Friday, December 30, 2011

Tamales Tonight

I just read Kim's blog (www.kimsbigquiltingadventure) and noticed that she posted every day this week--even though she was busy.  All I did was obsess about finishing  a quilt called  Sweet Days by the Acorn Quilt & Gift Company (see my post August 8, 2011).  I wanted to use up my scraps, so I cut a few of the
1-1/4" squares individually.  I did a couple trial runs for the ribbon border I used because I didn't like the border on the quilt pattern.  It can take a long time to cut 200 little squares.

I am thinking of my new year's resolutions.  Only one more day before I have to try to keep them.  I think I will finish my list tonight.....

So, here is a little story.  I stopped in at the Walmart in Roseville.  I was waiting patiently for a clerk to finish with a customer so I could ask where they sold string--the kind you use to tie tamales.  This woman walks by holding one of those little dogs.  The dog was wrapped up in a pink blanket and the woman was holding it like a baby.  I looked at her and rolled my eyes and then turned my back to her.  If there is anything that just gets me worked up in a hurry, it is this insistence on the part of some people to bring their dog with them, including the grocery store.  I don't care how nice or wonderful you think your dog is, it doesn't belong in a grocery store, unless it is a service dog.  People disregard the rule because the dogs are small.  I have a 100 pound yellow lab and I am sure people would object to my walking him around Walmart. 

There I am waiting and the woman (wearing slippers and desperately needing to comb her hair) waves someone over and stands there.  Her friend comes up with a cart and when I heard the noise, I turned and looked, saw the dog again and shook my head turning back toward the clerk.  The friend (also in need of a comb) tells the first woman, "she doesn't like the dog."  I turned around and said, "what you are doing is illegal. You shouldn't bring your dog in here."  The friend looks at me and says, "why not, you're here."
Oh my gosh.  I think she called me a dog.

Afterward I went home to make tamales.  I made pork tamales and sweet corn tamales.  My husband told me the first time I made them that I didn't use enough masa or filling.  This time I used more of each, but still not enough.  For me this is trial and error.  I don't have a traditional Mexican family that hands all the secrets down from generation to generation. 

Sweet Corn Tamales

corn husks soaked in water.
2 1/2 cups masa harina
1 cup sugar
1 14.75 ounce can cream style corn
1 stick of softened butter
1/2 cup hot water

Make the dough.  Combine the masa harina, sugar, cream corn and butter with 1/2 cup hot water.
Put 1/4 cup dough down the center of a husk.  Roll and tie the ends closed or fold into a packet and tie closed.  In a steamer pot, steam the tamales for one hour.  Let rest 10 minutes before eating.

Food Network Magazine, November 2011--page 78.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

Part of Christmas for us is putting a small Christmas tree on my parents grave.
  On December 15, 1996, my parents and my sister-in-law, Cindy
 were killed in an auto accident on Highway 88.
Really the defining moment of my life.
This year we went out to Calvary Cemetery in Citrus Heights and found
Now, in the past I have been known to politely call and inquire as to WHY the grass
in not green.  As a person who paid full price for that cemetery plot,
and knowing that my father would be VERY angry about the brown grass,
I am quick to call.  I have also been known to throw all niceness out the window
and make my great displeasure known.
Frank, the poor soul in charge of Catholic Cemeteries for the
Sacramento Dioceses, knows me by name.
Tomorrow, I will call and inquire as to why the only green can be found
around the maintenance shed and under one tree.
I will be nice until I get the run around.

On a happier note, we have a 4-year old yellow lab named Hunter.  He is such a good dog.
My daughter bought him a football for Christmas.  She wrapped it and gave it to Hunter first,
before anyone else had a present in hand.
Before any one of us had our first present unwrapped,
Hunter had torn off the wrapping and chewed up the football.
He spent an hour tearing that football into little tiny pieces.
It was the best $1.00 spent!

I got a spectacular gift this year from my children.  It is an I-Pod. 
I also got a Frank Sinatra CD with one of my favorite songs on it.

Strangers in the night exchanging glances
Wond'ring in the night what were the chances
We'd be sharing love before the night was through
Something in your eyes was so inviting
Something in your smile was so exciting
Something in my heart told me I must have you
Strangers in the night
Two lonely people
We were strangers in the night
Up to the moment when we said our first hello
Little did we know
Love was just a glance away
A warm embracing dance away
Ever since that night we've been together
Lovers at first sight
In love forever
It turned out so right for strangers in the night.

Sorry about the picture below being sideways.
A friend gave me this book.  I love reading cookbooks.
Perhaps I will learn to make jam!

I'm off to make pillow covers.  As I was taking pictures, I noticed that ours are pretty worn.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


All I hear is, "Are you ready for Christmas?"  If it happened tomorrow, we would have gifts and food.  I have one trip out tomorrow and some cookie deliveries, but otherwise we are done. 

Today we got a phone call from an old friend we haven't talked to in a while.  Chris used to work with my husband.  We socialized with him and his wife Kris ( really it is Chris and Kris).  Then life happened and Chris had to close his shop and he went to work for Raley's and they live in South Sacramento, so we haven't spoken for a while--maybe a year.  It was so nice to hear from Chris.  It may inspire me to call someone I haven't seen for a while and remind them that I am still around.  'Tis the season.

Merry Christmas....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Got Caught Up

I have been busy.  My husband is making a baby doll crib and I made the matress, sheet, pillow and blanket.  We have a neighbor, Adrianna, who has a little girl, Jael.  She is the sweetest thing.  This is all for Jael because Christmas is for kids.  I don't have grandchildren or small nieces and nephews close by.  We are all older now.  It has been so much fun doing this for Jael.  We plan to sneak it in and put it under the tree from Santa.  Adrianna doesn't know anything about it and I know it will be such a surprise!  My helpful elf is Anna (Nana to Jael).  Only three more days!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Precious Gift

I received the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders as a gift.  A very precious gift.  I have never made jam, but this really makes me want to make it and have biscuits and jam.  The pictures are so beautiful.  Lemons, blueberries, apples.....spoons dripping with jam.  Jam poured into pie crusts.  Yummmm.
I feel so special now.  I love cookbooks.  I love to cook out of them and I love to read them.  All of my best Christmas' involve cookbooks.  The Way to Cook by Julia Child.  The Breakfast Book and the Supper Book by Marion Cunningham.  I love them all.  So thank you to my friend for this very precious gift.

Have a lovely evening......

Friday, December 16, 2011

24 or 48

I finished this quilt last night. 
I began it as a block of the month at Bearpaws and Hollyhocks (now closed).
It was called 24 because each month we pieced two blocks each month
ending up with 24 piece blocks. 
 Then I had to make 24 more four patch blocks.  That makes 48 blocks. 
The colors appealed to me as I saw the original hanging at the store. 
 The blocks were made in 2010. 
The blocks sat for a while as I debated about which fabrics to use for the borders. 
I put it together last month.
Then I learned that my friend Jane was retiring, today. 
There was a gift card that people contributed to for her "work" gift.
I made arrangements to have this quilt top quilted.  That was Dec 11th.
I spent the rest of the time binding the darn thing.  
I finished it, put it in a cute bag from JoAnn's.
Today I gave it to Jane. 

Jane said she wasn't at all emotional about leaving, but the quilt did it to her.
She did actually think I might give her a quilt.  After all, we had worked together for 16 years.
We are friends.  That should get you a quilt, right?
Okay, she didn't say all that.  Except that she didn't think it was going to happen
because there was no quilt at her good-bye reception.  I just hadn't finished it yet
and it was just from me, not from work.

Good-bye Jane! 
I will miss you more than you know.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Time Got Away From Me....

Darn.  I wanted to post the picture of my embroidery piece, but time got away from me.  I remembered (thank God) that just finishing the tree wasn't enough.  I still had to make the pillow, the gift I am bringing to my Thimbleberrries meeting tonight.  I decided to bring pistachio instant salad for the potluck.  My daughter says it is an old lady food.  The kind of food old ladies bring to potlucks....ha,ha,ha.

As it got to be 10pm (the witching hour for me), I did get a picture, but will have to post tonight or tomorrow if time gets the better of me again.  I confess, this is Wednesday--the night I go next door and drink wine with my friend, Anna.  My daughter is making lil' smokies in pastry dough--pigs in a blanket--for the snack.  I am thinking I won't need a snack.

I am in mourning since my friend has gotten on a plane to Florida for 3 weeks.  :(   My daughter says I will live!

