Friday, November 30, 2007

Why I Hate Air Travel

I am out in Oregon cracking the whip over Almost Grown to finish her thesis on time, and while it hasn't been the trip from h*ll, it underscored things I hate about air travel.

1.) Feeling like you've been seated at the kiddie table at a formal function. I ended up in the second to the last row of the plane, seated next to a woman traveling with an infant and a less-than two year old. They were quite well behaved, and didn't squirm or whine any more than I did, they just didn't want to be there. The baby, seated on Mom's lap, kept reaching over when I was trying to sleep and *honking* my right breast like he was ring a dinner bell. Mom eventually took notice and discreetly *served* him, and he fell asleep. Can't say the same for me. There was still the excited 4 year old across the aisle talking loudly about everything he saw out the window, real or imagined.

2.) People who have been living under a rock, or have never seen the inside of an airplane before. A young woman encountered difficulty with the lavatory. First she couldn't operate the bifold door. Then she reemerged and grabbed the sleeve of the gentleman waiting his turn. "Help me. I can't flush this thing! Come! Don't worry, I only peed!" "Use the button marked Push." "Oh, thanks." She disappeared again, only to stick her head out and complain, "The water won't turn on! I need to wash my hands!" Arg!

3.) Seriously overweight women trying to pass each other in the aisle directly in front of me. There should be a passing zone outside of the restroom for entering and exiting that doesn't involve brushing against unsuspecting passengers strapped into seats. If I had wanted to have my face scraped by trousers as I slept, I would have asked them to wear velour!

4.) Having a feminine emergency at the airport and having to spend $6 to attend to it. There is no need for further explanation, except to say I was thankful for a female cashier.

5.) The cost of *dining* at the airport. After paying 10 bucks for a hamburger and fries in a styrofoam container, then hiking my way to my gate (ALWAYS the furthest from the starting point), depositing my things on the floor and balancing the meal on my lap, I didn't have the stomach to eat much of it.

Well, okay...five things isn't too bad! At the time, I could have sworn there a dozen or maybe 2 dozen whines in there!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pay It Forward Victims List

Ha! Penny from SewTakeAHike, Tutti Chic, and Shannon from Cotton Gin Studio were all silly enough to want something handmade by me! *Giggle, snort.* Can you believe that?

I hope you girls aren't under the impression that I am a professional seamstress, knitterer, or anything else that doesn't involve eating copious quantities of chocolate. What you get will no doubt have that dorky handmade look, but it will be made with lurve!

Since it is likely that my own children will go without many handmade Christmas pressies, I hope you understand that it may be after the holidays before I can get *whatever* out to you. But hey! I have 365 days, right? That's like a whole year! Of course, my memory being what it is, I will strive to be timely with this.

So, now I need to see this PIF pop up on your blogs!

And, no, Almost Grown, you can't play! You don't have a blog!! Bwahahaha!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pay it Forward ~ Handmade

I am participating in Akhila's Pay It Forward as one of her three recipients, so by blogland law, I am Paying It Forward here.

The first three victims people who comment on this post will, at some point in the next 365 days, get a handmade something from yours truly (that's me!) I have no idea what that something might be yet, but it will be something made by my own two hands! In addition to commenting, you have to Pay it Forward ~ Handmade on your own blog. This means that you have to post these *rules* and promise to send three people some you've made!

Yes, Toni, you would need a blog to participate. And a blog that exists only in your head doesn't count!

So get going!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sundays from Singapore: All the news that's funny to print


The newspaper here is the mouthpiece of the government, so predicting the next public policy isn't too difficult. Lately, there have been a number of articles and letters to the editor regarding litter problems in specific places, as well as articles praising the efforts to refurbish local parks and make them more presentable. My bet is that soon the will be a new public campaign called, "Sweep It Up, Singapore," or some such thing, along the lines of the "Smile, Singapore" campaign that was designed to make the residents friendlier towards visitors.

They take cleanliness very seriously here, which cracks me up sometimes as it doesn't seem to extend to personal cleanliness in some parts of the population (remember the purple cloud of BO from the movers?) I recently got a memo from the apartment management office asking residents not to feed or befriend the roaming cats as they have been "shitting and urinating" in the common grounds. I kid you not!

But back to the news. Of course the headlines are full of reports that Indonesian's president didn't take to being impeached any better than Bill Clinton, and have many accompanying side articles. Yawn. Of greater interest to me was the Health Minister in India (I think) who presented legislation that would require student nurses to be certified virgins, or face expulsion. How being a virgin qualifies one as a better nurse is beyond me, but in short order the Minister was told to "shut up and take a vacation." Here! Here!

