate, why bother?  :-) 
(There's actually a pattern on the background fabric, but it doesn't show up in the picture.)

chipmunks are just too cute

This is your smile for today.  I know I can use one -will be attending a memorial this afternoon for one of my Busy Bee quilting friends Nancy Horn, a lovely lady and phenomenal artist.  Unfortunately several others in the group are also not doing well these days. It will be so sad to lose their friendship - and also their amazing know-how.
This little guy brings back happier memories of feeding the chipmunks at a ghost town called St. Elmo, in Colorado, when the kids were little.  Brazen critters - I seem to remember that one ran inside Alex's shirt!  We would also stop at a roadside waterfall just before heading up and over Wolf Creek pass each summer on our annual vacation to Colorado.  It was a spectacular view, but the kids were always more interested in feeding the chipmunks that lived there.  
 He obviously liked these goldfish (seriously doubt there were any in the creek at the bottom of the waterfall...)

Playing in the snow at the top of the pass was always fun, too - especially after just escaping Arizona's summer heat!  This was July of '95 - not as much snow as some years, but obviously still nippy on the hands!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Our place was getting that overrun 'foreclosed property' look, so it was definitely time to do something.  Yesterday I mowed the back yard (major improvement!) and today I did a whole bunch of trimming and raking, etc. while Alex mowed the front.  Temp was only around 105, so it wasn't too bad.  Of course we were able to pop into the bathtub pool to cool rinse off.  And it gives me an excuse to post this pic that I've always liked -

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lucky break!

For many years I admired a delicate necklace that my mom wore, and a year or so ago she gifted it to me.  I've loved wearing it, and basically haven't taken it off.  Shortly after we arrived home yesterday (from our adventures tubing on the river) the chain came loose from the clasp and fell into my lap.  IF it had happened just a couple of hours earlier it would have been gone forever.  First stop this morning, before heading off to quilting, was to the jeweler to have it repaired.

organized quilting area

Wish I could say that it was mine, all finished.  In my defense I have been busy with friend in from California (but mostly I admit I'd rather do other stuff even when I have the time.)  Check out the pictures on the following site to see a REALLY organized quilter...  

 Wonder how I could get her over to work her magic at MY place... 
 It certainly helps that she has all that space, but even so, it's pretty amazing.  Sure would be nice to be able to lay hands on what I'm looking for, when I know I have it somewhere.. just not where I can find it!  When Mom was out visiting in May I wanted to show her the Van Gogh panel I'd bought (for 'someday' down the road) but of course it was hiding.  Just found it recently while doing some mucking. (So I am making some progress!)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tubing the Salt River

My friend Marcela and her daughter Elena joined Alex and me for a day of fun in the sun.   Alex goes tubing as often as he can, but Elena had never done the trip.  Marcela and I both had done it before - but probably 20 years ago!  I packed a yummy picnic lunch and lots of bottles of water in the ice chest, and we floated downstream all afternoon, with one stop at the cliffs to watch Alex jump a few times.  Saw lots of ducks, a turkey vulture - and more than a few  drunken flotillas.  We had slathered on the sunscreen, and (so far, at least) it looks like none of us got burned.  No pix of us (we hadn't brought a camera along) but this is pretty much how we looked, except with only 4 tubes surrounding our ice chest.


Last evening we had quite an intense storm here.  Instead of just the usual wind and dust we had thunder and lightning - and rain!  (Timing not so good since we just had irrigation this weekend.)  At one point the house really shook - that lightning must have been close!  Happily we never lost power, and the rain helped rinse the dust off of everything.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

As busy as a turtle

but they are really slow so it takes them longer.  This quote from a young boy says it all, so I have adopted it for myself.  I know I was busy all day yesterday, but didn't get as much done as I would have liked.  Still, one bedroom and bathroom are looking a lot better, plus I've made progress quilting my apple quilt.  Though I would be a lot further if I hadn't 'sewn' one section 3 (!) times... without a bobbin.  My goal is to be able to take it to Show&Tell on Wednesday.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Old friends

Marcela and I have been great friends for over 30 years - longer than we've known our husbands.  I'm sure it didn't hurt that our eventual kids, a decade later, were born around the same time. Our friendship has certainly survived long distances: over the years her husband's job has taken them to live in far flung places such as Morocco and Sri Lanka.  Now they live in Southern California, which is so much more convenient.  Last July I drove over to visit her and do the Long Beach Quilt Show together.  We had such a great time that we had planned to do it again this July, but Life threw a few roadblocks up.  Maybe next year?

