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Monthly Archives: November 2012

What? A Liebster Award Nomination?

Hey, great news.   Clever blogger, Nam Writes, nominated me for a Liebster Award!  She is a HI-larious writer (go see for yourself) so I was flattered that she  nominated me.  First thing I did was Google, “What is a Liebster Award?”   Then I Googled, “What kind of riches and glory come with this award?”  Then I wondered, “Is it pronounced ‘LEEBster’ or ‘LIEBster’?”  Inquiring minds want to know.

To accept the award and receive the 500 million dollar prize (a girl can dream, right?), I must follow a few rules:

  1. I must list 11 things about myself.
  2. I must answer the 11 questions asked of me by my nominator.
  3. I must nominate 11 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers and link them in my post.
  4. I must list 11 questions for my nominees to ponder and answer.
  5. I must go to my nominees’ page and tell them they were nominated.

Following Rule #1…here are some earth-shattering factoids about me:

  1. I can’t hear very well.  In fact, I wear 2 hearing aids and I say “What?” a lot.  I try to come up with alternatives to the word ‘what’ and some of my faves include:  “Huh?”, “I’m sorry?”, “Pardon?”.
  2. I am allergic to vodka but it turns out that only the kind made from wheat bothers me.
  3. When I talk to myself, sometimes I laugh out loud.  Nobody gets me like I do.
  4. I love those smelly fragrance balls that you put in your laundry but I only use them for myclothes.  The rest of the family is banned from using my fragrance balls.
  5. I hate hot dogs and always have.  As a kid, I would tell my little sisters they were eating pig’s butt whenever they were eating hot dogs.
  6. I’m pretty sure I was a famous singer and/or dancer in a past life.  I don’t know who though, so I guess I wasn’t that famous.
  7. I just started running this year and finished my first half marathon.  I consider myself an athlete now.
  8. I find dolls creepy.
  9. I will NOT set foot in a dark room without first turning on the lights.
  10. Germs freak me out so I wash my hands at least 15 times a day.
  11. I love to play board games and card games but no one else in my family does.

Alrighty, moving right along.  Rule #2…Here are the questions my nominator, Nam Writes, asked of me:

  1. What is your favorite song to work out to?  I love running to SexyBack by Justin Timberlake.  Don’t judge, thank you.
  2. In a parallel universe, you are…A talented and sort of famous singer/dancer.
  3. What is your secret talent most people don’t know you possess?  I have eyes in the back of my head.
  4. What’s your favorite word?  Yes.
  5. What’s your least favorite word?  What.
  6. What movie do you watch over and over?  Napoleon Dynamite.
  7. What is the blog you read first in the day?  Whatever is at the top of my reader then I take it from there.
  8. What is your favorite mode of travel?  The trusty automobile.  Road trips rule.
  9. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?  I love Moose Tracks.  It’s a Northwestern thing.
  10. Glee is a) awesome; b) ridiculous –why are they constantly breaking out in song; or c) what’s Glee?  ANSWER:  A.  Glee is funtastic and I like to sing a long if I know the words.
  11. What is your favorite article of clothing?  I have these super cute jeans that make my butt look really good. Winking smile

Rule #3 – Nominate 11 bloggers.  I nominated these folks because they either  entertain me, teach me, encourage me, read me (well, my blog), keep me coming back for more and/or make me smile out loud.  My nominees for the Liebster Award are…….

  1. Athlete in Me
  2. Skinny Little Whippet
  3. Confessions of a Caffeinated Mother Runner
  4. symmetry tactics
  5. thek9harperlee
  6. ovariation
  7. HealthHappinessHumour
  8. quick as molasses
  9. pinotforbreakfast
  10. Fit Fun Mom
  11. Ch’I Journey

Finally, Rule #4…My thought provoking questions for the above nominees:

  1. What was your favorite comic strip as a child?
  2. Do you own any pets?  If so, what kind?
  3. Why do you blog?
  4. If you could only own one book, what would it be?
  5. Do you color inside the lines or outside?
  6. What word would your mother use to describe you?
  7. What word would your best friend use to describe you?
  8. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  9. Have you ever been in a bar brawl?
  10. Do you believe in ghosts?
  11. What have you done to prepare for a zombie invasion?

That was it.  I’m an award winner, yo.  Anyone know when I will get my $500 million dollars?

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My Grandma Cracks Me Up

Thanksgiving is, of course, a day for giving thanks.  Which, if you ask me, we should be thankful on a more on-going basis…like daily.  Not full blown ‘Thanksgiving-Day-style’ thankful, but maybe something along the lines of ‘so-glad-another-day-went-by-without-a-zombie-apocalypse’ kind of thankful.   Seriously, my priorities are not that screwed up.

This Thanksgiving is different from past years.  This year, while being very thankful for all I have, I am thinking of my Grandma Bea who passed away last year, the day after Thanksgiving.

