Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 151 of 365

It would seem a bit hypocritical for me to say this, but people put too much information out there on the internet.

Here's the issue I'm seeing. I'm part of a quilting website. I visit that website every day. I get to see quilts others have made, learn about different quilting techniques, and find out how others organize things. That's where I learned how to wrap my fabric on the comic book boards. I learned what a crumb quilt was, and there is where I learned about the Quilts for Kids Organization, the pillowcase/presentation cases for Quilts of Valor, and the Turtle Pillow project for the Hole in the Wall Camp. I've received free fabric from people giving things away, and I myself have sent some free fabric to others.

But there are a couple sections on that website where folks post pictures of their kids/grand kids. Most recently, a gal posted a picture of her grand kids (all under age) with their first names, their ages, and the town they live in. The gal who posted these pictures uses her real name, so it wouldn't take much for someone to track the kids down.

Another one bugging me happened last month. A very proud mom was showing off her elementary age student's picture from (I think) Kindergarten graduation. The picture was of the child and the principal, and then one with the child and teacher. The parent gave us her child's name, the principal's name, and the teacher's name. And the name of the school.

Here's the thing - if you're an adult and you're stupid enough to put your picture and enough information out there to get traced back to you, it's your own problem. But putting kids' info out there? And what about unsuspecting adults (like the principal and teacher) who have no idea they're being photographed and identified for posting on the internet?

Which is why you'll never find me putting pictures of people I know on my blog. I work hard at not identifying people by name (a couple times I slipped up). I won't identify where I work, what my job title is, or my full name. While I'm putting my life out there for all to read, I'm doing it as anonymously as I can. When I first started this blog, I didn't really expect anyone else to read it. Was I ever wrong. Getting close to 5,000 people so far. It's not that I don't trust you, it's that I don't trust those I don't know.

And it worries me that others aren't taking the same approach. I have plans to go to a quilting retreat (of folks from the quilting board) but am reconsidering it as I frequently see photos posted on the website of retreat attendees, identified by name. Not sure I wanna go there.

But I'm not going to worry about it now. It's time to enjoy a peaceful Sunday. And a peaceful orange sky.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 150 of 365

You'd think as much as I hate lizards (I wrote a bit about those on Day 101) I'd hate frogs, too.

For some reason they're not the same.

I think it's because of the bad experiences I had with lizards when I was a kid. In contrast, the experiences with frogs weren't so bad.

When I was growing up, we lived next door to my grandparents. At our house and my grandparents' house, there were frogs that hung around the faucets out front. Baby frogs and grown up frogs. I used to pick them up and play with them. (The baby ones were especially cute.) When we went camping, we used to swim in ponds and lakes and catch tadpoles. I remember at least once bringing some tadpoles home, hoping they'd turn into frogs. They sprouted little legs, but never made it to the frog stage.

When our daughter was little and we went to an aunt's cabin, she caught frogs. We have a picture of her, probably no older than four or five, with a plastic cup full of frogs, just as proud as she could be.

She was pretty excited when we moved into this house and found out there were frogs around here. In the basement window wells, in the rose garden, hopping along the paths.

The frogs are long gone now, though. We've taken out some plantings they liked to live around and our gardens aren't as damp as they once were. My daughter turned to playing with worms. Even as a teenager working in the garden, she would get excited if she ran across a worm. And boy, do we have some big worms!

No frogs, no worms, and certainly no lizards around here right this second.

But turtles? Yep.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 149 of 365

I don't remember growing up around gardening in California. I remember my great grandparents having a big garden out back, but I only remember corn. Actually, I don't remember vegetables playing a part in my childhood at all.

On the other hand, my husband grew up gardening here in Idaho. Even now his dad still maintains their garden.

When we lived in the university apartments when we were first married, they offered small garden plots for rent on the property. We could see the vegetable gardens from our 3rd story window, and I always wondered why anyone would take the time and money to do a garden.

But after we moved out and got a place in the country, we started gardening. My husband knew all about it. I knew nothing. Nothing about planting, watering, making rows. I didn't even know how some things grew. In the ground? On a bush? Not a clue.

Over the years, I've gotten the hang of it. I'm the one mapping out the garden plot. I know radishes and peas come out first, spinach and arugula get multiple plantings, and it's okay to start digging potatoes when the blooms have died off.

Just when I think I know it all, I learn something new. I knew tomato plants need cages, but...if you plant beefsteak tomatoes (which most of ours are) and water, fertilize, and weed properly (which most years we get a bit lazy with), the metal cages you buy at the store won't work. Because each one of those beefsteak tomato plants, when tended to properly (like this year) will produce dozens of huge tomatoes. Too many for the metal cages to hold them and the cages will wind up flat on the ground from the weight. Although they are just as tasty, just as bright, and go great in fresh salsa.

From the garden today came a jalapeno pepper, a serrano chili pepper, and some beefsteaks. Chopped an onion, threw in a bit of chili powder and garlic, and added a bit of fresh squeezed lime juice and salt.

Yum! After giving it a taste, next time I'll go with one chili pepper instead of two. It was mighty hot.
Exercise update: 103 consecutive days. I stopped tracking my mileage, though.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 148 of 365

In 1984:
  • Ronald Reagan was president.
  • The Space Shuttle Discovery had its maiden voyage.
  • A gallon of gas was $1.21.
  • The movies Terminator and Sixteen Candles came out.
  • The PG-13 rating was introduced.
  • The Cosby Show started.

On this day in 1984 I was just barely 19 years old. Both of us were in college but working during the summer. I had long fingernails and he had a curly perm. I had an ugly lime green 1970 Ford Maverick with four brand new tires. We had not much else.

No credit cards, no microwave, hardly any furniture, a small black and white TV, and only one telephone.

