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.