Archive for January, 2009

I just came across this guy who makes these great photographs of his two little girls. Having adorable subjects doesn’t hurt.

Jason Lee’s photo blog
Jason’s Flickr photostream

I thought I could link to one of his photos, but that’s not working.


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Bailout for Dummies

Thanks to my cousin Dave for sending this, I thought it was hilarious.


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Thanks to y’all in the Midwest, this is what we got yesterday:


Fortunately, it wasn’t as bad for us as it’s been for our northern neighbors. It’s supposed to be in the mid-50’s today, although it’s now lunchtime and it sure doesn’t look any warmer out there, but if it does get up that high, the ice won’t be around for long.

I was awakened at about 5 a.m. by John’s phone tweeting. I thought it was Brian sending his dad a text message, he’s been known to do that. But when I got downstairs to start coffee, I saw the clocks on the oven and microwave flashing, so we must have had a brief power blip. So glad my alarm has a battery backup. Whoever thought up that idea was a genius.


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The picture on the sidebar doesn’t do this quilt justice because I was too lazy to color it scrappy, the way it was designed. Here’s one that someone else made, sorry I can’t find the source of this photo but it obviously came from a show. This quiltmaker decided against the half-square triangle inner border:


The design is from Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine, November 2003 page 50.

The only thing I didn’t like about this quilt was (were?) the leaf stems. In a lot of leaf patterns, the stem is pieced. In this design, however, the stem is appliqued. It is a strip folded into thirds and stitched atop a plain square. Talk about bulk! Oh my gosh. I laid out the blocks just like they were in the pattern and then mixed them up. The bulk became a problem when two (or more) stems came together. But I got through it.

The top sat around here for ages (I don’t even remember when I started it) like so many of my projects and I finally decided to finish it. I took it to a new (to me) longarmer, Susan Caldwell of Quilting Around the Block. I saw her work at the Richmond guild show last fall and she lives close, so I gave her a try. I was very pleased:


Since I want to use this in my family room, I chose wool batting, I hope that will make it nice and warm. Of course, winter will be over if I don’t get this done. 🙂

I used the border fabric for the backing and thought I had enough for binding, but no. So now I am on a search for a binding fabric that will blend in. I don’t want one that will stand out.

This is my February project. I’ve decided that in 2009 I should be able to finish at least one project a month.

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Free gift

While we were in San Antonio, this arrived in the mail:


The strap, not the camera. Because I listen to the “Digital Photography Life” podcast, I was able to take them up on their offer of a free strap from SmugMug. And I sure wish it had arrived before we left, because the day we spent walking all over downtown S.A. I had my camera around my neck. And if you have one, you know that the strap that comes with the camera is terribly uncomfortable. This one, on the other hand, is made differently, smells like a tire shop (yuck!) but is easier on the neck and I can tell that just from the try-on.


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When our house was built in 1987 it must have seemed like a good idea at the time to create a cabinet over the wall oven with a yawning cavern to house a microwave. Indeed, when we moved in in 1996 there was a Kenmore microwave there which I presume was the original one and it fit nicely into the cavern surrounded by one of those metal trim kits.


Fast forward a few years and that Kenmore died and I pounded the pavement trying to replace it with one the same size, but alas, the microwave industry thought it was a good idea to make even the full size models smaller. And because of that, the metal trim kits aren’t as big as they used to be. So I’ve been living with a 3 inch gap between the top of the Sharp microwave and the bottom of the trim.

Yesterday we bought a new GE Profile microwave which I believe is the same size as the Sharp, but I still can’t get a trim kit to fit both it and the yawning cavern. Since I’ve lived with this situation for this long, I guess I will continue to live with it until we get the opportunity to re-do the kitchen. I may go through 3 more microwaves before that happens, but so be it.


Our choices of places to buy microwaves is seriously limited in this town. We went to Sears, who had a Kenmore on sale that was black and we considered it. We went to Lakeside Appliance who had one (!) countertop model in the store which had been returned by someone and turned out to be the same model as the one we bought at Lowe’s but in black. I think I would have preferred black but I also didn’t want to run all over town to the other 2 or 3 Lowe’s stores just to find out that they only had the stainless models, too. 

One thing I already like better about this model than the Sharp is that either the light is brighter or the window is clearer because it’s sure easier to see what’s cooking/heating.

The cabinet is about the only thing that still smells like smoke and yesterday I attacked it with vinegar which I think helped. Either that, or our noses are getting used to it. I’ll have to pull some complete strangers in off the street and see if they can tell.


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While at the River Walk, we spied a “Life is Good” store and went up to check it out. This woman sold us 2 t-shirts and a dog collar:

That’s right, it was Nakomis from Big Brother seasons 5 and 7.

Our first BB sighting was in Richmond last year. We were at a Mexican restaurant with Erin and Kevin and in walks this guy:

Ah, Crazy James. Who could forget him?


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San Antonio – 3 of 3

Kevin’s town pass expired on Saturday night so Erin and his family hung around the base with him on Sunday and we caught up with my cousin Sharon and her husband Bob. I found this old picture of the two of us in the summer of ’68 I think. That’s not my sister Sharon’s holding, I think it’s a child that my mom babysat back in those days. We were 12 and 13 then. Don’t even comment on the hair, please LOL.

Then and now, 40 years later, yikes!