Off to work again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So much has been going on

I have been a busy little beaver.  So busy, that I didn't realize that I hadn't talked to my sister in days!  My niece called to ask about figurative language for her book report.  I will have to ask her what her metaphor was.  I can't believe I forgot it!  While we were talking, Juliana told me she was reading at an eleventh grade level.  That is amazing.  I am so darn proud of her.

Friday I went over to Imelda's home for an open house.  Imelda has that decorating gene--as does my friend Kim.  I have no decorating gene.  Imelda's home is decorated from top to bottom.  Her tree is so beautiful I had to sit on her couch and just look at it.  There were Christmas quilts on the walls and lights all over.  The company and the food was good too.

Saturday I went to my guild brunch.  We always change our December meeting because the 4th Thursday lands too close to Christmas.  The food was fantastic.  Gina made these spinach and philo dough appetisers.  She confessed they came from Costco.  Yummmm.  We have secret sisters at my guild.  Mine was Wilma.  I told the students in an English class a funny story about Wilma.  We are supposed to give gifts every other month to our secret sister.  I forgot in August to bring my gift.  I had a gift, but when I arrived at the guild meeting, it was still sitting at home.  I could have driven back home as I am only 10 minutes away, but I couldn't think of a reasonable excuse and a way to not look obvious.  It is supposed to be a secret.  Since Wilma lives close to me, I thought I would jut leave it on her doorstep.  At 9:30pm on a Saturday night, my daughter and I went over and cruised by Wilma's house.  The whole place, which turns out to be a mansion in the midst of a bunch of little houses, was lit up.  Dogs, people.  Wilma is 80+ years old.  Why isn't she in bed like other people her age????  Since I couldn't get close enough to leave my gift without detection, we left.  I tried again on Sunday morning at 6:30am.  The neighbors were up.  What is it with these people?  No one in my neighborhood is up except me!!  I tried two more times.  I drive by there all the time taking my daughter to work, so going by wasn't that difficult.  I eventually just gave up and left her August gift with the one I gave in October.  I began this as Wilma's secret sister and ended up being Wilma's secret stalker!

Later on Saturday I went over to visit with my friend Sandy and we surfed on the internet.  We found the cutest block of the month--Merry Merry Snowmen.  To see it, go to Bunny Hill Designs and click on the name of the pattern.

Sunday I was over at my in-laws quilting a quilt for a retirement gift on the big machine.  I will take a picture and post it later this week.  I am not able to post pictures from here and the binding isn't done yet.

Tonight is pillow making time.  I have a darling little pattern of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree and the words joy, hope and peace.  I am bringing it to a gift exchange for tomorrow night.  I want to show it off, so I will take a picture tonight and post a second time.  Look for that.

There was a reason I began this post at work and I have totally lost that ttrain of thought,  We shall see if it comes back to me!  Happens to me all the time.......

Have a great evening.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hurrah, It's Wednesday

Because I shared that there would be no wine for me last Wednesday, today my sweet girl, Anna, Adrianna and I will be getting together to drink our wine and enjoy appetisers while we watch Criminal Minds. Hurrah!

I was thinking of Joann's Craft Store today.  On Friday, I get to purchase with a 30% discount courtesy of my sweet girl who works there.  I have a list of items I will be wanting.  A while back I went to the Folsom Joann's for their grand opening.  I used a coupon that I had purchased and the clerk did not give my the amount off.  It was a 50% coupon and I was very unhappy since I had paid for the coupon and the item I bought was going towards a charitable item.  I didn't notice this until I was home and the Folsom store is quite a ways away.   When I called, the manager was less than helpful and I ended up demanding my coupon back.  Lena took my name and address and then nothing.  That was 2 months ago.  I have given up on that coupon, but I will not shop there.

I'm back to work now.  Must go read to the children.......

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hometown Christmas Cookies

Last week I was sewing with my friends Jayma, Valerie, Gina and Jill.  Jill was saying that she needed to make cookies for some event and I told her about the Hometown Christmas Cookies I make.  I found the recipe in a pattern for a Thimbleberries quilt called (really!) Hometown Christmas.  Imagine that!  The cookies sounded so good to Jill (and they are really, really good) that she asked for the recipe.  I am supposed to drop it off to her today.  I looked everywhere, but haven't found it.  The only other alternative was to call Sandy and get her to look in her pattern for the recipe, but she is off traveling.  Those retired people.  So, what to do???

I finally put the Thimbleberries web site up and checked in the recipes tab.  No recipe for Hometown Christmas Cookies.  Darn!  Then it occurred to me that I could call,  Sure enough there was a toll free number.  I called and spoke to a very nice woman named Shari.  I told her my problem and she went to the archives and found the pattern I was speaking of and then looked through them to find the cookie recipe.  What a sweetheart.  I told her I only needed the ingredients.  After all, I have made the cookies before.  I had all the ingredients listed on my paper before I called even.  So she gives me the information and asks if she should read how to put them together,  Oh, no!  I am sure I can figure it out.  I had to call back.  I couldn't remember how long to cook them.

I can't completely blame Jill.  I also wanted to bring the cookies to my Thimbleberries Christmas party next Wednesday.  Just so I don't lose it again, here is the recipe.....

Hometown Christmas Cookies

Cream together the following ingredients:
     1 cup sugar
     1 egg
     3/4 cup shortening
     1/4 cup molasses
To the creamed mixture, add:
     2 cups flour
     2 teaspoons baking soda
     1 teaspoon cinnamon
     1 teaspoon cloves
     1 teaspoon ground ginger
     1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all together and scoop into 1-inch balls.  Roll in sugar and place on a greased baking sheet 2" apart.  Bake at 350* for 10 minutes.  Do not over bake.

These cookies are the best!
Happy baking!

Friday, December 2, 2011

What Am I Going to Do?

Almost done with the embroidered baskets.  What will I do then?  I was looking around and saw the blocks already to go for the farm stand quilt.  Then I want to do the birdie stitches blocks at  I need to finish my Thimbleberries blocks for my secret sister on the 10th.  Oh, my God!  I have so much to do!!!

Tonight it is a bath and finishing up some presents.  I can tell you about that later.  Have a great Saturday.  I know I will.......

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No Wine and Appetisers for Us Tonight....

So sad for me!  For the past year, every Wednesday night (with a few exceptions) my sweet girl and I have been walking next door at 8pm to have appetisers and wine with Anna and Adrianna, our neighbors, while we watch Criminal Minds.  It is so much fun.  We laugh and talk and watch our favorite characters.  Anna really likes Dr. Spenser Reed.  I like the David Rossi character and Penelope Garcia.  Tonight we will miss all that.  Anna is taking a writing class and she hasn't gotten her paper done that is due tomorrow.  Good thing for us that tonight is a rerun.  Still.  Next Wednesday I am going to put my foot down....No cancellations!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mindy's Quilt

I am almost done with the embroidered blocks for Mindy's Quilt.  That is the name on the pattern, but I will change it to fit my blue and white theme when I am done.

I cleaned up the past two days.  I went through the ornaments, magazines and other stuff.  Sounds like everything is perfect, doesn't it???  It isn't.  Tomorrow I will bring the bag of tan clothes for the kids here at school, the bag of magazines for a teacher and the food for the food drive to work.

Tonight.....more embroidery.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Today I am Old

I just had to laugh today.  This has happened before, but today I know I am old.  The 7th grade class I help out with is beginning to read the Outsiders.  It is a book about two groups (gangs) of kids and things get out of hand, all because of prejudice.

Before the children read the book, there is a keynote presentation about the sixties.  In the room full of students and a teacher, I am the only one who is even remotely old enough to remember the sixties.  This teacher is in her 20's.  She was born sometime in the 80's.  There are pictures of hippies and war protesters, fashions from back then.  The hair styles look like the ones my mother wore.  All of this combines to make me feel my age.

Unfortunately they left out the best parts of the 60's, and I don't mean the death of John Kennedy.   I was just a baby then.  What they don't show is the walk on the moon!

Also today:  who is most influential?
Mozart, Queen Elizabeth I, Jesus, Buddha, Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, or Mohammad?
Most of the students picked Jesus--he is our savior, he died for us, etc.  There were a few who choose Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein and Rosa Parks, even one Mozart.  Funny no one picked Buddha, Queen Elizabeth I or Mohammad.  Probably don't know who they are........

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What have I done all weekend????