But we had a wedding on this day. A dress, a rented white tux, and a church. Flowers from my in-laws garden. And a potluck at their house for our reception.

27 years ago today, I married the man I met in the Boise State University Library during finals week. The man who kept coughing as I was studying for my first semester of college finals. The man who, every few minutes, had some "jock" coming over to talk to him. The man who was distracting me from my studies for what seemed like forever, yet came over before he left and said to a then 17 year old girl (me), "Excuse me miss, sorry for coughing."

Every year on our anniversary we do something special. A vacation somewhere, dinner out, gifts, or special dinner in.

But not today. My husband is at his latest conference this week and won't be home. He called me on his lunch break, but the celebration will wait. After 27 years, celebrations for anniversaries aren't what they used to be anyway.

How did I spend my day? In the sewing room and in the gardens, of course. (As if I haven't mentioned it enough lately, I'm getting tired of putting up with my back. I still - even after all I've done - can't work but a few minutes before it gives out. Grrr!)

On a more pleasant note, I did manage to capture a picture of the rose named Evelyn.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 147 of 365

I possess a multi-generational button collection.

I didn't start collecting buttons on purpose. I got some of my grandmother's buttons after she passed away, some of my mom's when she got rid of all her sewing and craft things, and I had some of my own.

When my daughter was little I used to make many of her clothes. Wild looking outfits with matching tops and bottoms. Stars, stripes, polka dots, all in bright colors. I purchased many a button thinking I'd use it for an outfit. But as I quickly learned, elastic in pants for a three year old was a better alternative.

I also have other buttons I've saved. When we buy an article of clothing and an extra button comes with it, I add it to my collection. (I even save the tiny bag the button comes in.) Old, ratty shirts that can no longer be used? I cut the buttons off and keep them. Pajamas that have seen better days? Keep those buttons.

I've used up some of the buttons I had purchased. I made my daughter a sweatshirt covered in a few dozen big, bright, bold buttons. I've even made a little wall quilt called, "Button, Button" that is covered in...buttons.

All those extra buttons have come in extremely handy. More than a few times we've lost buttons off of clothing and I just so happen to have one close enough to pass for the original. And those buttons have come in extremely, extremely, handy for the Turtle Pillows. 46 buttons are needed, in matching pairs. For each pillow, I'm trying to find just the right color button. For the most part I've been using black, but am starting to branch out into different colors.

Except all those buttons - Grandma's, Mom's, my purchased ones, and my don't throw it away, let's keep it ones are all mixed together in a big container. Which makes it hard to find a matching pair. For years every time I've needed a button, I dig through the box. Again, and again, and again, until I find a matching set.

It wastes a lot of time. And with school looming on the horizon my time is becoming sacred. To hasten the turtle production, I finally took the time out to organize the buttons. Now I can find the colors I want without pouring through thousands of buttons. And I've even matched up quite a few. I knew those little button bags would come in handy some day!

Anyone need white buttons? I think I have more than enough for a lifetime.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Decorating Ladybug and Beehive Sugar Cookies - Day 146 of 365, Tutorial Tuesday

I got to go out to lunch again today.

When I was working, I taught (and later had an office) right next to a gal from work. Every time the school year ended, we talked about meeting up in the summer to do something. And for the 10+ years we worked right next door to each other, we never did.

But this summer has been different.

We've met for lunch on Day 114 when I talked her ear off. We went to the movies (or the show, as she calls it) on Day 127.

Day 127 was when I had the torturous conversation with myself about making her some decorated sugar cookies. I never did make them, knowing that I would eat my fair share. It wound up not making a difference, as I went and picked up some ice cream/candy concoction that same day and wound up eating it without even realizing it.

So now today on Day 146 I met her for lunch (she was buying as a birthday present). This time I brought her some sugar cookies. I bravely faced my fears of sugar and plowed forward.

Today's picture is the cookies I delivered.

But wait - there's a bonus!

I made a video tutorial on how to decorate them. Take a look...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 145 of 365

As I sat in the waiting room of the Pain Clinic this morning, I was thinking I didn't belong there. This was my second visit and again I noticed there are two types of people who go there.

The first kind are folks who look like, well... look like they're on drugs. Eyes heavy, slurred speech, unsteady while walking, unkempt. While waiting for my appointment at 9:30, I listened as a gal was explaining to the receptionist how she needed her morphine and how she couldn't wait until her 2:15 appointment to get it. Explained she was taking other pain killers but they weren't working like morphine did. How she needed to get in sooner so she could get her morphine sooner. I got the impression by listening and watching the receptionist during the conversation that this happens quite often.

The other folks there are too happy, talking non-stop to other patients and staff. At most doctors offices, people for the most part keep to themselves. But both times I've been at this particular place, strangers are striking up conversations (and they're not quiet about it) left and right. Who comes to a pain clinic, all chipper and hyper? People on drugs.

This isn't a pain clinic in some strip mall - it's in a reputable hospital in Boise. There I sat, no pain pills in my system, wondering if I'd stepped into the Twilight Zone.  Which group of people would I fall into after this appointment?

As it turned out, neither group. The MRI results the doctor was waiting on never arrived. He did find some notes about the MRI from my previous doctor, but now this pain clinic doctor has decided he wants a new MRI.

So now I'll wait on insurance approval, try and fit an MRI in between my work schedule, and go back to the clinic in a few weeks. More waiting without relief.

To add insult to injury, I received two bills from my last visit to the pain clinic. My doctor's copay had already been paid, but the additional bill was from the clinic itself. I was charged a $75 "facility usage fee" for use of the clinic. Insurance paid most, but it looks like every visit I'll have to be paying my copay to the doctor and a fee to the clinic. Never heard of such a thing.

I'm this close (imagine my thumb and forefinger almost touching) to calling it all off. But having updated MRI results would be helpful. I just don't know how helpful it is to keep dragging this out.

