Archive for November, 2008

I heart John


November 5, 1977, Anaheim, California


I love you, Sweetie!




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John and I left the house at oh-dark-thirty this morning, unsure of what we’d find at the polling place. Yes there was a long line at 6:10 but since we only had to vote for 3 offices, it went fairly fast and we only had to stand in line for a 1/2 hour. There was a light rain/drizzle, but it held off for us. It would have been pretty miserable if we’d had to stand there in a downpour. (Although I would hope that poll officials would have opened up the school hallway for us.)

We had a little “excitement” before we left the house. The neighbor’s trash gets picked up on Tuesdays at about 5:30 am. I heard a siren which stopped nearby and looked out the front window to see a fire truck in the street. Apparently the trash truck had an electrical fire or some other engine malfunction. As I write this, it’s 7:30 and our neighbors are still blocked into their driveway but there is a tow truck there now. Don’t know how they’re going to get that thing turned around on the cul-de-sac.

Anyway, while in line, we were reminiscing about the differences in voting between California and Virginia. In California, we voted in a private home. Here, we vote in schools and churches. California sends out sample ballots and voting information well in advance of the elections, here somebody stands next to the voting line and asks if you want a sample ballot. What’s the point of that? We were laughing with the lady next to us that we should walk past the guy and not make eye contact. In California, there always seemed to be a bazillion propositions and a lot of them are worded with double-negatives which is terribly confusing. Vote yes and you’ve actually voted against the measure, a no vote is a vote for it. They’ve got one of those this year, Prop 8.

We’ve been inundated with McCain/Obama commercials for weeks/months now so I’m glad we’re done with that. We screen all the calls on our landline phone and we haven’t answered it much. My brother-in-law, Ken who lives in L.A., says there’s been very little of that there because the assumption is that the state will go to Obama so they don’t want to waste their advertising dollars there when they could be spending them in Virginia LOL.

It will be an interesting day. Hope your voting experience is a good one!



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Beer Stew

This is another church cookbook recipe, submitted by Marty MacMillan. There is a typo in it, thank goodness she is still around to correct it, it had me confused. I think the name is a little misleading, it’s not a stew in the classic sense because there aren’t any vegetables in it. But let’s not mince words, it’s good!

1-1/2 to 2 lbs stew beef

1 pkg onion soup mix

1 12-oz bottle of beer

4 or 5 strips of bacon

1 cup water

1 tsp ground thyme

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

noodles or rice

Preheat oven to 300F. Fry bacon, remove, drain and chop into bits, but retain drippings in pan. Coat the meat with flour and fry in the drippings. Place in 2 quart casserole, sprinkle with bacon bits. Discard excess fat if there is any. In same pan, bring water to boil. Add onion soup mix and half the beer. Drink the other half. Pour over meat. Add thyme. Bake for 1 hour, uncovered. Add vinegar before serving. Serve over white rice or noodles.


One mistake I made, I think, was using too much flour. It thickened up the drippings so much that I had to add some that I had stored in the fridge. That’s why I didn’t have any drippings to discard. And maybe using more beer would have helped with that thickness thing. I served it over noodles the first night but used rice with leftovers and liked it better.



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What, no price break?


I thought this was hysterical when I saw it on the Hancocks of Paducah website. You pay the same price for 6 of these gorgeous patterns as you do for 1,000,000 or more.



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I love to find typos

Click to enlarge. Doesn’t everybody know how to spell Busch Gardens?



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Free-motion quilting success!

A few weeks ago I resolved to practice some free-motion quilting in preparation for a machine quilting class I’m taking later this month. I know, who does this? Well, I’ve taken this same class before and took one from another teacher, so I should be good at this by now, right? And I probably would be, if only I’d practice.

So here was my first attempt. The top doesn’t look too bad, but the back is a mess:

I also had a lot of problems with thread breaking.

So I did some research, made some adjustments and tried again:

I am so pleased with this, I would not be embarassed to give a gift with quilting like this.

So here is my recipe:

Good thread (I used Superior on the top in this test, Coats and Clark in the bobbin)

Embroidery (or topstitch) needle, size 90/14

Feed dogs down, needle down, open toe stippling foot, SINGLE HOLE THROAT PLATE

Thread tension on 5

Presser foot tension on the first bar below 1

Of course, these settings are specific to my Husqvarna Viking Lily 545 but it shows that I loosened both the thread and presser foot tensions. I have a drop-in bobbin so cannot adjust that tension, but there wasn’t any need. The reason I capitalized the throatplate note is that I cannot emphasize enough that I think this change made a lot of difference. I originally used the zigzag plate. I had to buy this throatplate, it did not come with the machine. If you don’t have one but have the opportunity to get one, I recommend it.

I think the thing that jazzed me the most was the marking. I used a Crayola Washable marker. In this example, I marked a crude irregular grid (ok it was supposed to be a regular grid but I messed up) and then marked this geometric pattern within each grid square. In one spot I went the wrong direction and really made a mess of it, but you can see in the “after” photo, that all the markings came out easily (with hot water) and no one would be the wiser if I didn’t show you the “before” photo.

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