On Thursday I went to Berkeley, CA to award a scholarship to a very deserving student.  There is a scholarship in my parents name at CAL for an engineering student.  Every year there is a luncheon where the students show up and thank us for the money.  Very nice.  Usually my sister goes to the luncheon.  She has friends there and has made it into a trip each time.  Last year my brother, Richard, was in the area from Iowa and he went.  This year it was me.  I was surrounded by people probably a lot smarter than me--engineering types--having lunch.  I treated myself to a sweatshirt.  I was back on my way home by 2:30pm.

That evening I went to my guild meeting.  Our speaker was Helen Hardwick.  She makes these incredibly small quilts.  Her talk was about what to expect when you put your quilt out there to be judged.  At one point, she said we all had that "deer in the headlights" look.  No one by me was thinking of having a quilt judged.  When Helen asked if we had any questions, there was only one hand--Phyllis Day.  She does incredible work and wins ribbons.  the rest of us--not a question!

Friday I went to the River City Quilt Show.  It was amazing.  I absolutely loved the quilts by Jan Soule, the featured artist.  She does classes and has a trunk show.  I took her information for the next program chair for my guild.  I went expecting to be there for an hour.  I was with my friends, Sandy and Irene.  We were there for four hours.  There were so many quilts, so many vendors.  One of the vendors had this great quilt up. It was called Vintage Stitches--blue and green embroidery.  The patterns were an old fashioned sewing machine, a water pump, etc.  I loved the pattern so much, I bought it.  When I got home, I took it out and found it was just a copy.  That is so wrong.  I have heard that shops do that--take a pattern and then make their own copies and sell them, but it is so disrespectful to the designers.  I am thinking of calling the quilt guild and saying something.

Saturday and Sunday I sewed small squares together --see the picture above.  When I have more of the quilt put together, I will post another picture.

Now it is off to bed.  Have a great day tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Latest BOM

Last month at my guild meeting we got back a 9-month block-of-the-month.  I had put in a yard of a cream with blue fabric and a block I made.  Then eight of my fellow guild members each made me a block.  Now I have 9 blocks to put together into a quilt.  I have a plan--a checkerboard border and sashing.  So, I have been cutting out 1.5-inch squares and sewing them together.  I need 176 pairs.  On Thursday I am going to my guild meeting and am hoping to get scraps from the eight women.  It took a lot longer to do the 50 sets I have done than I thought. Definitely a job for a movie day.

Plans for Friday to go to the River City Quilt Guild Quilt Show.  If you are in Sacramento this weekend, check it out!  Scottish Rite Temple.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Apple Hill

Hello.  I have been a bit lax for a while about checking in here and posting.  I am making a commitment to do better.  So, sorry to anyone who looks in regularly.

On Saturday I went up to Apple Hill with my Circle of Friends.  Apple Hill is just above Placerville on Highway 50.  There is apple farm after apple farm after apple farm.  It smells so good--like pine needles and fireplaces.  It is worth going up there just for the smell.  There were crafts, apples, pears, vegetables and gifty items.  I bought a box of pink lady apples, some pears and apple cider.  Yummm.  Apple pie this weekend coming up.  I must remember to purchase the vanilla ice cream.

We also stopped at Shared Stitches and High Sierra Quilts.  At Shared Stitches I bought a little suitcase to hold my embroidery.  I am using a small box by Susan Branch, but it is slowly breaking.  I will need something else soon,  I also bought a pattern Suffragette by Heartspun Quilts.  Every time I go into Shared Stitches, I find a quilt on the wall that I just love.  Then I look to buy the pattern and find that it looks nothing like the quilt on the wall.  The one on the wall is in reds and creams--rich dark colors.  The one on the pattern looks wrong.  It is red, white and blue.  I can't even decide what it is that makes it look so wrong.

We were gone all day.  It is always fun to hang out with this little group. 

Let me tell you about the gifts!  I don't usually require gifts to be friends, but this group comes up with the best presents.  There was a cute little cellophane bag with a gingerbread ornament, a gadget and some Ghirardelli chocolates.  Yummm.  There was a coffee cup with a cute organizer.   One of us gave each person a notebook with a cover in black and white with a label in the middle that says Circle of Friends.
I gave everyone a backpack (because we were going on a trip!!) with hand sanitizer, lip balm, snack, mints,
a cutting tool (something fabric oriented) and a whistle--just in case someone got lost.  I got the backpacks from my sister-in-law.  She had them from her prescription drug selling days.  I was just so darn pleased with myself for thinking of this. 

It's time for bed now.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

thinking of gifts.....

I spend time with a group of friends.  It is a great group of women.  There are several things that I can attribute to knowing these women, butthe funniest is that I think in terms of six.  There are always gifts.
It is such a fun part--not just gettting gifts, but thinking of really great ideas to give to them. 

On Saturday we have a trip planned to Apple Hill.  Apples--yummm.  I had a brilliant idea that I can share on Saturday, but not before.  I have planned this since August.  I drove to Modesto to get part of it.  I helped myself to six of everything offered at a Kaiser table in SOuthern California.  I have been brasen in my quest to get six of every thing.  We shall see if I am as clever as I think......

I can't wait until Saturday!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I was thinking today about my children who aren't children anymore.  On days like today, I am nostalgic about the days when they were small and the fun we had trick or treating. 

Every year I refused to make elaborate costumes and spend money on cheap costumes.  I took my children to the thrift stores and let them buy things to make a costume.  Sometimes we just used stuff we found at home.  The wedding dress the year my daughter was a princess lasted us into many years and was loaned a time or two to friends.  At 5pm on Halloween, we drove over to my in-laws neighborhood and went trick or treating there with the cousins.  After making the full circle, we drove back home, went to a few houses on our block and then called it a night.

I miss that excitement and energy.  In the later years when they were definitely too old, they would hand out candy for my in-laws.  One year--the son's 13 year, we had a Japanese exchange student. Both kids went out that year.  The Japanese boy had a great time and left all his candy when he left our home for his next stop.

I miss all that.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Funny Story From a Friend

I work with Andrea.  She is really great.  I feel a connection to her for two reasons.  One:  her cousin Nicholas was in my preschool class that I taught at Holy Family Catholic Church ever so long ago.  Two:  Andrea was a ballet dancer.  If I had any coordination what so ever (and I really don't) it would have been my dream to be a ballet dancer.  Instead I get to love the people who are able to do it.

Today, Andrea told me a funny story.  Ten years ago she had a class set of a book, Catherine Called Birdy.  This book is wonderful.  It is about a 14 year old girl in the year 1201 and her father is trying to marry her off.  So, ten years ago Andrea is cleaning out her room and thinking she won't be teaching history, sells the entire class set to a used book store.  Now she is teaching history and she wanted to have some for the students to read.  She went back to the book store and there was her class set sitting there waiting for her!

Have a great day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It Is One Thing After Another

Dinner was all about my childhood.  We had roast, white rice, asparagus and rice pudding for dessert.

I wanted to use one of those "buy one, get one free" roasts.  My mother made this chuck roast with gravy that was delicious, except that it was a full of fat with that fatty piece of meat.  I had a very lean roast.  It was yummy.

Roast with gravy
   2-3 pound roast
   1 can cream of mushroom soup
   1 package dry onion soup mix
   1 can water

Line glass dish with foil and top with roast.  Pour soup, mix and water over the roast.  Cover.  Put roast in 300* oven for 2 hours.  Serve with white rice.

Tuesday our phones did not work--our land line.  It was thought that the problem was our actual phones.  So, Saturday, we went to Costco and bought new phones.  Still nothing works.  I will be calling the phone company tomorrow afternoon.  Then last night our washing machine died.  I have to say I care more about the washing machine.  It is a bearing and I will be calling Folsom Lake Appliance.  They have been good to us in the past.  I hate the Laundromat.  Anyone have a spare washing machine???

I spent some time working on a square for a block of the month through my guild.  The meeting is Thursday and we get our blocks back then.  I fixed a block that turned out to be 10-inches unfinished instead of the 9.5-inch block I need.  I also made the block due on Saturday.  I am not happy making 8-inch blocks into 9-inch blocks, so I did another block altogether.

Off to bed soonfor another week of work.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I got a card in the mail from Safeway.  It showed chicken tacos, a chicken and rice dish and a chicken salad.
There were coupons for almost everything you would need to make the chicken dishes.  So, I decided to see how much I would save.  Probably didn't save as much as I could have if I had really kept myself in check.  We all know I didn't do that.  I saw an extra deal or two, but over all.....

I bought everything on the card except the baguette.  That was $0.50 off one and would have cost me an extra $1.50.  I spent $90.00 on all my purchases.  After the coupons, I really spent $56.00.  That is a savings of $34.00.  The guy behind me was REALLY impressed! 