On a more pleasant note, this afternoon I wasn't dragging things out but digging things up.

Some new red potatoes from our garden.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 144 of 365

As I was sewing up some more Turtle Pillows (like the one I did on Day 132) for Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Camp, I was thinking it would sure be nice if someone around here could help me out with them.

It's not that I'm lazy. And I love sewing, so it's not that. It's that they take so darned long to make one. And I'm making 23 of them.

With all the baby quilts, I can use my rotary cutter to cut the blocks, sew block after block assembly line style, keep a straight stitch running, and not have to change thread colors.

But with these turtles...
*the shapes have to be cut by hand.
*all the seams are curved.
*some steps require basting.
*pinning is required with every step.
*pressing is required with each step.
*three different fabrics are being used for each one.
*each different fabric requires different colored thread for the top-stitching.
*buttons have to be sewn on for the eyes.
*black "toes" have to be sewn in.

Not hard, not beyond what I can do, but time consuming when multiplied by 23. I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

It would be nice to have someone around to help out. My husband helped me do some pressing, but quickly bored of it. (And made it clear he wasn't interested in any pinning or sewing or cutting.) And my daughter? Well, sewing isn't her thing. I helped her make a rag quilt years ago (which gave me hope for the future), but she hasn't been interested in making another one. She made a fall-themed quilted square for her apartment wall with the intention of making one for each season, but it never happened. Her fall-themed one is now still on her wall in July.

So it got me thinking - since I don't know anyone around me that sews or quilts, I do know someone who I can force to help me. I think.

This person has plenty of time on her hands. She owns a sewing machine. She's done a couple fleece blankets over the past year. She used to sew baby clothes for me. And she's moving back to Idaho this week.

That would be my mom. She doesn't know it yet (she does now since she's reading it right here), but she's going to have to come over to my house and help me with some of my charity projects.

It'll be good for her. And it'll be good for me to have someone helping out.

I'm hoping I'll get the turtles done before she shows up, though. Five more done today, 17 more to go.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 143 of 365

It occurred to me as I was swimming in the pool the other day that life as I know it is about to change.

In the next two weeks:
*I have to go back to the pain clinic and decide if pain meds are the answer.
*My mom is leaving California and moving back here. And moving into the apartment with my daughter.
*I go back to the gastroenterologist and find out if surgery is forthcoming. (I don't think so.)
*I go back to work.

Amidst all that,
*My husband is going away to a conference for a week.
*He has a birthday.
*We celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary.

When I was swimming in that pool, I realized it probably was the last time I would get some freedom. The last time I could truly relax.

Summer is over, school is beginning.

And I'm still not sure how I feel about that. As much as I've been living day to day, I'm afraid I'm starting to think too much about the future.

Not intentionally. It's happening in my dreams again, just like on Day 54. Bad dreams about not getting enough done at work, not thinking things through and making mistakes at work. Dreams about forgetting all this personal growth work I've done in the last few months.

In my most recent dream I was telling someone that as soon as I think about school/work, I get a knot in my stomach.

It may have been a dream, but the more I think about it, the more I realize it's true.

I feel it happening already. After several rounds of work-related phone calls and e-mails this past week, I feel the knot in the stomach starting.

Spending today in the gardens and in the sewing room helped untie the knot, especially when we came across this.

Our first green bell pepper of the season.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 142 of 365

I don't like to drive. Highly dislike it.

I don't remember it always being that way. Don't remember feeling that way when I got my license, but I think it happened soon after we were married.

Since my husband doesn't drive - and never has - I take him everywhere. Every doctor's appointment, every meeting, every athletic event. Any time he leaves the house, I'm the one driving him.

It doesn't help that we live in a small town without stores around.

Grocery store, Target, Walgreens, Home Depot, McDonald's, movie theater? Almost 20 miles. Doctor's office? Up to 40 miles, depending on the doctor.

When I was a stay at home wife, first pregnant and terribly sick, I had to drive him several miles to work. I clearly remember heaving in the driveway as he waited for me to get in the car and get driving so he wouldn't be late for work.

When I had internal bleeding with my first ectopic pregnancy and had to get to the hospital ASAP, I drove myself.

There have been times I've had to drive him 45 miles to a conference, turn around and drive the 45 miles back, then another 10 miles so I can get to work before 7:30 AM.

I've driven every family vacation. 10 hours to the Oregon Coast, only to have to lie down and close my eyes from having such a headache. When we've traveled, my husband and daughter have gone to dinner without me more times than I can count.

27 years of being the sole driver and chauffeur for two different people (three if you count my daughter) wears on a person.

But on the trip we took this week, my daughter helped out with the driving. I was shocked at the difference it makes when someone else is driving. Usually driving long hours with no one to relieve me is so exhausting, but being a passenger for a bit of the time was sure a nice respite.

And I found out what it is like to be a sightseer.
Exercise update: 96 consecutive days. No bike mileage report - it plummeted because several days were spent swimming instead.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 141 of 365

My husband watches food shows on the Travel Channel and the Food Network. Those shows where the host travels around, going to different restaurants, learning how to cook the signature items. We've even been to some of the places shown on some of the programs. Even made Coney Island dogs back on Day 18, and a pulled pork, coleslaw, and fries sandwich on Day 71.

I half halfheartedly watch the shows. One show I saw had a restaurant making chicken fried steak.

Chicken fried steak is on the Deb-doesn't-eat-it list. I've tried several things on the Deb-doesn't-eat-it list that went quickly back to the top of it. Escargot. Deep fried alligator. Soft shell crab.

Shrimp used to be on that list, too. Many years ago at the state fair I tried some spicy Cajun shrimp and have been a fan of shrimp ever since.

