Monday, April 23, 2018

My Great "Dress-capade"

The company I work for held its board meeting at the local plant this past week.  Normally the it's held at the corporate headquarters across the country.  The night before the meeting, the plant held a cocktail reception at a nearby hotel's conference room.  I've moved just enough up the food chain to get invited to it.

When I told Himself about it, he suggested I find a new dress for the occasion.  I have a number of dresses in my closet, but most didn't seem the right thing to wear.  Too formal.  Too casual.  Too boring.  Hasn't fit for a while.

Unfortunately, I found out about this event just a week before it was to occur.  Not a lot of time to find something appropriate.  And, I have specific requirements for a dress.  I'm not exactly small, so it has to come in plus sizes.  I prefer sleeves.  No bold or garish patterns.  I don't want anything short.  It should come at least to my knees, preferably below.

Do you know just how hard it is to find a dress in a week that meets all that?  

Close to impossible.

I stopped at a couple of stores nearby.  Nothing.  So we went online and started looking.  I found several dresses that I liked, but they wouldn't arrive in time.  Himself found the navy dress, but when I finally went to buy it, it was backordered, to July.

So on Tuesday, the day before the reception, I went to a few stores at lunchtime.  The first one I went to had exactly two dresses in the plus size department.  They were polyester, shapeless, and looked more like beach cover-ups.  The next store I went to was worse.  The had exactly one dress, a knit dress with a palm tree print on it that looked like it should be worn to a luau.  The last stop had me shaking my head.  I suppose if I was nineteen and going to a bar, the dresses might have been okay.  But, then again, not.  They were so short I don't think I could have bent over without giving an unwanted view to anyone who happened to be looking my way!

I was getting desperate.  On the way home a made a few more stops.  One store I stopped at had quite a few dresses.  But remember my sleeves requirement?  Only one dress in my size had sleeves.  And it fit.  And it came to my knees.  So I bought it.

I made two other stops, just in case I could find something better.  The one department store seemed to have nothing but "formal" dresses - sequins and beads and taffeta.  The other department store had a few from which to choose, but again, where are the sleeves?  I did find one with sleeves and it appeared to meet the knee length requirement, but the fitted, cross over bodice  provided a view of my bust that no coworker should ever see.

When I got home and showed Himself the dress I bought, I think he had the same thought I did - why did I buy it?  It was pretty blah and shapeless.  So, after all that I decided to return the dress and wear the boring black one that I already owned.

One would think the story ends there, but no.

On Wednesday I packed a bag with my dress shoes, pantyhose (two pairs), slip and jewelry.  The dress was transported on a hanger.

After work, I locked myself in my office and started getting ready.  I start putting the hose on and noticed a run.  Well, I congratulated myself, that's why you brought two pairs.  Just in case.  As I put the second pair on, you guessed it - another, and much longer, run. No!

Thankfully, I had a little time before the event started.  I decided to run to the store for new nylons.  I finished getting dressed and slipped my shoes on bare legged.  It wasn't comfortable, but it was just for a short time.

I had to go to two stores before I found what I was looking for.  I grabbed the package and dashed into the dressing room to put them on.  And I found why my foot was hurting so badly.  I had a large, bloody blister on my heel.

I didn't know whether I wanted to laugh or cry.  I limped out of the store, drove to the hotel, and headed straight to the bar!

I haven't decided if I am giving up on wearing dresses or if I am just going to start sewing them myself.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Quick Takes (35): Work Facinates Me

- 1 -
"I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours."
- Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
I've heard variations of this quote, and have always liked it in a joking sort of way.  But never was it more true than on this past Tuesday when we had two very large, very dead trees removed.  Watching the team of guys work at the task at hand really was fascinating.

- 2 -
We had two trees, one Ash and one Cherry, that died a couple of years ago.  Hawks liked to perch in them while hunting their prey and we like to watch the hawks, so we put off having them cut down.  But recently too many large branches started falling off, so we knew they had to go.