Grandma Bea was a unique Grandma.  She wasn’t your typical Grandma that you would find in the kitchen baking cookies and pies.  She didn’t walk around in an apron with her gray hair neatly wrapped in a bun, humming church hymns.  No.  Grandma Bea had some awesome red hair and it was never in a bun.  Ever.  She wore wild, bright, bold prints – usually animal prints.  She was funny, gregarious, full of life and had a laugh that was dangerously contagious…and she wasn’t afraid to use it!  Her laughter was HILARIOUS and reminds me  so much of Phyllis Diller’s infamous laugh.  Grandma’s laugh is the first thing I think of when she’s on my mind.

I remember one Christmas in the late ‘70’s (or maybe it was Thanksgiving?) my sister and I were at G-ma’s (that’s how she abbreviated her name), and we were armed with our way cool, cutting edge cassette tape recorder.   We quietly snuck up on the grown ups and recorded bits and pieces of their conversation until we struck gold and caught G-ma’s laugh on tape.  We hit the ‘stop’ button on the tape recorder and ran off to the living room to listen to our findings.  We played the recording and found the priceless laugh of G-ma Bea and we played it over and over and over.  Rewind, play.  Rewind, play.  Rewind, play.  We laughed so much and so hard that there may have been some peeing of the pants going on.  What I would give for that cassette (and the player, of course).

Last time I visited G-ma was a few years ago.  I went to Southern California to hang out with her and we had a great time.  She still laughed and still wore crazy, colorful clothes but she had slowed down a bit.  Her short term memory was was not good.  She remembered who her family members were and she remembered her past but she could not remember the conversation that occurred a few minutes earlier.  So we had a lot of repeat conversations which was fine with me.  Although, I couldn’t help but wonder what it felt like for everything to start over in your brain every five minutes.

We spent time swinging on her front porch swing talking about important things like installing a pool in her backyard so she could have a ‘pool boy’ serve her drinks.  We laughed over that one.  We also spent time inside rocking on her 2-person rocking chair together.  She said she remembered holding and rocking me on that very same chair when I was a baby.

I have so many wonderful memories of my Grandma.  She cracked me up…heck, she still does.   I miss her terribly and wish I could hear her laugh one more time.  That’s not true…I wish I could hear her laugh many, many more times.  One thing I do know is she is laughing right now.  In fact, I bet she’s in heaven, relaxing by her pool while a nice ‘pool boy’ serves her a tasty beverage!

Love and miss you G-ma Bea.

19711996gma

(A couple of of my favorite pictures with Grandma Bea)

Vodka Allergy and Other Really Messed Up Things

This weekend was going to be really great.  The only things on the agenda were rest, relaxation and a manicure with my mother-in-law.  Instead I discovered an allergy to vodka, I got a manicure that was ruined within 4 hours and of course, there’s the poop eating puppy.  Tragic, right?

My husband and I have a little tradition which is to partake in Friday night           “mini-tinis” which is basically a martini in a tiny martini glass. 

For some reason, we like drinking the smaller sized beverage. minitini

Maybe it’s because if we want refills (which you know we will), we have to take turns getting up and going to the freezer, (which you KNOW burns enough calories to cancel out all of the mini-tinis we consume for the night, and probably the chips and popcorn too). Plus, those big ol’ martini glasses have a spill-factor that becomes quite frustrating as the night goes on.

Anyway, we went out on a limb and purchased a huge bottle of Kirkland vodka from Costco.  We heard great reviews about it so we deviated from our normal brand (whatever’s on sale) and bought an enormous bottle from Costco.  So, Friday night vodka consumption takes place and later in the evening, I’m a sneezing, sniffling, nose-blowing mess.  I just know it’s the vodka…it has happened before with a different brand.  I wonder what’s in it that I’m allergic to?  Needless to say, this is a big loss for me but it looks like the hubby has a jumbo bottle of vodka all to himself.

Then Saturday my lovely mother-in-law treated me to a wonderful manicure at the amazing Davenport Hotel which is the fanciest of fancy places in my town.  We sipped on our champagne, enjoyed a relaxing manicure, did some shopping and had an all around fabulous day.  Until I started to make a pear cobbler.

Once at home, I decided to make a pear cobbler because, well, it sounded like a healthy dessert (if you don’t count the cup of sugar and cube of butter).  As I’m prepping the pears, I notice three of my nails are completely absent of nail polish.  Not chipped.  Not cracked.  The nail polish has vanished!  My first thought is, “Crap, the nail polish is somewhere in the bowl of pears!”  I went through the entire bowl of pears and did not find any nail polish.  I decided to retrace my steps and I found the chunks of nail polish in the sink where I was washing the pears.  The polish came clean off the nails…in one piece.  I was so mad because it was not a cheap mani.  I called the hotel’s spa and they scheduled a do-over for which I am very grateful.

