Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Happy Halloween!

And the Winner is…

First I’d like to thank everyone who attended the Verry Sherry launch party. In fact, some of you didn’t even know you were there but, you were! That rings true for the parties of yesteryear—remember when we didn’t remember? Now THAT's a party! and then there are those parties we wish we didn’t remember…

Hope you enjoyed it and you’re welcome back anytime. And bring friends, cause we all like a newbie…

Anyone still thinking slogans? Time’s up! Many thanks to all those clever thinkers who participated.

The runners up are worth honorable mention:

Sew What? from Cathi at Celtic Knots—love the double meaning. Could go far.

Solar Powered from Megan over at Fried Okra—never considered this, but you know what? It fits.

Finally, the Winner is …

Mom, Wipe My Bum!! From Bonnie at Quiltville. Bonnie, drop me an email with your mailing address and I’ll get this package right out to you! May you and your family enjoy the sweet victories of Trival Pursuit Chocolate Edition!

Not until I saw this plea resonate with so many friends with children--young and old, present and past-- did I get it. Until this point, it was just another symptom of CHAOS (helpfully identified by Bonnie as ‘Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome’) in my life. Such is a part of my life I can not escape. Cooking dinner…mom, wipe my bum!…running out to work…mom, wipe my bum!...showering….mom, wipe my bum!

It keeps us all laughing, and that, my friends, is worth printing on a t shirt. If. It wasn’t a virtual party with virtual contest, and a virtual t shirt.

So sorry, to friends who are more fortunate to not have to deal with such loose ends…aw, yuck...this winner is score one for motherhood.

Who’s Afraid of UFOs?

Not Babydoll, apparently. Here she is, fast asleep under UFO* Babydoll’s Quilt; I began this two years ago, in my first quilting group. It is an unfinished sample quilt (sample quilts are quilts with a variety of block patterns; a great way for newbies to learn the different designs, *also UFO means UnFinished Object.). Look closely, Babydoll didn’t even mind a few pins here and there.

This quilt was pieced using all of Babydoll’s infant cotton dresses, many of which were sundresses, ‘cause she was a San Francisco babe born in March thus giving her the summer and Indian summer-fall to parade her girly outfits. Babydoll would wear whatever was put on her. She still will.

Cutiepie, on the other hanger, is a stylist all her own. Though I held back when she was smaller, she insists on wearing spaghetti-strap dresses in the dead cold of an Irish winter. She definitely dresses for success of the pink twinkly kind even in our wet cold climate. I look forward to making her quilt that she, too, is already inquiring about. Hmm, that might take me into 2011?

Anyway, when I went to do my nightly check I found Babydoll fast asleep under her unfinished blanket. She must have pilfered it from beneath my growing mound of sewing projects. My heart slowed in beat. Earlier we had had the usual conversation that ensues when I’m steadfast on finishing a quilt, this time the baby blue cars quilt.

“Mommy, when will my quilt be finished?”

“Soon, Babydoll, soon. I’ll try to finish it next.”

Can you guess what I’m going to do this weekend?

Friday, 26 October 2007

Once a Baby, Always a Baby

Every few days or so I like to stop my husband’s heart—for just a sec, you know, to see if he is listening. And all it takes are select few words, usually spewed out casually in a dinnertime conversation.

"Honey, do you think we should have another baby?”

Poor guy. At first a half smile appears.

“You’re joking, right?”

He thinks this must be it, this is the time I’ve got him by his jingle bells…thinking, oh god, could she actually be serious?

“No, I’m not joking. How ‘bout we have another baby?”

“Honnneeey, really???” The smile disappears.

In an effort to get blood back to his head, I dart a cheeky grin in his direction.

“I’m just kidding honey!” He begins to breath again, slowly. “Really?”

I say, “ Yeah. I’m too old to have a baby!”

Now, ladies, I know this is not true. Some of the best ladies of the fab fortys, Antique Mommy, It Could’ve Been Worse and Rhonda, are quick to prove otherwise. In fact, I think I’m well, bodily and otherwise, able to produce another one of life’s joys, it is just that I’m too selfish.