The team of five guys spent the better part of an hour setting up and getting their equipment in place.  They needed to use a crane with a one hundred foot boom to get near the tops of the trees.  One of the guys was hoisted up and he attached straps around the branches.  He was then lowered some where he took a chainsaw to sever the trunk.

- 3 -
After the trunk was cut the boom operator swung the cut tree around and lowered it to the ground.  Several other guys then got to work cutting it into smaller chunks and feeding the bark and small branches into the chipper.

- 4 -
I don't think we will need firewood for a long, long time.  I am glad that I'm not the one who has to split all that!

If it wasn't for that pile of wood, you would never know that we had any work done in the yard.  The tree removal service was that good.  The pride they took in their work is obvious by the care they took in how they did it.

- 5 -
Himself counted the rings on one of the logs of the Ash tree.  It was nearly one hundred years old when it died.  I've got to wonder at all the changes that the tree "saw," how things changed in this area.

- 6 -
When the Hairy Beast wasn't supervising the work, he was assisting with debris removal.  Our "puppy" celebrates his 11th birthday today.  Happy Birthday, Jack!

- 7 -
It is perfectly obvious that in any decent occupation (such as bricklaying or writing books) there are only two ways (in any special sense) of succeeding. One is by doing very good work, the other is by cheating.”
–  All Things Considered by GK Chesterton

Don't forget to check out more Quick Takes at This Ain't The Lyceum.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Throwback Thursday

On Tuesday I worked from home.  We were having some work done in the yard and I wanted to be around to ask and answer questions.  I also wanted to keep an eye on what was going on.  In the afternoon, I had to attend a staff meeting that we held via video conference.

Partway through the meeting I heard some shouting outside, so I got up to see what the fuss was all about.  It turned out to be nothing.  Later in the meeting I had to give my report.  The guys started laughing. 

Nice picture, Donna!


The one on the door.

Ugh.  I forgot that it was there.  They saw it when I peaked out the window.

When I was in high school, I think my junior year, my sister and I decided to surprise our parents with a formal portrait of ourselves.  We had snagged a coupon from May Company department store for a free 8x10.

Nineteen eighties big hair and not much fashion sense, we snuck out of the house and got our pictures taken.  Even if Sis' plaid blouse didn't exactly go with my floral one, our parents loved the photos.  They liked them so much they got a really BIG print of their favorite.

A number of years back, my dad was cleaning out a cabinet and found the photo.  Sis didn't want it but Himself did.  The only place I would let him hang it was on the back of the upstairs office where no one could see it.

Or so I thought.


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Knock, knock! Who's there?

Yesterday morning Himself heard what sounded like pounding outside.  He guessed that maybe one of our neighbors was getting a new roof or some other construction.  Later on, though, it sounded much closer.

He finally found the source.  This robin has spent hours sitting on a branch of the rhododendron knocking on the dining room window.

We have tried scaring her away and putting pictures on the window to hide the reflection of the bush, but she persists.  I think she wants in where it is warm.

My guess is that she isn't too happy that there is still snow in April.  Where are all the worms?


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

WIP(#13) - Baby Steps

First day of spring?  Yeah right!  Not even close.  Six inches of snow, overnight.

If you couldn't tell from my last post, I am so done with winter.  But apparently it isn't done with us. 

If schools are closed, I figure the roads aren't good enough to drive on.  Usually, since I have the option, I just work from home.  But, for whatever, not very good reason, I left my laptop at work last night.  It almost always comes home with me every day.  

So what's a girl to do? Play hooky from work and have a jammy day.

And it was good!  

We did a bunch of odds and ends and a bunch of just plain relaxing.  

We hung pictures and took apart a television.  I read, made Irish Soda bread, sewed, read some more, and went out to lunch once the roads were cleared.  All-in-all, a perfect day.

We "reframed" some paintings that we bought in Italy.  And by we, I mean Himself.  We got the pictures from street artists as souvenirs during the trip in which we got engaged. (20 years ago, today!)   The frames were kind of a gold painted wood with light teal matts and they didn't quite go any more with our d├ęcor.  I was going to buy new matts, but a little bit of spray paint, both on the matts and frames brought the paintings back to life.  I'm so lucky to have such a handy husband!

