A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Leap of Faith.


Due home in about 3-4 weeks.

How old would you be...

...if you didn't know how old you were?

For many years, DH has repeated this fabulous quote by the great Satchel Paige.

Today he turns 70. Happy birthday, honey! You are the living embodiment of Satchel's sentiment!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lost in Del Amo

What a nightmare.

I'm really not a shopper. When I'm in a store that has stuff that I like (like Michaels or Joann) I tend to go compulsive and grab everything in sight. When I have to buy stuff I don't like (like clothes or - shudder - shoes) it's just a sheer misery. The whys and wherefores of that are irrelevant here. I just want to share my experiences this weekend past.

I drove down the coast (PCH1 along the Pacific Coast from Pt. Mugu through Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica and so on can be busy but it's just a great drive along the ocean and through some funky beach towns and big city energy) to the city of Torrance for a union conference. The conference was a good one and I got to have my picture taken with the NEA president (which didn't excite me until I heard him speak).

The best part of the weekend was getting to have leisurely dinners out with my son and his wife. I had not seen them since Thanksgiving and we had a lovely visit on Friday and Sunday.

But most of my time was spent in trainings and informational seminars which, although they did what they were supposed to do, are tiresome and can be boring, so throughout it all I had promised myself a trip to the famous Del Amo Fashion Center. Mind, I have no interest in fashion, but I had looked up some other businesses that I wanted to check out.

And got totally lost.

Seriously. This place is not really one mall, it's several malls. Some have been connected with elevated walkways. They appear to all have been added to over and over throughout the years. And others that on a map appear to be part of the same "Fashion Center" are actually driving distance away. When I finally got to the section that housed the Joann craft center, I went in the wrong door and was immediately smacked in the face by sewage smell. Nice. I spent about three hours in this adventure, and I'd say 1.5 hours was spent wandering hopelessly trying to figure out where the heck I was, where the heck the Joann was and how the heck to get there.

I finally made it, though, and was then so frustrated that I took my negative energy out on my credit card. Just doing my best to keep the economy moving, although I know Barack would have preferred I use cash.

Anyway, I bought those cute Easter fabrics up at the top of the post (no, that's not ALL I bought, just all I care to take a picture of). I made tiny progress on the Easter stitchery (finished the border) during President Obama's speech last night. As much as I love these fabrics, I don't think they're the right fabrics to use with that stitchery piece.

Which is OK, since I haven't decided how to finish it, yet.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Jon Stewart, a needle and me.

I'm diggin' those carrots. Figuratively, of course.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Do you Pandora?

I haven't had this much fun since...

...well, my husband would finish that, "since the pigs ate my little sister," but I never liked that saying so I'll spare you.

My uncle told me about Pandora last week and I'm smitten. He was having a hard time 'splainin' what it was all about and now that I'm there I can see why. Very complicated. Here's how I understand it. A group of men got together in 2000 and started dissecting music. They claim that music has -well- like genes. Elements that you can dissect out and group together. They call their project the Music Genome Project and Pandora is a very special music service that uses this genome project to build personalized radio stations.

Maybe it would just be easiest to explain what I set up this morning. I registered for an account like you would with any net service. Then I was asked to enter the name of a musician, composer, band... Whatever. My choice. I chose Enya to start out. This started my "Enya" radio station, but it doesn't only play Enya. Pandora now goes out and finds all kinds of music with the same "genetic structure" as Enya. I've heard such wonderful New Age, often Celtic, music today. I have the option of giving a song a "thumbs up" (which, I guess, gives that song or others like it a better chance of being replayed at some point.) One song I really did not like so I gave it a thumbs down a few bars in and ZAP! The music ended and a message popped up saying they'd never play that one again for me.

And I don't know if this is good or not, but Pandora will even link me to itunes or Amazon so I can buy something if I really like it. After liking three songs from the same album (album and artist I'd never heard of before) I clicked over to Amazon and 1-clicked two copies of the album (one for me and one for my mom for her birthday).

On the down side, I have been trying to collect some of the songs from my 'Tweens and Teens' years and have had a problem finding Jan & Dean songs. So far, most that I've purchased (most from itunes) have been remasters and I want the originals. I had the brilliant idea that if I set up a Jan & Dean station I could preview the songs as they come up and, if it's an original, see the album it's on and order it (oh, yeah, I forgot to mention they show the cover art from the album the song is on.) Well, apparently they don't have an arrangement with Jan & Dean (or Dean, anyway, since Jan died) and Pandora doesn't play their music (although they did play the Beach Boys because of the harmonics.)

Oh, yeah, and they actually pay licensing fees so the artists get paid. One of their core values.

Paying artists. What a concept.

