Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An Oldie But a Goodie

Happy Birthday, Grandpa! Or "Grampy" as the little ones have decided they want to call him. Today is Jerry's 65th birthday. We had his party last night, though, because I have a quilt guild meeting tonight. It just wouldn't be right for me not to show up...since I'm "the program". But after 65 years rattling around on this planet one has to learn to be flexible.

So everybody got together yesterday. Savannah helped me make the cake -- that way she was first in line when it came time to lick the beaters, etc. She also came in handy when it was time to set the table, make place cards and tell everybody where to sit. I don't know how we managed to celebrate before she came along! Maybe she'll grow up to be a "community organizer". Hmmm. Emery was very helpful when it came time to open the presents. And it was so nice of him to show up wearing a John Deere tractor shirt...Grampy's favorite.

During the gift opening and cake eating festivities, Savannah made sure Grampy had a crown to wear. She didn't want anyone to forget who the star of the show was. When she was taking orders as to who wanted cake and Jessica politely declined, she told her it was "chocolate...and has 3 eggs in it". Still couldn't talk her into it, but that's okay. Just left more for the rest of us.
We love you, Grampy!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Continuing the Tradition

I must have been about 5 or 6 years old when my mom and my aunt took my sister and I to Chicago to see the Ice Capades. I still remember it clearly. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I vividly recall being awestruck by the graceful skaters doing amazing turns, jumps and spins...all the while the lights glistened and sparkled and little beams bounced off their sequined costumes. These amazing skaters just basically showed their talents, but in a very spectacular way. I remember the wheel type formation where the ones in the middle would hardly move, but the ones on the ends of the "spokes" would have to skate like crazy to catch up! I remember the clowns, too, and the barrel jumpers. To say I was wowed would put it mildly. I got to take home a souvenir program and I would look at it over and over again and relive all the glitz and pageantry.

My girls were probably about the same age when my mom and I took them to Chicago, too, to see the spectacle. Jodi says she remembers it well.

So it was with great pleasure and excitement that I bought tickets to Disney on Ice when it came to Phillips Arena in Atlanta this past weekend. I had planned to take Jodi, Jess and Savannah. But Jessica had a weekend retreat with her Sunday School so Savannah got to take her friend, Reese. They had a wonderful time. This show still features the skills of many talented skaters, but the kids just mainly see characters they are familiar with...The Little Mermaid, Tinker Bell, The Lion King and the Cars...but they are still fascinated. The girls were on the edges of their seats through most of the performance. The most fun for me was watching their faces as their beloved princesses, etc. glided across the ice with fantastic sets, music and lights. I think it's harder these days to impress kids because they are constantly stimulated from birth with bright colors and images and beautiful music...in movies, on the computer, and everywhere they turn. But the girls were "wowed" and that made my day.

Savannah tried ice skating last winter for the first time and she did it the way most 5-year-olds do it. Clumsily and with a lot of shuffling and falling down. I asked her if she was going to skate like Ariel when she gets on the ice this year. She said, "Oh, yes." And I smiled; because growing up in Illinois I did get to ice skate every winter. And even though I was always clumsy and inept, in my mind I was just like those stunning stars in the Ice Capades that I had seen so many years before.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Week in Review

Okay, okay. I've had some comments (complaints, too) because I haven't posted for a week. What can I say? I've been busy just being retired. Following my nose around most days, just giving into my adult ADD. I didn't think there was much to write about. But looking back, I guess it was a pretty good week.

On Monday we went with the Yorks to the Pumpkin Patch in Watkinsville. That's just south of Athens, so Jess and I went up earlier in the day and went clothes shopping at the mall...then met up with the rest of the family at the Patch. It turned out to be a very nice warm and sunny day. There was lots to do besides pick pumpkins. Emery and Grampy are pumping water into the pvc troughs to race their ducks. There was a cow train ride, a big slide, a petting zoo, a hay ride, a bale maze (similar to a corn maze, but easier and less scary for the little ones) and pig races. Savannah's pig won the race, so she got a pig nose as a prize. After the Patch, we ate dinner at Rafferty's...always a treat.

On Tuesday I finished piecing the fish bowl quilt that I'm going to give Emery for Christmas. I started it back in April at the retreat. Tuesday night we had Batty Babes and I took it to one of my friends there to machine quilt it for me. Then I spent a lot of time in the sewing room the next few days working on Savannah's pink and purple that I also started last April. I want to hand quilt this one for her for Christmas and I need to get on it!!! I also finished a wall hanging that I made for a friend for Christmas. It's the same as one I made for myself last year, but the border fabric is different.

On Wednesday we had some good friends over for dinner and played cards. It was fun. I don't know why we don't do that more often.

