vacation update

Well, we did have a blast at Fiesta. But, not really any pics. We took Sydney's camera and it's a very inexpensive one and wasn't really usable. It doesn't have a view finder except the LCD screen, which I couldn't really see in the bright light. So, I have several pics of Sydney and Rob's chins, on the ferris wheel, walking through the park, and at the pool. And, there are a few pics of Sydney's legs as she went by on rides ;-(. But, the memories are just as precious. Turns out she doesn't like the fast and furious rides either. But, there was a whirligig which is swings that spin around and centrifugal force pushes the rider way out. She rode that one 4 times. And, there was only one ride she rode and didn't like. I had a blast and rode several rides with them since they weren't riding stuff I didn't like. But, the funniest moment was the Hustler, which is basically a tea cup ride, only based on pool balls. Sydney wanted to ride it, so Rob and I rode in a different ball than her and after making fun of me for riding the "teacup" ride, he almost got sick from all the spinning around. Hah! That'll teach him about making fun. We spent about 8 hours there making fun family memories and came home exhausted. If you get a chance to go to Six Flags Fiesta Texas, I recommend it. You can tell the toll that the economy has taken on it, in peeling paint and dust, but the rides are exceptionally well cared for. We went during the week because of my problems with crowds and that was a great choice. Almost no waiting in lines.

Then, yesterday, we went back to the pottery painting place to paint cups to go with my teapot I made a few weeks back. There were a few rules. Everyone had to use the same background color that I did, but each of us was supposed to decorate the cup with things that spoke about us. Rob used leaves and Sydney chinese characters for peace, love and energy, and I did quilt squares, of course. We'll get them back on Tuesday and I'll post pics here for all to see. After that, we went to a terrific new chinese buffet and then to see the new Harry Potter movie. Rob didn't enjoy the movie because he's lost track of the overall story, but I enjoyed it and think Sydney did too. She cried when one of the main characters died at the end.

Today Rob had to go back to work because his boss's family vacation begins, so Sydney and I are taking care of business, first to update her immunizations for school and then for some xrays for the orthodontist and then she gets to pick what we do this afternoon. I know she wants to go to an ice cream shop that's famous in the area, but she hasn't shared what she plans for the rest of the day. We'll be up north. Maybe I'll squeeze in a trip to one of the quilt shops up there.

I have two different quilt squares in progress, but nothing finished as of yet. Having no trouble starting things, but lots of trouble finishing them. I'll leave you with the one pic I got of their faces. You can see how much of them I didn't get in the picture, even though I thought I was aiming better.
Y'all take care and we'll see ya round the net. I'm off to read your blogs and see what you've been up to. Lane


The best bbq sauce ever!

Okay, gonna share a recipe that I got from the Kraft Food and Family magazine. I love that magazine. I cook almost all our meals from ideas I get from it, even if I don't exactly follow the recipe. It used to be free, but now, it's about $6 a year and darn well worth it if you're feeding a family on a tight budget.

I've used this sauce on chicken, chops and with the addition, on burgers.

6T zesty italian salad dressing
2T preserves...I've used apricot and orange marmalade, but am sure any sweet perserve would do.

And, the addition that I added for the burgers was 2T of Kraft BBQ sauce.

Just sauce the meat up and let it sit in the fridge for about 10 minutes, then sauce it again every time you turn it on the grill. It starts a little thin, but over time becomes a thick coating on the meat. Love it, love it, love it.

We're off to Six Flags Fiesta Texas today. We have a plan that will let us maximize our fun and we've given Sydney our little talk about the adults being in charge of what she gets to ride and what she doesn't. Turns out Rob doesn't like to ride the fast and furious stuff either, so we've let her know that when she's a little older, she'll get to go without us and she can ride those things when I'm not there watching, but she may not get to ride them when I'm on the ground holding my breath and fingering my insurance card.

Sunblock, check. Hat, check. Book, check. Sandwiches for a picnic before we enter, check. Swimsuit, check. Cash, check, check, check.

Y'all take care and have a great Wednesday. Lane


another BOM

Here's another block I finished over the weekend. This is from Forever Green quilting and I'm half way through now. It's a great little quilt. http://www.forevergreenquilts.com/free-quilt-patterns.html This lady uses some really tiny pieces. One of the previous blocks had 1/4" wide shutters on it and that almost convinced me to stop, but I made it through that one and am sure I can make it through the rest, odd angles and all. I also worked on my Bunny Hill block and am almost done. Hopefully, I'll finish the embroidery tonight and get it posted tomorrow. It's nice to get everything caught up and it's just about the first of the month when they'll start posting new blocks again.

I geo my yard work done yesterday morning and the veggies are blooming like wild. We had 4 days under a hundred last week and it got the whole process started again, so I'm pollinating tomatoes and watching little green beans form. The cukes didn't do well, but that's a result of where I planted them. I thought it would be a sunny enough spot, but it wasn't. Next year I'll know better. Everything in the yard enjoyed those cooler days and the inch of rain we got one evening. It was perfect and I'm hoping will be repeated this week. They say there's a chance so I've got my fingers crossed.