Back in January, I mentioned that I wanted to make a fleece jacket to wear around the house in the colder months.  I started it and have been making progress ever so slowly.  After cutting it and doing one seam on my regular machine, I decided that the serger would work better for that.  So, the next challenge was getting the machine out of the basement and set up.  If you know anything about sergers, they are a royal pain to thread.  I'm happy to say that although it was challenging, and took multiple attempts, I didn't say any bad words in the process.  Yeah for me!

As close as the jacket is to being done, I started a project that is much more fun and has me really enjoying sewing once again.  But I can't show you it yet.  It's a baby quilt.  The mom knows about it, but she just might see it here, so no pictures.  Sorry.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Marching Through Lent on Idle

I woke up yesterday morning, again, to the sound of the snow plow going down our street.  This winter has been hard.  It just doesn’t end.  We should be seeing signs of Spring – crocus blooming, daffodils peeking out and Robins returning – but we don’t.  Just more snow.  And more cold.  And more steel gray skies.

This winter has been hard.  I can see it in what I have been doing, or more accurately, not been doing.  I had plans, once the holidays were over, that I would sew and clean the basement and write.  I had emails to return and phone calls to make.  I have never, in all these years of blogging, gone this long without writing anything.  But instead, I fussed with a failing computer, watched way too much television, fought the flu, and slept.

I was talking with a coworker last week about this.  Thankfully, she is a woman of great faith so she understood what I was saying.  I told her I felt empty this winter.  We talked about my view of hell.  Most people picture it as scorching hot, flames of fire, unquenchable thirst.  I see it as just the opposite.  Hell is winter and cold.  Because, after all, what is hell?  The absence of God.  And what is winter?  The absence of heat and color and life and growth.

I don't feel the absence of God.  Far from it.  But this winter made me feel like I was getting a little glimpse of hell.  And you know what?  I don't like it.  At all.

At Mass on Sunday, Father reminded us, that Lent, too, is long and difficult.  As we marked Laetare Sunday, Lent’s midpoint, we might just feel like giving up.  If we have stumbled on our Lenten observances, whether it’s giving up sweets or TV or doing something extra, it is at about this time (donna) that we’re ready to just quit. (get out of my head, Father!)  But don't!  He said now is the time to recommit.  To keep trying. 

So I guess winter is a bit like Lent.  Maybe I fail.  Maybe I feel like I'm running on empty.  But, try.  Even just a little.

Satchel says it best


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

In With the New

How did it get to be the end of January already?  I have been wanting to write this all month, but never seemed to make the time for it.  I really want to sneak this in before the end of this first month of the year.

Back in December, I used Jen Fulwiler's Saint's Name Generator to get my patron saint for the upcoming year.   It seems like I have been split fifty-fifty in getting saints that I know versus ones I never heard of before.  Sometimes it feels like playing Russian Roulette.  Will I get a saint I like?  When I first started doing this years ago, I decided that I have to "keep" whatever saint I get.  I figure that there has got to be a reason, other than pure randomness, that the saint was chosen for me. 

This year, at least for a moment, I was tempted to chose another.  When I clicked the button, I was awarded St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Unfortunately, I don't have the highest opinion of the priestly order he founded.  Usually when I see something of our Catholic faith misrepresented by a priest, many, if not most of the times, it is a Jesuit. 

I went to a Jesuit university, and although I know I received a good education, I'm not sure I got a good Catholic one.  But, as I write that, I wonder if that says more about me than it does the university.  Since I have my "must keep who I get" rule, I think I will use this year to learn more not only about this saint, but about my faith as well.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

WIP(#12) - Fleeced!

