27 March, 2012

Some quilts

The Italian Tiles quilt I started at MAQ and finished this winter. It's at the long arm quilter right now.
I made this for my brother-in-law, Wilson. As soon as the backing fabric comes in I am going to send it off to be quilted.

A t-shirt quilt for my friend - made from some of ber brother Sam's favorite shirts.

Making this quilt was actually fun. I wonder if anyone would pay me to make these?

17 March, 2012

Our cookies crush the spirits of our competition

This week was deadly dull at work, but the rest of the hours were just jam-packed with goodness.

Yoga classes on Monday and Wednesday were awesome. I enjoy them so much. Finally, an exercise that doesn't make me feel like the most uncoordinated goofball on the face of the planet. Thank goodness that back in the day in India, some yogi didn't say to himself, "You know what would make yoga really great? Forming yoga teams and hitting a ball with a stick or kicking it with our feet while we do our back bends and inversions. That would bring a whole new level to yoga!"

Dinner with Toni on Wednesday. Good times and interesting conversation. Going to Ignite Baltimore on Thursday with Greg and running into several people I knew there. We heard 12 five minute talks/performances, and got to eat some free snacks and have a free Natty Boh. I suppose the $6 price of the ticket probably paid for the beer, and the cheese cubes and fruit, but it felt free. So much fun.

Last night nicely rounded out the week of delicious post-work goodness. We went to Jim and Andy's for Five Guys burgers and an evening of baking. To be clear, Jim and I baked while Thomas and Andy watched Flash Gordon (Flash! Dah dah! Savior of the Universe! - Freddy Mercury, the world misses you!) on the cable on demand.

We baked three batches of chocolate cupcakes. We made a double batch of Irish Potato Candy. Have you ever had these? They are horrible and delicious. Horrible, because they are made of nothing but fat and sugar (ingredient list: butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, shredded coconut, cinnamon), and delicious, because, well, because they are. You make little balls of sugar and fat and coconut, roll them in the cinnamon, shape them into lumpy potato-esque shapes, and they really look like small, dusty potatoes. Cute and tasty.

We were all ready to make three batches of dough for our Irish flag cookies, but had to stop after only one because we ran out of vanilla. Dammit. I go back today for Baking Two: Electric Boogaloo. We have to make the rest of the Irish flag cookie dough, make as many sugar cookies as we can roll out, and then frost our cupcakes with chocolate and creme de methe icing. Jim and I have a philosopy of making refreshements for church coffee hour: Shock and Awe. It's not just providing cookies, it's a chance to show our baking superiority and crush the competition.

09 March, 2012

I want to rock and roll all night and pa...really, I want to hang out at home, work on a quilt, and listen to BBC4 Radio

If you had told 25 year old me that just 20-something short years later my idea of a good Friday night would involve patchwork and internet radio, I'd have said, "what's the internet?" But once we got over that hurdle I would have scoffed and pointed out that "staying in and quilting and listening to the radio is what old people do."

That's it, isn't it? I am old. Old and sedate. One weekend I run around eating hamburgers at 5 Guys on a Friday night and the next week I need to take an entire night off to do nothing more strenuous than cut 2" strips of fabric. Just pass the Geritol and shut up.

Thomas is working late tonight, so it's just me and the dogs. We are ALL old, so they are cool with these plans. Besides, they think I need to quit talking about finishing UFOs and just finish them. Happily, I am making strides on the quilt for my nice brother-in-law. Once I get the blocks put together with sashing, I am going to slap two or three borders on to beef it up some, and get it out the door to the longarmer.

Next weekend I have something amazing and fun to look forward to - quilt retreat at West River! And 25 year old me can just shut the hell up, a weekend of quilting is too fun! No cooking, cleaning, or family responsibilities - just two days devoted to working on a memorial quilt for Sam Folk for his family. They've sent me dozens of his old t-shirts for a quilt.