The Chinese have been told that they must suspend sales of Saint Bernard meat during the Olympics. They like this particular species of dog as they grow rapidly, and supposedly have aphrodisiac properties. After being overcome with the smell of a local fruit called Durian, which has the aroma of fermenting carcasses, and can stun a water buffalo from forty paces, I have decided that ingenious hawkers will assign fertility and aphrodisiac potential to anything that is otherwise so disgusting, nobody in their right mind would be interested. Of course, anyone who would put either of these "foodstuffs" anywhere near their mouths, isn't in their right mind. But I digress.

The paper seems to delight in reporting the economic downturn in the U.S. Daily articles on dot com high fliers who now have to actually work for a living, or can't find a job, have a slightly gleeful tone. Today's report concerned local actors who, having tried their luck in Hollywood, are returning to Singapore to find good acting parts. I personally believe this is an attempt to soften the blow of Singapore's own current declining economic climate and the scramble by people who have been "retrenched."

The paper has the usual sports section, with soccer (football) the most popular sport. Yawn again. The ads run about 50% mobile phone offerings, 40% really ugly 1960's modern furniture, and the rest for treatment programs for everything from short legs to sagging bosoms. One actually offered three free treatments for your problematic bust with the purchase of a facial care package. The ad even showed pen drawings of various bust ailments, such as postpartum droop (pointing straight down) to general aging sag (down near the waist) that they could alleviate. I am sorely tempted by some of these offers, but worry that if they can lift and separate as well as the pictures promise, I might end up with two perky horn-like appendages sprouting from my forehead.

Cold Storage grocery store.

I do gain some benefit from the local grocery ads, but this is tempered by my inability to convert dollars per 100 grams into something meaningful. Is steak from Australia at $26.00S for a kilogram a good deal?? Let's see. A kilo is 2.2 pounds, I think, so that's about $13.00S a pound, which since the money isn't worth very much means that it is about $7.00US... for those scrawny-looking things?!? Okay, how about vegetables? What the heck are those veggies? A member of the onion family? Or perhaps something closer to a really fat spinach. Oh well, they do sell Ben and Jerry's, so I'm all right.

My local mall is across exactly one street. And it's pretty good. It has all the shops necessary for daily living, such as the grocery, the cleaners, and a dinky HomeFix-It store. The girls are happy with Esprit and the CD shop, Mrs. Field's cookies and McD's, where shortly, you can get 2 for 1 McSalmon sandwiches! I'm not making this up! To go with your "pink chicken" burger, as my niece and nephew call it, you can get a Hot Curry Pie, or perhaps a pizza one. They only sell two types of fountain drinks here, so they have four spigots of Coke and one of 7Up. Oh, and some local drink, but I'm afraid to ask what it is. They will neatly package your order in a multitude of hanky-size plastic bags (with handles), including the drink cup, for "take away." But remember to ask for a napkin because you'll never find one for yourself. They are as precious as gold.

My favorite shop is the Bread Talk store that bakes numerous buns with an infinite number of fillings, most with great names like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Bacon. Some are a little funky sounding, like the one stuffed with custard and topped with a dusting of powder fine pork "floss.' The apple one and the sugar loaf are yummy little snacks. I was hoping the good influence of lighter asian cuisine (and some revolting menu options like Fish head Soup) would slim me down. By all rights, I ought to look like Linda Hamilton in the "Terminator" movies for all the lifting and hauling I've done. I'm afraid, however, that the buns at Bread Talk will only inflate my buns to twin theater proportions.

The girls have run off to the mall for the fourth time today, to check on the availability of the new InSync cd. Before they return, they will purchase some fresh milk, some number of grams of ham, and a can of whipped cream, which I will dispense directly into my mouth while watching frenetic foreign language games shows on TV. Good night to you all.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Morning excitement of the scary kind

Another gratuitous, early spring picture of the house that has nothing to do with this post.

This morning started as usual, Dh and I each in our chair, drinking our beverage of choice and logging on. I had lit a fire in the fireplace and we were enjoying a quiet Saturday morning sitting around in our jammies.

The driveway alarm ding-donged, usually indicating that the neighbor's dogs were trotting down the doggie highway to parts beyond, and Nick and Sassy sounded the usual heart-stopping call to action. I tried to ignore them, as I always do, well, because I can't be bothered to put down the laptop and rise from my recliner. Then DH says that a man, probably an early morning hunter, is walking up the drive towards the house.

We have been anticipating *visiting* hillbilly hunters during deer season, since this land has been unoccupied for decades, until we bought it. I say *hillbillies* because there are No Trespassing, No Hunting, and If You Can Read This, You Are Within Range signs posted all over the property. Rednecks will typically respect written threats of violence against their person, but hillbillies either 1) can't read, 2) can't understand what they are reading, 3) don't care what they read, or 4) have ripped down the signs and claim very believable ignorance.

DH prepared to go do battle. Let me stop right here and say there is nothing sexier in this world, than to see your Prince Charming, in bathrobe, slippers and bed-head, tuck a 9mm weapon into his pocket and stride purposefully into the 30 degree outdoors.

