Thursday, March 28, 2013

dress update

Well, it doesn't look as nice as I had hoped, but it's now wearable/presentable. My niece's birthday isn't until April, but I'm debating whether to give her the present while we're in Alabama to assist my Mom or give things to my sister to put up until their actual birthdays.

Before: the dress with someone else's initials (which is why I got it for $6)

After: the entire dress with its new pocket

Anda  close up of the pocket. I like the stitched flowers (courtesy of my new machine) by I fear my hand sewing it on was not my best work. I was scared I'd mess up both the pocket and the dress if I tried to machine sew it.

Hope she likes it!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

a medicine rant

My Granny Rea hated medicine. As in, it better work on the third dose or it wasn't worth a thing. And it would get flushed. Two weeks of antibiotics? Nuh-huh, no way.

And my mother is her daughter. She doesn't flush her meds, thankfully. She just "adjusts" them, as in the dosage or whether or not to take them at all. But she doesn't dispose of them, so it's not as bad.

My aunt, her other daughter, is similar. My cousin and I laugh when we share stories about our Moms and say "See what we have to look forward to" because we know it could very well one day be us.

Or not. I like to think I take after my dad, who worked in a pharmacy before becoming a preacher, in this regard.

Medicines, like herbs and spices, have multiple purposes. For example, we use cinnamon in pies, cookies, and some drinks. To the Chinese, it is for medicinal purposes only. When my Chinese students tasted a good ol' homemade apple pie, they would wrinkle their noses and say, "This tatses like medicine." Recently I saw an article that was listing all the ailments cinnamon was good for. Does this mean we stop cooking with it because it has medicinal value? Of course not!

And yet, how many times do people read an insert or pamphlet, discover that their medicine is often used for something else, so therefore quit taking it? The are many anti-depressants on the market that work by easing the sensitivity of the nerve endings (what old women used to call their "nerve pills"). Due to so many anti-inflammatory drugs (used to treat arthritis) causing heart damage, more doctors are turning to nerve pills or anti-depressants to alleviate stress on the nervous system. I'm continuously amazed at the number of people who go to a doctor with nerve pain and then complain because they read up on their meds and find the words "anti-depressant".  They ignore all the many other illnesses this medicine can be used for and think the doctor is not listening to them, when in fact he's given them the very thing they wanted: something to ease their pain. It just absolutely flabbergasts me. Why pay someone who is trained in a field to help you with something you don't understand, and then totally ignore their advice and remedy?

They probably do it for the same reason I know I shouldn't have a soft drink, but occasionally buy that Dr. Pepper anyway.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

tiny but significant

In the grand scheme of healthy eating, I bought a few sweet potatoes.
In the reality of life, one of them didn't get eaten in time. As in, it sprouted. So I left it alone. And then while cleaning up the kitchen one day, I decided to set it down in a jar of water to see if it would take root. Supposedly it's supposed to. So after a few weeks of this, nothing.  I was about to toss it and clear off some of my kitchen space when I saw it.

 From a distance, just the same old ugly sprout with no new growth in several weeks.

But up close, two budding leaves! :)

Now, I have no idea what I'm going to do with this thing. My tiny garden plot is not big enough for a potato plant, and anything I plant in the big containers will become a digging toy for Buster. Suggestions anyone?

Monday, March 25, 2013

spring

I never watch the calendar to find out when spring is coming. I watch the plants. :) To me, spring has been sending messages that it was on its way ever since the daffodils began their long stretch and the camellia sent out its buds. Granted, they always come to visit in the winter, but it's like a daring and defying cry against the coldness of winter that spring is coming.

But when the bradford pear bursts forth in bloom, I know that winter's days are almost over. Flowers of all sort will begin to wake-up, pollen will erupt like a volcano and time for planting the garden is upon is.

And that is amazing and wonderful. :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

free but unusual advertising

Last month (yes, I'm finally downloading pics off my camera) we ate at IHOP, but due to the crowd had to park in the back. (You know, their two handicap spots are almost always taken!)  As we got out of the van, this is what we saw:



 I was expecting this to be typical graffitti with a girl's phone number or curse words, but no.


Can you read it? Acts 2:38, in both Spanish and English, along with the words: Church Phone: 919.834.8892.  I was more than a bit shocked. Granted, it's empty space, not being used, but it seems a bit strange to advertise your church via graffitti. I'm now over the shock of seeing it, but I still can't seem to wrap my head around the idea, nor would it make me want to ever visit that church. What type of person/church vandalizes someone else's property in the name of the Gospel? I'm still shaking my head in befuddlement on this one.
 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

a new place

One area where my husband is adventurous is in his willingness to try new restaurants. This always cracks me up somewhat because he is very traditional and averse to change in so many areas. But anytime we travel, he wants to know what unique (non-chain) restaurants are in the area.

