Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stand back!

The aura has been activated! Approach only at your own risk ...

Now you want to know what THAT's all about, right? A proper explanation would take considerable time and typing, so I'll give just a condensed version here and now.

Known fact: I HATE shopping. (We're not talking a general dislike here, this is a major HATE thing.) Little known fact: There's a good reason WHY I hate shopping. And forthwith, I shall divulge that reason, now that it's been figured out FOR me.

According to KP (aka Multi-tasker), I have an "aura" about me that attracts the most irritating, annoying and despicable kinds of things. Especially when I try to go shopping. For instance, I once went to a store that had merchandise in boxes blocking many of the aisles presumably so that the clerks could unpack it onto the shelves. To get around all that mess, I left my cart at the end of each aisle, zoomed up and down to grab what I needed, dump my armload into the parked cart and proceed to the next aisle. When I was nearly finished shopping, I saw a guy who looked for all the world like Mr. Noodle. (All that was missing was the silly bow-tie.) He was pushing a cart that sure looked like the one I had been filling, but was returning merchandise to the places it had come from. As he whizzed past, I said, "Hey! Stop! Where did you get that cart?" His answer confirmed my suspicion. I asked "Why? Why are you putting all my stuff back?" He said he thought the cart had been abandoned.

I about blew a gasket, and asked why didn't he try putting away the crap that was all over the store blocking the aisles instead of what I had just spent a half-hour gathering in spite of the stupid mess in his store?!?

Yeah ... I could go into further detail, but you get the picture. Believe it or not, the same stinking thing has happened to me in two other stores. I started thinking there was some sort of Retail Clerks Union Revenge-On-Customers Game going on. Do they win points for who can get a customer the most riled up? Is it a thing that was invented and spread via the internet as the newest form of amusement? or What?!? That was the direction my thinking was headed.

But KP tells me it's an aura. Aura? I think I'd use another word for it. Demon magnet, maybe? Well, whatever ... where did I get this aura, and more importantly, how do I get rid of it?

Today started out with the cows not all coming down out of the pasture for morning chores. Some did, some didn't. It's gotta be all or none -- can't leave half here, half there. So I had to take the dog and go chase them. Wouldn't you know, this would be the morning my GD would sleep late, so when I came in the house she wasn't up. (This is the child who usually gets up with me at 5:30 to go to the barn.) We had only minutes before we had to leave, so while she ate, I loaded the dishwasher. It wouldn't run. Of course! Forget it. I'll worry about it later. (I should have taken this as a warning sign that the aura was warming up for Shopping Day.)

My plan was to drop her off at camp and do some pre-holiday shopping. (We're having guests.) First stop: didn't have what I was after. Second stop: had it, but at a much higher price than I expected -- I'd get it elsewhere. Third stop: got it, but it took a long, lo-o-o-o-ong time to check out in a very, very hot store. I thought I was going to be sick from the heat, honestly. It was one of those places that you pay, then go to the door out back to get loaded. The heat must've cooked the cashier's brain because, even though I asked more than once ... "now that's for BOTH parts, correct? You've charged me for BOTH parts, right?" She didn't, I was told by the loading crew. So I had to go back inside and start all over again. I must've looked like I was capable of violence, because she apologized repeatedly for not having done it right the first time. Really, I was only mildly irritated, and only because it was so ridiculously hot in there. I hate being hot as much as I hate shopping. Heat is the ONLY thing that can make shopping worse. I wanted her to stop apologizing and just get on with it so I could get out of that heat.

Then I made a few more stops, calculating how much time I dared spend before I had to hit the grocery store en route to pick up the little one and head home. I figured the best course of action was to go to the store nearest camp, so I could pick up the milk and other refrigerated items without having to worry about how long it stayed in the car before we got home. Sounds like a good plan, right? Wrong!

I shopped, made my way to the checkout counter, gave the girl my store card and check. She punched all the appropriate buttons, and looked completely puzzled at the machine. Something's amiss. Of course ... because I'm worried about time, something HAS to be amiss. She called for the front end manager for an over-ride. I asked why it was needed. She didn't know. The FEM came, looked at the machine and said, "What is THAT?"

"What is WHAT?" I inquired. FEM said she had to go get the Store Manager. Cashier didn't know why. FEM was gone quite a while, came back, pushed a paper in my face and said, "We can't accept your check. You have to call this number."

My response: "Please tell me WHY you won't accept my check." (I truly was being very polite at this point.) She told me she didn't know. I asked her to get the manager for help. She said he told her to tell me to call that number. Excuse me? I then unloaded all the groceries from the bags in the cart and said, "Here are the groceries. Please return my check. I am not calling any number. I will shop elsewhere," and left.

By the time I got to the truck, I decided I needed to speak to that manager. I found him sitting on his fat behind in his office not 30 feet from the checkout counter where all this transpired. I told him I was not a happy customer. I was not exactly polite at this point. I told him the only reason I wasted more of my time to come back into the store was to ask him for the company's headquarters' or district manager's phone number. I was extremely irritated because I had passed up many other stores in favor of this one because it would be convenient. Convenient?!? I now had no time to go to another store because I had to pick the child up too soon for that. I would have to go home without my groceries. Because there was a problem with their stupid machine and he would not get off his fat rear to come out and figure out what was wrong, or to over-ride it with his magic Manger's Over-Ride Key.