And doesn’t it always sounds better when a decision appears out of your control like with age versus a simple preference for sleep and the ability to get up and go at a moment’s notice without nappies, bottles, whining, and car seats? You know, minus the whole dependency gig that comes with infants.

However, if such exaggeration provides DH with a little assurance that I’m serious, all is good. Even if it is a pile of malarkey.

The morning after my usual trickery at the dinner table, Cutiepie woke up in a crankier mood than usual. She whined and sobbed and clung to me.

Assuming she just had wake-up blues, I pulled her closer for a snuggle. “Come here, my little baby!”

Louder cries erupted. I hugged her closer to baby her and soothe her misery. “What’s wrong baby? Mommy’s has her little baby…What’s wrong?”

More sobs and inaudible words told me she had something to say. I settled her by asking her what she wanted to say and what was bothering her.

“But I’m NOT your baby!” she wailed.

“Course you are. You ARE my baby!”

Cutiepie looked me straight in the eye and said, “But mommy, you’re too old to have a baby!”


It’s time I work on a new tactic to get DH’s attention.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

A Sneak Preview my weekend project. Another baby boy quilt. Stay tuned!

Goodbye and Good Riddance

At my company, my team is made up of contractors/vendors/non employees-call us what you will, our team is the red-headed step child. No offence to red-headed stepchildren, as I know first hand. I have a red headed brother who was a stepchild, and yes, sometimes they are treated differently, and, often unfairly.
So we stick together. The Team and I.

Anyhoo, as I’m one of three team leaders in the group, when Linda’s quitting day arrived, I rallied the team to sign a nice goodbye card. Linda and her boyfriend were trading in 9-5 jobs for a travelling schedule that was due to begin in London the next week.

We had arranged a lunch out in her honor. It was a nice gesture.

By mid day, the card I had circulated earlier that morning in a plain folder had found its way back round to my desk, only this time in a large envelope. When I opened the envelope out fell 11 Euro (about 15 bucks). Something told me this wasn’t compensation to me for organizing the card.

Back in June the larger department said goodbye to a senior manager who was leaving after working with us for six months. Then, too, someone, somewhere, decided to take up a collection for his leaving card.

I have so many fundamental problems with this, I don’t know where to start.

1. This man probably earned 2x to 3x more than the average well wisher of the card. He was given what we call “garden retirement”. He was leaving to work for a competitor, and as such, he was immediately relieved of his duties and paid out a lavish severance amount, in jest coined ‘garden retirement’.

2. This man decided to leave the company of his own accord, and thus the decision being his to walk away from a paying job.

3. This money collection was just this. A. Money. Collection. No one was going to take it a step farther and buy him a gold watch or mantle clock. It was cold cash that was to be given with the bon voyage card. Except that the sum collected was mere 6 Euro($4.20).

Are you beginning to see my point?

Am I just a stingy penny-pincher, or is it ridiculous to throw cold cash at someone who has the wherewithal, the courage, and/or the luxury to walk away from a paying job? Not to mention the measly amount scavenged…how do you gift too little money to someone?

So when Linda’s coin-jangling card fell upon me, I discreetly sent an email to the gang sans Linda, and asked that the person who kindly started the contributions, to please be welcome in presenting Linda with the money, since I was unsure of the intent.

In the end, a few additionally embarrassed people tossed in some cash and she was presented with 50Euro. Yeesh! You would've thought it was a collection for the needy...these folks would go poor walking along the homeless in San Francisco the way they are easily shamed into handing over money!

Oh, have I told you? I’ve given my 30–day notice to resign! Yep.

Now that little group of red-haired kiddies have 28 days to rattle their piggybanks before my goodbye card begins its circulation!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Welcome to the Launch Party

No, you did not miss the party. Let’s put it this way, if you, indeed, were to arrive at my house when I said the party would start, this is what you would’ve seen: Me in rollers and my bathrobe with Cutiepie whining and clutching my thigh and a shrieking, “Mom! Wipe my bum!!!” coming from Babydoll in the bathroom. Oh, and a hungry husband. Let’s just say my house was a bit haywire this weekend and the blog party, well it never launched…til now! I’m learning, internets, I’m learning.

