Tuesday, December 16, 2008


After more than a month of sewing dresses, aprons and vests.....after a month of Sunday afternoon play rehearsals....and one on Saturday that made me miss the Light Festival AND a sister's holiday open house....it was show time.

And it snowed. And snowed. Five inches worth. And the temperature plummeted to 25 degrees. And the roads became solid sheets of ice.

And the play had to be cancelled.

I totally enjoyed getting to know the ladies I was working with. There was a real blessing in that.
And there's always next year.

Monday, December 8, 2008


We've all had those phone calls from telemarketers and others, where the person calling barely has a grasp of the English language and you hang up in disgust. Well, I hung up twice early Saturday morning. First, I was angry that they were calling at 7:15 in the morning, and secondly because I couldn't understand anything they said other than "Capital One." Which is my credit card company. I assumed they were trying to get me to use the checks they'd sent for my holiday shopping pleasure, or cash in my bonus points or something, and I wasn't in the mood to chit-chat, even when the 2nd caller managed to get in the word "fraud" before I hung up on her. Well, you know what happens when you ASSUME something.

Since I'd gotten two calls within 15 minutes of each other, I thought maybe I'd go online and log on to my Capital One account and see if they had any urgent messages for me. There it was, in big red letters: Account Restricted. Zero credit available. Code such and such. For more information, call 1-800--------
Which I did immediately. Didn't I receive any phone calls, asked the woman whose English skills were even worse than the two I talked to previously. I told her yes, and that I had hung up on them because I thought they were trying to sell me something, etc. That was soooooo not so.

There had been fraudulent activity on my account the day before. Purchases from Lord and Taylor.....and Napster.....both places I had never been. I tried to get her to explain to me how they had known it wasn't me and what had happened, but basically all I got from her (or understood, anyway) was that information had been entered that did not match my account. She went over all my recent activity, letting me tell her which were legitimate and which ones were not (only the two). She said my account was now closed, I would not be held responsible for the fraudulent charges, and a new card would be in my hands within the following week.

I was stunned. I never visited so-called "disreputable" websites (and hadn't used my card in person in over a year). All the websites were secure, well-known, and so forth. BUT....two weeks ago I opened a Pay-Pal account....thinking it would be easier, and safer....because their purpose is to pay for your purchases out of their site, without each and every store seeing your credit card information. I know it's very popular, and used all over the world. But you can't convince me right now that it didn't have something to do with it. And when I closed my account with them (the credit card on file with them is now no longer good anyway), I told them of my thoughts on the subject.

This morning I thought I would go into annualcreditreport.com and do a quick check there to see if they had any postings that shouldn't be there, and my account there was locked up due to possible fraud activity. They will be happy to send me a report if I send them several pieces of identification, and request one in writing. So at least I know they are aware of the situation, and things are being handled. That was my main concern.

I give huge kudos to Capital One for being so on-the-ball, but gee....it has caused me to totally rethink my online shopping practices. I shop online A LOT. Hubby says that he will take my credit card when it comes and lock it up, so that I can't take the new, unknown number, and start using it. That's probably a good idea.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Did I say my dress was done? Silly me. I have yet to hem it and put in a few hooks and snaps. While hemming is usually an easy and relaxing task for me, think of all that binding that goes on all those quilts, this dress is a nightmare.
A big, slippery, blue nightmare.

Jeanie pinned it up for me last week. Me standing very straight and tall (well, as tall as I could muster), and trying to show off my very best posture. Per her instructions. "Are you SURE you're standing as tall as you can?" Yes, Ma'am. I took off the dress, stuffed it into my grocery bag and brought it home, where it still remains today.

I'm afraid to take it out of the bag. I'm afraid that when I do, the pins will fall out of that slippery blue satiny fabric, and I won't know where to put that hem. The situation wasn't helped in that we didn't shorten the dress BEFORE pinning it up, so 6" of fabric was lying on the ground and got pinned under. I'm not sure that was the best way to do it.

I intend to make it shorter by a wee bit than what she pinned, for if I slump or look down while wearing that dress, the hem is dragging on the floor. She left me no leeway at all. I don't think that's a good idea. I just know I shall fall flat on my face going up or down those stairs to the stage.

The little girls whose dresses need sewing STILL haven't shown up for their fittings, tho 5 of them are SUPPOSED to be at rehearsal tomorrow.

Two weeks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


My dress is done. It fits. I look like a pregnant sausage. But then, we all do (all the ladies in the play, that is). Still, it's a real reality check to take a dress that SHOULD be on Gweneth Paltrow, and make it fit me. Oh my.

