Sunday, May 24, 2015

Alabama Chanin on Call

By that, I mean that I'm on call so we can't go to the beach, but it was quiet enough to get some sewing in - yay! First I ran to Books-a-Million to get the 4th and final AC book.

Now I've been working on my AC couched skirt again because I'm at an impasse on my knitted lacy top - the sleeves have to decrease 2 stitches every 8th row in the lace pattern, which apparently involves drawing your own chart, which I've never done, so I'm stuck. Any help there? The up side of the dilemma is that I was forced to stop knitting and start sewing again, so I'm now halfway through the second panel of my 4-panel skirt I started last summer. Now the ADHD-sewing thing kicked in, plus my sewing buddy Robbie and I were planning to have an airbrushing session soon, so I needed ideas for something ELSE to work on! That took me upstairs to look at fabric, and I decided to try the T-shirt pattern from her third book, I believe. But I read that the fourth book had all the patterns plus a few extra, so I got it first.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the new book, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns. There are only 2 or 3 new patterns (wrap skirt, a VERY blousy dress, and maybe one other thing I'm blanking on), and there are NO embellished items. The third book was my favorite because of all the eye candy with the sequins, beads, fur, etc., but this one is more about how to alter all the patterns, and it's very basic stuff. Plus, the patterns are all on a CD and you have to print them out yourself, or take them to a printer - bleh! You can order the paper patterns extra for $30. Oh well, back to the fabric. I found this slightly stretchy knit that I think I bought in Japan, and decided to test the T-shirt pattern on something else first to get the fit right before I make a shirt out of this.


Cue the XXL t-shirt I bought at an outlet center.


I decided to keep the Gator - maybe we'll go to a game this year....yeah, I doubt it.


Had a couple of these orange shirts donated to me, and this makes great sleeves that are hemmed already.


Well, hot damn at the fit! This is my first AC garment with sleeves, and I am pleased!


Still need to make the swayback adjustment...


and I haven't bound the neckline yet...orange or blue? I was planning on using white thread with a cretin stitch on orange or blue binding, but Drew thought that sounded weird, even though I explained that they don't make those colors in button craft thread. He suggested I use regular thread, but I kind of like the contrast with my white-felled seams on the shoulders and armholes.


Well, obviously I need to loosen it just a bit for work, but we'll see if I can get this done in that Japanese fabric. Then of course to the original plan of airbrushing some cotton for aNOther shirt....or skirt...curse this ADHD sewing! Hey, how was YOUR weekend?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Graduation and Dinner

Drew graduated this past weekend, and I didn't know if I'd be able to stop crying. Does everybody get depressed when their kid graduates? The school gave him a packet at graduation practice with his final transcript, all the standardized test scores, shot record, birth certificate, and the picture we had to submit when he started - awwwww!!!!


I did some sobbing after the senior breakfast while I was alone in the bathroom, and had some tears running down my face when he and Lucas left our family pre-graduation dinner at Jerusalem Cafe to get set up, but I was oddly emotion-less at the actual ceremony. (Could've been the 3 antsy kids sitting in front of us drinking Capri Suns and eating purple suckers.) An added bonus was that Lucas played the drums with the school band, and of course the song was Pomp and Circumstance, or as Lucas thinks it's called, Pompous Circumstance.

One other fun thing was that I volunteered to be a chaperone for the "don't go out drinking, stay here in the gym and be sober" party afterwards, which involved a hypnotist making these kids do the craziest things for over an hour - that was something! We're still waiting for videos of the valedictorian ripping off his shirt while dancing to make it onto YouTube...including the valedictorian himself, who can't remember anything. Good stuff.

So after moping around the house all weekend being depressed, I started call this week, but decided since I finished early that I should cook dinner. Pinterest sent me a timely email about quick dinners, so Drew, Lucas, and I whipped this up after a trip to the grocery store:


If you know me well at all, aren't you proud of me for cooking this?! And it tasted delicious! Okay, you just cook a pound of bacon, boil your pasta then throw in the broccoli, heat up your Bertolli alfredo sauce, shred some Publix rotisserie chicken and crumble up the bacon into it, and toss it all in a dish. Didn't leave too much of a mess for Dean to clean up...


