Archive for July, 2008

Cross Here

Walk This Way

It’s not often I find defacing public property amusing, but this altered sign at the crosswalk by our local movie theater is inspiring.

Next time you shuffle from the parking lot to wherever you’re going, let’s see a little wiggle!

How’d they do it? Looks like a computer generated sticker. It’s been there for about a year as far as I can tell. Makes me smile every time.

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July 25, 2008 at 8:08 am 3 comments

My Phone Stinks

No kidding. It really stinks. As in somebody’s armpit. Really cuts down on long conversations. I use speakerphone a lot. I’ve sprayed my phone with deodorant, Oust, Fabreeze, and I’ve wiped it down with anti-bacterial wipes. I’ve sprayed it with perfume and closed a dryer softener sheet inside the lid. Nothing. Nobody at AT&T could figure out how to get the stink out either. So I waited the two years until the contract ran out. (You should see my rollover minutes.)

I was looking forward to getting Jennie’s hand-me-down Razr, when she upgraded, but when I saw the great deal she was getting on the SHINE she bought, I got one too! (Steve got our rejects.)

My new phone has a program to calculate tips, count down to important dates, alarms, games, a calendar, camera (still and video), a 1 gig SD card that goes right in my computer (extra), calculator, measurement converter, games, and MP3 player. Apparently I can make and receive telephone calls with it too. And, if I want to increase my monthly bill five fold I can surf the Net, text message, and send pictures and videos from my phone. (I won’t be doing that.) Sadly, I can’t recognize any of the ringers as MY phone, nor have I figured outhow to answer it. I’ve had to retrieve my last 16 missed calls as voicemails.

The User Guide is 122 pages long, printed in type the size of gnat droppings. It doesn’t include a single instruction, just definitions. My thumbs are too old to work the joy stick and every time I slide the phone open I turn on another feature I didn’t know I had. But it fits in my pocket and I have insurance it if falls out and lands in the toilet.

But you know what? My new little Shine is already worth its weight in gold. I took it with me when I visited Mom. We sat and listened to music. (She got the chair, I got the arm rest.) Mom fell asleep leaning against me. As we listened, and I started to lose feeling in my rear end, I took out the phone and started playing with it. I tried to take a video of us, aiming the lens where I thought we were, holding the phone in front of us as far as my arm could reach. To my utter amazement I got a winner. At the precise moment l hit record, the most amazing thing happened. The volume isn’t very loud (I probably turned off the Dolby surround sound accidentally). But Mom nuzzled me and murmured, “I love you.”


Update: somehow the video has been lost, but I’ll always remember it.

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July 16, 2008 at 6:07 am 39 comments

Packed Sardines

A friend from high school discovered this blog and added a comment about my mom. In it she included a rather strange reference:

” I miss her fun personality from our youth and her enthusiastic refereeing of “packed sardines” at your house. That was so much fun.”

I hadn’t thought about Packed Sardines in years. What a great game! I can’t believe my mother let us play it!

My parents encouraged any excuse to have a party. They’d routinely host 15 or 20 of my friends at the beginning of most school vacations, a full moon—whatever the occasion. (I just knew I had the coolest parents.) Mom taught us all how to play Packed Sardines when we were in 9th grade.

It’s Hide & Seek, but when you find the person, you crawl in with them, making it possible to get eight kids in a stall shower. Nothing was sacred. She let us hide all over the house: in closets, under the beds, in cupboards, out in the garage, in the flower beds behind the bushes. She even suggested hiding places. I think the shower was her idea. It was my Dad’s idea to turn on the water. All the squealing and giggles; what fun!

Thanks for the happy memories, Elaine!

July 14, 2008 at 7:46 am 2 comments

Play With Your Buffet

I may have mentioned this before, but we go out to eat a lot, mostly because I refuse to cook. As Debbie, Steve, and I were enjoying lunch at the Chinese Buffet a few weeks ago, Steve came back to the table with all RED food. He had those bananas in a sweet red sauce (which are about as Chinese as the chocolate pudding they serve) and some watermelon, and something else I can’t remember. It was very pretty and so I thought I’d take my camera the next time.

Aren’t the colors and shapes pretty?