I've got the rolls made for Thanksgiving, but haven't even started the Christmas fruitcake. Tomorrow I will make the creamed leeks and the pumpkin pie. And shop for a veggie tray for the FIRST Thanksgiving dinner we go to Thursday.

Friday I will probably start sewing the little girl dresses....there are now 7. But the little darlings have not shown up to have their measurements taken. I say we make a size 10 and if they're too big, tie lots of sashes on them. Sigh. One more thing that is going to put us even farther towards our Dec. 14 play date with lots to be accomplished. And gee, Friday is my day in the office. Huh. I'm getting more behinder as I go!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


November. Almost December. I cannot believe it. I am still stuck in late September...maybe the beginning of October. Never have I felt so out-of-touch with time, and I hate it because that means I have to rush to get things done and I won't be enjoying it at the leisurely pace I usually relish.

NEVER AGREE TO BE IN A PLAY to help out a friend. Ohmygosh. This has turned into WAY more work than I ever anticipated, and I'm starting to resent it. Sigh. We have been working on regency-era dresses for all the ladies in the play for the last 3 weeks. Today I am working on my bodice...putting on the bias tape that will hold the ribbon that makes a drawstring top for the bodice. Then I must handstitch a decorative ribbon over the stitching for the tape. Fortunately (?) for me I am almost done with my dress, for there are 4 little girl dresses waiting to be sewn. And aprons for the servants in the play. And little satin bags for the ladies to carry, and...oh yes, fans. I've bought fabric, shoes, white hose, long gloves, and a shawl. Yes indeed. Waaaaay more than I anticipated.

But, on a good note....I woke up this morning with perfect hair. Yep. Didn't even need to put a comb to it. It looked as nice as if I'd just come from the hairdresser. Amazing. Even after I plucked off my shower cap it still looked good. I must not have moved at all in my sleep, but gee, there aren't even any flat spots. Usually my short hair is spiked up in all sorts of weird ways, so I don't know what to make of this.

I also made the perfect batch of rolls this morning for our Thanksgiving feast. They are absolutely perfect. The best I've ever made, I think, tho Mamie usually has the last word on that.

Perfect hair. Perfect rolls. Maybe my sewing today will be perfect too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Oh, my gosh....I was feeling so invincible. Pain free for days, I had wine with my dinner the other night. And dinner was pizza. I took Prelief with the wine as a precaution. It wasn't enough. Yesterday, late afternoon, and my bladder was in agony. It felt for all the world like I had a bladder infection, but I know it is just my carelessness catching up with me.

Did I mention that when I saw the urologist back in September she confirmed that I did have IC? Interstitial cystitis. A chronic inflamation of the inner lining of the bladder. No cure....but if I don't eat anything with citric acid, caffeine, or oxylates, I should do pretty good. So...no coffee, no tea, no wine or alcohol, no chocolate, no fruits, no tomatoes, and on and on and on. I can have meat, fish, poultry....but don't put anything on them! Fortunately, I don't think my condition is as bad as some, and I AM allowed to take a Uristat or AZO every day to help with any discomfort. But I may have to cancel my membership to the Westport Winery's wine club.

Hey....did you notice that it's fall? That this week has been filled with sunny, crisp mornings? Oh joy! I feel so invigorated! I'm working on quilt projects...doing my pilates...cooking labor-intensive meals...I just come alive this time of year. Too bad it's so short-lived.

Have you started your Christmas shopping? I have one gift bought and that's it. With the economy the way it is....and still not knowing when the final shoe will drop....I think this might be the year to be really cautious with our spending. Michael and I never really go crazy with the shopping for each other anyway, but I think we'll just exchange small gift certificates this year....his for Cabelas, and mine for the Fat Quarter Shop. We all have much more than we NEED anyway...right? Right!

I cleaned out my fabric stash last week, sending two boxes to a church that makes "charity" quilts for various organizations in town. I've always meant to do that myself (make the quilts), but my good intentions often get side-tracked. They were delighted to get all that fabric, and I am delighted at the prospect of getting new fabric to replace it.

I wish someone in my family shared my love of quilting. Sigh. It would be such fun to talk "fabric" and patterns and quilt together. My girlfriend who quilts hasn't done much of it since she took a full-time job. I miss the fun of working on projects together....and the companionship. I'm thinking I should suggest to Rebecca that she learn to quilt. Maybe she'd really take to it, and I'd have someone to pass all my quilt books/fabric/notions to. Good idea.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I've noticed that the older I get, the more time I'm spending in doctor's offices. And I never really feel like there's anything WRONG with me....it just seems that there are more and more check-ups, more testing, more whatever. Maybe it's just that as we get older, we become more proactive with our health, having lost the "I'm invulnerable/immortal" thinking of our youth. Then too, as we get older more and more "stuff" happens....the aging process bringing all sorts of new delights. Delight? Not.

