Jun 30, 2009

A LOL cat and dog

Sorry, ladies, a full CrockPot and a two+ hour trip to Austin is not conducive to my sanity. Have you ever had a full CrockPot turn over in your vehicle and spill everything out on the floor? I have. And for years afterwards my truck smelled like Spinach Meatball Soup whenever the weather was hot - about ten months out of the year. So no Chicken Tetrazzini in the CrockPot, but I will bring the recipe!
If you haven't discovered the LOL cats and dogs websites, you're missing a lot of laughs. Click for cats, and for dogs.
Rachel, this one is for you. It's also in memory of my pitbull Bailey, a doofus of a dog if there ever was one.
Gloria, when I saw this one, I knew it was for us. I'm sure this kitty knows how to do a FULL BODY SHUDDER.

Jun 29, 2009

A CrockPot disaster

I'm an excellent cook. I'm pretty fearless in the kitchen and I enjoy trying new recipes. My instincts for what ingredients will taste good together are great, and I often make up new recipes.
Saturday, however, I had a rare kitchen disaster in the CrockPot. I found this new-to-me recipe for Chicken Tetrazzini. Normally, when I get a new recipe, I follow it to the letter. After I make it once, then I can tweak it as needed.
Well, the directions for this recipe looked questionable. It said to use dry spaghetti and layer the ingredients in the order given. I have another recipe for a similar chicken and spaghetti dish where I cook the spaghetti and mix everything together before slopping it into the CrockPot. But against my better judgement, I followed the recipe exactly.
It was a disaster. It smelled good, but we couldn't eat it. The spaghetti ended up in gluey slabs stuck to the bottom of the CrockPot. The other layers either burned or became gluey. They did not "mix themselves" as the recipe stated they would. And to top it off, it wasn't a cheap recipe to make. I ended up chucking about nine dollars worth of ingredients in the trash.
But I will make it again, I'll just do it the way I should of to start with - cooked spaghetti and mixing everything up. I should listen to myself; I usually know best.

Jun 28, 2009

Fourth of July Quaker freebie finish

As promised, here is a picture of my finished Fourth of July Quaker freebie. I stitched it on Charles Craft tea-dyed Monaco with GAST Presidential Blue, Cranberry, and Picket Fence. I'll finish it as a door knob hanger.
DH is out in the heat in our woods erecting a new tree stand for hunting next fall. He spent one evening last week using the riding mower to mow paths through the woods. He was very proud that he found and mowed over the paths already made by wildlife. He is having to use his new chainsaw to remove a dead tree before the new stand can go in a nearby live tree, so he is doubly happy. Or maybe he is simply getting heat stroke.
No cross-stitcher would go outside to do anything in 104 degree heat, even in the shade. Man hobbies are mysterious.

Jun 27, 2009

We gots paint!

I couldn't help myself; I stitched the Fourth of July Quaker freebie. I'll post a picture tomorrow.
Today, DH's work friend Billy came out and painted the main color on our addition. They had to prime and caulk everything, too. Next Friday, on the Fourth of July weekend, they'll finish painting the trim work. Whee-e-o! PAINT on the house!
DH cleaning the Hardi-plank prior to priming.
Billy spraying on the primer coat.
DH caulking (much more than he should have had to due to the inept contractor - May the Great Bird of the Galaxy roost in that man's nose and may he get nose hemorrhoids.)
Billy painting. The house will be a light yellow with white trim.
I'll post a picture of the finished paint job next weekend when they get it all finished. PAINT!!

Jun 25, 2009

Quaker anyone?

I'm not a die-hard Quaker fan, but I like them enough to stitch them at times.
This Fourth of July Quaker freebie was posted on a few MBs and blogs yesterday, so I decided to enable those who have not seen it yet.
You can find it on Aury's Blog; look for the June 24th entry. She has a lot of other Quaker and SAL freebies on her blog. In case the link doesn't work, here is the URL: http://aurytm.com/blog/.
The freebie looks like it would stitch up quick (I may check this out myself). It would make a nice pinkeep, ornament, knob hanger, or floss tag. Aury used Vikki Clayton silk (HDF), but I'll probably use GAST when I stitch it.

Jun 24, 2009

Priorities or entitlement? My two cents.

