can't hardly finish one with starting another one.

That's how the holidays are.  The last of the Thanksgiving dishes aren't even put away (don't judge) and we've already put most of the Christmas decorations up. 

This was our Turkey day table. 

The whole "all new recipes" thing worked out perfectly.  It truly was one of the best meals I've ever made.  Yams, bacon parmesan stuffing, green bean casserole, copper penny carrots, a green salad, roasted potatoes.  All the old favorites, but with different (and welcome) new flavors.  The only thing that went truly wrong was the pie.  So, I made a second one on Friday...it was much the same.  But, I figured out what I'm doing wrong.  It's a quirk of the new stove.  Something I wouldn't have thought of, but two pies with doughy bottom crusts and I was able to figure out that I need to bake them in the bottom oven, where the gas jets are, not the top one that only gets convection heat. 

 But, we're enjoying the pie filling!

The trees all turned and lost their leaves at one time.  We had a freeze a couple weeks ago and that started it, but then it was windy all weekend, and that ended the fall color on most of the trees.  But, this is the Bradford Pear in front of the house, with the husband standing under it.  This was the first tree we planted in the yard together.  Well, I say together.  I think I picked it...and he dug the hole.  That's together, right?

And, at the same time, this Parlor Maple, or Chinese Lantern is blooming many flowers in the greenhouse.  

Next, it was time to start decorating for Christmas.  Well, on Friday, I spent most of the morning on my behind "resting" while Rob started to decorate.  Hey, I deserved to let my feet rest a little.  But, then I got up and decorated the swag and hung it.  This is the post Rob did on facebook with pictures I didn't even know he was taking. 

And, on Saturday, he assembled the tree and I decorated it.  Sydney is taking this year off.  She very conveniently has to work...retail, right?  I'm actually hoping that she misses it because I'd be fine if she wanted to decorate the tree next year. 

It's a lot of work. 

While I was cooking on Thanksgiving, Rob was putting lights on the house.  But, every year, it's doing just one more thing, so this year, he hung lights on my greenhouse.  Overkill?  Maybe, but it sure is cute!

Today, it's back to work...where I can get some rest.  Like every holiday, we were busy and this time of year, we are especially thankful for the abundance we enjoy.  It may not seem like much to many, but to us, it is more than enough and we are grateful that we can share some of it with others.

Everybody have a great Monday and a great week!  I started a new project, of course.  A Christmas tree quilt for Rob's Mom...because I'm almost certain I can squeeze in just one more project this year.  Almost certain. 




The search...

I worked a lot this weekend.  We also did a shopping spree where I bought some shoes and some tropical fish and some specialty groceries and some Christmas presents and some kitchen tools.  Now, how's that for a variety?  I knew I had a lot of stops to make so I was in and out of every stop in a flash.  It's been several weeks since we ran errands like that, so I had a lot of them saved up.

I also finished the "fixes" on the tree quilt and I did manage to get that pucker out.  It's not perfect, but you really have to know what you're looking for to find it.  And, I made two dozen cinnamon rolls because I was in the mood for cinnamon, and I made some cold food for Thanksgiving and meals like strew and chicken korma for the rest of the week because we're going to need food that is not roast turkey.  And, I got the diamond shaped pillow blocked into a square.  The camera angle is weird, but I swear, it's almost a perfect square.  As much as I can get needlework to be anyway. 

But, the real job for this weekend was looking for a 20 year old document.  Wherever I hid it.  The last time we remember seeing it was almost 10 years ago.  And, my fabric stash has taken over my home office since then so there's been lots of shuffling.  It was dusty.  It meant digging.  And, I still haven't found what I was looking for.  But, I did fill a trash can with things that were important at one time and are not anymore, so I guess that's something, right?  Something, but not quite what I was hoping for. 

Wish me luck.  I'm still going to be digging, because I'm sure I didn't throw it away.  Surely!

