Monday, October 29, 2007

Needing a fabric fix . . .

I am needing to immerse myself in fabric and do some sewing. It seems there has not been enough time for that so I am anxious to have four days at home. If nothing else, I am going to just sit and "feel" my stash. LOL!

This piece is one of my current favorites. Everytime I look at it I see a different flower or pattern. I loved it when I bought it and I have had it for a while. I keep thinking it will talk to me about what it wants to be. Today, I heard it loud and clear. I will share that later. What piece from your stash is your favorite?

Verizon "opt out" info . . .

My Verizon wireless is my only phone here in Laramie and I found this very interesting. The info below was sent to me by my sis and I checked it out. You may have already received the notice, but wanted to call it to your attention. The notices were sent out a week or so ago.

Verizon Wireless is mailing a notice advising wireless subscribers that if they fail to Opt Out within 30 days, Verizon will begin SELLING their Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) to “third parties and affiliates”. CPNI information includes all the calls you place or receive on your cell phone (along with date, time and call duration). Verizon intends to allow “targeted ads” created by their affiliates sent to your phone. There's more details in the blog. The opt out number is 1-800-333-9956. If you have more than one phone on your plan, you have to opt out for each one.

I also did some sleuthing and here is a page from Verizon's policy blog - more info is in the comments following the entry.

I just called the number and it is easy to "opt out" with a robot person on the other end.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The week ahead . . .

Here it is noon on Sunday. Bob and Jesse just left and we had a wonderful weekend. Our Montana State University Bobcats lost - that wasn't so good, but we had fun going to the game. Our beloved Rockies lost, but we enjoyed watching the game at a great restaurant here in Laramie. So, win or lose, with my Bob here, it was a plus.

I have decided to try to do 4 days of work in 3 days. I am planning to head north on Friday and stop to visit with a couple students doing internships on the way through their towns. The weather looks "iffy" on Friday and it looks like Thursday will be a better travel day. I am going to work really hard to travel on Thursday to take advantage of that window of good weather that is in the forecast. Of course, it can always change which is common in the Northern Rockies about every 25 minutes.

I am anxious to get home for a few days. I miss my Bob already!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The boys will be here this weekend . . .

My Bob and our good friend, Jesse (guy in the green shirt), are coming to Laramie tonight for the weekend. The Montana State Bobcats play football at UNC in Greeley, CO on Saturday so we are all heading over there. The team is staying in Fort Collins so we will go down there tomorrow night to visit with the boosters and parents who travel with the team. My friend, Suzie from here at UWyo, is going with us to the game on Saturday in Greeley as she is a UNC alum. UWyo is playing UNLV here - another great game and I wish we could see them both. It is going to be an "A" weekend! I am kind of glad they are leaving on Sunday morning so I will have a day to get caught up with work - and rest!

I have everything we need for cranberry margaritas when they get in tonight. Of course I also have a crockpot of chili brewing. I have a great recipe for cranberry margaritas . . .
11⁄4 cups good tequila
11⁄4 cups frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed
1 cup canned, jellied cranberry sauce
10 T. lime juice or the juice from 5 limes.
6 T. Cointreau
I mix it all in a blender and then pour half out and blend each half with ice for blended, but you could pour over ice for on the rocks and rim the glasses with salt.

The iPod is a great addition to The Cottage. I can't believe I never had one. I also bought a little dock with speakers - very inexpensive - but it works to shuffle through the different songs. I then had to visit the iTunes store to download a bit of music. I have quite a variety here from Yo-Yo Ma to Willie Nelson with Aaron Copland in between. My spirit is soaring! Now to get my work done.

And - if you have had the strength to read this far - I am so sorry our Colorado Rockies did not play better last night, but I am still thrilled they are in the World Series!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Elegant laundromat . . .

After being so empowered with my friend's hunting story, I decided I had to face the reality that I needed to do laundry. The Cottage does not have a washer and dryer so it was off to the laundromat. But this one is pretty special. I drove to Denver to Gail's house (2 and a half hour drive) and had a wonderful visit AND got my laundry done. As you can see this laundry has a nice "sitting room" and a wonderful view off the deck with a little snow still on the golf course from the weekend storm.

