Friday, September 26, 2014

who needs cardio class?

As if my intense dislike of exercise wasn't enough to make me think gym classes were non-essential, I came up with another reason this week: I get enough cardio at home.

 While it was only between 6-8" long, this little booger scared my heart rate into a high aerobic level this week when I stepped towards my car, and realized it was hanging out there in the my path.
And of course, I was almost running late, wearing flip-flops, and yet I knew that thing had to be dealt with before I left. Thankfully there was some metal thing in the hall corner (left over from when they put the stove in years glad now it was still there!), so I grabbed it and started smushing.  And no, I didn't examine its head to see if it was diamond shaped (which means poisonous) or not until I was done. I DID know that it's little head was up in the air when I walked out and its tiny tongue was flickering like crazy.

And these guys?

Little Dog and Buster TOTALLY ignored it. Buster even stood over the snake at one point while I was trying to kill it, demanding petting. I couldn't believe it.  They prodded it a time or two with their paws after I had taken care of it, but they've not touched it once. And yet, they'll eat my grape tomatoes and tear the scarecrow off the front door or dig up anything I plant inside their fence line.

Cardio?  Who needs it?  I get enough of it from everyday life!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

speech class

I hated speech class in college. I'm not jesting. I actually H A T E D it. On the days new speech assignments were given, I felt as if a huge weight descended on my shoulders. When the morning my speech date rolled around, I would quickly head to the bathroom before class, sick with nerves. Only after the person after me had been called (meaning I was through with public corrections and critiques from the teacher and the dastardly deed demanding a grade was done) would that weight somewhat lift.

This week, for the first time ever, I was grateful for that speech class and my teacher. Oh how I disliked him during my college days. It irked me that he was from my home state, and yet so callously picked apart every single word I said and how it was pronounced. I felt humiliated, as if I had temporarily crawled to the button hole of that proverbial pocket of ignorance one high school teacher told us we lived in, saw the world, showed them my crumb and dust-covered face, than slid back down to the bottom of the pocket. It really was that bad.

Yesterday I had to present a practice run of the 2.5 hour lecture I'll be teaching soon before a group of BOE employees. Thankfully, we had some things go wrong so I'm now prepared for those scenarios during the actual class times. But as for my teaching style and presentation, there were very few critiques. THANK YOU Mr. Jones, wherever you are. Because of those horrendous hours I spent in your class for an entire year, I can face my students and look them directly in the face, I can "own it" when I mispronounce a word or something goes wrong, and sometimes I can even laugh at myself. I've finally got the concept that knowing your subject backwards and forwards truly makes all the difference in the world in confidence level, and that practicing in front of the mirror is not reason to dread the day. I'm not sure you'd recognize my delivery style if you saw me. I've come so far since that 18-19 year old girl whose hands couldn't stop shaking and literally cried in relief and frustration as soon as class was over.

There have been very few times in my adult life when I've been afraid to speak in front of a crowd. And a good chunk of that I owe to what I learned in Introduction to Speech.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

slow, not quite steady

Fall is a whirlwind. It always is.

And with some unexpected events, this fall seems a little busier than normal.

Some events are positive. I was asked to teach some training classes for our county's Board of Elections. So far I'm enjoying the preparation process (though my real prep work begins this weekend), but the thought of being the official "trainer" is also a little intimidating. I don't feel old enough to be in this position. It seems unreal that I have worked as a poll official for more than 10 years, but I have.

Other events are necessarily bad, just requiring an adjustment of our schedules. I'll be posting more about that in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to finish up the yardwork while having very full days the rest of the week. I'm reminding myself of the mantra "little by little" as I tackle small projects in small time frames. And on days like today, I remind myself that I know what has been accomplished, even if no one else does.

I may not be winning races, but I am still walking!

Monday, September 15, 2014

turning off my brain

This past Thursday night and Friday I joined a friend (Thursday my husband actually joined me) in Quilt Carolina. If you've never participated in a Shop Hop before, you basically have a set amount of time to visit a certain number of stores. There are prizes and coupons and discounts for the shoppers who are participating. I hadn't planned on buying fabric (famous last words) as I have way too many projects queued up and in progress to add to that growing pile. But in one store, they had a discount for that day, and there was a fabric there I've had my eye on for some time.

If you're not a fabric lover, batiks are hand dyed fabrics, usually from Asia, and they have patterns and multiple colors in them. Think tie dye, but more professional and elegant looking.

There's also a pattern designer named McKenna Ryan that I've admired for years. Her backgrounds use batiks, and there's one pattern set that has had my mind whirling on our pond and a quilt that includes its creatures for some time.

I think you see where this is headed.

Anyway, I'm standing at the cutting counter with a batik and a matching solid, and one of my classmates (who works at the store) says "Ooh! What are you making?"  and I answered, "a catfish".

That's the simple answer. That's what the fabric will be used for - a catfish in a pond full of animals.

