Sunday, January 26, 2014

Every year, I think that maybe I have outgrown (or rather, AJ has,) the requirement for me, as a parent, to go to a public function to watch my child perform.  Somehow, I had thought that end in high school - with the band and chorus concerts, etc.  But no - he is in choir in college.  Okay - I can go to those concerts - no big deal.  Yesterday, though, it was a whole different performance.  

AJ is taking Japanese II this semester, and they performed a Japanese folk dance at the Mt, Shasta Mall.  AJ (and the rest of the Japanese classes - two classes of Japanese I, one each of Japanese II and III) wore kimonos and sang and danced a Japanese folk dance at the Multi-Cultural Heritage Festival yesterday.  Not the best photos, was inside the mall, and I just had my phone camera (which is better than my 'real camera' anymore!)

Yesterday was Ralph's 60th birthday, so AJ and I took him out to dinner at Kobe's.  I had been there for lunch not long after it opened, but neither of them had gone before.  It is a Japanese restaurant (appropriate after AJ's performance!) that specializes in grilling your dinner in front of you.  You are seated around the grill with other diners (Larry and Pat were supposed to join us, but Pat got sick) and the chef grills everyone's meal.  The chef starts off with cleaning the grill - with a squirt or two of oil and then  lighting it on fire.  We had a little girl about 6 at our table, and every time the chef picked up the oil after that, she hid under the table.  The chefs are great - they make your fried rice on the grill, starting with the egg.  I can hardly make anything without breaking the egg accidently, and he was bouncing the egg on his spatula without breaking it.  AJ and I had steak and shrimp, Ralph had shrimp and scallops.  It was all so good!  AJ decided that Ralph had serious competition for his steak - his was 'almost' as good as Dad's.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tah dah!  I finished the four quilt blocks for the month....and the corners match up pretty darn nicely!  I think I'm getting hang of it - even the ones that aren't paper pieced match up.

My 'spa treatment' on Tuesday was wonderful - starting with the heated table to lay down on, heated blankets on top, and a full body massage - from scalp to my was so hard to get motivated for the rest of the day.  I came home and sat in the backyard in the sun and read my book.  Lovely!  The spa (Urban Retreat) is on Park Marina, and backs up to the water.  The rooms are beautiful, and so is the view.

Then, I followed it up with a 10-hour day at the office yesterday (I left for work before 7:00, ate a snack at my desk around 10:00 - not even a lunch break!) followed by a meet-and-greet with the new Chief Credit Officer - my new boss.  It was a fun evening - lots of snack-y food, beer and wine, with a chance to mingle with the rest of the loan crowd.  (Most of whom I talk to on the phone, but never see.)  I got home last night close to 7:00 - a long day!  Hopefully today will be better - I still plan on going in early, but maybe today I'll get a lunch break?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I ended up with a fairly productive day after all yesterday.  I lounged around the house with Mom and Alli all morning - baking a batch of scones was about as productive as I got.  Mom went home around noon or so, and then I cleaned up the house a bit, took Alli with me to work and finished up a project I needed to get done last week, came home and sewed a bit.  

I am very happy with the quilt blocks I made yesterday.  I have four blocks to make this month for my Quilt club (not to mention finishing up the two quilts I have started), and I was a bit intimidated by just cutting out the material.  They are little tiny pieces!  And then, it took me a while to get my gauge correct.  Somehow, my needle got moved out of the 'center' position and was moved to the right (I had forgotten that it could even do that!).  I was sewing with the edge of the material in the correct place, but I was getting a seam that was too narrow.  (And of course, I didn't notice because I was sewing along like normal...)  I had the center part of the block on the left done, and it didn't measure out correctly.  I had to rip everything out, and start all over again.  Then, I found out I put the wrong pieces with the wrong block - when I was making the blue block, I had pieces that were too long, and I thought I had just cut the pieces wrong, so I trimmed them to the size I needed.  When I got to the red block, I found out that I needed the longer pieces for it - the ones that that I had just trimmed!  Bummer!  Luckily, I did have enough extra fabric to re-cut the brown pieces.  Then....I couldn't sew them together correctly - it took three tries.  Finally - I got this much done yesterday.  Just think what I could have done if I had been paying attention from the very beginning!  I did get to use the new (to me) paper piecing method for the small blocks on top - and my points match up!  Woohoo!!!

