Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Sure Talk Alot!

I was looking for a photo in some back posts--probably about a year ago--and realized I sure do talk alot! Well, actually I think Blogger's telling me this is something like my 544th post, so that should tell me something, huh? Well, but it's fun chatting with you!

I'm having another lazy night of no sewing. I don't know if I'm in a slump or just preferring to be lazy, but it's all good--I'm doing what I feel like doing. Still, I have a couple things I wanted to mention.

If you read my post yesterday, you'll have noticed the story had me thinking of Jace. Chances are you won't have read the comment Jace left later in the day, so I'll stick it right here--

"Ah yes... the old "nipples on fire" thing. Been there done that one already, still got the flashbacks. Oddly enough, with y'all associating me with this story, I used to sell these things when I was in the gun business. Your next question is "Did you try 'em out?" My answer... hesitantly is "yes". It was 2 days before I quit scraping my tongue on my front teeth and another 3 days before the Tourettes completely stopped. Let me tell you sometime 'bout the self indulgence of pepper spray, just to test it you know. Thanks for the laugh Kim. I like you. :-) Jace"

See, was I wrong about it reminding me of Jace? One can only hope that back when he was in the gun business, he didn't try the guns out on himself too! And if you haven't read Jace's story about Vicky (LA Quilter) and her trip to the hardware store, click HERE.

Second, let me introduce you to Jack.

Jack is Boy Boss's boy and he now has a name. Jack and momma went home today and both are doing well. Boy Boss came into the office a bit at the end of the day and seemed tired but pleased. Look at those eyes! What a cutie, huh?! Oh, and that reminds me--did you see that the night I posted saying Boy Boss had gone to get his baby but we hadn't heard anything, he posted a comment at around 1 a.m. saying the baby was born? Well, I knew he read my blog sometimes, but I didn't really think he'd go home after having a baby and read my blog in the middle of the night!

And Girl Boss? She finished taking the Nevada bar exam today and called me as she was leaving Reno. She said it was pretty rough, but I'm sure she's glad it's over now, but for the waiting. Results should come out around October, I think. She'll be back to work again on Monday.

Finally, remember the mystery minis I was working on and couldn't show you? Well, today was "Christmas" over in Quilters Hollow, my Thimbleberries internet group, and everyone was supposed to open their "present." I haven't heard that my gal opened hers yet, but hopefully she'll open it before she ever sees this post, so I'll finally share with you what I've been doing.

This is an older Thimbleberries pattern and I've always liked it, so I had to make myself one too. Then, since I was making two already, I decided to make a third. The center appliqued portion is wool. I think I may donate the third one to our local hospital's breast cancer quilt auction to raise money. They have the auction every two or three years and I've been meaning to make a quilt but hadn't gotten to it yet; then it occured to me this would work quite well for the purpose. I quilted all three slightly different and there are a couple other minor differences but they're pretty subtle.

Time to get off the computer and get back to the serious business of vegging out on the couch in front of the television. Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Some Nights Are Like That . . .

Some nights, you come home from work and you just want to take a

and put on your

And then you might want to order

and watch

while you eat. And to round out the evening, you'll very happily go to bed with

But just in case your blog readers might be getting bored with your lack of any kind of bloggable life, you decide you should leave them with something funny to read that a friend from work sent you (this would be a good time to swallow anything in your mouth)--

Pocket Taser Stun Gun, A Great Gift for the Wife

A guy who purchased his lovely wife a pocket Taser for their anniversary submitted this:

Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 22nd Anniversary, and I was looking for a little something "extra" for my wife. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized taser. The effects of the taser were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on the assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety. . . WAY TOO COOL!

Long story short, I bought the device, and brought it home. I loaded two triple-A batteries in the thing, and pushed the button. Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I'd get the blue arc of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs. Awesome!!! Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to the Wife what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.

Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all THAT bad, with only two triple-A batteries, right?!!! There I sat in my recliner with my cat, Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions, and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admit, I thought about zapping Gracie (for only a fraction of a second) and then thought better of it. She's such a sweet cat.

But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?

So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top, with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, and taser in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms, and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would just be wasting the batteries. All the while, I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference (pretty cute really, and loaded with two little bitty, itsy, bitsy triple-A batteries), thinking to myself, "NO possible way!" What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best.

I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as if to say, "Don't do it master," reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't POSSIBLY hurt all that bad . . . . I decided to give myself a one-second burst, just for the heck of it.

I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION @!@$$!%! I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over, and over, and over, and over again.

I vaguely recall waking up on my side, in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. The cat was standing over me making meowing sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, and undoubtedly thinking to herself, "do it again, do it again!"