She was more than shocked. And I understand. Beautiful hand-dyed fabric, gorgeous colors, an amazing soft material, and I'm thinking about a slimy animal that makes gutteral sounds and is a bottom feeder.

I got home from our trip late Friday evening, and my brain was whirling, wanting to immediately start sketching out this quilt idea. I've made myself wait. I must finish some other projects first, but I am at least going to sketch out some thoughts for this project. I'd like to do it sooner rather than later. Some ideas just demand attention. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

the garden that wasn't to be

Every year at this time I tell myself "I am NOT having a garden next year."  and then spring comes with all its seed catalogs and advertisements and...I plant a garden.

This year I even branched out a little and tried a few organic things I read about on pinterest...planting in small beds instead of rows and putting marigolds around the bed.  It looked beautiful, but it did NOTHING to keep the bugs away. Zilch. Worms, wasps, beetles, bugs I can't identify, and even a RABBIT  all enjoyed the efforts of my garden this summer.  But I must say, it was the prettiest garden I've ever had. :)

Strangely, it seems I've spent the least amount of time in the garden this year, but I've also had the most productive garden of any I've ever planted. Unfortunately, I didn't plant a whole lot of anything, so there wasn't a whole to put up for the winter. But we have enjoyed this summer!

As for the beds made out of pallets...mixed results. I followed the instructions and filled them full of dirt BEFORE I stood them up. And guess what?  When filled with dirt, it takes more than one person to lift them up, which doesn't quite fit the bill in my household. So I left them flat on the ground. They were a total nuisance to cut grass around, but I actually think they worked quite well. Peppers and tomatoes didn't do very well in them, but my squash and cucumbers thrived for some least until Mr. Bunny Rabbit, Mrs. Hens, and Little Dog began trampling through them and sampling whatever was there. But still, I put up a lot of pickles, gave away two bags of cucumbers, and put up enough squash for stir fry that I care to use. (Although I did have someone give me several bags of squash, too.)  So I will definitely use the pallet beds again next year, though they'll be separated and used for squash and cucumbers and maybe trellis beans or peas.

I'd think in September things would be starting to die off, but one set of peas, the okra, and green beans are still slowly putting out. And since all of those got a late start, I'm actually okay with that.  

And next year?  I'm definitely planting in sections again, though the rows might be a little larger. After all, 9 ears of corn, 3 of them nibbler size, doesn't exactly amount to much.

Monday, September 8, 2014

political ads

This is only September, and I am ready to beat my head against a wall.

I hate political ads. Most of them, both sides, slant the truth so bad it's not funny. They clearly play on emotions and hype and not fact. It's insane. Here's the standard line of what we've been seeing:

Hi, my name is X (or Y) and I'm running for US Senate. My opponent hates education/poor people and only loves rich people. So support me for US Senate.

Really?  Both candidates worked in the NC Senate. Both candidates voted for the same tax package (yeah, the same deal that limits the taxes on yachts to $150,000), although they served in the Senate at different times. That tax break really and truly has been around that long.

And the accusation that one opponent doesn't care about poor people?  The one making the accusation grew up wealthy; the one being accused grew up poor.  Go figure.

If I were queen of the world, and I'm thankful I'm not, I would require that political ads could do one thing: tell what THAT candidate believes, supports, and hopes to accomplish...nothing else. Then let the voters decide.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

a thankful Thursday

I am thankful...

  • to live in America, where car parts and mechanics are available
  • for friends who will drop everything and come assist when you're hot and sweaty and soaked through and ready to throw things
  • for families, in all their uniqueness
  • for a husband who is also my best friend
  • for quilt shops (not every town has one within driving distance, you know)
  • for my sewing machine.  That may sound trite to those who don't sew, but my husband could have balked at its price, and he didn't.
  • for thunderstorms. I don't know why, but being inside while the thunder rolls and lightning lights up the darkened sky has always been a bit reassuring (unless the lightning gets too close to the house)
  • for children...their honesty, their curiosity, their excitement
  • for books, and a nation that doesn't censor what we read
  • for Facebook. It's not the same as everyone being together for the holidays, but it's the next best thing
  • to not hear football stuff 24/7
  • that my parents are most likely coming to visit next month :)
  • that God has provided for several friends' financial needs relating to school bills
  • for the gift of music
  • that God's mercy is new to me EVERY SINGLE MORNING!
  • for the person who created waterbeds, enabling my husband to sleep through the night without having to be turned
  • for a nation that requires curb cuts and handicap parking
  • for the ability to walk through a parking lot, even if it's full of water puddles
  • for stores that sell wide and extra wide shoes
  • for cameras
  • for riding lawn mowers
  • for a husband who doesn't complain nor comment when I don't weedeat/mow the ditch for three weeks straight (and maybe a tad longer!)
  • that God does not expect of me what I sometimes expect of others
  • that God is patient
  • for the privilege to talk to God in prayer
  • that God doesn't have a "don't touch until the clay is dry" sign on his personage
  • for my fellow bloggers
  • for the internet!
  • that family fun fest (our church's annual outreach) is only once a year
  • that the end is in sight for the most time consuming areas of my garden
  • that the garden I wasn't going to have has been my smallest and most productive yet
  • that Buster hasn't killed any more chickens or geese
  • that Bobby doesn't have to work tomorrow
  • for grace...

super cool dishes

Villeroy & Boch make some very interesting dish sets. From Germany, a lot of their settings are contemporary country designs.  Many of them have a rural feel, all of them are very cheerful and airy, and some of them have that European flair to them. I've looked at many sets from gift registeries, but not until this week have I seen a set from them that made me think "Oooh! I really like that! I could see us actually using that!"