I've had toes and thumbs swell up with arthritis (pseudo-gout, they tell me), and I have a bottle of Naproxen on hand for the next time. The thumb-swelling was preceded by an evening of hand sewing, and it worries me that I may have to give up quilting one of these days....wondering if my hands will give out before my eyesight.

I've also had episodes of stress incontinence....what a joy that is! LOL....but not too hard! And I've had LOTS of bladder aches and pains, and a burning that seems set off by different things I eat. All the symptoms of a UTI but with no infection. I saw a new ob/gyn in my doctor's clinic who has a specialty in the bladders of aging women. He did two tests....a cystoscopy and some kind of stress test to see if I was a candidate for a "bladder lift". In both cases, the tests came back negative.

He told me perhaps I could benefit from some physical therapy. What?? As I sat there looking at him with this "Are you nuts?" look on my face (thinking that therapy was not going to help the UTI-feeling symptoms), he suggested that I get a second opinion from a urologist. Which is what I thought I should have done from the beginning. So, I see one on Tuesday. Please people, hold good thoughts and pray that she will have the right answers to my problem.

Other than that....it's almost officially fall! My favorite time of year. In that I can rejoice.

Monday, August 25, 2008


It's that time of year. Summer is on the way out, and fall is fast approaching. Yay. Still, I'm feeling a bit sad today because summer IS just about over...and once again, it has passed with no vacation or short trips or anything that slightly resembles some time away. Somewhere. Anywhere.

It's my own fault. All I need is a plan, and more still, a willingness to spend the money and go somewhere. I don't know what I'm saving it for. I'm sure it stems from once being widowed so young, and not knowing what the future would hold. And then when I did marry again(the most wonderful man created!), money was something we didn't have a lot of. It was always tight, and we were always putting monies away for the "down season" that could last 3-4 months...or longer...when you worked in the woods. I always tried to keep our budget to where we could exist on unemployment, with maybe just a few hundred borrowed from savings each month, to make ends meet. And once he went back to work, it meant saving again for the next winter's down time. Not much left to play with.

Now he has this wonderful job, and while I'd like to think it will last, as is, until he retires, it's in the back of my mind that it could all change at any moment. I KNOW it can. Been there, done that. And so letting go to spend monies on something as frivolous as a vacation....or a new kitchen floor...is hard for me. I wish it were different.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


All those books I've had come in from the library have me reading like crazy. I have managed to read 750 pages of "Pillars of the Earth" in the last four days. Three hundred pages to go. Five more books await....all due back within 2-3 weeks. My eyes hurt.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I've had lots of books on waitlist at the library. In the last week, 7 of them have come in...including the huge "Pillars of the Earth." I also have a stack of new fabric I'm anxious to cut into (waiting for the pseudogout to leave my hand).

Books and fabric....it doesn't get any better than this! Bliss.


When you're young, you never, ever think that you are going to be old. But the days and months and years go by, and one day you wake up and .....YOU'RE OLD. Okay. That day has come. On Sunday I will be 60, and I'm ready to admit that I am no longer young. I hesitated when I turned 50, but now there is no denying that I am over the hill. Headed down the slope to those wonderful golden years. What a scary thought.

I've asked my aging aunties several times in the past if they felt their age, and they would reply, "Physically...yes. But mentally, we feel 35." And that is exactly how I am feeling. 35. So, what kind of a joke is that? I guess we have to be mentally young or we could never cope with the physical things that are happening to us. But it really seems unfair to have a mind so willing, and a body so weak.

I have a happy, joyful attitude, and I expect it will carry me through the next 10 years, at least, with a young spirit. I hate to think that I will end up shriveled and crotchety, sitting in my rocker and trying to thread a needle so I can quilt something (something that will undoubtedly have large, crooked stitches, cuz who in the heck can see to do it even NOW?) and not having a lot of contact with the outside world.

I think that's the key. Keeping people....good people....around you. I am blessed with the greatest husband in the world, AND the greatest family. I've got a few good friends, too, and a wonderful church family. All these things will help, I'm sure, to keep me active and involved and sharing the love. That's what it's all about, isn't it? Sharing the love. Giving of ourselves. Keeps your spirit healthy and happy even if the body starts to fail.