06 March, 2012

Are you just going to play Guitar Hero all weekend?

On Friday night I went with several friends to the opening of a quilt show at the Cylburn Arboretum. Most of the quilts were made by people I know from guild. It was a small show, fewer than 40 quilts, and all of them were very nice. We had some nibbles and infinitesimally tiny plastic cups of wine to go along with our quilterly conversation.

Did you know that a recommended serving size of wine is 5 oz.? Am I the only one who thinks that is small? Five ounces is barely enough to moisten my mouth. In my world, wine would be served in Big Gulp sizes, like Slurpees. At home I often serve it in water or juice glasses, because I am klassy with a capital “K”. I have heard that it is possible to get an entire 750 ml bottle of wine in one of the new Largissimo* cups they have at Fivebucks Coffee. I haven’t tried it yet, but it could happen.

Since I am exposing my general Lack o’Class, I might as well also admit that I think all those different size and shape wineglasses that the China and Crystal Industrial Machine tells us we need - they are pretty and all, but the idea that one needs “specially shaped” glasses to make wine taste right, I call bullshit. I have drunk wine out of Reidl and out of jelly glasses, and it all tastes the same. Admittedly, it feels more special to get out the purty glasses, but if all you have is a red plastic solo cup, that’ll do ya.

Anyway, enough about wine delivery systems, back to my awesome weekend. So, after our quilts, tiny wines, and nibbles, Chris, Toni, and I went to Five Guys for burgers, fries, and cokes. We hung out there until almost 10 pm, drinking refills and talking and laughing. Except for the fine lines around our eyes, we were practically indistinguishable from the high school and college kids hanging out there. I am going to keep believing that if I have to stuff my fingers in my ears and say “lalalalala I can’t hear you” to drown out the sound of your scornful laughter.

Saturday Thomas and I went to the Maryland Home and Garden Show at the fairgrounds. I love the H&G show. Lurve it. I love the gardens they build indoors. I love all the people selling landscaping, waterproof basements, magic brooms, and replacement windows. I love all the ideas for things to do in the house and yard. I love the people watching. At one point we split up and he walked around while I plunked myself into one of the seats they sprinkle everywhere and just watched the parade of humanity. I noticed:

  • Most people from age 3-83 were wearing jeans and white tennis shoes.
  • Americans really are trending towards the Super Size
  • Dunlap disease (his belly done lapped over his belt) is rampant
  • Once a woman gets to a certain age, she needs to not wear her long, stick straight hair just hanging there. She needs to pull it back or put it up somehow or it’s awfully aging.
  • Many people were there with elderly parents, and it was sweet to see how they were carefully guiding them around, finding them places to rest, and generally honoring the Fifth Commandment!
  • Some people had paid $10 to come in and walk around with a grumpy look/scowl on their faces. Not a good look. Note to self: try to maintain pleasant look as the all-purpose scowl is unattractive.
  • Children do not much like the Home and Garden show, except for two things. They like the candy everyone puts out on their tables, and they liked the Hobbit Garden, complete with round-doored Hobbit House. And they also liked any and all water features. Otherwise the kids I saw looked bored and frustrated.

Thomas and I have so many ideas for things we want to do in the house and yard. We got lots of business cards and brochures, and have been talking since Saturday about what our priorities are.

My priorities right now are:
Adding some hardscaping (a water feature?) to the backyard
Creating beds and adding plants to the back yard
Landscaping the front yard
Having the basement floor finished in some way

Thomas was more interested in:
Having the backyard graded so it’s smooth (I have no idea why.)
Adding plant material
Basement floor
Having an All Seasons room added to the house. (I think that’s a great idea too, but it’s not a priority. That’s something for after the house is paid off!)