We have Sydney convinced that we're going to a cave for our day trip on Wednesday. Rob told her he paid extra for us to have a place to sit and watch the stalactites drip and then we're going to measure the increased height of the corresponsing stalagmite...we are devils for parents. We're really going to Fiesta Texas, a 6 Flags Theme park in San Antonio! I really didn't think she believed us, but I heard her tell the counselors at camp this morning and I really think she does. Oh, how gullible.

It's a two day workweek and while I'm sure Rob will have us up and moving early on our days off, I am hoping to get in a little rest and relaxation. Too bad I can't take a little needlework with me to the theme park so I can enjoy them going on the roller coasters as much as they do. I don't do fast and I don't do high up, so I plan to find some of those conveniently placed benches all around the park and converse with the other old people. That way, we can all be happy!

Y'all take care and we'll see ya round the net! Lane


catching up on my stuff

Well, since I can't work on the Indian Orange Peel, I'm working on my BOM's and trying to get them caught up. I didn't get as far as I'd hoped, but progress was still made. Here's a look at the Cmas applique quilt with its new block, the little house on the bottom, and the stars just above it. This quilt is made by piecing the sashing and filler blocks at the same time as the applique blocks and those stars seemed to take forever. Just 4 more blocks to go and it will be ready to assemble and quilt. This quilt is a special request from Rob, and he wants it done by this cmas. We'll see if I can make that deadline. We may just be hanging an unquilted top this year ;-).

And, last night, I stayed up late to work on another BOM, my Memory Lane quilt from Block Central. This is just one block and she has us piecing the sections for the border, a little at a time along with a block, thank goodness because all those half square triangles would be BORING to do all at once. Those 9 patches are the outer corners of the quilt.
I'd like to get just one more BOM done today, but we'll have to see how it goes. Soon as the sun comes up, I want to get out and do a little yardwork, and then there's the grocery and chores. So much to do, so little time. But, I have our first real family vacation to look forward to. On Wedensday, we're going to a 6 flags theme park and on Thursday morning, we're going to the pottery painting place to each make a cup to go with my teapot. Not sure what else we'll do, but whatever it is, we're going to be doing it together. Y'all take care and have a great Sunday. Lane


Vintage Thingies Thursday

Okay, I'm going to try to participate for the first time in my new friend Suzanne's Vintage Thingies Thursday at http://coloradolady.blogspot.com/2009/07/vintage-thingies-thursday-just-because.html! Rob and I love vintage things, so when I told him that I planned to participate and asked what he suggested to start with, we both looked at one another and laughed. So many of our things are "retro" and "vintage" that we could have done anything. So, I decided to focus on just one shelf of the book case in my sewing room, and the thing in the center was a clock. So, I thought I'd feature my vintage clocks. Now, not all these are vintage. But, they're all old as in "I've had them forever" and some of them are actual vintage.

At one point in my life, I was a call center forcaster and scheduler. It was my job to figure out how many calls we were going to get at any given time, and to make sure I had plenty of staff scheduled to answer them with a minimum amount of wait. So, I lived by the clock; time, Time, TIME. And, consequently, I started collecting clocks.

This clock was my Dad's 25 year of service gift from Southwestern Bell and has a brass plate explaining that. During his years with them, he earned 3 clocks. Now, he's been retired for nearly 20 years, and I forgot to check the date on the plate, but this clock has to be at least 30 years old. Still works great, but it gains 3 minutes a day and I'm too cheap to pay to have it taken apart, cleaned and re-set. So, I open it every couple of days and set it back.

This clock was a gift from my parents. Both my sister and I got one. At the time, I was so ashamed of it because it looks great, but it's a fake. Battery powered. But, I've had it at about 25 years and it keeps perfect time, so I keep it in my sewing room so I can keep up with what time it is in case I forget to wind the other clock. I think my sister put hers in the closet until my Mom shamed her into hanging it. Not sure where it is now.

This poor old clock is haunted. So, it doesn't get wound anymore. For some reason, it stops at 8:24 every time. Now, it may tick for a couple of weeks, but when it stops, it's going to stop at 8:24. So, we decided that was a special time in the clock's past life and we just don't wind it. No need to stir up spirits.

This clock is from Kansas. Rob's Mom gave it to me. It is the alarm clock that was used in the old railroad yard to wake the conducters when they stopped there to sleep. I wound it once and it ticked, but I decided it was better to just leave it be. It's a 24 hour clock and winding it every day is more stress than I want to put on it.

This old girl is my pride and joy in clocks. The traditional art deco style mantel clock. And, another one that keeps perfect time. It is also in my sewing room and when the two clocks chime together, it's a cacophony of banging and donging.

You guys have a great day and be sure to check out Suzanne's blog for her items and for those of other followers of hers. See ya'. Lane

Slow down...

On the one hand, I want to take my time and get everything right. On the other hand, I have to rush to finish every project, especially when I think someone is waiting on me.

