Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Partying on New Year's Eve never really was all that appealing for me, even in my wild and crazy youth. A quiet meal, with a few friends and family was all that I wanted - and into bed by 10. What a wimp! I still enjoy the day, but I spend most of it reflecting on the old year, creating hope for the new and being grateful for the wonderful things in my life.

So, join me at 7 pm in raising your glass - here's to us in 2009!! Good health, good friends and good times!!!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Something So Simple

Positively itching to start something new, I looked at the new Nickel quilts book Michael gave me for Christmas. Selected the pattern and less than 40 minutes into the deal, I had two blocks completely done and 20 more half-done. I'm using University of Cincinnati logo fabric in combination with blacks and reds. The goal? My son's birthday is Jan. 8. I know it's going to be a real stretch, but if the little time spent last night is any indication, I should be able to complete it by then. If not - well there's always Christmas 2009.....Pat Speth titled this book appropriately - AMAZING NICKEL QUILTS. 'Cause I am truly amazed at how simple it is and how great I think it's going to turn out. Stay tuned........

Our family New Year's Eve tradition lives! After work tomorrow, we're going to the local Chinese buffet for our yearly feast. This year, Martin and Bev - our friends from Norwood - are joining us.

Funny Michael story: He had an appointment at 12:30 yesterday for his initial consultation regarding a sleep study our doctor recommended he have done. Over Christmas, I totally forgot about this coming up. So did Michael. I phoned him at work around 7 AM yesterday to remind him. Of course, he wasn't happy - going for doctor's appointments ranks REALLY low on his list of fun things to do. I also told him the paperwork with location, time, etc... was on the kitchen counter. AND I phoned him again at 10:30 when he was home to remind him of the appointment. All to no avail - the man slept through his appointment. He got tired after reading his railroad forum stuff on the internet, laid down and went to sleep! I imagine the staff at the sleep center are also having a good chuckle about this and it's probably not the first time it's happened.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Here Comes 2009!

This time of year, I find myself reading recaps and highlights of the previous year - which celebrities no longer are with us, what stories were important, etc. I also page through my planner to see what my family and I have done. This past year was filled with a lot of fun - a trip to England, two quilting retreats - and some not-so-fun things - pulmonary rehab, trips to doctors/dentists. All-in-all, we had a fairly good year. Now, on to 2009......

Keep healthy. I learned a long time ago that I cannot tell Michael how to take care of himself. He does as he bloody well pleases when it comes to diet (what diet?), exercise (none) and preventative care. What I CAN control is myself - that is goal number one - to continue down the Weight Watchers' path and exercise more. I've already made it a habit of sorts to put in 30 minutes each day on Wii Fit. The boxing's my favorite - and it helps my stress level.

Expand my "Circle of Influence". I'll explain. A year ago at this time, the only folks I interacted with on a regular basis were my family and work associates. Through my blog and the local quilt guild, I've made a lot of new friends. That will continue and grow. In addition, I've returned to church on a weekly basis. I've signed up for a class starting next month and I want to get more involved with church-sponsored activities. The friends I earn through my various activities will be part of my Circle of Influence. And I'll be a much better person for all of it.

Quilt more. No, duh! I haven't signed up for any classes this year, but I have every intention of attending the St. Jude's retreat and the fall guild retreat again. The NQA show is also in June. I had a blast going there on the bus with the guild earlier this year. Since Santa was kind enough to give me digital camera, I'll be posting more photos of my projects. Stay tuned....

Pay more attention to budget/money. This could conflict with the above paragraph. But, if we're to visit England again this year - saving will become necessary right now. Also, there are some things I want done to the house and garden this year. It all costs money. Cash only.

Laundry woes. The biggest problem in my bedroom is piles of laundry. I take them out of the dryer and VOILA! they appear in clothes baskets all over the room. I resolve to fold, hang and put away said clean clothes as soon as possible from now on. If there is one basket of laundry hanging around my bedroom, I should not be permitted to wander into the sewing room. PERIOD!