Note: If you ever feel compelled to "mug" yourself with a taser, one note of caution: there is NO SUCH THING as a "one-second burst" when you zap yourself. You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three second burst would be considered conservative.

SON-OF-A-%#&**%# . . . that hurt!!! A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up, and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. (How did they up get there???) My triceps, right thigh, and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs.

I'm still looking for my testicles. I'm offering a significant reward for their safe return.

* * * * *

(NOTE: The whole time I was reading this, I was thinking this sounds like one of Jace's stories!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ms. Boring McBore

I'm feeling awfully boring today, so I thought I'd warn you right up front in case you don't want to waste your time reading further.

I had a voicemail when I got into the office this morning from the boy boss, who was on his way to the hospital "to get his baby." Apparently there must have been a really long line at the baby checkout counter because by the end of the day, the only word we had was that they should have a baby by midnight, so presumably by now, the population of Sacramento has grown by one male child. Do I know what they planned to name him? I do not. Why? Because I'm lame! Actually, from what I understand, they still hadn't made up their minds on a name as of this past weekend. Maybe that's what's taking so long: I know hospitals don't like to let babies leave until they have names, and these days I think hospitals are kicking babies out about 45 minutes after birth, aren't they? So that could account for the hold up.

I talked to the girl boss before I left work tonight, and she survived the first day of the Nevada bar. One down, two to go.

I also called home before I left work to see if Spike would answer the phone, but no dice. I just got Hubby who wasn't sure where Spike was, but I guess she was too busy to come to the phone and chat. Or meow, as the case may be.

About the only thing I accomplished today--aside from work--was to get the center square for the Thimbleberries BOM appliqued. Oh, yeah--and I decided I needed some more of the background fabric, so I found the Lakeside/Lodge fabrics on sale online and ended up ordering something like, oh, I think maybe 12 yards (not, of course, all background fabric). For a mini BOM. A mini BOM that is largely done already. I guess it was a weak moment.

You probably heard about the SoCal earthquake, right? One nice thing about Sacramento is that in the 23 years we've lived here, we haven't had an earthquake--knock on wood! Then again, I know of at least one SoCal blogger who was in her car and didn't even feel it! Crazy, huh?! I just hope they don't have any big aftershocks.

Well, that's about it for me tonight--time to get ready for bed because tomorrow's another day and hopefully the boy boss will have his baby by then. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Amazing Spike and Some Other Stuff

Look what arrived today! My new kitchen rug!

This is one of the Thimbleberries rugs in the "Summer" colorway and it was my birthday gift to myself. (But then isn't just about everything I buy during the summer months?!) I had ordered my last kitchen rug online and wasn't quite as thrilled with it when it arrived, but it was okay until the binding started separating from the rest of the rug. Last week it was relegated to the garage for use by Hubby, and--on my birthday--I ordered this one online from JC Penney's. I need to get a non-slip pad to go under it though--something that can be trimmed to size, I think. I have a rubber mesh thingy under it now, but it really doesn't work very well. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Hubby's in the habit of calling my office every day at 5 p.m. when he gets home from work, so I can give him a long list of things to do before I get home to let me know he's gotten home safe and sound, and we chat for a minute or two about his day. Today when he called, I was at the front desk, covering the phones--we're all taking turns while the receptionist is on vacation for a few days. He always calls in on the back line directly to my extension, so the call didn't come through me; when I saw my phone extension flash, though, I knew it was Hubby. About five minutes later, I had a chance to call him back. The phone rang a couple times and just as voicemail picked up, I heard a clatter and then silence. Thinking that maybe Hubby had hurried to the phone and slipped on the new rug, I called his name a couple times and listened for any moans and groans. Nothing. Eventually I had to hang up, but I can tell you I was worried until I finally got off the phones, got back to my desk, and called home again. This time Hubby answered and sounded just fine.

I asked him then what had happened when I called earlier. There was a longish pause, and I heard him kind of chuckle. It turned out he had been in the bathroom (yep, another part of his home-from-work routine) and never even heard the phone ring. When he came back out to the kitchen, he found the wall phone off the hook, laying on the floor. Apparently Spike--our younger cat--tried to answer it! She's always been kind of funny about the phone--oftentimes when it rings, she'll run out to the kitchen to see who'll answer it--but she's never tried to answer it herself until now. Crazy, huh?! Now if I can just teach her to clean her own litter box and get dinner started, I'll be one happy camper, I can tell you!

Of course, I went back to work today. Girl boss is in Reno, Nevada, getting ready to take the bar examination that begins tomorrow. Boy boss and his wife are set to have a baby any second now--today was her due date. They went to a doctor's appointment this a.m. and the doctor thought it would come along any time now and definitely by the end of the week. Exciting stuff!