After much discussion and gesticulating, while I hid in the kitchen peering through the window, the man continues down our drive and DH returns with an upsetting tale.

Our neighbor lady at the end of the lane, awoke to find her front door open, and her adult, autistic grandson missing. Austin has a mental capacity of a six year old and a fondness for playing Army and building forts. Their yard backs up to the side of our 192 acres, across a deep hollow and creek bed.

After donning warm, but unfashionable warm clothing layers and topped by a neon orange hunting cap, we took off on our electric cart to drive the property roads, calling for the missing man. No luck finding him, but realized that if he wasn't dressed with a coat etc, he was going to be in trouble PDQ!

We stopped at their house and spoke with the assembled search and rescue team, all decked out in severe weather gear and harnessing up a bloodhound. Austin hadn't been found, but a man had been picked up and taken to the hospital, so family members were on their way to try to identify him. If it wasn't Austin, they would start with the bloodhounds.

We returned home, and directed the traffic of four-wheelers crisscrossing the surrounding land. I will never recognize the searchers we talked to again, because they all wore ski masks against the cold, and looked like Desperados their ownselves!

The story ends well. The man at the hospital was in fact Austin and he is hopefully well. He had left early in the morning, and walked for about 2 hours towards the *big town.* Someone had alerted the authorities about a man walking along the road without appropriate clothing. I suspect he was in his night clothes and hope he at least had on shoes.

Another reason to be thankful the *normal* mental health of my girls...and DH, no matter how much they aggravate me! My prayers go out to my neighbor and all those caring for autistic children.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I will NOT...

let the serger thread run out without tying on a new cone first. I will
NOT let the serger thread run out without tying on a new cone first. I will NOT let....

Especially during the busiest sewing season of the year. I mean, if I was meant to hand thread the friggin' thing, I wouldn't have been born with sausage fingers with chewable nails. Instead, my fingers would have tweezers on the ends and perhaps flashlight beams that shoot out from the tips to see into the darkest corners of the hateful (I mean *helpful*) machine.

Gratuitous photo of early fall color which has no bearing on this post!

Threading a serger by hand is the quickest way to kill creativity, short of blowing up the sewing machine's computer mother board (done that.) Or wearing out the seal on your steam iron and exploding boiling water over everything (that too.) Or hot gluing your fingers to your project, sustaining painful burns (yeah, well, we won't go into that any further.)

I think I'm sick of the panty pouches and booby traps.I have been struggling with a final form, interfacing options, etc, and have decided that they are too detailed and time consuming to be practical to market. I can't imagine that anyone would want to pay about $20 for a 4" x 7" pouch, and yet there is so much pinning and sewing of small pieces of trim, that it takes me a whole afternoon to make one.

I'm also feeling cranky about my Christmas gift progress so far. I want to make as many gifts as possible, but as with purchased gifts, I don't know what I want to do for anyone. Maybe I'll make necklaces and hang felt donuts from them as center medallions. Ooh! Or maybe as earrings?? Toni, my loving mother-in-law, is definitely getting a plateful of felt green beans (yah, you know what I'm talking about Toni!)

Early in our marriage, DH made me promise never to sew anything for him. He was the only family member smart enough to exact that promise from me, so the rest of you are fair game!

Last year, my sister got a cross stitch from me to put on her work table that I made from a pattern from Subversive Cross Stitch. Warning: These kits say naughty things. It said "Do Not F*ck With Me!" When somebody bugs her when she is designing jewelry, she just points to the framed cross stitch. Works like a charm! Based on that one, I made one for my Mormon friend, Awesome Ann, that said "Oh My Heck!" which is as subversive as she can get.

But what to make this year?? Time is a-wastin', folks. Those little elf people can't do it all by their short selves. I need ideas, motivation, encouragement, and, if anyone is so inclined... lots of chocolate!

However, in the long tradition of family procrastinators, I am taking off this coming week to visit Eldest at college. Her thesis is due in 2 weeks and Mom is on her way out to tighten the restraints on her writing chair! She must do well, since somebody in the next generation must be capable (and financially solvent) enough to care for me in my dotage! All these craft supplies are expensive!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Thanksgiving note from me to you!

Not a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving

To All Our Family and Friends:

Just a note to let you know we are hoping to see you Thanksgiving Day. But….
Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. I’m telling you in advance, so don’t act surprised. Since Ms. Stewart won’t be coming, I’ve made a few small changes:

Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

Once inside, our guests will note that the entry hall is not decorated with the swags of Indian corn and fall foliage I had planned to make. Instead, I’ve gotten the kids involved in the decorating by having them track in colorful autumn leaves from the front yard. The mud was their idea.

The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china, or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last Christmas.

Our centerpiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that I promised. Instead we will be displaying a hedgehog-like decoration hand-crafted from the finest construction paper. The artist assures me it is a turkey.

We will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while you wait. I’m sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I have made regarding Thanksgiving, pilgrims and the turkey hotline. Please remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 a.m. upon discovering that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds.

