Friday, October 31, 2008
Ask any mother of an infant about her child's poop and show real concern and you could spend all day on the topic. At least I did when my children were little. Well actually, if you ask my children now they would say I probably still could talk on this subject all day because the first question out of my mouth when they have a stomach ache is "When did you last poop? Was it soft, hard, runny?" For some of you this topic may turn your stomach and you may want to stop reading now, especially if you are eating, however I must have this intro so that you can understand what happened yesterday. And you must understand that some of us feel the same way about our pets that we do about our infants - thus the following story. . .
Two women. Neighbors. Standing outside a nice suburban home, with an overgrown garden and a few Halloween decorations on a gorgeous afternoon. Other neighbors are out putting things in their car, playing with their children and watching over the neighborhood. One of the two woman has a cute little black dog who loves to sniff around the other woman's kitchen looking for snacks that haven't been swept up, and afterwards he likes to go into her yard and poop. They laugh about this cute little black dog's habit as the house owner hands the dog owner a bag to use to pick up the poop, and then laugh more when the Dog owner needs a second bag for the poop head's second deposit.
"That's weird! His poop looks funny. Come see," Dog owner says to House owner.
House owner comes over to take a look. Poop is strange yellowish color and is made up of strange odd sized bits, and slightly resembles human baby poop. Dog owner picks up poop (using the plastic bag as a glove of course) to examine it more closely.
"What could he have eaten? Why does it look like that? What do you think that big thing is?"
Dog and House owner speculate on what cute little black dog could have put into his mouth and swallowed. Dogs, like small children, will eat almost anything. House owner examines poop in bag more closely and speculates. The big thing looks like a large seed pod or perhaps an insect sac.
"Squeeze it," House owner suggests.
Dog owner squeezes. Suddenly the big thing goes flying into Dog and House owners faces and bounces off of Dog owners shirt! Both scream, jump, and run all at the same time and then start laughing hysterically. Surrounding neighbors and cute little black dog look up from their activity and wonder about Dog and House owner's sanity. Through the tears and laughter Dog and House owner search for big thing in grass trying not to fall and roll into big thing in said grass in the fit of their hysterics. Big thing is found, picked up, and dignity is attempted to be restored, but hysterics continue causing stomach pains, and an exit to the house.
Later it is discovered that cute little black dog had eaten a paper plate. Dogs and children will eat anything, and mom's will continue to discuss and laugh about it.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
My design wall is happy again. It has blocks on it to play with and isn't feeling lonely anymore. I decided to do a rail fence design for a baby quilt and didn't like the funky look I was getting at first and so I've finally decided to go with this stripy look. I love the look.
I've also been working on my machine quilting skills. They still need lots of work. It's difficult to see from faraway, but I know my mistakes. The quilting hasn't made the difference in the look I was hoping for. I like how I was able to put some trees in the background but I wonder if they are too much in the background. I just feel that something is missing. I seem to have that thought about a number of my projects. I do love the thread painting on the fairy's tree, that's my favorite part of this wall hanging.
I don't like how much purple paint I used. Those are my main lessons I've learned with this project. Now if I could just figure out why I'm not satisfied
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The Cub's lost, the economy stinks, gas prices stink, and airfares stink! It's enough to throw you into the pit of despair. This past weekend my girls had a very long weekend off from school and I wanted to go see my sistah and get out of town for a bit, so despite all the negatives I went anyway. Because of the lousy airfares I decided to drive and take my chances with the lousy gas prices. I was very fortunate to find great prices all along the way which made me think it was meant to be! I even found a place outside Winnemucca with gas under $3 a gallon! I never thought I could be excited to see gas below $3.
It was a great weekend and I put up a slide show of photos from the trip (on the sidebar). We did some of my favorite things to do in San Francisco, like shop at the four story Williams and Sonoma store in Union Square, and eat my favorite pizza (forgot to take a picture of it), and my favorite breakfast from The Grove on Fillmore (see photo above). We also went to a four story fabric store - heavenly, even if I was disappointed with their color selection! We also did a few touristy things as I recently realized that the babies in the family have missed out on a few things because Mom has already "been there done that" and doesn't care if she does them again. One of those touristy things is to go down Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world. The girls heard about the street and couldn't stop talking about it. They were amazed and thought it was very cool. I told them they had five minutes to talk about the experience afterwards and then they were to drop the topic until they returned to Utah, where they were allowed to tell their friends all about it. That arrangement worked out very nicely.