On my way home from work tonight, I stopped at the post office and mailed off the Thimbleberries mini quilt I had been working on for a swap and I also mailed the Hat Trick Schnibbles pattern to Tracey--we had missed connecting up with her address until the other day. While I was at the post office, I picked up a Priority Mail box and came home and stuffed it full of scraps to mail off to Pam, whose name I was given by Nancy for the scrap swap. Yay!

Did you know you have to put those darn Priority Mail boxes together yourself? I mean, yeah, I guess I kind of knew that, but I really didn't think about it until I got home. And I know it probably wouldn't be a huge challenge for most of you. But for me? Well, there are a lot of things I can do and do reasonably well, but managing to apply packing tape to a box is not one of them! At the office, we have Pitney Bowes running our mail room, but when I have something personal to mail, I feel that asking them to do it for me is taking advantage, so I try to do it myself. Still, whenever I'm back in the mail room, the two Pitney Bowes people hover nervously in the background, waiting to rescue me from whatever disaster I manage to get myself into. You know, like accidentally wrapping myself in packing tape, cutting myself with the serrated edge of the tape holder thingy, etc. I'm just a total klutz!

Luckily, I managed to get this box put together without any major incidents or loss of blood, although I did get some of my hair stuck under the tape. Still, I have more where that came from, so I won't miss it much. And I only "lost" the end of the tape three times and had to hunt for it on the roll. I'm kind of thinking, though, that once Spike gets the hang of answering the phone and taking messages, maybe I can get her to work on package taping. Seriously, I'm sure she can't be any worse than I am!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Surprise 85th Birthday Party That Wasn't

If you read my last post, you may remember I mentioned going to a BBQ today. Now that I won't be giving away any secrets, I can tell you we were going to my father-in-law's surprise 85th birthday party.

I thought I'd share one of the dishes I made with you--a tomato salad.

This was so simple to make. I just diced up some tomatoes from my neighbor's garden (yes, she actually GAVE them to us--I wasn't over there stealing them!), added a container of marinaded mozarella cheese (cut the little balls in half first), tossed in a jar of marinaded garlic mushrooms (drained first and both liquid and jar not added!), and minced up some basil. To all that, I added a couple glugs of balsamic vinegar and maybe about a tablespoon of sugar. Finally, I tossed it all together and then I drained off some of the dressing so it wouldn't get too soggy. Oh yum! To tell you the truth, I forgot I took this photo until I downloaded photos tonight.

Besides the tomato salad, I also made a potato salad--pretty standard variety and no photo to share since you've probably seen potato salad before. Hubby had fun, though, telling everyone who would listen that we brought the "toe" salads: "toma-TOE" and "pota-TOE." Goofy man! One of my sisters-in-law brought a great macaroni salad and another sister-in-law brought chocolate cake and ice cream. The third sister-in-law brought chicken and tri tip. We ate rather well, I think!

We were all supposed to arrive at 2:30 in the afternoon and surprise my father-in-law, the birthday boy. Hubby and I were running about five minutes early, so I asked him to do a drive by first to see if anyone else was there yet. There was a car parked outside and although we didn't recognize it, we figured someone had arrived before us. Nope! We were the first. My father-in-law was standing, looking out the front door when we pulled up. "What are you doing here?," he asked. Hubby, always the quick thinker, replied, "We're just out for a Sunday drive." Meanwhile, I'm still sitting in the car, holding the TOE salads on my lap, wondering why we'd be driving around with salads. After all, gas is too expensive these days for the kind of long aimless drives that require us to pack side dishes! Father-in-law didn't really seem to question it though, so it worked out okay. Everyone else showed up about five minutes later, I yelled "SURPRISE!," and the festivities got under way with the ritual exchange and passing around of birthday cards.

It was just then we discovered that it wasn't his 85th birthday after all--it was only his 84th, and he seemed a little put out that one of the birthday cards wished him a happy 85th birthday. Men are so vain about their age, I swear! I suggested we all go home and come back next year, but everyone thought that since we were already there with all that food, we might as well celebrate. So we did. And some kind of magic was done in the kitchen with that chocolate birthday cake so it said "Happy 84th Birthday" instead of "Happy 85th Birthday."

Besides the birthday party and making TOE salads, I found time to run down to the quilt shop today and get another charm pack of the Portugal fabric as well as some background fabric. So that little stack of textile love is sitting in the Sweat Shop, waiting for me to pay it a little attention. First, though, I'm kind of hooked on this Thimbleberries mini. Tonight I made the fourth part of the quilt, so here's an updated photo. The center section will have some applique in it--a sailboat I think. Well, you'll see, I'm sure!