*Cue balloons and streamers*

The Party

Welcome to VerrySherry! Marking my 50th post, let's celebrate! Graphics have been previewed, but today we formally unveil this launch party. So sit back, put your feet up and grab your drink, your mouse, whatever you fancy…just keep it clean!

Mingle Time

As with all my parties, it's necessary for the who's who of who: introductions. This party mixes still life with cyber life. Am I the only one who imagines what would happen if one friend met another, one internet met real life? Don’t some internets strike a similar familiarity to someone you know in real life?

Scroll the internet highway to VerrySherry and click at the door. Inside is, at random, 50 of my guests:

My friend from long ago Maureen would mix with BigMama cause both are girls’ mother and wholesome and heartfelt, yet funny and very silly when warranted. Cami would find herself there as she is, like BigMama, another fashion guru with the love for Seven jeans.

Deanna ‘Banana’ would undoubtly rock the house with Attack of the Redneck Mommy. Watch them dancing on the bar at the stroke-of-6-martinis-to-midnight. Miriam and Carlina would laugh and cheer them on, for sure!

It Could'a Been Worse, Antique Mommy and Rhonda are so similar in my eyes, surely they would be huddled in serial discussions and intermittant giggles on the throes of motherhood. Jenny from Chased by Children is here too—after all, I did steal her contest idea!

The ultimate cyber entertainer Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer would definitely hold center court for moms and gals ‘in the know’. I would reckon this would be the loudest laughing crowd with the fun likes of Chillihead Joan, Kim, Carrie, Nicole, Francesca and Andrea. Especially when you add the great Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.

Likely to find Colleen paired with Blogs are Stupid for namesake only. Yet, Dana would most likely be enthralled by BlogsAreStupid for her refreshing candor and straight talking.

Laura ‘Twirly Godmother’ and Sue would rally as the English ex pats. And Kate would mix as a London transplant, but she’s surely to capture their interest with her artistic and creative flair.

My sister Angela is certain to enjoy Jules and would have loved the blogging at Everyday Design, committed and solid in family and faith.

Pink Chalk Studio and Pink and Barbara—how could I not introduce the two? Barbara who likes all things pink and Kathy whose crafts redefine crafts as we know them! Soon Kate would soon ‘inch’ over to chat with Kathy.

In another corner there is Erin and Cathi. For some reason, these two just go together in my head. They’re devoted moms who are so creative and fun.

When I read the tales of hip Cheeky Lotus, I always envision my sister Karri. They are very similar and her stories of raising her five year old daughter take me back to when Karri’s daughter was five.

Hovering over the appetizers and yummy foods’ tables would be Pioneer Woman Cooks and Tanya and Eimear, gourmet gals in more ways than one! The usual suspects of hungry men would be luring nearby waiting for a mouthful include DH, Steve, Rob, Seaneen and Mattias.

Bonnie is the quilting goddess and those who quilt will follow. I would expect conversations among my new friend Rebecca, fellow Ozzies Tazzie and Aubirdwoman, and others like Alica and Wooden porch. Those newly infested with the quilting bug would be sure to be present: Pauline from Ireland and my niece Bethany.

And all the way from Sonoma would be Ms. Jan Quilts sharing the life of wine and luxury with Ginny who knows Napa Valley so well.

And finally, before catching up with old friends like Christy and AnneMarie, I might find myself mesmerized by Megan at Fried Okra…does she talk as Southern as she writes?

Now that everyone has met, here’s 50 somethings about me. (See a theme? Parties always need a theme!)