When I walked into her family room, she had the quilt "Centennial Sky" hanging on the wall. I lost my breath. We both worked on the quilt. She did the piecing and I did the quilting. These pictures do not do it justice to reflect how it looks in that room. I did a similar one for another friend as these are sister quilts from a Denver Shop Hop a couple years ago. But Centennial Sky has crystals and the light was so beautiful shining in from the huge windows that each crystal was on fire. It is a beautiful quilt - and stunning in that setting.

Of course we had to do some shopping. I found some great buys on dresses for my granddaughter which I will get in the mail today. I also bought my first iPod (classic) with a speaker setup so I can have music in The Cottage and do some podcasts for my courses. And I got a new Rowenta iron and heated mattress pad. I had to have the basics as well as music for my soul. It was a grand time at the "laundromat". Thank you to Gail and Jim.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Amazing times. . .

My vehicle is a TrailBlazer named LilyB. Yesterday afternoon while I was driving back to Laramie from Casper, she sent an email to my Bob in Bozeman reporting that the tire pressure on the left rear tire was low and should be checked. I was out in the middle of nowhere driving through some slush on the road. I am still amazed, and tickled, this morning. Don't you just love technology? And I will check it!

My Montana quilting friend, Patricia Pressler, won several ribbons for her beautiful work at the Spokane Quilt Show. That is really not amazing as she is very talented and her work is impressive. But what is amazing is that she went out on opening day of hunting season and shot a deer, dressed it out in the field, drug it to her pickup over rough terrain, got it into the back of the pickup and then hoisted it up to hang in her the garage when she got home - ALL BY HERSELF! And - she is about as big as a minute and looks like a model. Now, that is amazing!

One more - The Colorado Rockies are in the World Series! Wow!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New boots . . .

Just got back from Casper. Class was great! They had a little snow storm in Wyoming today, but the trip back here was good. I got this cute picture tonight and had to share it. Weston is showing off his new cowboy boots. I can't believe how these little ones can change so quickly. He looks like he has grown 2 inches since I saw him a couple weeks ago.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Well, what do you think about that?

Here is another very special person in my life. . . my granddaughter, Meagan. Here she is passing some time while waiting for the dentist. She will be 4 in January and we are so proud of her. Don't you love her model pose and her stylin' outfit?

I am off to teach for the weekend in Casper which is about 150 miles north of here. There is not much between here and there except lots of sage brush and antelope. This country is vast!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No hugging on me . . .

I got some pictures yesterday from Weston's mom. They had gone on an outing to a pumpkin farm with a little friend. These are a couple of the pics.

He is really Mr. Independence and didn't like the hugging one little bit. I love that expression of determination and independence. He is such a neat little guy! I sure do miss him - may just have to head home a bit sooner than I had planned.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Snowy Sunday in Laramie

The UWyo Cowboys lost their football game yesterday and so did the MSU Bobcats. Dark day for my football teams. And the Red Sox lost in the 11th inning late last night. And today it is snowing as you can see from the picture from the porch of The Cottage.

I wanted to go to the International Quilt Festival in Houston this year, but I put too many things on my radar screen so it is not possible. So I have made a promise to myself to go in 2008. I went to the "big show" for the first time in 2004 and it was my very first quilt show ever anywhere. Gail, Laurena and I all went together and at the time only Gail was a quilter. I went because I wanted a longarm and thought that would be a great place to give them all a try - and it was! Somehow, I think one should become a quilter before you decide to buy a longarm, but that is not how I was thinking. We all made bags so we would have lots of space to stash lots of purchases and this was the one I made. I brought it to Laramie with me last week with quilting books in it and love it now as much as I did for our 2004 Houston trip. It is made out of flannel. So - next year - I am going again. Next year, come "h*&# or high water", I am going again!

This is a great snowy Sunday and I have lots to do and lots of energy to get it all done. I made my list and I am moving through it!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nothin' to do . . .

. . . and all day to do it. This is the first week-end since Sept. 6th that I have not been teaching, traveling or entertaining. I have enjoyed a total day of doing whatever I want and loving every minute of not having to be anywhere at anytime. I have not had to fix meals for anyone. I have not had to smile and act intelligent for students. I did not have to wash sheets, towels, and change beds. I did not have to comb my hair or put on makeup. I did not have to do anything I did not want to do.

Now, I should have because "The Cottage" does not have maid service. What is with that?

I hit on a strange soup idea. When I was home, I had Bob stop at our Safeway and pick up a couple containers of their deli soup. I thought he would bring home two of the same kind. Well he didn't and so I just mixed them together - and it was great. I did the same thing here - on purpose. It is jambalay and chicken noodle - interesting mixture - but it is really pretty good. They have the best soups in the deli.