Sadly, my vacation is over and it's back to work tomorrow. I suppose this means I can't stay up until 3 a.m. tonight and sleep in until 9 a.m., darn it! All good things must come to an end, though, and I really enjoyed relaxing and playing with whatever I felt like playing with for the last several days. I hope you had a lovely weekend doing the same sort of thing!

Did You Miss Me?

I hope not! I was up late last night sewing and I just didn't feel much like posting to my blog. My bed was calling to me.

Hubby and I are going to a BBQ today, and I'm bringing a couple side dishes. So, with that in mind, yesterday I knew I was going to have to make myself presentable enough not to scare anyone and head out for a little grocery shopping. Well, I always kind of figure if I'm going to have to do ALL that work making myself presentable, I might as well take advantage of the effort and present myself at numerous places. And that's exactly what I did--Goodwill was the first stop, where I found a few odds and ends. Then I stopped at the quilt shop where I found a few more odds and ends. More specifically, several Prairie Paisley fat quarters found their way into my bag, as did two charm packs of the Portugal line by April Cornell. And after all the fun stops were completed, I made my way to Trader Joe's. Not that Trader Joe's isn't fun--because it is! So, all in all, it was a good shopping day with stops at three of my favorite places. Oh, and just so you're not worried about the lack of a Starbucks stop--well, I had ice cream in my Trader Joe's bags, so I headed home instead, gave Hubby some cash, and sent him out to Starbucks. The perfect day, yes?!

When I unpacked my quilt shop purchases, I put away the Prairie Paisley fabrics and pulled out the Portugal charm packs and looked through the Schnibbles patterns to see what I might want to make. I settled fairly quickly on the pattern called "X-Rated." And guess what? Turns out that pattern used the very same fabric line! So here's the fabric and pattern:

As I looked at the pattern, I noticed there were alternate instructions for making a larger quilt. And as I looked through my stash for a "good" neutral, I decided I wasn't too excited by any of the prospects. So I think today before the BBQ--if I have time--I'm going to run back to the quilt shop and buy another charm pack and some neutral. I have plans. I'll make the center the same as the pattern, but I have a different idea for the border; you'll just have to wait and find out what I'm going to do.

So, since I couldn't start playing with the charm squares right away, I went back to working on the Thimbleberries mini-BOM, and here's where I am so far:

Now I can either wait for the fourth quarter fabrics in October from my quilt shop, see if I can buy some of them on line, or use what I have so far to make that last square. And I think I have a plan for that too--I'll change it a little bit because in the original quilt, that square is primarily blue, but I'd like to bring some of the red/pink down into that corner, so stay tuned. Because I don't think I want to wait.

Finally, I wanted to show you what No-Blog Synthia sent me for my birthday. Hubby came in with the mail Friday night and there was a squishy little envelope that revealed this cute little quiltlet!

Synthia added a small sleeve on the back so it can be hung--she said she uses skewers to hang these on. See? My birthday continues! And I'm not even going to think about going back to work tomorrow--I'm in denial!

I hope your weekend is wonderful!

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Lazy Day

I don't have a whole lot to chat about tonight. I spent a pretty lazy day today, sleeping in until 9 a.m. and then just doing this and that. I sewed the bindings on the three minis I'm working on and got about half stitched down. I also stitched a sleeve onto the back of the Prairie Paisley quilt so I can hang it in place of the 4th of July quilt.

When I was organizing all my table linens last week, I came across an embroidered apron. I don't know where it came from and I didn't even know I had it, so it's a mystery to me. The neck ties were missing and a few embroidery stitches were also missing. Today I added a couple lengths of ribbon so it can be tied around the neck, and dug out some old embroidery thread to match the original embroidery colors and filled in the missing parts.

Finally, I decided to make this year's Thimbleberries Lakeside Block of the Month Quilt, using leftover pieces from kits and charm packs and half-sizing all the measurements. Today I finished the first month's blocks--some little trees.

These blocks measure 6-1/2" unfinished as compared to the 12-1/2" unfinished blocks in the original. I enjoyed doing something similar to last year's block of the month, so I thought I'd do the same thing again. Here's what the finished quilt is supposed to look like:

Tomorrow I'll probably make the next month's blocks--the stars up in the left hand corner. I haven't decided yet if I'll set everything the same way or do something different, so I'll probably just make all the component blocks and decide that later on.