Then yesterday I dug into a new craft project I've had on my mind. I can't go into details here (more Christmas presents), but I will tell you that there is a HUGE mess on the dining room table. But I like the way it's coming along.
So there you have it. My week in review and it was a good one.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Newly Inspired

Yesterday I went with a couple of friends to the Georgia Quilt Show at the Gwinnett Convention Center in Duluth, Georgia. It's been a while since I've been to a quilt show, and this was a good one. So many beautiful quilts to admire and be inspired by. I usually find something in many of the quilts I look at that I want to try or a part of them that I want to incorporate into my work somehow. Whether it's a new color combination, a slightly different spin on something I've done before, a new technique or the way a quilting pattern changes the look of the piece. Sensory overload at it's best! Many shows have a "vendor mall" also. That's an area where quilt shops, sewing machine dealers, etc. have things you can buy. And, boy...did we buy! There were lots of vendors at this show and I came home toting bargain fat quarters, new patterns, and a couple of really cool storage/tote bags. So I will have fun today putting everything away in special places and in the next few days/weeks dreaming of all the new things I'm going to be trying.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Let There Be Light

A few years ago, we remodeled my sewing room. It's a regular bedroom in the basement. Jerry stained some unfinished cupboards for storage and cut down and stained some base cabinets to use to support a work top. I love it! There has always been a problem with the lighting, though. It has a standard 3-bulb fixture in the ceiling in the middle of the room. Not great light to work by. We tried putting some fluorescents in there, but they were worse for some reason. And whatever light was coming from there, I was working in my own shadow. So I've just continued to sew and Jerry continued to worry about my going blind.

A couple of weekends ago, I was gone for two days to the annual Women of Faith Conference in Atlanta (awesome, by the way). He had intended to surprise me by having an electrician in while I was away and put some lighting under the cupboards to illuminate my work space. He had to tell me about it, though, because the electrician wasn't able to come out until after I got home. But that way I did get some input into what I would like. It's all done now and the difference is really amazing!

And, lo, though I have worked in the shadow of darkness I have now seen a great light!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Birds and The Bees

After we had the house painted this summer, I posted about how I had fixed up the front porch. It's so nice out there with the fresh coat of paint on the house, trim and shutters...and the new wicker furniture and we've really been enjoying it. But we haven't been alone. No sooner had the paint dried then the carpenter bees were back at work drilling their neat little perfectly round 1/4" holes in the eaves and under the porch rails.

Then a little over a week ago, we heard this tapping sound. Upon investigation, we found there was a stupid little woodpecker pecking at the post on the south end of the porch! I guess he thought it was a tree. We figured he would give up when he found there were no bugs in the porch post. Well...he was determined, if not bright. He kept pecking away at it. This weekend, while he was pecking away, I showed the grand kids the bird at work on the post. By now he had made a hole big enough to stick his head in! Jessica was taking his picture and she noticed that on the porch floor, underneath him, the Geico gecko was standing there watching the chips fall where they may. He looked right at her and seemed to be thinking, "Need homeowner's insurance?" Now you'd think that even a bird brain would realize, when he could stick his whole head inside, that there are NO BUGS in the porch post. But no...our friend had to look so far into the hole that he fell in!!!

So now he's flapping around inside the post. It's too narrow for him to fly, and there's nothing for him to hang on to in order to climb back up. You have to feel sorry for the poor little idiot. So Jerry got his tools out and cut a piece out of the bottom of the post so he could come out that way. But he's still inside. We thought the post was hollow and he could come out the bottom. But there must be something in the middle section. He's been in there for two days now and we don't know what else to try. I suggested Jerry make a little "rescue ladder" from jute or something to drop down inside the hole. He didn't jump right on that idea, but he did agree that he can take a funnel and put some bird feed inside the hole. If there is something that's keeping the bird from going down to the bottom, it may catch the seed. Then maybe we can put a piece of twine down there and see if he'll climb up on that. So while I relax on the porch swing, Jerry is busy with continuing rescue efforts and further demolition of the newly painted post.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Good Start

A week ago I said I was retired and looking forward to what that would feel like. I'm glad to say that the first week was great! On Monday I finished a quilt. It's the one I had said I couldn't show when I recently listed the ones I've finished lately. That's because it was a gift...for Melisa's birthday. We had a big Babes' birthday party (for 3 members) on Monday night and I gave it to her then. So now I can show it. The printed part in the top center says, "Melisa's Kitchen" and I've used 30s reproduction fabrics. The 5 traditional pieced blocks have kitcheny names like, table for four, broken dishes, cut glass dish, pork and beans and churn dash. Two fill-in blocks have applique; an apple and green and yellow sweet peppers. In the lower right-hand corner is one of her favorite recipes. You can print on special fabric anything that you can type or scan on the computer -- so that's a fun design option. Finally, after all the quilting is done, the apron in bottom center is appliqued on by the waistband...leaving the bottom of the apron to hang free. I like the way it turned out.

