Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The AC is back on!

Ralph called Firehouse Electric, the company that had replaced the circuit board about two years ago. They are busy with a big project, and can't come any time soon. I was totally mad, but it was a good thing. He called the hardware store in town, and they recommended a company in the next town. We called them at 11 a.m., and said they'd be here at 4. At 2.30, they called and said they were on the way.

They replaced two sizzling circuits, and said there was water in the bottom of the circuit box. A wire at the peak of the house had had water coming down along it into the box, messing up the wires and causing the problem, and that part of the service should be replaced. They were amazed that the previous electrician hadn't told us of the issue- it's a no brainer for an electrician. So as soon as I get a paycheck or two, we'll get the work done- estimate $1,600. Yay for Gibson Electric!

They were done by 4 pm, and the AC got turned back on. It was mid 80's in the house, and it took til bedtime to cool it down. And today is going to be another 90 degree day.

I saw Dr. Lamorte, the cardiologist yesterday. He wanted a holter moniter before deciding whether to take me off the coumadin, so I have that on til 1 pm today. What a pain! It has a belt clip, which won't stay on, it's constantly falling off. I told him how much the one med costs- $528.oo per month (Lucky I have a good Rx plan!). He was shocked. He said that's criminal, since the med has been around for twenty years.

Tonight the grand dogs come. Steph has an early flight to Chicago in the morning. She'll be back Friday afternoon. I'm so hoping that Hurricane Earl stays away!

Today I have to finish laundry, and pack my work bag. I also have to get lunch fixings from the grocery store, and set out clothes. Ralph is working tomorrow, so I'll have to feed the dogs and take them out before I leave, so I'll have to get up a little earlier.

So the work routine will start again. Five more school years and I can retire!

And the beat goes on!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


The lights on the fan in the sewing room have been flickering intermittently - just enough to be annoying. Before we went to NC Ralph changed the bulbs. It kept doing it, so today he checked the light bar for loose wires- nope. He decided to change the outlet. He went downstairs to turn off the breaker and heard a sizzling noise- that can't be good.

He isolated the sizzle to the breaker that services the sewing room, and turned it off. He also turned off the breaker to the AC- and it's 92 today! I left the windows closed, I'll open them late tonight and close them again in the morning. Of course today is Sunday and we can't call the electrician that just put a new service in 2 years ago. We'll call them first thing tomorrow, so they can evaluate.

So in the meantime I can't sew or watch TV in the sewing room.

We went to the diner in town for dinner. I had a chicken salad wrap and tomato barley soup. Ralph had one of the specials- stuffed peppers- and cream of turkey soup. I brought home half my wrap- either he'll eat it later tonight, or I'll eat it tomorrow.

I was so aggrivated with I-95 after our trip to NC and back, that I went on mapquest and played around. I found a route that goes west at Baltimore, and avoids DC and Richmond. According to mapquest, it takes a half hour longer than I-95 at it's best, and would be shorter than I-95 at it's worst (which is most of the time.) I emailed it to Heather, and printed it out for us. The soonest we'd be going down is Easter week, but at least I have it printed.

I downloaded the free book of the week onto the Nook, and ordered a matching skin for my laptop. I love internet shopping!

And the beat goes on!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back from North Carolina

Ralph and I left on a Saturday afternoon to go to NC to visit Ed, Heather, Eddie and Julianna. Traffic was terrible- from the Delaware Memorial Bridge to Richmond should take 4 hours, 5 tops. It took 7.5 hours! No accidents, roads clear and dry, just volume. Traffic would be backed up as far as we could see, then it would move for a mile or so, then jam again. When we finally got of I-95 and onto I-85 around Richmond, all of a sudden if was fine. We drove to South Hill, Virginia, which is about 12 miles before the NC border, and 330 miles from here. We stayed at a hotel, and the above picture is what we woke up to! Fire trucks all over the place. Turns out that an air conditioning unit in one of the rooms caught fire, and they had to evacuate five rooms! I'm so glad we weren't one of them! We got on the road by about 8.30, and drove the last 180 miles. There were scattered showers, one so bad we got off the interstate for about 15 minutes. We got the their house about 12.30.
We were so glad to see them! Julie is holding her build-a-bear that's name is Pinko de Mayo, Pink Bear for short.
My Mom sent them down a bunch of Beanie Babies and other stuffies. They had a good time playing with the birds.
Eddie was the bigger goose, and Julie was the baby. On Monday we went shopping. Ralph and Eddie went to Harbor Freight, and Heather, Julianna and I went to Hancock's Fabric, where Julie got the wings and wand below. Then we had lunch at Cici's Pizza. It was a new place to us, and it's a buffet. All kinds of pasta, pizza, and salads, and brownies and cinnamon cakes. It was cheap- $5.99 for adults, and $2.99 for kids, all you can eat.