Monday, February 16, 2009

There Has Been Stitching...

...and it has been fun.

My sweet son actually made conversation about this piece last night. At dinner, he asked what I was working on. I was flummoxed for a moment. Nobody ever asks what I'm working on. But I recovered and the editing program started to function. With his dad I have between ten and fifteen seconds before his interest shuts down. "It's an Easter piece," would suffice, I thought. "Ah," he replied. "A present for Jesus." This man is an atheist with good reason. He's had bad experiences with christians who don't know the teachings of Christ, much less live by them. No question this was a joke, but I was so shocked that anyone had actually engaged in further conversation about one of my stitchery pieces that I just responded, "Well, I don't think so since the part I've finished is a chocolate bunny with a big bite out of it." He shot back, "Oh, Jesus likes chocolate." Having now broken the record for conversation about Debi's stitchery, he earned yet another sparkle in my heart when he continued the conversation by asking who it was for (me) and why I was making it (for the fun of it). I added further that since most of the things I work on are huge pieces that will take years to complete, I thought it would be fun to work on something that had a chance of seeing completion.

A thoroughly satisfying conversation.

I'm still struggling to come out of a funk. I'm not really calling it a depression because it's not interfering with work and I still get enjoyment from doing things I like to do. I'm just very sad and with good reason. California is broke and, like all teachers, we are paid by the state. We are looking at huge cuts to our budget next year, including laying off up to fifty (out of 330) teachers, some of whom are ex-students of mine and life-long friends of my son. My own sons face lay-offs themselves. Last week I was in meetings every day except Wednesday either hearing the bad news or giving it myself. I would have been doing the same Wednesday except that I attended a funeral for my uncle.

On Saturday I had arranged to meet a young friend (also in a funk) at Disneyland (a passion we share). I was glad that she had other friends meeting her there. After a shared breakfast, we went our separate ways. It was not only Valentine's Day on a three-day weekend, but heavy rain was expected on Sunday so the park was packed. My favorite piano player was not playing and I couldn't get into my favorite stage show. About 1:00 I decided to go home. I kept feeling sorry for myself and that would get me crying and I realized I was just going to change my happy place into a sad place so I headed toward the entrance.

My very favorite flower is the sweet pea, but right behind it is the Iceland poppy and DL Town Square had masses of them. I had to sit and enjoy the flowers for a while.

Exquisite. The pink is my favorite color.

While I was waiting for my friend earlier, I had wandered through the hotel gift shop and saw something I really wanted for my garden. I didn't want to carry it all day, so didn't buy it, but it haunted me all day. I didn't really feel like walking all the way back to the hotel for it, and they didn't have it at the Emporium on Main Street, but the lead at the Emporium suggested I try World of Disney on the way to the tram.


Isn't he a riot? I always swore I would never have a garden gnome in my garden, but hey! It's Mickey!

The Saturday traffic was horrible. It was a glorious day - weatherwise - and everyone was on the freeway. Slow moving but nobody drunk enough yet to be doing stupid things, so I made it safely back to Ventura County. I was not ready to go home yet and it occurred to me that I could stop on the way and pick up some things. Both clocks I had in my room - the wall clock and the small bedside clock - are broken and I wanted to replace them. If I stopped and shopped for the clocks on the way home, I wouldn't have to go out on the rainy Sunday. I also remembered that I'd heard there was a Disney outlet in one of the malls on my way home. That clinched it.

I'm glad I stopped. Two years ago I bought a pair of Mickey Mouse Crocs at DL for about $40. I'd never owned a pair and was delighted at how comfortable they were to lecture in. They were the first pair of shoes I absolutely wore out, and I wanted another pair. Unfortunately, they don't sell them at DL anymore, and the local Croc shops don't have the Mickey Mouse style. Scored again at the outlet, finding a pair of red ones for under $15.

Then I went to a store called Home Goods to look for a clock. No luck with the clock, but look what I did find.

There's a bowl, too, with the peony (or is a rose? or a camillia?) on the side and a lovely fluted edge. I got two place settings (dinner, salad, bowl), one of myself and one for a gift. I also got these frames:

In the store lighting they were almost a perfect match, but in the lighting here they are not so perfect, are they? Oh, well. Different walls should take care of that. Whatever shall I put in them? I'm still looking for a frame for the pouty fairy, Chiloe, although I still don't have the face right. I know exactly what I want in a frame, I just don't think anyone makes it.

Anyway, I got the two place settings, the two frames and a cool bottle to give my nephew for his birthday, all for about $40.

Still no clock, though, but by now I was pooped so I headed home.

I went out yesterday (it hadn't started raining yet) to get some scrapbook paper and project boxes at Michaels and to find the clocks. The paper was pretty bad at Michaels (ours is a smaller store and they really never have much of a selection. I did pick up three project boxes (almost half price). This year's colors are turquoise (not bad) and that retro lime green. I will be glad when retro goes away again. When I came out of Michael's I saw that my right front tire seemed low. If my wheel is turned it will cause the tire to bulge a little so I decided to keep an eye on it. Went to Target but didn't find anything for a bedside clock, and the wall clock I bought was the least of the ugly ones I saw.

When I went back out to the car I noticed the tire was definitely bulging, but I thought I could get it home and add some air. When I got home I checked the pressure. 15 pounds when it's supposed to be 32. Yikes. I hauled out the extension cord and air compressor and tried to fill the tire, but the fitting was wrong. I just wasn't in any mood to deal with it yesterday (wanted only to snuggle into my recliner with a movie on the laptop and my stitchery in my hands). Figuring the tire place might be open on the holiday (surely not on Sunday) I just left it sit there. I haven't checked it yet this morning. Will call AAA later, then see if a tire store is open.

I finally gave up on trying to make my day work when I unpacked the new, not-so-ugly clock to hang it in my room. I buy batteries at Costco by the dozens and leave them in a desk drawer for anyone who needs one. Stupid me. I've put hundreds of batteries in that drawer over the years, but now that I need one lousy AA for this clock, the drawer is empty.

Of course.

End of attempts to accomplish anything. I snuggled and watched National Treasure I and II. DH made a fire.

And I stitched.

And it was fun.

In quilting news...

Isn't this adorable!?!

As always on a Sunday morning, I went visiting in blogland and checked in on May Britt. She's been working on this BOM by Bunny Hill Designs. This is a new company to me and I'm so happy to meet them. I'm overwhelmed by my stacks and stacks of stash and patterns that I can't seem to break loose and DO something. I thought maybe a BOM would shake me out of this and lo! Here is a delightful BOM! I had to check it out. Here's the January block:

I think one of the reasons I can't get "into" the Butterfly Garden quilt by Leanne Beasley is that my collection of fabrics is just too wrong.

I really love her pastels, but I bought all these wonderful fabrics when I was in Utah last summer. I think they are much more appropriate for the Bunny Hill BOM than for the Butterfly Garden quilt. And dang! I'm stuck again! Which fabric to use???

Of course, it's all moot. I still don't have a space cleared out to sew (and our Christmas tree is still up, thank you.) So maybe today I'll get the shovel out (the mental shovel, that is) and make myself a sewing space.

Instead of grading those sad tests I brought home.

They just add to the funk.

I've decided that since I can't really retire, my weekends need to be my psuedo-retirement.

Sounds like a plan.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I think they are hiding out in Missouri.

First Jace. Now Shory.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Best Wishes, Australia

The biggest joy of blogging has been the friends I've made around the world.

My sympathies to all of Australia as you go through this horrible time. As a lifelong SoCA resident I've seen these fires all my life (was even evacuated from one) but even that can't be as horrible as experiencing what you all are experiencing now.

Hang in there. We're sending good thoughts.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


I haven't been tagged for anything in a long time but Stitcher S tagged me to to discuss five addictions and, after reading hers, it seems like a worthwhile (and fun) thing to think about so here goes.

1. History/Scrapbooking/Photography. Yeah, I know that's three but without an addiction to each I wouldn't be interested in the other two. Because I'm addicted to history I got into scrapbooking and my love of scrapbooking led to a love of photography. Some people love scrapbooking or photography because of the artistic challenge or the manipulation of color and texture or whatever. I just love to preserve the story.

2. Fiber. Cotton fabric and embroidery flosses, specifically. I used to say it was all for future projects but, hey, I had to get honest. I keep a fabric museum. I love to collect it and visit it. And while there is a part of me that loves the dream of actually making things with it, if it were really a passion I'd be doing more of it, right?

3. Patterns and Charts. I call it cheap art. See #2 above.

4. Chocolate Candy. Dove's hearts for Valentine's Day, eggs for Easter, gift boxes for Christmas. Sees truffles or dark chocolate walnut clusters. Reese's peanut butter cups in any incarnation. Many trips through Weight Watcherville have taught me portion control and meal planning. Under control. But if there's chocolate in the house it won't be there long, especially if life throws me a curve ball. My addiction is emotional, but it's there for sure. I do not nor have I ever, however, smoked or drunk anything alcoholic. I don't like bubbles so don't even drinks sodas so chocolate is it.

5. Disneyland. 75 miles away. My happy place. Flowers. Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Ragtime Michael. Bronze sculptures everywhere. Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. A feast for all senses and completely absorbing. No better place to escape it all (and better for me than chocolate when life throws a curve ball.)