Fifty Things

1. In ten years, I will be 50 years old. Yikes!

2. Ten years ago, I returned to college full time.

3. I bartended at the Blarney Stone Pub in San Francisco, selling buckets of drink.

4. I swore I would never date an Irishman.

5. I married an Irishman. Go figure.

6. I have two daughters, born eighteen months apart in 2003 and 2004.

7. My home and family are in Ireland; my heart is in San Francisco.

8. I lived in San Francisco for 15 years.

9. I love to golf.

10. I love to quilt.

11. My greatest fear with pregnancy, beyond the usual worries, was weight gain.

12. My lightest weight was after each pregnancy.

13. I hold a bachelors’ degree in technical writing.

14. My favorite vacation was my honeymoon.

15. Walking is my exercise of choice.

16. I’m a member of the Redwood Market Home Produce Association.

17. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

18. I grew up in Eureka, California.

19. I was engaged at 21 and married at 34.

20. I should clarify: to two different men.

21. During college I held many jobs at once to make tuition.

22. I bartended and waited tables.

23. I did freelance writing.

24. I worked as a temp in offices.

25. I once bartended (clothed) in a strip club…for one day before quitting.

26. My favorite bartending job was at 365 Bimbo’s Music Hall in San Francisco.

27. I loved waiting tables. Teaches you customer service!

28. I love to cook.

29. I have two sisters and two brothers.

30. I have an 11 year old step daughter.

31. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.

32. I wanted a son to see my DH’s genes reincarnated.

33. My daughter Babydoll is exactly like DH.

34. I no longer want a son.

35. My daughter Cutiepie is exactly like stepdaughter GirlE.

36. I would rather be in a cold climate than a hot climate.

37. My girlfriends are the world to me.

38. I didn’t believe in TV until along came digital cable and TIVO.

39. I love Karen Carpenter Songs. Yes. I . do.

40. I never drank tea before living in Ireland.

41. I hate giftbags; always prefer a box and pretty bow.

42. My weight is easier to manage at an older age.

43. Maybe, I’m easier to please at an older age.

44. I worry for my daughters’ happiness.

45. I hope to instil peace in them always.

46. I want my daughters to travel.

47. I will miss them painfully.

48. I’m an early riser.

49. I am an early-to-bed gal.

50. I love my sleep.

Party Game!

Finally, what’s a party, without a favour? So in light of Halloween, give me your trick and I’ll give you a treat.

Nicked from Jenny at Chased by Children, here is the contest to be entered by comment. No curse words or naughty comments or you will be disqualified; remember this is a family friendly blog.
The entries will be judged on creativity, knowledge of VerrySherry and cleverness of slogan.

To win, give us a snappy one-liner that finishes this sentence:

If VerrySherry wore a slogan t-shirt it would say...

The winner will receive family-fun entertainment: a Trival Pursuit Chocolate Edition game.

Just when you think you finished with trivia facts. Will ship globally!

The entries/comments are open for one week. Contest ends October 29th .

Goodbye, Come Again!

Thanks everyone. Glad you came to this launch party. Hope you enjoyed yourself. Hope you've met friends; when there's no one up at 2am and you need a pal, they're one click away!

*Cue Sinatra' New York, New York*

Friday, 19 October 2007

See? I Have Been Crafty!!

One day my phone rang and a lady asked me if I made quilts. I said yep! She said she saw one of my quilts and the owner explained how I made the quilt from her daughter's outgrown clothes...

Yep, that's my gig. I try to buy only seasonal fabric. Even with Christmas I can get away with general red and green fabrics. Call it my way of giving back to this beautiful green world. I encourage people to recycle clothes and materials into a loving heirloom quilt...and pay me to do it!
That, and add the fact that Ireland has so few fabric stores and the fabrics that are found, cost an arm and a leg.

Sally said she had been saving all her son's clothes. And would I please make her a quilt? Of course. Assuming she had armloads of nice cotton shirts just waiting for my rotary cutter, and wondering whether it would be a child-size quilt or larger, I asked her, how old is your son?

She said excitedly, "Jack, he is two months old."


I'll take a moment here to explain to the non-quilters out there the problem this presents. Firstly Jack may very well be unlike most others, but most newborns' clothes are of the stretchy, soft, expanding fabric best suit for squirming, growing, newly made babes. Not the kind suited for patchwork. Patchwork requires cloth that is stable and holds a set shape and can be pieced without pulling or bunching.

It was clear I had my work cut out for me. Literally.