Alright, anybody else have a depressing graduation story? Or a great pasta dish that I can't destroy?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Another 5K Win!


Dude, I came in 3rd for my age group (45-49) again - wish I'd stayed to collect the prize! Anybody know what it is? Another plastic water bottle? And yes, there were only 4 of us, why do you ask? If they hadn't subdivided 40-49, I would've been out, because there was a 41-yr old who was faster than me. Anyway, I'm making Lucas join me for Lulu's Hot Trot in June so he'll get some exercise, and I'm still trying to work up to a half-marathon in the fall. Alright, more gin and tonics for everyone! Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Good Restaurant and A Bad Talk

But first, the beautiful little roses growing on the fence - forgot what their official name is...anyone?


There's a little Mediterranean restaurant nearby that doesn't seem to do any business, and we blame the location, because EVERY restaurant that's ever been there has closed within a year or two. Surprisingly, they were advertising for help, and Drew's now officially finished with high school, so we ate dinner there just to check out the working conditions before he applies. Here's the hummus, which was really runny, oddly, but had the best flavor - even better than our usual hummus joint.


And here's my chicken curry, which was very tasty...


and Lucas's softshell crab - also yummy. I didn't get a picture of the best dish, which was Drew's lamb with cranberries, mushrooms, and balsamic vinegar sauce - that stuff was fantastic!


We were the only table for about 20 minutes, which was quite awkward, but then 2 other tables came in to save us. Now they had bottles of wine on display on a table, but no wine list, and my Mom and I were up for a glass. You should consider the volume of business when ordering a glass of wine, and I was worried that it might have turned if it had been sitting a while, so I ordered a whole bottle, since it's legal to leave with a corked, bagged bottle here (according to Carrabbas). Now the poor waitress looked about 18 years old, and went to get a Chardonnay off the display table before I realized there was not apparently not a wine chiller (don't I sound snobby about chilled wine!), but Mom said she could drink room temperature wine, so I went with it. Sadly, the smell hit me before the taste did, and let's just say we didn't drink much of it. I even rushed to get in the car when we left, lest the owner chase me down with my "forgotten" bottle! I just googled Oak Leaf Chardonnay, and apparently you can get it for $1.97 at Walmart. I was thinking how affordable it was at the restaurant, but I see now that he did mark it up to $13. Sheesh, you get what you pay for.

Okay, on to the talk. I was asked to present a lecture to a conference here in town, and they implied they wanted one I had just given to another group, so that's a piece of cake, right? I agreed, but then the official letter said they wanted the focus to be slightly different, and I found out while doing the research that it didn't actually pertain to the heart at all. I was very bummed and had a hard time starting to work on it, and I've been dreading it for WEEKS! So Wednesday I get an email with the whole conference listed, and the woman in front of me is speaking about a broader version of the SAME topic. She was furious that the organizer didn't tell either one of us about the overlap, and fully 50% of her talk dealt with my subject. Now if you're a teacher or a lecturer or something, has this ever happened to you? Would you believe that she and I even used the SAME Powerpoint slide theme?! We had slides of the same 3 studies with the very same graphs, and I spent a lot of time saying, "As Dr. Serious mentioned...."

The saving grace (if you could call it that) was that she used much bigger scientific words and got down on a molecular level, whereas I kept it on a more lay-personable level (you can use that - I just made it up). The biggest words I used, in fact, were "microvascular obstruction," and my Mad Cow nearly screwed those up! Note to self: always ask for everyone's topics when presenting at a big conference.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Funny Coincidence in Pensacola

But first: Lucas had to make a poster to run for student council Friday, and apparently the point is to be as funny and cool as possible. I remember at my high school, I always voted for the funniest speeches. One guy made the audience stand up then sit down, and said something like, "Remember that you stood up for me." Another kid told us all to scoot to the left of our seat, then the front, then the right, then all the way back, and said, "Thanks - you just cleaned every seat in the auditorium." Good stuff back then. Well, this is what Lucas came up with for his poster. Photoshop is just invaluable these days...like the Worldbook Encyclopedia was to kids in the 80's.


SO, my MIL mentioned she wanted a new sewing machine to replace her little $50 one that broke, and really wanted an automatic needle-threader, and Dean and I thought that would be a great Mother's Day gift for her. I started researching machines, and decided to get her a Janome in Pensacola, where they have an actual Janome dealer, and she can drop in for service or classes or whatever. So Saturday I head to the dealer, which I shall not mention by name here, because their website and Google declared them open 10-3, but when I got there they were closed. AAAAGHHHH! (That's a one-hour drive, people.) I decided I'd head to Joann's to get a knitting needle I needed for my sweater, but I came across Hobby Lobby first. Guess which size was the only one they didn't have - yep, you guessed it. So on to Joann's after all. Got my knitting stuff, then wandered over to the sewing section to see if they sold Janome's or not. A saleslady was putting a machine in a buggy, and said, "I'll just put it in your buggy for you. Is this your buggy, Keiko?" Now, how many people do you think are named Keiko besides my MIL?! Sure enough, there she was!


I yelled, "Keiko!!!" The saleslady, who had her back to us, immediately said, "Oh, I'm sorry I mis-pronounced your name." (I just now realized that she thought my MIL was correcting her on how to say it - haha.) Would you believe that she had just bought that machine? So what are the chances that the store where I might have bought her a machine was closed, and I ended up in Joann's at the moment she bought her own - astronomical! So I figured God wanted me to do something else, and sure enough, she asked if I could show her how to use the needle-threader next time I came over. Well of course I followed her home and we set that sucker up, plus I got a home-cooked meal out of it! Just too funny. Here's another funny story about a gift from my in-laws, if you need a laugh.

And now to the sweater, which is coming along just swimmingly now, though I was a'might nervous about starting the sleeve. You use a second circular needle to knit the sleeve with, and it was very dicey holding 3 needle tips to start, but I think I did it right. I should've gotten Lucas to take a better picture so you could appreciate the complexity of it. I'm making good progress on the sleeve, and I think it's going to be gorgeous!!!


Now do you have a funny gift story?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rest of Spring Break 2015 *Graphic Pic Warning

(Do not scroll down if you are sitting in a busy waiting room or you have a weak stomach - you have been warned.) We came back from 50-degree weather in Wisconsin and headed for 70-degree weather at the beach. A little cool for swimming, but nice enough to take the dog for a paddle board.


I met my sewing buddy Robbie at a nice restaurant for lunch, and was planning to do a nice review of them, so I took a bunch of pictures. This is the cool fish tank with stingrays and all kinds of fish you can pet...I guess.


These were the cool light fixtures, and the food at lunch was GREAT!


Love the decor! Alas, I took the family back for dinner the next night, and was really let down, so no big review now. But if you're in a boat in Wolf Bay and want to dock at the Cayman Grill, definitely stop for lunch on the deck. If it's nighttime and you want well-cooked fish, keep on going! One funny story - the waitress, who seemed to be from another planet, took our drink orders, then brought the boys' Cokes in tiny kids' cups with bendy straws. Lucas, the 12-year-old, would've been offended if this happened just to him, but it also applied to 18-yr-old Drew, who's 6'2 with a buzz cut. We all cracked up and Drew immediately Snapchatted a pic to his friends. Then when she took our food order, she actually asked him if he wanted the adult pizza or the kid's pizza! The hilarity did not quite make up for the overcooked, unseasoned fish, sadly.


On Saturday, I got up at 6:30 AM to run a 5K - go me! Unfortunately, I came down the stairs in my sock feet, which is a big no-no for someone with Mad Cow disease, as you can see from previous posts. So one foot flew off the step and I fell straight back onto my derriere and right hip, which were clothed in slippery running shorts, so I proceeded to bump down 10 steps as if on the lubed-up sled from Christmas Vacation. My forearm banging on each step didn't even stop me, but THIS time (yes, this was the second time I did this) I didn't bruise the arm up, at least. So I was trying to dress and leave the house quietly, but Dean did jump up to come check on me. I walked around and didn't seem to have broken anything, so I went on and ran the 5K - booyah! Even shaved 3 minutes off my time (33:46), but this was because there were only about 25 people running, and I didn't want to be the last one. Now hold the phone, because I just checked the results, and would you believe that I came in 3rd in my age group?! I'm going back to count - I bet there were only 3 of us.


Okay, back to my Mad Cow. I came home, ate a nice breakfast Dean made for me, loaded up with ibuprofen for the hip pain to come, got in the bed, and proceeded to have that hysterical laughing then crying thing I do after falling - it was just delayed a little because of the 5K. It seems to be a combination of happiness that I haven't broken anything when I fall, and sadness at the inevitability of a broken hip in my future. Whatever...here's that graphic pic I warned you about. It's quite educational in what happens to your leg when you fall down and you're on aspirin. I'm hoping gangrene doesn't set in....and that Giovanni Ribisi doesn't show up and declare my leg "south of cheese."


There was another large bruise perfectly outlining my coccyx down to the 3 spinous tubercles, but I'll leave that one to your imagination. Here's the anatomical diagram. (Yes, if you Google-image that, somebody posted their actual bruise.)


Let's leave you with something more appetizing - this is how Dean fixed Cuban sandwiches for us when we had to come back to the real world of school and work. The man is a whiz with cast iron pans!


Now what are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

First Half of Spring Break 2015...

And we spent it in Wisconsin with my sister's family. Poor Dean had to work, and it's mighty hard to get to Sparta, so he stayed back. The boys and I flew into La Crosse, which is a lovely city, though they're working on the airport....ahem.


We ate at a great Mexican restaurant called Manny's, in Onalaska I believe, where the bowl of queso dip dwarfs what we get here in Alabama.


And the next day Tracey made delicious crescent rolls with homemade cinnamon filling and glaze - YUM.


Here's a bat in the barn - did I mention they live on a farm now? I declined to climb the ladder for a shot of hundreds of bats - sorry.


This is where they used to bring the cows for milking...now it's bike storage.


The boys got to experience chickens for the first time ever - whee!


This is called an ugly-neck, or something more official, because it doesn't have any feathers on parts of its neck.


Their snow just recently melted, and we had great weather for getting outside and playing Frisbee and riding bikes.


I did attempt a chicken-selfie (is that a thing?), but she was staring at me a little too intently, so I was a'skeered of getting pecked.


Joe had a little White Lightnin' from Tennessee, so we had screwdrivers - very smooth!


We drove into Cashton to sample some cheese and look at Norwegian gifts, and I saw a windmill for the first time in person - is that what you call this?


We found an antique store that had vintage patterns, so I bought these 3, but I need to talk to you vintage pattern-buying women, because I was under the impression you could get a bundle for a few bucks. These were $3 a piece! I was especially dismayed when I found out the woman double-charged me, and we had to go back after lunch to straighten that out.


When we got back home, Tracey and I put on our running gear and headed out for a "shuffle," as she calls it.


I don't what you'd call this, other than silly.


And fun, actually.


Drew had the most fun petting their cat, oddly enough.


And on the way to the airport, we stopped at Fitting Knits, one of two LYS in La Crosse, where I bought these 2 skeins on clearance.


So that was a short but sweet start to our Spring Break, and now we can say we've been to Wisconsin! Now to start the beach portion of our week, and I'm running a 5K on Saturday, since I MAY be in training for a half-marathon in Amish country in September!!!!! More on that later....what are YOU up to this week?