So....happy birthday to me! Hope to see you at the party!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Wow. I am surprised that it has been almost two months since I last posted. Well, maybe I'm not that surprised. I haven't felt any inspiration, life is rather dull, and when I sat down to write...not a word would come forth. Today I am making myself talk. Even if it's just about the weather.

Which, by the way, is terrible. Even I, a lover of cooler temperatures and dark winter days, is distressed by the spring we are having. Or aren't having. Take your pick. It is cold, it is windy, it is drizzling. I have given up on trying to keep warm with sweatpants and sweaters, and have started fires in the fireplace to heat the house. In June!! If this keeps up, we will be out of our winter wood before winter gets here. Oh, I'm sure it will end at some point, and my biggest fear is that summer will appear with a vengeance, and I will be sweltering in my un-airconditioned house for three months straight.

So, what do I do on a day like today when my mood matches the weather, and while I need to clean, I need the inspiration of a bright, sunny day?? Why, cook, of course. (Tho I do have a meeting with an accountant/tax advisor this afternoon on some work stuff). This morning I am putting together a pot of spaghetti and making a lemon cake. And I debated about the lemon cake. It's terrible how when one is overweight, and one KNOWS they are overweight, they can still rationalize making dessert. The one I used was the sad, sad look on hubby's face when the lemon cake I made last week went to the Union Gospel Mission (our church provides their meal every 5th Friday). This cake is awesome. If you are a lemon-lover, you would be making this often. It is much easier than lemon pie, and satisfies just as well. So, thank Norma for the recipe....and here it is:

Norma's Lemon Cake

In a 9x13 pan mix together:

l lemon cake mix
1 small box lemon jello (I wouldn't recommend the sugar-free kind)
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. oil
4 eggs

Just blend together with a fork, and pop into a 350 degree oven (F), and bake for 30-33 minutes...til lightly brown on top.

While it's baking, mix together 2 c. of sifted powdered sugar, a few tablespoons of milk and lemon juice. Enough of the wet ingredients to get a thin frosting that will pour/spread. I add enough lemon juice to get the amount of tang I like...it's your choice.

When the cake comes out of the oven and is still hot, poke holes in the surface all over with a fork, and pour/spread the lemon frosting over. Try to wait til it cools before you eat it. It is incredibly moist and very lemony.

This ugly weather is certainly well-loved by the weeds. Oh, my goodness. It is a jungle around here. I hate yard work. Michael does too, but if I glare at him long enough or stand at the window and sigh loudly, he will go out and mow the lawn. A week later he may take out the weed-eater and tackle the weeds. Now, I could probably do that part...except it's a really big Stihl gas-powered thing, with shoulder straps, and a protective helmet, etc. that weighs about 15 lbs. or more. I have enough body aches without weed-eating. (See, I'm really good at rationalizing.)
Anyway, last night I took out our budget book and crunched some numbers just to see if we could afford a lawn maintenance co. Maybe just through the summer. It would take the pressure off hubby, and we'd both be happier people. But there's gas to pay for....and the car payment for the hybrid that uses waaaay less gas, but still needs to be paid for. At the moment we aren't saving all that much in the swap from truck to hybrid...maybe $25 a month. Once it's paid for....woo hoo! But that's several years away. So, with the cost of everything going up, where do you fit in the price of a gardener? I think we can do it...if they don't charge TOO much. But if it's only for 5 months...what the hey. We actually have a friend in Wesport who does that kind of work...and up here...so we'll be giving him a call. Maybe he'll give us a break....he still owes us a gunny sack full of dungeness crab for our wedding! (He was working the crab boats at the time.)

Can you say, "Amen and hallelujah!" Jeanie just called to say she'd been on the phone with a tax advocate from the IRS and the mess with the pastor's taxes from 2004 has been RESOLVED!! Without the meeting we were having this afternoon. Now, this isn't the first time we thought things were okay....we've had high hopes and celebrations before, only to be crushed when more letters came, and differing information from different IRS people said we were still in trouble. Crazy. It was a simple mistake....the tax advocate she talked to today said it was obvious looking at the orignal tax form that we had made a mistake, and knew what it was, and why it had happened. But the IRS couldn't just say, 'hey, this is wrong...would you like to correct it?" In fact, Jeanie corrected it on her own, but they couldn't deal with that....they had to pursue punishing us first. With the amount we said we owed...had the error been uncorrected...plus penalties, and interest. They were ready to levy the church accounts to get their money. Supposedly, this is all taken care of now. I hope so. Jeanie plans to retire at the end of this year, and I am supposed to be taking over. Well.....not unless they PAY someone to do their taxes. It's not gonna be me. The unpaid, uneducated VOLUNTEER help that does their books and secretarial work.

