Archive for December, 2008

Canon 50mm f1.4


Yay, I got an email from Amazon that my lens has shipped. I hope I get it before too long so that I can play with it while I’m off at the end of the week.


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Mystery laundry marks

For the last few years, I’ve been putting up with my washer or dryer putting random, rust-colored marks on my light-colored clothes. 

This is the inside of one of my turtlenecks. Since this picture was taken, it got attacked by another mark.


Another one of my tops.


This is one of John’s brand-new Christmas t-shirts.


Up until now, the random mystery laundry marks have only attacked my clothes and only my shirts and tops, never my pants, underwear, socks, pajamas, etc. This doesn’t happen in every load, every-other load or every third load. It’s random and can’t be anticipated. And when it happens, it’s only one shirt per load. So I’ve been washing all my light-colored tops inside out, now I’m going to have to start doing the same with John’s shirts. The problem with this is, I only discover these marks when I’ve pulled the clothes from the dryer. And so they are set in. I’ve had a fair amount of success lightening the marks with OxyClean, but I’ve never been able to get them completely out.

My theory is that this is happening in the dryer. I can’t find anything in the washer to suggest a source, unless it’s under the agitator and if that’s the case, I think it would happen more often and maybe to more than one shirt per load.


One time a dryer sheet got caught in the tiny gap under this “fin” (what’s the official name of this thing?) and when I pulled it out, it had a rust-colored mark on it. Hence my theory. There are 3 fins in the dryer and one of them has a wider gap than the other two. It’s miniscule, mind you, and it’s hard to imagine all these clothes getting caught in there (I never catch them caught up in it, of course) but I have no other ideas.

I guess I’m going to have to get the Sears man out here. This is enough to drive someone to drink.


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My Christmas tradition since living in Richmond has been to photograph the Christmas Day weather forecast on The Weather Channel. One reason is for “trips down memory lane” for John, as he’s really into weather, he should have been a meteorologist. 

Here’s yesterday’s forecast, it’s the warmest Christmas Day we’ve had since we moved here in 1996, L.A. weather:


It actually got warmer than forecast. We talked to John’s side of the family in South Gate, California about 4:30pm our time and it was 58F here and 57F there.

Here’s one of many reasons to get yourself a Mac. Brian, who lives in Brea, California, suggested we get the laptop out and put it on video chat. We were all able to open gifts “together” courtesy of the built-in webcams:


I will spare you all the photos of us opening gifts, but I do want to show you what I got from John:

Joy of Photography


I had several photographic items on my Christmas/birthday (last week) wish list. One was this Canon G10, to act as my everyday point and shoot. I’ve been carrying Erin’s hand-me-down Kodak P&S in my purse but it’s been acting up recently and I’ve been lusting after a walk-around camera with more controls and the ability to shoot RAW (insert John’s laughter here). Now, I haven’t done any RAW shooting with the DSLR yet, but I will now, once I get some bigger memory cards. The G10 doesn’t come with a memory card, which John didn’t realize (but it did come with a charged battery), and fortunately it uses the same kind as the Kodak so I was able to get a little shooting done yesterday. It’s only a 512mb card and this camera has 14.7 megapixels so not many pictures could be taken without downloading them to the computer and starting over. The G10 also takes video. I took a short test movie, I’ll clean it up in iMovie and see if I can post it here.

Herewith, some photos from the G10:


 Oops, that’s from the DSLR. This is Erin (human) with Bailey (granddog).


One problem I’ve been having with the DSLR (and I’m sure it’s all operator error) is the ability to get good white balance in my indoor shots. Unless it’s the fact that all our rooms are painted and decorated in “warm” tones, but like the picture of Erin above, to me they all have a yellowish cast, even when I set the camera on AWB or tungsten, there’s little difference. But the Christmas tree picture is more like what I want to see, so I’m pleased with that in the G10. The white balance looks good in the kitchen shot too, even though the light behind John has a yellow cast.

My Christmas/birthday isn’t over yet, hehehe. I got enough gift cards and cash to order a “nifty fifty” 50mm f1.4 lens for the DSLR. That is a lens that can shoot in low light (called fast glass by the pros) and maybe some left over to put toward a flash unit.

With Erin’s husband Kevin being in San Antonio (Lackland AFB) for basic training, it was only the 3 of us this year. We missed not having him with us but he and Erin sent text messages and camera phone pictures back and forth all day (she has a Super Mario Brothers ringtone for the text messages and that thing was going off every minute or two LOL).


John has turned into the head chef around here. He fixed a yummy prime rib (which was carved with my new Cutco carver), sour cream mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli. Erin and I made a spinach salad with strawberries. That was just enough food for us and we were able to send her home with some leftovers. 

We booked our flights to and from San Antonio for Kevin’s graduation next month. I’ll finally get to spend some time with cousin Sharon and her husband Bob and see the Alamo and Riverwalk. I hope everyone will indulge me a few minutes to check out quilt shops LOL.

After Erin and Bailey left to head back to Chesapeake, John and I ran over to Downtown Short Pump to see “Benjamin Button” but it was sold out, so we’ll try again today. 

I hope you had a joyful Christmas as well.


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Car repairs, ugh

I left the Quiltmobile overnight at the Midas place to get its annual state inspection and an oil change/tire rotation. They just called and said the water pump is leaking and the serpentine belt is cracked, so I authorized those additional charges but nixed their other recommendations for new tires and back brakes. I was kind of expecting the latter to come up in the inspection but since they’re not mandatory, I’ll leave them for later.