I hope your weekend is off to a great start! Thanks for stopping in!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Birthday and Other "Stuff"

First of all--because I know you're all anxiously waiting--I had 38 entries for the Susan Branch cookbook raffle. When my son stopped by today, I asked him to pick a number from 1 to 38, and he picked 15. He's not very original--I think that's the same number he picked last time! Anyway, entry number 15 was by Karrin Hurd, a local Sacramentan, although we've never met in person. Karrin, please email me your snail mail address and I'll get the book out to you next week--Congratulations! And thanks to the rest of you for entering. I have another Susan Branch book to giveaway in a couple weeks--as soon as I get in the mood to cook again!

My birthday was nice. No fireworks or Mojito baths, but it was a nice, relaxing day, and that's exactly what I was hoping for. In fact, today was much the same. Just spending time doing whatever I felt like doing.

On the sewing front, I've been working on a couple minis but I can't show you just yet because one of them is for a swap that my online Thimbleberries group is doing, and I don't want to ruin the surprise. You'll have to wait until the end of the month when we all get to open our packages--then I'll post photos.

Speaking of opening packages, my good friend Eileen sent me a box of birthday goodies. I had them half unwrapped before it occurred to me to stop and take a photo, but everything in the box was wrapped with different colored tissue paper. There were some Mary Engelbreit goodies--note cards, stickies, and such. And then she sent this apron that her daughter had actually made for her sometime back, but she thought I'd enjoy it hanging on my peg in the kitchen--isn't it cute?! I just love the red!

And Eileen sent this fat quarter bundle--a bunch of great colors, all with a subtle "mesh" type of print--just enough print to give the fabric some texture. These will be great for applique or a "color study"-type quilt.

I also opened a package from my Blogland friend Yvonne. Strickly speaking, it wasn't a birthday present, but I told her I was going to consider it one. Awhile back I won some rulers in a giveaway she was doing and she told me she was sending them with a little something else she had made for me, so when I received the package last week, I decided to wait and open it on my birthday.

Look at this tote she made! Isn't that great?! I just love it! If you click on her name above and then scroll down a bit on her blog, she has some good photos of another tote she made using the same pattern but different fabric. Yvonne has a couple cats and wrote me a little note about cat hair--not that I noticed any, but boy was my cat Spike interested in sniffing and rubbing up against this tote!

Oh! And here's my birthday cake--Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse Cake:

It's kind of funny, but I'll confess I went to the bakery and bought it myself! I've realized after 28 years of marriage that Hubby just doesn't "get" the whole birthday cake thing, so this year I bought my own. And I found out he hadn't made any cake plans anyway--which came as absolutely no surprise!

But, just so you don't think he's a slacker, I woke up yesterday to find a card from him propped up against a chocolate chip muffin; on the front of the card was a note to look in the refrigerator, and in the refrigerator was a bottled Starbucks Frappucino. See? Yes, he thinks of me and makes plans, but he just doesn't quite cover ALL the bases, so I have to help him out a little bit!

Today I got out of the house for a little while and visited two Goodwill stores. I found nothing that interested me in the first one, but I found a couple things in the second.

I LOVED this old school desk/chair and wanted to take it home--and for $10 the price was right; but I realized I had nowhere to put it, darn it! It sure brought back memories, though! Instead, I brought home this little Scotch tape dispenser--it will go to work with me when I go back on Monday.

I'm "itching" to pull out some charm packs and start something new, so maybe I'll do that tomorrow or Saturday. I DO remember that I said I'd do a tutorial on that star quilt; I'll try to do that before too long too, so check back. But I'm not pushing myself or making too many plans--I'm just relaxing and doing whatever feels like fun!

Thanks again for all the birthday wishes! I just wish you could have come over for some birthday cake!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's My Birthday!


Thank you all for the birthday wishes--you've helped make "my day" special! I'll post a few pictures tomorrow and draw a winner for the Susan Branch book.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Terrific Day!

You all know I wasn't really looking forward to spending the morning hanging out at the DMV, right?

Well, as it turned out, I was in and out of there within about a half hour! I walked in around 8:20--which, by the way, is MUCH too early to be out and around as was evident by the fact that there was no one in the "start here" line. I got there just in time, though, because within about ten minutes, there were about ten people in the line. My lucky day! I was assigned a number and ran into the ladies room to check my hair and make up before sitting down in a hard plastic chair. Did you know that the California DMV now has screens mounted from the ceiling which flash the "now serving" numbers, and those are matched up with the appropriate window number one is to report to? And did you know that a pleasant female voice announces the same information? It's a little like being in an airport!

