Tuesday, September 30, 2008

End of September already?

With nine months on the books already for 2008, I decided to take stock of the things I needed to get done for Christmas and year-end. The list is somewhat daunting but very do-able, especially when I remind myself that in mid-November I'll be going to the guild retreat.

Finished the Around the World for United Way quilt last night. My photographer had already gone to bed when I sewed the last stitch, so y'all will have to wait for a photograph. I brought the quilt to the office today to stir up some interest in ticket sales which go on sale tomorrow.

Feeling energized after finishing that project, I started to clip down the binding on the Care Bears quilt. Once I get that done, I intend on finishing the piecing for the next Stash Pot Pie project due on the 11th. After that, who knows, but the reality is there is certainly no lack of projects in mind......

Having dinner for several of the agents I work with tonight. They're in town for a three-day meeting. Whenever I travel to their territories, these agents are really good to me and have become great friends, so I'm looking forward to treating them. The best part about it? Michael's doing all the cooking since it's an all-English dinner of roast beef, yorkshire puddings, roasted potatoes, sprouts, trifle for dessert and wrap it up with tea, cheese and biscuits.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wieners' Day Out

Doesn't DD look "thrilled" to be there? After the race, she exclaimed "Let's do this again next year!"Sure changed her tune!

Poor little wiener was tired after her race.....Daisy got carried back to the car.

We had such a good time with the Dachshund races on Friday. Our little Daisy finished second and ran her little legs off. Truth be told, I didn't care how well she did or didn't do - it was so funny to see 60 wiener dogs running around all wearing little bun outfits. I laughed so hard, the tears ran down my cheeks and my daughter admonished me for embarrassing her by laughing. Teenagers! Ah well....here is the news site where you can click on the video from some of the races. After the advert, you'll catch a glimpse of me in a navy shirt holding our Miss Daisy and Andrea (wearing a green shirt) at the finish line.

Tattoo Boy starts his classes tomorrow at the University of Cincinnati - proof positive that prayer works!
Check out Jill's blog for the details on our small group meeting last night. Fun, fun, fun!
Tonight I start the binding on the United Way quilt. That's after grocery shopping, laundry, paying tuition, picking up Michael's prescription, trash take-out, etc.......
Oh, good news about Michael - the CT scan was the same as last year, so his lung disease is not progressing - it's stable. That's the best we can hope for!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Powers Up!

Finally!!!! The lights went back on at our house at 3:30 this afternoon. That's fantastic news from Michael and I can't wait to get home to see it. Unfortunately, everything in the freezer and fridge has to be tossed out. Such a waste! I spoke with our insurance agent earlier today and was told to create a list of all the stuff we have to pitch - the paperwork's been filed and the adjuster will get in touch with us for the total. Well, I suppose it was excellent timing since trash collection is tomorrow morning. Good thing - I was out of clean underwear! Was doing laundry on Sunday when the lights went out.

Two of my co-workers and I went out for lunch at Frisch's today. A lot of the restaurants, this one included, are severely limited by what they can serve because much of their stores had to be trashed due to no power.

After the fridge has been cleaned out tonight, some laundry started - I' m gonna quilt for the first time in over 48 hours. I'm so addicted.........


Monday, September 15, 2008

We don't like Ike!

Ike's remnants came blowing through the Tri-State/Cincinnati area yesterday. The 70 mph winds did a number on a lot of the trees, roofs siding, etc through the area and out went the lights! Approximately 90 percent of Duke Energy's customers in our area are without power. Our electric went out around 5 pm yesterday and we're not-so-patiently waiting for it to be restored. Of course, the power's on at the office, thus I'm able to get a few things done on the computer. I would have stayed home with Michael and Andrea, but management really frowns on those associates who don't make the effort to come into the office on bad weather days. Plus, it was heavenly to get a hot cup of coffee in the cafeteria this morning! Besides, I can't get any machine sewing done. If I had stayed home, I could have cut fabric for several planned projects.

