Tuesday, July 31, 2007

When Do You Give Up . . .

. . . on a book? When I was younger and spent more time reading, I would never, ever not finish reading a book, no matter how bad it was. After all, I knew that even if it didn't get any better, I'd be done with it in a day or so. Then, since I started quilting and haven't had as much time for reading, there have been a couple books that I didn't finish. The last one that I remember giving up on--after reading a couple hundred pages because I read a review that said to expect the first 150 pages to be a bit slow--was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It's gotten some good reviews too, but it just wasn't for me. Too bad, because I was just starting to develop some real firm arm muscles from holding the darn thing up! (Note shipping weight is nearly 3 pounds!)

One book that I struggled through and finally finished was The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. Critics raved; even OPRAH raved. So I figured it must just be me and my lack of taste. Did you read where I said the other day that I don't like most "LITERATURE"? So I figured this must obviously be Literature. If you look at Amazon now, they only give it three out of five stars. I guess I'm not the only one who found it less than perfect! Of course, that was before Oprah's embarrassment with James Frey and his Million Little Pieces book, so I figured back then that if Oprah thought it was good, it must just be ME. Still, despite the problems with James Frey, I know Oprah gets it right more often than not, so I don't want to give the impression that she's been totally discredited in my book (bad pun intended!).

More recently, I read some raves about a largely unpublicized book written--or partly written since it was never completed after the author died in Auschwitz--in the early 40s about the Nazi invasion of Paris. That book is Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. Have you read it? I found it totally depressing, and since it was translated from French, it seemed kind of stiff. I only made it to around page 150 before I gave up. The fault there was me, I think. I was reading it at the time of my parents' car accident and my dad's subsequent death and I just needed to read something lighter and happier. I still have it on my nightstand, but I'm still not in the mood to be depressed.

Which brings me to the present. Now I'm reading Amy Tan's Saving Fish from Drowning. Amazon shows only three out of five stars. I read the reviews before I got the book, but there were some people who loved it and I fully expected to be one of them. Well, no, apparently I'm siding with the majority on this one. How could AMY TAN be bad?! The writing is actually good, but I'm not getting caught up in the characters. I don't care about them. In fact, I can't even keep them straight. The story is told from the perspective of a dead woman who was to lead a tour group through part of China and into Burma. Her spirit accompanies the group and reports to us what goes wrong along the way. According to one review, it's a love story, a mystery, an adventure story--and maybe that's why it doesn't work for me. It's trying to be too many things at once. I'm on page 108 of 472 pages. I don't think I want to go on. Have any of you read it? Does it get better?

I really don't like to abandon a book I start, but I don't have a lot of time to waste, and there's a whole bookcase of books here that I want to read. In fact, while I was writing this, my husband brought in the mail, and there was the latest book in the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear, Messenger of Truth. And I KNOW that's going to be a good one!

So, when do you give up? Have you read any of these books I couldn't finish? Do you think I should go back and finish any of them? Do YOU ever give up on a book? Inquiring minds . . . .

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Wild Child Grows Up? Maybe a Little?

Remember my daughter, the Wild Child? She came into town last night from Tahoe to spend the night before leaving with her boyfriend for Maryland today to visit his family somewhere near, I think, the Baltimore area. The boyfriend is about 12 years her senior and has commitment issues, which is just fine with her because she's been burned a couple times and is hesitant to get involved too. But we sense things might be getting a little more serious if he's taking her home to meet his parents. AND he's asked her to live with him.

Now the funny thing is that they've been more or less living together for the past year, first as roommates in a house and then later as . . . well, it's a little hard to explain, but I'll give it a shot in a second. But, anyway, I guess in his mind, those experiences don't really count because they weren't "living together"--as in no commitment, not even to a lease. Okay, whatever! All I know is that he seems to be good for her and treats her well, and she's happy and healthy, so we have the important things covered this time around.

So, back to the weird living situation. That house they were roommates at? Well the owner was an absentee owner who had hired a couple to manage the house. It was really a four-bedroom house with a cottage out back where the managers lived, and they rented out the other four bedrooms. According to the Wild Child, the managers were tweakers--literally, as in meth users. As such, they were undependable and volatile. They failed to maintain the house, and when anything needed repair, the husband would do some cheap patch job. You have to wonder about the owner never checking on his property, and if all the Wild Child told us is true, the managers are surely turning a decent rental property into a hovel. After several months of putting up with these managers, my daughter and her boyfriend got fed up and moved out in April. But they had nowhere to move to, and rentals--at reasonable prices--are hard to find in Tahoe. So, for a month or so, they were sleeping on friends' couches and living in their cars--often parked side by side. Is that living together?! My daughter rented a storage unit for all her things. For a couple weeks, they rented a room in a hotel connected to the casino where my daughter worked--this was when they were having some late season snowy weather up there.

In late May, the campsites opened, and the Wild Child and her boyfriend camped. My daughter thought it was great fun. And her brother refused to speak to her because it was his opinion that she was being stupid and she wouldn't see reason when it came to her safety. My husband and I did what we could to let her know that we were concerned about her safety, but since she's an adult, we couldn't very well "put our foot down"--something our son didn't seem to understand. As you may imagine, this has been an uncomfortable situation for our family over the past few months.

Imagine, then, my joy when she told me last night that she's tired of not having a place to come home to after work where she can collapse on the couch and watch TV; a bed to sleep in; a kitchen to cook in; and a shower and/or bath to bathe in. You see, the Wild Child has to learn things for herself--as we all do to some extent--and this was one lesson she finally seems to have learned. Now all they have to do is find somewhere to live--another big hurdle in an area short of rental properties compared to the demand, but one that I hope they'll solve soon after they come home from Maryland.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Monster, Movie, and Megs

Here's a new photo of the monster quilt. Of course, it looks much like previous photos except that this one features Spike because she wouldn't get off of it! I've actually gotten to the point where I'm quilting those blocks that go around the edge of the quilt and had finished the side facing the camera when I took the photo this morning. Since then, I've finished the blocks at the foot of the bed, and it's on to the other side next. I'm sure hoping to get the quilting done by sometime next weekend. After quilting the blocks, I still have to quilt the bottom setting triangles--I wanted to see how the quilt looked again on the bed so I could decide if I wanted to stay with the straight edge or do a scalloped edge. I think I'll stick with the straight edge but I'm not certain. What do you think?

