Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dial up hell

I am currently in dial up hell. And while salvation is coming in the form of DSL sometime in the next 10 days, not sure if I'll be around to experience it. May forever be stuck in hell. At least until I leave here. So, if I do not post, read, comment, you know why.

Until Jan 1. Be safe on New Year's eve.

Aunt Stinky (my new designation by my nieces and nephew)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Sorry so many posts without photos, but I'm writing in snatches between events. Too lazy to put in photos.

My present to myself this year was to throw my back out. What fun! I went for a run Christmas eve morning and came back, no prolem. But then something happened and I started feeling achy at the bottom of my spine. By afternoon I was spasming mucho - you know when you move a little bit the wrong way and a gasp of pain comes out of your mouth? And you lay on the floor not quite the right way and can't get yourself out of position because you're already in too much pain so you're saying 'fuck fuck fuck' though your nieces are around? Thankfully it's much better tonight. It did get me out of a few chores!

We were/are anything but photoless in this family. Everyone is a camera bug, and everyone has a camera and takes photos. It's funny the different styles. 2nd oldest brother HAS to pose everyone. Youngest brother has a twisty lens thingie so can do sneak attack photos and videos. Sister does mostly family shots. Other brother manages to take bad photos and bother everyone. 2nd youngest brother doesn't take too many these days. Cousin/godmother does 'professional' shots with her professional grade camera. Mother just poses these days.

One thing we did this year that we haven't done in a while is do a slide show. My dad was a big photo taker in his day, and there's tons of slides. Not as many as before since there was a fire in my house when we were young and many got ruined (I just learned tonight my dad was getting paint off the house using a blowtorch - that's what started it... stupid man!). But there are enough photos of my parents pre-kids, and with each set of kids (first 2 boys, then 4, then 4 and a girl, then 4 and two girls) to make a brief slide show fun. We wanted to show the young kids too where everyone came from.

My brother downloaded all the videos and photos onto his computer - I think 2.5 GB. :-)

MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL! Unless you are jewish, atheist, muslim, etc. etc.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

So Far

I have had an octopus painted on my face that had one tentacle going in one nostril and out the other.
I have brought my nieces, nephew, and sister in law climbing.
I have had my first alcohol in weeks and weeks (from being sick) and it's goooood.
I have given away the quilt and it has been appreciated. My brother who collects art even said offhandedly that he didn't know he had a sister who was an artist... He didn't think I heard him, but I did... That was the best.
More good times to come. Hope you are enjoying!

Friday, December 21, 2007

My Christmas tradition

Although I put up my Christmas card, I did want to write about my holiday tradition. As I mentioned somewhere, my background is Polish. 100% as a matter of fact.

Our Christmas tradition focuses on Christmas eve. This is the night the special meal is made and people wish each other well for the holiday. In my family, the tradition was always to have fish and pierogi on Christmas eve night. And the pierogi is homemade.

Let me tell you there is nothing like home made pierogi. It's not just the taste, it's the process. It's a time when almost everyone in the family comes together to help out to make the meal. My mom traditionally makes the filling (both cabbage and potato, and if she's feeling good to herself either prune or cherry too). The cabbage filling has to be made 'just so' since my sister doesn't like the big 'boolies' inside (thick part of the cabbage). And the pierogi has to be made the day of, and in batches. A glob of dough is made, and rolled out to the proper thickness (pretty damn thin), and then rounds cut out of it. Extra dough is thrown into a bowl to be rolled out again and made into 'straighties' (like spaghetti, but with pierogi dough). And people sit at the table and take a circle of dough, throw a spoonful of stuffing in it, fold it over, and pinch the edges. Chatting all the way. And of course my oldest brother HAS to make a couple with weird shapes and/or a circleof dough filled with dough, just to be different.

All get stored under a towel so they don't dry out, and about half hour before the time to eat, the boiling starts. Potato ones just get boiled, but cabbage one, at least some of them, get fried also in a pan. AT the same time the fish is being cooked.