He tried to appease me with the offer of a gift card. I told him that unless he could give me a gift card that would cover my purchase (because the machine would not accept my check and I did not have that much cash with me), he could find someplace else to put that gift card. It would not be likely I'd ever return to any of the stores in this chain to use any gift card.

Believe it or not, this IS the condensed version. I. Hate. Shopping.
(and stupid, lazy people)

The worst thing is, I will have to go shopping again tomorrow. Just shoot me.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I'm such a slackard.

Joann (on the left) made this :

(double-click to enlarge photo) It required an awful number of those little triangle pieces, and she thought the quilting part would never end. But it was all SO worth it (I wish you could see the huge smile on her face in this photo; can ANYbody tell me why my photos are coming out so dark again?!?).

Cathy thought it unfair that Joann got to leave before her. Said she (C) politely stayed until she (J) was finished. She (J) pointed out that although that was true, she (C) wasn't here when she (J) started. So it all balanced out. Huh? Anyway ... Cathy got hers done, too ...

These gals don't mess around ... them's BIG quilts.

Cathy puts more quilt tops together BY HAND (!) than I do by machine. And that's just when she's not rehearsing for the next in an unending string of shows she's in at the theater. Oh ... and did I mention she often designs her own patterns? Tsk ... such an underachiever.

And what do I have to show for MY day? You're looking at it:

Yep! That's right ... nuthin' honey. I spent the whole day blabbing the ears off these two poor gals. They were fun, and funny to have around. Feeling the weight of guilt for having accomplished naught, I ended the day by pulling a half-bucket of weeds from the flower bed. But the heat was oppressive, so I gave it up as a lost cause. I figured I would only be showing the deer where they missed something. Whoever said hosta are deer resistant? I have nothing but stubble left. Bah ... let 'em have the pansies, too, if they can find them amongst the weeds.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Haircut day!

Tuck is holding everyone in place until it's their turn.

Take a ticket and get in line ...

He makes it look easy. But don't let him fool you -- that is back-breaking work, my friends. I know ... I've tried it.

What takes me 3 hours to do is accomplished in about 4 minutes by an expert.

All done ... everybody back to business per usual.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Last night I was finishing up some work at the computer, and heard a noise coming from the kitchen. There's a litter of kittens that sorta lives outside by the kitchen doorstep, and they've reached that playful stage ... when they're so cute you could almost say "Yes" to keeping one of them. I suspected one had somehow managed to get inside the door without being noticed while I was zipping in and out to'ing-and-fro'ing from the garden and back. I figured it was now trying to find a way out, and that I'd better help it or I'd soon have something to step in on the floor.

Imagine expecting to find a cute little kitty bumping around, and discovering instead a big ol' BAT flitting around, banging into things trying to get out. How does one remove a bat?!? Especially when every time you think you've got it cornered, it whooshes past your head, barely missing your ear! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! I finally resorted to turning out all the lights inside, and turning ON the porch light. The hope was that it would see the moths flying near the light and go out for dinner. Either this guy was on his learner's permit, or he was so old he should've had his license taken away, because he actually bumped into me. Oh ... the horror of it all. There's-n0-such-thing-as-vampires ... there's no such thing ... Why wasn't he using his sonar-motion-detector device, or whatever it is they have to navigate in the dark?!?

It took a while (and I nearly passed out from holding my breath so much because it seemed like every time I took a breath that creature zoomed in at full speed toward me), but eventually the plan worked. Whew. Let's hope there's not a repeat performance any time soon. Maybe I need to invest in that spray foam people use to seal up cracks? I know two ladies who swear by the stuff. They use it in epic proportions. But that's another story ...

So here's a photo of the quilt I've been working fast and furiously on this week (double-click on photos to enlarge):

It's the quilt that will be raffled at the July 4th celebration to raise money for the local fire department this year. An absolute TON of work has gone into it -- these blocks are all hand embroidered by local ladies. I'm not that talented -- I just do the quilting and binding.


They do one every year, each one prettier than the last. It's just a shame they don't do it earlier in the year so more tickets could be sold, and therefore more money raised. If anybody wants a ticket, let me know ( before the 4th and I'll pick one up for you. I'm guessing chances are better than average that you'll win on this one!


From the LOST & FOUND DEPT ... this tool organizer was left at the studio recently. I can't remember who showed it to me, but it's still here. If it's yours, let me know and I'll get it back to you

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My new fav ...

... inside sez, "Knit one, Sip one." Yep, that's me. (photo's blurry because I had to hold the camera with my right hand and the cup with the other -- multi-tasking doesn't work until AFTER I've had my coffee. Double-click to enlarge if you can't read it)

Monday, June 14, 2010

They remember ...