So when we traveled to my sister's church to hear my niece sing a few weekends ago, sure enough, the list of places he gave me to make our supper choice had little check marks beside the non-chain ones. :) Here's the one we wound up at:

I think this is the first time I've ever seen the tail end of a pig on a store sign before. I'm not an eastern NC barbeque girl, so of course I ordered the fried chicken. And I was surprised. Unlike most fried chicken in barbeque places around here, it was not salty, nor was the meat dry, and it actually tasted home-made. Normally, at least to me, fried chicken in non-chain restaurants taste like it came from the deep-fryer, but this actually tasted like it came out of a skillet, and had the home-made style crust as well. It was a nice and pleasant surprise. They also sported the Carolina 13 layer cake, but we were so full after eating our meal that we didn't attempt dessert.

I imagine if we ever head to Washington, NC again, we'll have to try one of the other places, but this is one I wouldn't mind visiting again.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

the pretty pink door

Several years ago my sister bought a dress for my niece at a consignment sale. She said it was great quality, but was a brand she wasn't familiar with. So she did what anyone of today's age does: she googled it.

Chez Ami is a brand by Patsy Aiken, who sales online/by catalogue, and has a warehouse/outlet in Raleigh. The outlet is open twice a year only. I've only been there twice. The first time I was very surprised to discover that it literally is in a warehouse-style building. But what totally cracked me up was the pink door. Every other door in the building (they're just one of many businessess there) have the traditional steel gray door or dark green, but the pink...yes, it totally fits the company.  The other thing I think is totally cool is that this is the place where they actually make the outfits. One Mom years ago got very tired of all the poor quality children's clothes on the market, so she started sewing. It's much bigger than a one person company now, but it's nice to know that there are people who found a niche and built a job/company.

We went this past Saturday (their current sale opening runs through the 28th of this month), and Bobby went with me. The last time I went I bought material (they sale the yardage remnants of what they won't be using in the next season, and it's high quality stuff!) and some tights, but this time I actually found a few things on the clearance/reject rack.

One of the things they do is embroidery work. Orders that mess up (the needle breaks mid-initial, customer sends it back because they spelled the kids name wrong or used the wrong color thread, or it's the wrong size, etc) are marked at $6 and $9. I found a summer dress in my niece's size for $6. It does have someone's initials on it, but I think I can easily cover that with some flowers out of complimentary material. My first flower attempt failed miserably, but I'm hoping to finish up a quilting project today, and then I can work on a label to cover it either this afternoon or tomorrow. If I can salvage a $65 dress for $6 and an hour of my time, I will be one happy aunt.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

:/

Today I had planned to blog about two very different shopping experiences from this past weekend. I even had a picture! But then I read e-mails and blogs first. And now posting about something so trivial as a shopping trip seems frivilous.

My brother-in-law is a pastor. Yesterday morning he stepped off the hospital elevator to visit members who had just bore a child, to be greeted by a nurse with "Preacher, how did you know to come now? An angel must have sent you!"  They had just told a young couple that their unborn child was no longer living. Through an interpreter, he was able to pray and share with them, and even met with them again last night. It brought back horrible memories from five years ago as a young missionary couple that I worked with (and shared an office with the wife) lost their firstborn with less than four weeks to go before delivery. The heartbreak was horrid; there were no words of comfort that could truly help.

And one of the caregiver support groups I belong to posted an unexpected loss. The founder of our group has a brother who serves in Afghanistan. Their unit was hit by an IED, and a member lost both legs and part of an arm. For two years he has valiantly undergone so much, and was supposed to be discharged from rehab in three weeks. He caught a stomach bug a few days ago, and his fiance was unable to wake him up this morning. She paged the nurses, the doctors came, but he was gone. As the shocked family is reeling from something so unexpected, I'm reminded of how fragile life truly is - a vapor.

Meanwhile a lady from the church I grew up in heard "well done" two days ago. For her, it's a blessing. Her health was bad, her mind was going, and her very full life had left almost all of her family saying "it's time".  It's funny how the circumstances around a death determine the level of our grief.

And as circumstances do dictate our lives somewhat, I'm off to get chores done...including the repair of a our chicken pen. Hawks in the day and who knows what at night, but we're losing our flock a few at a time. Looks like the electric fence will be going back on tonight.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

time

One of my favorite quilt shops has a saying "Just make time to quilt 30 minutes a day."  And I've found I tend to get more projects done when I give them a small amount of time every day as opposed to tackling the entire project several days in a row. I've thought about that a lot this week as our schedule has been out of whack/non-existent since Bobby retired. This is to be our week to get back on schedule. We're not there yet, but we're getting closer. My goal this week is to get caught up on laundry and some housework, and hopefully be back to putting some small amounts of time into projects by the weekend.