The movie we saw last night, No Reservations, was a pretty good chick flick. I'd give it a B+ for entertainment. It wasn't Academy Award material, but that's probably just as well. Sometimes the movies the critics think are wonderful bore me to tears. ("Literature," with a capital "L," usually does the same thing!) I guess my tastes just aren't sophisticated enough! Yes, No Reservations was fairly predictable and the general plot is one we've all seen many times before, but the three of us, Lisa, Kathy, and I, enjoyed it quite a lot. Our dinner was excellent, as it usually is at Fat's. And yes, we did manage to stop at Starbucks TWICE, and ended up there at the end of the night, sitting at an outside table talking. I think I got home around midnight. Last week was a tough one at work, so being able to spend some time unwinding with my girlfriends was a real treat! Of course, after all that caffeine, I stayed up quilting until around 2:30 a.m., but it's the weekend--that's what weekends are for, isn't it?!

Okay, you Blogland quilters, you're going to have to stop talking about great patterns, fabric, books, etc., because I'm just to darn suggestible. Carole blogged about some purchases she recently made and what did I end up doing? Stopping at the quilt shop Friday night and buying the Swatches pattern, Awakening, that she mentioned. I had seen it and liked it at a quilt shop a few weeks ago (I think that was the $75 spool of thread trip) but managed to leave the store without it, but I just couldn't pass it up a second time. I have a bit of a "collection" of Kansas Troubles fabrics, and I think a quilt from this pattern and the KT fabrics would look great!

Then my Blogland bud Sharon had to go and blog about her shopping spree and share with us photos from a book she bought, Comfort and Joy. Well, gosh darn it, wouldn't you know it?, I then got online and now that book's on its way to my mailbox! Click over to Sharon's blog if you want to see a couple patterns inside the book. I love that wreath pattern!

I have no self-control. AND I think I'm getting so tired of quilting the Monster that I'm subconsciously trying to distract myself with tempting treats to work on once I finish this project. And I have no self-control. No self-control whatsoever. Sheesh!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Girls' Night Out!

It's girls' night out tonight! Wooo-hooo! My friends Kathy (who is also my sister-in-law) and Lisa and I are going out to a movie and dinner. It's partly in celebration of my birthday, but that's mostly an excuse--we try to get together every month or two whether there's a birthday or not. I think probably the real nod to the fact that it's my birthday MONTH is that I got to pick the movie and restaurant. Sort of. Well, I DID get to pick the restaurant, and the movie was "suggested" as a possibility to which I agreed. Of course, I think it's probably a real chick flick, or what the movie promoters like to call a "date movie"--yeah, right! I guess that's a date early on in a relationship when the guy figures he won't get lucky unless he sits through a chick flick!

Anyway, we're going to go see No Reservations, which opened yesterday. Reviews seem mediocre, but I don't mind. My friend Lisa and I once sat through The Grudge (Kath was smart and stayed home that night!)--after that movie, anything's an improvement!

So, Lisa has big plans for stopping at Starbucks first and smuggling our drinks into the theater in her big purse. I have to laugh when I consider that about 25 years ago, we would have been smuggling in rum to spike our Cokes. Now we need our caffeine so we can stay awake and enjoy ourselves. Sad, isn't it?!

We'll go to an early-ish movie and then a late-ish dinner afterward at Fat's Bistro. Fat's has wonderful, to-die-for Asian food. (That's a photo of the outside up at the top; the main room is below.) I'm sure I'll be ordering honey walnut prawns. Yes, I'm in a rut, but it's a rut I like! Sometimes we each order a plate for ourselves, but usually we share. There's really very few things at Fat's that I don't like, so one way or another, I know I'll leave with a happy tummy. Fat's also has some outside dining, and I bet tonight will be a great opportunity to sit outside and enjoy the summer evening, as long as everyone else doesn't have the same idea.

Lisa joked about going back to Starbuck's after dinner. Joked? Well, we'll see. I wouldn't be surprised if we ended up at Starbuck's, sitting outside and talking girl talk. Girlfriends are the best, aren't they? The older I get, the more I appreciate these great friends of mine!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Monster Garage

I don't like garages much. Do you? Don't get me wrong--I'd hate to be without one. No, we don't keep our cars in it, but since our house is small, we do store a lot of stuff in it, and it also serves as our laundry room. So, I think I'll keep it, but I still don't like it a whole lot.

About a month ago, I was telling my husband about a woman I know who bought a long arm so that when she retires several years from now, she'll have a way to bring in some extra money, quilting for paying customers. In the meantime, she can pay off the machine while she's still working full time and practice on her own quilts. I thought that was a smart idea. The first thing my husband said was, "We're not putting a long arm in my garage." No, honey, the last thing I'd want to do is have a long arm in the garage. Not only would it mean not being able to use the darn thing for four or five months out of the year when our temps are hovering around 100 degrees, but I think the garage is kind of creepy.

It's my belief that garages have personalities--usually malevolent ones. And ours is really mean. A few years back, my husband fell off a ladder in the garage and broke various body parts. But that's another story.

My own worst experience with the garage happened about seven years ago. I think our son had moved out--maybe to go away to college at Cal Poly--and my husband had taken our daughter out of town for the weekend to a soccer tournament. It was summer or early fall and the temperature outside was around 100 degrees or more. I had the house to myself for two days, and on Sunday morning, I was busy cleaning it. Around noon, I went out to the garage to change a load of laundry. I was still wearing my nightgown, figuring I'd take a bath and get dressed when I finished cleaning.

When I turned to come back into the house, I realized the door to the house had closed behind me, and when I tried to open it, I found it was locked! So there I was, locked in the garage in my nightgown. The only other exit was the main door out to the driveway and street. Maybe luck would be on my side, and I'd just be able to push the door open and walk out. (This was before we had replaced the old door with a new automatic door--the old door was completely manual.) With the temperature around 100 degrees outside, it was closer to 115 degrees in that garage and I was already feeling uncomfortable.

Of course, the garage wouldn't release me that easily--the door was bolted and locked on the outside. Panicked thoughts started running through my mind since I knew it would be at least four hours before anyone was expected home. By the time anyone found me, surely I'd be dead from heat exhaustion! I started rummaging through the clean laundry basket to see if I could find something to wear besides a nightgown, and I finally found a pair of my husband's Adidas nylon shorts and a T-shirt. I quickly changed and tried pushing on the garage door again.