The winds were rather frightening yesterday - once the power went off -downright spooky. As far as we can tell, the only damage to our property was a bunch of tree limbs which Andrea and I dragged to the curb already. Our neighbors weren't so lucky with big trees down and roofs being shredded. We will have to ditch a lot of stuff in the fridge - and we had just returned from the grocery store before the power went off! The freezer items are good for another day - keep your fingers crossed that power's restored before then since there's a decent amount of meat in there.

Michael drove into West Chester for his dental appointment this morning and was able to get the preliminary work done on his teeth. I'm glad he didn't ditch the appointment. His main beef at the moment is lack of a decent cup of tea. I am concerned that Michael is unable to use him oxygen at night due to lack of power. One, perhaps two nights without it - OK, but more than that I will get concerned about the overall affect on his health.

Andrea's home, no school, probably bored to death since there's no computer or television.

Yesterday I got up early and finished quilting the United Way quilt. I had just started to press the binding when the power went out. I'm so glad I was at least able to finish the quilting - overall well pleased with quilt. Hope the raffle for it will raise a decent amount of money for United Way.

Michael's eldest daughter, Leah, e-mailed me - she and Michael's ex are coming here for a visit October 13-23. Leah's never been to visit us, this will be Margaret's (the ex's) 4th trip here. Yes, I know it's weird that Michael's ex comes to visit. Fortunately, she and I get along well. She gets on Michael's nerves if she's the only one around. Leah's presence will help in that matter. It's only for ten days........


Friday, September 12, 2008

Roof Monkey

OK - you're probably wondering what the title is all about. I can now honestly put roof repairs on my list of multiple talents and skills. With the rain that was predicted to hit us today and the rest of the weekend, I told Michael I was concerned about the leak in our enclosed back patio. The water leaking into the roof was affecting the kids' bathroom - so we have issues in that room to repair, but my primary concern was to stop any more damage. He agreed, so last night we were on the roof, tacking down roofing material. My "job" was to spread some black tarry goo on the seams. (I'm sure it has a name other than goo!) Thank goodness I had the foresight to wear gloves 'cause that goo is tough to remove from skin. Keep your fingers crossed that our repair efforts worked.

After my goo glop job, I got a few lines of quilting done on the United Way quilt. Thus far, I'm really pleased with the thread I'm using - Connecting Threads variegated fall colours. If this keeps up, I'll place another thread order from them.

Tattoo Boy came by the house for a few minutes last night. He needed to pick up his mail, get a copy of a blank tax return, help us move the old fridge into the storage area, and toss the roofing material onto the roof for us. I think his presence is going to be a big help around the house when he returns in November. But, let me tell you what happened to him earlier this week. It's just left a sour feeling in the pit of my stomach for employers. He told Lowe's his school plans and asked them if they could work around his class schedule; he wanted to stay there as a team leader and go to school. They said no. OK, he thought, I'll find another job that will work around school. Pizza Hut hired him and at a higher rate of pay. Last Friday he turned in his two week notice at Lowe's. Monday when he showed up for work at Lowe's, his name was crossed off the schedule and he was informed that he has been dismissed for no reason. So much for trying to do the right thing.

Michael expressed that he was a bit homesick - he gets that way once in awhile - not as frequently as when we first were married six years ago though. He hasn't heard word one from any of his family in months. Course, he hasn't made the effort to write or phone either! I dashed off a few lines in an e-mail to his oldest daughter yesterday - the only one who has access to a computer on a regular basis and she's usually the most reliable one in the family. I asked her to take a few mins to contact her dad. Hope she does.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mid-week update

Managed to get the backing pieced and ironed for the United Way Quilt last night. Didn't get around to it until 9:30 - lots of stuff kept me out of the sewing room, like dinner, laundry, grocery shopping, trash to put out, etc. Loved every minute of the Shop Hop last weekend, but it did put me behind in the household chores since I usually do them on the weekends. Tonight should be a bit less hectic. (I hope, I hope, I hope.) I want to get the United Way quilt loaded onto the frame tonight at the very least.