I've been rushing my way through the Indian Orange Peel quilt and have gotten way ahead of my mentor. My excuse was that she was cutting the fabric and then sending it to me and I wanted to get it back to her as quick as possible so I wasn't slowing down her progress. And, the day I started, she was way ahead of me and I wanted to get caught up. But, those are just excuses. Sydney got sick, and because of computer problems, I couldn't work from home, and my Mom came to town and I was uncomfortable, so I sewed. And, I sewed, and sewed, and sewed. And, before I knew it, I was almost finished with the sections and my mentor sent me the message (through Rob, our mule because he carries stuff back and forth between us) to slow down so she could catch up.

Okay. I can do that. So, I packed up all the strips of fabric I had used part of and sent them to her and I moved back to the Cmas applique quilt I was working on before we started this. And, in my usual speedy fashion, I whipped out all the applique pieces for a house block last night and am ready to start applying them to the background.

OCD, it's for me! Can't stop. Gotta work. Gotta work fast until the project is done. Can't leave anything unfinished, because I might lose interest. And, once I've lost interest in a project, it's doomed!

Take care and have a great Wednesday. We're half way through the week. This weekend, I have to take the car to the shop. YIKES! See ya'. Lane


Modern Conveniences

Well, it only took a few hours on Saturday for me to be ready to get back to my modern conveniences in a sewing machine. While the featherweight is a great machine and will certainly do for travel and classes, it lacks so many things I've learned to take for granted, like needle up, and a foot pedal that uses more than just my big toe, which incidentally, gave me a foot cramp and was very hard to use in tennis shoes. But, it runs like a silent trooper. It does have a slight click, but I suspect that, as the new oil works its way through the machine, that will resolve itself. And, after I used it for a while, it developed a slight musty smell that it didn't have when I bought it. I suspect this is old lubricant in the electrical motor and hope that it will go away soon as well. I checked the other things I found on the internet that would cause a smell and that is the only one I couldn't really do anything about.

I worked on the Indian Orange Peel quilt some more this weekend. I've only got 34 more small arcs and the corner piecing to finish and then it will be time to start the assembly. I think I'm going to take next weekend to work on some other things. My BOM's have gotten way behind and I'd like to applique some blocks for the cmas quilt that I was flying through before I started this. It's coming along nicely and I have all the fabrics that I'm going to need to finish it. I've started to send strips back to my mentor so she can have that variety to finish her quilt. I'm also hoping that she'll save all the leftover strips for me to use in some of my other scrap projects. I'm going to very presumptuously propose that soon. I've been saving all the little bits that I can cut 1.5" or 2" squares from, but based on how much fabric is in the boxes I'm sending back to her, there's going to be a lot of leftover. I think she cut too much for two quilts.

If you're looking for a good movie, we watched two this weekend. One was Inkheart, a lighthearted adventure about people that can read aloud and actually bring the characters to life as they do. Of course, what do you do with those characters once they're alive? And, we watched a Sally Fields movie called Two Weeks, about a mother dying of cancer and her 4 children who are caring for her. A tear jerker for sure, but a wonderful story, and about the most real movie about dying that I've ever seen. And, there were a lot of funny moments in the movie that showed how, even in the face of something terrible, funny things still happen. Having been at more bedsides than I care to think about, the movie really spoke to me.

Y'all take care and enjoy your Monday. I'll be planning our family "vacation", which we're going to take as a series of day trips. One place we're planning is to visit a natural cave, just south of here. And, I'm sure we'll do a little antiquing while we're out. See ya'. Lane


Lane is a very, very, very bad boy...

Okay, you know how you want something, but you don't NEED it, so you don't get it. Well, until you find it at a really good price. I couldn't help it. I've wanted a featherweight since I first started hearing people talk about them on quilt blogs. It's very light, although not quite as light as I expected. And, I don't have a quarter inch foot for it, but I found a place to buy one. It will be great for taking when my mentor and I sew, or when I want to take a machine on a driving trip. If you have a minute, I can justify this a hundred different ways.

When we found it, I walked right away because the price was more than I wanted to pay, so as we walked through the rest of the city wide garage sale, I thought about what I'd be willing to pay...maximum. So, when we'd looked at everything in the place and I'd only found a table cloth and a cheap ring, I went back and offered the guy less than my maximum and he countered and I countered and I sent Rob to the car for my checkbook. While I waited, the man's wife showed me how to thread it and use it and oil it and was starting to teach me to sew when I gently explained I'd been a quilter for years. They had the card table that is built for it to sit into, but that would have been another $85 firm and while I'll kick myself in the rear for not spending it, I just couldn't justify it for what I plan to use it for. It's not my main machine, after all. There are a few pin scratches on the machine bed and some rubbing on about an inch of the gold decals, but all the electrical parts look brand new and it's clearly been well cared for. And, the case doesn't have a mark on it. It came with all the original attachments, which I'll never use, and a zig-zagger and a button holer. Again, things I'll probably never use. But, I'm pretty excited! When I got it home, I lubed and oiled and cleaned the insides up, using instructions found on the internet where I also found out it was made in 1956 and I just finished piecing an orange peel piece with it. Worked like a charm.
And, hey, so what's a couple of weeks of balogna sandwiches compared to a new toy.
Y'all take care and have a great rest of your weekend. I did not get to sew with my mentor today. Hopefully, we'll try again next week.