Normally I'm not one to make a post of a political nature. But over the last little while, I've been mulling over "healthcare reform" and feel compelled to comment on it.
Yes, I think healthcare costs are ridiculous. And I think the cause of this is simple greed. Once insurance companies began to stick their fingers in the pie, everything became more costly: greed. Insurance companies don't care about your health; they only care about making money. I know whereof I speak, having been involved with providing healthcare and billing patients in my checkered past. I could write a book on it, but I won't.
I have a problem with the idea of being entitled to healthcare/medical insurance. All Americans are entitled to it - and they always have been. I'm just not sure that the government should provide it for us. A lot of folks seem to take this a step further and believe that they are entitled to have the government provide them with healthcare/medical insurance. I disagree with this.
During my adult life, and during our 21+ years of marriage, DH and I have always been entitled to healthcare/medical insurance. We realized that having medical insurance was a good idea. It would protect us from an unexpected or costly financial disaster. We chose to make it a priority in our finances. We have always had medical insurance, even when we had to pay for it ourselves. We have always chosen to have employers provide medical insurance for us, even if we had to pay part or all of the premiums. And we also have always budgeted money to pay for copays and medications. That's just part of doing business and being healthy. We have never wanted nor expected the government to do this for us.
At one point in our marriage, we were making less than $20,000.00 a year between the two of us, and we still bought our own health insurance as our employers didn't provide it for us. It was a catastrophic plan for emergencies - an "I've been hit by a bus and I'm in the hospital!" type of plan. Never did we expect to have the government or anyone else take care of this. We just made it a priority in our budget. We chose to purchase the insurance. (And our insurance payment was slightly higher than our house payment at that time!)
At another time, I had to have surgery that our insurance didn't cover. DH spent time talking to the doctors and hospital and arranging for us to pay the bills off over time. We made it a priority to pay them off early and did so in less than a quarter of the allotted time. We did what we had to do.
Truthfully, a lot of people could pay for their own plans, but won't. DH worked with a guy who was married with a wife and two children. His wife worked and both of them made good money. They probably pulled in close to $100,000.00 a year between the two of them. The company provided medical insurance by paying for two-thirds of the cost of the premiums with the employee paying the other third (taken out of the paycheck). This guy refused to do it. He wouldn't sign up. He didn't want that money taken out of his paycheck.
He left his family vulnerable in my opinion. He's all for government healthcare because that way, he doesn't have to pay for it out of his own pocket. He doesn't realize that he will be paying for it in higher taxes - just ask the Canadians.
People need to be responsible for themselves and be accountable with their money. Of course, it they're looking for good examples of fiscal responsibility, our federal government is a poor place to look.
You spend your money on what you think is important. Medical insurance is important to DH and me, so we choose to budget for it before we spend on other things. Priorities. Fiscal responsibility. Being free and independent. Accountable. Paying your own way. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox.
I'll leave you with an Emma picture. Here's her favorite spot on the back of the sofa where the AC blows just right.

Jun 23, 2009

It's hotter in Texas

I love summer. I love the heat. There's a reason I live in the south. It's that time of year again, hot, hot, and hotter. It's supposed to be over 100 degrees today.
When I read blogs or message boards, I always roll my eyes at the northerners who complain about the heat in the summer. Today I read of a person who was "sweltering" as it was supposed to get up to 83 degrees where she lived. Eighty-three degrees is a balmy day down here where I live.
Of course, when the temperatures dip below 60 degrees, then I start whining. And I guess the northerners can look down their noses at me! There's no way I could live up north. I only tolerate snow if I'm skiing on it. And I'd have to wear shoes for a lot more of the year. ACK!
DH and I are playing summer softball. There's a heck of a difference in playing at 6:30 p.m. as opposed to playing later in the evening once the sun goes down. I think I sweated out two quarts of Gatorade last night. And we won our game!
Here's a picture of my "The Alamo" WIP. I don't think you can tell much from it yet. But here it is anyway.

Jun 22, 2009

Back again

No, I didn't drop off the face of the earth again. I was without an internet connection for several days.
I needed to connect my little netbook computer to the internet, and couldn't get my AT&T "air card" to work with it. The air card works fine on my desktop computer. I hadn't planned on ever connecting to the internet with my netbook. I bought it mainly to run my CPAP program. Well the program (which is a piece of crud on a good day) glitched itself and I needed to delete and then download a couple of programs to fix it. No such luck.
The phone geeks at the AT&T store couldn't get the air card to work, so they concluded it must be the netbook. So, I took it in to my computer guy and I had to leave the air card with him while he worked on it. Turns out, it was a glitch in the air card. *sigh* But he got it to working and I'll spend time today trying to get everything in order so the CPAP program will work again.
DH was a busy little beaver this weekend. Among other tasks, he got my cabinets put up. He'll make doors for them eventually. After he got them put up, I stuck this pile of stuff in them and also emptied out a small bookcase. I now have one less pile of stuff vexing me, and the old bookcase is off to the thrift store and out of the way. Whee-e-o!
A note from my stitching chair: I stitched a lot on "The Alamo" this weekend. While I wouldn't classify it as having a lot of confetti stitches, it does have lots of color changes. Sometimes I zone out trying to figure out what color to use next and where. But it's coming along. I'll post a picture on another day.