Once everything is on the table, before anyone can sit down to eat, the oplatek (sp?) comes out. It's kind of like the texture of communion wafers, but pressed into 4x6 rectangles with holiday scenes on them, and blessed by a priest. Every person starts with a piece. And you go up to a person, wish them a merry christmas, and each person takes a piece of the other's wafer and eats it. It's actually a really nice tradition. Of course, in my family, the goal is always to get other people to take as much as possible so you have almost nothing at the end left to eat yourself, since it's so nasty. :-)

Then, you sit and eat all the cold food. But it's still great.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Especially for DangerDoll

But happy holidays to you all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Queen

Size quilt that is. This was about as good a photo as I could get given the size. And I am currently soooo frustrated. The damn computer is not saving the rotation so I can't make it go the way I want. So turn your head sideways to look at it. Blue is the sky. It looks better in person.

Here's a little bit of detail. The mountain. This is the only place I ended up using fabric paint. I'm not sorry I did it, but it was a different experience than I expected.

And here's a close up of the border. It's leaves. I must say, it really made a difference and pulled the quilt together. Not only because of the pattern, but also the color thread I found. I tested a whole bunch of different colors, but finally settled on a color close to gold.

And finally, succumbing to peer pressure, here's a photo of me. Again, I don't know what's happening with the rotation, so turn your head sideways. This was before I did the binding on the quilt (my husband was going to bed and I needed the photo).

My comments: You can't really see the quilting too much because the fabric overwhelms it. Also the back fabric I chose completely hides the stitches, which is both good and bad. I am used to being able to see the quilting on the back. But again, you can see it on the border and it's nice. I've learned a great deal making this one, and feel more prepared for someday making a king size one, which someday I have to do for myself. (See, everyone else are my guinea pigs). I thought I'd use so much more fabric, but even given the size (I think final measurements are something like 70"x90") it was less fabric than I expected. So of course the extra goes into my fabric collection. How much did it cost in materials? I have no idea. I never add it up, because if I need a particular fabric or thread or whatever, I just have to buy it. It's not a question. Ah well... I hope I make my sister in law cry... She is going to have to send me a photo every year proving that she's using it. My sister made a quilt for her son (my nephew) and my sister-in-law promptly wrapped it up and put it in a drawer because it was 'too nice' to have out. Let me tell you, that's the worst thing you can do because quilts are made to be used, and loved.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


OK, I am DONE done done. Except for cutting all the loose threads and cleaning off all the cat hair! Ooops, and signing it. And, I think it turned out pretty well... But first the process.

First the back side is taped down to the floor - slightly stretched so that it's somewhat taut.

Then, you smooth the batting over the backing.

Then you center the top over the bottom, and smooth it all out. And then you proceed to put in safety pins every 4-6 inches to keep the sandwiched layers together.

Then you roll up the sides and use big clips to keep it together and make it manageable to quilt. As you can see from the photo below, the hardest part was getting to the middle of the quilt. Lots of substance to fit through the machine, and rather awkward.

It took me so long to do this, I'm spreading the 'reveal' over two posts... Tune in later for the details. :-)

Lessons learned

Last Friday I happened upon a quilting exhibit at which there were members of a local guild there to answer questions about quilting. I asked them about quilting a huge quilt on a regular sewing machine, and one of the tips they gave me was to find some way to make my fingers sticky so it would be easier to manage the quilt in the machine. If they hadn't specifically mentioned latex exam gloves I wouldn't have thought of it. Well, it just so happens that I had a box from another project, and so put on my exam gloves to quilt. I felt really silly, but they worked! At first I tried taking them off whenever I needed to do something else (in part because my husband cracked a joke about it being exam time for him), but finally realized that the powder inside realllllly helps to get them on and when you take them on and off the powder disappears. No powder means your fingers don't make it to the finger pockets and you're poking into latex in the wrong spots. So I've been through a couple pairs now. Bad for the environment, good for me.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I would hate me too

OK, you know that co-worker that got sick because I came into work sick? Well, she was out all last week. And she has no more leave, so she has to take half of it as leave without pay. I don't suppose there's any way I can make it up to her? I already asked about donating leave, but that's just not done. Oh, the guilt is killing me...