For now, my nails look like this: badmani

This weekend’s other messed up thing had to do with my whippet puppy, Finn.  Finn is going through his “teething” stage which is ridiculous.  We have a bag full of toys and he chooses to chew on my work shoes or my really nice slippers.  Actually, that is not so terrible considering what I found him chewing on in the basement.

While I’m in the kitchen cursing at my vanishing nail polish, I realize I have not seen or heard Finn for a while.   This is NEVER a good sign.  I go down to the basement and find him happily chewing on something.  I thought he was going to town on one of my son’s  Lincoln Logs but nooooooo, it was a log of a different kind.  He is chewing on a hard piece of dog $h!t.  This is gross on so many levels.  First, he was chewing on a piece of poo.  Second, where did that poo come from?  And if it was hard, how long has it been laying around?  Why did we fail to discover it sooner?  Was it mixed up in the box of Lincoln Logs?  Has my child been playing with poo?  All these thoughts run through my head (not to mention this thought:  “Mental note to self –  do not let Finn lick your face.”).  I am sickened and have to chase after Finn to get the prized piece of poo out of his mouth.  That is sick Finn.  Just sick.  So sick, I will not include a picture.  You’re welcome.

Right now, it’s a quiet Sunday morning and I’m sipping my coffee, just relaxing.  The poo situation is resolved.  My messed up manicure will be remedied next week and the vodka…well, I guess I will just stick to wine.  But I REFUSE to drink it out of a mini wine glass.  Heck no.  Bring on the jumbo glass.

Making A So-So No Sew Fleece Coat for your Dog

I found a super easy no sew fleece dog coat pattern that I have modified a bit to include a tiny bit of sewing for the sake of durability.  That’s why I call it the ‘so-so’ no sew pattern…there is some sewing if you do it my way.  If you’re interested in NO sewing,  www.thewhippet.net site has an easy pattern… here’s a link (scroll down to the “No Sewing Skills? section).  If you want to make a similar but more durable version that requires minimal sewing, read on!

The great thing about this pattern is it’s not complicated, it doesn’t have to be perfect, there’s a lot of eye-balling involved, it doesn’t cost much and it’s great if you have a growing puppy because when he outgrows it, you’re not out a bunch of time and money.  Keep in mind the original pattern was designed  with the whippety type of canine in mind but I think it can work for other dogs as well.

Things you’ll need:

  • A dog.  This coat will not work on a small child.
  • Fleece.  A yard should do, depending on the size of your pooch.  Or, an old fleece blanket will do the trick too.
  • Scissors.  For cutting. 
  • Marker.  For marking your pattern.
  • Velcro sticky back squares.  These will keep the straps in place.
  • A sewing machine (or a friend who sews) if you use my So-So No Sew method.  That’s it!

WITHOUTCOAT.JPG

Sew, let’s get started (see what I did there?).  These instructions are based on the So-So No Sew method which involves sewing.  

  1. Wash and dry the fleece.  I never do this because my puppy, Finn, grows out of his coat before it even needs to be washed.
  2. Measure Fido from the base of his neck to the base of his tail.  Write it down.
  3. Measure around the “deepest” part of your dog’s chest.  Add a couple of inches.  Write it down.
  4. Fold your fleece in half lengthwise, right sides together, so that you draw the pattern below on the wrong side of the fleece.
  5. Here’s what the pattern looks like. patterncutout
  6. Using the first measurement you took (base of neck to base of tail), measure that along the fold of your fleece.  This is the part of the coat that covers your dog’s back. 
  7. Do some artistic free-style drawing and draw the doggy butt curve, then use your second measurement and draw the long straps. These will wrap around the deepest part of your dog’s chest.  Then finish drawing the pattern as outlined above.  Trust me, it’s a lot of eye-balling.  I’m a perfectionist and when it comes to this part of the process, I have to give myself a little pep talk that goes something like this, “It’s okay if it’s not perfect.  You’re not trying to win any awards.  Finn won’t know.  His doggy friends won’t even notice and if they do, screw them.  Just eye ball it girl.  You can do this.”  Go ahead and use my pep talk if it will help!
  8. Keeping your fabric as is (right sides together), sew the little area that will go against Fido’s neck (see diagram above).  I use a 1/2” seam but it doesn’t really matter….unless you use a 4” seam.  Don’t do that.
  9. Try the coat on your pooch, wrap the straps around his chest.  The ends of the straps should be on top of his back area.  Figure out the Velcro sticky back placement then stick those suckers on.  I always sew them in place for extra reinforcement.  You will want to do the same if you want the coat to last longer than a day. 
  10. DONE.  Your adorable dog has a winter coat to wear…until he outgrows it or wears it out.

finished dog coat    modelpuppy1

WARNING:  I found out what bored puppies do while waiting for a coat.  This little guy went around the house and brought me his toys, some tissue, my scarf, a lone sock and some ripped up paper.   Way to get attention, Finn.

boredpuppymess1

Like I said in my other blog, this will not win any fashion awards but it will keep your darling dog a little warmer!  So whether you make a no sew or a So-So No Sew coat for your pooch, they will be happy and warm and will look sew darn cute (see, I did it again!).