I'm sure there are other areas in my life that could use tweaking. But those are the biggies that I can share with y'all on my blog.

Our church's associate pastor's topic yesterday was "New Beginnings". Wonderful message and it's strongly influenced how I'm looking at things today. It's utterly marvelous that we get chance after chance to make things better and right. There is just something magical too, about starting over. Don't you think?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to all my quilty bloggy buddies!

I wish you all the happiest, most joyful possible Christmas. I've made some terrific quilting friends over the last year - both on-line and in person and I want you all to know it has enhanced my life immeasurably to have friends who share my fabric passion.

This holiday season has been special to me in many ways - it may be one of the last I get to spend with my darling husband, my son has returned home (in more ways than one), I have a comfortable home, a good - fairly secure job, and a daughter who is fast becoming a beautiful young woman. My "presents" are truly not under the Christmas tree this year. And I've managed to navigate all the requisites of the season with the least stress I've experienced in years.

So, raise a glass to us all - Happy, merry Christmas and we'll get to that stash in 2009!

Hugs and love,

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm a Tae Kwon Do Mom and PROUD of it!

Tattoo Boy tested for his second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do on Saturday. So, I skipped the last Stash Pot pie of the year and I am so very glad that I did.

Long story short here folks: Tattoo Boy (aka Danny) rebelled against family, Tae Kwon Do and just about anything that made sense to a normal functioning adult member of society during his senior year of high school. Shortly after graduation, two years ago, he stormed out of our house spewing a lot of angry words. He moved into his own apartment, went through a series of low-paying, meaningless jobs and finally the stupidity of it all hit him. He returned to school and moved back home.

On Saturday, I saw a lot of people I've come to know throughout Tattoo Boy's years in Tae Kwon Do. We exchanged hugs many times and talked about how wonderful it is that Danny has returned to his Tae Kwon Do family. Grand Master Kim hugged me several times and said "You have your boy back." Brought tears to my eyes. I've never admitted to anybody how much I missed my son. But he has returned and the kind, caring young man who has replaced him is giving me so much joy it's hard to describe.

Danny's test went extremely well - he broke through FOUR concrete slabs during his breaking test. The bruise on his forearm is not pretty though! I have some photos which I'll post later for y'all.

Michael and I took Danny, his girlfriend (Brielle) and Andrea to dinner at Olive Garden on Saturday night to celebrate the successful test completion and Danny having finished his first quarter at the University of Cincinnati. We had a fun time.

Quilting? Well, I did some more work on my "Not Your Grandmother's Log Cabin" on Friday night in class. Still not complete, so we've scheduled an extra class time on Jan. 4. I did the preliminary sewing on a dozen quilted coffee cup wraps yesterday. Doing the hand sewing on those at the moment. Those are for my co-workers - will get an empty coffee cup from UDF and put a gift certificate in each along with the wraps. I'm doing it that way since I'm not sure everyone would know what they were otherwise!

Well, it's Monday and it's raining. The snow's supposed to start tonight - 1 to 3 inches. Gotta LOVE this time of year.


Friday, December 5, 2008

First Friday in December

Thank goodness I made it to Friday in one piece and in charge of my sanity (well, mostly) . When this week started, I REALLY had my doubts! Let's give y'all a brief review.....

Michael's district manager has been a real turkey. On Monday he accused Michael of stealing from the cash drawer in front of customers . On Wednesday, Michael showed up five minutes before his shift was to start and the district manager accused him of being late. These two incidents were just the "icing". Michael had enough and walked off the job. I know it's just a stupid job at a convenience store, but it helps out tremendously with finances, and given the state of the economy and Michael's health - I know also that it would be tough for him to find another position. Mind you, this is only the second time that I have known Michael to get angry. Both times involved others accusing Michael of lying, stealing, etc. He's a very proud man and having his good ethics questioned really irritates him. (Give me credit, I didn't freak out and even was OK with his decision to walk out.) He wrote an e-mail to their HR department right after he returned home at 6 am. By 5 that night, a VP was on the phone with Michael and begged him to return to work on Thursday. He did and things appear to have calmed down. The district manager is clearly different towards Michael now. Let's hope and pray it stays this way. One good thing: The district manager is not spending as much time in that store now.