June 14, 1990. Startling to see that date and realize 20 years have passed. Saw some comments on FB that show me his friends remember him kindly, and that is somehow very important to me. (Today marks 20 years since Lenny died after a car accident. Nope. It doesn't get easier, just older.) My friend came and shared the morning with me ... she knows ... and shows it in the little things that make a difference. So thanks to ALL who remember, even if you don't mention it to me.

Here's part of a T-shirt quilt that was made in memory of someone else's son. It came through the studio last week.

On a happier note -- this picture was taken almost a week ago:

Now, that may not be a thrill-a-minute to YOU, but it generates a lot of excitement around here! It's a pepper making fruit. In early June! Unheard of in my garden. And yes, rocks abound. When we first moved here and I saw all those rocks, I wondered how on Earth anybody was supposed to make a garden around here. We had previously lived along the sandy sea shore, where a rock that size would've been considered a boulder. My Dad told me to be thankful for them. Said the rocks would provide much-needed minerals and would help hold moisture during dry spells. At the time I thought he'd either lost his mind, telling me to be thankful for what seemed like huge rocks -- or else he was going overboard in trying to encourage me in my beginning gardener efforts. Turns out he was right.

That reminds me of something else. I started a little notebook to collect the little tidbits of wisdom in the form of folksy sayings, like: "Big snow, little snow; Little snow, big snow." Translation: if the snowflakes are large, the snowfall won't amount to much. If the flakes are tiny, you can count on deep snowfall. Again, it turns out to be pretty much true. Watch and see for yourself when winter comes.

A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study. ~ Chinese Proverb

Monday, June 7, 2010

A finger in the dike ...

I managed to poke a hole in my hand on barbed wire Friday, and punctured a vein. Whoa! The spurting blood made me queasy for a few seconds, until I realized I could stop the flow by pressing with my thumb. Like the kid with his finger in the dike to stop the leak. When I got back to the house, I wrapped it tightly to enable me to drive to the doctor for a tetanus shot and a stitch or two. Turns out, the stitches were unnecessary. Seems veins have a miraculous way of healing themselves, and all I need do is keep it from getting infected until that happens. Sounds a little like the vet's idea of keeping the bull away from the cow, to me (see post on June 3) . We'll see how this plays out.

The antibiotics they gave me were the worst part -- made me sick to my stomach -- the hand doesn't hurt, nor did the shot in the arm bother me like I was told to expect it would.

Here's what Terri and Penny managed to do on Sunday:

Terri, getting friendly with free-handing ...

... and Penny, comfy working with just one hand ...

Terri's quilt is vibrant from the front, and looks very cool from the back, too!

Penny found a pattern that she really liked and was able to complete this beauty before she left!

Who knew there was a tornado watch in effect?!? Not us! We were oblivious.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

When the Aunties gather ...

... you know SOMEthing's going on.

Stooge is still standing. THAT's a good sign. (She's the old gal with the horns, at the center of the photo). Here's what all the commotion is about:

It's a girl. I think. I took only the briefest glance. My big concern was the Mom. Stooge prolapsed having her last calf. And once before that, a few years back. The vet's advice was to put her down. "She's old ... past her prime ... costly to feed ..."

But I protested ... "she's more of a pet than a production cow ..."

He put her back together, sewed her up, shook his head in disgust, and then told me to be sure to keep the bull away from her. Right. Ever tried that? Well, the bull is gone, but apparently left his calling card. Thankfully, everything seems to be okay. DH is good at cow repair, but not me! Bad enough I have to play midwife to the ewes who can't do it on their own. At least they're small enough for me to wrestle to the ground if need be.

Now I'm off to have a cup of coffee, relieved that there's no new trauma -- for now, at least. Then I'll go back and make sure the baby looks as if she's eaten. Maybe I'll call her "Relief."

Who was the first guy that looked at a cow and said, "I think that I'll drink whatever comes out of those things when I squeeze them."? ~ Bill Watterson

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A little rain ...

... and the weeds go crazy! We desperately needed the rain. It poured like crazy here, and it has all soaked in, leaving the ground still looking a bit dry. Hopefully, a little more rain will be coming later in the week.

Believe it or not, this is a row of eggplant.

If you look verrrrrrry closely, you'll see four of them in this photo.
This is to represent the "before," and this ...

... is the "after." No -- not the eggplant row; these are cabbages -- they live next door to the eggplant. The eggplant with have its turn tomorrow if all goes well.

Here's the daily plan for May:
-- weed a row
-- hoe a row
-- plant a row
-- mulch a row
-- pick a row

Hopefully, by the end of the month, the garden will be all in, under control, and looking good. (A person can dream, can't they?)

That 5-step plan gets me out of the hot sun by mid-morning, leaving me time to quilt. Speaking of quilting, take a look at this:

A fellow hand-stitched these itty bitty pieces together to assemble a California King sized quilt. My job? To finish it for him. Quite a project, but fun so far. Of course, binding it will be a chore. I'll just pop a flick into the ol' machine and while away the the evening hours. If you see me on the street next week, don't be startled by the spinning eyeballs.