As accompaniment to the children’s recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don’t own a recording of tribal drumming, or that tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.

We toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the start of our feast. In the end, we chose to keep our traditional method. We’ve also decided against a formal seating arrangement. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like. In the spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate table. In a separate room. Next door.

Now, I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress “private” meaning: Do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind my young diners that “passing the rolls” is not a football play. Nor is it a request to bean your sister in the head with warm tasty bread.

Oh, and one reminder for the adults: For the duration of the meal, and especially while in the presence of young diners, we will refer to the giblet gravy by its lesser-known name: Cheese Sauce. If a young diner questions you regarding the origins or type of Cheese Sauce, plead ignorance. Cheese Sauce stains.

Before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice between 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with whipped cream and small fingerprints. You will still have a choice; take it or leave it.

I hope you aren’t too disappointed that Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. She probably won’t come next year either.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Courtesy of, but seriously it could have happened at my house.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pay no attention...

to the old lady face beneath cute knit hat, focus people, on the cute hat that I knit myself!

My main model Nick, wasn't having any of this hat business, so I was left to do it myself. Do you know how hard it is to photograph yourself, in the mirror, with poor overhead lighting and without showing the camera or zooming in on your nostrils? If the camera adds ten pounds, I think it all went to the bags under my eyes!

For my second knitting project, I used this book. Being the novice that I am, I had to start and restart this hat about 6 times, with extra stitches appearing each time, then consult with my expansive (not) knitting library, to finally figure out what I was doing wrong. Once I got going, I lost track of my knitting and purling, so my ribbing isn't right. Who cares? (Hands, anyone??) The ribbing is different than the body of the hat, so it works for me!

Now that I am such a wiz-bang knitterer person, it's on to socks! If I thought knitting with 2 long needles was tricky, using 4 double pointed short needles is purely athletic!

And you thought I never got any exercise!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sundays from Singapore, part 3

View from apartment

And the story continues...


Okay, so I've got the macaroni cooking away on a gas burner that is so hot, even on low, that you need finger protection to adjust the heat. Makes you debate whether keeping the water from boiling over is more important than your sense of touch. So anyway, I am preheating the oven (which I successfully used the night before to make garlic toast) while reading the manual on how hot to set the controls. I need to dig out a math textbook to make the degree F to C conversion. Once figured out, I will have it tattooed on my wrist to impress strangers at parties.

But the point of all of this is that in the midst of it all, the oven, fridge, air con, and half of the lights and outlets in the house cease to operate. Being the handy woman that I am, I rush for the main panel in the coat closet ready to save the moment. Alas, the wiring diagram is missing, and I have what looks to be a GFI circuit tripped, Everything else is, of course, written in chicken scratch.

As the house starts to heat up, and the forgotten macaroni swells into gargantuan elbows, frantic calls are made to everyone who ever stepped foot in this house. Larry, DH's boss, comes to the rescue with a reminder that every outlet, appliance and light is on a wall switch, and I should turn everything off that seems to be affected, reset the recalcitrant breaker, and try to isolate the offending machine. Lo! It works and the oven is in the doghouse. Of course, this means I can't even call for an appointment until Monday, and this is Friday night. Sigh.

Kitchen before we moved in with offending oven!

I don't know who designed the bathrooms in this place, but they must have arms that drag behind them when they walk! Each bath has exactly one towel bar, no matter how many are expected to share it, and that bar has been mounted at the absolute farthest point from the shower. Oh, there is plenty of room for another bar, but one appears to be the maximum allowed by law.

The TP holder is either across the room from the toilet, or mounted directly beside the tank, resulting in cracking sounds emanating from your shoulder and/or back as you reach around yourself and try not to topple off the throne. Once reached, about a yard and a half of paper is dispensed, as your arm muscles snap back into place, before you can stop it and tear it off. Think of those silly little fly-fishermen on Sunday TV casting their lines. {Note: No offense intended. I now know some of those guys, and they are neither silly nor little!}

Oh, and lest you think I have overlooked the obvious solution of moving or adding bath fixtures, I should explain that the walls are tiled in large marble sheets up to the ceiling. All other walls in the house are solid cement. You think those double sided stickies will hold up my large framed picture from Hawaii??

Coffin size shower I can hardly get into and marble surround. See the one towel bar?

We hooked up the fax machine this morning, and after much discussion on how one actually places a long distance call around here, dispatched a message to Toni. Mission accomplished. Her return fax was a bit more problematic and her machine kept calling and sending and calling and sending. We'll have to work on that.

As we tried to call her to say "Stop Sending!", we realized that we couldn't call long distance from the main house number. Of course, we haven't had time to read all the manuals (again) so we are limited by what we know to be absolutely true about any appliance. I know, for example, to push the little handset icon to answer a call, and push it again to hang up. Good. Now, if call waiting rings in, the best I can do so far is irritate the first caller by poking buttons that either gives them Muzak on Hold, or the same ringing noise that is driving me wild. I am losing friends fast.