This time Marcela came to Scottsdale for daughter Elena's clogging competition yesterday and today.  I spent yesterday in Scottsdale enjoying the dancing/music/costumes (and even made significant progress on my hand-quilting project.)  This is where I would love to post a picture of the two of us enjoying the competition - except that the computer is (once again) refusing to acknowledge my camera. I thought I had that fixed! 
After a late afternoon 'swim' (translation: basically standing in the pool chatting away) we went out to dinner with her friend Sharon (who dances on the adult team.)  Used my Nav System in the new car to 'order' Greek food, and ended up My Big Fat Greek Restaurant sharing a yummy many-course meal between the 3 of us.  Got home after 9:00, much later than I originally expected, so poor starving kitty Sapphire was definitely hungry. 

Irrigation was scheduled for 11:10 pm - 1:10 am, but Alex agreed to be home in time to let the water go so I didn't have to set my alarm for the middle of the night.  See me jumping for joy?
This morning I headed over to Doris' to take pix of her Pandora's Box quilts.  We had fun arranging them for their photo shoot, which of course I'd love to share with you - but until the computer agrees to talk to the camera it 'ain't gonna happen'!

Friday, July 22, 2011


Alex was getting ready to go out last night. He called me into his room and pointed to his chair (the one he uses as a 'clothes hanger' for the few clothes that don't end up in a pile on the floor.)  Took me a few seconds to see what he wanted me to see: a rather large scorpion.  VERY good thing it hadn't crawled into the jeans he was getting ready to put on.  I was dispatched to get something to scoop it into while he kept an eye on it since they like dark places and can disappear really fast. 

Unfortunately it seems like they never do appear singly, so we're likely to find a second (and possibly third) one in the house in the next day or so.  Tom and Alex have each been stung once on the foot when they were outside barefoot (Tom was taking trash out to the street, and Alex was merely getting out of the pool) and stepped on one.  Lisa 'hosted' one in her bed not that long ago that stung her arm multiple times. 

I've never had the 'honor' of being stung, and from their reports of the experience I would like to keep it that way!

  I did come close twice (at least knowingly - I realize that there could be other times I lucked out and didn't even know it!) The first time was the summer of 1966 when spending 6 weeks in Israel with AZA-BBG.  I was leaning against a wall, talking with a boy, who all of a sudden got very excited/upset at something, which turned out to be a scorpion crawling on the wall behind me.  I'd never seen one - don't know if we even had them in Maryland - and certainly had no idea about their painful strings, so I was pretty calm about the whole thing.  The second time was a few years ago when I brushed at a tickling sensation at my leg while sitting at the computer; as I looked down it turned out to have been a small scorpion that I'd brushed off of me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


While wandering around in various quilting blogs today, I stumbled upon one called ClutteredQuilter.  If you could see my sewing area, you'd understand why it called to me.  :-)
 I liked her take on CHAOS: Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome!
Maybe if I put it into writing I'll be more obligated to deal with it, so here goes:
I have good intentions, really I do - but there's always something better to do (read a book, watch a movie, sew, roam around the internet) than clean up!
I have, however, tried to use the OHIO method: Only Handle It Once.  Instead of just setting something down, I'm really trying to actually put it away where it belongs.  Only takes a few seconds more (usually), and it certainly does help.
  My mother is very neat & organized - she really doesn't understand how all my 'stuff' doesn't bother me.  Guess I'm just a collector (packrat?) at heart!

born optimist

Remember Nellie, the cockeyed optimist?
I love reading stories that show how some people manage to see the silver linings in their clouds.  This story just arrived in my e-mail this morning:

From "Reflections on Pearl Harbor" by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Sunday, December 7th, 1941 --- Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C.  He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.
Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war. 

On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters everywhere you looked. As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, "Well, Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?"

Admiral Nimitz's reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice. He said, "The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America. Which do you think it was?" 

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, "What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?"

Nimitz explained:
Mistake number one: the Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk--we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two: when the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America. And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is on top of the ground in storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.

That's why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make, or God was taking care of America.

It is an inspiration as I reflect upon it. Admiral Nimitz was a born optimist; he was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism. President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. 

Proud mother!

Got this e-mail from Lisa with "absolutely fantastic news":
My nonfiction piece has been selected for publication in The Urbanite, a free monthly magazine printed and distributed in Baltimore! Each issue prints maybe 5 or 6 very short (~400 word) nonfiction pieces all on one theme. The theme for September is "Fresh," and I wrote about the fruit trees in our backyard. I just got the email from the editor saying I've been chosen and asking me to review an edited version of my piece! This will be my first publication credit not linked to Goucher's campus (so, not Preface or hoax). I'm really excited. And of course I'll grab copies for everyone when they come out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

turtle purse

YAY!!! The computer guru got the computer to talk to my camera again - something about a corrupted driver.  Now I'm able to post the picture of the purse Patti made me.  However, even though I rotated the picture and saved it right-side-up, my blog doesn't seem to care.  Hopefully you can get the idea anyway...
Patti bought the purse pattern quite some time ago, and planned to make a purse for herself - but she hasn't been able to find just the right fabric.  When we scheduled Quilt Camp for earlier this month she had nothing to work on, so I 'let' her make one for me with my fabric.  She's such a good friend!