I have to tell you that pushing on a cobwebby, spider-infested old wooden garage door was pretty darn yucky, and I would surely have given up if I thought there was any other way to get out of there. Putting my shoulder to that door, I heaved. No luck! I heaved again. And again. And again. With adrenaline and panic giving me strength, the door was starting to swing a bit, and by pushing on one side, eventually the momentum and the twisting of the door itself popped the bolt out of its casing, and the door opened. Free! I was free!

Surveying the damage, I thought my husband was likely to kill me for breaking the garage door, because I could tell that it wasn't likely to fit right ever again. But I didn't care--at least I was out! Now what? I went around the side of the garage to open the gate, but it was latched and wouldn't open. I had to pull a stool out of the garage and climb up on it so I could reach over the fence to open the gate. (I'm not sure what any neighbors thought at this point, if any were watching!)

So, at least I was able to get into my own backyard, but what about getting into the air conditioned house and taking that now MUCH needed bath? (I was SURE that I had spiders climbing around in my sweat drenched hair!) Finally luck was on my side--the sliding door onto the patio was unlocked. Ahhhhhhh! I was going to live after all, no thanks to the garage monster!

Since then, I haven't had any major trouble with the garage, but I still don't like it. And it knows it, too, I'm sure. How else would you explain why, when I got out of the bath last Sunday and carried my towel and nightgown out to the hamper in the garage, I found the main door wide open to the street? My husband swore he clicked the clicker to close the garage door when he left a little earlier that day, but there it was, as wide open as it could be, and there I was, standing in the doorway to the house, as naked as I could be. And was that a barely audible haunted chuckle coming from the dark, far corner? Darn garage demon!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


The little blue . . .

. . . pill?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Connecting Threads Fabrics

My online group has had some discussion lately about the new Connecting Threads' lines of fabric. Have you seen those yet? Five different lines of fabric and at least a couple kits for each of the lines. Of course, you can also buy the fabrics by the yard, or purchase charm packs, etc. The kicker, I think, is that the fabrics cost $5.95 a yard, and right now, Connecting Threads is offering free shipping for orders over $50. They ship to the US and Canada (I'm not sure if there are extra shipping charges to Canada). I've picked a photo of a kit from each of the lines to give you some idea of what they look like, but if you want to check it out for yourself, click on "Connecting Threads" up there in the first sentence.

So far, I only know of one quilter who has tried it--Linda Z. who leaves comments on my blog occasionally. When someone asked her about the quality of the fabric, she said she was pleased with it and that it had a feel similar to Moda.

I need more fabric like I need a hole in my head, so I'm trying to resist right now, but I'd be interested in any input anyone has. Here in the US we've seen fabric prices creep up to $9 to $10 a yard or more, so this sounds pretty promising!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Thank you for all the lovely birthday wishes! I love my Blogland friends!

Well, I have to say that it seemed like the moment my birthday started, stuff started going wrong. I decided to treat myself to a croissant and iced latte for breakfast only to be told the espresso machine wasn't working. (The croissant was really yummy though!) I took a couple hours vacation time to go home early and do a little quilting before we left for dinner only to have problems with my Juki--it was making a nasty noise that cleaning and a new needle only seemed to make worse. I tried yet another new needle, a little more cleaning, a little more fiddling, and just before we left for dinner, it seemed to be doing a bit better, although it took a lot of quilting and "unquilting" before I was satisfied with the tension. Then, when we got home from dinner late last night, the computer stopped working properly and kept telling me it couldn't find the server. Well, that was okay since I really needed to go to bed and stop messing with the computer anyway.

But I didn't let all this annoying stuff spoil my birthday. My husband took me to our favorite restaurant where we were met by my sister-in-law, Kathy. To my surprise, my husband had also arranged for our friend Lisa to join us. Lisa's husband Terry was also supposed to come, but Terry got tied up at work and didn't make it. So my poor husband had to put up with us "girls" all night long, but something tells me he didn't really mind!

Yes, we went to Pasta Pomodoro for dinner, and for dessert, I ordered the Affrogato again--yum! My husband had one too and came home from work today with plans to make them here--we have a small espresso machine we rarely use, but I've got a feeling that might change.

After dinner, we walked over to Starbucks--where else?--and sat on the patio with our drinks and talked until around 10 p.m. Our weather had been hot and humid, but by the time dinner was over, it had cooled down enough to be comfortable.

All in all, I'd say my birthday was perfect (except for those minor mechanical annoyances!). I enjoyed all the birthday wishes from my blog readers, my online group, and my friends at work, and then spending the evening with my husband and close friends, eating, talking, and drinking iced lattes was icing on the cake!

I'm not done yet, though! Thursday night, my son is taking me and my husband out to dinner, and Kathy, Lisa, and I have plans to go out on Saturday night. I think everyone should have a birthday WEEK, don't you?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It's My BIRTHDAY! (Almost!)

I'm writing this on Sunday evening, and tomorrow's my birthday! Wooo-hooo!

Actually, I'm not a huge birthday celebrant, but I've gotten some special stuff in the mail from friends, and that puts a big smile on my face and makes me want to celebrate!

My dear friend Eileen shares a birthday month with me--her birthday was a week ago. Back in March, I took one of Jo Morton's classes and made the Hattie's Baskets quilt. Eileen offered to hand quilt it for me as a birthday gift. Eileen does really lovely hand quilting, something I don't do, so this was a really special offer. This weekend I received a package from her with the quilt and a couple other birthday goodies--a charm pack and a nail file. Of course, I will always treasure this quilt, and I've never seen Eileen do a more beautiful job of quilting than she did with this. Here are a couple photos of my goodies from Eileen. Once I get the binding on the quilt, I'll try to get a better photo--the lighting just didn't do her quilting justice! Thanks soooo much, Eileen!

My friend Sharon from Red Geranium Cottage sent me a wonderful package of goodies about a week ago. After I wrote about the Susan Branch Summer book, Sharon sent me the Autumn book, which is just an awesome visual treat! I can hardly wait until the weather gets cooler and it really IS Autumn! The quilting book is excellent too, filled with pie recipes and quilts to go with them. She also sent me a winter stitchery, a pad (with my initial on it!), a pendant, and a cookie that's just waaaay to cute to actually eat! Thank you, Sharon--what an incredibly thoughtful friend!

