Thursday, October 30, 2014

Autumn leaves

This past Sunday, Kent and I made a start on raking the leaves. We have a lot of trees in our yard—the entire neighborhood is like a forest—so raking can be a year round process. We spent about two hours, filled 11 yard refuse bags and later that day, it was as though nothing had been done. Oh well.

I can never rake leaves without remembering one fall in particular when my boys flung themselves into giant piles of leaves, giggling and exploding out of the piles like little rockets. Of course their shenanigans always messed up the leaf piles, but their joy was infectious plus it wore their little bodies out. That was no mean feat!

L-Jordan, age 5, R-Ben, age 3

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

So five years ago yesterday

Yes, that’s when the water main burst. Yes, I’m writing about it again. Yes, for the fifth year in a row.

I deliberately didn’t post yesterday but that day still hangs over me. No one died, and we came out OK in the end. Yet there was so much loss that day, and in the weeks afterward—loss that had nothing to do with water damage but piled on top of our soggy messes, well it was a lot to endure.

I mostly don’t miss the possessions we lost. We were able to restore the four pieces of furniture that did matter to us and we’re using them to this day. I don’t miss the clothing either, with the exception of a couple of items. I had the best winter running shirt and haven’t found anything like it since. Fashions change and today’s running gear tends to be form fitting to the skin plastering degree. My ruined winter running shirt wasn’t a tent but neither was it skin tight. I do miss that.

Occasionally I miss my high school yearbooks. Sure, high school was ages ago, but I still miss them. Plus I think my grandkids would have gotten a kick out of seeing me at that age and I don’t really have many pictures.

I’m very glad to say that I no longer flinch at the tiniest sounds of unexpected water. It’s hard for me to describe how loud and unexpected the sound of rushing water was that afternoon. The cats alerted to it first, but I heard it before it started pouring under our patio fence. At first it almost sounded like a whole lot of rushing feet. Then of course I saw it and then it filled our patio and well you know the rest of that story.

If I never ever hear the sound of those gigantic industrial blowers used to dry out flooded areas, that will be OK by me. And I’m fine with never having dry wall dust from reconstruction clogging my lungs again.

The restoration company assured us the first, second and third times we had severe water damage that fire is worse than water. I hope I never find out first hand.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cat in a window


We are all loving the weather right now. Yes, winter's coming but for now the windows are open and it's lovely.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A couple of completed projects

Lest I leave you with the impression that all my projects end up as wadders, here are two I've completed recently.

The sweater fabric is from Mood, and I got it last July on our trip to NYC. The pattern is McCalls 6408, which I've made before and blogged about here.

Don't mind my weird expression;
my allergies are kicking my butt and I feel
pretty miserable at the moment.
This lunch bag is my own creation. Inspired by my granddaughter and daughter-in-law, I took apart a paper bag from Bath & Body Works to use as the rough pattern pieces. It's made from the scraps left over from a bag I'd made for Jen, and the lining is from one of Kent's shirting materials. The front flap has Velcro to hold it down. I'm pretty pleased with this. I'd wanted a smaller lunch bag than the one I'd bought a couple of years ago, but it's hard to find a small one plus they're expensive for no good reason. So now I have this one.

Friday, October 24, 2014

It's their favorite time of year

Any time we can open windows or doors, the kitties love it. This is from earlier in the week:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Good, that's settled

Last Saturday while visiting my sister Martha, along with her beau Jason and her two daughters, somehow the subject of how towels should be folded came up. Yes, that’s random and no I don’t recall how it happened. Just trust me that it made sense in the conversation.

Both men said prior to being in a relationship with their respective Dzur sister, they’d folded towels in squares. Bah, said we two sisters, that’s flat out wrong. They must be folded in thirds long ways, and then folded in half to hang or folded yet again in half to store. Much discussion over towel folding ensued and then we moved on to how socks are folded. The two men each had their own wrong method while Martha and I pair them up and fold them over from the top.

Out of curiosity today, I emailed our other sister Amy, told her the back story and asked her how she folded towels. Here is her perfect reply:
HA!! Of course I fold them properly! If you fold them in squares, then you have to refold them when you want to hang them on the towel rack!! So silly.*  
And of course she folds socks properly too. So there you go, we’ve provided our guide to practically perfect towels and socks every time.

I offer proof of my own folding methodology:

Exhibit A: Towels plus photobombed by Wally.

Exhibit B: Socks.
*Sadly my sister Amy still uses two spaces at the end of her sentences. But that's OK, I just edited them out.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Undomesticated and germaphobic?

Last Friday was our 11th anniversary and we (predictably) had dinner at Story. Normally we sit at the bar, have a couple of drinks, eat a small dinner, usually have dessert and just generally enjoy being there. Occasionally we’ll actually make reservations and sit at a proper table. I say all that just to set the stage: we were at a table, so we could see parts of the restaurant we normally don’t see.

I first noticed the man—probably in his late 30s—because he was wearing scrubs and a surgical mask and latex or some other sort of protective gloves. He joined a woman who’d been sitting at a high top in the bar area; she had a small girl who was probably about four years old, and a boy of maybe eight. The man took the mask and gloves off before he came in the restaurant, which is really what caught my eye.