Animal House

So, to interrupt a weekend of quilting my beeehind off, I watched Animal House Saturday night. A nice, mindless movie that I had never ever seen before, believe it or not. And it's one of those movies that's a sort of essential of American 'culture'. A lot of references that still exist today. E.G. "Toga! Toga! Toga!"

Question I have though - is there where the idea came from that when women get together they stand around in their underwear or lack thereof and have pillow fights?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

FYI re: comment passwords

Just a short FYI re: filling out the passwords to make comments in blogger. I turned mine off a month ago and it made NO difference.

Now back to quilting...gotta finish. gotta finish....

Friday, December 14, 2007


Watching Footloose while I was sick made me start thinking about whether I had actually ever had a celebrity crush. You know, when as a teen you buy the poster and stick it up on the ceiling over your bed so he's always looking at you. And you swoon whenever you hear his name. And read all the Teen Beat articles about him.

Kevin Bacon was definitely not a crush. And actually, I don't think I ever had a celebrity crush as a teenager (mayyyyybe Kevin Kline). I do remember a moment when I started understanding what sexual energy was all about and mine started really awakening - watching Prince in Purple Rain. Boy o boy. It was damn funny too, because I watched it in a movie theater sitting between two male friends of mine. They didn't know what the hell I was so excited about, and actually didn't quite know how to respond...

The only real celebrity crush I ever had was, and I'm kind of embarrassed to say it since it SO dates me, was the ghost in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I literally used to pray at night that I would have a dream with him in it. I must have been a good girl because I think I remember having one dream, at least. If you don't know the show, and why would you, it was about a widow who went to live in this house that was haunted by a ghost, and their subsequent relationship. I guess it's kind of like the couple in Pushing Daisies, but this TV show had no narrator to explain the feelings between the two characters. Actually, I'm not sure it even counts as a celebrity crush since I didn't like the actor, I liked the character. But it's as close as I've gotten I think.

Who was your celebrity crush?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

When IT Gnomes go Bad

So, take heed of what the Gnome said: be nice...

Arrived via email: Tips for Holiday Eating

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they are serving rum balls.
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy . Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and the New Year. You can do that in January, when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.
8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Pecan. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin, or two pumpkins and one pecan. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. And remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming, "WOO HOO! What a ride!"

Complements of the NRA (National Ravenous Association).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How am I?

Well, since you all asked (Susan), I'll just say that I'm better, but not well. I really hope none of you get this because it is EVIL - or is this truly what Susan and the Gnome had? Someone made my colleague sick (who???) and so she's out too, so I can't stay home anymore since she's the only help I have on some/most of my stuff. Stuff is piling up... So, I nap on my office floor when I need it. And play the pity card when I need it. I'm not touching any surface with my hand, and no not with my tissue either, and drinking lots of liquids, or trying to at least. I can't even say I won't work over the holidays on my vacation... But, I AM better, so that's a good thing. Hopefully I'll be fine by the holidays.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Story of the Guineos

There once was a family named Guineo. This family had three members: Papa Guineo, Mama Guineo, and Baby Guineo.

This family desperately needed to move to another country, for reasons we will not disclose here, though perhaps you would like to hazard a guess. Given their sticky situation, the Guineos needed body armor, both to travel and to live in their new home. Papa Guineo searched far and wide on the internet, and ordered something he thought would work. When it arrived....

Papa Guineo tried it and it was TOO SMALL

Baby Guineo tried it and it was TOO BIG

But Mama Guineo tried it and it fit JUST RIGHT

So she said, 'Here's my chance for a free and single life! SEE YA!' and off she went. Papa Guineo subsequently was fried, and Baby Guineo grew up to buy a red sports car to compensate for something (ahem...he never did grow any longer or wider).