Luckily Samatha was a smart girl. She quickly caught onto this quilty quandry and we agreed on a solution. From each, I cut the cute soft patch of fabric, mostly animals, lettering, toys that adorned the outfits, appliqued them to cotton squares, and made them the center of my nine patch star.

This was the result. I liked it and she loved it.

Question is, does Jack likes it?

Wine, Wine and More Whine!

When we lived in Wexford at the southeast end of Ireland, Cutiepie was born in 2004 and, for a year and a half, we a joined mother/toddler group. I became close with several good gals and we still stay in touch.

Earlier this month Lola called and asked me to come to their monthly dinner. A night where each gal brings one dish and two or three, or five or six, bottles of wine. We then proceed to laugh and storytell all the great and not-so-great moments of woman-, mother- and wife- hood in rural Ireland. Wine, wine and more whine. All day I am looking forward to it and am so touched that they remembered me!

Travel, accommodations and childcare (in Wexford) sorted. After work I'm off to collect the girls and throw together my appointed appetizer. The legendary romance writer Ree is going to help that area with this yummy loaf.

Let's hope I arrive early enough as I have the appetizer!

Almost Party Time

Gonna do a launch party with my cool masthead and all. I know I said Friday, but since I'm American and all, it's likely to go live Friday night Pacific time just to shake it up California style!

So what are you waiting for? Get your party threads on!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

The Many Reasons Why My Girls Love The Postman

You know you are loved when you move from America and three years later the care packages keep coming! In Monday’s mail:

Scooby Doo socks Trying to keep socks on Babydoll is no longer a feat with her favorite characters afoot! (sorry couldn't kick the puns! haha)

Dora the Explorer Band-Aids for all the scrapped, red or otherwise-fine knees, elbows, and toes that need dire doctoring and expert pampering.

Scooby Doo Band-Aids Babydoll’s Band-Aid of choice

Princess Band-Aids fit only for a princess Cutiepie

In case you didn’t know, Band-Aids heal all boo boos. Trust me, they do.

Scooby Doo post it notes because there is no more wall left for our young Picassos- in-training

Scooby Doo pens because the powers-that-be in control for most of the time anyway confiscated all other writing utensils due to the above reason

Princess backpack one more reason for Cutiepie to scream, kick and cry that she is ready for big school… only one year and 291 days left to go!

Princess puzzles just in case there aren’t enough loose puzzle pieces found in window sills, kitchen drawers and in the far reaches of the closet

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups just ‘cause Mommy lost 11 pounds over the summer, she can always learn more discipline, discipline, discipline

Hawaii Sweet Maui Onion Potato Chips ‘cause Daddy needs to learn discipline too. Um, not happening. The bag was empty in exactly 12 minutes and 45 seconds.

A huge big thanks to Colleen for sending all these goodies and wishing Cutiepie the best princess birthday ever. The girls send you these visual lovesnaps wearing the fantastic yummy delish raincoats you sent!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Busy Days

Friends, fear not, while it may look like it, I indeed have not forgotten the crafty crowd. My posts are speaking to a variety of life moments, yet my eyes are seeing nothing but patchwork and the quilts from it.

I'm busy, internets. I'm busy!

The sidebar shows my current projects, but something about the simple HTML and measly percentage amounts just don't capture the excitement had with each and every step toward completion!

My sewing machine was at the doctors for a checkup so a quiet two days there. Recently, I bought a second hand machine. I have a tradeoff planned for my SIL:I agree for her to use the 2nd sewing machine whilst she agrees to be my sewing budding. Hmm, think I got the better end...the purchase price was minor, whereas my neediness is priceless! We are starting our very own weekly sewing night this Wednesday. Lots of pictures and progress sure to come!

Halloween Goods

Halloween is fast approaching and some Irish are beginning to decorate. The trend is more evident every year. This weekend my halloween table runners were the top sellers at the market! Getting Irish to spend hard earned money on ghosts, bats and silly skeletons is a feat all in its own.

One woman eyed the large festive table runner for what seemed like ages. She was in love, but hadn't showed the know, cash!