Today my husband went to Costco and came home with a strawberry cheesecake--yum! And the best part is that he says I don't have to wait until my "real" birthday to have a piece.

I think I might take a day off from blogging tomorrow unless I just can't stand to not write! I'm working, though, and we have plans for dinner, so I may be pressed for time. If you don't hear from me, don't worry--I'm just celebrating! I'll tell you all about anything worth telling on Tuesday.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Paying the Price

It's all well and good to hear voices in your head telling you to go visit quilt shops, but eventually you're going to hear those other little voices telling you to clean up your sewing room and put away all that stuff that insisted on coming home with you from the quilt shop. Today was that day for me.

The day started out just fine with some quilting on the monster quilt, but after a couple hours, I realized I was feeling a little grumpy. When I looked around me, I decided that a major part of that feeling was because I had accumulated "stuff" that needed to be put away.

The Sweat Shop is small, so it doesn't take very much to make it feel messy. My friend Eileen wrote to say that if I'd put things away when I'm done with them, I wouldn't have the problem. Well, that's just not it, because I do. My problem is that space is so limited that every so often I need to do some major reorganizing so that everything fits comfortably.

The photos above and below are the "before" photos.

About eight hours later, I was done. If nothing else, it was a good excuse to get pizza for dinner, and I DID end up with a sewing space that's better organized once again. I've even gone though all my older magazines and taken out the patterns I want to keep--something I started working on about a week ago. There's a woman in my office who is a fairly new quilter and doesn't subscribe to many quilting magazines, so she always appreciates getting my cast offs, and it keeps me from accumulating a lot of magazines that take up space.

Here are photos of various parts of my nice, clean, happy Sweat Shop:

Tomorrow I plan to get back to working on the monster--no grumpiness allowed!

Friday, July 20, 2007


Do you ever feel like you’re being drawn to something, somebody, or somewhere? I was sitting at my desk at work this morning when I started to hear the voices calling to me. "Come to the quilt shop, Kim. Come to the quilt shop. We’re waiting for you. We have lovely things to show you. Lots and lots of lovely things." Of course I told them to shut up and leave me alone, but they persisted, as they often do. And, as is often the case, I was helpless to resist and forced to heed their siren’s song.

Once the lunch hour arrived, I threw off my Dictaphone ear piece, grabbed up my purse, and sprinted for the car, thereafter breaking several speed laws as I headed toward the quilt shop. (I’m pretty sure that breaking the speed laws wasn’t MY doing but rather the magnetic pull exerted upon the car.)

When I arrived at the quilt shop, I learned it wasn’t just me the voices were calling this morning. There I ran into another quilter I know. She had been babysitting a grand kid this week and was feeling sick today. Until her husband came home, that is, and took over the babysitting duties; then she made a miraculous recovery. And, in celebration of the miracle of good health, she too felt a need to visit the quilt shop and give thanks.

No, I actually didn’t buy a whole lot as it turned out. I picked up a different shade of blue thread for quilting the monster, a couple packs of Thimbleberries charm squares (the Christmas line), and a quilt magazine. And since it’s my birthday month, I received 15% off my purchases. But I did spend a nice chunk of time breathing in the scent of fresh fabric, touching and petting this and that, and feasting my eyes on the wonders that surrounded me. Too bad I had to ruin it all by heading back to work, but the weekend is almost here, and I can hardly wait!

By the way, I shamelessly copied the quilt shop photos from Nicole’s blog. She did a nice review of this particular shop, and I thought you’d like to see where I was. If you click here, you can read Nicole’s post.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

News, of One Sort or Another

You may have figured out that odd news interests me. Guess that comes as no surprise, huh?! Carole left a comment on yesterday's blog about the cheese truck that caught fire today--actually the headline was "Cheese Truck Fire Makes Freeway Fondue." Just thought you'd want to know that happened here in Sacramento. Did you know that Sacramento is known for its tomatoes? Sometimes we call it--well, it's mostly radio DJ's who call it--"Sacratomato." Seems to me that if you paired up all that melted cheese and our summertime tomatoes, you could come up with a pretty tasty snack!

I'm a little more fascinated by another story: "Family Searches Feces of Cash-Eating Dog." I wonder if their money grows on trees? You know how dogs like trees. And bushes. And fire hydrants.

I know, though, that I owe you all some quilting news, especially since you listened to me rant yesterday. Okay, here's a fairly clean drawing of my second Americana applique block. Next step will be picking out the fabric I want to use. I think the basket will be mostly a light denim blue; if I used the traditional light brown, I don't think the pie crust would show up. The apples will, of course, be red. Maybe a red coffee cup too? I envision quilting "steam" rising from the cup, by the way.

During my lunch hour today, I headed over to a nearby quilt shop, JR Flamingo. This isn't one I go to often (thank goodness there's ONE shop around that doesn't suck me in and it happens to be the closest!) because mostly they specialize in Asian fabrics and "arty" stuff. Of course, I enjoy seeing that kind of thing every so often, but it's not a staple in my stash-building endeavors. Today, though, I wanted to check out some bag patterns, and I knew they had a decent selection. I ended up with this pattern:

I guess I should also tell you that I started out with a pattern from a magazine and, since I've never made a bag before, I really was just interested today in seeing what's out there in patterns, and this shop has a fair number of shop samples, so I could see them made up. I think I probably WILL make the one from the magazine first but I'll probably get to this one eventually too.

Another thing this particular shop carries is dupioni silk. I couldn't resist buying these:

These are pretty much the colors in my livingroom at Christmas along with a bit of green and maybe a little purple, and I had visions of making a tablerunner using the dupioni silk appliqued onto wool--probably black wool. I'm not sure it's a feasible idea, but I'll think about it for awhile and see what I come up with.

That's about it for the news from my part of the world. I hope all your news is good too!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Gladys Kravitz Rant

Remember Bewitched? Remember Gladys Kravitz? For those of you youngsters who maybe never heard of syndicated television, Gladys was the nosy neighbor who was always watching Samantha, trying to catch her practicing witchcraft.

Gladys provided a comic element to the show, but I don't think anyone really liked her--not even her husband, who seemed a bit tired of his busybody wife. Why, then, have we Americans grown into a nation of Gladys Kravitzes?