yes, folks, it's the banana bunker that I wished for! live and in the flesh, so to speak. I had sent out the information far and wide (not just in the blogosphere) and someone came through, so to speak. I opened it and laughed my friggin ass off for 10-15 minutes straight. that laughter alone was so well worth the money that was spent, and the person who gave it to me has my undying devotion, at least for a little while. :-) I could not bring myself to take photos of it in my hands, I just couldn't. but even just thinking of writing this post gave me lol laughter - I looked for the teeny tiny organic bananas but of course they had none in the stores so I had to use the smallest 'regular' banana I could find for Baby Guineo. even though I fear anyone seeing the bunker in my hands, it actually will be really useful come climbing season, since I do need to have a banana every day, and carrying it in my pack is fraught with squishing possibilities. it'll keep it stiff... Oh my, there i go again...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sick days

Don't you hate those people who go into work sick and spread germs? I feel so bad - I've become one of them. Turns out a co-worker is now out sick, because of me. I was such an idiot to go into work when I felt like crap - I forgot my mantra of 'the world will not come to an end if x doesn't get done'. I know there are people who either don't get appropriate amounts of sick leave or really do have to work despite having a fever (Gnome). But that doesn't make it good. I had to go in today to drop off some forms and I tried to make sure I didn't touch anything without a paper towel on my hand. Sigh... Of course the trip in wore me out and I went home and took a 2 hour nap. And could use another one!

On a positive note, I've been able to watch some movies, which I don't take enough time to do.

First one was Footloose. Haven't seen it since it came out I think! It's not half bad... I remember loving the name 'Ren' and thinking I'd name my son that. I looked at one of the characters, thought she looked familiar, and it WAS Sarah Jessica Parker.

Then I had borrowed Spirited Away from my brother. It really was beautiful and amazing - you have to see it. It is NOT for kids, that's for sure though. I'm bringing it to my family's for Christmas so everyone can see it.

Yesterday I rented Hairspray - the most recent version. At first I was kind of rolling my eyes and didn't want to deal with the fluff, and then one of the songs just made me smile and got me moving a little bit. And so I got into the movie more. My favoritest person on there is Elijah Kelley, my favorite quote: "I'm very pleased and scared to be here." A number of the pieces are just so great. I'm not quite done yet, and will go watch the end with supper tonight. It makes me want to see the original, which I think will be a little more twisted, given John Waters and Divine. But maybe not. Funny that John Waters was the flasher.

On tap for tomorrow if Blockbuster has it: Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Football Lessons

I learned today that it's not so bad sitting on the couch watching football games for 6 hours. I also saw a few things I had never seen before. I didn't know that when the ball is punted if it hits a member of the same team (e.g. on the leg) then... (oops, now I even forget what happens - the other team gets it?). That was the Packers game. Then in the Patriots game the whole horizontal throw to Moss, and then Moss back to Brady, and then Brady to the end zone - never seen that either. I didn't really understand it though - it looked like the football touched the ground when it was by Moss. What happened?

Although I am excited that the Patriots won, I feel bad for the Steelers. They were doing so well in the first half! It was a good game until after halftime. Oh, I also learned that halftime is not long enough to take a good nap. When I was younger, halftime always seemed so lonnnnng. See, I used to watch sports with my father all the time. It was a way to spend time with him - he didn't ignore us kids, he just certainly needed his zoning in front of the tv time, and any sport would do. I grew up watching everything: baseball, football, golf, hockey, fishing... I think football was always my favorite, though actually I do like watching golf too, but I can think of a million other things to do with my time now.

My wish for this football season is for the Superbowl to be between the Patriots and the Packers. See, I'm from New England originally, and my husband is from Packer country, so it would be funnnn to see the cheeseheads stomped by NE. :-) There would certainly be a Superbowl party, though perhaps at a friend's house since we don't have a big screen tv...

I have spent the whole weekend in my house, not speaking to anyone, drinking liquids and hacking. Actually, I did go to the store both days so I could pretend I was a real human being. I already know I'm taking off work tomorrow - actually I knew it this morning. I can't talk for more than a few minutes without hacking up some beautifully colored stuff. Can someone throw a pity party for me? :-) Of course my husband left for vacation the morning after I came back from St. Louis and won't be back until late late Tues night, so I haven't even reaped the benefits of being married - having someone to at least do SOMEthing for me. And the cats are going to drive me nuts - arg! But at least the little energy I have is helping to move the quilt along...yay! I might try painting some of it tomorrow.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Woo-woo's meme tag

Woo-woo tagged me last week with a meme (so I am no longer a tag virgin). I had to stretch some things in different directions, but it was indeed interesting to go back and look at my blog to see what's there, so thanks woooo. Link 5 proves that I'm vain.