$5 quilt and kid can cook...

Hi, all. I got a couple of questions about Sydney cooking yesterday, so thought I'd mention that she does indeed cook. She makes a mean scrambled egg and at least one night a week, she makes dinner for the family. That is just beginning to mean extra quilting for me as I've been staying close to the kitchen, first to teach her and then to make sure she doesn't set the house on fire, but more and more I can wander into the sewing room and leave her to it. But, I have to be careful to keep it simple because she hates to follow directions and that's what a recipe is. For example, a couple of weeks ago, she was going to grill a pork tenderloin. She sent me out of the kitchen and said she could do it herself. Now, I read the recipe before she started and kept an ear cocked to listen in case she called for help. I heard her start the grill, and later I heard her take the loin to the grill. I knew how long it should cook, so when she came in with it after about 6 minutes, I stopped her cold and we went back to the recipe and pulled out the meat thermometer and I explained how undercooked meat could make us all sick.

But, with a little supervision, she does a terrific job. She does a lot of things with ground meat, like spaghetti and chili, and is learning a lot about using the grill. But, she wants to branch out and that means following a recipe, and as I already mentioned, she doesn't like directions. The best part is that now, when I travel for work, I don't have to make sure I leave enough food cooked for them to eat. I can just leave stuff that Sydney can make and she takes care of them both. Her least fav part is having to clean up, tho and she thinks it terribly unfair that when I cook, she cleans, and when she cooks, she cleans. Parenthood is grand!

I thought I'd share a picture of the $5 quilt blocks so far. This year, the quilter is using all batiks. It's a nice enough quilt for $5. But, it never costs $5. Sure, that's what I pay for the blocks, but then, I have to come up with something great for the sashing, and a back, and the thread and batting. But, because they give me a 25% discount on any one item in the store except machines every month when I bring my finished block in, it actually ends up costing me a small fortune. For example, I used my discount to buy a yard of a beautiful green fabric last night and then I raided their remnants bin for little scraps. I love their remnants. I can usually get a very nice quarter yard for a buck, so I buy several. Last night, I got lucky and only grabbed 4. But, the cmas fabric I wanted to pick up was already gone, so I guess that was a bullet dodged. What was I really going to do with another piece of cmas fabric?

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. If sewing with my mentor falls through, we're going to the monthly, city wide garage sale. This used to be a great event and most of the antiques in my house came from there. It was in a large uncooled gymnasium and was dusty and crammed to the rafters with inexpensive stuff and smart bargain hunters. But, they moved to a new, fancy facility and it's gotten incredibly expensive. It's a fun place to go and dig for bargains, but now you really have to dig. I'm always looking for the thing that's on the bottom, in the back, buried under a pile of junk. That's where all the really cool stuff always is.

Y'all take care and have a great day! I'll see ya on the internet. Lane


Bright quilter

I know I make bright quilts. Every quilt I make is bright. Even the $5 quilts, where I use the same fabrics in the same places and the same proportions in my blocks seem to come out brighter than everyone else's. They may use white as sashing and borders and mine will still look brighter. And, for years, nobody told me I should be afraid to use yellow, so I used it liberally and still do. But, somehow, it has never seemed to stand out.

Because the indian orange peel is oranges and grays, I've been pulling out of my stash of blacks and grays. Even my blacks have pop. There was only one fabric that read as black. All the rest have some other color in them that makes them stand out. A wave of rusty red and white, or gold diamonds and dots... You get the picture. Lots of pop and pizazz.

I guess I should expect that since I also dress in bright colors. I'm the only guy in my workgroup that will wear anything remotely close to pink. And, I wear lots of bright green and bright blue. I'd wear orange if I could find it in men's clothes. But, I don't wear a lot of yellow. I do have golds, but not bright yellow. My theory is, there's plenty out there to be scared of. Why be scared of a color?

My bright fabric choices have never been more apparent than now, when I'm making this quilt with my mentor. She sent another box of fabric strips to me the other day and I looked at it compared to the fabrics I've pulled out of my stash and already used and my quilt is going to be so bright. When we get together this weekend, I'm sure we'll lay them out and I'll try to get pics of them both to share. It should be interesting and we'll see if I get into trouble for wandering too far from the plan she had in mind for us.

Anyway, things are calming down around the house. Rob is getting more used to not smoking, although he kept wandering in and out of the sewing room yesterday evening and when I finally asked him why and if he wanted me to clear a place for him to sit, he said he doesn't really know what to do with himself now that he's not going out to the garage for a smoke. I wish I'd thought to hand him a paintbrush. And Sydney made dinner last night. She made the yummiest chicken club sandwiches with the first tomatoes out of our garden. Ahhhh, tomatoes with real taste! Finally. And, they may have cost more than the $3.99 a pound we've been paying for good tomatoes at the grocery, but as I was eating it last night, it was darn well worth it.

Y'all take care and we'll see ya round. It's Thursday. Just today and tomorrow and this work week will be done. I can hardly wait! Lane


Somebody throw another log on the fire

Cuz 103* is not quite hot enough in TX. At least we won't be breaking the record today. That was 108 in 1929...Yes, that's before Air Conditioning! It's a wonder people stayed here to create a town.