So I finished the quilt in the morning, then we had the party in the evening. In between I went with Jessica to look at a house. She's in the market and there was one she wanted to see the inside of. A couple of days in the middle of the week were spent working on scrapbooks. My friend, Mellie, came over and we worked on our books together. I finished two "works in progress" in two days! And I organized all my stickers, papers, etc. Feels so good to finish something like that.
The other days of the week included things like Bible Study, more laundry than I've done in the past month, a little baking, and more quilting. Also...we had the grand kids for 3 days! We went to the zoo with the Yorks, church with Aunt Jess had a picnic lunch in the front yard, collected a whole bunch of cicada skins and read a lot of books.
Jerry and I managed to get a couple of walks in, but didn't play golf yet. That's on the agenda for this week. But so far....I think I'm going to like this! :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

So Sad

Hello. My name is Jo Beth...and I am a Cubs fan. I mean...there outta be a support group! After the most fun and exciting summer in my memory, it seemed like the Cubs were destined for greatness this year. Maybe since it's been exactly 100 years since their last World Series win...the curse might have run its course. But NO!
In case you haven't been paying attention, the Cubbie Bears have had an awesome summer. They've made it good to be a fan again...and then they took it away. They always do. As part of our summer vacation this year, I wanted to go to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field again. I didn't know when I made those plans that they'd be having such a great season. The night we were there my favorite pitcher started (Carlos Zombrano) and my favorite closer -- next to Kyra Sedgwick-- (Kerry Wood) wrapped it up. Then we saw the "win flags" flying all over the place and got to sing the "Go, Cubs, Go" song with the crowd. Nobody is in a hurry to leave the park after a win...they stay to sing the song. We also went on a promotional night. The first 10,00 fans (and we made sure we were among them) got a 1908 baseball cap. Those seemed like good luck. In case you don't know the story, in the 1945 World Series a local fan and business owner tried to take his pet goat to the ballgame. P.K. Wrigley wouldn't allow the goat in and so the fan -- William "Billy Goat" Sianis -- put a curse on the club saying the Cubs would never win a world series again as long as the goat was not allowed in Wrigley Field. But come on...it's been 100 years! Sianis and his goat have long ago gone on to the big ballpark in the sky. It seemed like this might just be the year. They were in first place in their division most of the season...usually about 8 or 10 games ahead of the 2nd place team. They played some fantastic games. Zombrano pitched a no-hitter and the singing of the 7th inning theme song, "Take me Out to the Ballgame" was never more fun. Then they were the first to clinch a division and head into the post season.

Their first opponents, the LA Dodgers, came to the "friendly confines" last week and promptly beat them the first two games. Then, last night, after going all the way to California -- the Dodgers beat them again and -- just like that --they're out of it! I can't even say "wait 'til next year" yet. I'll just be sitting here all day today wearing black. And trying to figure out what I'm going to do with that left over half a bag of salted in the shell peanuts in my pantry.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Do Not Panic

A year or so ago, I would crack up when Savannah would say, "Do Not Panic" in a dramatic low voice while slowly waving her arms up and down. It was something she was quoting from one of her animated movies...maybe "Bug's Life". She seemed to use the quote at very appropriate times and it was really cute.

Well, this is now a very appropriate time to remember; "Do Not Panic". But it's hard not to. Here in the southeast we've had a gas shortage. In case you haven't heard, the operations of many of the refineries in the gulf were affected by the two hurricanes that went through there last month. That is directly where we (as well as Tennessee, Florida, etc.) get our gas from. So until they get up and running to full capacity again, we're in trouble. For the past 19 days we have been stressed out looking for gas. Most stations simply don't have any...so you drive around using more gas looking for a station that does. If and when you find one, the lines are long and there is no guarantee that they won't run out before you get to the pump. Georgia has passed some temporary measures that will help a little. They are suspending some safety measures -- letting the tankers carry a fuller load, letting the drivers log more hours -- and easing back on the EPA standards just until production gets back to normal...which could be a couple of more weeks. Just yesterday and today they say these methods are slowly beginning to work. So Do Not Panic, fellow drivers.

Then there's the whole mess from Wall Street to Washington. Such a short distance on the map...but has all of us tangled up with them. Do Not Panic? What...trust our government? Trust the guys on Wall Street? Who do we trust? Well....Do No Panic. Look at what little money you have left and it will tell you, "In God We Trust." In the mean time, try not to watch too much of the news...it'll only make you crazy. Everyone now agrees that this is a crisis. But not long ago they were trying to tell us that it wasn't a "depression" or even a "recession". They were calling it a "market correction". I like what one commentator said. "If this is a correction, then why don't we send the ones responsible to the house of corrections?"
Dear Lord, when you're finished fixing our gas crisis and our financial crisis...we still need some rain. Thank you.