The weather was wonderful while we were there and we took full advantage of it. We took the dogs to Fort Funston (my sistah was dog sitting for her neighbors two dogs, so there were three dogs, one cat and four people in her one bedroom garden apartment while we were there). Fort Funston used to be some sort of military installation but is now a beautiful beach and park which is very dog friendly. Dogs are allowed to be off leash and so they enjoy running about the sandy hills, fetching balls and smelling each other while their owners enjoy the fresh air and a walk. It is also very windy and so it is an ideal place for hanggliding. The hanggliders are very close to you when you go out to the observation deck, and there are warning signs that hanggliders have been known to crash into people on the deck so proceed at your own risk! The gliders were beautiful and the people in them all looked like they were having a great time. I liked watching - not sure I could walk off the cliff with the same confidence they did!
We did a lot of walking, which we always seem to do while there, and I thought I would die. I am really in bad shape and need to work on getting into better shape this winter. We walked to the movie theater and saw "The Secret Life of Bees." It is rated PG-13, and I usually preview these kinds of movies before I let my babies see them, but I made an exception this time. I'm grateful that I don't regret it. The movie is about love, relationships and racism and we all loved it. E told my sistah later that she looked over and saw that "mom was crying up a pool." So bring your tissues if you go see it! I don't think you will regret it either.
The last thing we did was visit the California Academy of Science. It was a bit more expensive than most museums I've been to and so I was a bit nervous about spending so much of my sistah's money :). Afterward we all felt it was worthwhile. Sistah thought it was so worthwhile that she bought a membership. The museum houses three museums really, as there is an aquarium, a planetarium and a field museum all together, however it seemed to be much more. As the museum has only been open less than a month it was very crowded and there were long lines everywhere but they moved quickly and we enjoyed the experience anyway.
We first stood in line to go into the biosphere which housed a rainforest in which you walk up a ramp taking you through all the layers of a rainforest. There are many plants, a lagoon, birds and butterflies. They also have many exhibits with various lizards, snakes, spiders, leaf cutting ants, and frogs. All things I was grateful to see behind glass and not crawling about with the birds and butterflies. The biosphere was fascinating and education also. I loved the butterflies and tried to take a lot of pictures of them. I didn't include them all in the slide show so that I wouldn't bore you, but tried to include just a few of the better ones. Some of the butterflies landed on people providing those of us with cameras a great opportunity of getting closeup shots. Whoever had a butterfly on them became an instant celebrity. One butterfly, whose wings are blue on top and brown with "eyes" on the bottom, really liked a gentleman with a blue hat on. We decided the butterfly thought the hat was his mate.
The lagoon had a large number of fish from the rainforests and you could view the fish both above water and below. Once you walked up the ramp to the canopy of the rainforest you took an elevator down to the basement where the aquarium was housed. It was here that you could see the fish in the lagoon from below. There were other exhibits of fish, and a white alligator (one of the 7 brothers of the alligator we had here in Utah this summer). We didn't make it all around the aquarium as it was so crammed with people down there that it was difficult to get to the exhibits. We also didn't make it into the planetarium, but didn't feel slighted. We will have to go back and visit these exhibits when we return to San Francisco.
The field museum part of the museum was a large hall filled with exhibits of stuffed African animals. We all thought of the movie "Night at the Musuem" and pondered what the animals did at night when they came to life. I also wondered what was more humane - animals living in a cage for us to stare at, or animals who are stuffed for us to stare at. Hopefully the animals have had a nice life before being stuffed and weren't killed in a cruel manner. Looking at stuffed animals has always felt creepy to me, but looking at the animals in cages can make me sad sometimes too. Like the exhibit of penguins they have. The Penguins are very fun to watch. They are so beautiful, but their area seemed so small for the number of penguins. With all the strict laws in California I hope this means they have researched the topic throughly and are giving the animals what they need. The exhibit is set up so that you can see the penguins above and below the water as well, and sometimes they swim up to the glass to get a good look at you. They are incredible creatures.
For some reason, one of the things I was most excited to see was the museum's roof. Why? Because it was green. Both figuratively and literally. They have worked hard to make the entire museum "green" and have recycling booths everywhere, but on the roof they have solar panels as well as a field of wild flowers. I had heard about green roofs while we were in Arizona a few years back. They help to make the building inside cooler because of the plants, and they also help to cool the environment. Phoenix could really use a large number of these green roof as it is a concrete jungle and hot enough as it is! However, then there is the problem of water - thus it isn't being put into practice there yet. Anyway, I found the roof fascinating, and I think that maybe the first time I have ever said that about a roof!