So what are some of those "Projects"? :
  • the montly block for Bernina Saturday Sampler
  • finish quilting a quilt I started 2 years ago
  • repair two pairs of pants, two ties, and a pillow for Bobby
  • finish cleaning my sewing room
  • finish a quilt for a senior at church
  • prune the grapevines
  • strip wallpaper in a bathroom
  • finish finding a home for all of Bobby's papework
  • clean the porch railings

I know there's no way on earth I will finish these by the end of the month (I'll be happy if I have half of them done by the beginning of summer!) but I do enjoy having a checklist and being able to check things off. And hopefully as we find a sort of schedule for us to be on, I'll slowly be able to get more and more of them accomplished.  Let the March Madness begin!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday, Monday

We lost our beautiful teenage rooster this weekend. I'm guessing a fox, though it could just have easily been a raccoon, possum, hawk or coyote. Despite the fact that he was the most beautiful rooster we've ever had, it will make it much easier on all the animals when we introduce our spring flock into the mix (because he won't be trying to establish dominance in the hen house).

And speaking of spring, we hauled our dilapidated push mower into the store this morning for servicing and repair work. It's hard to believe that in just a few weeks it will be time to cut grass and plant the garden. A small part of me wants to forget the garden completely, but the other part of me knows it's a wise thing to at least plant some of the foods we like. Who knows what I'll wind up with this year, or what will actually survive!

Tomorrow is one of those absolutely crazy days that make me question my sanity. It's election day in Garner. Although I'm usually a coordinator for several precicnts, since this is a small election the board is training back-up coordinators and I am "on call".  Basically, I get to get up at the normal election day time (4am) and be ready to roll at 6am EXCEPT this year I'm waiting on a phone call. If I don't receive a phone call by 9am, then I'm off the hook and free for the rest of the day. What we've not been told is whether or not we'll get paid for that day. :/

And I'm thankful. Buster brought us a rat into the garage this weekend, and last night he was playing with a mouse out in the yard. You'd think he was a cat. After he brought it to me last night, wanting to play fetch with it, while I'm trying to lock up the chickens, I totally expected to find it in the garage this morning. It wasn't there. I was so relieved. Now every time I see something in the shape of a pine cone (which he also likes to play with), I walk a wide arc around it. After two moles, one rat, and a mouse, a girl can't take too many chances, especially one who is not fond of varmin.

And since this is National Quilting Month, I'm hoping that I can actually get some quilting done before the month is half over. I've got my fingers crossed!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

the 2012-13 Welch choir

We traveled to Washington, NC last night to hear my alma mater's (it used to FWBBC) choir perform. Yes, I will drive two hours to hear my niece sing in a group. :)  The music was great, but it was a tad unusual. And here's why:

You know you're old when:
  • college students look like kids instead of the adults you know they are
  • you remember when one of them at the age of 3 declared she would go to college at FWBBC and study ballet (which brought snorts of laughter and shocked looks from the alumni at the table)
  • you remember a tiny 3 year old boy shyly bringing in plates of cookies to the lounge when you were a student, and realize with shock he's a junior in the choir
  • his younger brother, whom the entire campus prayed diligently for during that trying pregnancy, is now also in that choir
  • the piano player at your college church is now playing for the school choir, and her tiny children who entertained the church nursery are now using their musical talents with the school as well.
It was good to see old friends, hear good music and Scripture recitations and see the smiles on their faces as they sang. And I'm thankfully that my little Emily Jane is getting to experience a truly once in a lifetime opportunity.

Friday, March 1, 2013

hawks

Well, if there were any doubt that spring is approaching (as if the budding trees, seasonal allergies, or crocus buds poking their heads out of the ground were not enough), I have another item to add to your list: hawks.

Every spring baby chicks make their appearance, and every spring we begin to see hawks or encounter hawk attacks. Last spring we lost three "teenagers" out of 4 to a hawk. The "teens" we hatched this winter were past (or so I assumed) the size the hawks preferred, so we were a bit startled to see the hen dead on the ground yesterday evening. She was probably one of the prettiest hens we've got, and I was a bit baffled. There were no signs of eating. Hawks usually pick up and carry (their version of take out), or kill and eat on the ground (which unfortunately has been our most common experience). This bird was simply dead. I didn't have the heart/time/energy to deal with her last night, and by the time we got home this afternoon there were not one but TWO hawks in the yard enjoying her. :(  So I'm more than a little concerned for the four biddies we have in the house. Even though they will be fully feathered when I put them outside the end of this month, the only way I can truly protect them is to leave them locked up all the time, and that's not fair to them.

The crazy thing was that Bobby came out as I aimed for one of the hawks, and a different hawk from a different tree flew away. It was HUGE. I didn't even know that one was there. As much as I hate the carnage and destruction they cause, they truly are beautiful birds.  Only after I lowered my rifle did the hawk I was aiming for fly away. Yeah. I truly need to work on my aim.

Meanwhile my little fuzzies have feathers on their wing tips and two are starting to get tail feathers. They won't be fuzzy too much longer! Spring is coming!