After much scanning of strangely worded manuals, and 2 calls to the Singtel help line, I found out that you actually have to request the ability to call out of the country on your phone. Wisely, they figured that we would want to fax to parts beyond, but apparently not necessarily wish to talk to any of you to find out if you got the fax. Silly me! Now fixed.

As I sit back and elevate my sore feet, I am amazed that we have only been here one week. We have done so much, learned so much, and learned how much more we still have to learn, all in seven days. There are no moving boxes in my house, but rather, piles and stacks of belongings all threatening to spill over when I am not looking. We marvel when we realize that a cheap plastic adapter will convert a plug with 2 thin round prongs to one with 3 honking square prongs, and prevent frustrated male members of the clan from ripping the outlet out of the kitchen wall when they mistakenly jam the wrong shaped plug into the wrong hole. They do that all the time, don't they? He fixed it, thought, by calling the management office and telling them we had a defective outlet installation! I don't think he fooled the repairman.

So here goes another missive, We bought me a printer today, but it isn't set up yet. I do want to print and keep these emails. I can't seem to keep a handle on a pen these days. I will get the printer up and running soon, but guess what?? It comes with another manual!

Love to all...


Friday, November 16, 2007

Frost on the... Watermelon?

I woke up to another frosty morning in Tennessee. Thermometer said 30 degrees! Before I could take my sister to the airport, the dogs needed their morning run around the front yard. Everything was covered with thick frost, including Sassy's favorite frisbee.

Now, on a good day, when the stars are aligned and whatever else needs to happen, I really stink at throwing a frisbee. I have acres to aim for, but have had to retrieve it from the house roof using a ladder and a broom handle. Let me say, that freezing the floppy rubber disc should have made the chore easier, but alas... acres to aim for and I lob it into a tree.

I should also point out, that I am outside in this winter wonderland in my thin PJ's, a robe, and bedroom slippers (I know, I know! And I am seriously freezing various body parts off!) So, I am searching around for a stick (should have some of those on this property) and come upon a softball size watermelon that I had pitched into the woods when I cleaned up the raised beds. A few useless tosses later, and the frisbee is still in the tree.

But Nick has found a new *ball* and made off with the frozen watermelon!

Such a *boy* tossing and pouncing on his new toy!

A few more minutes of searching and I did find a long stick, retrieved the frisbee, thawed necessary body parts, and everyone lived happily ever after!

The End.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sister Time

My sister Christina came for a visit! She is buying some property near me and was here for the survey (and to hang with me, because, of course it's all about me.) This provided a good excuse to toodle about my property and enjoy the fallness. That's a real word, you know!

Water bubbling in the creek.

Forest ferns hanging on in the colder weather.

Poplar grove in all it's nakedness.

We went out to *her* property and she took off on the four-wheeler with the surveyor to see the boundaries and take pictures. She had her camera, so I didn't bring mine. Big mistake! Typical Christina, she forgot the memory card for her camera and had to delete pictures from the camera's internal memory. Long story short, I don't have any pictures of her property...yet.

However, I got the opportunity to embarrass her ( always a fun time) by picking a bug off her bust in front of the real estate agent and the seller, a big burly redneck. Actually, if I had stopped there I would have been okay, but since she gave me that older-sister shocked look, I *honked* her booby too! Covering quickly, I told her it was an old-time country greeting. This brought gales of giggles from the others present. Christina asked, if one honk was hello, was a double handed, double booby *honk* goodbye? I don't think she is very trusting of my advise on how to fit in with the locals!?

As usual, Christina came armed with sour dough bread and frou frou coffee for our enjoyment. Or maybe she's afraid she wouldn't get anything to eat when she's with me. I offered her felt doughnuts, but she didn't want any. I don't understand! She also brought jewelry making equipment to further my education.

This is my sister, Christina!

Today's lesson is in wire work.

Even with one on one help, I will never challenge her in the jewelry arena!

We were working in my studio, but the shrieking of the weather radio warning of dangerous thunderstorms chased us into the main house. In fact, I had just lit a fire in the stove in the studio when we left. After the storm passed and I returned to get some other tools, there was a cheery fire blazing away, all alone, in the darkened studio, with nobody to love and admire it. Poor fire!

Christina goes home tomorrow. But she is going to buy the property and I will require her to visit it occasionally. I will probably have to make up lies about the land *needing* her presence, but it will afford me more opportunities to teach her the ways of the country (wink, wink) and that's makes the lies okay...right?

Monday, November 12, 2007

What's for dinner?

Well, it's dinnertime.. again. It sure comes around a lot. But with DH out of town (hi, honey!) I don't have quite the same restrictions or requirements to deal with (you know, actual food, for one.) So, this is what I made:

Looks yummy, huh?