All in all, it was a very long drive both ways, but well worth getting away and enjoying my sistah's company as well as enjoying a fun city, and now I am just happy to be home!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Finally after an extensive search for ideas on the Internet I decided I had to figure out something on my own. I concluded that I would make bottle covers with shirring at the top. You know the kind of cover one might put over a wine bottle when they take some to a friends house for dinner - but in my case it would be to cover Sparkling Cider since we don't drink alcoholic beverages. Now that I had the idea I played around and came up with a design I liked. Next I had to write it down so that someone else could follow my directions and make one. Check, and check.
The day and time finally arrived for the demo and I had to drag all my stuff (very heavy ancient sewing machine, iron, ironing board, bottles with sample covers, papers, scissors, thread, etc.) down to the library where our meeting was held. I set up and enjoyed the meeting while I
waited for the demonstration part of the evening to begin, all the time trying to be confident that my part would go well.
I sat down at my machine when the time came and nothing. The light would not come on, it would not sew. Had I carted this 50lb heavyweight for nothing?!! I plugged in the iron and still nothing - thankfully, it was the plug. It was dead. I quickly found a new plug and then some very helpful ladies helped me to move all my stuff to the new plug on the other side of the room. I tried to hurry to set myself up again, and plugged everything in. Suddenly a ghost started to use my ancient sewing machine. Honestly! The machine was sewing on it's own! This was no time for an exorcism, I had to do something, and so I was practical. I decided that I must have messed up the foot pedal when I moved everything and so I would have to hold on to the wheel to keep it from going when I didn't want it to. This was going to be a fun demonstration with only one hand!
When it came time to show the ladies how simple it was to hand wind elastic thread onto your bobbin, I couldn't find the elastic thread. I wasn't sure if I had it before we moved the table and so I didn't know if I had lost it or left it at home. I did my best to wing it and was grateful I had made up samples of the entire process so that I had something to show the ladies. As I showed the samples, I found a bobbin I had wound at home with elastic thread. It was a miracle! I remember looking at that bobbin while packing up at home and thinking that I didn't need it, but I put it into the sewing case anyway. Thank you God! By the end of the demo I was still a bit discombobulated and I totally forgot to show them the best part of shirring: STEAM! Once the elastic thread is on, you use the steam of your iron to shrink the elastic. You can actually see it shrink up and it gives you such a rush! Well, at least it does for me. It doesn't take much to please me.
Fortunately after finding the bobbin, things continued to change for the better, and I was able to relax with the second and third groups. They were able to see the entire demo, and someone even found some elastic thread for me which was on our "to be given away" table. I even remembered to show them how the elastic shrunk and they all made the appropriate noises of amazement.
Before pulling the plug for the night, the ghost was still trying to send me a message through the machine. . . however I'm not sure what she was trying to tell me. Any ideas?
Monday, October 13, 2008
Here is a picture with a very emphatic circle bringing my attention to a great sale on fleece. Well, it did snow yesterday and this child was probably feeling a bit cold, so they wanted me to know I should buy them warm clothes.
Here is a circle around a play-doh set. Look Mom it's buy one get one free! You can get us twice as much for the same price!
What? A baby toy? Why would one of my children want a baby toy? And then one of them told me. She was circling items she could buy for someone else. *Tears welling in my eyes*
At Church the Primary President found out about some families in the Inner City who need some extra help for Christmas. The Primary is going to act as Christmas Angels for these families. Each child has been asked to earn a little money and then purchase something for one of the children or their parents. The children were each given a piece of paper explaining what to do and what items the family was in need of. This dear child of mine had taken this project to heart and was already working out how much she would need to earn to purchase all she wanted to get for them. After circling the sale ads she followed me about asking me to come up with things she could do this week to earn money.
"You can clean the kitty litter for a dollar."
"A dollar fifty"
"No I said a dollar"
"A dollar and a quarter"
No a dollar
A dollar fifteen
You can vacuum the hallway for fifty cents.
She looks carefully at the rug "It's really dirty, how about a dollar"
And so it went on. She computed the amount she could earn if she did each chore for a few weeks and pronounced the amount proudly! Then trying to figure out how she could get more she added, "Maybe Grandma will give me some money when I see her later!"
*Tears in eyes* These sale paper circles are now beautiful symbols of selflessness.
Circles are also said to represent the circle of life. She was once a baby with many needs, who has now grown into a young woman wanting to serve the needs of others.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
My other beautiful cat was reading my blog today and decided that there was not enough about her in here. She demanded that I take her picture, add it to the blog and include a little something about her. (I'm a little concerned however, can you see how she seems to be squinting? Maybe I need to get her some reading glasses?) Well I hope this post will satisfy her vanity. Probably not, I should include that she has a beautiful voice which she uses to wake me up every morning so that she can get her treats. She also loves to keep fit by running around the house like a mad woman at very random times, usually at night. You always know she is coming because she has these lovely paws which are HUGE and alert you to her coming. We affectionately call her "Sasquatch."