My husband and daughter love chicken fried steak. There is a restaurant in town that serves it and they have occasionally ordered it. No tasting from that plate for me. When our daughter was old enough to gamble and we went to the casino, either one of them would order it there, too. (And it was huge there - a whole platter full.) Still no tasting for me.

But after I watched that particular show making chicken fried steak, I made my mind up to try it. No gravy for me, though.

I tried it at the local restaurant when my husband was out of town. (Didn't want anyone to know that I was giving in.) It was okay, but not great. Tried it at the casino one time, too. Even better.

And this time at the casino, a must-have. Yummy platter-sized chicken fried steak, without gravy. Delicious, but too much for one person alone.

Even my husband and daughter split theirs, all smothered in gravy. (The picture is just half a serving.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 140 of 365

We've gotten around to celebrating my birthday. At the casino.

After chickening out at the casino on Day 118 it was time to try it again. This time I didn't go alone. And I hope this time I'll stay put. I've never called off a family trip, never made people go home early, so I know I'll be sticking it out this time.

No worries about gambling alone - I have the pool to retreat to. I haven't been swimming since we went to the mountains on Day 52. And boy, do I love to swim. (It might even be a nice break from riding the exercise bike every day.)

We left home first thing in the morning, picked up our daughter on the way, and are making a trip of it. We're able to take advantage of our free room and food comps. We even got a free upgrade to a suite. We've never stayed in a suite before so it makes it extra special. Bedroom, living room, bar/kitchen area, two bathrooms and even two balconies! And our casino host unexpectedly had a birthday cake delivered to our room to help us celebrate.

I'm glad I took the plunge.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 139 of 365

These last couple days have been spent in the rose garden.

While I wish I could report that the roses are continuing to flourish, I can't.

Every year our rose garden goes through cycles. It blooms nonstop for several weeks, then takes a break.

This year our first official bloom came on June 7 (Day 97). All the bushes have bloomed incessantly since then and I've taken plenty of pictures.

But it was obvious it was starting to wind down when I had a hard time finding buds for my birthday cake a couple days back.

And after a week of windstorms and heavy rain, the rose garden looks like it has closed up shop for a bit.

It'll be back, but it's sad to see it go for now. It doesn't look quite the same as it did just a couple weeks ago on July 5 (Day 125).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 138 of 365

When I was in high school biology we did tests of our taste buds to see the reaction to sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. For me, bitter was bad. Horrible. The results of the experiment deemed me to have more bitter taste buds than most people.

I have to agree with that. Broccoli, cauliflower, kale? Keep me away. Far away.

While I'm known to throw spinach in my omelet, occasionally put very finely sliced cabbage in my tacos, and have salad on top of my pizza, you'll never find me eating broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. If it came down to those three vegetables and starvation, I think I'd choose starvation.

My husband on the other hand loves all vegetables, hence the vegetable garden this year.

Although now our garden is in a transitional phase. The radishes and peas are done and the broccoli is just about finished up. We didn't plant cauliflower (yay!), but the kale is coming on and he's already picked one head of cabbage. The corn is beginning to tassel and the potatoes are almost finished with their blooming. The pumpkin vines are huge with enormous orange blossoms (some of which are beginning to become pumpkins).

But an all time record for our garden occurred today. For on this day, July 18th, is the earliest we've ever picked a tomato. Thanks to being able to start our tomatoes in the greenhouse at the high school, we have three beefsteak tomatoes.

And thanks to my husband eating one before I could even get my camera out, I was only able to get a picture of two of them (with just a small chunk of #3 remaining).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 137 of 365

Today is my birthday.

I don't like birthdays. Actually, it's my own birthday I don't like. I like celebrating other peoples birthdays, just not my own.

Some years it's because I don't like getting older. Some years it's because I think about what I haven't done in life. Some years it's because in the middle of summer it is usually too hot to do anything. Some years it's because I've wasted my summer away. And some years it's because of something stupid, childish, and petty.


Every year for my daughter and my husband's birthdays, Father's Day, and Christmas, I go big. I make sure everyone has everything they would ever need and then some. I want celebration days to be days where they feel special. I look for things they might want or need months ahead and hold onto them until the special day.

But it doesn't work that way for presents for me. They usually buy gifts last minute (although that's not the biggest complaint). The biggest issue is they won't buy me anything unless it's on a list. If it's on a list, I'll probably get it. If it's not on a list, forget about it. Last year I asked for some potholders, gift cards to the places I like to bargain shop (like Target) and a DVD of The Office TV show. Unfortunately I had also mentioned when we were repainting our porch last summer that it would be easier to smooth out the rough spots if we had an electric sander.

So for my birthday last year I got 7 potholders, all the same, all in separate bags, and a electric sander. The sander is still in the box, never used. I eventually went and bought my own DVD off of ebay.

Christmas is the same way. I won't get anything if it's not on a list. When we open gifts, we take turns. Daughter, husband, me. Daughter, husband, me. For the last 25+ years, I have been the one sitting watching everyone else open gift after gift after gift (since I run out of presents after about number six).

At some point I'll get smart and start making a bigger list. But I like the idea of being surprised on a birthday or Christmas. I like the idea of buying things that surprise others. If everyone only got what was on a list, where is the fun in that?

But this year I'm not worrying about getting older. This year I'm not worried about what I haven't done in life. This year it is hot, but not too hot. This year I know I haven't wasted my summer away. And this year I'm not caring so much about presents.

There won't even be presents today anyway. Our daughter is working all day today so we won't be "officially" celebrating today - that will come later this week.

We are having a cake today, though. A cake my husband baked and decorated. I guided him through as he made the cake and the homemade buttercream frosting. I taught him how to color the frosting and some basic cake decorating techniques. I clipped some of our rose buds from the garden for the center.

He's quite proud of his work. As am I. Don't think I could have done a better job myself.