We had a hard freeze while I was in Cleveland.  My poor garden.  It will look bit back until February.  It's so much nicer when the first freeze is in January and we get to enjoy the garden through the holidays.  Now, I have to get out there and start cutting it back.  It's always something, right?  Something,  but still not what I was hoping for. 

Everybody have a great week.  May your turkey be juicy and your stuffing be moist.  We are using all new recipes this year.  New variations of the classics.  I've done the same Thanksgiving for 20 years.  It's time for something different.  And, this is the year.  A different way to cook a turkey, a new stuffing recipe, with bacon and parmesan cheese.  Even a new recipe for green bean casserole and rolls.  I'm enjoying doing new things, including doing old things in new ways.  Now, if this totally bombs, I guess we're back to the same old for next year.  Because tradition is tradition, right?  And, the big meal is part of my family's tradition. 



Busy, with nothing to show

I am returned from the north, and just in time!  I was coming home as the weather was getting bad and flights were being delayed and cancelled.  I was lucky.  I was only delayed by a few minutes, and the pilot made them up in the air, so I got home about 5 minutes after I expected.  This is a really bad picture of Dallas, and I only put it here because I didn't want you to see the main picture until I explain it.  Remember that Dallas is only half.  I couldn't get a pic that had both Dallas and Fort Worth in it.  Even at 30k feet, it's a really big place. 

It was the usual business trip to a conference.  Lots of speakers, food, booze.  I split a presentation to a breakout group.  My co-worker presented how to follow a process and I presented how to make changes to the documents we work with.  It was not my smoothest presentation, but everyone I asked said it was fine.  The hotel was nice, the food was good, I slept well and I got to see all the people I work with from around the country and met several new people that have joined the group since the last meeting. 

I guess I never thought my life would work out this way.  Business trips, conferences, presenting.  Who'da thunk it for a small town boy without a degree?  But, it's the life I've made.  And, my peers speak highly of me.  Guess I can't ask more than that out of a career.

Of course, meetings have to have icebreakers.  They truly are my least favorite part.  But, over the years I've embraced them and found that the more I participate, the more I get out of meetings.  We played rock/paper/scissors until only one person was left of the 65 of us.  There was a trophy made from a pair of scissors.  Think about the last time you played.  And, there were so many sets of rules in the room.  It made for a lot of laughs and a lot of discussion about something as basic as that. 

Another one, we played a version of the gossip or telephone game where a word starts at one end of a line of people and it gets whispered down the line and you see what the word turns into at the end.  Except we did it with pictures.  Each person chose a word and drew a picture of it.  Passed it to the right and the next person took a guess, wrote the guess on one page and drew a picture of their guess on the next page.  The next person guesses and draws a picture of their guess until the pad goes around the table and then you compare the first page with the word to the last guess.  That one was fun, too.

The tables were randomly assigned, so it gave a good mix of people to visit with and to meet.  People you might not know so well.  That made the headbandz game much more fun.  In headbandz, you put a card on your forehead and play a 20 questions variation to try to guess what it's a picture of.  I drew the unicorn card right out of the box and put it on my forehead, and everyone at the table started to laugh.  That seemed ominous. 

It's only fun if you laugh as a group, which is the purpose of an icebreaker. 

Unicorns and glitter, y'all!

This time, instead of taking a bulky book, I downloaded a book to the Surface and used it as a tablet.  It worked really well, so that's probably what I'm going to be doing from now on.  I can listen to music on my phone and read a book and relax during my flights.  It makes all the difference.  My co-traveler and I had a long layover, so we spent it having a steak dinner in Atlanta, then got on a plane for 2.5 hours.  MISTAKE and lesson learned.  I definitely enjoy traveling more when I eat light.

Yesterday was about catching up on all the stuff I didn't get done while I was gone.  It was a very busy day and I was very tired doing it.  Today should be a little bit easier (knock wood).  But, first, I need to unpack and get my dirty clothes in the laundry.  Everybody have a great weekend!  It's the last weekend before Thanksgiving, so time to be thinking about pies, green beans, yams, and salmonella.  Just kidding...sort of.  But I bet the sales of meat thermometers is up this year. 