On the home front, my sister just called and told me she was at an underwater pumpkin carving contest.  Divers go down to the bottom of the pool and place pumpkins there.  Then divers go down and spend the next 30 minutes carving their pumpkins.  The best pumpkin wins.  Our biggest question is how much of a mess do they make and how do you get it out of the pool?

Have you ever put on the wrong shoes?

Yesterday, a teacher I work with was trying to tell me something. I wasn't getting it.  Then she points at her feet and says very slowly, "I put on two different shoes!"  I thought it was funny.  She did not.  At school yesterday it was "Sports" day.  She could just say it was one of those superstitious things that sports people do--if anyone even noticed.  Both shoes had touches of pink and were white and silver. 

I mention this because my husband always thinks people will notice his shoes and pays a lot of attention to his feet.  Not me!  I will put on anything and be happy that my feet are clothed.

Leah Update:  Her surgery was a week ago and she is doing fine.  Had lost 13 pounds as of Monday when I went over to watch Dancing With the Stars.  She is craving sugar-free Dr. Pepper and potato salad.  Cream of chicken soup will have to do.

Thursday and yesterday the children took a Healthy Kids survey.  This survey is very invasive in my opinion. One of the questions asks if they have been bullied because they are gay or lesbian.  How many seventh graders want to tell their teacher something like that?  Also, it asks if they have brought weapons to school.
There are questions about drugs I have never heard of.  But the question that bothers me the most...It asks if you have ever drank a full glass of alcohol.  If I was in the seventh grade, I would have answered that question with a yes.  We drank wine with dinner --not every night, but often enough.  My parents thought nothing of my wanting to drink at dinner.  Now, we didn't sit around getting drunk, but at a young age I could totally hold my liquor.  Now, as adults, we are all responsible drinkers (except Richard who doesn't drink for religious reasons).  We aren't alcoholics or driving around drunk. I offered wine to my own children.  again, not alcoholics.  While the survey is anonymous, wouldn't the school want to know who might have seen weapons at school????  Is there a way they can be tracked down????  I did ask one of the vice principals where the survey came from.  She said it was something all seventh grades did every year.  Not at our school.  I think I would have remembered a 114 question survey in the 16 years I have worked there.

Working on:
1.  blue and white Irish chain with embroidered baskets.  Have finished eight of the twelve baskets.  Must begin collecting blues and whites for the quilt.
2.  Grumpkin the pumpkin.  I think he will become a pillow.
3.  Garden quilt--applique.  I have about half of the patterns traced onto the freezer paper.
4.  Gifty for a trip to Apple Hill with quilting friends.
5.  block of the month for October.  Will be signing up for next years block next Saturday.
6.  Christmas pillow.

Today I bought a new cutting board.  I melted my other board.  I warped another.  I think I needed a new board!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Monday

It's reuben sandwiches for dinner.  Hurrah.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I've been "BOO"ed!

We are playing a game at work.  We are supposed to "BOO" each other.  Friday, I was "BOO"ed.  A wonderful surprise of a cup full of individually wrapped red vines.  Yummmm.  My plan is to "BOO" two of the teachers I work with--Andrea and Maryn.  I have two coffee cups that have black designs that are Halloween in look.  I am going to fill them with circus cookies--white with orange sprinkles.  Also, yummmm.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Watching the Clock

Today is Leah's surgery.  I am watching the clock and I have my cell phone --not in my bra like it was suggested to me-- in my shirt pocket.  I can see it and keep it on silent, able to slip out answer the phone at may minute.  I know everything will go well, after all this is 2011, but there is always that one exception....

Today I showed a picture to a class of 7th graders.  It is a picture of my children and my nephew in 1993.  They are sitting so sweetly in order of age.  First Sammy, then my son and lastly, the sweet girl.  I showed the picture because we tell two truths and a lie.  I said the children in the picture were my own.  I said the children were all adults now.  I said the girl's hand was drawn in and airbrushed.  The lie is that they were all my children.  I only have the two.  The day before we were to take a family portrait (that my parents arranged and spent $$$) I sent my kids to bed at the regular time.  At 10:00 that night, I made caramels to take with us to my parents.  It was Christmas time.  I cooked the caramels to the temperature it called for --250 degrees and pured the caramel into the buttered dish on the kitchen table.  Then I left it to cool.  What I didn't know is that the daughter was not asleep and was watching me.  She snuck out of her room and put her little hand into the caramel and burnt it with 3rd degree burns.  We couldn't leave her hand out in the air for at least a week because it still felt like it was burning.  When we took the picture, she had a big white bandage o her hand and the photographer drew it in and air brushed the color.  You would never know.  I will try to post a picture later, I am writing this at work during my lunch and can't do things like that on this computer.

Have a great day.  I know I will.  Thursday is music day here in the afternoon.  My favorite time with the 8th graders.......

Monday, October 10, 2011


I am catching up on things.

1.  I finished the homework for the embroidery class.  I think I am only supposed to have it drawn out, but I am a guest at the class.  The teacher is using me to get three of her students there on the right day!!!  ha,ha,ha.

2.  A while back I said you had to read this book, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  I did read all three books.  Enjoyed the first two the best, but number three was still attention getting.

3.  Men.  That is really all I need say, I am sure.  Here is the reason why....
    We are taking the plunge from satellite television to cable.  Our local phone company FINALLY put in the lines to bring us cable television.  For the area, we live out in the wilderness, although we are a relatively good sized city.  We have a mall for heaven's sake. 
    The guy comes out and sells us a deal.  We will get cable, dvr and 4 boxes for a lot less than Direct TV.
When I made the appointment (Tuesday 8am-12pm) I forgot that my son (who is an adult) wouldn't be home.  Both kiddies have tests and can't skip school.  So I make sure my husband can be here.  An adult must be here to supervise, put the dog in the garage so the guys won't be licked to death and worry about the inside cat.  My husband agrees to be here.  NO PROBLEM, he assures me. 
    Today these guys from Surewest come out and do some preliminary work.  My husband decides that he is no longer needed.  After all, the son is here, the dog is in the house and all is well.  So he makes an appointment for a possible job.  Since we are sure to run out of unemployment sometime, finding a job is important and I do have vacation, but really.  I had to call work to tell them at the last minute.  I didn't want to do this as I need to take vacation in November for the wedding in Southern California.
    Now, while I am happy to be home tomorrow, I wish for once, he would consult me before he assumes.  You would think that after 26 years with me, he would know to CALL ME!!!  Not so.  I can only shake my head and pray that he goes before me because he would be in real trouble.

4.  If you are my brother Jim (or enjoy a good story about the daughter....)
    On October 8th, my sweet girl comes out of her room and tells me that it is Uncle Jim's anniversary.  I think for a moment and say, "It might be the 10th.  Someone is on the 10th of October."  Does my sweet girl tell me I am wrong?  No, she says maybe I am right.  Later she tells me that Uncle Jim posted on facebook that it was his anniversary.  When I ask her why she let me go on wondering if it was the 10th when it was posted on facebook, she says that men get these things wrong.  

Happy Anniversary to Uncle Jim and Aunt Barbara --October 8th
Happy Anniversary to Uncle Richard and Aunt Laura --October 10th. (I think...)

Friday, October 7, 2011


I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but I make pillows using fleece for a program at my work.  We used to call it the PBS program --meaning Positive Behavior Support.  Then I guess someone complained and it became clear PBS meant something else --okay like Public television.  The name changed, but I don't remember what letter we added --and I mean the school district, not me-- but I began making a few pillows one year.  I made a few more last year and then stopped.  This year in August I asked if anyone still wanted pillows and the vice principal was noncommittal.  Didn't know one way or another.  I had three more and so I just left them with the vice principal and went on my merry way.  A few weeks into the new school year, I realized the PBS program was being run by one of the teachers.  One day in passing, I happen to say something about the pillows.  Jinne stops and is so excited about these pillows.  She had no idea who was making them, but she tells me the kids can't get enough of them.  Now I am the pillow factory.  Children are PRE-ORDERING the pillows.  They are gone as soon as I bring them in.  I'll be making more this weekend...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Another San Francisco Trip

I don't know if I have mentioned this, but my friend Leah is having one of the bariatric surgeries.  She began this path 2 years ago.  She was all set to get a date and then her doctor discovered Leah had diabetes.  It was put on indefinite hold at that point.  So, here we are today.  The diabetes is under control.  She has driven to South San Francisco Kaiser for all her appointments. She passed the psychological test.  We have an appointment date for surgery.  October 13, 2011!

