Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy birthday, Alison!

Two years ago, we were waiting for the call that our granddaughter was born. Jen had gone into labor a month early and in her case, the labor-stopping drugs worked really well. So well, in fact, that Alison was a bit late and Jen had to be induced.

What with the delays and the hospital bumping Jen back a couple of days because they were full, Kent and I ended up being the first grandparents to see Alison. She was so small and so long, a perfect little peanut of a girl.

I wondered how Kent would respond to a baby, since he has no children of his own and never really had that biological clock ringing in his ear. He totally fell in love with her, and remains firmly wrapped around her little finger.

Actually we both are, but it's really easy to dote on Alison. She's a happy child and hands out hugs and kisses easily. I wish we could be there to give her real kisses today, but alas, virtual ones will have to do.

Happy birthday, Peanut!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Random list

In no particular order, I’ve noticed the following:

-Peanut butter in my granola bars makes them cook faster. I didn’t anticipate that, so Kent has crunchy bars instead of chewy ones.

-I kept searching for the perfect no-knead bread recipe until I realized I don’t mind kneading bread and I like the texture better.

-More runners smile back at me now that my hair is darker. That one surprised me.

-My cats have no one season for shedding hair. Nope, it’s pretty clearly year-round for them.

-I found a centipede swimming in the cats’ water dish this morning. It’s a big dish, and it was a big centipede. Was--it's gone now.

-The dehumidifier in our bedroom is making all the difference in the world in terms of our comfort. We still have active leaks in that damn closet but at least my sheets don’t feel slimy.

-We are incapable of growing cilantro successfully. We've killed it in two very different climates. I give up.

-Basil is a different story. Want some?

-I love my new sewing cabinet—now I’ll sew for just a little while because the set up and tear down is so much easier.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What’s natural, anyway?

When I was in junior high, I started on the first of many attempts to get fit and control my weight. My mother devised an eating and exercise plan, and I stuck to it faithfully, doing at least one hundred sit ups every day. Sure enough my belly muscles got very strong but my stomach wasn’t entirely flat. My mother pointed out that I could hold my tummy in with those rock hard abs, and then it would be flat. Honestly the idea had never occurred to me, and I sort of thought it was cheating and not natural, that my belly should just be flat as it was with no sucking in of the gut.

Fast forward to today. Last week, after growing out my hair to its salt-and-pepper state, I colored it dark again. And I found myself dreading in advance the negative comments I think I’ll hear from family members.

It seems as though many people believe they have a right, almost a duty to voice unsolicited negative opinions on almost everything. And sure enough I’ve gotten comments like that about my hair from a few family members—probably not the ones who read this blog, but family members nonetheless. And really, who cares what color my hair is? It’s just dead protein and I’ve happened to color that dead protein a darker color than those people like. That’s fine, we all have opinions. It’s just that not all opinions need to be shared, especially negative ones about stuff that doesn't matter in the scheme of life. After all, it’s my hair, and next year it might be purple. Well OK probably not but still if I want to color my hair purple, I will.

And if you’ve read this far and are curious, I did it for three reasons. First, I get bored with my hair pretty easily and I was ready for a change. Second, the job market is not exactly picking up but I am seeing more postings and unfortunately age discrimination—while nearly impossible to prove—most definitely exists. The silver needed to be mitigated. Finally, I got lowlights for a while because I have one area on my part line that is really silvery, so it was very obvious. The lowlights helped cut that a bit. But they are really pricey. My hairdresser is working with me on this a lot and because it’s a single process rather than the low lights, I can get a good price break on it.

I’m comfortable with my hair like this. So let's raise a glass to live and let live.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


On the left, you'll see a slide show with pictures Kent took with my point and shoot camera Saturday night. That's all I saw of Waterfire too, alas. I came down with the same stomach bug Kent had earlier in the week. On the plus side, the virus was short-lived but it lasted long enough that I missed all the fun stuff we'd planned Saturday evening.