These are a few of my favorite things...

Didn't realize how much it was going to make me channel my inner Julie Andrews when I started typing that. 

The hills are alive, with the sound of music.  With songs they have sung for a thousand years... 

That is the only theater movie that I ever knew my Father's Mother to go to.  She went with my Mom, my Sister and me.  I remember that my Grandmother got dressed up to go to the movies and how that seemed so foreign.  Of course, we all dressed better than most movie goers today, who look like they just got out of bed, or are looking for a dark place to sleep...or both.  I was very young, but I remember paying rapt attention and even though it was at least 45 years ago, there are parts of that evening that I remember well.  And, I tell this story to whoever is watching with me, every time I see the movie. 

You are sixteen going on seventeen, fellows will fall in line...
Totally unprepared are you, to face a world of men.  Timid and shy and scared are you, of things beyond your kin...

I mentioned last week that I had picked up a piece of needlepoint to finish when I was feeling bad.  And, I finished it Saturday night while we watched Crazy Rich Asians.  This is what happens when a quilter wants to learn to needlepoint, but doesn't want to give up quilting to do so. 

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad...I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad.

These are six inch quilt blocks, set up as a sampler, and intended to be pillows for my quilting studio.  The one on the left is one of my first needlepoint pieces and it's not square because I didn't use a frame as I worked.  I've learned better and the one on the right was done on a frame and is much "squarer".  The first one will square up, but it will be a lot more work. 

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...when you read you begin with A-B-C, when you sing you begin with doe-ray-me.  The first three notes just happen to be do-ray-me...

I designed these blocks and drew them out and bought cheap leftover collections of yarn on ebay and when I had the yarn, I colored the blocks and assigned yarn color numbers.  I knew that it takes me a yard of yarn to fill a one inch square, so was able to estimate how much yarn each block would take, then figure out which color numbers I had enough of to do it. 

Climb ev'ry mountain.  Ford ev'ry stream.  Follow ev'ry rainbow...Til you find your dream.  I sang that song as a solo in elementary school and still remember most of the words. 

Today, I'm headed to Cleveland for a conference.  Yippee!  It's cold enough for me here and it's much colder there.  I have two layers of outerwear and two hats and a scarf and gloves and thick soled shoes...yeah, I know how to deal with the cold...I just don't like it. 

What will this day be like...what will my future be?  Oh, what's the matter with me? 

Okay, Lane, get a grip.

Austin is going to have our first freeze this week, too.  Just a little one and it likely won't get all the way to freezing in our yard at the bottom of the hill, but it meant it was time to get ready.  This is one greenhouse.  There's a second one that's plastic and collapsible that sits behind this one and is full of large pots of hibiscus and citrus trees.  Some of the things in here are annuals that I've overwintered for three or four years now, so they're substantial plants now.  The job isn't done.  There's still plenty of clearing up to do.  But it is started and the tenderest plants won't be in any danger and it will do until next weekend when I can do a little more.  Not everything has to be done at once.

Okay, that's it for me.  I'm writing this Sunday afternoon so I just need to hit the button to post it on Monday before I leave for the airport.  It will be a full day of travel that ends in a group dinner.  Tuesday, a full day of meetings, and another group dinner event.  And, Wednesday, a half day of meetings and then I'm headed back home.  Where it will be warmer at least.  Remember when that kind of stuff used ot bother me?  I've gotten much better at group things now. 

Everybody have a great week! 

So long, farewell, I bid you sweet adieu, good bye, good bye....good bye!

A song and a memory for when 'have a great week' just isn't enough.



Practically finished

I am practically finished with the tree quilt and with nearly a month to go until the wedding.  It took longer than I thought to finish it.  I had some time off work and decided to devote the day to it and see if I could get it done.  It took longer than I expected, probably because I was also trying to binge watch a series on TV and kept running over my line and having to stop, pick out a half dozen stitches and make a new start. 