Having a husband make you a cake is a great present!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 136 of 365

My horoscope today read:

Your relationship with money is about to go through a very interesting phase. You'll be tasked with managing a far larger amount than you were prepared for, and you should not attempt to go it alone. The sums involved could cause you to make incorrect assumptions. If you don't understand something -- even something small -- seek out professional advice. These are murky waters, and you definitely don't want to get in over your head.


When I went to the movies with a friend from work last week, she told me a story about a lottery ticket. She had won a bit on a ticket and cashed it in. Then on her way home she stopped and bought another ticket - a lottery ticket that cost $20. And won big. Big enough where she had to go to the lottery office to claim her winnings. (Not like thousands, but several hundred dollars!) Her sister, upon learning of her luck, bought her own $20 ticket. No winner.

So as my husband and I were doing our grocery shopping today, I thought about buying one of those $20 tickets. Maybe that's what my horoscope meant - that I'd win big and need a financial adviser! Unfortunately I chickened out and didn't buy one.

Then I thought maybe it had to do with work. You'll be tasked with managing a far larger amount than you were prepared for. My new job will involve managing larger sums of money than I've managed before. And since I got the word yesterday about when my first day of work will be, and knowing that one of the first tasks will be some budget revisions, maybe my horoscope was wanting me to think ahead.


They say lightning doesn't strike twice in the same spot. (Which isn't true, but it's what "they" say.) We're planning on going to the casino this coming week. Maybe lightning will strike like it did for us when we walked out of the casino with $1500 on Day 22-Day 23.

And today's picture? Early morning lightning out my front window.

And a few bonus guest pictures!

Ruth sent in these pictures of butterflies on her purple coneflowers. 
Thanks for sharing, Ruth!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 135 of 365

Have I ever mentioned I like to organize? (Yeah, probably a dozen or so times now.)

I got all ten packages of batting from yesterday tucked away, my fabrics purchased earlier this week are nice and neatly organized, but my scrap baskets are overflowing.

I already used a bunch of the scraps to make blocks like those on Day  104. I even gave away some of my red blocks since I made too many for the quilts I was working on.

The turtle pillows I cut this week - all 23 of them - left lots of scraps. Lots and lots of them. In all colors and shapes and sizes. I've seen pictures on the internet how most people store their scraps in bins. But I need mine tidier and neater and easier to find. I already had plenty of scraps wrapped on those cut down comic book boards, all organized my color in a couple baskets, but I was running out of room for any more baskets.

I thought about how I had some extra boxes and some leftover contact paper from when I was teaching. I decided to cut up the boxes to fit perfectly on my shelves. Wrap them in contact paper. Cut the comic book boards down even smaller to fit in the boxes.

If anyone needs any fabric scraps, you know where to shop!
Exercise update: 89 consecutive days with a little over 22 miles on the bike this week.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 134 of 365

Today's schedule:

Get new drivers license. Return chair mat to Staples. Get gas. Take hubby to doctor. Go to my own rheumatologist appointment. Blood work at lab. Go visit daughter. Go with daughter to look at new apartment. Take keys back to property management office. Go to lunch. Go back to property management office so husband can get glasses he dropped there. Go to JoAnn's fabric store to get big early birthday present. Go to Target for hubby and daughter to birthday shop. Take daughter back to her place. Drive in rush hour traffic. Get groceries. Get prescription at drugstore. Get buy one get one free frozen strawberry lemonade at McDonalds. Come home and ride the exercise bike.

Never did make it to the grocery store or drug store. I was too tuckered out after the full day we had.

But a couple highlights today are worth writing about. First, if you haven't tried McDonald's frozen strawberry lemonade you're missing out. I'm not one who ever gets brain freezes (I don't even know what one of those feels like) but I get throat freezes. Tart and ice cold.

And at the fabric store - my birthday is coming up and my husband knows a fabric store is a good place to shop for a present. He headed to the sewing machine section to look for me a new one, but I headed in a different part of the store. As much as a new machine would be nice, it's not necessary.

What is necessary is quilt batting for my future charity baby quilts. 10 packs of batting is much more appreciated by me than a new sewing machine right now.

I almost arranged the packages with the labels all facing the same way like I do my cans (I wrote about that on Day 131), but decided I was going to be a rebel.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 133 of 365

I discovered ebay a few years back.

Not as a buyer, but as a seller. I had a pair of concert tickets a few rows from the stage for George Strait. But as the date got closer, we found out we had a dilemma. It was senior night for girls basketball and our daughter was a senior. George Strait or daughter. We picked the daughter, of course!

Being that the concert was sold out, I knew I had something good on my hands. I had heard about people selling tickets on ebay, but hadn't ever been on the site and didn't know anything about it. After doing some research it appeared that I might not only get my money back for the tickets but make some profit, too.

So the tickets went up for auction. The person who won the tickets e-mailed me after the concert and said the tickets were amazing and George Strait came through their aisle and shook their hands. In the end I made a $200 profit on the tickets and got to see my daughter being honored on senior night.

Then about a year ago I heard about a way to wrap fabric nice and neat. I could either buy some corrugated type white boards (expensive) or use comic book boards.

I used to read some comic books when I was a kid (mostly Richy Rich - boy, what I would have given to live that life!), but had no idea what a comic book board was. It's a piece of thick cardstock-like paper that collectors use to help maintain the shape of the comic book. I guess you can purchase them at comic books stores, but since I don't typically hang out there - or even know where one is - I headed to ebay for my boards.

After some patient searching and waiting, I found someone getting rid of used boards. 500 of them. For a doggone descent price. 500 boards? Never would I ever need 500, but what the heck?

Unfortunately as I began to wrap all my fabric and then cut some of the boards for my smaller pieces of fabric, it became apparent that I had plenty of fabric to fill those boards.

Until today. Up until today, all of my boards had been filled with fabric.