Jun 17, 2009

Knicker Knotter #8 - Blowing in the wind

Okay, I'm all for technological progress. In my lifetime, I've seen a lot of helpful progress and innovative life-altering technology. However, I'm convinced that the new HD technology on a new bandwidth for broadcast television is a conspiracy of the cable and satellite companies.
DH and I are tightwads. And we don't see the need for cable/satellite TV with umpity bazillion channels and have never had either. Broadcast TV is fine for us. Most of what we watch is on one channel. In the fall, we like to watch football and will watch other channels in our pursuit of the pigskin.
Due to a lightening strike last year that killed our old TV, we even have a new flat screen HD TV. Yes, the picture quality is amazing in HD, and we can watch Netflix movies in widescreen now. BUT...
...we use an outside antenna to tune into broadcast TV. The new HD signal is much more fragile than the old signal. If the wind blows even a little bit, it disrupts the TV picture. The picture will freeze or get weird blotches all in it. The closed-captioning will stop working or will "speak in tongues." We live in the south central Texas plains; the wind is ALWAYS blowing.
We also now have to "tune" our outside antenna to each particular channel. We have to go outside on the porch and turn the antenna until the channel and closed-captioning come in clearly. And we may have to do that several times during a show if the wind is blowing hard and moves the antenna.
This vexes us. Of course, we could get cable/satellite and that would fix the problem. (A conspiracy I tell ya!) But we don't want to do that. Gee, we don't get cable out here in the boonies. And of course, satellite service is more expensive. So, we'll have to look into other types of antennas in all our spare time. Progress. Phooey.

Jun 16, 2009

IH35 Stitching Saturday

The first Saturday of each month, DH and I drive to Austin for the IH35 Stitchtogether. DH doesn't stitch; he goes to Cabela's, Academy Sports, and other places of manly pursuit.
During the Stitchtogether, we always have a lot of fun eating and stitching and talking and eating and stitching, etc., etc. This month, we had two new ladies and two previously new ladies returned (Yay! we didn't scare them off!).
We missed several of our regular gals. Mary was off at her son's high school graduation. Congratulations to Taylor!
We heard the terrifying tale of the bee invasion (and saw pictures taken by actual eyewitnesses) from Mel and Marilyn. Ack! Bees are fine unless they are somewhere they shouldn't be - like inside the house!
And we heard from Gloria that LoriRay had actually returned to her home state for the weekend, but instead of joining her sister stitchers, she was at some sort of car or truck race with the men in her life. Hopefully, Gloria can get her to see the error of her ways. ☺
As usual, I forgot my camera, but Cindy brought hers and you can see pictures of the gang over on her blog.
I stitched on my Quaker freebie, my usual project for our Stitchtogether. I managed to finish one motif and start another. One of these days, I'll get this thing finished. Then I'll probably start another Quaker or sampler-type project to do only at the Stitchtogether - something with only one or two colors - less floss to keep up with.

Jun 15, 2009

A workin' weekend

No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth. I was a little under the weather all last week and didn't feel like getting on my computer or stitching much.
But all is well and I'm back among the living and the blogging. And I stitched some yesterday and plan to stitch more today.
DH had grand plans for finishing the window redo on the addition, and then getting my cabinets put up over the weekend. Of course, the windows conspired to keep this from happening. DH did get the windows finished (YIPPEE!!), but the cabinets are still on the floor and not on the wall. They'll get put up some night this week.
Here are some pictures of DH working hard on the last two windows out in our Texas summer heat. We go through lots of Gatorade in the summer.
Our house definitely looks weird right now; a new addition attached to the ratty-looking original structure. But it will all match eventually. After we get the new bathroom finished and get the HVAC installed, we'll probably gut part of the outer wall on the back of the house next to the new addition.
We'll replace the two large windows with slightly smaller ones while moving them closer together, and add a door between the middle large window and the vertical white board over the hanging pile of old garden hose. This will be our back door. And when we gut it, we'll insulate it properly and cover it with Hardi-plank on the outside to match the addition. We'd like to add a deck out there at some point.
The part of the back of the house from the vertical white board and on to the left with the little window will remain as is for now. That is our kitchen area and we plan to rip that end of the house off completely and rebuild it. Eventually.
Oh, and while DH was wrestling with windows, I was out manning the riding and push mower. I've got a good start on my usual redneck summer tan. (Yes, I use sunscreen.) I am tan on my arms between my gloves and short sleeves, and my legs are tanned between the bottom of my shorts and the tops of my socks. No, I don't care that I have tan lines.