Monday afternoon Heather and I went food shopping, and Tuesday morning I put kielbasa and sauerkraut in the crockpot. I only make it a few times a year, because the sodium content is ridiculous, but it tastes so good! We'd brought down Jersey corn, tomatoes and peaches, and we had the corn also.
Wednesday was Eddie's first day of school as a second grader. He was fine and excited, Heather was nervous. He had a terrific day. The county had redistricted, and he was in a new school. He knew his teacher's aide from last year, and there were some girls from his previous class there.
He looked so grown up!
Heather wants to learn to sew, so I took my travel machine down to leave for her. We had Sewing 101, and she did great! We put the straps on the sundresses I'd made for Heather and Julianna. The one Julie is wearing has the little mermaid on it.

One night at 11.30, Ed made us omelets of duck eggs (which taste just like chicken eggs) fresh spinach and Jersey tomatoes. They were wonderful! Wednesday night he cooked on the grill- boneless chicken breasts in foil with fresh spinach, tomatoes, italian dressing, and spices, served with penne pasta. It was so good!

Heather also made soft serve ice cream with the Jersey peaches blended in. Eddie said it was the best ever! We packed up, and after Eddie left for school on Thursday we headed out. We had to drive straight thru because Ralph was working on Friday. It was so hard to leave them, but I didn't cry til we were out the driveway. I miss them so much, but I think they made a good decision in moving.

Coming home, we were doing great til we got near Baltimore. The I-95 tunnel was closed, and the flashing lights said 895 had major delays, so it routed us to 695. Bumper to bumper for several miles, then we got to the Francis Scott Key bridge. It's a long, scary, high, 2 lane bridge. If I was prone to anxiety attacks, I'd have had one! I looked straight ahead, and kept telling myself to breathe! I survived it, and the bridge over the Susquehanna, which is also scary. After those, the Delaware Memorial Bridge was a piece of cake! We lost 1.5 to 2 hours by the detour, and the trip took 11.5 hours! I do all the driving, because Ralph hates to drive, and I hate to be driven. He's a terrific navigator!

So we're home. Monday I have to go into work and have Ralph set up the computer, and set up my office, then I have an appointment with the cardiologist. Wednesday staff reports to work, and Thursday the kids come in for a half day. Steph has her business trip to Chicago- we'll pick up the grand-dogs Tuesday night, and she leaves early Wednesday and will be back on Friday afternoon.

I'm reading a series by Susan Mallery, who's become one of my favorite authors. It's about the Marcelli family, who are wine makers in California. There are four sisters and one brother, and they each have their own book, and guest in the other books. I would classify them as romances with a plot.

I'm still using up the soft baby yarn. I'm on the 3rd baby sized afghan, so I'm way ahead of the game! And I have some big pieces of flannel, so my daughters are all getting flannel pajama pants for Christmas.

And the beat goes on!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rain! Finally!

It's been drizzley and dreary all day, which is great because we need the rain.

Ralph and I are going to NC to see Ed, Heather, Eddie and Julianna! I'm really happy- the "plan" has changed about 97 times, and at one point it seemed that the trip wouldn't happen due to Ralph's work schedule. The darn hospital insists on being open 24/7, and needs ER nurses to staff it. We hit it lucky when staffing called him and asked him to work a Saturday instead of a Monday, which freed up several days for us.

It's a 9-10 hour ride to Albemarle, which is near Charlotte. We're leaving a day early and making a detour to visit with a retired friend of Ralph's. That way we'll break the travel up into 2 days. Coming back, we'll probably have to drive straight thru. From NJ to DC is a really pain, and from DC to Richmond is annoying. We make a right at Richmond, and it's a nice ride after that.

It's almost time for school to start! Staff in my district go back September 1, and the kids come in September 2. I hated school when I was a student. Looking back, I was bored to death. The most valuable class I've ever had was personal typing in grade 8- I type with all my fingers. The accounting class that I took in 11th grade was valuable, and my mom had to insist to guidance that I be allowed to take it. I was college prep, and I guess accounting was not considered to be preparation for college. In my senior yearbook, my history teacher wrote "I trust I spoke softly enough as to not disturb your reading". I got all A's that year and never, ever brought a book home. To me that says the school's expectations were not very high.