I hope to sew some more today - I have the day off, and I just put Alli on the bus.  The blocks above are 5 1/2 inches, and the completed block will be 7 1/2 inches, so I still have some work to do on them, as well as finish the centers for the two other blocks.  I also have a spa treatment booked for 11:45 today.  The ladies in my department gave me a spa treatment for Christmas, and this is the first time I've been able to block the time to go.  I'm looking forward to it, whatever it is (it is the Holiday Feet and Body Treatment - no description given.)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Due to scheduling conflicts before Christmas, we didn't get together with the Derbys and Fishers for our annual 'cookie decorating/jewelry making' event.  The jewelry making part used to be ornament making, but the 'kids' outgrew that, so last year, I pulled out all my bead/jewelry stuff and introduced them to jewelry making.  (Emma already worked with jewelry, so she was a big help).  This year, we put it off until yesterday, so we could work around everyone's schedule.  Here's what I put together.....

I worked up a couple of necklaces while I was there for Veronica and Meredith, and spent a lot more time talking that I did creating.  I tried to talk AJ into making something, but he wasn't too interested in making a bracelet, though he did tie my knots on the stretch bracelet for me (always a boy scout!).

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mom came down for the weekend, since I have Monday and Tuesday off, and we went shopping yesterday!  Okay - the morning run was my normal WalMart, Winco run, but we snuck in a stop at Joann's too.  Alli did great - she had stayed home from school Thursday and Friday, and I wasn't sure how she was going to do - she was still a bit puny.  She was a champ and kept me on my toes the entire time (I know she's feeling good when she spend most of her time aggravating me).  After we finished unloading the groceries, we had a snack - you wouldn't all it lunch, but it turns out that's what it was - of chips and chili con queso, and then Mom and I headed to the outlets.

My main purpose was to pick up some bras, but....while I was there (after picking up 3) ..... there was this awesome sale at Dress Barn....  I picked up a black top (with a draping neckline), a pair of jeans, a watch, three bracelets and a pair of work slacks (fully lined, with a linen look that is wrinkle resistant) for around $100.  The work pants weren't on sale, but....they are long enough that I can wear heels with them - well worth the $50.00!  I'm tempted to see if they have then in my size in black, too.  (Maybe on-line they have other colors as well??)  I was quite happy with my shopping trip!

We left the outlets around 3:00 - too early to go home yet! -  so we headed in to town to the mall - they were having an antique show.  Mom and I wondered around there for a while, and she found a little black baby doll that followed her home.  Now she just needs to make it some clothes - that poor baby is naky!!  I think we were all happy with our shopping trip.
Sometimes you have to face your fears, or they haunt you until you do.  Friday night, I had nightmares about quilting.  I have all the needed materials to do paper piecing, but hadn't gotten around to trying it yet, and I dreamed (I swear it was all night!) about how badly I was messing it up and how I couldn't get it right.  So.....Saturday morning, while it was just Alli and I up, I got out my quilting stuff and started figuring out what 'paper piecing' is all about.  Everyone told me it was easy, but after my nightmares of messing everything up, I was surprised that it really was easy!

Just sew on the dotted lines....

And then cut on the solid lines....

And you have 20 of these:

I have no idea what I'm gong to do with 20 of them, but....I paper pieced!!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I'm surrounded by sickies.  Ralph has been sick for several weeks, and (finally) went to the doctor yesterday.  They diagnosed a sinus infection, and sent him home with a prescription for antibiotics and cough medicine.  I think he only woke me up a couple of times coughing last night, so the cough medicine worked!

Alex had his first day of the Spring semester at college on Monday, and he could barely make it through  his classes - he has the fever, cough, joint aches, etc.  Not good.  Then....Alli was coughing on the way home from Sandy's yesterday, woke up this morning and started coughing and then threw up.  I think it was phlegm from coughing, but....even if it is, I don't want to send her to school.  I think I have an enforced 'sick day' today.

We had our book club meeting last night - The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox.  We actually talked about the book more than normal (not that we don't talk about the books, we just get off subject a lot!)  I think it was because the topics are so relevant - mental illness, women's rights, dysfunctional families, etc.  The bookmarks went over well, too!  The next book is Rebecca - which is a classic I've never read (or at least I don't remember reading it - we'll see!)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Here's what I came up with for book club this month.  The book is "The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox" - which is a very good book, but....I didn't come up with a single 'image' that I thought I could crochet to represent the book.  There are lot of things that are visual images, but....nothing I thought I could crochet.  So........they got a 'winter themed' bookmark - ice skates!

I think they turned out pretty darn cute!  I do need to make a few more if I want to pass them out at work as well.  We'll see how that goes.  The one on the bottom right is the first one that I made and then I 'refined' the pattern a bit.  All of the patterns I saw on-line used yarn, and the dimensions we off when I did it in thread.  A bit of tweaking, and much better!

