Jun 30, 2005

Settling in

Mom said it would take 3 weeks to get used to the new job and to stop being tired all the time and she was right. Finally in this third week, I'm starting to feel like I will have a normal life again.

Dave and I have figured out a morning routine and we're working on an evening routine. He's still a bit whiny about not having a car, but he did manage to take the bus into Spokane last night to meet me for some shopping. We had to celebrate the reclassification of my job - the fastest raise I've ever gotten!

Our favorite store is Borders, where I've recently discovered the joys of the 3 books for the price of 2 table. You never know what you'll find, but there's always something good. On the last 2 trips I've picked up Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott, The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips, Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi, The Perfect Mile (story of the quest for the 4 minute mile...I'm not track obsessed...really...) by Neal Bascomb, Diary by Chuck Palahniuk, and The Battle for God, A History of Fundamentalism by Karen Armstrong. The Eyptologist is on tap for the long weekend.

On the sewing front, I've gotten back to my old routine of doing handwork for 20-30 minutes on my lunch hour and as a result, my Straight and Narrow piece is back on track (ooh, there's that track word again). On Monday I not only received the books I ordered for my birthday, but I also got the fall issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. So there's been LOTS of inspiration this week and I've really been feeling like I want to play around. Which is such a wonderful feeling after the sheer exhaustion of the previous two weeks.

And finally, on this last day of the month, I'm almost done with all the extra tasks I took on for June. I finished up some historic preservation commission work last night. I need to put the elastic waist and the beaded trim on Sissy's skirt tonight and then I will be free to play over the holiday weekend. Whoohoo!

Jun 27, 2005

Good Luck Amy!

My friend Julie Huffman's oldest daughter Amy began six weeks of Cadet Basic Training at West Point this morning. Good luck Amy, we'll be thinking of you!

Jun 26, 2005

Detail shot of my Straight and Narrow challenge piece. The applique is done and I'm working on outlining it with stem stitch in silver. I worked on it today for a while and remembered why I took a break. The *&^% silver embroidery thread I'm using is way shreddy and it's driving me crazy. I'm working on the A, so over half done and then I can move on to embroidering vines in a lovely normal non-shreddy lime green. Posted by Hello

Happy Birthday to Me, Part Two

Still no books, but the second day of my birthday was just as excellent as the first.

For the rest of the first day, I had grilled chicken with peanut sauce and rice and coconut ice cream at the Artist Cafe. And they sang happy birthday to me and then "happy track star" to AshLee, since we were also celebrating her state championships. I LOVE the Artist Cafe. The walls are lime green and turquoise and covered with original art, mostly by students. The food is to die for and the hospitality is unbelievable. It makes me happy just to be there.

Yesterday I dropped Dave and AshLee off at Hoopfest, the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world, which takes place every summer in downtown Spokane. Also known as the biggest social event of the season for 17-year-old kids. I headed out to my parents, where mom and I had an excellent tag-team sewing session. We got Sissy's vest and skirt almost finished. A few more seams for me to finish off and then I'll post pictures. The outfit turned out really cute and between that and all the blog talk about making skirts, I'm really warming up to the idea of sewing some clothing for myself.

Of course, there were presents. Gift certificates to the bead store, the quilt store and Michaels, which are all in the same parking lot (some sort of lovely harmonic convergence there). Also, a darling cross-stitch mom made of a little black kitten sitting in the bathroom sink (imagine that!) and some cool old jazz records from dad. Two of my aunties had been in town on a quick visit and left me a gorgeous antique linen embroidered table cloth with matching napkins.

The aunties were transporting a distribution of my grandparent's things, which they are still working on dividing up. I was thrilled to discover they had brought me the big old stoneware bowl from my grandma's kitchen that I dearly love. Also a bible with my grandfather's name engraved on it from when he served in the state legislature. Very cool!

Another birthday dinner, this one shared with Dad, since his birthday was the 14th. Grilled cheeseburgers, seafood salad and, of course, birthday cake. Birthday cake in our family means one thing. Yellow cake with fudge on top. No silly, not fudge frosting, fudge. A whole batch of Grandma Gamon's old fashioned cooked fudge, poured and spread over the cake before it sets. It's superfantastic. Everyone is allowed to pick whatever dessert they want for their birthday and everyone always picks birthday cake.

We finished off the evening with a viewing of "the magnificent 7", a video highlight dvd of the championship track season put together by one of the other track moms.