And I enjoyed it enough, but was curiously still hungry, (even after eating the napkin too) so I made this one as a chaser:

Now, did I mention that these are actually made of felt and beads? Oh, you thought they were real?? Tee hee! I don't know how that misconception got started! Of course, I ate an entire box of doughnuts in the name of research ( not really, yes I did, no I didn't!)

Actually, I got the idea from this tutorial, which is part of the Handmade Holidays (see November 8th) at Sew, Mama, Sew. As the tutorial points out, these aren't *hard* to make, just time consuming. And if you like lots of sprinkles, like I do, it will take a bit longer.

There's also a tutorial for felt cupcakes, and somewhere else I saw one for felt sushi! A plan is brewing in my alleged brain to stop cooking altogether and just reach into the pantry for a entire meal of felt food. Soup might present a challenge, but think of all the dishes that wouldn't get dirty!

So, whadda think, Honey? Hungry? I have some felt pork chops in my pocket!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sundays from Singapore, part 2

As promised (or threatened!) part two:


Riding in a taxi is a matter of hanging on for dear life and hoping the driver knows where he's going ('cuz I sure don't!) Apparently, the lane dividing lines on the road that we Americans take as gospel are mere suggestions in Singapore. Either that or nobody operating a motorized vehicle can aim straight! They all race to be the first in queue (line) for anything and will cut each other off without care. Getting use to swinging wide for a right turn will take a while too. C keeps muttering 'This is sooo wrong" whenever they make a turn.

Taxis are plentiful and quite cheap by our standards. I think I can make it around town for the equivalent of $2.50 US. The best thing is that our apartment is right across the street, okay, and a little alley, from the Great World City Mall. Right outside... taxis! So unlike most people who have to risk their toes standing on the curb trying to flag one of these diesel maniacs down, I just have to dash across 5 lanes of traffic to the taxi stand.

However, as night wears on, the drivers get picky and will roll their window down to find out where you want to go. If they don't like it, sorry, off duty! Shift change doesn't come until 11:30 PM, but starting around 10:00, they get choosy. Considering the fact that you can get to the other side of the country in about 45 minutes, can't figure out why they wouldn't want a 10 minute fare in town, But enough of transportation.

The phone installers came today, and spoke little English (surprise), so I ended up with 2 jacks with the second line and all the rest with the first. Not too bad, except that each bedroom has 2 separate jacks side by side, and they are both the same line. That's okay, I got the second number on the most important jacks to use the fax machine.

I called Singtel to find out how much it costs to call the US and what kind of calling plans were available. They are very simple here. It costs $.39S or about $.22 US a minute to call. Anytime. That's it. Now if I want a cheaper rate, no problem, but I get to use a cheaper line and get poorer transmission quality. I tried it once, but I think I ended up ordering takeout from another instead of calling the United States of America. Oh well, at least I won't get those annoying calls asking if I want to switch plans or companies... no other company to pick.

Had the air con (not air conditioning) serviced as well today. They do it every month on schedule. Took the housing apart and washed the filters in the maid's bathroom in the "yard" (read, back service porch, 17 floors up.) I have 14 air con units... it took awhile. Every month, huh?

In this palatial apartment and most other luxury ones, there is a room and bathroom for the maid on the yard. Lest you think this might be a good way to see the world starting with Singapore, let me tell you that this maid's room won't hold a bed bigger than one of those junior size model that toddlers test drive. The room is about 7 feet square (I'm being generous,) about 11 feet high, with one louvered window directly over the washer and dryer outside. Did I mention NO air con? The luxury bath includes a sink the size of a soup bowl, toilet, shower nozzle on the wall, and a drain in the floor. Bathing ensures that the entire room (3 ft by 6 ft) gets hosed daily, or however often you can convince your maid to bathe.

Well, it looks very seriously like a storm is coming, and I want to get online before it hits. Hope you are starting to get a sense of the educational experience that is Singapore. Tonight, I will attempt Macaroni and Cheese baked in the oven! The girls incinerated a bag of microwave popcorn this afternoon (where is that manual?!?) so the house smells like charred plastic. C went to the grocery to get one of those Aim 'n Flame thingies to light a candle and came home with a gizmo that looks the same, but only sparks to light the gas appliances. Oh well!

Love to all.

Saturday night into Sunday

It started out just fine! A nice warm Saturday afternoon, working in my studio with the door wide open. The dogs were cavorting in the yard outside. And then it was time for dinner. I locked up, called dogs... no dogs. Hummm.

Get the Bad Boy Buggy (it's really called that!) and started driving the property roads, calling doggies. No dogs. Drive up the hill, down the hill, over the bridge, through the woods (to grandmother's house we go... ) and come back up behind the shop. Nope, no dogs.