Okay, enough about the heat. There hasn't been much quilting progress since the weekend. Work is exhausting me and when I get home, it's all I can do to feed us and clean up after that, then it's off to the couch for some TV and then to bed. And, I've been in the worst mood. No matter how hard I try to redirect, my mind just keeps going to unpleasant things from the last couple of weeks.

Sydney and I started our workouts again this morning, after a week off while she was sick. I'm hoping that the combination of endorphines and that feeling that I'm doing something good for myself will work together to improve my mood. Every therapist I've ever seen has suggested vigorous exercise as part of the solution, and over the last couple of months, I've come to believe it.

I'm sewing with my mentor on Saturday. That should help. And, the new QNM came in yesterday's mail. Of course, I haven't finished the last one and haven't even opened the last F/P. Guess I've been too busy quilting to read about quilting. Well, that and reading novels about quilting. But, I'll get to it. I have some travel next month. Maybe that will be a great time to get caught up.

Y'all take care and have a great Wednesday. We're halfway through the week and I for one am looking forward to the weekend. Lane


Back where we belong

Yes, it is nice to all be back where we belong, whether it is summer camp, or the office.

Still no smoking for Rob. I'm worried that I'll buise one of us from patting him on the back with all my congratulations. He's still struggling with the habit part of it, but he seems to be past the addiction part of it. We're all very proud, especially him.

And, Sydney was glad to go to summer camp today, after missing most of last week. She weighed yesterday and is down 5 pounds from feeling too yucky to eat last week. She came running in the kitchen yesterday to tell me. Unfortunately, this had an unexpected side effect. We explained that because she hadn't eaten much for long, her stomach had shrunk and so it didn't take much to fill her up. Now, she doesn't want to eat much so she doesn't "stretch" her stomach. While that's sort of a good thing, it is NOT the attitude about food we want in the long run. I'll have to tempt her with something really yummy (I'm thinking fried chicken) while I remind her about the whole "moderation, not deprivation" concept. Of course, I may lose that chance when they tempt her with snacks at summer camp today. The goal is good food choices, not fear of eating.

And, I'm back at my office...and glad to be here. Of course, it's been two weeks and my office computer is still not fully functional. So, there's a lot of stuff I can't do, but it's more than I could do most of last week and I can do it from my own desk instead of a location that is shared by lots of people in the building.

I did get two more of the large arcs made last night and this morning, I remembered that I have a $5 quilt block due this Thursday. I got that knocked out in the time we'd normally be doing yoga. We've been on haitus since Sydney got sick, but I plan for us to walk in the morning and get back into the routine.

Gooodness, I love my routines. I hated winging it last week and not knowing what to expect from every day. I may be stuck in a rut, but it's my rut and I'm very comfortable with it.

Y'all take care and we'll see you round the internet. Lane


Okay, so it's close to turquoise...

Remember that I took Sydney to do pottery a couple of weeks ago. Well, we picked our work up this week. She did the dolphin and I, the teapot. She's especially proud of the way she graded the water below the dolphin, starting with dark blue and then lightening the blues to the palest, almost white blue at the top. She's feeling so much better. Thanks to you all for your warm thoughts. Her fever has broken and the antibiotics are working and all is well.

The three pieces of fabric in the pic are bandana/kerchiefs. The lady that gave Rob the medicine that helped him quit smoking had some health problems that prompted her to quit smoking and now, she's losing her hair. She sent me a couple of pieces of fabric to make her some bandanas out of to tie around her head. I, of course, way underestimated the learning curve for something so simple and basically wasted one piece, so went to the fab store yesterday and picked up a couple others. I made her fabrics and mine into these...some of them a few times before I was happy. And, I have one more to take apart and try again. The secret was using paper for a stabilizer while I zigzagged the edges.

I worked on the orange peel all day yesterday. I needed a day to just unwind, so I spent most of it working on these large arcs that make up the outer border. The flat edge is the outside edge of the quilt. My mentor ended up ill so we rescheduled for next Saturday and I just sewed and sewed. I made 12 of these this weekend and had 4 already done. I think I might have one or two more in me. There are 20 total, so I can see the bottom of the stack of paper foundations and don't think I can stop.

And, here is the quilt center after my binge of piecing last week. I think there are less than 40 of the 120 small arcs left to go and I'm starting to form circles from some of the colors. Most of the rest of the center of the quilt is muted colors, so this is the most of the excitement and brightness. I think I might just finish this thing...maybe. When I opened the pattern and saw all the pieces, I was not sure that I would ever get it done. And, once the foundation piecing is done, I get to start all that curved piecing to assemble it.

Okay, so now we're watching a show about a group of explorers retracing the route that Stanley took across Africa in pursuit of Livingstone. I think they argue more than they walk. 950 miles total and 20 arguments to the hour. I bet they'll be glad to be finished. At least as glad as me. But, Rob and Sydney are fascinated. I got really turned off when they killed the goat to eat. On TV. In my own sewing room. At least Rob warned me and I didn't watch.

Talk to you guys soon. Lane


And, today's disease is...