The announcement was made at my office that there will be no bonuses or raises in 2009. Morale, as you can guess, is not great around here going into the busiest month of the year. That may be one of the reasons that they're backing off on their demand that we work tomorrow. Honestly, I'm not jumping for joy over the lack of increased income, but I am content to have the job. It's a blessing I hope to continue for a long time.

OK, Catherine, this blog is supposed to be about QUILTING, you're saying. I have done a bit of that this week. I decided to make small tote bags for each of my assistants at work - seven needed. Found a very easy pattern and in two hours have made three of them. They're very cute - I may make one for myself this weekend with cat fabric. Managed to get the binding materials cut for my brother's quilt. Purchased the backing materials for the two Christmas wall hangings I hope to quilt this weekend.

Debating in my mind whether or not to sign up for Stash Pot Pie again next quarter at Best Friends. When the events at Michael's work happened, I looked at our checkbook and about had a coronary when I saw how much I spent on fabric, quilting, meals out and what I consider non-essentials. I really need to cut back. Heaven knows I have enough fabric to keep me busy for decades and enough patterns to keep a whole army of quilters happy. But will that keep me from going to the Open Houses this weekend at Best Friends and SewEzy? Let's see how much will power this old girl has! It's supposed to snow tomorrow - good enough to keep me home? We'll see.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Let the Season Begin!

Very appropriately, it's snowing this morning in southwestern Ohio - not enough to pile up, but enough to put me in a holiday mood.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my mother and her husband. We ate too much, played some card games and just basically enjoyed being together. Friday morning, I stood in line at Game Place to get one of the few Wii Fit games at a reduced price. Mission accomplished! I was #22 in line for 30 of the games. We spent much of the morning setting it up and trying the games. Mom and I went to Hobby Lobby after that - I found some decent buys on Christmas fabric, cards, and wrapping paper. Other than, that we managed to stay away from the stores....

...that is until Saturday night. Michael, Andrea and I went to WalMart. There was hardly anyone there at 7 pm. I found some Barbie items for the church's celebration and headbands for the one at the office. Also picked up a couple of items for Andrea, Danny and the last gift for Michael. I'm finished with his gifts - except for the train quilt. That's another story......

The quilting front was not very productive this weekend. I finished the quilting on my brother's quilt and a small table runner for a friend at work. Next on the frame is the train quilt once I figure out in my head what free motion pattern I should use. The guild meeting is tonight and I'm looking forward to seeing some quick, easy gift ideas. I'm pleased that I completed the sew to win block for this month. It didn't take that long but it looks nice enough.

Andrea's home from school today with some crud her brother was nice enough to share with her. I made a doctor's appointment for her this afternoon just as a precaution - strept throat and whopping cough are going around her school. Sure don't want Michael to come down with any of this - it'll kill him. The man's so freaking stubborn - he still refuses to get a flu shot.

At least this year I don't have to bake an English Christmas cake. Michael's the only one who eats it, so he said not to bother. I'm making an effort this year to simplify things - not to bake so many freaking cookies, avoid over-extending myself, and to simply relax/enjoy the season. If I can get through the next two weeks without a "melt-down" then I'll be in fine shape. I have to put in my mandatory over-time this coming Saturday. Then, the following weekend I have two quilt classes and my son's second degree black belt test. After that - nothing planned and it feels wonderful to have that flexibility. I'll get to the decorating when I can - I'm not spazzing out this year over the state of the house, the shopping and other holiday affiliated activities. I'm certain my family will be overjoyed to learn that!