My nephew Mikey says he never learned anything new since second grade, and sadly, I think he's right. Because of NCLB (talk about a fiasco) the teachers have to teach to the test, and have no time to actually educate the students. The kids who are readers can self educate.

The other problem is that the teachers are forced to stay on the level of the kids in the middle. The kids below get lost, and the kids above get bored. I have a lot of admiration for teachers. They're sure not in it for the money, no matter what our idiot governor thinks. I don't have the patience to be a teacher to large numbers. One to one, I can do patient education, and I've been guest speaker to classes, but I could never do it all day, every day.

And the beat goes on! (and on, and on)


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Some sewing done!

Toast came to visit! Steph was having a bunch of people over last night. Whiskey loves company, especially when they hold him and pet him. He's a lover. Toast barks for a while at new people, and sometimes at people she met before.
She's more high strung than he is, so Steph brought her over to us yesterday afternoon, and picked her up this afternoon. She's so used to being here that she'll just relax wherever I am.
I just finished these book, from the library. From the back cover of Killer Mousse- Meet Della Carmichael, owner of a cooking school in Santa Monica, and star of a brand new cable cooking show. But now she's about to add an additional credit to her resume: suspect. It's the first of a series, and I've requested the others. Melinda Wells is the author.
The Cluttered Corpse is by Mary Jane Maffini, also from the library. Charoltte Adams is a professional organizer and lives with her two mini dachshunds, Truffle and Sweet Marie. It's not the first in the series- Organize Your Corpses is. Both books are cozies, and I enjoyed both. I requested the further books in the Charlotte Adams series.
I still need/want instant gratification in my sewing. I had a whole storage tote of flannels, mostly two yard cuts, so I decided to make receiving blankets. (No one is pregnant in the family! Or if they are, they're not sharing) This way I'll have some when they're needed. I buy the flannel when it's on sale. I made some in boy prints.
Some in gender neutral prints- love the duck!
And some girly ones. It's easy- I take a two yard cut of flannel, cut off the selvedegs, fold it in half so it's 36x42ish, right sides together. Sew the three sides, leaving an opening to turn it. Turn right sides out, and topstitch along all sides. Makes a great oversize receiving blanket. I made several when Julianna and Mackenzie were born. They wash up great.

I'm on my second baby size afghan of the granny stripe pattern. I'm determined to use up the soft baby yarn, and I'll have some gifts for later. The first one is going to Manda to give as a gift for a friend who's pregnant.

We're still waiting for the photographer to make the wedding pix available. She had the nerve to go on vacation!

It's overcast and cooler, with a humidity of about 900%. It drizzled for abut 5 minutes. We're supposed to get showers every day this week- I'll believe it when I see it. We desperately need the rain.

So many people on blogs I read have the ipad! I went to the site and read about it. Not cheap, and you have to get a monthly data account (about $25 per month). It's so cool, but I can't afford it at this time. We just got new cell phones, so that bill went up. Another thing I'm drooling over is the Accuquilt Go, which cuts fabric with precision. Another thing on my mental wish list, but not for right now.

Yay- it just started to rain! Hopefully it'll last a while.

And the beat goes on!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday, Monday

I had the urge to sew, but didn't want to start a quilt. I needed instant gratification, so I got out the fabric that I had bought at Joann's Fabrics that is smocked at the top. You just sew the side seam and put straps on the sundress. I had enough pieces to make 3 sundresses for Julianna. Two are pink and the Princesses (they're different) and one is blue and is Tinkerbell. Miss Millie heard that I was sewing, and decided I needed supervision.
She acts as my quality control officer. As she's gotten older- she's about 17 now- she doesn't (usually) wrap herself up in the pieces.
She didn't understand why I didn't want her to lay on the piece that I'm actually sewing on. I'm OK with her laying on the finished or not started pieces.
We moved TV's around. I wanted the bigger screen with the DVR in the sewing room, so we took that from the bedroom, where it was rarely used. The sewing room TV went in the kitchen, and the kitchen TV went downstairs to Ralph's office/computer room.
Millie was so tired from helping me sew, that she moved into the bedroom and did her doorstop imitation.
Another night, she was keeping Ralph company while he watched TV.
She likes to lay on the arm of the recliner. She's decided that for the most part, she's Ralph's cat.
This is the book I'm reading from the library. It's about number 5 in a series, and takes place at the shore in NJ.
This is the quilt that's on our bed. It was one of the first quilts that I ever made, and I love the bright colors.
This is a close up of some of the colors.
This is a baby sized afghan in the granny stripe pattern that I just finished. I had some of the soft yarn that I wanted to use up. It doesn't have a destination yet.
This is a full sized afghan, double crochet worked in the back loop. I'm taking it with me to NC, for Ed and Heather. The brown/cream yarn reminds me of the beach, so I did wider strips of that alternating with the soft white. It's long enough to snuggle under- not that it's cool enough to want an afghan over you at the moment.