Strep Throat! The nurse laughed at how excited we got when she told us, but when she gave us the results of the other test, she understood why we'd prefer this. She's feeling better and we just got back from the pharmacy with the antibiotics and she's had her first dose. Healing will now begin.

I tried to work from home today, but that darn work laptop still wouldn't cooperate. There is apparently too much wrong with it and I don't know when they'll get around to replacing this one. It took 2 weeks to get it going as good as it is and I shudder to think what I'm in for next.

Since I couldn't work, I took the opportunity to sew. I've made quite a few arc sections today. Every color combination that's remotely close to orange and gray. I'll try to post some pics after I sew with my mentor tomorrow. For now, I'm going to take a little break and catch up on some blogs. Y'all take care and I'll let you know how tomorrow goes. Lane


Strep or Mono, that is the question

Well, that fever that Sydney had just won't go down. I've thrown everything in my sizable home remedies arsenal at it and nothing seems to work. So, we went to the doctor this morning. She did a quick strep throat swab and it came back negative, but she said there's a chance that a more in depth test might still come back positive. If not that, she suspects mono (now, who has my 11 year old been kissing???). Anyway, they drew blood for a test for that. It was Sydney's first time to have blood drawn and I told the nurse that and she explained everything that was going to happen and Sydney was real good. She'd never had blood drawn and she is terrified of needles and weeps at the thought of a shot, but she trusted the nurse and I when we said it wouldn't be but a pinch and when it was over, she admitted we were right.

Since I've been at home with her so much, I've kept piecing arcs on the orange peel and all my recorded TV is caught up. If it's mono, Sydney's going to feel bad for about a month, but if I know her, it won't slow her down much. She'll be out of summer camp about a week, but we're half way through that, so hopefully she can get back to her scheduled activities soon. I know she enjoys them.

Mom didn't even call us last night, so I have no idea what's going to happen with that. Don't know if she still plans to see me while she's here or not. Don't know whether she'll be willing to come here with a sick kid or not. But, it does mean she can't spend the night if she decides to. Not gonna put Sydney out of her bed for the night and not going to let my Mom sleep on the couch, and I'm absolutely certain Rob isn't going to give up our bed after the way my Mom has managed this trip, leaving us on edge, just waiting for her to decide what she's going to do.

Speaking of Rob, I just heard him walk in the door, so now I can leave for the office. Gotta go. Y'all have a great day and we'll talk to you soon. Lane


Progress is being made...

Here's the updated pic of the Indian Orange Peel quilt, sans borders. I haven't worked on the borders much. My mentor cut wider strips to make those easier and they're in a box, just waiting. For now, I'm mindlessly making the smaller arcs and I've got all the center 4 patches made. Yes, there are 49 of the 120 small arcs made. Whoohoo!!! Nothing like a little stress sewing to make some progress.

My Mom called late last night to tell us she was here and that she'd gone to dinner with my cousins and they had plans for all the rest of the week made for her. Now, you have to remember that I was specifically told that plans could not be made because we were at the mercy of everyone else's schedules. I guess I misunderstood exactly who "everyone" was. Apparently it's only the people that don't work or have responsibilities that can make plans, not those that need to do other things. The hardest thing is that she's decided that we need to spend a big chunk of Saturday together, which came as a surprise because what I was told earlier was that they were leaving early Saturday...and of course, Saturday is the only day that my family has appointments and plans this week. Oh, well. Not changing our plans, especially since one of those plans is to sew with my mentor and the other one is a visit with the therapist WHICH I'M GONNA NEED REAL BAD!
And, Sydney is sick. She's running a high fever, but has no other symptoms. She doesn't even feel bad, just some allergies. In two years, this is the 3rd time she's run one of these fevers, so I guess we'll be making an appt with the doctor to discuss it. I'm sure there's nothing, but I want it on the doctor's records, at least. They usually last 24 hours and then she's ready to go again. Oh, how I envy all that energy.
And, work is very frustrating. My work laptop also died last Monday, so I haven't been able to make any progress on any of my projects since then, but new projects just keep coming in. I tried to work from home yesterday after I picked Sydney up, but found another problem with the new laptop they gave me. That's 4 different things wrong with it so far.
But, on a good note, Rob and the IT guy found a laptop almost just like my old personal one for sale locally. Rob took off early yesterday and bought it and brought it home for me. I replaced the hard drive with my old hard drive and I'm back in business. The processor isn't quite as good on this one as my old one, but it will certainly do, since I don't play video games on my laptop.
So, that's some progress made. I can't wait for life to get back to the normal level of crazy. I don't realize how much I love the life we've made for ourselves until it is interrupted for a while. But, I know that next week, when all this is over, I'll be more appreciative...and if I'm not, would someone please remind me?
Have a great Wednesday and we'll see ya round the world wide web. Lane


Fried computer???