She hemmed and hawwed, "The price is 24 Euro, can you do any better than that?"

I was like, "Yeah, sure I'll take 30 Euro for it?" chuckles all around as her husband looked on.

Now husbands listen up, if something as little as 24 buckaroos stand between happiness and wifedom, pull out the wallet!

Which is exactly what the husband did, in a manner of speaking. He urged her on and told her to buy it.

She left saying, "But it's so hard to spend money on myself!" And here I thought she haggled the price for prices' sake!

So ladies, do it today: spend a little money on yourself! You deserve it!

Verry Me!

Ok, so I got my look! Do you like it?

Big thanks to Jules over at Everyday Design for the lovely design!!

Isn't that too funny that my post below sums up my relationship with Jules. Let me tell you, she listens--she styled me gorgeous!!

Looking to do a launch party, anyone ever held one of those on your blog?

Don't know if it exists, but as my family and friends will attest to, I'm not one to miss an opportunity to celebrate. Ordinarily, I'd make some scrumptious appetizers and adult libations with some groovy tunes. Seeing how this is online, we'll have to settle for a giveaway, entertaining reading, and stimulating visuals--and hey, I already have my outfit, thanks to Jules!

Seriously, ping me your ideas and we'll have a grand time.

Oh! the date? Friday 19th
Be there or be square!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Listen and Style Me Gorgeous

A couple of weeks ago I called the hair salon to make an appointment with Mary.

Mary? Oh, she’s not working here anymore.

She’s not?

No. She left. She can’t do hairdressing anymore. You know, she has a bad back. Should I still make an appointment for you?

Yeah. Can you get her to return and do my hair?

No. You know, anyone here can do it.

Anyone. Can. Do. It. Anyone? Anyone?

But Anyone doesn’t know me.

Anyone doesn’t know I suffer from extreme hairstyle and all things related neurosis.

Anyone doesn’t know my hang-up regarding my hair and a particular 129 shades of red.

Anyone doesn’t know my bangs and their quirks, my quirks, and the forces that drive them.

Anyone doesn’t know my story. Me, my story.

No siree, I don’t think so.

Where I come from, hair clientele is coveted property. You’re a possession and you like it. She moves salons, you follow. You cut your bangs in a fit of impatience, you pray she doesn’t notice. You use boxed peroxide in an insane and amateurish moment; you shamefully sulk into the cutting chair and deny, deny, deny. I know, I’ve done it all.

Your hairstylist is so into your personal sphere, she knows the nittiest of the grittiest of your life. She knows on which days you match your bra and bikinis, she knows who you lust and who you despise, dare I say she knows more than hubbie knows about you. Or cares to know.

Hairdressers care.

Or at least, they pretend to, all the while making you clean, shiny and silky.

Oh, to feel that feeling again.

This week, unable to return to Mary’s salon—you know, too many memories—I sought relief elsewhere for my faded, overgrown tresses. A friend referred me to ‘David’ a reputable hip stylist with jest a little sugar in his tank, if you know what I mean. As soon as I sat in his sleek styling chair, I nearly felt I was back home in San Francisco.

First thing David did was lean in and ask me, “So, Sherry, what’s your story?”

Then I knew I was home.

He's Back ...

...much to my relief!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Culinary Time Savers

Here are my tips for saving time when preparing meals or snacks.
Because I do these as second nature now,
they seem obvious to me, but hopefully it's something new and timesaving for you!

When making mince meat/bolognaise sauce for spaghetti, double the batch and save half for making a lasagne later in the week.

When boiling penne, shell or other pasta types, double the amount of pasta and save half for a
cold (or hot) pasta salad later in the week—or if your kiddies are like mine (pasta lovers), the cold pasta makes great finger food snacks.

This Works for Me! What works for you? For more tips,
head on over to Rocks In My Dryer.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Making It Work...With Help

When school started this year I struggled. School runs while working fulltime? Then came the best advice, a true a mom-to-mom tip. “Think like a mother and talk to a mother. Think, what is value to other mothers? Barter."