No Going = More Sewing

 

A couple of blogs ago I wrote about some of my post half marathon bonehead moments, one of which included a nice fall that sent my body straight down to the wet pavement, taking my pride with it.  Since I’m a hard-core half marathoner now Winking smile , I decided not to take any chances and went to the doctor’s office the next morning. After a few x-rays I found out that I sprained my ankle and was given this awesome black, velcro-y contraption that looked like a foot corset.  I asked the doctor if it was available in brown leather and she just looked at me like I was some kind of weirdo.

So, for the last couple of weeks there’s been no going for me.  No running.  No running on the treadmill.  No running in the rain (like I’d do that anyway).  No running in my new, pretty, purple running shoes.  I’m a little bummed about this whole thing but the good news is, with running off the radar for a bit, I can focus on a new sewing project.

I haven’t finished a sewing project in forever (except for my no-sew dog coat for my whippet puppy, Finn…which he has since out-grown).  My unfinished projects are semi-neatly folded and placed in my sewing basket which is more like a place where sewing projects go to die.  Some of the projects I could write an obituary for include:  A would-be super cute skirt, a killer wide brimmed summer hat, a t-shirt quilt for my son, an antique handkerchief quilt, a baby quilt for a kid who is probably 5 years old by now, a lunch bag, a purse…make that 2 purses, an antique quilt repair and some Christmas stockings that were intended to be Christmas gifts in 2010.

dead sewing projects

My friend Janice had a recent birthday so I decided to make her an adorable tote using some killer fabric:

simple sewing 

Since I had time, fabric, a sewing machine, a fun sewing book (Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter) and crappy weather there was no excuse for not finishing this project!  I spent last weekend cutting the fabric and this weekend sewing it.  Well, sewing and unsewing.  Sewing and unsewing.  Whoever came up with the seam ripper tool is my hero.  After a few failures…

trouble sewing

I successfully completed the tote bag…

finished tote 

Who knows, maybe I’m on a roll and will be able to finish some of my other projects?!  Nah.  I am very proud that I finished this particular project and have a gift to give to my dear friend Janice, but I sure am looking forward to running again!

To runners out there who are taking a running break, what are you doing with your spare time?

MASS-ive Rookie Moves

So, I went to Mass today…which is interesting because I’m not Catholic…which is interesting because my son goes to Catholic school.   As it turns out, today was All Saints Day which my son has been learning about in school and I wanted to learn too, so I went to Mass.

I did not grow up Catholic but I remember when I was a kid my grandparents would take me to Mass.  I wasn’t a good Mass-goer when I was seven and I don’t think I’m a good Mass-goer now.  Here were my clues:

  • I couldn’t find the door.  Yeah, the DOOR to THE CHURCH.  I couldn’t find it.  I stood at the front of the beautiful church waiting for someone to enter.  I figured once I saw someone going through the magical entrance, I would follow.  I imagined it would be something similar to ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’.  Remember how they walked into the seemingly innocent wardrobe only to find themselves in the mysterious land of Narnia?  It wasn’t exactly like that but imagine my surprise when someone opened what I thought was a giant stained glass window.  Whoa!  It wasn’t a window at all.  It was a door covered in brightly colored tiles designed in such a way to give the illusion of stained glass.  Very clever church.  Very clever.  I guess the door handle on the “window” should have given it away.
  • There are a lot of prayers and such that people say throughout mass.  They have these little cheater cards so people who don’t have things memorized can read along.  I stood there looking at my card for two or three minutes before the person next to me kindly pointed out I was looking at the wrong side of the card.  This is complicated stuff.
  • I remember as a kid there was a lot of sitting, standing, kneeling, repeat.  Even now I find it intimidating because I don’t understand it.  Today I knelt when everyone else did and I’m not sure if I was supposed to…?  I hope that wasn’t disrespectful.  Miraculously, I knew that it was not appropriate for me to participate in communion so at least I didn’t blow that.
  • “Peace be with you.”  When it came time to greet your neighbor with a handshake and a “Peace be with you”, I didn’t quite catch on to what we were doing and I turned to my neighbor and said, “Hi!”  So lame.

So that was my first adult Mass experience.  Total rookie mistakes were made today but I don’t think I’ll go to hell for them.  Right?!? 

Anyone have Mass-attending tips for non-Catholic rookie types?