Tomorrow I will pay for all of this "do nothing" time today, as I really do have some things I need to get done, but it was worth every minute. It was like pouring warm oil over my soul.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Trying some video . . .

I did a short seminar today for some faculty members here on technology and learning. I would not call it a great success, but rather a start. The most exciting thing for me is it gave me a reason to get more comfortable with video and now I want to do more with it.

Here is a small file of Weston late this summer when he had a walking cast on his broken leg. I love the way he walked with it so thought I would share this. It wasn't long after this that he got the cast off.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I am thrilled . . .

This afternoon I was working on a seminar for faculty here tomorrow morning to help them integrate technology into their classroom teaching. It is a lot like herding cats as I am not real sure what I am doing nor do I know what they want or expect. But we will all gather and give it a shot.

And then, I got a phone call from my friend Ronda Beyer telling me that "Tumbling Through Time" received a judges ribbon at the Pacific International Quilt Festival. I was so appreciative that she called. I have been trying to reach my friend, Gail Nelson, to let her know, but she is in Los Angeles visiting. Gail and I pieced and designed it together and I quilted it with a lot of support, ideas and mentoring from Ronda.

Thank you, Ronda, for calling to let me know. Hearing it from you was the best part! Thank you, Gail, for being willing work with me on it.

It is such a splendid shock to receive the recognition!

A brighter day . . .

As always - it is a brighter day. A good night of sleep, some great coffee, wonderful flannel pajamas, love and hugs from friends and family and some great soup. Hm-m-m - it is all medicine to heal the soul. I am now off to joust with more windmills. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Some days are like that . . .

It has been one of those days where everything seems out of rhythm. You know those kind of days? The tears are just barely under the surface no matter where or what and you don't dare talk about anything that might take you there. You can't quite put your finger on what it is. I finally just came home and put my pajamas on. . . they are flannel and that always helps. As Scarlett said, "Tomorrow is another day."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Wild, Wonderful Wyoming . . .

I drove back yesterday. The colors were beyond gorgeous and the weather was phenomenal. This is the sign welcoming me to Wyoming from Montana and I still had about 300 miles to go to get to Laramie from this northern border. The landscape and sky were vast and filled with the crispness of autumn.

I had lots of time to be philosophical about all kinds of things. One of my blog friends has led a good discussion on friendship. After spending 10+ days with good friends - old and new, I totally convinced that good friends are to be treasured. Every lasting friendship is worth how ever many chances are needed to keep it going. Sometimes in this world of open, easy communication, it is easy to feel acquaintances are "good friends" when they are really "acquaintances". In the "old days" we would acknowledge our acquaintances, say "hello", share other pleasantries and move on about our business. Today, with blogs and boards, we communicate to everyone as if they were our good friends. But good friends speak heart to heart - sometimes years can pass and sometimes only hours and the friendship never falters. That is enough philosphy for October and I am blessed to enjoy it as a reality.

I also wanted to share what I did on Sunday. I had two baby quilts to finish for customers before I left home. They are very cute quilts and my quilting is nothing fancy, but I love baby quilts. I am now all caught up with my customer quilting until December when I will be home again and have a couple more coming. The bright colored one is flannel front and back. The alphabet panel picture was taken on the porch here at "The Cottage". I truly enjoyed quilting again for the first time in several months.

I had a very interesting evening and morning working through a missing package with UPS. I found out that "The UPS Store" is not a part of UPS and there has been all kinds of finger pointing because there is no record of what happened to the package I sent. I found out it did arrive by making a couple phone calls to the receiving hotel. UPS and The UPS Store are still "working with their electronic tracking system" and blaming each other while they try to figure out just where that package is. I will let them work a bit longer before I let them know.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Good friends and a little winter . . .

We have had so much fun these past couple days. Our friends from Maine came back through on Thursday night and our Homecoming friends from Seattle also arrived. And - the live lobster sent in from Maine arrived in the afternoon. One of our Seattle friends brought fresh salmon and we added some good ol' Montana beef. We had a wonderful supper.

More great times seeing lots of old friends yesterday and this morning we awoke to snow on the ground. Our Maine friends had to leave in the snow and head to Billings to catch their flight home. The "boys" all went to the game - in the snow. We are watching here in the dry and warm comfort of home.