After I finished my latest quilt, I put the sewing machine away for the holidays.  The only "crafting" I did after that was to cross stitch my cousin's name on his Christmas stocking.  He recently moved relatively close by from Florida, and it was the first Christmas he spent with us.  And you know it just wouldn't be a proper Christmas without an "named" stocking!
Now that the holidays are over and the house is back to being boring without all the decorations, the sewing machine is about to reappear.  I have a few things on my project list: a fleece jacket for me, pajama pants for Himself, and a quilt for a long awaited and prayed for baby.

I'm starting with the jacket below as it will be helpful in these cold, cold months.  I've had the fleece in my stash for almost ten years and the pattern was just a dollar at one of Joann Fabric's Christmas sales.  I have never sewn fleece clothing before, so we'll see how this goes.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Jump Start (6): The Adventures of Jack, part 3 – or one smart puppy (aka Draft Folder cleanup, take two)

Clean up, take two.  Just like week three.  Again, again!

I wrote this back in February 2014.  I had it scheduled to post, but apparently never hit "Publish".  So, I suppose it is about time I did.

Since he was already 14 weeks old when we got him, we weren’t sure how house broken Jack was. We decided it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for him to sleep upstairs in our bedroom. Our sunroom has an older rug and concrete floors so we decided that would be the best place for him to spend the night. We took turns sleeping on the couch with Jack by our side. I don’t think he really had too many accidents, he was a quick learner.

Once he knew he needed to go outside to do his business, we decided to teach him to tell us when it was time. We bought a cowbell down in Amish country and a hook to hang it on by the back door. Before we had a chance to install the hook, we gave him a little demonstration. We rang the bell then opened the door.

Until we could hang it up, for lack of a better place to put the bell, we stored it in a basket that was hanging by the door. A day later we found Jack up on the couch nudging the basket. He knew where the bell was and he needed to go out. After one demo he had caught on – we knew then we had one smart dog!
Jack - January 2018


Sunday, January 21, 2018

TToT(19): Jumping Back In

I knew it's been a while since I did one of these, but I was surprised to see that it has been well over a year.  Jumping back in. . . .

one: Yesterday's high temp and today's forecasted one are in the forties.  That feels like a heat wave after weeks where we have been lucky to hit twenty.
two:  Since the Hairy Beast still insists on walk, no mater how cold it is, I found these thermal long johns are a life saver.  I may or may not have acquired them in four different colors.

three: I have been cooking more since we've been mostly housebound.  We canned cherries last summer and they made the best filling for crepes.
four: Speaking of cooking, the crock pot has been getting used a lot.  I've got stew in it now and earlier in the week we had ribs.  So easy and so good.

five: I have been reading a lot more lately.  Last year, my Goodreads goal was forty books and I think I surpassed that by four or five.  If I keep up the pace, this year I should do even better than that.  I bought myself a kindle last year and love it.  Our library system has an electronic section and I have been reading things I might not have otherwise.

six: We cut the cable cord back in November.  Our cable company is now requiring that we use an interface box for which they were eventually going to charge us.  We only had basic, over the air cable which we now get via antennas.  The same stations, but free.  Got to love that.

seven:  I have felt like I lost my mojo writing here.  So, I decided to get a Jumpstart on writing more regularly by creating a linkup.  I am so grateful for the ladies that joined in with me.  Being accountable for getting the link out there each week has been helpful.  And, reading what everyone has written has been enjoyable.

eight:  I needed a calendar for my office at work and was trying to find one I really liked.  On a business trip a week or so ago, a coworker gave me a belated Christmas gift - a calendar from the local animal rescue.  And a week before that, I won one from the local quilt shop.  An embarrassment of riches!

nine: I recently got hooked on the TV show Rizzoli and Isles. I was getting the DVDs from the library, but they didn't have all the seasons. When I searched online for the show, Hulu had it and they had a month trial for free.  Once I finished that series, I started watching The Librarians.  What a fun show!   It's like Harry Potter for adults.

ten: And mostly, I am thankful for the hundreds of thousands of people that showed up for the March for Life this past Friday.  My guess is that if you watched network news, you probably never knew it happened.  But it did.  Check out the time lapse video

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