I think it began--or proliferated--when government started passing laws designed to protect us from ourselves. Seatbelt laws. Smoking laws. Helmet laws. The list goes on and on. Yes, I realize that many of these laws are designed to protect other people too, and there's a certain economic element involved. Now anti-spanking laws? There are already laws to protect children from abuse. And, by the way, I'm neither in favor of or against spanking in principle, but I think it's a parent's decision as long as it doesn't rise to the level of abuse. And when it comes to personal safety, there's a part of me that says, "Hey, if people are too dumb to keep themselves safe, let them kill themselves. Improve the gene pool." Yes, offer education but stop spending time and wasting money putting laws into effect that tell people exactly how to live their lives. You may disagree, and that's okay with me too. But here's what annoys the heck out of me.

I think the climate in our country has gradually edged to a point where we find it acceptable to tell other people what they should do and how they should live their lives. Is that really any of our business? Isn't it enough that we try to live exemplary lives ourselves and provide guidance to those we actually ARE responsible for, like our children? No one made us all cops!

As bloggers, we open ourselves up to criticism when we blog about our lives and welcome strangers into our world. It's a chance we take. I know that and I think most of the blogging world realizes it. People read our blogs and think they really KNOW us. It's a small step, then, for them to tell us what we should or should not be doing, isn't it? It hasn't happened to me yet, but it really bothers me when I see it happening to other bloggers. And, invariably, those who leave critical comments don't leave an e-mail address or link to their own blog. For goodness sakes, if they want to save the world, they should go out and do something about it on a large scale--not leave stupid, negative, anonymous comments on the blog of a person they don't even know!

Do you read Pioneer Woman's blog? Yesterday she had a "name that photo" contest. The photo depicted two of her four children sound asleep in the back seat of her truck or SUV--without seatbelts. When I saw the photo the first time, I thought, "Humm. No seatbelts. Probably not a good idea." But I kept an open mind, because I could imagine scenarios where seatbelts would be unnecessary--like if the kids were sleeping in the vehicle before it even moved anywhere. But even if I DID assume that she was risking her children's lives, unless I was THERE, they were in immediate danger, and I could do something about it, I wouldn't presume to chastise her for failing to use seatbelts. I'm certain she has immediate friends and family who could talk to her about safety. Of course, numerous Gladys Kravitz characters felt fully entitled to warn her that unless she seatbelted her kids, they'd end up dead. How horrible people can be to each other, all under the guise of "concern"!

Another blogger a month or so ago considered shutting down her blog because a couple people left hurtful comments about the safety of her children and the risk she took posting photos of her girls, a photo of her house (not actually her house but they ASSUMED it was), and mentioning that she often left the back door unlocked during the day. Why is that anyone's business? Why can't people give her the benefit of the doubt and figure she's not a total idiot?

I know that mostly I have quilters reading my blog, and I think quilters are special people--for whatever reason, most of the quilters I've met have been nurturing, warm people. So, although I wouldn't expect to find negative comments left on my blog, I do know it's a risk I take. But it's my hope that if anyone doesn't like something I say, if anyone thinks I'm living my life irresponsibly, or if anyone has any other negative comments, they say them on their own blog. Take that negativity home with them. Talk about me and point fingers at me all they like--on their own blog. Not that any of YOU would. Because my readers aren't like that. I'm just sayin . . . .

AUTHOR'S NOTE: It was either rant about this or tell you about the guy with bot fly larvae growing in his head. Just in case you'd rather read about the larvae-head guy, click here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I love archaeology. I love watching TV shows about archaeology or reading fiction based on archaeology. (Of course, I love Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody books, which are set primarily in Egypt around the turn of the century (late 1800s/early 1900s--yeah, that century!).) If I had been encouraged as a teenager to go to college, maybe I would have become an archaeologist. But maybe not, since I really didn't enjoy--back then--the basic science classes. I think a "D" in high school biology says it all, especially when you consider that the only reason it wasn't an "F" was because of a cute boy who seemed to want to help me improve my grade. (Darn kid went on to become a doctor too!)

Anyway, Yahoo caught my attention today with a story captioned: "130-Year-Old Outhouses Yield Treasures." I guess archaeology isn't all that glamorous after all. Or maybe those archaeologists are the ones who got "Ds" in high school biology. In any event, this exciting dig is taking place in Ventura, California, so all you SoCal gals may want to hustle your own selves over to Ventura to see what's being unearthed, doncha think? Here's what they're saying:

"They uncovered a pistol, a knife, whisky flasks, a set of false teeth, two dog skulls and a blade from a set of sheep shears. 'It might be an early crime scene,' project archaeologist John Foster said. 'It looks like the two dogs were decapitated. Then whoever did it dumped the skulls and the blade, thinking the women probably wouldn't be looking too hard into the bottom of the privy.'"

Have I mentioned that I also love forensic/crime stuff? Sounds like a good cold case to me! But tell me this: What were these people eating that it could be confused with rotting dog corpses? Too gross a thought? Okay, sorry! Then tell me this: Why do you have to know how to dissect a frog and memorize the periodic table of elements before you can dig up Inca ruins? Or Egyptian mastabas? Or an outhouse?

Monday, July 16, 2007

My Husband's Losing His Mind, and Other Stuff

I have a cold, I think. I figured it was either a cold or allergies, but I felt like I was running a bit of a fever today. Or maybe it was a hot flash. Or maybe it's psychosomatic. I cleaned house on Saturday except for the kitchen; then we went out to dinner and I planned to either clean the kitchen when we got home (but it was really too late) or the next day. Around about that time I started to get this scratchy throat, sinus congestion, cough, etc. So guess what? The kitchen didn't get cleaned. Do I care much? Not really, since I don't want to cook either! Do you feel sorry for me? I sure hope so. Send me some get well fabric, and I'm sure I'll perk right up!

Don't you just love it when the early morning or late afternoon sun comes streaming in the window onto a quilt and really shows up the texture of the quilting? I do! As I was getting ready for work this morning, I noticed how great my "monster quilt" looked with the sun streaming in. I tried to take a photo to share with you. I tried all different camera settings to try to capture the light and shadows. One was too dark and the other three were too light. Then my batteries were exhausted and so was I, so I gave up. The best of the four is below, but it really doesn't show you what I saw.