Over this time, Leah has been driving to South San Francisco Kaiser because they don't do the bariatric surgeries here in Sacramento.  I hear it will be only five years until they are done here also, but for now, your choices are San Diego, Richmond and South San Francisco.  Leah choose South San Francisco because she has family in the area and will be able to rely on them.  She won't have to go to a hospital and stay over until her doctor says she can go home; Leah will be staying with her aunt and uncle who live about five minutes away in Daly City.  The plan is to go down Wednesday evening so there will be no stress.  Leah's mother and her husband will go with her.  They will stay until Saturday and then come home.

For each appointment, Leah has had someone come with her for moral support and because the drive is just too long by yourself.  I have been a couple of times as has Sole, another friend, and her mom.  Yesterday was the last appointment until the day of surgery.  This time it wasn't just a doctor's appointment in the morning and then the drive home.  She had her appointment, had to do her blood work and go to a pre/post surgery class which ran from 2pm-4pm.  I was perfect for this one because I will easily be able to sit around for the extra two hours.  We made a plan to stay for dinner down at Fisherman's wharf and waste time until around 6:30pm to miss what is sure to be horrible traffic.

First we were leaving at 9am for an 11:30 appointment.  A couple days later, we were to leave at 8:30am.  Then I said we should drop the sweet girl off at her school so we were now leaving at 8:00am.  Then Leah's mom wanted to go with us to be dropped off at her brother's house to visit.  Okay, now we are leaving at 7:30am and Leah is worried about getting there on time!  We left at 7:35am, went to Starbucks for coffee and breakfast (reduced-fat cinnamon coffee cake for me), dropped the sweet girl off, and were on our way to pick up Leah's mom.  Leah's mom lives behind an elementary school.  We stopped at the stop sign at the very front of the school,  Some parent in a white car was waiting to turn left into the school.  It was Leah's turn to go, but the parent started to go at the same time, so Leah stopped, waved the parent to go ahead and then drove through the stop sign.  Little did we know, a Citrus Heights policeman was watching this.  He turned after us and then stopped Leah.  First he accused her of not stopping and then stopping only because she saw the police car.  Either way, she did not deserve the ticket he wrote. 

The drive in was uneventful.  I always pray going over the Bay Bridge.  We dropped Leah's mom off at the uncle's house and we went on to Kaiser.  There we had problems.  Imagine a five story parking structure with valet parking and there is no space.  We drove around until we lucked out and a woman came out to her car.  The people there park so badly that she had to climb into her car on the passenger side because the car next to her was parked sooo close to her that she couldn't get into the driver's side no matter what.  Only Flat Stanley could get in that small space.

Leah disappear into the inner offices.  When she comes out her doctor is walking behind her.  I had read his profile and discovered he was from Lebanon.  I once had a doctor assigned to me from Pakistan and I was concerned.  Lebanon seems like a more civilized place.  After the first appointment Leah discovered the lab was open and we headed there.  She discovers that her juice opened up in her purse so there is juice over everything.  So, supportive Julie sat there drying her purse and stuff while she got her blood taken and typed.  We heard there was a farmer's market outside the hospital and decided to take advantage of this.  There was a tamale guy who was taking the sign down as we approached him.  He had three spicy pork tamales left.  Leah bought one and I bought the other two.  They were delicious!

We went back to the hospital for this class.  I figured I would sit in some waiting room away from the group, but there were no chairs--only a hallway.  There were more than enough chairs, so I stayed.  The nurse encouraged questions, but I was the only one who asked about anything.  I was the only one there who was just there for support.....The nutritionist was impressed that I was asking questions and taking notes while not there for surgery.

At 4:30pm we drove over to Fisherman's Wharf.  Leah said we could have gone to have dinner with her family (uncle, aunt, mom, cousins), but she told them I really had to go to Fisherman's Wharf.  We walked over to Boudin's and had clam chowder in a bread bowl (what Leah had planned, not me).  It was yummy.  Can you believe that a cup of coffee was $3.50????  It was more than an iced tea.  We went over to Ghiradelli and had an ice cream sundae (shared) and still Leah's plan.  We walked around and wasted time until 6:30pm.  Leah called her mom and found out they were just sitting down to dinner.  We figured we would drive over and then sit for a bit in the car to give them time.  It took 30 minutes to get over to Mateo Street from Fisherman's Wharf.  We got on Van Ness Avenue.  That street goes up--big steep hills-- and then back down in long steep drops.  I prayed the whole time and crossed myself every time we made it to a stop sign and didn't go sliding down the hills backward.  If it wasn't so far, I would have gotten out and walked.  I did consider it.  Eventually we got to 136 Mateo St and we got out and went in to say hello.  They were just chatting over dessert.  Leah's cousin Paul went in and made coffee.  Hurrah!

Paul and Tara live in a typical San Francisco row house.  They are so cute and so small.  The rooms are tiny.  My dining room is huge in comparison.  You could fit their dining and living rooms in just my living room and I have always thought my living room was so small.....  We stayed for about an hour talking.  There was a friend there from Nicaragua who was leaving to go home the next day.  That was why Leah's mom wanted to came with us.

We had plenty of traffic on the way home.  We arrived home safely by 10pm--just in time to find out that Kristen was voted off Dancing With the Stars.  We must have our priorities!  It was fun to spend the day with Leah.  I am equally happy that I took today (Wednesday) off because I was really tired and needed to sleep in.  I know how to use my vacation days!

Hope all is well with you and yours.  If you go to San Francisco, stay away from Van Ness Avenue.  It is too scary!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Good News for Sammy

My nephew, Sammy, is leaving for Japan in January to go on his mission.  How exciting for him.  He has taken Japanese in high school and now he will have a chance to use it.  I know someone who lives there and I wonder if he will have time to look her up for me.  I really would like to reconnect.  Do the Japanese use Facebook??  Hmmmm.

While Sammy is going on his mission, we are not Mormon as you might be thinking.  We are Catholic.  Sammy is my brother's child, Richard, who is a Catholic turned Mormon.  I have always admired those who convert to something.  They are so much more serious about whatever they convert to than those of us who just happen to be born into something.  Cradle Catholics we are called.  I am a believer in God.  I like the spirituality of it and I like the continuity and community that religion offers us.  I believe that religion is personal and I don't judge those who don't feel as I do.  After all, none of us really knows what is beyond our existence here today.  I also think real spirituality is all about loving others and kindness.  I an not one of those religious zealot, I hope.  But off topic I go, I do admire Richard and his commitment.  He found these people and found something that connected him.  Good for him to be true to himself.

Back to Sammy.  He is a miracle as far as I am concerned.  He was in an accident in 1996 when he was four years old.  That accident killed my parents and my sister-in-law, Cindy.  Sammy walked away with a scratch on his nose.  I credit this miracle to car seats.  When Cindy got off the plane from Iowa, she and Sammy came to us to stay before going to Fresno with my parents.  At that time car seats were not the law for children over 4 years old.  I had a toddler seat that I had left over from when my children were toddlers and I insisted Sammy use it.  It was even missing a screw, yet he lived.  A miracle.  I really love him.  I never get to see him.  We live so far apart and he probably has no clue how loved he is here.  I will miss him so far away, but I am happy for him as this is what he wants.

Best of luck in Japan Sammy.  Our prayers for the next two years away go with you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Is Television Worth This?

There is always a back story.  Here it is.

A couple of years ago we changed television providers from Dish Network to Direct TV.  We knew so many people who were so happy with Direct TV and we weren't happy with Dish Network.  SO we took the plunge.  Things went from bad to worse right away.  We began with a deal that had to be done over the Internet.  When I couldn't make things work, I called.  There was a time limit.  In fact, I called several times.
Each time the customer service agent would agree that the time limit was fast approaching, but the deal only worked if I did it on the Internet.  I never fixed the problem and then we were stuck (those nasty two year contracts that lock you in for two years and heavily fine you for leaving early) paying full price.  We never did get the deal.  Over the years I have called numerous times.  I usually got a $5.00 credit that would last for a while and then end making me call again and again.  At one point, the customer service agent told me that I wasn't the only one who couldn't make that deal work and agreed that I had made many calls.  At one point the terms changed so that the customer service agent could help over the phone, but I never got anyone to do that.  I did look into backing out of the deal, but didn't have the $$ to do that.