We went out to eat Indian food with Jim and Andy on Saturday evening. Andy and I ate our food and enjoyed it. Jim wasn’t crazy about it. Thomas ate so much he nearly exploded. Later, he looked blearily at me and asked if I thought there was something wrong with the meal. I had to tell him that there was nothing wrong with the food, but you aren’t meant to eat that much at any one sitting. He was like a python that has eaten a large animal, like a cow… his body was using all its energy to digest the mountain of food.

Sunday we did church, lunch at the Crackpot (meh) followed by a nap, a massage, and back to church for a program about Lenten Themes in the Movies. A good day, very relaxing and restful.

Thomas finally said today that we will do the taxes this weekend. Woot!

02 March, 2012

Like a bridge over bubbled water

Last weekend, which actually lasted from Friday evening to Monday night, was the bomb. Not in the exploding-and-causing-havoc way, but in the super-relaxing, hanging out with people you love way. Samantha and Bear and Thomas and Ginger and Dru and I spent the weekend in a cabin in the mountains.
It was so good to get away and just be for a while.

I worked on a sewing project; a quilt I am making that is probably going to My Favorite Brother-in-Law. Don’t let the fact that he is my only brother-in-law make you think that title doesn’t mean anything, Wilson is really good value. He’s funny, nice, kind, and extremely mellow; all those are good qualities to have if your fate (?) was to marry into my family of edgily overreactive drama queens.

Even the drive up and back (under 6 hours each way) was fun. Thomas and I listened to Laurie R. King’s newest Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes book, Pirate King, on CD. When we weren’t traveling in our imaginations to Lisbon and Morocco with a demented silent-film crew, we spent the drive discussing vacation homes, personal finance, and dogs. (We always talk about dogs. If we started taking about nuclear fusion or underwater basketweaving, the conversation would inevitably worked around to dogs. It’s how we roll.)

Having Monday off meant I got to have a pedicure during the week thanks to a groupon Thomas got me and then get a dog home visit out of the way. I drove into downtown Baltimore with my feet still in toe separators and flip-flops so my new polish could really dry. Good home visit, I hope this couple adopts from us. They are probably my age, no kids, live in a fabulously decorated row-home, and came across as smart folks who have decided a dog would fit into their city-tastic lives. 

The rest of the week has been 1) short, thanks to that Monday off (mwah!) and 2) crappy when I was at my place of employment and awesome when I wasn’t. The crappiness comes because Work and I are having trouble in our ongoing relationship. I am too demanding, and Work is withholding and not sensitive to my need for acknowledgement. Work has begun to bore me, as have all my previous Works. Maybe I am just not a one-Work woman? Maybe I don’t have it in me to be faithful to one Work for years and years and eternally long and same-old same-old years. Could it be that a new Work, or taking time off to be Work-less would perk me up? I do not know, but I am considering my options.

I had dinner with my friend Deana on Tuesday night, went to gentle yoga on Wednesday, and met with The Stern Nutritionist on Thursday. Dinner with Deana was also The Bomb in a good way. Gentle yoga was good, I really enjoy it. The meeting with The Stern Nutritionist was way better than I thought it was going to be, because I have made some progress on losing more of my Own Personal Fat. Since our last meeting I misplaced seven more pounds of myself. Seven isn’t too impressive until you consider that I consumed my own weight in Cheezits and Wine when we were in the country, so I was afraid I would have lost NO weight. That would not have gone down well with The Nutritionist. She’s the only one I have ever worked with, but I wonder if all Nutritionists have a touch of the Dominatrix about them? I am a wee bit scared of her, and sometimes when I want to eat the donut, I imagine having to tell her that I ate a donut, and decide that walking away from the donut is the smart thing to do. If fear of The Nutritionist helps me make healthier choices, I’m willing to make that fear work for me.

The Nutritionist’s magic scale that measures my weight and general body makeup says that almost all the weight I have lost is fat (woo hoo) so I am carrying around a total of 17 less pounds of ugly fat. What that translates to in blood sugar and cholesterol, I won’t find out until April. I do know that my pants are easier to zip up, so that’s a win.