Nor can you feel what I feel, and that's really a shame. No, not the stuffed up head cold! The feeling of this densely quilted quilt. It's so soft and snuggly that I sometimes get sidetracked just petting the darn thing! I want to wrap it around me even if it IS 100 degrees outside.

Boy, I'm sure looking forward to getting this quilt finished! I've run into a little glitch, though. I need more thread. You know what happened last time I went to the quilt shop to get more thread, right? $75 later . . . . Still, I'd risk the temptation, but I actually know for a fact that they don't have this light blue thread because I checked when I was there. On Saturday I placed an order online, but it may take one to two weeks to arrive. I'll quilt as long as I can with what I have and if I can't go any further, I'll take a break from this project and move on to one of the other quilt projects awaiting my attention.

I've also been slowly unpacking the "stuff" I brought home from my mom's this past week. It's not the unpacking that's so time consuming, it's finding a place for all this stuff in a small house that was already crowded! I'm pretty excited about these though:

And why does it look bent and lopsided? It doesn't in person. More evidence of my inadequate camera skills! I know these glasses are probably not something that would excite everyone, but I've always had a hard time finding glasses to go with my semi-formal dishes for holiday meals. Crystal is much too fancy and plain tumblers aren't fancy enough. To my eye, these look just about right--these were from my mom. Now to find a place for them!

Thanks for all your help in naming my bedraggled pheasant. I think I'm going with Yvonne's suggestion of Phineas. I like the sound of "Phineas Pheasant." I liked "Phoebe Pheasant" too, but I'm told that this is a male pheasant and I've already had one male with gender issues in my life, so I don't need another. Phineas it is!

This morning, when I woke up after a stuffy-headed, restless sleep, I stumbled out to the kitchen, poured myself a cup of cold, leftover coffee, and headed to the microwave. I popped open the door and stood there staring for several minutes, trying to work out why the microwave contained a plastic container of leftover corn chowder from last night's dinner. This is the part about my husband losing his mind. I finally realized that my husband, whose job it is to put away the leftovers from dinner, had put the soup in the microwave instead of the refrigerator.

I worry about him. The other day I found an empty Starbucks cup in the living room on top of a bookshelf, on top of the cats' quilt. Why? What possessed him to put it down there? And sometimes, he'll get in the refrigerator, take things out to get what he wants, and forget to put them back. I'll come into the kitchen and find things on top of the refrigerator. Besides the leftover soup, the best episode of forgetfulness lately was when he lost his reading glasses. We searched the house high and low and searched his van as well. Hours later I found them--the ear piece was tangled up in the telephone cord and they were just dangling there.

All of this, I think, is a good argument in favor of marrying a younger man. At least his mind would still be intact when yours starts to go. Obviously I'm not going to be able to count on my hubby to remember the stuff I forget!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pasta Pomodoro

If you're ever in California and looking for a good place to eat, give Pasta Pomodoro a try--or if you already live here, maybe you know how good it is!

A few years ago, a quilting friend and I went on a little road trip for her birthday. The main goal was to visit Carolea's Knitch in Sunnyvale. Unhappily, Carolea's closed awhile back, but they had the most wonderful patio of fabric and book bargains--a real destination spot for quilters. Having worked up an appetite shopping at Carolea's, we were in need of lunch before getting back on the road toward Sacramento. Across the street from Carolea's, we spotted Pasta Pomodoro.

Our lunch that day was excellent, and I was happy to learn that Pasta Pomodoro was coming to Sacramento. Since that time, it's one restaurant my husband and I return to for consistently good food and reasonable prices.

Pasta Pomodoro began in San Francisco; eventually restaurants were opened throughout California and there are now a few in Arizona. Each meal begins with sliced bread and an olive oil/fresh herb mix for dipping.

The entrees are diverse, from pasta to meat dishes. My favorite is a chicken marsala with portobello mushrooms. The prices are reasonable, with pasta dishes running about $9 to $10 on average and meat dishes around $12 to $13. For a couple dollars more, you can add a mista salad to your meal.

From the taste of the food, I believe that Pasta Pomodoro uses all fresh ingredients.

Last night my husband and I dined at Pasta Pomodoro in a late celebration of our anniversary. Have you ever heard of an afroggato? I think I've found a new food item to lust over and dream about! You all know, I think, that I like coffee, right? Well, an afroggato--at least Pasta Pomodoro's version--is vanilla bean ice cream served in a tall glass, topped with whipped cream. A shot of espresso is served on the side, to be poured over the ice cream and whipped cream. Heaven! I think this has totally spoiled me for plain, old floats! Although I sure didn't need one, now I have yet another reason to return to Pasta Pomodoro!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I Need a Name!

This pheasant is one of those things I picked up at my mom's house last weekend. He (she?) is a little bedraggled after sitting perched with a metal post sticking in its gullet for 40+ years, but I felt some weird need to rescue the darn thing.

My mom tells stories--and not the good kind that are told for entertainment! I kind of think she believes the stuff she says, and if you question anything, she gets mad. Take the pheasant, for instance. She insisted that my husband wanted it for a friend who collects stuffed birds. Well, it's just easier to go along, so although my husband doesn't have any friends who collect stuffed birds, and he never told my mom he wanted it, the quickest and simplest thing to do was to load it up and bring it home where it's sat on my kitchen table for the past week. I've now moved it to a tall bookshelf/hutch where the cats can't eat it and we can't quite tell how poorly he/she's aged. (Gee, I wonder why the new owners of the mobile home didn't insist on keeping THIS lovely thing?!)

I find I have a bit of attachment to this feathered doodad. In its heyday, it was a majestic looking creature. Kind of like a family pet. As children, none of our pets were around for more than a couple weeks, so this guy was the closest thing we had. (A story for another time.)

Oddly enough, we never named it. I'm kind of thinking that after all these years, the darn thing needs a name. A bit of personality. He/she is awfully stiff and formal, you know? I'm thinking maybe it should be named "Percival," but I'm open to suggestions if you can think of something better. Or do you think something more informal and friendly like "Betty" would be more fitting? Anyone?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th!


Call me slow, but yesterday, when I was thinking about payday today, I realized it was Friday the 13th. Are you superstitious?

Looking at a bit of Friday the 13th lore and history, I found that Fridays, in our western culture, have generally been thought to be unlucky. Beginning a couple hundred years ago, people began to believe that it was unlucky to begin anything on a Friday. A few weeks ago, I was watching Deadliest Catch and a couple of the crab boat captains said they'd never leave port on a Friday to begin a journey. I suppose in a job fraught with peril, superstitions will prevail, and sailing men have held their particular superstitions for centuries.