Here we are today.  About a month ago, our telephone provider, Surewest, put in upgrades to the lines and are now offering television.  For one year we get a deal that almost cuts our television costs in half.  We get more channels.  After one year we are free to go our merry way or renegotiate with a new contract.  Also, and this is quite a bonus, we get 3 boxes with the price and only have to pay extra for one box rather than the four boxes we pay separately for now.  We get a DVR thing.  I'm not sure how that works, but we don't have it now and everyone thinks I will love it.  Surewest is coming out on October 11th.

I called Direct TV today wondering how this would work returning stuff, getting it shut off.  I spoke to a nice guy named Ross.  I was perfectly clear that I had signed a contract and was not staying with Direct TV.  He made all the arrangements and we hung up.  I made sure to tell him every detail and assured him that nothing he could say would make me stay.  I did that knowing that all conversations are recorded and I didn't want him to be in trouble for not talking me into staying.  I wasn't staying!!!  Ross did say he was sorry, that there were several discounts that I would have been eligible for and he doesn't know why I was never offered them.  It was a pleasant conversation. 

At 5:00pm I get a call from a woman who wanted to talk me into staying.  I was polite and declined.  Don't you think that would be the end of it??? No!  At 6:30ish tonight I get a call from Jose.  Jose was from the retention department.  He didn't want to listen to me.  As I began the story once more, HE HUNG UP ON ME!  Why would I want to do business with someone who hangs up on me. 

I can't wait for October 11th now. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hello Today

I am so lucky.  I entered a give-a-way and won!  It was a cookbook--Susan Branch--double love for me since I avidly read cookbooks and cooking magazines and I love the whole Susan Branch kind of look.  So, I was anxious to get my prise.  I am so in for a contest where I only need enter.  I love my "new" cookbook!

At my work the children are doing a great deal of work with similes and metaphors.  I am obsessed.  I read my books now with an eye out for similes to take to the students.  Just Friday the students were making a poster about something having to do with similes.  I was looking for good magazines with pictures they wanted.  An Italian cooking magazine caught my eye.  After flipping through it, I found an article on a city in Italy that has been around  since the first century.  We are studying the middle ages and I cut all these pictures out that demonstrated what is written in the history book.  At one point there was this note about how houses were built out of wood and they began to lean as they aged.  The houses would lean until they touched and then would stop and the people still lived in them.  I found this amazing and more than one student couldn't believe they leaned and didn't fall over.  Part of my poster showed the closeness of the houses.  Imagine your house leaning over.  Mine would fall before it met anything but the ground, but the picture I found showed that the houses are so close together the you could literally walk from house to house on the roof tops.  I presented my "poster" in both history classes.  I think the students liked it because they asked questions.  At least they weren't sleeping, which I see a lot of.

Time to go and finish watching Dancing with the Stars. I just love that show......

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Are They Thinking?

I work with a teacher who is currently on maternity leave.  Due to circumstances we are on our sixth guest teacher.  One of the students takes advantage of this.  Every time we get a new guest teacher, he takes two lunches.  The first time I could understand.  He was new to the school and wasn't used to the two lunch system.  The second time I wasn't sympathetic and the students told me what was up.  Time number three was today.  Turns out his girlfriend has first lunch and he wants to be with her.  Humph.  God only knows whether he will try it again on Monday when I think we are getting a new long term guest teacher....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Farmland Quilt

This could be hard to believe....

I spent a couple hours giving thought to a fabric I had for an embroidered quilt.  There are 14 blocks.  I choose a cream with faded red dots for the background.  Then, a few days later, I had a change of heart and decided to go with a cream with a slightly darker brown stripe.  Sunday I got busy cutting and tracing the design.  As I did one of the last marks for the pattern, I realized I had used the WRONG fabric.  I couldn't decide whether to cry or laugh.  What I did use to trace the squares will be fine.  The quilt will be adorable.  I will love it.  Will I remember that it was the wrong fabric every time I look at it????

I am planning on using dark blues, reds, greens and browns for the pieces around the embroidered blocks.  I have quite a few 1800 reproduction fabrics and Thimbleberries that will work just fine for this little project.

So, if you used the wrong fabric, what would you do?  Start over, use what you traced?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sorry, I got lost for a bit

Opps.  I was going to make a commitment to write at least every other day and here I have fallen off the log and am getting back on.

Yesterday I was at my Thimbleberries meeting.  Our fearless leaders were gone to get ready for quilt camp and we had substitutes--Elaine and Pat.  They were wonderful.  Elaine made a quilt and it was in a book called Class Acts.  It is out of print, but she was talking to us about her 15 minutes of fame.  Then she raffled her book to our group.  My friend, Sandy, won the book!  I told her I was thinking "Let Sandy win!"

I have been deep into a job.  Someone (my sweet daughter) told me how easy it would be to put my DMC floss on these plastic cards and it would be so organized.  I think she just wanted me to buy something at JoAnn's that day.  I can say that she showed me the REALLY expensive containers for $10.00 and then directed me to the $1.99 containers.  Great daughter!  Saves me money, but she tricked me into all that work with the embroidery floss.  Is it nice to trick your mother?????

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It is the 10 anniversary of 9-11-01

I was watching the news, putting my sweet girl's hair up for ROTC.  That means it had to be a Tuesday.  We were sitting on the bed doling her hair when the regular newscast went to New York to report the first plane.  Then we watched as the second plane crashed into the twin towers.  I work in a junior high school and we watched the news for the entire day.  The little things we do each day become so prominent--this is what I was doing when.....  It is sad that it takes tragedy to bring us  together, that it takes that for us to show our patriotism.   Day to day we complain about the injustices we feel, but I still believe that I live in the greatest country.  Not feeling so free lately as the water company puts in water meters and I stop my car to call 911 because I have some idea that they will know whether or not I was driving, but still better off than most of the people out there.  So, I am going to choose to be positive and grateful.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sarah's Key

Before we went back to school, my sweet girl and I went to the Crest Theatre and saw the movie, Sarah's Key.  It was fantastic.  I saw a preview on television and was instantly interested.  The movie was about a woman who was researching the past of an apartment she and her husband were about to take over in Paris, France.  It turns out the occupants in 1942 were a jewish family and they were brutally forced out of the home and taken to a temporary holding place.  The entire movie is about what happend to the family and the family who movedin after they were gone.

We had such a good time.  The movie, although entirely in French with English subtitles, was very easy to follow.  While it was about the war and the Jewish family, it wasn't the usual fair that shows the Germans as the bad guys.  Here, the bad guys were the French police and the people who allowed this to happen in theiry own country.  It was agonizing waiting to find out if the family had lived and made it through the war and the camps.  Kristin Scott Thomas is the lead character.  She speaks French fluently.
The movie is still playing here.  It is totally worth seeing.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Readers are Leaders

It is so sad that you can't see the quality quilting......ha,ha,ha.  I made this yesterday for our library at the school where I work as an instructional assistant for special education students.  There is a new person in the role of media tech this year.  Everyone keeps telling me how great she is.  Time will tell.  In her favor, she seemed enthusiastic about hanging this "Readers Are Leaders" quilt.  A friend gave me this.  I am pretty sure that she was planning to hang it in her own classroom, but now that she is retired, she is getting rid of that life very quickly.  The whole thing was in pieces and I didn't think it would fair well in the garage sale that is looming.

Among the other things I have done in the past two days, I said the Rosary for my uncle.  My Uncle Richard died last Saturday of cancer.  He had been ill for many years, surviving bouts of cancer.  First he had lymphoma, then prostrate cancer and now it was in his bones.  Not much you can do when it gets in there.  Ironically, the doctors gave him a 48 hour window to live in August.  He hung on for two weeks.  It is always a great sadness when someone dies and it is for Uncle Richard.  On the other hand, he had many more years than he thought he would have and his suffering is over.  Not very comforting to my Aunt or my cousins, but true.  Only we are left behind to suffer and grieve.  Tomorrow is the funeral.  Go tell someone you love them.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

10th Anniversary

It is the 10th year of the Golden Valley Quilt Guild.  I am thinking someone was trying to get a quilted look on this cake, but not so much.  The cake was good--carrot cake.

On Monday and last night I spent time doing for others.  I made a small quilt for a student in my school.  She saw me doodling a quilting design in my notebook and she drew a picture of quilt for me.  I brought the picture home and using leftover fabric from a previous quilt, I made this little thing.  I also made a quilt for hanging in our library.  A friend gave me this pattern with cheater fabric.  Instead of describing it, I think I am going to take a picture of it tomorrow.