I don't think these pictures do the set justice. They yellow is not super bright, but it's not a pale yellow, either. And the flower patterns, diamond patterns, and ink sketched farm scenes are absolutely amazing. (Disclaimer: I'm not crazy about the plate with the horse rider, but the cows, sheep, and harvest scenes are absolutely incredible.)  And unlike my current fine China, they are dishwasher safe, something the sales clerk didn't mention to us when we picked our pattern out. And seeing as I grew up without a dishwasher, it never even crossed my mind to ask about it. (Yeah, I am now a spoiled housewife.)

I don't know why I am so fascinated with dishes or place settings.  I got to visit a tea house twice in Fuquay-Varina, and one of the things I loved the most about it was that they each person at the table had a different place setting. They all somewhat matched (either in color or in style), but each setting was totally different from the next. Somehow I think if I pulled out all my dishes and tried that, it wouldn't work. (Can't you just see a square red & green "Merry Christmas Y'all" with cowboy snowmen next to a fancy blue China plate?)

But if you're in the market for a nice set of dishes, Villery & Boch is a company whose designs are worth considering.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

not for me

While shopping Monday (yeah, you can tell I've not been "out" in a while), I saw something that totally baffled me, but it also made my head turn - metal dishes in the high dollar section of Belks.

The brand name is Wilton Armetale, and according to the website, it's an "alternative metal" that you can take from the fridge to the stove to the table. What caught my eye, not shown online or in this picture, was their egg platter.  I cannot even begin to fathom going to all the trouble of making deviled eggs, only to put them on a metal platter. I'd use a flat dish where the eggs slide around all over the place before I resorted to metal.

I suppose for people who like the look of silver but hate polishing silver this would be a nice alternative. I imagine that people who are wanting the antique look would find this very fitting in their kitchen, as it does look quite cheap in real life. I don't know if it's dishwasher safe. I can think of several ladies who could buy this and use it in their homes and I would walk in and think "Wow. This looks nice."  Of course, those same ladies can also make burlap look nice.  Go figure.

But I'm not one of them. And even if I did like this and it wasn't out of my price range, if I tried to use it, people would come in and think "Mm.  She's mixing Dollar Tree and Belks again.  Poor gal has no fashion sense whatsoever."  They would never realize these cheap looking dishes ARE Belk dishes.  I just don't have that knack for decorating.

I did see some dishes that I really liked. I told Bobby if we were getting married now and having to register for stuff all over again, those would be the dishes we'd go with (as opposed to what we have, which I still like very much). I'll post those tomorrow. But even those dishes would make my poor mother shake her head and sigh "ohhh Ruthie, no."

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


I love boots.  Sadly, it's not an easy feat to find boots to fit my feet.

Yesterday while out shopping, I saw some boots several aisles over that looked like they were sporting a very familiar logo. Then I mind corrected me - you now, the  "can't be; wrong state; you don't find that here" train of thought. So I quickly moved that direction, and sure enough, there were several SEC boots on a display table in ACC country.

I immediately started laughing, called my husband over, and shocked him.  I then turned the boot over to find the price sticker, and the shock became mine.


Yep. You read that right. Four hundred mackeroos (plus some when you finish adding taxes) for cowgirl boots that have a school logo embroidered on them. That's just absolutely insane. And the even crazier part? I can think of two girls back home who would save up their money for them.

I went to double check the prices this morning before I typed this, just in case my vision was blurred or I saw it wrong last night when I was linking a friend to it.  But it's still there in black & white.  Now, there are a few teams that have their boots on sale for $150 this morning, which is still more than I have ever paid for a pair of shoes, including my specialized orthotics or running shoes. And I didn't look too closely at what schools had their boots on sale, but I have a feeling that could spawn a lot of sports-related jokes. The SEC fan base is funny in that way.

I'd heard the 2nd Bush President had his cowboy boots embroidered with the Presidential seal and often wore them with his suits. Perhaps that's where the idea came from. I don't know.

But if they ever start selling these in a wide or extra-wide width and bring their prices down to $75, then I'll start trying on some shoes. (and even then, I'll be holding a coupon!)  But this is Belks we're talking about, who like JCPenney do not think those of us with wide feet care about how we adorn our little piggies.

Reckon anyone will ever create a cowgirl boot for quilters? :)