As I raced pell-mell down the drive, calling dogs, out they pop from the woods behind my studio. And Nick is wearing a light but grainy layer of mud on his legs and belly. Okay, clean up the dogs, checking all over for wounds, snake bites and missing appendages. Serve them dinner. As Sassy hoovers her food, Nick looks at dinner and then at me as if I have fed him rocks! Not good, but with no other menu choices he reluctantly eats with Sassy trolling like a shark behind him.

Both dogs lumber off to sleep with full bellies, with Nick occasionally groaning. I flip TV channels (DH is out of town and the remote is mine! All mine!!) Bedtime comes and out we go out for a last bathroom break. Well, not me! And off to sleep.

12:30AM and Nicks wants out. Put on heavy bathrobe and slippers, and stumble to the back door. Out everyone goes. Nick does all his business. So does Sassy. Back to bed.

2:30AM... Nick again, poking me and giving me a face full of hot doggie breath. Repeat with bathrobe and slippers, out to the back door. Nick does all his business as if he never has gone before. Who knows what Sassy did, I don't have my eyes open. Back to bed... again.

4:00AM... Nick wants breakfast! Jumps on the bed and roots around under my pillow with his snout, bouncing my head up and down. Bet you didn't know that's the universal dog sign for Feed Me Or I Will Wash Your Face And Pick Your Nose! Forget about the robe and slippers, just get the food. Back to bed yet again.

4:15 AM...Hear suspicious noises (thump, slurp, crunch, crunch.) Get out of bed to find Nick has gotten into the dog food bin and is helping himself to seconds on breakfast. Remind him I'm on my last nerve with no sleep. Return to bed after banging arm on the doorway in the dark. Yawn!

7:30AM. Nick and Sassy are well rested, fed and watered, so it must be time to play!

I don't know what Nick ate in the forest yesterday... acorns, squirrel snot, creek water or whatever, but I think this is going to be a long day!


Just back from the Walmart store where I bought lots of groceries. Apparently an argument took place between groceries in the back seat of the truck while I drove, and after some heckling from the frozen turkey, a jar of Prego flung itself to a violent death when I opened the door! It jumped right out of the bag, it did! Spaghetti sauce and broken glass everywhere. On the floor, on the cabinets, the garage door, and my just-washed jeans and (not just washed) shoes. Needless to say, i was very popular with the dogs when I came in the house!

Since Garage Marinara wasn't part of the plan today, I scooped and swabbed, washed and scrubbed. The dogs helped, by which I mean that Nick ran off to chase critters and Sassy threw toys at me when I stooped down to wash the floor, in between tries at licking my pants leg.

Yes, dear. I got it all off, using water and a bush-on-a-stick, a rag and some Windex. Also, paper towels and a dust pan, hand sanitizer and the washing machine. Sigh.

And to make matters worse, I think there is sauce on the underside of the truck, so I will smell like a pizza delivery van when I drive into town!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

If you're going to knit...

Let me say (even before finishing the title sentence) that I took better pictures of this, but my card reader *eated* them. So, you are stuck with the poorly lit ones that the dogs took for me. Really!

So, if you are going to knit, you naturally need a tote to hold your stuff!

And while you're at it, a needle roll and a zippy pouch for all those pesky metal stick things and miscellaneous tools they sell you at the store.

What I am most proud of this project is that all the fabric was thrifted at the Goodwill. The flower/stripe outer fabric is from a twin size sheet, and the pink polka dot fabric, well, was a piece of fabric I found at the Goodwill (Did I already say that?)

So, now I need to go to the Goodwill again and see what other neat sheets and fabrics they might have, followed by a trip to the Hobby Lobby to look at yarn and knitting books.

I see a vicious cycle starting... yeah!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

And you say I can't knit

Pay attention, Miss C, I knit something! Me, your non-knitting mother. And I can even purl... HA! I admit, it is not the most ambitious project, but since I needed to buy a book, needles etc just to start, I thought it was pretty good. I used this book, 1-2-3 Knit. I think is usually comes with water wings and a safety helmet for those of us neophytes (great word... neophytes) but I decided I was grown-up to go without. I did the cover project, a short neck wrap with a split at one end to feed the other end through to secure.

A neighbor in Hawaii tried to teach me to knit as a child. She was, and still is, a stellar knitter, even designing her own patterns. She is one of those (and you know who you are) that never have to look at what she is doing, just follows the rhythm of the needles clicking, and wraps the yarn around the needle with a rapid flick of the yarn-loaded index finger.

Not me. I have a death grip on the needles, burns on my cuticles from trying to control the yarn, and painful dents on the tips of my index fingers from stuffing the needles through the really tight stitches. But, isn't it fun??

Of course, once finished, I needed a model. I haven't been able to take a decent picture of myself in the mirror, something keeps shattering the glass and anyway, I look like my mother and she's been dead for years! Anywho, Nick kindly offered to try on the scarf (really!)

Sassy demonstrates the pose.

Isn't he cooperative?