Link 1 is a little bit of FAMILY: Happy Birthday Dad!

Link 2 is a little bit of FRIEND: Long Overdue Thank You

Link 3 is a little bit of YOURSELF: Declaration of Imperfection

Link 4 should be YOUR LOVE: You got to know...

Link 5 can be ANYTHING YOU LIKE: the lion photo

1. Post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. The posts have to relate to the 5 key words given below.
2. Tag 5 other friends to do this meme. Try to tag at least 2 new acquaintances (if not, your current blog buddies will do) so that you get to know them each a little bit better.
3. Don’t forget to read the archived post and leave comments.

I am going to pass this on to a couple people, but no obligation to do it, obviously. It would be nice to see what you link to on your blog.
Squirrel (you might have to do some writing to fill all these in)
Tera (so she can post without having to write anything new)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

More photos

Here you can see the skinny (skin and bones) cat and the fat cat... The Halloween cat is most appropriate - I'd be scared too looking at these two - afraid they'd chow down on me (one because she needs the food, the other because he obviously eats tooooo much food).

Here's the update on the quilt. I have all the fabric made, and am now piecing it all together. I got pretty far on my sick day, but didn't take a photo of it. It's definitely a new experience for me. It's so abstract right now, and I want to make it a little bit more realistic with the fabric paint and the quilting thread. We'll see how it goes...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sourdough Crab

A photo from San Francisco.

It's official, I'm sick, call the bomb dogs

Cue the violins for me... I've eaten breakfast and want to go take a nap. Trying to keep putting liquids down.

Oh, forgot a funny story from yesterday. We had grab and go lunches for people to take with them to the airport at the end of the meeting. I brought mine. Got to the airport though and the flight was delayed 1.5 hours, so I had time to send my mom a postcard (she loves getting postcards). Had to walk to the exact opposite end of the building, but that was fine since I had so much time. Put my stuff down, wrote the card, and mailed it. Went through security (a pain since I was carrying a computer AND a projector), went to the bathroom, and realized I was missing my lunch, dammit, which was going to be my dinner too. And I knew knew I left it at the mailbox. So, I exit past security and walk down to the other end of the building. As I approach the mailing area I see a policeman, and think, oh crap, but walk up, smile a big smile at him, and pick up the lunch box. "That yours ma'am?" Yes, so sorry! He was just about to call in the bomb sniffing dogs. Ooops... I offered him some to try and make it better. At first he just said no, and then he asked what it was. :-) guess it wasn't what he liked as I got to keep it. Thank goodness people are more friendly in St. Louis.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Meet me in St. Louis

Well, actually, I'm back so you can't meet me there...

The highlight of the trip was that there is a Hustler Hollywood (Unique Boutique) across the street from the hotel. (a guy who works in the hotel asked if I thought it would have an impact on the hotel and I said, uh, yes). I HAD to go in it. So, at the end of a LONG, HARD day I STRIPPED off my work clothes, put on some PLAY clothes and sashayed across the street. And got a little bit of an education.

Did you know?
That you can buy a kit that will somehow enable you to cast your crotch and vagina, so I guess your loved one can always have at least a part of you with him/her?

Did you know?
That they make a 'penis through the head' gag thing just like the old arrow through the head that Steve Martin used to use?

Did you know?
That Real Dolls (TM) are packaged in a sitting down position?

Did you know?
That they make 'spank me it's my birthday' not just on beater shirts, but also on underwear?

Oh, and so much more. It was very very interesting.

And, I was all set to call in sick tomorrow to work on my quilt, relax, hang out, and dammit, on the plane ride home, I started feeling my throat closing up. So I might actually be sick, dammit. But I have to go in for a 3:00 meeting no matter what, so we'll see what happens. Thanks to Susan, the Gnome, and whoever else spread the diseases across cyberspace... :-)