Today I finished cutting the fabric for 22 more turtle pillows (like the one yesterday). Lots of empty comic book boards now.

Then the mail arrived. Another cheap ebay purchase. Sometimes you don't know exactly what you're going to get when you order from there, but today's fabrics filled my 5 foot table. Looks to be close to 30 yards of high quality fabric. So much I couldn't hardly get it all in the picture.

No more empty comic book boards anymore.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 132 of 365

It's turtle time!

My house is clean (shiny in some spots even). My roses have been clipped and my gardens are just about weeded.

I get to play with fabric again. And this time I'm making turtles. For charity.

Some day I may actually make something for myself, but not yet. My new charity project will benefit kids at a Hole in the Wall Camp.

Paul Newman started Hole in the Wall Camps for children with life-threatening conditions back in 1988. One of those camps in California, The Painted Turtle, sends each child home with a lap quilt and a turtle pillow. I've made enough quilts for a little bit, so I'm tackling turtles now.

The turtle pillows are quite large - about two and a half feet long. And I'm making bunches of them. I don't have to stuff them (the organization does that), but I get to use up some of my excess fabric to make them.

My first one was finished today, but I'm working on cutting enough fabric for at least 20 or so more.

It's kinda cute even without its stuffing. One down and many more to go.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 131 of 365

I'm a stockpiler. Have been ever since I can remember. I love the look of neatly stocked shelves (the labels always have to face out), and I especially love a good deal.

I haven't been stockpiling much this spring, but last summer when I was couponing a lot, I did some major stocking up. If I could get one can of shaving cream for 25 cents, why not go ahead and buy five at that price? I'm lucky we have plenty of storage in the house! Doing the big stockup on many items saved us this year - with me not bringing in any income, it's been nice being able to keep our grocery costs down. We still have plenty of soap, paper towels, cleaning products, shaving cream, toothpaste, and deodorant to last us another year.

Frozen foods and canned goods are another story. Our freezer is just about empty and our canned food shelves are looking bare. Last year we had stocked up so much on canned goods that I made racks to hold some of them. (I used the directions here, but painted mine.) So as soon as another bargain comes along, I'll be taking advantage of it. I like having my own grocery store in the basement.

Like my fabric store in my sewing room closet. Even though it's nicely stocked, if a bargain comes along, I can't resist.

It's not like I don't have enough already. (The picture from Day 57 can confirm that.) As many quilts as I send out the door and fabric and quilt tops I give away, it still isn't dwindling. I have a big project I'm about to get started on that will use some of the yardage up, but that won't keep me from buying.

Just this week (on ebay of course) I found a gal offering 5" and 6" squares of fabric, already cut, in some interesting patterns. So I pulled the trigger and spent five whole dollars. Such a bargain. I have a few more dollars of squares coming in the next few days, but my five dollars worth arrived today. Over 200 squares, just perfect for baby and kids quilts.

Someday maybe I'll even get back to grown up quilts. Probably not anytime soon, though.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day 130 of 365

I wake up every morning with hope.

Hope that my body can get out of bed, get dressed, and eat breakfast without having to take 3 hours to do it.

Hope that I have the stamina to do what I have planned for the day.

Hope that my pain is less than the day before.

Hope that my fatigue is not as great.

Hope that I have a positive attitude through it all.

In the last week I've sent out 5 charity baby quilts. Scrubbed the kitchen clean. Mopped and vacuumed. Pruned up the roses in the rose garden. Went grocery shopping. Had a dentist appointment. Went to the movies. Cleaned and organized the sewing room. Washed windows. Exercised every day. And just today cleaned and organized the den.

I've done more in the last week than I have done in a long time. The combination of all the work has taken a toll on me.

Each day has been a bigger struggle than the day before. Each day I've had to force myself to get out of bed and dressed. Force myself to do my self-assigned task for the day. Force myself to exercise. Force myself to keep going. And even force myself to write and take the picture of the day.

It was tough. Probably the toughest week I've had in a quite a while.

The thing about rheumatoid arthritis is that it makes you feel like you have the kind of flu with the body aches and fatigue, but all the time. Then add in the side effects from my medications. Then add in the back issues. Add in no pain medication. Try and accomplish physical things during the day - cleaning, washing, gardening? It's enough to make someone start popping those pain pills again.

But I didn't. And I won't. Because that's a short term solution.

I want a long term solution. A solution that will let me work in the garden, clean my house, and even get myself dressed without pain. A solution that will allow me the energy to get back to work.

A solution that will help me meet the goal I set when I first started the blog - the hope that I will be back into the land of the living instead of the land of the existing.

This week was proof that I'm not even close.

I'm having to dig down deep to keep a positive attitude about it. I need to be thankful I can get out of bed and get myself dressed (even if it takes 3 hours). I need to be thankful I can wash my windows, mop my floor, exercise, and prune roses, even if it keeps me in pain and takes every bit of oomph I have. And I need to be thankful I can get outside and enjoy my beautiful flowers.

This one just opened today - some type of huge lily. An Asiatic one maybe?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 129 of 365

I had to wash my windows today.

There have been so many missed picture taking opportunities lately because I've had dirty windows. It seems like each time I sit down to type, a new bird shows up in the tree out the window. Whether it's a hummingbird, or another yellow bird like on Day 81, or the pair from Day 83, a woodpecker who has been appearing lately, or a new gorgeous orange and yellow bird, I keep missing them because of my dirty windows.

Remember the squirrel from the picture on Day 89? The one that turned on me on Day 101? If I had clean windows I could have captured a picture of mama hummingbird attacking that squirrel. The squirrel was frozen as mama hummingbird buzzed, and buzzed, and buzzed him. Haven't seen that squirrel much since. But what a picture that would have made!

Clean shiny windows and a camera just waiting to snap a picture is a good recipe for the picture of the day. Although my windows are beautiful, nothing has shown up outside them today.