There are a few errors.  Yesterday, I noticed that I picked up a fabric scrap off the table and it got quilted into the back.  I carefully cut it along the stitching and picked it out, but broke one quilting thread and will have to pick out a few inches and replace it, but that's easy work.  There is only one pucker in the back and I haven't looked into whether I can fix it...or whether I will just stitch it down so it's harder to see. 

Becky said she would probably use this "wind" pattern a lot and that stuck with me and when I was quilting, I realized just how often I have used it.  I use it all the time.  I've used it in two large quilts this year.  It's so easy once I built up a rhythm and a pattern in my head.  In my early quilting, I had made a plastic template of it and would mark quilts to use it.  Now, it's all free motion and a lot more loopy and round, but very effective in a quilt with a nature theme.

Now, it's just squaring and binding and giving it away.

We took Syd out for her first legal margarita on Monday night. 

A large part of our conversation was about alcohol.  Some of it, she had heard like never leave your drink unattended and then pick it back up; get a fresh one.  Don't mix alcohols, don't lose control, don't be a weepy drunk or an angry one.  Mixers and shots and alcohol contents and what to do if the situation ever gets out of control.  (CALL HOME!  On the landline because our cell phone ringers are off at night.) 

She joked that we made it sound like she was going to become a sudden alcoholic.  We replied that we've always shown her responsible drinking (never drive, never excess).  This was just an extension of that to give her more knowledge about alcohol.  Tuesday night, her friends took her to dinner and out dancing.  She got home the next morning and told me about it.  And, amazingly, she wasn't hung over.  And, while she'll never admit out loud that she listens to us, the way she described the evening and her experimentation with different types of alcohol and tasting other people's drinks was told in the same way and using some of the same terms that we had used Monday night when we were talking to her about it.  That seems like a good thing. 

Everybody have a great weekend.  I'm off to Cleveland next week for a few days, so I'll be prepping for that and trying to finish the tree quilt.  I was sick a few days last week and didn't feel like moving around and quilting, so I picked up a needlepoint UFO...I was so bored with daytime TV and election commercials.  Quilting takes my whole body and I didn't want to move off the couch.  But needlepoint is just moving one arm.  (that's a rationalization in case you're unsure.)  I didn't realize how close I was to completing that project, so hopefully, that will be another finish to show off soon. 

Be well!  Lane   


MIssion accomplished

This one is not going to be about me.  This one is about Sydney.  Today, Sydney is legally an adult. 

I'm not quite sure how we got here, and I'm not quite sure what it means yet.  When she was 9 and came to live with us, we thought what a good idea this was.  When she was 11, we wondered if we could give her back.  When she was 13, we thought we wouldn't survive it.  When she was 16, we thought she wouldn't survive it.  By 18, we started to have real conversations with her.  At 20, she was pleasant...mostly.  And, we survived.  What will adulthood hold for her and for us? 

We knew what Syd was coming from.  We set some simple goals.  Keep her out of jail, off drugs, and without making us grandparents until she was an adult, and make sure she graduated high school.  We did that.  And, despite the fact that the other night I found out she was turning her two year degree into a three year degree through a muleheaded need to do the absolute very least in every situation, I'm pretty sure she's going to graduate with at least an Associate's Degree.  And, I already know she'll always be able to hold a job (loves money!).  That's just gravy on the pork chop as far as we are concerned.  And, if she goes on to get her bachelors, then we will have far exceeded the expectations of just about everybody that warned us about what we were getting into when we got into it. 

It has changed who I am, for the better.  It has changed what I expect of people.  And, it's taught me to hold other people responsible for their choices...and hold me responsible for my feelings about their choices.  And, to practice that, most of the time. 

And, somehow, we survived.  And, we made a family.  And, we learned to live together.  Unconventional.  Proud.  And, trailblazing for the next generation of gay parents.  And, trying to show her how to be a good parent. 

I wouldn't trade it for the world.  Or do it again for all the tea in China.

Happy Birthday, Syd.  May all your dreams come true. 


First dance.  She was so high on sugar!!

She made me learn most of the rules of basketball. 

Have a great Monday!  Lane