Okay, so I know fried green tomatoes, and my favorite meal is home fried chicken, but today, I found out about fried computers. Minor damage to my computer was a tiny piece of plastic that held a metal clip in place. Plastic breaks from plugging and unplugging the power cord. Metal clip dances around inside the computer and "fries the motherboard". Okay, so I don't know what that means. All I needed to hear is that all I have to do is buy the guy lunch to pay him for the work he's done. And, give him a credit card and he thinks he can replace the laptop with one just like it for ~$400, so we just pull out the hard drive and replace it with my hard drive and I won't be able to tell the difference...well, he pointed out that the new one wouldn't be quite so dusty (hmmmm, I sense a pointed comment from the IT guy). I can live with that.

My Mom comes to town today. No plans. Don't know when we'll be able to get together. At the mercy of the schedules of everyone else. So, I've made a few plans of my own. I'll work in the mornings, be off in the afternoons and available in the evenings, so long as I don't have to cook for everybody. Now, this kind of fly by the seat of your pants planning is not what we do. We live on a schedule because that's what makes our family work. We have a going to bed time and a getting up time and a brushing your teeth time, and especially we have regularly scheduled eating times. Because Sydney knows what's expected, she can meet those expectations. When she came to us, she wasn't used to the whole concept of expectations. No one told her what they expected, they just punished her when she didn't do it. So, the first thing we did was put expectations in place. You can expect to eat at this time every day, so you don't need to hide food in your room. In return, we expect you to keep your bathroom clean and make your bed. Hey, it worked then and it works now. My birth family doesn't have those kind of expectations. They're fine just playing it by ear. And, eating whenever. That's not even a luxury I wish for.

So, I'll do my best to both play it by ear and honor my family schedules. And, everyone will give a little and hopefully, we'll have a nice visit. And, then we'll get back to real life...except our house is very clean and that will be a nice addition to real life.

Y'all take care and have a great Tuesday. I'll see ya round the web. Lane


computer problems

Grrrr. My laptop decided to have a problem yesterday so no Turquoise Sunday. It's in the shop today...okay, so a friend that works in IT has it and it checking it out to see if it's dead or just sick. I think sick and the first thing he suggested (which was imminently repairable) might be the problem. I've got fingers crossed on both hands. He'll look at it later in the day and let me know. Don't know if he'll do the work or just give the diagnosis. Either way, I'm ahead. It pays to be nice to people.

I had planned to quilt all afternoon Saturday, but it didn't turn out that way. Rob and Sydney went to the pool, where it was hot! Hot! HOT! I stayed home and steam-cleaned carpets, and dusted, and scrubbed the kitchen, and put away all the piles of stuff scattered through the house to get ready for Mom's visit. Sunday morning, we all pitched in and knocked out the rest, including the yard, and then I quilted all afternoon.

I have all the centers made for the Indian Orange Peel quilt and 35 small arcs and a few more large sections for the border and corners. Of course, no pic because there's no computer. Grrrr, again.

We'll have to see how the week goes. My work computer was messed up all last week, so I have a to-do list as long as my arm. I'm supposed to get another one...sometime. We'll have to see how that goes. And, I need to work as much as I can and don't know when I'll get to do that. There's no "plan" for while my Mom is here. Everyone else will be in control of her time, so I'll get to see her when we can. I'll take some time off work and work from home as much as I can and maybe I won't be this far behind next Monday.

BTW, Sydney pulled her date book out last night at bed time and informed me she was available to visit with my Mom any day but Thursday. On Thursday, the summer camp is going to the Young Chef's Academy for a field trip. She was so cute and "grown up" about it. It was all I could do to be serious until I could get to the other room and tell Rob...while I couldn't stop giggling.

Take care and have a great Monday. I'll see ya' 'round blogland. Lane


What a fun day

Sydney and I had a blast yesterday. We started with some sitting in the sun while it was still cool enough. She read, I knitted on a sock. Then, we went clothes shopping and found her several cute t-shirts for summer camp and some school clothes for next year.

I don't know if I've blogged about it, but the middle school she'll be in next year has a very strict dress code. Solid shirts (t or polo) in black, gray, maroon or gold and jeans or khakis. And, that's it. Of course, she didn't have any of those 4 colors in her closet, so we're picking them up whenever we can find them to get a jump on the school year.

Then, we had a nice sandwich and Which Wich. We enjoy their made to order sandwiches. And, then we went to a little shop called Cafe Monet for some pottery painting. She painted a dolphin and I did a retro teapot. We won't know how they came out until next wednesday, but I'll post a pic as soon as I can.

So, we're all relaxing. They're going to the pool this afternoon and I'm going to stay home and quilt. I can't justify going out on the predicted hottest July 4th on record to sit in the hot sun and eat bar b que. Give me air conditioning anytime.

So, if you're celebrating independence day, may you have cool breezes and cold watermelon and fireworks all around. Take care and enjoy the day, no matter what you choose to do. Lane


Writing through the frustration

I wrote yesterday about my frustration with my Mom. Then, I took it out. Today, I've written two posts and both of them ended up being about my frustration with my Mom, despite the fact I tried to keep that out of them. So, I'm going to write a short blog and move on with my "fun day" with Sydney. But, it's also important to me that I keep this positive. I refuse to get bogged down in years of hurt feelings and let that ruin a day that I can spend with my daughter, trying not to pass along those same frustrations to another generation.