And - I finished up that Irish chain quilt from the young quilter on Thursday and another one last night and one more baby quilt to go tomorrow and I will be caught up. The quilting on this one was pretty simple, but it turned out okay. I am heading back to Laramie early, early on Monday morning. I am enjoying my quilting again!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Ice cream . . . ice cream . . . what a treat!

Weston loves his ice cream and here he is really enjoying it.

Update on Roly and Poly . . .

The orphan bear cubs were picked up yesterday by the state Fish and Game. They were less than a year old and would not have made it through the winter without the momma. They will be safely "hibernated" over the winter at a wildlife refuge and then released into the wild in the late spring. We will miss them, but we are all glad they will be in safe hands.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rush . . . Rush . . . Rush

It seems everything this week is a huge rush. We have lots of company coming and I have lots of "school work" plus I am finishing up a couple baby quilts and delivering another customer quilt today. And - I am going to love some time this afternoon and evening with Weston. I have to leave early, early on Monday.

You know a few weeks ago, I shared my experience in finding good bedding bargains for "The Cottage" at our local thrift store. One of the things I mentioned at the time was that all of our bedding at home really needs to be updated as it was looking worse than many of those at the thrift shop.

So I decided to find 2 bedspreads yesterday for the guest room that has twin beds. Well - they don't make plain old bedspreads any more I guess. I found some lovely coverlets for $99 each and then you would want to purchase a sham for each at anther $39. Hmm-m. That didn't feel like something I was looking to do for company that would be here for 2 nights. I could put them up in a nice hotel here for that.

As I was leaving our "Bed, Bath and Beyond" I drove by Target and remembered my sister always tells me about the good sales they have on the ends of their aisles. So I stopped. Wow! I got everything I needed for the twin beds with new sheets, dust ruffles, shams and nice coverlets for less that $55 for both beds total from their sale aisle. And then I saw another set for our king bed that was marked $32 (originally $168) and it was a tapestry comforter, dust ruffle, shams, and sheets and the sheets are sateen. And then there was one more set that works for the other guest room and it was $22.

So, on top of everything else, I have been totally changing out all of the beds, washing new towels and new sheets when the older ones would have worked fine as they were already clean. Sometimes I think I fall off the deep end when I see a good buy. But - our bedrooms look less like rejects from the local thrift store. . .

Monday, October 1, 2007

Special gifts of friendship . . .

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." -- Anais Nin
It is time for bed and I always say thanks for my blessings. Today, I was blessed with the gift of a renewed friendship - one that has been very, very special. We laugh and cry - we inspire and listen - we encourage and support - as only good friends can do. A little like this barb wire and the crazy time we had creating it - this special friendship is meant to endure. It is a blessing and I say, "thank you". I will sleep with peace in my heart.

Decisions, Decisions . . .

I just got back from getting license plates for my car. I am not sure how it is in your state, but in Montana, you have over 100 different plates to choose from and it is tense to get just the right one to match your philosophy and the color of your car. It is especially hard because there is a long line behind you and the lady helping you is very, very serious.

So I thought I would share a few of the plates so you could understand my decision was tough. Many cities have their own plate so you can have one that is just for your city or town. This one is for the city of Billings. Not my favorite colors!

And - many of our school districts also have their own license plate. That way you can show where your kids go to school or which school buildings you are paying for with your taxes. This one is for our local school district. I don't think I have ever seen it on a vehicle. Hmmm - wonder what that means? You can also order one for any university that you attended or wanted to attend.

And there are a lot for different charities, service organizations and non-profits. Here is one for the Humane Society of Montana. This one is quite popular! We love our animals!

And there is one for both Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park as well as Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Open Lands, and all kinds of other organizations focused on the outdoors. Here is the one for Yellowstone Park. I was thinking this would be good because I am in Wyoming a lot this year and most of Yellowstone Park is in Wyoming.

But then I remembered - there is one just for quilters so I quickly changed my mind and went looking on the wall for that one. I thought this would be perfect! And the line behind me was getting restless.

But then I saw it. The one that "sang" to my soul. It was "music" to my heart. It is "Montana is a Symphony" and I just knew it was the right one. I have always known I must "sing my own song". Meanwhile, the line behind me is getting longer, the toes are tapping and not in any musical rhythm, but rather with impatience. Behind the counter, the lady's eyes have long since glazed over. We finish up and I leave so excited with my new plates.

PS - The colors on it are much more vivid. It is beautiful with black!