We had Mexican food for lunch (yum) and as Sharon’s a realtor, they took us to walk through some pricey custom homes that have been on the market for a couple of years but never occupied. John and I didn’t like any one of the homes by itself, but if we could have a composite of the best parts of all 3, we’d have some kind of showplace.

We came back to their house for dessert and Sharon and I looked at old family pictures from her mom’s photo albums. It’s fun to look back at our parents when they were young and hanging all over each other (at least her parents were).

The weather had warmed up into the 70’s and we had such a nice day. It was a fitting end to our long weekend.

We had 2 more uneventful flights back to Norfolk on Monday and got back to Richmond about 8pm. We were worried about the state of the house but the smoke smell was only apparent in the kitchen, as you’d expect. I took down the curtains and the tablecloth and anything else in there that might have absorbed the smell and washed them. The microwave sits in a built-in cabinet above the wall oven and it’s the cabinet that smells the most.  I cleaned out the dust and cobwebs that were hiding back in there and sprayed some Febreeze (yeah, like that would help) but I wanted to feel like I was doing something. How can I clean the smell out of that wood?


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San Antonio – 2 of 3

Since Kevin still had town pass on Saturday, we planned to take him and do the touristy things in town. His parents had a time share downtown and since parking is so expensive down there, they came and picked up Kevin and then us. From their hotel we walked to the River Walk, the Alamo and the historic King William neighborhood.

We were very impressed with River Walk. Richmond officials would like to duplicate San Antonio’s success with our Canal Walk, but I can’t see it ever happening. River Walk is like the canals of Venice, below street level, and winds around the hotels and shops and other buildings. Canal Walk is below street level too, but the footprint is so much more limited, it’s hard to imagine where they’d put the restaurants and shops they’ve been talking about. Canal Walk is a short block from my office and is a good place to eat lunch on a nice day, but as a tourist destination, I think it’s a disappointment. There is a popular nightclub there which is a start, but I think the Canal Walk won’t stand on its own without the additional draw of Shockoe Slip and Shockoe Bottom.

But I digress. River Walk has been used as a movie location, “Selena” being one of them and I can’t remember the other one.


There were a lot of flowers blooming and it was easy to forget that it’s winter. (The weather warmed up to the 60’s and was a very nice day, although overcast.)

We had lunch at Rainforest Cafe and then walked across the street to the Alamo.


See, what did I tell  you? Swarming with tourists.

Then we walked several blocks to the King William historical neighborhood. The homes reminded me of New Orleans’ Garden District:





I’ll bet we walked 5 miles that day. We were exhausted by the end of the day. We had dinner at Bennigan’s, Kevin went back to his base and we took Liz back to hers. And then we crawled into bed.

To be continued…


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San Antonio – 1 of 3

Before we’d even left home Wednesday night, we had a crisis. I had a potato baking in the microwave (which I’d done a million times) and we were upstairs packing. Joey was downstairs barking but that’s nothing unusual, he’s a barky dog. When I came downstairs, the kitchen was full of smoke, pouring out of the microwave. In this model, there’s a baked potato button and while it’s cooking it flashes “potato” until it gets to about 2 minutes and then it starts counting down the time. (I’ve never been able to figure out how long the cycle actually is, it probably depends on the size and number of potatoes.) But when I got to it, the countdown said 13 minutes and I knew the thing had malfunctioned, big time (as if the smoke wasn’t enough, duh). I grabbed the glass turntable out of machine and ran it out to the deck. We opened windows, doors, put on a fan and finally got most of the smoke cleared out. But the smell had gone all the way upstairs and even down the hall to my studio. It’s a good thing we weren’t running to catch a plane, I can’t even imagine what kind of additional stress that would have created.

It was still there when we got home, even the birds and squirrels wanted nothing to do with it:


We had no choice but to close up the house and go, so we dropped Joey off at Ed and Susan’s and drove to Chesapeake (2 hour drive) to spend the night with Erin. Our flight out of Norfolk left at 5:45 am so we only got a few hours sleep before getting up at 3.

We had uneventful flights to San Antonio and just messed around on Thursday. We had a buffet dinner on base with Kevin and his family. Erin’s friend and bridesmaid Liz, who is in the National Guard in Milwaukee, just happened to be at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio for classes and had a free weekend. So we picked her up and she stayed the weekend with us. It took us an hour driving around in circles (even with the GPS) to find her. I have to say that I didn’t enjoy driving around San Antonio. Their highway system was laid out by a maniac, with overhead ramps everywhere that sometimes confused the GPS. Out in the suburbs was better, but still. I never really appreciated how easy it is to get around Richmond until then.

I have to say that we brought clothing for the 60F days that were forecast for the weekend. However, graduation day Friday dawned with an unforecasted (is that a word?) arctic blast that we were ill prepared for. The ceremony was outdoors at the parade grounds on metal bleachers. The temp was 41F with a 34F wind chill. And the wind was blowing, I’m telling you. We sat there for close to two hours and even though we were packed into those bleachers like sardines, we still ended up like popsicles. Kevin’s parents had only brought light jackets so his mother brought a blanket with her from the hotel, which was the only thing that saved her. John and I had our heaviest jackets, thank goodness, but we were miserable nonetheless. As I expected, a number of my photos are blurry because of John’s shivering 🙂

Allow me to introduce Airman 1st Class Terry:


After graduation, we hung around base because Kevin and the other graduates didn’t get town pass until 2pm. We went to Olive Garden for an early dinner and John, Liz and I went to the mall and later met Kevin’s family at the AT&T Center for a hockey game.

To be continued…


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