I did get to see Providence Saturday afternoon and it's a pretty town. We plan to return and do more sightseeing another time, and hopefully virus free.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fun weekend

We are off to Providence, RI to see waterfire (warning, the website makes fire noises which I find annoying). We'll spend the night to avoid parking hassles and also just to have a weekend away from Boston. Thankfully today is beautiful--sunny and warm!

When we were at Ikea, we found a sort of crinkly tube for small dogs or cats to run through. It's flexible, makes a noise like a plastic bag and has a hole in the middle so the animals can get in three different ways. The tube was sitting on the chair when I found Wally in it.

Finally I took this close up of Eddie sleeping on my desk. He loves to stretch out there and snooze away. Sometimes when I watch him sleeping like that, I get really tired too.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's HERE!

As I suspected, the sewing cabinet didn't arrive until yesterday. Kent put it together for me, and said that we were spoiled by the assembly directions that come with Ikea furniture--these directions were just not the best. He still managed to put the cabinet together in about 90 minutes.

We had a small bookcase here originally (it's now in the closet under the stairs).

This is the storage piece we got from Ikea on Saturday. Although it's intended to be used as a nightstand, it works really well here as you'll see.

Here are both pieces together. They are both black, and the finish isn't really all that far off. If we lived in a really sunny place, I'd notice--but we don't!

You can see how I'm using the small storage piece--the top shelf holds my small laptop (which I also use in the kitchen since I have recipes on this one), I keep the current project(s) fabric here, and my button box and the box with my sewing machine attachments are on the bottom shelf.

Finally, this is how the cabinet looks when fully open. The top flips over onto the small storage piece which is the right height to add additional support, and the sewing machine lifts up on an air-lift mechanism. I just push a bit and it rises up by itself to the right height. The storage in the door is helpful too, and I'm sure I'll end up filling it up.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Partial solutions or patience is a virtue

First, I thought you’d like to know that Wally remains enamored with tissue. We’d been turning the box over at night but he figured out pretty quickly that if he knocked the box onto the floor, he’d have a lot of fun.

Saturday was mostly successful. We found a little cabinet to sit next to the sewing cabinet that’s coming, and it was very easy to install. Although we got our bookcase, we could only find the wood doors and not the glass doors. We wanted wood doors on the bottom of the bookshelf and glass doors on the top so we can display some fragile dishes I have from my mother, and to keep certain yellow cats from jumping to the higher shelves. So we decided we’d get the wood doors and just make another trip back when the glass doors were in stock.

Once home, we realized one of the door boxes was completely mislabeled and contained a glass door. That left us with a wood door and a glass door, and to add to our frustration, the Ikea website indicated they had plenty of glass doors. So Kent made the 40 minute trek back to Ikea the next day and got one more of each kind of door—only to find out that the bookcase wasn’t really made to hold two sets of doors. But he’s a clever man, so he drilled an extra hole on each side to hold the hinges and voila! We have our bookcase the way we wanted it.

The find of the day on Saturday has to be the floor lamp you see next to the bookcase. It cost all of $6.99. I love Ikea.

Supposedly my sewing cabinet gets delivered today but I’ll be surprised if that happens since the FedEx site doesn’t show that it’s in Boston yet. This is yet another chance for me to learn patience . . .

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Solving some storage problems

What with the recession, Kent’s company didn’t give bonuses in January—hardly unexpected but still disappointing. However, even though the economy hasn’t really recovered (I’m still out of work!), they did give a bonus this month.

We are not wildly spendy people so we are saving most of it. But we set aside a little bit for each of us to spend on our hobbies. I mentioned the other day that I was getting a new sewing cabinet which will simplify the set up/clean up process. Right now I have to empty almost a quarter of the closet under the stairs to get my sewing machine and supplies out. Then I have to thoroughly clean the countertop on the living room side so no residual grease or food gets on my fabrics. Since our place is not the brightest, I string lights all around and still feel like I’m sewing in the dark. And I have to take it all down every night because of the cats—it’s a complete pain. We ordered the cabinet Thursday and right now it looks as though it will get here Tuesday. Stay tuned for pictures.