I faced their table so could see the whole scene: both parents wearing scrubs, both children being quite loud and rambunctious and running around, and an older woman (maybe a grandmother?) ineffectually trying to get the kids to settle down.

I should mention this isn’t what you’d call a family style restaurant. You go there for the award winning food, the amazing wine or drinks and the grown up atmosphere. It’s not the kind of restaurant with either kids’ menus or kids’ portions.

The woman finally collected the little girl and left the man, the grandmother and the boy still there. I watched as the boy walked along the edge of the window (floor to ceiling, I might add so he was on the bottom rail) and plastered his sticky hands all over the glass. I could see lots and lots of palm prints where before the glass had been clean. It was, in a way, like watching a train wreck. They didn’t leave for another 20 minutes or so, and when they did, the man put on his mask again, and dragged out the gloves and put them on too.

We moved to the bar after that, to enjoy one more drink together. I said something to the bartender about that family—and it turns out they come in and do this every Friday night. Wow, I was shocked. I mean, seriously, there is no way I’d have let my kids behave like that in any restaurant, let alone a really nice one like Story. And apparently the dad is quite the germophobe! He always wears the gloves and mask.

People are so strange.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

For Jen: My tale of wadders

Ah wadders. Those humble pie reminders that my sewing skills are often nowhere near my ability to imagine how an item might look if I sew it out of this fabric with that pattern.

I'm not the only one to have wadders instead of successful sewing projects. You can read here, here, here, here and here. There are more examples in the big wide world of sewing blogs, those are just from the first page of search results. And here are my entries:

  • The grey skirt made of fabric that has symmetrical designed embroidered on it in the same grey. I love the tone on tone look, but the pattern I chose really needs a far crisper fabric than the lovely, drapey grey fabric. So I decided to interline it. Now it’s in the box, partially assembled. I can’t bring myself to do any more work on it since it’s almost certainly not salvageable, nor can I bring myself to throw it away.
  • The coat made of the lovely pinky-corally tweedy material. That one I did to myself. The pattern calls for fabric with at least X amount of stretch (where X equals I don’t remember and it doesn’t matter because my fabric had no stretch). Yeah, I got the back and the front sewn, stitched on the sleeves at the head and then realized nope, it might fit my granddaughter in a couple of years, but no one else I know could wear it.
  • The shirt made from a lovely cotton. I have not yet mastered the full bust adjustment and this shirt is proof of that fact. But gosh, my collar and stand were gorgeous.
  • The pleather skirt—my newest entry in the hall of wadder shame. I made it from the ponte knit that looks like leather. The pattern (the Mabel from Colette) is close-fitting and reviews indicated you should most definitely believe the measurements and that you should use a heavier knit. So I chose the size that would fit my hips and I thought this knit was thick enough. It is not and the nearly finished skirt will never ever ever see the light of day. 

Those are just the ones I haven’t yet ditched and can remember off the top of my head. There are more, plenty more, and Kent’s had at least one or two.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More fun with mice

Wally got fascinated with the new mice, so I put a couple of them on the pet bed on my desk. He spent a lot of time biting their tails, not their bodies, which I thought was pretty funny.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Gifts from afar!

My dear friend Freshhell made me some amazing things, which I got on Friday. Some were for the kitties, but some were for us.

Here's Wally loving on the new catnip mice (which she made and they are awesome):

And here's how mean I was to Wally by stacking things on him:

That's an octopus on him, an octopus pin cushion!

And as you can clearly see, the pillows are cat-tested and approved:

Isn't that fabric the coolest? She said she got it from a thrift store and that it's from the same era as our house. I'm just so impressed and blown away by her talent.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I'm a little slow

On their grand, cross-country road trip last spring, Mom and Dad brought us two pictures. One is a Charley Harper print they've had for years and that I've always loved. The other is a pastel drawing of my mother when she was 12 years old. I'd always told her she wasn't to throw it away, that if she got to the point where she didn't want it any more, she should give it to me. So she did.

Here they are in new frames, which go better with the rest of our pictures:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Animals are weird

We gave my mother-in-law’s dog a rubber duck nearly two years ago at Christmas. The duck is wearing a stocking cap and squeaks very loudly when squeezed or chewed on. Arfie (yes, the dog’s name is Arfie because when he barks, he says “arf” very clearly) loves that chicken, and takes it everywhere. But the reason I’m including this in my “animals are weird” post is because every Sunday when Kent calls his mother, Arfie runs off to get the chicken and brings it to my mother-in-law, making the bird squawk the whole way.

In a similar vein, Eddie is a talkative cat all the time, but he saves his loudest, most expressive meows for when I call my mother on Saturday mornings at 8 her time. He will walk down the hallway and come into the office, singing the song of his people the entire way. My mother can hear him very clearly—heck, I think the people down the street can hear him. He’ll do it other times too, of course, but never with as much feeling and meaning as he does when I am talking to my mom.