About five minutes after sitting down, my number was called. The clerk looked at my driver's license info and wished me a happy birthday, albeit a day early. Then we discussed astrology for awhile and he filled out stuff and punched stuff and I filled out stuff and signed stuff and we had a good old time there at the DMV. Then he made me read a bunch of letters off a chart hanging from the ceiling, and cover one eye and read a bunch more letters, and then cover the other eye and read more letters, and then I said goodbye to my BFF DMV clerk, and I got to go stand in the camera line and meet another nice DMV clerk.

Turns out they had a big mirror right there in line so you could check your make up and pluck any stray chin hairs just before you get your photo taken! I asked the camera guy if he could make me look younger and thinner, and he said, "Certainly! Do you want to look five years younger, or ten years younger?" Of course I opted for ten years, and I smiled a big smile for the camera and then I was on my way out the door. Painless after all!

On the way to work, I even had time to stop at Starbucks--which was a good thing considering how early I got up this morning!

Just before lunch time, my boy boss sent an email to everyone, saying it's my birthday tomorrow and there were little "cakes" in the kitchen that he had made. Yum! He remembered me saying a few weeks back that I could probably take baths in Mojitos, so when he came across a recipe in one of his wife's Rachael Ray magazines for Mojito cakes, he knew he had to make them for me. What a great boss, huh?!

I took this photo but it was pretty lousy--sorry! I should have taken a couple more so maybe one would have turned out okay. They were really excellent, though, and it was such a nice surprise!

At lunch, one of my quilting buddies at work asked if I wanted to go to the quilt shop, so off we went.

Of course, I found a couple things to buy myself. Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me . . . .

When I got home from work, Hubby surprised me with bright and happy sunflowers! And a Starbucks latte--excellent Hubby, huh?! And it's not even my birthday yet--not for another 45 minutes anyway!

Tonight I threw together a quick dinner salad and then I zipped around cleaning house--I even managed to get it done in a little over an hour. (That's what two Starbuck's lattes in one day and failing eyesight--so you can't really see the dust--will allow you to accomplish!) Now I can relax for the next few days. Oh, by the way, did I tell you I have the rest of the week off work? Yippeee for the birthday girl! Woo-hoo!

Finally, I hopped in the car and drove down to Blockbuster, where I picked up a few chick flicks to enjoy over the next few days while I do a little applique and other hand work. I think I'm probably the only person in the world who hasn't read all the Harry Potter books and seen all the movies--I've seen the first few and was hoping to get the next one, but it was out. Maybe next time. Meanwhile, these should keep me busy.

No, I have no definite plans for my time off other than to relax and enjoy myself. Oh, and I think tomorrow night--my birthday night--I'll close the comments on the Susan Branch Cookbook giveaway and draw a winner. Unless I'm too busy celebrating. And if I don't post tomorrow night, don't worry--I'm probably just taking a bath in Mojitos or something!

Monday, July 21, 2008


When it comes to procrastinating, I'm a pro! How about you? I know from past discussions that many of you are motivated by deadlines, but in the face of a deadline, do you chose to wait until the very last moment?

I think that somewhere in the back of my mind I must think that maybe if I wait long enough, I'll never have to do whatever it is I'm avoiding. Like maybe I'll be struck by lightening and I'll be sitting on a cloud somewhere thinking, "Darn it! Why did I go to the dentist last week? If I'd just waited a little longer, I could have spent that time quilting instead!" Or maybe "they" will change the rules and whatever it is will no longer be necessary.

I've done the same thing in the past with health issues. Eventually, though, I'll convince myself I'm dying, so I'll finally go to the doctor. Invariably I'll be told something like the bump I was sure was a tumor or skin cancer is just a cyst--you know, that kind of thing.

So, here it is, 26 hours until my driver's license expires and I still haven't made it down to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew it. Why? Because it's not something I look forward to doing, and maybe if I wait long enough, I won't have to. Maybe I'll get struck by lightening. Maybe gas will go up to $10 a gallon and I'll quit driving. Maybe I'll win the lottery and get myself a personal chauffer and a limo. Maybe Japan will buy the State of California, and everyone who drives a Nissan will be excused from driver's license requirements. But, yeah, I'll admit--at this point, it's not looking good.

Here in California, the DMV will renew our licenses a couple times, and that's good for--I think--four years each time. At some point, though, they make you come in and have your photo taken and they give you an eye test. The eye test isn't a problem as long as they aren't going to want me to read anything close up without reading glasses. The photo thing though--well, you may have noticed I'm a little adverse to photos. They rarely seem to come out well. Although, I have to say, the photo on my current driver's license isn't too bad--at least I looked a lot younger then!