So....now I can concentrate on putting my spaghetti sauce together (a doctored-up version based on Paul Newman's Cabernet Marinara....delicious!). So good, and so easy. I cook some good hamburger, drain, add a small can of tomato paste, onions, celery, garlic, some brown sugar (I like my sauce on the sweet side) and some water or wine as it cooks. I'll add a little parmesan cheese at the end. It's very good. I have a bottle of Gabbiano 2004 Chianti Classico Reserva....I'll let you know how it was. This is a bottle we picked up at Costco....I'll probably love it and it will never be there again! I was going to open a bottle of the Westport Wineries "Jetty Cat Red", but it said it was so special it needed to be shared with good friends on a great occasion. So, someone come down and we'll open it.

And if you're in the neighborhood tonight, come on down for dinner. We'll eat about 6:30.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Saturday we had breakfast at the new Westport Winery and Vineyard By-the-Sea. Well, okay....we didn't really have breakfast there, but we did do some wine tasting. And it was before noon.

The new winery opened last weekend, and offers 14 different wines. While they are currently getting their grapes from other Washington areas, the soil is tilled and ready to plant their own grapes this year. They told us that their location is quite similar to planting areas in Germany, and they have high hopes for producing their own grapes, even with all the rain we get.

Like a lot of wines these days, their labels are works of art. All center around a beach theme, and the wines have interesting names like, "Surfer's Last Syrah," and "Charterboat Chick's Cabernet Sauvignon". These two bottles have labels with the owner's parents on them....his father was an accomplished surfer in Maui in his youth, and his pic graces the syrah. Mom worked on a charterboat for years, and she is on the Cabernet.

Their most expensive wine, at $55, is "Shiver Me Timbers Riesling Ice Wine" and is available only to wine club members. To join the club one agrees to purchase two bottles of wine, 4 times a year. You then get 20% off your wine, and free tastings for 4 of your friends, 3 times a year. Of course we signed up. Michael will be wanting two bottles of the "A Little Wild Blackberry Riesling"....which I found too sweet for my taste, and both of us liked a white Merlot called "Compass Rose"...another that's available only to wine club members. We sampled about 6 of them, and I found them rather unsophisticated, lacking the subtleties and complex flavors that you find in good wines. These are more "in your face" with some of the flavors just too sweet...too chocolaty (Red Sky at Night, a dessert wine). I'm hoping there will be enough comments made to them that they might try to be a bit more subtle with future batches.

They have a lovely little building, with an event room that seats 90. They are also going to have an outdoor pavilion tent this summer. They sell the usual gift shop items, and some cheeses and salamis.

So, if you find yourself on the way to Westport, make a point of stopping in. It's always a good thing to support a new business, and this time there is wine involved!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


It's spring. While it hasn't felt like it much around here, the calendar says it's so. And my spirit feels it. It's been a long, hard winter in so many ways, and I am ready for spring. We are all in need of the rebirth. The renewal. The hope that is spring.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


There are certain things in life that always happen to other people....not to you or your family. Up until this week, that held true. But on Tuesday, one of our littlest family members, 14-month-old Emma Joy, went to be with Jesus. As I write this, we still don't know "for sure" what happened, but she had been ill with the flu.

It doesn't matter what happened, the reality is that she is no longer with us. A hole of such huge proportion has been ripped into our family, and there's no way it can ever be mended. Our hearts are broken. And I know that if I can feel so badly about my little great-niece, the agonies her parents are going through are unimaginable. Right now there is no comfort, and the deep sadness will last for a long, long, long, long time. While it's good that she is with the Lord, I know we needed her more than He did. Who can begin to understand such things?

Please be praying for our family, and especially for her parents, Kelly and Steve.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Whoever said Sheryl Crow could sing? There's the most horrendous screeching coming from my TV this morning.

I'm on a rush to get to the church this morning....get the bulletin out, and the new budget proposal into everyone's mail slot. I worked 3 hours on this LAST Friday....2.5 hours Wednesday night, 3 hours yesterday, and more to do today. They keep changing things. Teri says I should be paid. I'm thinking maybe she's right. This "volunteer to do the bulletin" has mushroomed to where I am the heir-apparent to the treasurer/secretary job at the end of 2008. If I didn't love the work so much, I would probably complain.

I apologize for not posting anything lately. I look at the keyboard and find absolutely nothing to say. Maybe it's cause lately there are just figures dancing in my brain, instead of words.