And I think Nick's going need this scarf soon! We woke up to 28 degrees and frost on the ground.

We had a roaring fire in the fireplace and the colder weather really brought out the playfulness in the dogs. Sassy stole Nick's favorite blue toy, but in the end, they decided to share... Not!

Hope you are having as much fun!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sundays from Singapore, part 1

Okay, I have nothing new to tell, having done nothing but whine about my sore back all weekend. So, I thought I would resurrect some emails that I sent out from our tour of duty in Singapore in 2001. It was an eye opening experience and I printed them out so I could revisit them in time. Without further ado, here is post number 1:


Sitting here with the cable guy trying to hook up the new TV, so I thought I would start a note on the first few days. They certainly have been experience-filled to say the least! Just to give you an idea, I can't run any appliance in the kitchen yet, except the dishwasher and that took a hour of reading and a trip to the grocery for "special salt."

To explain, the dishwasher is British made, I think, and has a built in water softener to handle the hard water here. There is not only a soap dispenser, but a rinse dispenser with a low level indicator, and a salt dispenser in the back of the unit for special salt. The salt has to be refilled by crawling into the machine with a pitcher at some regular interval, which it will tell me with another annoying light on the front.

The front panel is a trip in itself. Apparently the rest of the world, except us energy wasting Americans, set their appliances to different temperatures or power consumption rates depending on what they are trying to do. So, instead of a button for heavy or regular or light loads, I have to know what temperature water to use, based on the chart in the book (which is written in about ten languages including Slovenian, if you have a need,) depending on the amount of soil on the dishes and how long the cycle should run. Oh, and by the way, I have purses bigger than this machine, but the racks and little dividers are better planned and you can fit the whole elephant into this purse!

The microwave works on a similar what-wattage-do-you-need-to-cook-a-potato idea, but since I am missing the multi-language manual, I haven't a clue. The clock, however, has a mind of it's own and no matter what I do, reverts to a 24 hour clock (you know 14:00) and is constantly incorrect at that.

The oven... well, you get the picture, The cook top (known as a hob) won't work until Thursday when the gas man comes to turn it on and make sure I don't incinerate the whole building with my first meal. The good news is I have figured out the refrigerator, except that after unpacking the shelves and bins, I have spare parts...oh well. I did get the new vacuum cleaner to go, and boy can that thing suck! It has 5 power settings including "tornado vortex", "hold-on-to-small-children", and "is it on yet?"

The movers came with 7 small and very smelly guys to move in and unpack. We had the pleasure of their company for two days, but the purple cloud of odor is almost gone now. On some levels they were very entertaining, especially when they would get together to argue in various chattery languages about how to assemble something, turning it over and upside down, then one shooing the others away and getting it done right. The two full sized, stuffed toy dogs also provided some amusing moments.

We now have some semblance of a home, well, except for the 25 boxes of books sitting where the yet-to-be-delivered dining table goes and the stacks of pictures around the rooms. We need to get some carpets soon, because every time I get up off of the living room sofa, it shoots backwards on it's wheels into the dining room.

DH and I are back at the hotel one last time to use the phones to log on, so I will conclude this missive. As you can see, we are having fun and excitement here in Singapore. Supposedly we will have phone service tomorrow, but since they have told us two different sets of numbers, I will wait until they work to hand them out. I have much more to tell you all, but don't want to bore you if assembling clothes drying racks with Chinese instructions isn't your cup of tea. Please email me and let me know if you would like the latest installment of "which taxi can drive Between the lines?"

Love to everyone...Lisa

Friday, November 2, 2007

It's Back!!!

I can't believe it! Years after I had given up hope of ever seeing it again. There it was... on a shelf in a bookstore in Nashville!

Victoria magazine or Bliss Victoria as they call themselves.

Some of the best eye candy legally available over the counter! This magazine was discontinued years ago for no apparent reason. I was crushed! When things got tough, or just boring, I would make a run to the bookstore for the latest issue. Apparently, former subscribers were alerted to the reissuing of the magazine. I, though a loyal fan, am not one of those people. I prefer the thrill of the hunt at the bookstore.

Inside, some of the most delicious photographs of a life I don't lead. Tea services, spa bath salts, wool skirts and lace covered blouses (heck, I don't even own a *blouse*, I wear shirts.) China patterns, luncheons, antique shoppes (gotta spell it like that) and damask upholstered furniture. Just look at this!

Photo essay on winter beauty.

Or these antique dresses from the collection of Tasha Tudor, which she is auctioning off!

Don't you think I would look demure and oh so lady-like wearing the dress on the left? While riding my tractor? Or splitting firewood?

And so, after I threw around some cow poopy, arm wrestled the tiller and planted some spring bulbs, I showered (I know, I know, you are quite welcome!) and settled in with a frou frou coffee and this issue of feminine fantasy. I even remembered to remove my white gloves and raise me pinkie finger when I sipped!