Now Dave is driving Ash to Pullman for track camp and I have the house to myself for a few hours. I need to finish the dress and work in the garden, but instead I'm going to pop in a movie and stitch on my Straight and Narrow quilt, because I'm starting to get cranky from skipping my Recommended Daily Allowance of quilting all week.

Apparently a warm dry winter and a cold wet spring make for LOTS of roses. Also lots of weeds...don't look at them.  Posted by Hello

Jun 24, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me Mostly

This post was supposed to be accompanied by a picture of the new Robbi Joy Eklow and Lesley Riley books that I ordered myself for my birthday, but they aren't here yet. Drat. Other than that and having to work, I can't complain though. I had lunch with 2 girlfriends from the old job, got ice cream cake and a card from the gals at the new job, happy birthday phone calls from my parents, my daughter and one of the Judges at the new job, and in a few minutes we're going to the fabulous Artist Cafe, the local Filipino restaurant where they will stuff me full of delicious food and treat me like a birthday queen. Oh yeah, and my darling husband told me this morning that I'm halfway to 70. ROFL! Happy Birthday to Me!

Jun 23, 2005

Pistol is only about 3 months old in this picture. He fills the whole sink now. We watched Breakfast at Tiffany's last night and I noticed for the first time that Cat likes to sit in the sink. I'd love to post a picture of some quilting but there isn't any going on right now. Grrr. Posted by Hello

Jun 21, 2005

Big Brown Scary Cloud

I went out to mom and dad's after work tonight for help with Sissy's dress. We had dinner and made a game plan for the dress. While we were working on the dress, a big scary windstorm blew through. I didn't pay much attention because big scary windstorms aren't scary when I'm in the house. The car, however, is another matter entirely.

When I drove home, there was a big brown scary cloud covering EVERYTHING to my left. To my right, there was blue sky. It was windy in the middle where I was driving, but not too bad. Then I hit the exit off the freeway for the five mile drive in to Cheney. And that's when I had to drive into the big brown scary cloud. There are lots of pine trees along the road and they were all bent over sideways in the wind. Of course, the wind was blowing from my right, pushing me toward the oncoming traffic. Being in the middle of a big brown scary cloud, visibility was naturally limited. It was raining, but it was dusty at the same time, so it was raining mud. The windshield wipers were just smearing the mud around. There were big lightning flashes right above me. And did the lightning have to strike EVERY time I drove under power lines? And who the heck put all those power lines across that road?!? I couldn't hear the thunder because I had the radio turned WAY up. I was singing along with the top 8 at 8 (this week's hits from 1982!) to keep myself from freaking out. AND THEN THE RADIO WENT OUT!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Did I mention it's only a five mile drive? As I drove into Cheney, the sky cleared up. And the radio came back on.

Jun 15, 2005

Stopping for a minute to catch my breath

Today was Day 3 at my new job and the first day of not feeling like a completely useless moron. There's a ton to learn...fortunately everyone is supernice and very patient with me.

I'm driving to this job instead of taking the bus like I did before. I realized today (as I drove to the bank at lunch) that I'm going to have to build walking back into my schedule or I will turn into a complete slug. The brighter side of driving is that I have the car and I noticed today (on the way to the bank) that there are some excellent looking places I could drive to during lunch. Like Spokane Art Supply. Hmmm.

We're a one car family, so we had to do some rearranging to make it work for me to have the car. Of course, this being the first week, there's been all kinds of extra, not-normal stuff we needed cars for and the nice little transportation plan we made got shot all to hell. Tomorrow somebody has to go pick AshLee up from camp and I can't even talk about how complicated all the driving around is going to be. Next week we will settle into a routine. Next week we'd BETTER settle into a routine.

Between new-job-brain-exhaustion and figuring-out-transportation exhaustion, only the bare minimum action required for survival is happening around here. I have a couple of little ziplock baggie handsewing projects I haul around and do some mindless stitching on at odd moments -- I get cranky if I go too long without doing something creative.

I did get a pattern for Sissy's dress. It's actually going to be a vest (which I think I can handle) and a skirt with a ruffle (which makes me nervous). Mom is going to help, bless her. I'm waiting for measurements and a moment when I'm not so tired.

I had an idea over the weekend for a small quilt collage to celebrate Ash's track season, but haven't had a chance to work on it since Sunday, when most of what I tried didn't work.

Oops, bedtime for Nikki. Better go before I turn into a pumpkin!