I hate car repairs as much as I hate computer problems.


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Unboxing the Secret Santa gift


Here’s the package under the tree. Postmark: Pinellas Park, Florida



Joey wants to help me. Something smells good and he wants it!



Look at all this loot! Winnie the Pooh holiday socks, mini holiday cookie cutters, 2 post-it note pads monogrammed with my initial, a magnetic to-do list pad, super-fine sharp pins, a 2009/2010 calendar/planner, bright rainbow striped fabric (there must be a yard of it), a handmade zippered pouch and Joey’s favorite, a “sugar igloo” edible ornament.


My Santa is Barb P. from St. Pete. Woohoo, what a haul. Thank you so much, Barb.


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Bailey the Unknown Reindeer

Isn’t this cute? I don’t know how the title relates, I didn’t know reindeer act like this.



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Have you seen this? I don’t know where it’s running, but it probably won’t be on air after Christmas.



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Cyberbees badge

You may have seen this before, I posted this to the Cyberbees list several years ago, but I thought I’d resurrect it so that you can be ready with your ID badge for the next retreat. (Is there a retreat planned? I don’t remember)



Finished size: 4.25″ x 3.5″

Each square of the checkerboard is 1.25″ unfinished, the white center is 2.75″ x 2″ unfinished with a 1/4″ binding. Add batting and backing and quilt by stitching in the ditch. Write your name with a permanent marker and embellish with a bee button. Attach a jewelry pin to the back and voila!

A tip for the bee button: it will probably have a plastic shank. You can get a handy little shank removal tool at Joann’s I believe, in the button section. I got mine at Walmart back when it had a fabric section but I doubt that they’d carry it now. Once de-shanked, you can glue the button to the badge.

Here’s another option:


For those of you with Electric Quilt 6, this example shows a tip that Andrea Bishop of the Electric Quilt Company demonstrated on episode 103 of Quilting Arts: you can scan or take digital pictures of embellishments (in this case the beehive is a button I scanned), make .gif or .png files out of them in your graphics program (because those file formats allow transparent backgrounds) and set them on layer 3 of your quilt as a photo. I’ve done this before with clip art, like the bee in the first example, but I never thought to apply the technique to ribbon, lace, found objects, etc. If you’re making an art quilt, and if you can digitize it, you can use it in your EQ design. Note, this only applies to EQ6 because earlier versions only allowed bitmaps which don’t utilize transparency. Another great reason to upgrade!


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So after an 8 month absence, I came crawling back to the YMCA and like a loving parent, they took me back, no questions asked. I started on the elliptical machine, not knowing how high the price would be for having backslid so long and programmed it for my normal routine. I’ve never been a marathon workout type, so after my usual 1/2 hour, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the only residual effect of being out of shape was that unmistakeable, unique sensation of asthma.

While I’ve had lifelong allergies, I was diagnosed with a mild case of asthma in 1996, the first year I lived in Richmond. It was just a routine medical exam and I was astounded at the diagnosis. My Aunt Ginny and her brother, Uncle Wayne, both had asthma really bad. Aunt Ginny was always puffing on her inhaler. But my mother never had it, although I got my allergies from her, I suppose. I grew up with artificial Christmas trees because we both couldn’t be around a real tree. And the only pet I ever had was a tortoise. I couldn’t be in the same room with a cat more than 15 minutes, even up until after I was married. And I really think that I probably had asthma as a child because I spent most, if not all, after-lunch recesses in grade school sitting on the bench because I was wheezing so badly. I think there’s a name for it now, exercise-induced asthma. For me, there was some combination of eating and immediately exercising that produced that odd sensation in my stomach and then the wheezing and I still experience it at times. When I start feeling that way, I know just to sit quietly or lay down until it passes. So at some point after this diagnosis, I got my own inhaler. It didn’t get a whole lot of workout, thank goodness, but it was nice to have it when I needed it. And when I started doing a regular workout at the Y, I needed it a lot. But as I got more in shape, the less I used the inhaler. After it ran out, I never refilled it. And that’s been about 3 years now. 

Yesterday’s and today’s workouts didn’t result in needing it, so I’m certain this transition won’t be too bad. I did almost 3 miles both times. Yay!


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The “13 ounce” rule

Maybe you’re more alert than I am when you’re at the post office, but have you seen the triangle-shaped signs posted around the lobby?


I don’t go to the post office all that often but I was there just last week to buy my shload of Christmas stamps and I didn’t notice the 5 or more that are stuck all over the place. However, I sure learned about this rule when I went to mail a package this week. The days of trying to mail something heavier than 13 ounces without a return address or legible postmark are gone. After wrangling with the postal workers about my desire to mail what is now referred to as “anonymous mail,” I called my brother-in-law, Ken, who is a letter carrier out in California. He explained to me that over fears of wackos sending mail bombs, the FAA has imposed this rule on the USPS and subsequently on us.

So in case you missed the memo on this back in July as I surely did, here’s the gist of it: if you have a package heavier than 13 ounces and you just put stamps on it, you must go to the window and process it through the clerk. If you  leave it in a blue mailbox, the package will be returned to you, presuming you put a return address on it. If there’s no return address, it won’t get delivered. I don’t remember what Ken said about what happens to anonymous mail, I guess it just sits there waiting for you to figure out it didn’t get delivered and come looking for it?

In the end, I abandoned my “no-return-address” idea and came up with something else.


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