I kind of like Fridays. Okay, I like them a lot! Friday means the end of the work week, a two-day weekend to look forward to when I can hang around the hosue in my jammies half the day if I want to. Friday often means picking up dinner on the way home from work. What could be bad about Fridays?

I've always bucked tradition, and I decided long ago that Friday the 13th was a LUCKY day for me. If nothing else, it usually meant an early payday! Our last Friday the 13th wasn't so lucky though, so I'm looking at the start of today with a little bit of trepidation. Last Friday the 13th, which fell in April, was a rotten day at work. Although I can't remember the specifics, I do remember that one annoying thing after the other seemed to take place all day long. Finally, when I got home from work that evening, my mom called and told us my dad had a bleed in his brain and wasn't expected to live. Boy, talk about bad luck, huh?

But maybe it's just APRIL Friday the 13ths that are unlucky? Maybe July Friday the 13ths are jam-packed with luck and happiness?! I think that for the most part, we make our own luck--good things happen when we take steps and do things to MAKE them happen. I wish I could call in to work sick and stay home and quilt--that would certainly be lucky, wouldn't it? But no, I'll go in and work. But I'll do whatever I can today to make happy things take place, and if that means picking up dinner on the way home from work, then I will. And if it means having ice cream for dessert tonight, then so be it. And if it means a trip to the quilt shop during my lunch hour, then I guess I'll just have to make that sacrifice! One way or the other, I'm going to have a LUCKY Friday the 13th, and I hope you do too!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I have a bit of a "thing" for rabbits. Not all rabbits, and I have no desire to see rabbits everywhere I look, but I DO like the occasional rabbit here and there. I'm not all that excited about "real" live rabbits either--I've heard about rabbits that have been litter trained and I think that would be pretty cool, but I don't have the patience to do the training, so the real thing is probably out for me.

That rabbit at the top of today's post is a ceramic rabbit my mom gave me a few years ago when I admired it in her china hutch. She said someone had made it and given it to her, and she thought it was pretty ugly, so she didn't mind me adopting it. Ugly? No way! I think it's just about one of my favorite things!

Anyway, today I was looking through The Quilter magazine and saw a quilt made with rabbit panels. The rabbits were taken from vintage/antique rabbit illustrations, and I thought they were pretty darn cute.

Remember the other day, that $75 spool of thread I bought? Remember I said I bought some bunny fabric but didn't know why since I don't have kids around to make anything for? Well, I guess I lied to you just a little bit because of course I KNEW I bought it because it was bunnies! Still, why that fabric, I haven't a clue.

But THIS fabric that I saw today--yep, this is right up my alley. And yes, yes, as a matter of fact, I did indeed put my order in despite the price tag for a panel. And no, I have no idea what I'll do with it but I really felt I MUST have it! Besides, it's my birthday month, so I DESERVE it, don't you think? I'll show you a photo and give you the link to the shop, but I'm telling you right now that if you're susceptible to MEGGING--and you know who you are!--just turn away right now because I'm not going to take the blame if you feel you MUST HAVE IT too, okay? (They also sell entire kits in three colorways--click on the photo to see the rabbits better.)

Imagine here some sort of legal disclaimer which I should be able to whip right out, given my profession as a legal secretary, but I really want to do a little quilting tonight and I'm tired of the legal blah, blah, blah, so I'll just repeat that I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for your purchases if you feel a need to click HERE.

Now I'm going to go hop on down the bunny trail into the Sweat Shop. I swear there's fabric in there that seems to multiply like rabbits despite the fact that I try--I really DO--to not buy much!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

27 Years Ago Today . . .

My husband and I were married 27 years ago today. What a long time ago but, yet, how time flies!

To recap what I’ve mentioned previously, I was pregnant with our first child when we were married. The proposal came while my husband was changing his socks after work, and I said no. He managed to make me change my mind, and the wedding was on. Here’s the rest of the story.

I’m not sure why we were in such a hurry, but we decided to get married that Friday; the proposal came on Tuesday night, I believe. For some reason, my husband Pat thought if we were going to do it, we should do it as soon as possible before it turned into a big deal. What a romantic, huh?! We went that night to break the news to our families.

A year or two prior, Pat had been to a friend’s wedding at the Little Chapel of the Bells in Reno, Nevada, and thought it would be a nice place to get married, so he made the arrangements. His parents and a few friends decided to come witness the event; my parents did not, but not because they disapproved. I knew they wouldn’t come at such short notice, and I wasn’t surprised or, for that matter, disappointed. I had already had one large wedding a several years before, and that was plenty for them.

I was working full time at a new job, and I figured that taking my wedding day off was as much as I could expect. I had one evening after work to find a dress suitable for the wedding. Do you remember 1980? The days of polyester and disco? After a few hours of desperate searching, I finally settled on a pinkish floral gauzy polyester dress with a handkerchief hem. I really didn’t like the dress much but it was the best option I could find. I picked up a pair of white heels that I also didn’t like very much–no matter how cute they are, I always feel like a health care worker in white shoes. I also didn’t have time to get my hair done or anything else. Oh well, I had a big, fancy wedding the first time, and look what happened with that marriage! The only thing that really concerned me besides my vanity was the fact that this was my husband’s first and only wedding, and I thought it should be special, but he didn't seem to share my concerns.

The day of our wedding came and we headed off from San Jose to Reno, about a four hour drive. We were excited and running a little late, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise when we picked up a highway patrol officer and a ticket coming through Sacramento. Was this an omen? (And how funny, looking back, that we were pulled over just before the exit that leads to our current house where we've lived for 21 years!)

We managed to arrive in Reno on time, though, and found our way to the chapel. There we were met by the big-haired woman who ran the establishment; she was dressed in black polyester bell-bottomed, hip-hugging slacks and a sleazy red, cleavage-revealing blouse. An escort ran us over to the courthouse, where we applied for and received our marriage license. Shortly after returning to the Little Chapel of the Bells, the minister arrived. I was a little taken aback to realize this man with the string tie, dirty fingernails, and grease spots on his shirt would be officiating at the wedding, but it seemed to fit in with the rest of our experiences that day. I could only assume that either the Little Chapel of the Bells had gone remarkably downhill since Pat attended the previous wedding there OR my soon-to-be-husband had extremely bad taste when it came to what was “nice.”