With this, things seemed clearer. Very soon after, I had my school runs sorted. I bartered to take a neighbor boy to school, and that parent would bring Babydoll home. This also worked with another mom/child in Cutiepie’s preschool. So full cars going to school and full cars collecting at school—all in all, it seems the right thing to do, very green for the environment!

Babydoll’s and Neighborboy’s school is a new and good school, though the planning committee was a bit amiss when they considered, or rather, forgot to consider parking and drop-off zones. There are none. Seriously. Literally. I’m not kidding.
Clearly the committee members walked to school in their day. Quite probable as this is rural Ireland.

Anyhoo, the school is atop a hill behind the village and the single curbside in front is reserved for teachers. Parents are advised to park in the village and walk children up to the school via a long stepped lane between two buildings. The laneway opens to the schoolyard where a rambunctious game of SomethingIrish always ensues among the kids kicking soccer balls and each other. The front walkway, lined with lovely flowers and hedges, begins at the curbside and is about 72 miles from the village’s five or six parking spots.

Neighborboy’s mom was good enough to tell me her parking shtick as it saves so much time. She pulls into a private building’s parking area off the village road and drops Neighborboy there and he navigates himself up the laneway and to the school entrance. From the exit point of this parking area, although he has 502 steps yet to take, Neighborboy is in her line of vision right up until he enters the school entrance. Perfect for me. Especially ‘cause this eliminates unbuckling, unloading and schlepping (and the reverse) two preschoolers in/out on the first school run. And no, is the answer to those who are wondering, could I drop the preschoolers off first? School times and locations dictate otherwise.

A little sumpin’ about Neighborboy. He is the kindest, sweetest 9yo boy with the mannerism of a 65yo. He covets Babydoll like the little sister he never had. One rainy day I worried they might get wet outside.
“Aw, sure, I show her how to take shelter in them trees.” He said ever so proud. Oh, he was the son I never had.

On Friday, Neighborboy stayed home with a toothache. I charged on and loaded the car minus one conscientious and notable passenger. It was quieter than usual. On most days Neighborboy would point out the local what’s what on our road leading to the village, this while balancing his lunchbox on his head in a successful effort to entertain the girls.

Unlike other days, at the exit junction I jumped out of the car, gathered Babydoll by her coat, kissed her goodbye, spun her around and give her a good shove up the first step of the path, all while my car idled nearby with two wide-eyed preschoolers. Hopefully, all too quick to miss the presence of Neighborboy. Babydoll is a true dawdler, but today she could’ve crawled faster. I paced from one foot to the other, taking 30 second glances at the car to see if any uncertain anxiety erupted from the little ones.

By step 433, Babydoll was still walking, yet, could it be she was slowing down? My heart quickened.
Please go, please go, go on to the school yard. Please go. Just go! I pleaded quietly under my breath.
At step 599, Babydoll slightly turned in my direction. And I knew it. I just knew it. Her face crumpled.
I was now audible; I was urgent, but using a mellow tone, “Go to school Babydoll. Just go. Go up the steps, just go, please!” Just like shooing a cat.

She ignored my pleas, just like a cat would.

At the second to last step, she had made a full rotation and began descending, still in her usual slow manner. I was defeated.

If and only if, I had been a sprinter in high school, I would’ve flown up those steps and given her the inch nudge to put inside the entrance and then high tailed it outta there. But I wasn’t, which is a probably a good thing, cause there was the idling car with two small preschoolers to contend with.

What to do? Do I reload her in the car, park the car, load/unload the others? I average 30 minutes late to work due to school runs, but that meter was now pushing an hour, and reality would have it be nearly 2 hours before I could surface. Yikes!

Babydoll reached me and her face said it all. But just in case, she cried, “I don’t want to walk to school alone.” She is only 4 years old for goodness sake! I knelt and let her cry in my arms. She had been caught in that playground like a deer in headlights before, and I could only imagine she was frightened of facing this morning’s game of human dodge ball all on her own.

Just as I was about to wave the white flag, still on my knees, I turned about and came face to face a chubby red headed girl about 9 years old making her way up the steps. My luck changed.