I watched half of a very bad play yesterday.  Malorie is part of the local theatre group, and she and a friend had volunteered to work the bar (beer and wine) at a play that was written by another member of the theatre (and his wife was the star....does that give you a hint?)  Her friend bailed on her (she probably heard the reviews of the play!) and Mal asked if I could help her out.  I worked the bar at opening, and sat through half the play, and served at intermission.  (We sold a lot more drinks at intermission!)  If I hadn't read a synopsis in the paper before I went, I would have been completely lost.  As it was, I was just confused.  I think the writer found every one-liner joke/pun that he could and put them all in the play, whether they fit or not.  (Hint - comedy is all in the timing.  Run-on jokes loose their appeal.)  Malorie's husband was filming the play for them, and he was as confused as I was.  The actors kept forgetting their lines, so they would just say some from somewhere in the play, which meant they repeated them selves a couple of times.  Luckily, I got to leave after intermission.  Poor Malorie had to stay (and she had worked it Thursday night, so it was a 'repeat performance' for her.)

The good news - the proceeds of the play are a complete donation to the building fund for the theatre group, and as such, Malorie and I 'donated' bank time for it (the bank gets brownie points for us being involved in the community) and ....we may just make the newspaper.  The Record Searchlight was there taking pictures for the 'about town' section.  Since Malorie and I are so cute, I'm sure we'll make it in the paper!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I got one set of my new blinds up!  AJ and I tore into one yesterday to see if I liked them.  I had ordered four sets before Christmas - two for the computer room, one for the dining room, and one for AJ's room.  Two of them were delivered to the house with no installation hardware.  When I called Penney's, they said that the blinds are shipped directly from the manufacturer, and they can't ship just the I needed to return the two sets and order them again.  One problem - the color I wanted wasn't in stock, so....instead of returning two, I actually had to order two more, take the hardware out of them when they came, and return those.  No problem.....except that when the two additional sets came, only one of them had the hardware.  Before I order one more set and hope it has the hardware, I wanted to make sure I liked the blinds, or they were all going back!

I like them!  They were pretty easy to put up - at least in the dining room.  We were able to use part of the old hardware and didn't have to drill holes in the wall.  The rest will have to have holes drilled, as the ones we are replacing are inset in the windows, and these are too wide to do that.

The cats started exploring almost immediately.  Picot got caught sniffing around....

And decided I should be petting her, not playing with the camera.

Indy came out to check them out as well.

We got a little bit of rain yesterday - not much and not nearly enough.  It was nice to see it though.  There is an article in the paper today that the Sacramento river is at historically low levels, and one that states they have a wildfire 80% contained.  It's going to be a long summer!!!

I went to my new quilting club meeting yesterday.  I think I'm in trouble - more like in over my head.  I'm sure I'll figure it out, but for!!!!  These are 7 1/2 inch blocks - very tiny pieces (and lots of points to match up!!!)  These are the four that I am working on this month....

And this are more blocks from the quilt.....There are 41 blocks total to be completed by the end of the year.

I need to learn a new technique for it too - paper piecing.  They gave us a quick demonstration of it yesterday, and it looks do-able, but  I have one more problem.  I bought a CD that has all the different "paper piecing" sizes to print, and the CD box on the computer won't open.  Our computer is a dinosaur, but I've been fighting replacing it, because the only thing we do with it is check e-mail for the 'thejauchs@att' account, and print.  I hate spending money on something I'm not going to use (because I can check the att account on my laptop - I just don't)!  I'm going to try loading the CD on my laptop, and sending the pages that I need as a .pdf file to myself as an e-mail, or save it to a thumb drive.  I think what I need to do is to seriously start looking for a wi-fi printer, so we can all print from our laptops.  Add that to my 'to-do' list.  

I also need a new DVD/VCR player for Allison.  Hers broke last week, and she's now watching Pokemon on my TV - and I didn't realize how much I enjoyed watching something else than Pokemon!  I worked on bookmarks for book club yesterday (pictures later!), and I usually pop in a movie or watch TV while I crochet.  Yesterday, I got Pokemon.

Friday, January 10, 2014

AJ took his annual swim last night.  I think this was as warm as it's ever been on his birthday, but....he was still freezing when he got out.

The pictures were pretty good this year - I used my new phone, and they are as good as any I've gotten before.  I would have liked to have tried the video too, but I couldn't talk him into a third jump in the pool.