Canning takes forever! Well at least for me it does. However the results are quite delicious and I should remember that before I complain too much. Friday I purchased apples at the farmers market, and then Monday morning I sat down with the apple slicer and chopped up enough apples for two batches of apple butter. I still have enough left for another two batches but I think those apples are telling me they just want to be eaten - or made into a pie, but not butter. My dear neighbor came over and chatted with me for a bit while I sliced and peeled apples and it did make the time go a bit faster. I decided to make a batch of chili at the same time because it was raining and I think rainy days are good chili days. The chili was so good that I forgot to take a picture of it before it was all eaten and/or put away. I put a couple containers of it into the freezer so I will have to see about adding a picture later when I pull them out on another stormy day.
After chopping up 8 lbs of apples (I weighed them on my wonderful digital scale that I just can't seem to cook without), and then cooked the apples. The recipe I was following (which is USDA approved - I must practice what I preach at the Fair) called for me to add water to the apples as they were cooking and I don't remember doing this in the past. I must have added water because I "always" follow the recipe - ha ha ha ha ha hoo hoo hee hee. Sorry, I'm up off the floor now and wiping the tears from my eyes. The other recipe I found added vinegar, and I don't ever remember putting vinegar into my apple butter so this must be the recipe I followed last year. Vinegar in apple butter just sounds very very wrong!
After cooking the apples down and adding sugar, cinnamon and a bit of cloves, I had other things to do and so the pot went into the fridge. Tuesday the apple butter sat in the fridge with a dip or two being removed for toast. Yum. Wednesday I pulled out the jelly jars, put them in the dishwasher, and put the pot back on the stove to heat up. Once the jars were nice and clean and the butter was hot I filled the seven jars that would fit into my water bath canner and carried the whole mess to my dear neighbor's house. My glass top stove does not recommend using it for canning, and so I wasted her electricity instead. I did give her a jar of butter to help ease the pain.
I will have to wait another day or two to process the other batch as I am off to work this morning and then have kids here all afternoon. A whole week of work for 14 jelly jars of butter! The apple butter isn't as dark as I remember it being last year. I can't quite figure out if that is because of the variety of apples I used or because of adding water to the apples when they were cooking. It's a mystery for now. Actually the color really bugs me. In my mind apple butter should be a chocolatey brown, not this orangey yucky brown. Ugh, after all this work I guess I'll just have to close my eyes when I eat it!
Friday, October 3, 2008
I bought some fresh corn and was very sad to hear that this is their last weekend at the farmers market. I considered buying more to freeze because the people at the stand were telling me how easy it was to do, but this is a crazy busy weekend and I didn't want to buy it and then have it go bad before I could put it up. This winter, I know I will be sorry I didn't do it because they sell the best corn and it's only $5 for a dozen ears. I bought a couple of seedless watermelons which were grown in the Green River area, and $5 each as well. The ones I've bought this summer were fabulous and we eat them as soon as I cut them up so I bought two this time. I bought a small container of raspberries which were grown in Alpine ($3), and I hope they taste as good as they look. I bought some plums ($2) that are really prunes which are my absolute favorite and I will probably be the only one to eat them! I also bought a 1/2 bushel box of apples which are a cross of a Jonathan and something else. They are soooooo crisp and have a nice bite to them. I just finished one and my mouth is still sticky from the juices. I'm going to make some apple butter with them. I can't wait to make it and then make some biscuits to put it on. Drooling. . .
As I pulled the corn out from the bag I had to keep smelling it because it is so FRESH and smells so wonderful!!! Kind of like nice soil, but greener. That sweet outdoorsy smell. I LOVE it. I know my family thinks I'm crazy too, but maybe someone who reads this will understand! I know my cats understand me. Bubba, my Maine Coonish cat, NEVER jumps up on the kitchen counters. I've often marvelled at that because he will jump on the table to get to the counter under the window where his food is, but NEVER on my kitchen counter, but today I discovered it was only because there was never anything there that he REALLY REALLY wanted. I took the beautiful photo of my market treasures and then came to the computer to upload the picture and look what I saw when I turned back around!!!!!
Yup, that's Bubbaboy ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER eating the greens of the corn!!! I shooed him off and scolded him, and then went back to the computer only to turn around and find him there again! This time I took pictures and then yelled at him to get off the counter. I even moved one ear over to his food bowl so he would chew on it there, but no, he went back to the one he was eating on the counter. That one must have tasted REALLY good. I'm glad the whole family will be able to enjoy my market treasures!