Since I got up this morning, I've been working on my Indian Orange Peel quilt. I've made several sections and hope to make some more before the stores and movie theaters open. I've also posted some pictures of finished quilts to the manquilters website.

Ya' know, quilting and being with my little family and friends, both live and net, give me so much pleasure. It just frustrates me that a planned visit from my Mom can throw everything into such chaos. There are years of hurt feelings that play into that. And, despite the distance I've put between she and I, a phone call, a letter, an email, a visit, all these just bring all that back up for me. I just can't deal with the level of control that she tries to exert over me when we interact. Surely, at some point, I'll become her equal and receive the consideration I so deserve and demand from everyone...but I'm afraid that it will be too late by then to have the kind of relationship I want with her.

So, I'll just keep on quilting, and I'll keep on working on my parenting skills and being the best parent I can be, and protecting myself and my family from those that want to bring us chaos.

I'm going to celebrate my successes by posting an updated picture of my Indian Orange Peel quilt. This is going to take a long time to finish, but oh, my, is it ever going to be worth it. It's the most complex piecing I've ever done so I'm glad that there's no fabric matching. Just pile the strips in a box and pull two at random and make a section. Love that! Take care and have a great Friday and if I don't post again, have a great 4th of July. We're shopping for clothes and I hope we'll be able to fit in a movie and some popcorn to stay out of the heat. Lane


Hot news!

Okay, did you fall for that? It's me. You should know me well enough by now to know there ain't no hot news, except the weather. And, it is VERY hot. But, I do have some proud updates.

Family: Rob still hasn't had a smoke, although I thought he might run up to the corner store for a pack after my Mom called last night. Sydney is still following the diet and gave me a run for my money on the chessboard last night. I won, but just barely. She's getting really good...okay, I'm not all that good, but she's as good as me, which is really good for an 11 year old.

Quilting: I got another couple of arcs made and my mentor and I have scheduled a play date on 07/11 to sew together again. I enjoy sewing with her. We sew some and we talk some. It's nice that we can sit in the same room together and not feel obligated to talk. I don't have many friends I can sit with for long without feeling obligated to fill the silence.

And, I found several blogs for other guys that quilt, and a website devoted to male quilters. I read lots of their posts and was impressed with their skills and goals. More new friends to make now that I've moved to a bigger blog site.

And, if you're a blogger from my previous site, you'll be glad to know that I finally figured out what I'm doing wrong that keeps me from being able to log in over there and hope to have an account set up soon so I won't have to comment anonymously anymore. I'm still going to blog over here, but I have friends there that I want to keep up with, too, and an account there will help with that.

Tonight, I'm going to a work dinner downtown. Now, Austin isn't that big a place, but we hardly ever go downtown, so it will be an adventure. And, the folks I work with like to eat at nice places, so I'll get a good meal out of it. Rob and Sydney are doing takeout, so everyone wins...especially Sydney who won't have to do dishes.

Take care. Have a great Thursday and we'll see ya' round the internet. Summer camp is closed tomorrow, so I'm going to be home with Sydney. We'll see if we can find a little trouble to get into before it gets to hot. I'll let you know if we think of anything. Lane


Quilting has to wait.

And, wait, and wait. No quilting makes Lane an unhappy boy.

I did get to quilt a little last night. I got one of my large arches pieced and one small one and a second small one started. All that paper piecing is very zen-like as it's just repetitive steps. But, there is challenge as I make sure that my new piece is laid on with enough overlap that it will do what it's supposed to. And, my mentor sent home another two boxes of cut strips yesterday. All that fabric sitting there is making me feel very far behind. It's calling...work on me, work on me. I'm thinking about laying a sheet over it, cuz outta sight IS outta mind.

I am very proud to announce that my Rob has gone 4 full days without a smoke. He's anxious and slightly irritable, but for the most part, he recognizes that and is restraining himself. I know he wanted to go after Sydney and I last night for playing too loud in the kitchen, but all he did was come to the door and remind us that he's irritable and to please restrain ourselves and crack a joke about us making him cuckoo. And, of course, we did. I think he's eaten about 4 pounds of carrots and enough sunflower seeds to sink a battleship and last night, he got on a fruit kick and almost emptied the bowl. But, I can get more fruit. I can't get another Rob.

And, Sydney did a great job at the pizza place yesterday. They went to a different place than planned and she said the salad didn't look very good, so she had two pieces of pizza and a little pasta, and half a cinnamon roll. I think that's very good considering what was there to tempt her. I sent her with a little extra dough to spend on games, with the caveat that she had to share half with a kid who didn't bring extra money. Last night I asked who she shared with and the way she worked it out was to pay for a group of them to play a group game. Hey, that worked for me! And, she had a little left over to treat herself to a game on her own. More moderation without deprivation.

So, I'm on a family high, celebrating us all doing the right thing. I got my first piece of feedback yesterday about not posting about quilting. I wish I had more quilty stuff to post, but right now, quilting is having to take a backseat to the whole family thing. Believe me, it's harder on me than it is on anyone reading, but again, it's the right thing to do...moderation, not deprivation strikes again.

Take care and have a great day. We'll see you on the net. Lane