We’re heading down to Ikea today to get a bookcase for our front hall. The one we have is slightly too deep for the space and also completely open. Wally likes to jump up the shelf that holds a box full of change. He’s knocked it off once, and he pushes books back and out and all around. So we’re going to get something like this. Fortunately we work well together when we assemble furniture, otherwise this might be a long day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I was going to write about

The view from the deck of the house we stayed in. And I was going to brag (again) about my mother's mad sewing skills and show you the crayon bags she made (photo by Kent).

Then I was going to write about how excited I am because I'm getting a compact sewing cabinet which will make doing my projects a LOT more convenient.

Instead I'm going to complain about a leaky kitchen faucet that's created a mess under the sink. After the no-water issue earlier this week, I ought to be grateful to have water. I would just prefer it not be standing in my cabinet, forcing me to empty everything out and then mop up all that water.

Edited to add: And NOW I'm going to really complain about the mold growing in our closet. We have a leak and it's from the sidewalk above the closet so the condo association is supposed to repair it. I really hope the condo association doesn't forget this needs to be fixed ASAP. No wonder I can't breathe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Such excitement

Yesterday afternoon I put in a load of laundry, which is pretty typical for a Monday. Our apartment is small so I can hear the machine as it cycles through. When the noise stopped, I went to put it in the dryer only to realize the washer was making a weird humming noise, and was stuck trying to fill and rinse the load. The only thing that worked was the spin feature. Blah.

We have no idea how old our machines are so I figured our washer just needed some repair work. Meanwhile, I put the clothes in the dryer so they wouldn't get smelly. Then I realized the toilet was running. Sigh. OK well I knew the handle was getting a little loose and Kent just hadn't been able to take care of it yet. THEN I noticed that the water in the toilet was really brown and silty. Yikes!

But wait, it gets worse. I tried to wash my hands and holy cow, NO water came out of the kitchen faucet. OK now that was getting a bit serious--you probably remember when our toilet clogged and I had to spend the night in an overpriced hotel room. I confess, that's what ran through my head.

Kent got home and said he saw Boston Water Department repair trucks outside plus neighbors milling around, so we realized it wasn't just us, nor was it our washer (whew) but a slightly bigger issue. Thankfully the water came back on around 7, and I promptly forgot about it.

Until this morning while in the middle of my shower--I realized I had only dribbles coming out of the shower head. I've never shampooed so fast in my life. I'd shaved my right leg but the left leg remains a bit furry even now. I headed to the public library to both return books and use their bathroom, and on the way there, I checked our front door. This is what I found:

So the good news is we should have water again by 3 PM and with luck I won't have a repeat of this tomorrow. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Super quick update

Kent is busy processing the over 200 photographs he took this week. As he uploads them, I'll be snagging the best of the best and putting them here. Meanwhile, here's a great picture of the three little girls in their dresses I made for them.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I cried

I picked out the materials and pattern for this quilt a long time ago. My mother had offered to make me a quilt back when she first started quilting and I chose this pattern and these materials. Well it's always difficult to make something you don't actually like, and my mother and I have very different taste. So long story short, this quilt didn't get made. She started it and would pick it up from time to time, but honestly her heart wasn't in it.

I don't entirely know what changed her mind, but she brought it here to Estes Park at our family reunion and put it on our bed. Here's a close up of the materials:

I still love it and in fact I slept with it on our bed last night. Now I'm looking forward (sort of) to colder weather in Boston because this beautiful quilt will be on our bed.

Thank you, Mom.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Maybe it's a new yoga pose

Whatever it is, it sure isn't downward dog. I'm off to Colorado for a family reunion and I'll probably post some pictures from there later this week.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I saw this snail in the window well this morning and wanted to grab a picture of it. Then I noticed the paint peeling off the side of the window well. Looks like we've had enough rain that the hydrostatic pressure is pushing the paint right off the concrete.

Busy day yesterday

Sometimes I amaze myself. Yesterday I baked bread, made a dress, made a cake and made a bag. Then Kent and I went to a birthday party--the cake and the bag were for that party. Take a look at the dress and the bag.

Here's a close up of the dress material.