Driver's license photos are notoriously bad, aren't they? That's probably why every time I've had my photo taken at the DMV, I've first spent a couple hours on hair and make up. You'd think I was a super model or something! But even I have qualms when it comes to fibbing that much about my weight to the DMV. Which raises another little issue. How much can you stretch the truth when it comes to weight? And will the clerks confront you if they think you're lying? Do they get together at lunch and tell stories and laugh about that kind of thing?

See, for the last month and a half, since I got the notice from the DMV, I've been pondering these things and I have no answers. Tomorrow morning I'm heading down to the DMV where I'll probably sit on a hard chair for awhile and then get up and pace around for awhile, until about two hours have passed and they finally take my photo and test my eyesight. By then, my lipstick will have worn off and my hair will be getting limp. My driver's license photo will likely show two red spots on either side of my nose where my reading glasses sat. And I'll probably have the world's largest pimple on my chin where I plucked one of those chin hairs--because with all the high def stuff around these days, I'm figuring they may have high def DMV photos, and I don't want everyone who checks my ID over the course of the next 12 years to see dark chin hairs, so tonight I plucked. Please pray for me that I don't get a chin pimple tonight, okay?

I think I'll take my camera with me. Maybe I'll bargain with the DMV camera person--If he takes a good photo of me for my license, I'll take a good photo of him for my blog. And I'll bargain with the DMV clerk too--I won't post a photo of her and guess her weight on my blog if she doesn't laugh at whatever I decide to put down for my weight. And, gosh darn it! With all the talk about governmental budget crises, why don't they offer to air brush DMV photos for an additional charge? I'd pay, and I bet a lot of other people would too!

And maybe I'd better stop procrastinating and get some sleep. After all, I want to look good for my photo shoot tomorrow. Oh, and I still need to wrap myself in Saran Wrap tonight so I'll be thinner in the morning and the clerk won't laugh. At least not as much. That DOES work, right?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cooking With Susan Branch

I spent a good part of the day today cooking. Every now and then, I get in the mood--particularly when I've been browsing my Susan Branch cookbooks as I did the other day. I had picked up two of her cookbooks at the thrift store--an amazing find! This was one of them--

Hubby got in the mood too, and whipped up pumpkin/walnut/coconut muffins for breakfast. He's a very enthusiastic cook at times, as evidenced by the pumpkin I found on the kitchen ceiling later in the afternoon. No, I didn't get a photo of that, darn it! At 6 feet 2 inches tall, at least he was able to clean it off easily.

First of all, I roasted a chicken and portioned it out for various meals this week, and then I made a batch of chicken soup with what was left. Hubby likes to eat soup for lunch sometimes. So there are a couple of this week's dinners pretty much taken care of.

Now about those Susan Branch cookbooks I found at the thrift store--I'm going to give one away, Heart of the Home. I already had both of the cookbooks I found at the thrift store, but I thought I'd buy them anyway and then share them with you because there really are some wonderful recipes in her books and the illustrations are quite charming. I'll give the other one away later--when I feel like cooking again!

From the Heart of the Home cookbook, I whipped up the Green Beans and Onions recipe which went nicely with the Lemon Chicken recipe. Both are fairly simple and quick. And corn on the cob of course--the fresh corn right now is so yummy, it finds its way onto our plates several times a week.

I also made Susan Branch's cheesecake--not quite so fast and simple, but OH SO INCREDIBLY WORTH IT! I topped it with fresh raspberries in a simple syrup.

If you'd like me to put your name in the drawing for the Heart of the Home cookbook, please leave me a comment telling me you want in. If you want to just come over and eat my cheesecake, let me know and I'll put the coffee on. But you'd better hurry, because this is just too darn good to last!

July 24th: Comments closed now--will draw a winner soon!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Parlez-Vous Francais?

Knowing I wanted to do a little cooking this weekend, I decided to head out to the grocery store this morning for a few ingredients I didn't have in the house. And quite reasonably, I think, I decided to take the extremely long route to the store--the one that passes by the Goodwill store in the City of Citrus Heights.

Citrus Heights has always been a geographic section of the Sacramento area but only within the last several years has it become an incorporated city. And once it became a city, local government decided that everyone should drive excessively slow within its city limits. I'm certain they can't possibly understand the impossibility of driving slow when one is on one's way to a thrift store!

So I'm driving along, at a speed maybe just a tad over the speed limit, when I noticed an unmarked police car come up behind me with its siren on and flashing lights. Uh oh! Of course, my first thought was, "Is he pulling me over? If he's going to give me a ticket, I wonder if he'll let me take a photo of him for the blog?" But no, he changed lanes and went after someone else. Whew! Except I don't have a good photo for you of a Citrus Heights undercover officer writing me a ticket. Bummer! Not!