We elected to get married outside, in a pretty little grassy lawn area under a wooden canopy. As the marriage vows progressed, the hot Nevada wind blew out whatever bit of curl and style I had coaxed into my hair that morning. I considered running away, but I was stuck in place--my spiky heels had sunk deeper and deeper into the newly laid sod as the ceremony continued, until I might as well have been wearing flats. Besides that, I was hesitant to move--between the dry wind and the polyester dress, I was afraid that any unnecessary friction would shock me silly or ignite my thighs.

Since the period of time between the proposal and the wedding was so short, we did not have time to buy wedding rings. In any event, with a new baby on the way, the last thing we needed was a monthly payment to a jeweler. Instead, my mother-in-law loaned us one of her rings, which was very sweet of her and made me feel accepted into the family as little else could. Twenty-five years later, my husband bought me a wedding band--I guess he thought it was worth the investment by then since I hadn't bolted so far.

After the ceremony, my in-laws took everyone out to lunch to celebrate. We had a room reserved for our honeymoon that night in the historic National Hotel in Nevada City (photo at left), about an hour and a half away. Anxious to be on our way, we left Reno after lunch and headed back to California to begin our life together as husband and wife.

Yes, we’ve had our ups and downs in the 27 years since, but at least no one could say we went into the marriage with unrealistic expectations based on a fairytale wedding! Yes, in hindsight, I would have done things differently--insisted on having a ceremony that was a little more memorable--in a nice way. I probably would have had a proper maid of honor instead of my husband's former roommate Tim. Or was it his other friend, Jerry? I know we assigned one the role of best man and one was the maid of honor, but I don't remember now which was which. All I remember is the two of them zipping past us in Tim's little green convertible sports car like we were standing still and exiting the highway for gas just before the highway patrol officer pulled us over and gave us our second speeding ticket of the day.

Ah, good times! Happy anniversary, honey!

Postscript: I was checking online for a photo of the chapel and found that it's been family owned for decades, and the minister is also the director of the Nevada Brothel Association. Figures, doesn't it? If you click on "minister" above, you can read what I found.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Yesterday I said I'd have a short post, and I obviously lied. My posts grow larger than intended, just like my quilts seem to do. Well, maybe tonight will be short. We'll see.

During my lunch hour today, I had a few minutes to check in on a couple blogs and found Nicole had posted a recipe for plum upside down cake from a recent issue of Country Home magazine. Coincidently and fortuitously (our word for the day!), one of the secretaries had brought a big bag of plums to work to share, so I asked her if she'd mind if I took home what was left at the end of the day to make a plum cake which I would then bring back to work tomorrow. As expected, she was perfectly okay with the idea, so I printed out Nicole's recipe and headed home with a bag of plums.

I had nearly enough plums to make two cakes--one for us and one for the office. I ran a little short on the second cake, so I supplemented the plums with a couple peaches that were starting to get a little soft. Here's what came out of the oven a little bit ago--the first photo is the plum cake and the second is the one with peaches added in:

If you look at Nicole's blog, you'll see she had a really pretty plate that was the exact size needed for the cake. Sadly enough, I do not, so my cakes aren't quite as pretty and they're hanging off the plates a bit at the corners, but I'm hoping they'll taste just as good! I think the peach/plum is a little nicer looking, so I'll take that one to work. Since the plums are a little tart, I'll keep the plain plum cake here to serve with some ice cream to sweeten it up a bit.

No quilting was accomplished tonight since I was busy in the kitchen. I guess I'd better go console myself with a little plum cake and ice cream.

ADDENDUM: I love you Nicole! Your plum cake is really, really yummy! Especially with a little Breyer's Natural Vanilla ice cream! Thanks!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Monster Quilt Progress

I thought I'd keep today's post reasonably short for two reasons: (1) the last one was so long, you're probably STILL reading it, and (2) I spent a good part of the time I would normally have spent quilting and posting on the phone with my brother, telling him all about our adventures in Oroville with my weird mom on Saturday. Just a taste of what he has to look forward to at the end of the month when he goes up there and helps her move. If I tell you he's thrilled, you'll know I'm a big, fat liar, right?!

And thank you for your kind, supportive comments. They're much appreciated! We can't control what other people do, and my brother and I decided a long, long time ago to try our best not to let my mom's words and actions bother us any more than necessary. Really, they're kind of the subject of dark humor, and I think that's our way of coping. I don't know if you read my post quite awhile back about a registry of people who shouldn't be given quilts, but I made one for my mom and mailed it to her as a late Christmas gift and she never acknowledged it. When my parents were in the accident and I was up there a lot, I learned my mom had just folded it up and stored it in a box in the closet. My brother and I were joking tonight that maybe it's a good thing after all since it wasn't sold along with everything else in the house!

Anyway, buried somewhere in yesterday's post, I mentioned getting a few photos of the progress of the monster quilt. First I'll post the one you've no doubt seen already of the unquilted top, just for reference so you don't have to click over to somewhere else to figure out what I'm talking about:

Now this is where I'm at--see those sections in the top with the flying geese, stars, and sky? The first photo shows a bit of that section. The second photo shows the same section but catches some of one of the corner trees.

I'm just working on the first side--three more to go after I finish this one. These sections I'm quilting now stop where I've outlined the blue pieces--they look like a string of blue beads to me, so let's call them that. I'll need to go back and quilt the "sky" section on the outside of those beads and quilt something in the centers of the beads as well. All of the grass and fence sections are done as are the four corner trees. So, I'm getting there--slowly but surely!

By the way, my online group is called Quilters' Hollow, and I think that's what I'm going to name this monster quilt--or maybe Quilters' Hollow Retreat. Since the outside star blocks and all the smaller house blocks were the result of swaps the group participated in, it seems like a good name for it.

The other thing I wanted to mention that has absolutely nothing to do with this quilt is that I've read some blogs where people have mentioned having a hard time adding a title--Blogger's not letting them click into the title field. I've finally figured out that if you click where it actually says "Title," it seems to take you to that field. Hope this helps!

Now I'm going to go into the Sweat Shop and quilt a little bit more--even if I don't have a lot of time tonight, I'll be that much further along tomorrow!