He had a couple of friends in for dinner and an all-night gaming party last night.  I fixed steak and scampi, and made him a cheesecake.  All was good in his world!  He went to bed this morning about 5:30, and I don't know that both of his friends have gone to bed yet.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Today is Alex's 21st birthday.  Wow.  He's all grown up.  I know I thought I was all grown up when I was 21 - I had gotten married just a couple of days before, so I thought I had it all when I was that age.  Another Wow.

Allison got up this morning at 4:30, so I changed her and tossed her back in bed, threw the dogs outside, and then went back to bed for a cat nap until the alarm went off at 5:00.  I think 'cat nap' was a misnomer - there was a cat that wasn't napping while I was.  Between the time I let the dogs out and when I got up again, 'someone' had gotten into my yarn and literally had a ball with it.  (I know it was after I let the dogs out, or I would have tripped on it!)  It had been behind the couch.....

around the table......(and you can see the culprit)

and into the dining room......

 The yarn that is wrapped around the skein is the amount that was pulled off of it.

The yarn is a gray with a silver thread in it, and is part wool.  That it is part wool is the only thing I can think of as to why Indy dug this out to play with.  I had it in a plastic bag tucked away in my cabinet.  Go figure!

And talk about best laid plans....since we are back into the school routine, I was planning on getting Alli on the bus, jumping in the shower and heading to work early this morning and try to catch up on the stuff on my desk.  When Alli walked up to the bus this morning, the bus door wouldn't open.  There is evidently an electrical short, and that bus is sitting in front of the house, waiting for a replacement bus.  When it shows up, I'll take Alli back outside and put her on the bus, and then I can got get ready for work.  Now I'm just hoping I won't be late for work, much less early!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

So much for 'back into the routine'.  Last night, I set my alarm clock for 5:00 a.m., but forgot to turn it on.  Luckily, I woke up at 5:30 - the time I've been getting up during Christmas Break - but....that isn't much time to get up, get dressed (at least presentable enough to walk Alli to the bus), get the dogs/cats/birds fed, start the fire, fix Alli's lunch/backpack, get Alli up, showered/dressed, fix breakfast, brush her teeth and get her on the bus at 6:10. Whew!  I did it, but there was no time for my first cup of coffee anywhere in there!  Tomorrow will be better - if nothing else because Alli has a dentist appointment in the morning, and won't be getting on the bus - I have plenty of time to get up tomorrow.

I was showing off my quilt top yesterday at work, when I realized a terrible thing.......I have 5 of the 12 green and white quilt blocks turned wrong.  The pattern is so 'busy' I didn't realize it, but now that I've seen it (and I assume you will go look at it now, too) it is obvious.  It is obvious enough that I will have to rip everything out and start it over again.  Bummer.  All I can say is that next weekend, I get more material to start a whole new quilt, which will be completely different than what I've done so far.

My quilting club was 'Thimbleberries', which was based on fabric and books produced by one company, which has since gone out of business, so the club did too.  A new club took it's place, and this year, the club is doing just one quilt in the year, rather than 4 quilts.  I have a feeling that the quilt blocks will be a bit more complicated.  (And you can see that I had problems with the ones that I just tried to do!)  It could be an interesting year!  Oh well - they don't kick you out if you don't finish anything, so I'll be good.  It is a nice social hour for me at least - full of quilt-envy though - most of the women there are very accomplished quilters.

On the up side of things - my Amaryllis plants are turning green!  They aren't growing new leaves to replace the ones that were damaged, but the flower stem is looking good.

Monday, January 06, 2014

I think my New Year's Resolution should be to post more often!  Granted, it was a busy week, but...the weekend wasn't - I should have posted sometime!  School starts back up tomorrow, so I will be back on a routine of sorts again.

My New Year got off to a rocky start, with a friend having some difficulties.  I spent a bit of time with her Tuesday night and Wednesday.  Thursday and Friday were a blur at work - the first of the month always is, and the first of the year is even more so.  By Friday, things were feeling a little more under control - an illusion, I'm sure.  When I left work, I stopped by Little Caesars Pizza and picked up 7 pizzas - one cheese for Alli, one combination for Ralph and me, and 5 pepperoni pizzas for AJ and friends.  A couple of his friends were in town for the Christmas break, and were headed back early, so he had his birthday party last Friday.  There two pieces of pepperoni pizza left at 10:00 that night.  Whew!  

This weekend, I took some time and finished a baby afghan (no picture yet - it was 10:00 last night when I finished it - too dark for a good picture) and I worked on my quilt.  I am a full month behind - yesterday I finished what I should have had done on the 14th of December, and cut out the material I got on the 14th and should have had done by next Saturday,  Not happening!  Here's what I have so far: