Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fender Bender

What a nice cap to an already crappy day.

-Bad day at work (End of month Rush)
-Family tragedy for a friend
-Fender Bender on the way home from Knit Group.

I failed to notice the car in front of me had stopped or was stopping to do a left turn. By the time I noticed, it was too late to avoid hitting, but I was able to swerve so that it wasn't a full-on rear end collision. I clipped her bumper as I swerved to the left. Luckily no one was in the on-coming lane. No one was hurt, no airbags deployed, but the front right side of my car got pretty squashed. Although I was surprised to note that the head light still worked after being busted out. Since my car was making a funny noise I pulled over on a cross street. At first I thought the other car had just left, but she returned shortly. She went up the hill and turned around. She thought I was driving off when I turned onto the other road. I called 911; first time and hopefully the last I ever have to do that. The cops came. I know someone was either smiling on me or took pity on me at least after my bad day, because I did not get a ticket. Was sure I would, because I knew it was my fault. I didn't come right out and say the words "officer it was my fault" but I was very upfront about admitting that I failed to notice she was turning. I was able to drive the car home.

I found out later, after meeting my dad in the auto mechanics parking lot, that funny noise was because something was rubbing on the drive belt. The body shop owner advised me this morning not to drive it any further than I already had. The insurance towing service will be picking it up tomorrow to take it to the body shop. The owner said he could work on it next week.

And to top it off, I had to finish washing the dishes that my Mom started at 11:30pm.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Yummy New Dish

I got one of those emails from Borders, that said "take our survey and we'll give you a 30% off coupon." So I took their 4 question survey. Then I went to Borders last night and bought myself a new Thai cookbook. It is called "That Everything Thai Cookbook" by Jennifer Kotylo. I have been looking for a good cookbook with some curry recipes in it. I was also looking for a Coconut Chicken Soup recipe. This book had both.

It had one curry recipe (Red Curry Beef) that I had all the ingredients for except peanuts. So I since I had to go to the store anyway, I bought my peanuts and went home to cook the curry dish. I made a few mods to the recipe as I was making it. I added more coconut milk, so it wasn't 'dry' like the recipe said it was going to be. I didn't want to waste a half a can of coconut milk. Then I added more peppers (green bell, red bell and a sweet banana pepper), some minced fresh garlic and fresh button mushrooms. As it was cooking, I tasted it a few times. At first, I was worried I wouldn't like the recipe, because it was tasting pretty flat. But once I added the fish sauce and sugar it got better. When it was done and I put it over rice, it was yummy! I almost added hot peppers, but thought "no, I'll wait to see." I can always added some thai hot pepper sauce to it that I have in the fridge. I'm glad I didn't, because it had a slow burn to it. You know, it doesn't appear very hot until you start eating more and more. Then the heat starts building.

It turned out very good. Can't wait to try another recipe.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blog Anniversary!

Happy 1st Anniversary to my Blog.

Here's a look back at my first entry. Boy was it a long one too.

Also, last week I had my Spinning Wheel class at the Michigan Fiber Fest. in Allegan, MI. It was soo interesting to see all the different wheels. There were 11 or 12 attendees. And although there were several common types of wheels, no 2 wheels were the same. There were 3 Ashford Traditionals and they were all set up slightly different. Fran, from OH, was sitting next to me with a very old traditional. Probably one of the first styles. Her scotch tension was different from mine. The other Traditional was set to not even use the scotch tension. The spinning head was reversed so that the drive wheel was running both the bobbin and the spinning head. It was just so interesting to see how all the wheels were so different. There was even a Flax wheel present. The bobbins and spinning head were so tinny, yet the wheel was so huge. The owner (a woman originally from New Zealand) said it had been made by a Dutch furniture company for basically show. It was never supposed to be a working wheel. Just a decoration. However, it does work for lace only. I really learned a lot about my wheel also. The instructor, Amy Tyler, was really great.

I went back up on Saturday with my friend Carly to see all the Vendors. Because of all the class cancelations, because attendance was so low, I was worried that there wouldn't be as many vendors as last year. There were a few less, but not so that you really noticed. I had a few things on my list that I wanted to get (smaller wooden/bamboo cable needles, nitty noddy, lime-ish sock yarn). I got found the cable needles right away. I shopped around for the nitty noddy to get the best price. Of course as soon as I bought it (on our second go thru) I found it in another booth for less. Story of my life. I bought a green and purple sock yarn. Not really lime-ish, but I didn't see any other ones that had lime in them that I liked better. It is Socks that Rock yarn by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. It is a mill end, but so was the one Carly bought. But we didn't see a problem with hers when wound it in a ball. The only thing bad thing about it is that it doesn't have a color name. The owner said it was a "rare gem" because the dyer was fiddling around with new color schemes. Oh, well "rare gem" it is. I also got a new shrug pattern. It is basically a stole with cuffs on the end. I really like the idea of it. Sure wish I could have tried there sample on, but it was too high on the wall. It is called Illuminated Oriels by Zuzana Woods. I would have loved to buy the yarn to go with the pattern, however is was about $150 per hank. You only used 1 hank and had leftovers, but still, that's a little out of my price range. The most exciting find that I bought was a ball of Crystal Palace Panda Cotton Yarn. I had bought 3 skeins last year for the Monkey Sock swap. I only used 2, so I just needed 1 more to be able to do another pair of socks. I had been looking for that colorway (Picnic), I even had friends looking when they went to knitting stores. I had already decided that I would probably use the lone skein that I had for hand warmers or maybe baby socks. But Yeah! now I have options. It's not the same dyelot, the new one is slightly lighter the the original one. But once they are on my feet no one is going to know the difference.

At last year's fiber fest the lunch line was so long (I think we waited for at least 45 minutes for our food after we paid for it), that I recommended we see everything then leave and eat on our way home. Carly was up for that, so we stopped at The Grill House on M40, just south of town. I had always seen it, but never stopped. It is an old farm house style building (whether it was converted or just built that way I don't know) that sits up on a hill. We sat outside under an umbrella. There was a great breeze blowing. If you want to eat inside, you do have the option of cooking your own meat on their grills, but we figured let them do the work :o) I had a Shaved Prime Rib Melt - served on ciabatta bread with bistro sauce, cheeses and au jus. I was a little worried about the bistro sauce that was going to be on it. But oh man was it good. Carly had the Combo Platter - chicken strips and cod with tarter sauce, lemon and choice of dipping sauce. She said it was great too!

On the way home, we also stopped at St. Julian's Winery in Paw Paw Michigan for a little wine tasting. I bought a bottle of their Catawba, which is a sweet blush wine. I don't know about Carly, but I opened my bottle last night to have a glass with my dinner. Not sure if it was appropriate for burgers, but it was good.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Family Drama

Families can be a pain in the ass sometimes.

Essential Background Information: My Aunt Margaret (on my Mom's side) is slowly and I mean slowly recovering from throat cancer. She had had both Kemo and Radiation treatments. Last year around Thanksgiving, they finally took out her feeding tube. Well, they had to put it back in about 2 weeks ago. She had been having trouble swallowing and coughing too much after she would eat or drink. Turns out the flapper valve (don't know the technical term) that closes off your lungs when you eat/drink had hardened a bit, so it was not closing off and food/liquid was getting into her lungs. So she ended up with pneumonia and the Dr's determined that she needed to have the feeding tube put back in and to restrict her eating by mouth again. Before the cancer, she weighed around 200 lbs. Then she dropped to 100 lbs. She had gained back about 20 lbs, but this last bought of pneumonia dropped her back down to 102 lbs.

Margaret has 3 children. The oldest daughter is out of the picture. She became an alcoholic and Aunt Margaret ended up raising her 3 kids. The oldest grandchild has since moved out and lives on her own, but the other 2 are 14 & 12 and still live with Margaret. They have been very good about taking over most of the home chores. The middle, a son, went to college got a great job in OH, married some snooty rich girl and decided he didn't want to associate with the rest of his white trash family. He neither invited his mother to the wedding nor did he even tell her when he had a kid(s). She found out second hand when one of his friends asked why she wasn't at the wedding. The youngest daughter has been a godsend in helping her mother through this. She and my Mother have been taking turns driving Margaret back and forth to her Dr appts., getting her groceries, her medicine, etc. And trying to sooth the worry of the 2 granddaughters who still live with her. I know it has been very tough on Tracy having to shoulder the worry of caring for her ill mother and to see how she went from being so robust to so frail that you're afraid to give her a hug for fear of hurting her.

Now comes the Drama: Aunt Margaret's oldest granddaughter, Sarah, has a son who is about 16-18 months old. He is such a cutey. The only problem is that, Sarah has been leaving Ethin with Aunt Margaret too much. He is a very active little boy who weighs at least 25 lbs. He's always on the move and into things and Margaret is just not healthy or strong enough to be taking care of him. On Friday, Tracy called her Mom, didn't get an answer, so drove over. Margaret had fallen down the outside steps while carrying Ethin. Luckily no one was hurt, but they could have both been seriously injured. There are about 4-5 steps and the porch is about 3-4 feet off the ground. Tracy called my Mom/Dad, who rushed over to help. They were all upset because Margaret had had Ethin all week. And they all had words about how Sarah shouldn't be using Margaret as a free babysitter, so that she can do her own thing; partying, going to the bar, etc. So, Tracy packed up Ethin and took him back to his Mom. Which made Margaret upset, because she loves taking care of Ethin. I think it makes her feel useful. Well, the proverbial shit hit the fan after that. Sarah called Tracy and left a very nasty/threatening message on her answering machine stating that Tracy wasn't allowed to come see Margaret anymore and that she should keep her nose out of other peoples business and that the next time Sarah saw her, she was going to beat the shit out of her. Can you say "evidence"? She also called my father to cuss him out. However my Dad wouldn't stand for it and said if she wanted to cuss him out she could come do it in person and hung up on her. Tracy has a few police officer friends, so she called one. He came over, taped the answering machine message and said he would talk to Sarah. He goes out to Sarah's and tells her she can't threaten people. Sarah tries saying she never threatened Tracy. The officer asks her nicely if she would like to hear the recording. No, she 'suddenly' remembered what was said. Then, she starts yelling about Tracy never doing anything for Aunt Margaret and that the next time she saw her, she was going to beat the crap out of her. The officer (I'm sure is shaking his head at her stupidity) says that's threat #2 and if she tries it, that's jail time.

I just can't figure what goes through peoples minds some times. Or should I say what doesn't.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Baby Got an Overhaul

When I was in Indianapolis last weekend, I bought a Ashford Maintenance Kit for my spinning wheel. So I gave my wheel it's overhaul last night as I was watching the some of the Olympics.

I wiped it down, tightened some loose screws, replaced the hooks on the spin head, and installed the new tension springs. Then I gave her a whirl. I had some 'play fiber' that I got from Sarah at knit night, so I used that while trying to adjust the tension. Finding the right tension took less time than I thought it would.

Once that was done, I still felt like I was forgetting a step, but I wasn't sure. So I picked up the assembly pamphlet I downloaded from the Ashford web-site to look through it. It is a funny booklet, because there are no words! It is all pictures with little smiley or frowny faces to let you know the correct way or wrong way to do something. I turned to look at a page and it hit me. OIL!! I forgot to oil it. I did, then gave her a couple for test whirls. She is running so smoothly. "She" still doesn't have a name. I either haven't heard or thought of one that fits, or she just may not need one. I haven't decided yet. Any ideas?

I just can't wait for my class tomorrow at the Michigan Fiber Arts Festival. I'm so excited!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Quilt Pictures

I forgot to post about this last week. It was a free pattern from Moda Fabrics called something like Winder Wonderland Table runner. I made the table runner at a quilt retreat in @#%$. :o) I cut out the placemats, but never got them done. So I was digging around trying to find something to work on instead of the applique for the Lillebets Garden quilt and found them. So I decided to get them finished. Now all I have to do is get them quilted. !sigh!

Here's half of the table runner. It's pretty long.

Here is one of the placemats.

And here is the fabric I will be using to make the binding. It's the same fabric that is used for the teeny tiny border (red-looking) on the table runner.

It's really too bad that I won't be going to my quilt guild meeting this month, because I have a whole shitload of stuff to show and tell. I almost never have anything to show. Oh well, I'll just cart it all along next month.

Indianapolis & the Fiber Festival

I went to Indianapolis last weekend to visit with my friend Teresa. She's just got married this last May.

Had a good time. Stopped at Stitches & Scones on the way down. Got some light purple sock yarn on the clearance rack. Saw some lime/orange sock yarn, that I just loved. I've been looking for a lime-ish sock yarn. However it was not superwash, so I determined that I did not want it. I have a little problem with unintentionally felting items that aren't supposed to be. So I thought better safe than sorry. Besides, I am planning on going to the Michigan Fiber Arts Festival this coming weekend in Allegan, MI. I'm sure someone will have lime sock yarn. Hoping to get some friends together to carpool. Gas has come down a little, but it's still 1.25 hr drive.

I also bought a maintenance kit for my Traditional Ashford spinning wheel. I've been wanting that, because it has the replacement tension springs. My wheel is one of the earlier models and did not have the tension springs. I looked through the package and was disappointed to see that it only had 1 spring it in. However, I thought I might be able to find a similar spring at the hardware store. But luckily when I dumped everything out and was looking at it all, I found that it did indeed have 2 springs. I need to get those changed out before Thursday, because I am taking a 'Mechanics of Spinning' class at the Michigan Fiber Arts Festival. It is being taught by Amy Tyler.

Since the class runs from 9am-noon, I took the whole day off. My mom is going with me and we are going to be stopping at the Perrigo Discount Drug Store afterwards. Perrigo is a Pharmacutical company in Allegan. They package the generic drugs for whichever company buys them (CVS, perrys, OSCO, Valu-Time, Walgreens, etc) and they sell their overruns at their store. Some times you can get great deals and other times, the deals are only so-so. I've gotten Naproxym Sodium (aka Alieve) there for $1/bottle and Pepto for 25 cents a bottle. I've already gotten lists from friends that want stuff. They just have to be aware that if there are limits on what you can buy and it's something that is on my list. Then I get mine bought first before I get theirs.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

No catchy title today

I've actually being getting some things done. I've just not been very chatty about it.

I've been on a sewing kick the last couple of weeks. Only doing knitting during one of the various knitting meeting that I attend.

I was working on my BOM Lillebet's Garden quilt. Thinking maybe I should make an effort to get this thing done, so I won't feel too guilty about working on something else. :o) I had all the blocks pieced. I finished the sashing blocks and got all the 'sections' assembled. To make doing the appliqué easier, you are supposed to assemble the quilt in sections, appliqué each section, then assemble the final quilt. No, I didn't take pictures yet. Not sure when I will either. I don't know if it was operator error or maybe an error in the pattern, but my blocks came out 15.5 inches square (approx.) but the sashing strips were only 15 inches long (approx). This made assembling each section, a bit of a pain. Stretch here, stretch there. I'm worried that it will have too many ripples. But then again, there is the old saying "it will quilt out".