Now it’s YOUR TURN. Take a camera to lunch. Or dinner. Shoot your food. If somebody with a Flickr account will volunteer to collect the photos for me and upload them, I’ll link. (Volunteer by way of a comment to this blog.) By sharing we can all admore your sense of color, understanding of good composition, appreciation for juxtoposition, and your ability to hold the camera steady and not make the rest of us lose our lunch. HINT: to get the best exposure, STAND UP. That way all the other diners will know where the flash is coming from. Seriously, if you sit, you’ll be too close and your flash will wash out the food.

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July 12, 2008 at 7:43 am 3 comments


We’re getting the house re-wired. Just the phones. OK, and some of the Internet cables. When we bought the house 19 years ago I swore I’d rip out the crunchy carpet in the master bedroom right away, but first things first.


Our house was used when we got it. Pre-owned. By someone who I’m guessing ran a telephone soliciting enterprise out of the basement. I’ve never seen so many wires. None of them went any place, like to a phone jack. Every electrician who’s ever worked on the house has been asked to “fix anything that you’d want fixed in your own house.” You’d think that’s like handing someone a blank check. Not so. Our wiring was just too frightening.

Admittedly, I added to the problem by coming up with creative solutions when I needed a phone, fax, or computer somewhere and the electrician “de jour” said it couldn’t be done. This would be why we have telephone cord and cables going down my quilted clothes chute, snaking under carpet, and coiled up in the corner of the living room. It was NOT my idea to run the phone cord from one part of the house to the other via the rain gutter. I am not kidding. We have a phone cord IN the rain gutter. (I just learned that.)


Thingies For Splitting Phone Lines Come In Handy!I am responsible for splitting lines with those cute little snap in connector thingies sold in office supply stores. These are just the extra ones I’m not using at the moment.


I am also the one who ran the phone cord for the fax machine from one side of Debbie’s office to the other by drilling a hole in the floor, looping the “extension” cord under the heat duct in the rafters in the basement, and fishing it back up through the floor on the other side. I got pretty close to the wall when I drilled the hole up through the floor, buy hey, that’s why we have furniture.


And when the so-called “professional” installer from Vonage showed up it was I who explained how to make all the phones in the house ring from the FOUR daisy-chained Vonage “devices” jammed behind my computer monitor. (Just pass me one of those connector thingies.)


Mike is our very capable electrician from Hinterman Electric who will take things like THIS and make it all better. (Notice the color-coded duct tape so I can remember which cord goes to what line?)


Can you hear me NOW?

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July 7, 2008 at 7:16 am 12 comments

Piping Hot Twisted Sisters?!

What happens when you read Susan Cleveland’s new book Piping Hot Curves and have my Twisted Sisters block on your mind? PIPING HOT TWISTED SISTERS!

Check out the subtle black and red striped corded piping in between the twists and the background of this block. Sweet, huh?

(Yes, I know these are straight seams, not curves. I’m SHARING my inspiration.)

I’d recommend a narrow (1/2″ finished) sashing between blocks, otherwise the bulk of the cording might be problematic when you press. You would still be able to slide and lock the intersection at the middle of each block, but flattening the seam allowances would be the issue.

What do you need to make your own version of this cool combination? Twisted Sisters Rotary Template & Pattern and Susan Cleveland’s Piping Hot Binding Tool. Want to be inspired by Susan’s clever book? Buy Susan’s Piping Hot Curves.

July 2, 2008 at 1:00 am 5 comments

Road Trip

MadisonMadison here. Mom’s letting me write today’s blog since I’m arranging our December 2008 ROAD TRIP.  I guess that puts me in the driver’s seat.

We’re heading down I-75 towards Jupiter, Floria starting on December 7th. We’ll be stopping at quilt guilds and quilt shops along the way so that Mom can earn gas money and kibble. Need a lecture? I can arrange that.

I’ve got five tentative bookings so far and would like to fill four more.  Anybody need a lecture and don’t mind a very quiet, well-behaved, semi-retired service dog joining your group for the evening? Email me.
Berea, KY (Dec. 7)
Atlanta, GA (Dec. 8)
Chattanooga or Knoxville, TN (Dec. 15)
Lexington, KY (Dec. 16)

If you have any great dog-friendly spots off I-75 that we shouldn’t miss, let me know.

Wagging in your direction,


UPDATE: Sadly this trip never happened. My mother took a turn for the worse and passed away in November.

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July 1, 2008 at 8:00 am 8 comments

Ami Simms

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