Since I'm not working in my sewing room until my house is spotless (it's getting there), it's back to my gardens for the picture.

Our wildflower bed turned perennial garden looks like it's turned into a den of daisies instead.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 128 of 365

Today was a day full of highlights. I thought about ranking them, but I don't know which one is the best!

Worked outside in the garden a bit.

Had no sugar today.

Rode a little over 21 miles on the exercise bike this week.

In the past six weeks, I've biked a tad over 108 miles.

Today was the 82nd consecutive day of exercising.

And two new things in the picture department today - my pic of the day is a video and I have a guest picture, too.

Jenn sent this picture from her cell phone of ducks, geese, and birds in the park. Canadian geese, mallard ducks, a seagull, and an Aflac duck. Can't get much more diverse than that.

And for the first time, a video for my picture of the day. I took a still picture of it, but the video is so much better. That's our baby hummingbird sitting all by herself in the nest, but not for long. Take a look at what happens next.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 127 of 365

When I leave the house during the day, I try and cram as much into one day as possible.

It goes back to when I was working and my daughter was still at home. Since my husband and I had a couple months off in the summer, we would coordinate all our yearly checkups. The three of us have had back to back eye appointments and dentist appointments. We'd make sure his other two yearly checkups he had coordinated with my others. By doing this, we'd get 10-12 appointments done in two days. Two full days of appointments instead of two full weeks of appointments. Squeaking out the most of the summer is important!

Today was one of those appointment days with the two of us having back to back dentist appointments. Then in the afternoon I got to the movies with a couple friends from work.

Since I was going two different places, I decided I might as well add the physical therapist office in there as a stop and make everyone a batch of decorated sugar cookies.

The internal conversation I had with myself over making these cookies was deafening. 

"I'll make beehive and bumblebee cookies and ladybug cookies."

"No, better skip it. I might eat them."

"No, I'm doing okay with sugar, it'll be alright. But I'll make flowerpot ones I saw the other day."

"I'll make two batches, enough for everyone."

"If I make two batches, I might have leftovers and will wind up eating them."

"No I won't. I made Oatmeal Cookies back on Day 109 and didn't have a problem."

"Yeah, but that was Day 109."

"Can I guarantee that I won't eat any sugar cookies?"




After 2 days of going back and forth, my willpower overpowered my cookie making/eating urge. So no cookies for anyone because I can't trust cookies. (I really mean I can't trust me.)

As much as I'd like to write that, at the end of this day, after struggling for days on the cookie issue, I have control over the sweets issue, I can't.

For after the movies, I picked up dinner for my husband. And I ordered ice cream with candies mixed in. Not because I wanted it, but because it was such a habit to order. And as much as I wish I could write that after ordering it I realized my mistake, I did not. I ate that ice cream and candy concoction on the way home. Only upon almost finishing it did I realize what I was doing. I was eating something that I have been trying to fend off. Something I didn't even want.

I know better. But I wasn't thinking. My habit got the best of me.

At least I can end the day now knowing that my control over sweets is easier maintained at home. Baby steps, I guess.

Am I the only one who has these struggles?

Thank goodness I have some baby strawberries coming on. No sugar needed there.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day 126 of 365

I used to be a perfectionist. Or at least tried to be. A place for everything and everything in its place. But I'm finding more and more I don't care about that as much.

It's like before our daughter was born. Long before hand sanitizers, I was a clean hands freak. I would wash my hands - with soap - all the time. Multiple times a day. Even when they weren't dirty. Before we moved into rental apartments, I'd wash down every single surface. Even if the walls were clean, I'd still wash them down. Heaven forbid I'd ever touch a wall that someone else had touched.

But after the kiddo came around, there was less and less time to be so particular. I still washed my hands with soap quite a bit, but not like before (except I do use more soap than anyone else in the house). And nowadays, the moment I get in the car from being out shopping or out to eat, or really anywhere I might be where I could have touched something that someone else might have touched, the hand sanitizer is the first thing I grab. Thank goodness for those small bottles I can keep in the car. (The Bath and Body Works fragrant ones are the best!)

Trying to work on my house being deep cleaned (although not perfectly) and using hand sanitizers every time I leave the house, yet having fabric scraps all around my sewing room and drooping dead roses in the garden and not having a mopped kitchen floor - it didn't make sense. So I had to rectify that.

At the end of the day today, I'll feel better than yesterday. (Although I don't feel great about having to give myself a shot tonight.)

Kitchen floor mopped. Check.
Roses pruned. Check.
Sewing room cleaned. Check.

My fabric closet is back to where it was on Day 57  and the rest of the room is finally back to normal as well.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 125 of 365

Usually when I sit down to type the blog, I already have an idea of what I want to write about. Today I had an idea of what I was going to write about but it didn't happen.

I had planned on writing about how productive I was these last couple days. I was hoping to report that I had mopped my kitchen floor, cleaned up the sewing room, and pruned all the roses.

No such luck.

Did I mop the kitchen? Nope. Get the sewing room clean? I started on it. Get all the roses pruned? Some of them. Get groceries? Yep. Do my exercising? Yep. Eat healthy? Not so much.

My husband went grocery shopping with me today. Which meant we had to go out to eat. (Take the hubby to help, gotta feed him.) We stopped somewhere we never go - Dairy Queen. A cheeseburger, fries, diet soda (with caffeine) and a chocolate covered strawberry waffle bowl dessert has left me feeling icky. Too much salt, too much sugar, too much caffeine. Glad to know my body doesn't like those things anymore! A few miles on the bike helped me feel a bit better,  but the work I planned on doing when we got home didn't happen.

As much as I wished I could report that my rose garden is all nice and tidy, it's not going to happen today. I've been working on it slowly for the last couple days and can't even make a dent in it.