Jun 4, 2009

My cabinets are home

DH and Billy got my office area cabinets all painted and DH brought them back home last night. Aren't they purty? No doors yet, but at least I'll have a place to put some things that are currently in stacked piles around the house. Piles vex me.
They will go over my computer hutch (which will be replaced by a custom-DH-made task/computer desk *sometime* in the future) in the office corner of our bedroom. Yes, that's my ironing board there. It has a nice home in the laundry room, but as I have very little work space on my computer hutch, I often use it as a desk.
DH would have put up the cabinets last night, but he was in a hurry to go to Madisonville and pick up a Shop Smith that a friend is giving away to him. Currently, these things cost $2999.00 new for the base model. DH has been drooling over and lusting after one for about 20 years, ever since he first saw one at a home show. Back then he didn't have any tools other than a cordless drill and a Skil saw, and there was no way we could afford one at the time. And no, we weren't about to put one on credit!
He has since acquired many tools, but his little ol' woodworkers heart still lusted secretly after the Shop Smith. Last week, Will called and asked if DH would like to have it. He and his wife had been cleaning out their garage. Will bought the Shop Smith about seven years ago and has never used it or even had parts of it out of the boxes. Will decided he would never ever use it and wanted the garage space instead. So he called DH who practically fell over himself while saying that yes! he'd be happy to have it and give it a good home. Thanks Will!
DH brought it home and spent about an hour puttering with it. Actually, he's having a hard time finding space for it in his shop. As soon as he gets the new bathroom finished, he needs to spend some time in his shop getting it organized again.
He's very excited about the Shop Smith. It has a lathe, disc sander, and drill press, tools DH doesn't have yet. I may even play on the lathe as it was my favorite machine to work with back in high school when I took shop class (I told you I wasn't a normal woman!).
A note from my stitching chair: I've been really enjoying stitching on "The Alamo." Even though it has lots of color changes, it's fun. I'll post a picture of my progress soon when there's more of it.

Jun 3, 2009

A decent weekend

Our trip up to Dallas was mostly uneventful.
We always stop in Ennis to go to Braum's to get mint chocolate chip shakes. We don't have a Braum's here in Aggieland. DH decided to stop in Corsicana instead of Ennis. I told him as he exited that I thought there was a reason we never stopped in Corsicana. After driving two miles into town through numerous stoplights with lots of Friday evening traffic, DH remembered why. :-) When we finally got to the Braum's, they were out of mint chocolate chip ice cream. So we ended up stopping in Ennis anyway.
While in Corsicana, we stopped at HEB and I got several cans of the smelliest wet dog food I could find. Emma normally only eats dry dog food (better for her teeth). But she thinks wet dog food is a treat and we were able to hide her pills in it and entice her to eat some mixed in with her dry dog food. She is feeling much better. She was a little inactive and clingy over the weekend, but she is back to her normal ADHD self now.
My parents' 50th celebration went well. They and another couple have nearly the same anniversary date, so they decided to celebrate together. Anyway, my SisIL and Bro hosted a potluck dinner at their house and around 10 or so couples came to the celebration. Most of them had been friends with my parents and the other couple for over 50 years! Wow!
My making the cross stitch piece I stitched for them into a scrapbook page was a hit. My mom really liked the scrapbook and plans to put all the pictures from the potluck in it, along with pictures from their 50th anniversary trip (after they take it some time this summer, if they can ever agree on where to go and how).
My nephews were fun as always. DN#1 is 6 1/2 years old now and relishes being a big brother. DN#2 is about 10 months old. He is a lot more laid back than big brother. Big brother is a people person and talks a lot; he loves to be the center of attention. Little brother is quieter and likes to watch people. I got to hold DN#2 a lot as he is more happy with ladies than men right now. Dad is okay, but strange men are not. This included his Paka (my dad) and his uncle (DH).
During the potluck, all of the folks tried so hard to get DN#2 to come to them so they could hold him, but he would have none of it. It was Mom, Auntie, or Dad.
And yes, my Bro and SisIL have allowed eclectic names for their parents. Instead of grandma and grandpa or mammaw and papaw, they let DN#1 name my parents, hence Mingie and Paka. No, we have no idea how or why he decided on those names. My SisIL's parents are called Namei (nay may) and Bubu (booboo) which are Papua New Guinean for grandma and grandpa. My SisIL's parents were missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators to Papua New Guinea (PNG). She herself was raised there and speaks one of the native dialects.
I made the mistake of calling SisIL's dad "Bobo" instead of "Bubu" when I was first figuring is all out. The poor man quickly corrected me. Apparently "bobo" is a very obscene word in the PNG dialect. Oops.
I'll leave you with a picture of Emma's food bowl with all her "friends" gathered around. She has to have at least one toy near her bowl while she eats, preferably all three. Occasionally, she'll try to stick one of the toys IN the food bowl. Silly dog.