Tonight I went over and bought a melting pot and two scents from Shastine.  It is a home party business and I figured I could afford to be supportive.  Sometimes these things are so costly, but this was quite reasonable.  If only I find a place to put it.  Really, it was my sweet girl who volunteered me to go to this, but still there was a bonus!  Shastine's mom makes the most wonderful applique quilts.  I got the pattern,
Rabbits Prefer Chocolate and  now am on a search for the fabrics I want to use.  I know I won't get the exact fabrics, but Imelda had scraps leftover for me so I can compare and buy fabrics that are close to the original.  Always on the hunt for fabric!

Monday, September 5, 2011


I decided this morning I would make a Halloween pillow.  I choose a pattern my friend, Jayma, shared with me.  It is a pumpkin with a slightly evil grin.  If you are in doubt about what it is, the word 'pumpkin' is embroidered inside the pumpkin.   The first step is a trip to the store to stock up on embroidery floss.

Since I am using a white with tiny black dots for the embroidered part, I am thinking I will dig into some of that black and white fabric I have from a previous project and use that for the borders.  For a person who hates the color black, I have a lot of it.  When I was doing a Saturday Square for Quilter's Corner last year, I choose the black, white and bright color way.  I was trying to do something outside my box.  Every time I saw a piece of black and white fabric I was uncontrollable.  Had to have it.  Had to buy yards of it!  In fact, that might be my project for today, after I get the pumpkin traced.

Here I go.......

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Catching up!

I read the second book of the Hunger Games series.  I am totally hooked!

I spent Wednesday at my friend, Jayma's house.  I was supposed to be there with my embroidery, working hard so that Jayma would do her embroidery project.  Jayma has a friend, Gina, who comes here from New Zealand every year to work and she stays with Jayma.  Two years ago they found the "Over the River and Through the Woods" embroidered quilt pattern.  Gina finished her quilt.  It is quilted and currently being used as far as we know.  Jayma will be in trouble if she doesnt' get hers done by time Gina comes the first part of November.  It will be okya if Jayma is takign her last stitches to the binding as Gina drives up the house, but it must still be done.  Jayma has surpisingly little to do at this point.  It is a matter of doing it!  So there I am working hard, getting most of mine done and where is Jayma?  All over the place.  She is so entertaining.  I love going over there, but no embroidery was done by Jayma!

Thursday I was making pumpkins.  What more needs to be said.

Friday my husband and I went to dinner at Joe's Crab Shack with friends.  While we were leaving, we met up with other friends, Bob and Cindy.  We went over to the Delta King for an after-dinner drink.  I had Tuaca.  Yummm.

Saturday I went to Borders to see the destruction of closing.  It was sad.  I bought two books.  I also went to JoAnn's to take advantage of my sweet girl's double discount--30%.  I bought batting to make more pillows for the students at my school.  I had a tea at Starbucks, got a treat receipt and went up to get my mocha frappacchino for $2.00!  Our counter person was Katie.  We love her.  Go  to the Starbucks at Auburn and Sylvan in Citrus Heights.  It is a wonderful Starbucks..........

Today I spent the day sewing with Sandy.  We had lunch at the Chech place around the corner.  Yummm.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Got to read this book!

I read so many books meant for young adults because I want to be able to help the kiddies at school to pick out books.  What you say about a book means more if you actually read the book.  On Tuesday of last week, Maryn read from a book to her class.  I wasn't there to hear it.  I was there Wednesday.  The book sounded really good.  I already knew she was going to read it to the kiddies, so I had put a hold on it at the public library.  I was number 286 of 286 holds.  I figured I could wait.  Then she read the book again on Thursday and I realized I was missing some really important information.  I decided to ask Maryn if I could borrow her book over the weekend.  Later, my sweet girl and I went to Sam's Club to buy cat and dog food.  There was the book for $5.38 just waiting for me.  I bought it.  I started reading it at 3pm on Thursday and finished it at 5:30am on Saturday.  I had to be at Sandy's at 7am on Saturday so I got up a bit early to finish the book.  When I got around to cancelling my hold from the library on Sunday morning, I was 202 of 286 holds.  Not me!



Sunday, August 28, 2011


I am becoming just a little frustrated with Blogger.  I can't seem to get off the centering option.
But, my story will be the same regardless of the alignment.

Saturday was my Block-of-the-Month with Quilter's Corner.  I left here at 6:40am, met Sandy at 7:10am and got to Quilter's Corner by 7:20am.   We had our class, made a few purchases and were back at Sandy's by 9:30am.  We quilted the entire day stopping only briefly for lunch.  Sandy had a dinner that night with friends and I had instructions to be home by 4:00pm.  See, my birthday is on Tuesday and my sweet girl had planned a dinner for the family at the Spaghetti Factory, I thought at 5pm.  I was so careful to be in the car and home on time.  I pulled up to the curb in front of the house at 4:03pm.  My sweet girl ran out of the house and shouted, "you have a surprise inside the house."  I just knew at that moment, that my sister had to be here somewhere.  Then I saw the tops of my niece's heads running back into the house.  I ran in saying, "I smell two little girls in my house," and found my darling Juliana and adorable Olivia.  After hugs and kisses (and presents because Aunt Julie ALWAYS has presents) we relaxed as one by one we took our showers and got dressed for dinner.  Mary gave me Super Cinnamon Bears from Cost Plus.  I have this cinnamon addiction.  I love cinnamon candy.  Got to admit they were really good and had great cinnamon flavor, but still no match for Unbearably Hot Cinnamon Bears from the Jelly Belly Factory.  I pretty much thought that was my entire surprise until Olivia let it slip that Aunt Pat was joining us for dinner.  We drove over to the restaurant with me suspecting nothing.

Imagine my surprise when there are people waiting for us.  My in-laws were there as was my friend, Leah,
Our dinner was being held upstairs and there was a special menu just for us.  I had a luscious margarita and the yummy spaghetti pictured below.

Garlic Mizithra
Spaghetti with brown butter and Mizithra cheese
tossed with garlic, bacon and mushrooms.

We had the best time.  Appetisers--creamy artichoke dip with toasts.  Olive Tapenade with  toasts.  Garlic bread... Yummm! 

We were home by 9:00pm.  The girls, Mary, my sweet girl and I made a stop at Macy's so Olivia could spend her gift card.  Her mother, ever the bargain hunter, had coupons that expired this day so off we went.
Dinner was scrumptious.  We were exhausted and fell into bed. 

This morning the girls had to go home--school tomorrow.  I got doughnuts and sent them off with a sugar high.  What a great and wonderful aunt I am!!!


This is my margarita that I had last night at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  It was yummy!
I am having a birthday on Tuesday.  My sister and my daughter arranged a dinner with friends and family last night.  It was wonderful.  We had a lovely time and I was truly surprised.  My daughter could barely contain herself she was so excited.  I had the spaghetti in browned butter with Mizithra cheese, bacon and mushrooms.  Yummm!  The best part was seeing people who mean so much to me. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

What we cannot change.....

For some reason this got caught up in my drafts file (that I had no idea I had). This was written a year ago.

There is the cutest commercial for Target using the Free to be You and Me music. Three little girls go from wearing exactly the same outfit (a school uniform) to wearing 3 completely different outfits. Over time the girls go from drab to individuals--one in red, one in blue and one in yellow. I imagine you can buy each piece at the local Target store. The message being we need to be ourselves, while shopping and spending all our money at Target, of course. Today the kiddies in our school began their first day. We have a uniform policy that was very strict allowing only white and black with a bit of khaki. This year the kiddies are wearing a t-shirt in 6 different colors. It is so beautiful and colorful, allowing a bit of individuality and still keeping the uniformity of the school.

Today I came across two ideas that caught my attention.

1. What we cannot change, we must endure without bitterness.

2. Sometimes we cannot raise our chins and see eye to eye,

so we must bow our heads and have faith in one another.

Okay, it is Monday, August 22, 2011.  We are back to the present.  Funny thing is that I was thinking about changes and Target commercials today.  I love the one where the Asian teacher talks about what "your" kids will be learning and ends with a list of school supplies with glitter "so much glitter" at the last.  It did get me over to Target to see their school supplies....

We have so many changes at work this year.  On Wednesday of last week, my friend Jane was crying because there were so many changes.  On Friday, I cried.  It was just such a stark comparison to what had occurred--all the transfers.  This new group is really outdoorsy and likes sports.  I like quilting.  Lord, how I felt really old saying I liked quilting and embroidery when all around me people were going on and on about camping, river rafting, snow, hiking, etc.  Somehow they entire staff seems to bike--except the "new guy" who likes taking chances and rides a Harley.  Today I asked him what to call him and got 5 different choices.  I am choosing his first name.  I am not comfortable calling someone by their last name.  It seems not right.