Poor Miss Daisy has a nasty ear infection. She was constantly shaking her head and crying every time we'd pet her head on the right side. Sure enough, the inside of her ear was really inflamed. The vet gave us some medication for her ear and said it was a good thing we brought her in for the infection. Dachshunds, she explained, can shake their heads so hard when they have an ear infection that it can burst blood vessels which require surgical repair. Yikes! She also mentioned Daisy was the fifth dog she saw Monday with an ear infection. Must be something in the air?

Michael's still battling his dental issues. His temporary tooth fell out for the third time and the dentist told him he's just doing to have to deal with the gap until the permanent work starts on Monday.

Things have settled down for me at the office this week, which is a tremendous blessing. It may be the calm before the storm - who knows? There's an upper management position available in my department which as it's structured will be my boss. I'll still defer to the Chief Underwriter for technical stuff, but everything else will go through this newly created VP spot. One of the current managers applied for the job and I just cringe at the thought of having to report to her for ANYTHING. Also heard several other internal candidates are out there as well as an external candidate the company has been courting for months. They'd better make a decision quickly since the new systems that we so desperately want and need are going out to bid in November and this new person is supposed to be the point man/woman for it. This new system will enable people in my position to work out of home - that's one of the goals at least. That would free up 90 minutes of my time every day.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stash from the Shop Hop

Hi, all! Thought you'd want to see the stash I purchased during the Shop Hop last weekend. The first photo is the Big Shirt pattern from Best Friends, a cat quilt from Aunt Ruth's I found on the discount table and a Thanksgiving turkey from SewEzy. The photo of the turkey wall hanging doesn't do it justice - the one in the shop was really, really cute - the tail is made with Prairie Points.

These are various fabrics I picked up at every shop we stopped at. No specific purpose in mind for any of them yet. I just liked them. I definitely was in a Fall/Christmas frame of mind though.

The Cat quotes are adorable from SewEzy - I want to make a wall hanging and pillows for a friend at work with these. The Moda pattern is from Fabric Shack and has been on my wish list for months. I was so happy to have finally found it. The small quilt pattern is from Quilt Box and I thought it would be very cute to make one of those for my cubicle wall with autumnal colours and squirrel fabric to enhance my squirrel collection.

Just couldn't resist these kits for Halloween projects. I had a Thimbleberries pattern in mind before we started the Shop Hop, but once I saw the quilt in Quilt Cabin, I forgot all about the Thimbleberries. The table runner is from SewEzy and will have a small black cat appliqued to each end of the runner.

More fabric.......

Fat quarters from Sew A Lot and jelly rolls from Fabric Shack and Stitches. I have a strip pattern for the jelly rolls that I purchased at the National Quilt Show in Columbus that will be perfect for these.

I'll be in great shape once I find the time to work on all this. I have several projects that are on a deadline, by the last week of this month, so I'd better get cracking. I didn't sew at all last night. By the time I got Michael to the doctor, Daisy to the vet, dinner, picked up prescriptions, donated blood and picked up milk and bagels it was 8 pm.
Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Notes On A Successful Shop Hop

Can't believe that it's over already! Jill, Maddy, Dominique and I had a ball shopping and travelling together this weekend. Think about it: four women in a car for hours with a humongous tray of cookies, shopping and finding a great deal to talk about despite not knowing each other much at all prior to the trip. Certainly can't say that now! Luv 'em like sisters!

Best Friends was our first stop of the day on Saturday. We were "treated" to a conga line courtesy of the shop owner and employees - that was the only dance routine we saw all day. What a way to start! I picked up a pattern for a Big Shirt and some Thimbleberries Halloween fabric. May not seem like much, but heck I'm in this store a lot and I WILL BE BACK.

The next four stores were ones that I had never been to before. And honestly, they're too far for a normal drive when there are other shops closer to me. But it's good to know this store is good for Civil War repro fabrics, that store is good for a treasure hunt and another has such beautiful landscaping/scenery that one should pack a lunch for an outdoor picnic.