Although I probably could leave it where it stands now and no one would be the wiser...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 124 of 365

I like where we live.

When we first saw this house on one of the listings our real estate agent gave us, we passed it over because it was two levels. Even back 12-13 years ago, I was having problems with my knees and wasn't looking to live somewhere with stairs. But she encouraged us to take a look anyway. The owners had just finished the basement, it was in a nice neighborhood, and you could see the river.

On a rainy day in the spring, we took a drive to look at the house. It had carpeted non-steep stairs to the beautifully finished basement. It had a big backyard with nice shade trees, a couple of places for a garden, and a view of the Snake River from the kitchen, dining room, and living room.

We bought it.

We had been living in the country for many years. We were used to the open spaces and the quiet. The down side to living in the country was being since my husband doesn't drive, I would have to chauffeur him back and forth to his school. For several years we lived 10 miles from his work. I'd take him the 10 miles to work, turn around and backtrack to go 15 more miles my work. Then at the end of the day, I'd have to do the same. At that time he was also coaching sports, so I'd be making runs at 10:30 at night to get him after basketball and football games. Some of those late night drives were in blinding snowstorms. Thank goodness those days are long behind us!

This house we live in now is in a town of fewer than 900 people, and is less than a mile from his work. The librarian from his school lives across the street and gives my husband a ride to school every morning. We're close enough that he'll walk home in the afternoons if the weather is cooperating. Most all the folks in our neighborhood are retired. We get the benefit of city water, sewer, and trash.

But I think I appreciate this place more on the 4th of July than any other day.

Our town has a very nice fireworks show that is launched from the park by the river. So on the 4th of July celebration night (the 3rd of July this year) we don't even have to leave the yard. No crowds, no parking worries, no hauling chairs. (The only hauling of chairs we do is when we bring the chairs from the back patio to the front yard.) Two chairs, one bottle of mosquito spray, and a blanket is all we need to enjoy the fireworks from our front  yard.

And the camera.

Happy 4th of July to all!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 123 of 365

Laundry, kitchen cleaning, and roses was how I planned on keeping myself busy today.

In addition to our laundry I had to wash the kids' quilts before they are mailed. They're all nice and fresh, packed up and ready to go out the door on Tuesday. Boy, I love my clothesline!

In line with upping my cleaning time, I focused on the kitchen today. Wiped down all the counters and cabinet and drawer facings. I vacuumed rugs, shined the sink, and cleaned the vents in the refrigerator. I polished up the stove and microwave and cleaned the drawer under the oven. Still have the mopping to do, but otherwise the kitchen is back to its shiny self. It was quite a long cleaning session, especially when I tried to sit down to do some of the work. I looked dorky rolling myself around the room in the office chair. A back saver, but a dork creator!

I planned to work in the roses, too. I took a quick look around to see what needed to be done and realized they were looking a little rough. The storm we had Day 119 night knocked those climbing roses from Day 117's picture off the trellis and I hadn't stopped to retrain them. They weren't the only roses that had fallen over. I have one bush that looks like it might have been split in two and lots and lots of blooms around the garden that are damaged. The rose garden is going to be an even bigger project than the kitchen, so I'll be saving it for another day. Maybe tomorrow.

My Melody Parfumee roses aren't looking too bad, though.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 122 of 365

I really am not interested in taking a break from making the baby quilts for charity. I do enjoy it quite a bit. There are a couple other sewing projects I want to work on, too. I'm not sure I'll be doing any more quilts or those other projects anytime soon.

There's a little problem with the gardens and the house.

The garden problem is an obvious one. We had to let the high school kid we hired to help us around the yard go and our daughter hasn't been home much. My husband doesn't like a schedule or responsibilities in the summer and with my back (and other body parts) being on the fritz, it's getting difficult to keep up with the weeds and the rose pruning. But the gardens are in desperate need of some attention so I'm going to have to spend more time out there when I can.

The house is just as big a problem.

I've really slacked on the cleaning. I'm not a clutter person, so it's not like there are dishes in the sink or clothes or books or magazines all around. It's the cleaning part. The mopping, the scrubbing the toilets and sinks, the vacuuming, the washing of the windows. Physically it's been tough to do those things for quite some time. And again, our daughter hasn't been around much to help out. When I was working we used to have a cleaning lady come once a week, but that was because we just didn't have much time to clean. But now it's not about the time, it's about the ability to do the work. And having the cleaning lady come back wouldn't make good financial sense.

So now the gardens and the housecleaning need to take priority over the sewing. It's a priority I'm not sure I can maintain. I already tried giving up the sewing on Day 80 and that time it only lasted until Day 96. We'll see how long it lasts this time.

I will certainly miss my time in the sewing room and miss turning out quilt after quilt. I finally finished up the last of my charity baby quilts to send out to Quilts for Kids today. I'll be sending off five quilts to them. I made two from my own fabrics on Day 101 and Day 107 and three from their free fabric kits on Day 120, Day 121, and today.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 121 of 365

I came oh-so-close to giving up yesterday.

After that darn pain clinic appointment I was tempted to stop by and pick up something really greasy and salty for dinner like Carl's Jr.

But I didn't.

When I got home I was tempted to make something really big and unhealthy for dinner.

But I didn't.

I was very tempted to make a batch of cookies and eat my heart out.

But I didn't.

I was tempted to give up the bike riding for the day and break my consecutive days of riding record.

But I didn't.

Instead, I
*rode the bike.
*went into my sewing room and got to work finishing up yesterday's quilt.
*started on another baby quilt.
*boxed up some fabrics to give away to a lady in Minnesota who makes lap quilts and wheelchair and walker bags for veterans.

And today, I
*mailed that box of fabrics.
*rode my bike - a little over 20 miles total for the week. My exercise streak is now up to 75 consecutive days!
*finished another quilt.