Summer is winding down. When I didn't work for almost 3 months, I was too sick to enjoy being home. I'll be 15 weeks postop this Thursday, and generally feeling good. I'm not lifting anything very heavy yet. I figure it'll be December before I'm back to my normal. I just have some little issues at the moment.

It's already getting dark earlier, and light later.

Ben and Manda got new cell phones, and when she described them to me I wanted one. I want to become a cell phone user. (My children can stop laughing any time now). Ralph and I were due for new phones, so we went Saturday morning to the Verizon store and got 2 Ally's. Boy one, get one free, and a good rebate. I even got a bluetooth reciever, and we got a car charger. The phones are just so cool- we've been playing with apps and backgrounds. We can get Google email on the phone, and when we figure out how, we can get facebook. We still need to set up our voicemails. We put every phone number in our address book into the phones. And we have Ben and Manda for tech support.

Our newlyweds have been married six weeks! The wedding pictures should be available this week from the photographer, and I'm so eager to see them.

I got my letter from school. We go back September 1, and the kids come in September 2. I'll got in the last week of August to set up the computer, and go thru the piles that will be in my mailbox. Much as I love summer, I'm looking forward to a new school year, and feeling good.

And the beat goes on!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

How can it be August?

Miss Millie is so goofy. She decided to lay down on a plastic grocery shopping bag. She also likes to lay in doorways.
Ralph moved his friend. He was trying to get Millie to lay on it's lap, but she wasn't having it. Steph came in the other day and it startled her, so it's not just me.
I just finished the new Nora Roberts book from the library. It's about a girl who has 3 Labs, and heads up a Search and Rescue team on an Island off Seattle. She was the only survivor of a killer, 10 years ago. The book grabbed you right from the beginning and never let you go. I highly recommend it. Nora Roberts is one of my favorite authors.
If you read the label, Vicky's Fabrics is in Hawaii! Manda and Ben brought me back 3 packages of 3 Fat Quarters- do they know me, or what?It was so thoughtful of them. And great news, no one on Ben's team got a layoff notice!

It's August! We have birthdays- Great niece Tori will be 14, and new son in law Ben will be 26. One of the milestones of life is turning 25, because that's how old you have to be to rent a car.

We had a scare when DMIL Florence spent two days in the hospital. Thankfully, everything was negative, and she's fine.

The granny strip afghan is finished- it worked up really fast, and I'm very happy with it. It'll be really warm, because it's really heavy. Last night I started a new afghan, just rows of double crochet, picking up the back loops. It's alternating soft white and a variegated yarn called sand.

I went to Joann's Fabric yesterday. I got another piece of smocked-on-the-top fabric for a sundress for Julianna. This one has the Princesses along the bottom. Gotta love the Princesses! We're going to NC in a few weeks to visit Ed, Heather, Eddie and Julianna. I'm taking my Janome Jem with me. Heather decided she wants to learn to sew, so I'll leave the Jem with her to use. It only weighs 12 pounds, and it's a good travel or learner machine.

I read 12 books in July, mostly from the library. I also borrowed the DVD "Old Dogs" with John Travolta and Robin Williams, from the library. It was mildly amusing, not wonderful. Our governor wants to cut library funding! Has the man ever set foot in a library? Our branch of the county library is always crowded, and any bright person would want to encourage library use, not cut funding. I didn't vote for him and I won't vote for him next election. He's already pissed off the cops, fireman, and teacher's unions, and now the library people. I think he forgets that we're all taxpayers and voters! OK, rant over.

I like living in a smallish town. I went to school with one of the owners of the local grocery store. Two guys bought the auto repair- I went to school with one, and the other has been friends with my brothers since grammar school. They're doing a booming business. And if you hit the grocery store at the wrong time, it can take hours because you see so many people you know. And the guys stocking always ask how my mom is.

And the beat goes on!