Jun 12, 2005

Help! I have to sew a dress!

We got home a bit ago from a quick overnight trip to visit my husband's family in Coulee Dam. 2 cousins graduated from high school yesterday, so we went to join in the eating and visiting.

While we were there, my sister-in-law asked if I would make the dress for my 5 year old niece's come out as a tribal powwow dancer next month. A dancer's first dress is supposed to be created with love by family members and I'm honored to be asked. I just have to make the basic skirt and top, other family members will decorate the dress and make the rest of the regalia. I do the most sewing of anyone, but I SO don't make clothing. I know I can figure it out, but I'm nervous as heck about it. I'm going to have to be on the phone with my expert seamstress mom the entire time. Wish me luck!

My niece Sissy showing off her new bike pedaling skills. Who can resist anyone this cute? Posted by Hello

Old dairy barn on West Medical Lake, about 20 minutes from my house. Posted by Hello

Jun 9, 2005

I like where I'm at thanks...

I've been thinking a lot this week about Gabrielle's regrets question. Sonji posted some excellent wisdom today. I think I could easily become a Sonji groupie. Here's the part that really struck me: Everything works out the way it is supposed to , maybe just not the way that YOU want it to.

I've had some fairly ugly tussles with regrets this spring as I was searching for a new job and not finding one and feeling yucky about being almost 35 and working in a dead-end job. My life has not followed the path I had all planned out when I was in high school. But every time regret and I had a wrasslin' match, I ended up with the same thought: despite the yuck job, I wouldn't want to change where I'm at right now. I love living in my lovely blue house with my excellent husband and my superfantastic teenager and my funny gigantic cat. It wasn't what I planned, but so what? It's good.

So yeah, maybe somewhere in an alternate universe, there's a Nikki who made different choices and she's happily wandering the earth right now. But the poor thing missed seeing the amazing glow of joy on AshLee's face after she won the 400 at state a few weeks ago. I wouldn't change ANYTHING if it meant I had to give up seeing that awesome sight. Get thee behind me, regrets! Everything has worked out the way it was supposed to.

Jun 7, 2005

Another postcard for the Turning 35 exchange Posted by Hello

Jun 5, 2005

I found some nice batiks at Pacific Crescent Quilting, then headed to Michaels, where I found a whole pile of stamps for $1 each. I also got a box of Plaid Decorator Glazes for $1. No clue how these will work on paper or fabric, but figured I can't go wrong at that price. Posted by Hello

Ugh. This is the 4th background I've tried. At least the value is right this time, but the color is yuck. None of the other choices are appealing. Lucky for me Dave wants to go in to town to play guitars. That means I get to go to the quilt shop. It needs more of the round flowers in front too, but I can't concentrate on that until I fix the background. Posted by Hello

Jun 3, 2005

The Internet Is a Good Thing - Reason #947

The internet is a good thing because when you are jolted awake at 3:46 a.m. with the thought that your new employer is going to need to see your social security card and you have NO FREAKING IDEA where it is, you can get up and log on to the SSA website to read up on the process of getting a replacement card. This will calm you down enough to go back to sleep.

Then you can wake up at a more normal hour, go downstairs and walk straight to the drawer where your social security card is tucked away, safe and sound, just waiting for you to get a new job so you'll need it again.

Yeah, I need a better system for keeping track of this stuff...

Jun 1, 2005

Got a New Gig

Yay, I got a new job! Yay, I gave my notice yesterday! Yay!

I've been quietly looking for something new for about 6 months. A "day job" is my reality right now, at least until we get AshLee through college. And I'm fine with that. What I wasn't fine with was continuing to work in an environment that is growing increasingly toxic. It's sad really, because this used to be a really great place to work. Unfortunately, the current management seems to view employees as a necessary evil at best and an adversary at worst. But enough of the yuckiness of being here, because at the end of next week I'm off to greener pastures.

I don't think it's a coincidence that I got a job offer on Friday afternoon and suddenly on Sunday I was able to make an 18" by 22" quilt after 6 months of not being able to make anything larger than a piece of typing paper. Yep, the icky creative block coincides with the stress and uncertainty of the job search. Add in a healthy dose of feeling like a dope for staying in this job for as long as I did and it's a wonder I made anything.

It will be a big change and I'm expecting it will take a while to adjust, but at least I feel like I'm moving forward now instead of being stuck in limbo. Plus, the new job is 35 hours/week instead of 40, so I'll have an extra hour every morning. Yay!