Here's another thing: The more I get in to this quilting thing, the more I'm realizing that I have certain likes/dislikes. One shop in particular had nothing I was interested in - don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful shop, but the patterns, samples, and fabrics were things that didn't appeal to me. It all boils down to what a shopowner orders based on their anticipation of success or how well they know their customer base. That's why each one is different and special in its own way.

Like Jill mentioned, Dom locked us out of Aunt Ruth's. Livened us up a bit for the last shop of the day on Saturday. I hadn't been to Aunt Ruth's since the week after they moved to their new location. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of stock and how nice the store looked. It's evident the new owner has worked hard.

First stop on Sunday after lunch was the mother of all local quilt shops - Fabric Shack. I spent more at this store than any of the ten shops. And it was liberating! Usually Michael and Andrea are with me when I visit Fabric Shack. Those two moan like mad and pitch fits if I spend more than ten minutes there. This time - what nirvana! Uninterrupted fabric fondling -sheer joy! I found the ModaU pattern that was first on my list, a Moda Christmas jelly roll, and assorted fabrics.

The last stop of the hop was Stitches in Springdale. I'll always have a special spot in my heart for Stitches since Cheri from that store was my first quilt teacher. And I love the squirrel statues in that little town. Found another Moda jellyroll there, a magazine and some fabric from their discount rack.

Then, back home to the reality of stacks of laundry, a hungry family, and pets who couldn't figure out why their momma disappeared for two days. Even my next door neighbor came over after dinner and said, "You're never home!"

Well, it was fun while it lasted.......

Reality today - a doctor's appointment for Michael, a vet's appointment for Daisy the dashing dachshund, and blood donation for yours truly. Hoxworth's low on my blood type and phoned me at work this morning. Think I can get away with disappearing into my sewing room after all that?


Friday, September 5, 2008

End of a rough work week

I know it's been a short work week, but am I ever glad that Friday is here! Despite being at my current job for almost eight years, I still don't feel like I'm all that secure. With the power structure being the way it is, folks in my job have very little clout and the employees who are doing the processing for some reason or another have more pull with management. So, when a processor complains about a decision I've made on a risk, I get nervous. Add to that the typical phone calls from agents questioning decisions, asking for exceptions, and basic whining - it hasn't been a real enjoyable week at the office for me. Honestly, I don't know why I have such insecure feelings since nobody in underwriting management has ever said bean word one to me about how I do my job and I've had nothing but glowing reviews. Perhaps it's because I was downsized at my last job - one that I absolutely adored- after 16 years with that company. Once the rug is pulled out from under you, I guess no carpet/rug ever seems firmly tacked down again. My friend, Diane, tried to ease my fears by telling me about an underwriter who didn't read an EKG correctly, issued the policy and during an audit the EKG was read again by a manager who saw it was abnormal enough that the policy should not have been issued. That underwriter is still here, Diane said, so I shouldn't worry.

Daisy update: She ran for a bit last night, but after about five passes on the course, she clearly had enough and sat down in the middle of the driveway. (We changed the course from the yard to the drive because the race downtown will be held on a concrete area. The training is meant to teach her to run like the dickens from me to Andrea - that's all - it's certainly not an endurance deal.) So, we picked her up, took her back inside gave her a biscuit and she fell asleep on the sofa.

SHOP HOP - tomorrow!!! Meeting Jill, Dominique and Maddy at 9 am and we're going to half of the stores Saturday, the other half on Sunday. At least that's the plan. Do I NEED any more fabric or patterns? Heck no, but why should that stop me? I'm really MAD, I tell you, positively looney!

Finished quilting three of the four placemats I'm working on last night. Probably would have done all four, but the bobbin ran out, it was getting late and I wanted to listen to John McCain's speech.

Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Daisy - The Racing Weiner

....is now officially signed up for the Octoberfest Running of the Wieners. She's Weinee #31. Daisy, Andrea and I need to be at Fountain Square at 11:30 am on Friday, Sept. 19 ready to race. I will have to pull Andrea out of school early that day, but somehow I don't think she's going to protest all that much! I was already planning on taking that day off because of the kittens' surgery that morning.

Training will now have to really be intense - stayed tuned!

Misc Ramblings

Didn't get all that much done in the sewing room last night, but I did manage to piece a super secret gift. Hoping to get the quilting done tonight on that secret project.

Honestly, I did have several distractions from the sewing room last night. Michael, Andrea and I went to McAllister's for dinner since the soup Michael wanted to make for dinner didn't sound appealing to me. Now, I ask you, who eats hot soup when it's close to 100 degrees outside? Got to McAllister's and I discovered my wallet was gone! Michael didn't have his wallet either. Fortunately, I knew where mine was after I thought about it. I should know better than to put it somewhere else other than my handbag. Such a creature of habit! Dinner was delayed a bit for a side trip to the bank.

After dinner, the real fun started - we took Daisy, our mini-dachshund, outside and started to run with her in anticipation of signing her up for the Cincinnati Octoberfest Weenie Race. We marked off a 50 foot space in the front yard for our "track". She did remarkably well for the first go at it. Tonight, we'll get the hot dog outfit out for her since all the racing dogs need to wear "buns". Daisy slept REAL GOOD last night too.

September is shaping up to be an incredibly busy month for my little family at the doctors, dentist and optometrist. Michael is going in for bridgework at the dentist in ten days. That will require four dental appointments for him! All three of us have our regular dental checkups later. On the 13th - all of us at the optical clinic. Michael has his yearly CT lung scan and follow-up appointment with his pulmonologist in mid month. (Expecting bad news with that one as his breathing difficulties are becoming more noticeable.) Keeping track of it and the other things we need to do is going to be fun. Tattoo Boy's orientation at UC is on the 17th and 18th. The kittens have their surgery on the 19th, on and on and on.....

You'd better believe I'll find time to quilt! My sanity will require it.
Keep stitchin'!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Play time's over

Didn't seem like I got much done in the sewing room or around the house despite the extra day at home. I finished the binding on the Thimbleberries Sunflower Table Runner and this baby quilt for a co-worker. Very pleased with how it turned out.

Now, it's on to the next project - a secret project and quilting the United Way quilt.

The kittens and I spent about an hour yesterday morning tearing apart the two vacuum cleaners, cleaning them all out and putting them back together again. I've been meaning to do that chore for weeks now since neither one was working to its true capacity. Oddly enough, the kittens were of little help, other than scattering the dust balls.

Met Jill, Linda and Patrice at IHOP on Saturday morning for delightful chat - they're all such nice people and welcomed me into their group. After that, we went on to Best Friends and signed up for our fall quarter classes. All four of us are taking one in November/December called "Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin". I signed up for Stash Pot Pie as well - thus taking that monthly class for the entire year.

This coming Saturday is the start of the Tri-State Shop Hop. I've already warned my family that I won't be around home much on Saturday or Sunday, so they've been given ample notice. I've already started my shopping list. Michael's in agreement that I should stock up on the items I need to make Christmas gifts. Let's take bets to see if I can stick to the list....NOT!

Tattoo Boy (aka Danny) dropped by the house for a short visit on Sunday and helped us move the fridge back into the house. Michael's tried to hook up the icemaker on that thing, but all it does is leak on the floor and he can't figure out how to fix it. Icemaker aside, I'm pleased to have the good, big fridge repaired and back into the kitchen. The smaller fridge we've been using will now go into the back room for drinks and extra storage. It looks like I'll accompany Danny to orientation at the university on the 17th and 18th. I may take the 19th off as well since that's the day the kittens are scheduled for their surgery.

I'd best get back to the files on my desk and make an effort to at least look like I'm working. LOL

Keep on stitchin'!