So what did I find at Goodwill? Well, I found a few little odds and ends, but today's treasure is an oak bench. They actually had two, but what would I do with two oak benches? And truth be told, it took me several minutes to figure out what I'd do with ONE oak bench, but here it is, sitting in the Wild Child's former room:

Someday if I ever have a house with an honest-to-God entryway or a mud room, I'd like to put a bench in it, but for now, this will do. It's also a nice size to use at our dining table if we have five or six people. So the bench has a new home and Hubby was pleased with it too.

Now, why am I speaking French to you? Because I made quiche tonight! My favorite, easiest quiche recipe lives in this little book, which I stole from my mother when I moved out a bazillion years ago--

And here's the recipe. I think if you click it larger, you can probably see the recipe pretty well.

One of the things I like about this recipe is that it uses ordinary milk. Just about everything in the recipe is stuff I have on hand all the time. Instead of bacon, you can use ham or sausage. I also toss in sliced green onion. You can change from Swiss cheese to another cheese if you prefer. You can add in spinach and/or mushrooms or whatever veggies you like--just cook them first and squeeze out all the moisture you can. In other words, it's a very versatile recipe. I've made a few minor variations over the years.

What I've found is that in order to make two pies--which I usually do because I often use purchased crusts (don't tell Red Geranium Sharon though--I have her half convinced that I'm Martha Stewart!)--I just make one and a half times the amount of "custard"--the milk, egg, butter, flour, and spices--called for in the recipe.

First I toss all my ingredients (in this case, diced leftover ham and sliced green onions) into the pie shells except the cheese . . .

Then I add shredded cheese (about 1/3 pound of shredded Swiss for each pie is fine although the recipe calls for 1/2 pound--whatever floats your boat works!) . . .

And then I just pour the custard in to the top and bake . . .

for around 40 minutes at 375 degrees. I cooked mine a little bit too long (because I was playing around in the Sweat Shop) but it was still quite delicious! And no, the top isn't actually burned--the photo looks a lot darker than it really was!

Yum! So go make some quiche, okay? Once you do, you too will be speaking French! Bon appetit!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ah! NOW it's the Weekend!

Here we are, at the start of the weekend--finally! If you've been reading along this week, you know it's been a long one. Here are a couple things I didn't tell you about.

Remember all that cleaning and organizing I did last weekend? Well, I filled a black plastic garbage bag with old bedding, tablecloths, and other things for donation to Goodwill. During my lunch hour on Monday, I headed over there to drop off my bag and check for new treasures. I found a couple small things, but what really caught my eye were some of the items being dropped off for donation around back of the store. Of course, you can't buy anything until it's been received into the back room and marked with a price, so I knew it would take a day or two for those treasures to make their way onto the shelves. What really startled me, though, was that the shelves at the store were half bare! Well, I suppose even Goodwill has to do a good clean out every now and then. When I went out to my car to leave--I had parked around back near the donation drop off--I noticed a bunch of bins out at the back of the parking lot marked "TRASH." I was SOOOOOO tempted to go digging through those bins, but I figured Goodwill wouldn't have approved, and I had to get back to work anyway. It just about broke my thrifting heart, I'm telling you!

Well, yesterday when I went to lunch and headed to the gas station for gas, I was toying with the idea of going over to Goodwill to see if those things I'd seen had made it onto the shelves yet. Of course, I never made it. I DID go today though, and one of the items I spotted on Monday was there waiting for me! Here's a photo--

It's not just a treasure but a treasure chest! I think it will look great on top of either our entertainment center in the living room or the armoire in our bedroom--maybe with quilts spilling out of it.

On the quilting front, I've been working on a top-secret project. Here are the main blocks, although in this photo they aren't arranged the way they will be eventually--I just thought I'd show you this much to let you know that I haven't abandoned the Sweat Shop.

I'm not quite certain what's in store for the weekend, but I'm pretty sure it will involve some quilting and cooking, and I do believe there may well be a little giveaway posted before the weekend's over. But first of all, I plan to do some serious sleeping in on Saturday! Of course, the cats may have other ideas, so we'll just see who wins that battle. Sadly, it's usually the furry four-legged creatures, but after this past week, I'm pretty motivated! (I realized after writing that sentence that I'm probably just as furry-legged as the cats. Maybe a Saturday Day of Beauty will be added to the weekend events calendar!)

I'm pleased I was able to amuse some of you with my tales this week, both true and made up. One of the great things about blogging is that when things go wrong in life, you can at least know that NOW you'll have something to write about!--And Blogland friends who will read what you write, leave you nice comments, and make everything seem not quite so bad after all! Thanks for visiting!