“Hi! This is Babydoll! What’s your name?”

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Mixing It Up

Don’tcha love it when your life is in order?…well, when most some things are in order, like when dinner’s prepared ahead, laundry’s folded and put away (clean!), taxes in order, bills paid. Mmmm! Fresh, I love that smell. What is even better, is when that creative side of your affairs is in order! Because those sort of things fall outside the boring, drab, blah confines of to-do lists and mandatory deadlines.

I can understand those who insist on keeping their creativity free from all constraints and to-do lists, but those of you who know me, know my born-free creative interest just keeps rebirthing itself until soon I’m juggling a gazillion and one projects.

Colorful, bouncing projects multiple and play wistfully in the back of my mind needling me until I surrender and hand over my mind, body and soul. Head bowed, I send the girls to their nanny’s house, declare kitchen (and elsewhere) closed to my DH and throw myself into a dark hole only to emerge 2 or 3 6 or 8 hours later.

BUT in the last month, I thoughtfully and methodically applied my friend Barbara’s rotation system in place. And you know what? It works!

No longer am I riddled with guilt for spending too much time on one project. You see, the ‘old’ me would work a project to death or completion, preferably the latter, but occasionally, in a not-so-proud moment, the former. The important part being the continual non-stop-til-it’s-done mode. Feelings of disloyalty emerge if I begin another project whilst the first remains unfinished.

Or worse still, I would stall, mid project or not, my time and attention paralyzed and lost with no beginning and no end in sight.

Now I share my love. I flit from one project to the next. I share my time and my attention and I feel better for it. I probably fuss less, my mind gets time to breathe and refresh, my creativity is treated to change and diversity…and most importantly the projects get finished!

Little Boy Blue

This is the picture of blocks for the next baby quilt. The woman who ordered it for her son gave me all of his infant clothes, ie., sleep suits. The fabric was the stretch knit, a big no-no in patchwork squares circles. So I took the embellishments off the outfits; satin zig zag stitched them onto white cotton and created star blocks, and oh, they look so cute. I can’t wait to finish this one!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Heel to What?

This week, at Shannon's Works for Me Wednesday, posting is in a backward direction. Rather than post a tip, we are asked to post questions and solicit the tips from all you Internets.
Mine's gonna be rather elementary, yet something that plagues me every morning! Here we go:
Do you use the heel of the bread loaf for lunch sandwiches? And if you don't, what can be done with them?

Firstly, I personally don't enjoy the heel as a slice on my sandwich. Maybe it is something with Irish loaves? Are they thicker than US loaves? I can't really remember homemade sandwiches back in good 'ol USA--probably because that was before DH and children, before the time where I got up a dark o'clock to make 11 sandwiches for lunches. We use mostly wheat and grain bread, so the heels are chunky. Anyway, if I'm not going to eat it, I don't like subjecting it on others.

Secondly, when was the last time the deli man served up a gorgeous yummy sandwich between two crusty heels? If you want crust, you go for the roll, man!

And because it kills me to throw away food, I freeze these heels waiting for some devine intervention telling me what to do with them. Hopefully it's in the form of your comments!

Ideas anyone? I've tried making croutons, but wasn't wow'ed, maybe I have a blah recipe. Or maybe I should make this yummy looking bread pudding over at Pioneer Cooks? Anybody got a good process for making bread crumbs? Now that would be great! I've tried but again, my efforts flopped!

What about you all? What do you do with your bread heels?

Monday, 1 October 2007

Pumpkins a Plenty

Not too much for words today, but thought you would like to see some works. These are pictures from the market...I'm working my way through the calendar. Here are some festive Halloween goodies, a table runner and tea cozy. Can't wait to dig into my Christmas fabric...tonight!

Princess Cutiepie is Three

Autumn is in the Air...Mail!

The doll quilt is finished on en route to the recipient. While I did not re-do the quilting as I would have like to, it was my best effort for the time. Kinda wondering if the swaps oughta be structured so you get like partners, ie. novices like me should have novice partners and vice versa. Either that, or I should hold off joining swaps until I'm a better quilter?