Change has come to roost here at school.  Wish us luck!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Was it me or was it the guy???

Today I went to Walmart.  The idea was to pick up some lemon pepper panko bread crumbs, which I realize now, I forgot.  While I was making me way casually through the store, I happened upon the beer aisle.  Now, I am not a beer drinker, but my darling husband is and I like to pay as little as possible for it.  We drink Budweiser here.  Definitely not me!  But there I was in the beer aisle staring at the end cap with a mountain of 36 packs of Budweiser beer with a coupon giving you $3.00 off with a purchase.  The coupon I saw mentioned buying meat (such a broad category) which is a bit of a stretch for me.  I just can't bring myself to buy meat from Walmart.  I don't know why--(see me shaking my head here).  It occurred to me that pork was meat and I will buy Johnsonville sausages.  So I put a big box of beer in my cart and off I go--with the wrong coupon.
A bit later I am in the check out line.  As usual, I pick the wrong line and spend 30 seconds wondering why the people in front of me are so slow and then help myself to a trashy magazine--usually People.  I figure that if I am not in the 20 items or less line, then I am going to be waiting somewhere. ( I actually waited in line for some issue from the people in front of me.)  So, when it was discovered that my coupon gave you that precious $3.00 for a purchase of water not meat, I called my daughter on her cell phone as she was close to the beer end cap to tell her to stop and get a coupon.  She didn't answer and popped up just then.  The clerk, Nadyia, knew full well that I was sending  to get that coupon.  She never once suggested that I step aside and suspend my purchase and let the guy behind me go or even that I should just pay for my groceries and then get the beer in the self checkout line later.  In fact, the clerk was going to get me a package of water.  That would have taken time too.  As soon as the daughter leaves to get a coupon, this guy who was two people in line behind me starts ranting on and on in a very loud voice about people who hold up the line.  HE called me rude and annoying.  He NEVER shut his mouth.  I did ask him to stop being rude, but otherwise did my best to ignore him.  He did say that everyone around me was thinking what he had the courage to actually say.  No one seemed that bothered.  I did start praying that the daughter was CRAWLING to the register.  At one point he decided to move to the next line and said to whoever was listening that "the fat lady got her way".  Okay, to be fair, I am fat, but it is not okay to resort to name calling.  I could have made comments about his stupid tattoos, but did I???  Of course not. Right as my daughter came back without a coupon, I decided to not buy the beer after all--at which the guy says, "Good, you didn't need that."  He wasn't being supportive.

I am not a person who likes to hold people up.  I was letting the clerk direct me.  The whole time passed was really only five minutes.  We can't wait five minutes?  In the future I would handle the transaction differently, but that guy will be a jerk for the rest of his life.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I missed Kim today.....

I had an idea of something I wanted to say today and I don't know where I left the piece of paper.  I am still a pencil/pen and paper girl.

So, until that paper materializes, something funny happened yesterday.  I unexpectedly had time off.  I thought I needed to go to some professional development thing for school, but turns out it was redundant and I was off the hook.  My original plan was to travel down to East Sac and Sandy at 3:30pm and then head over to Fabric Garden an meet up with Irene.  In real life, I saw Sandy at 10:30am and then went to the movies to see the Help with Imelda at 3:00pm.  Imelda and I went to Fabric Garden and met up with Irene.  Since Shirley is one of the owners of the shop, we saw her too.  The only one I didn't see was Kim!  I missed you, Kim!

At 8pm (very late for me) I went to B.J.'s to eat dinner.  They have a special going that is a two for twenty thing.  For $19.99 you get a soup of salad, medium pizza and a dessert.  A huge deal.  That pizza was the best.

If you haven't read The Help by Kathryn Stockett, you NEED to read it!  Then go see the movie.

Hope you day was as good as mine.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back To Work

Yesterday I went back to work and spent the day in a  training.  I was supposed to learn how to co-teach and collaborate with the teachers at my school.  What I learned (or rather had a revelation about) was how it went so terribly wrong last year with Melissa.  I can truthfully say that Melissa disliked me.  I never really understood it.  How can you dislike someone who you don't know???  Turns out it is very possible.  I stepped on her toes (figuratively).  I was put in her classroom in the middle of the quarter.  We never had a time to say anything to each other and while I knew things about her, she had no idea who I was until I appeared one day at the back of the room.  The students were doing a scrapbook project in connection with the story, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.  Having spent the previous year with her students, I was well aware that most of them were not artistically bent, creative or brimming with art supplies.  I read the story and got the gist of it.  In response to one of the boys, I went out and made up kits for the my students (special ed) that had pieces of the fabric for her dress, the lace mentioned in the story, stickers, paper, etc.  I handed them out and never once spoke to Melissa.  She wanted the students to find the items on their own.  Wasn't going to happen, but I could have done it in a much nicer way, with communicating with Melissa instead of bypassing her and ignoring her.  I wish I knew where she moved to in Virginia so I could send her a note of apology.  I will take this lesson and use it for the next two teachers I am working with this year.  I just an grateful they already know me and won't be so judgemental.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Knoty Ladies Embroidery

Last night was so much fun.  I went to Knoty Ladies and we had fun stitching and eating.  Sharon brought her orange brownies.  Yummm

             Orange Brownies

I brought zucchini pie

             Zucchini Pie
                     3 eggs                           1 cup Bisquick
                     1/2 cup oil                     1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (Kraft)
                     1 onion, chopped           1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
                     4 cups shredded or chopped zucchini
            Mix all ingredients together and bake in either pie plate or rectangle baking dish (13x9 is fine)
            for 40-50 minutes at 350*.  Serve hot or cold.

Have a great afternoon to all!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Coffee and Good Friends

I had a minute and decided to show off my new coffee pot.  For me, coffee is the elixir of life....the fountain of youth.  This afternoon my coffee pot died.  It was a Black and Decker, the one that died.  I turned it on  and the plate never got hot.  The coffee didn't go through.  I was sad and then I remembered the coffee pot that was recently delivered to me when I bought some Gevalia coffee.  It is really good coffee.  The daughter quickly unpacked the coffee pot.  We cleaned it, put the water through and then coffee!  Thank God for coffee.

Yesterday was a joy.  I had my circle of friends over for stitching and food.  My daughter is just the sweetest.  She was available for refills of iced tea, lemonade and coffee (for her mother).  We had this yummy pasta salad, a recipe from Aunt Arlene (my husband's aunt), salsa, corn and cheese dip with chips, fruit (cantaloupe, melon and blueberries), bread from Boudin's, chicken appetisers and dessert.  This dessert was so good..  Imelda's daughter, Shastine, made Tiramirsu.  It had Kahlua in it!  Yummmm.  We had good conversation and lots of laughter.

When everyone had gone, I went over to Joann's Fabrics to take advantage of the 20% discount for teacher appreciation.  I had already gone to Staples in the morning for their Teacher Appreciation event.  One of my friends came with me.  When we were done shopping (I had a list so was very efficient), my friend went home and I went to Carmichael Park for a concert in the park with my daughter.  We met up with two of my friends who were over earlier and we listened to the Q-Balls, a bunch of lawyers who have a band.  They play music from the 60's, 70's and 8's.  I confess that Build Me Up Buttercup is my favorite, but I also love the song, Brown-eyed Girl.  Ted, who a lawyer at the firm where my friend works, is the singer.  You can see the Q-Balls on you-tube.  The concert began at 6:30 and the band played until a little after 9pm.  One of the things I like to do at these concerts in the park is people watch.  There was a guy who was handcuffed and searched by the police standing by.  The policeman put the guy in the police car and then was talking to some woman.  After a bit I looked back and the guy was gone--not as in to jail, but released by the policeman.  Got to wonder.  Lots of people there had wine and beer.  I guess we can drink in the park, but other things might be no-no's. 

Today I went to the Dancing Fox in Lodi for brunch with Tricia and Chuck.  It was fabulous.  They had Eggs Benedict and a perfect bread pudding with apples.  The Dancing Fox is in an old building on South School Street.  It has pots of flowers all over and there was a slight breeze making it so comfortable to eat outside.  While we were there Chuck fell as his chair collapsed.  Tricia asked him why he broke the chair.  Poor Chuck.  He didn't break the chair, the weld was rusted and broke loose.  But he was fine and crisis averted.

It has been a full weekend and tomorrow is my last day of vacation for I go back to work on Tuesday!