Suggestion Box

Unfortunately, sometimes it feels like this is where so many Helpful Suggestions and Constructive Criticisms eventually end up...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

good news, bad news

The GOOD NEWS is that Patti finished my turtle purse today, and it came out great.  I made sure I took a picture of her holding it, just so I could post it.  

The BAD NEWS is that the computer will no longer talk to my camera, so I can't show it off!  Tom spent considerable time putzing with the computer, but to no avail.  No idea what to do next.

A little talk about the birds and bees

This 10-minute video clip, of one mom's experience with her 8-year-old daughter, sure started my day off with a smile!

MY experience with Lisa also occurred at an early age - she kept asking, so I finally told her.  I was grateful to have Peter Mayle's wonderful book, complete with cartoon illustrations, to help guide me.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dust storm here this evening

The news was full of reports about a dust storm which was making rush hour driving quite hazardous in parts of the Valley.  It arrived here not long after we saw the pix on TV; Tom and Alex and I went outside and saw this fast moving wall of dust heading our way.  Within minutes visibility around the house was minimal, but (thankfully) the wall of dust passed quickly.  Glad we didn't have to be out driving in it!

Sunday comics

Only got around to reading yesterday's paper this morning.  The news may be old, but the comics are still timely.  ZITS (as it SO often does!) tickled my funny bone - at least it proves I'm not alone!

 This FBFW one isn't funny at all - but, sadly, is also too true
While in college, walking on the lakeshore in sandals, I somehow sliced open my toe on a poptop and needed stitches.  Not fun at all.  Every time I see someone littering I imagine I could magically transport all their dumped litter into their living room or yard and see how they like that!  So I was really happy to hear that Alex kept one of his friends from littering out of his car recently.  Guess that's (at least!) one lesson that took!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Visit with Betty

Yesterday I made a trip to Mulqueen's for their Christmas in July fabric sale (not that I really 'needed' any more fabric) and had fun.   Only bought 11 yards - but with prices at $4.95/yd, how is one to resist? 
I actually thought I reined myself in pretty well! 
Did surprise myself by falling for this pastel batik (I usually am drawn to more intense colors) but I have thought of several things to do with it.
Also picked up a variety of cream/tone-on-tone fat quarters for use in a heart quilt 'down the road'.

And since I was 'in the neighborhood', I paid a visit to Betty.  She does live a good distance from me, but I'm so glad I finally made it over there.  After I fixed her up with regard to her computer (those of you who know me will get a laugh that I can help anyone with a computer) 
 we had a lovely chat.  And I so wished I'd brought my camera.  Betty's country-style house (she must see Pam's house!) has so many delightful collections, as well as antique furniture (one mirrored cabinet now lives in the bathroom, housing the sink) and beautiful artwork (she and her daughter are very talented painters), and there are stacks and stacks of quilts tucked away here, there, and everywhere!  There's a cute little cottage out back that she originally used as a painting studio - but once she made her first quilt "that was that".  
Here's a pic of Betty I snapped at Quilt Camp several summers ago. 
Betty (blue hat), Linda Callahan* (green hat), and Carol (pink hat.)  What a tremendous amount of quilt know-how and artistry is represented by these very talented (and fun) women.

*Linda Callahan (February 21, 1933 - February 9, 2008) “lived for quilting". She played a major role in the organization of the Arizona Quilters Guild, and was instrumental  in founding four AQG chapters: Crazy Quilters (the first chapter), Night Owls, Busy Bees and Vulture Peak Patchers.  A giving and gifted teacher, Linda's work was recognized for its fine workmanship.  Although others considered her an artist, she defined herself as a “skilled technician with desire for excellence.”  Her most notable recognition was the Grand Prize in The Better Homes and Gardens Quilt Festival, an international competition.  Additional recognitions included a Grand Prize for an American Folk Art Album Quilt and the Grand Canyon Quilt Celebration Grand Prize.  In accepting his mother’s recognition at being inducted into the newly created Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame, Kris Reid said, “My mother would have been so pleased to receive this honor. The joy she found in quilting and her friends were the most important things in her life.”

I was the honored recipient of a Jewel Box quilttop that Linda gifted to me at the end of her life, and which Pennie then quilted.