Friday, November 17, 2017

Quick Takes (34) - Where the Heart Is

- 1 -
I knew it has been a while since I did one of these posts, but it was much longer than I remembered.  Either time is going by too quickly, or my memory isn't what it used to be.  I'm not sure which of those two options I would prefer.

- 2 -
Once again, I was on the road for work this week.  And, once again, I am so glad to be home.  It was the third trip in as many months.  I'm hoping it stops for a while.  A long while.

- 3 - 
I attended a software user conference at the Aria in Las Vegas.  That place is enormous.  I spoke with a couple of women who had fit bits and one had 18,000 steps and the other was over 20,000 - in one day!  The hotel/casino/conference center puts on an exceptionally well organized event.  I was impressed by the people that work there.

On Monday, when I was walking back to my room during the afternoon break, several of the room cleaning staff were in the hallway, laughing.  They looked like they enjoyed each others' company and jokes.  One woman in particular, I do wish I could remember her name, had the most joyful smile and beautiful attitude about life.  We chatted for a while both that day and before I left on Wednesday.  What a great representative of the hotel was she!

- 4 - 
There was an expo in which vendors talked about their products and tried to generate new customers.  And, they gave stuff away.  It felt like trick-or-treating for adults.  Mostly it was do-dads like pens, paper, candy, and small flashlights.  But, there were a few really fun things.  Mimosas at 10:30am?  Yes, please!  A bag silk screened to order?  Thank you very much!  And a very cute monkey?  I'll definitely take one!

- 5 - 
Tuesday night's entertainment was a private concert by Train.  I can't say that I was familiar with their music prior to this event, but they put on one heck of a show.  I think I will soon be downloading some of their music.

- 6 - 
One of the nice things about my job is that I can work from home on occasion.  And after getting home late Wednesday night, yesterday was one of those days.  Mid-morning Himself brought me a nice treat. I should work from home more often!

- 7 -
“There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there.” 
The Everlasting Man by GK Chesterton

Don't forget to check out more Quick Takes at This Ain't The Lyceum.
Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

WIP(#11) - All Done!

It may have taken eight months, but the Irish Chain quilt is finally completed!  This was a fun project and I am so glad the the FB group, Catholic in Stitches, suggested it.  I have sewn nearly a dozen quilts before this one, but I certainly learned a lot on this one.  I think it just may be my favorite!

When finishing quilts in the past, I had always overlapped the ends of the binding.  It is not the best way as the join tends to be a bit bulky and obvious. Pinterest to the rescue!  I found instructions here on how to properly join the binding.  What a difference that makes!  You cannot tell where the two ends meet.

I frequently have problems getting the corners on my quilts just right.  I found a great tutorial, again via Pinterest, that was extremely helpful.  Check it out here.   

On to the next project!


Thursday, November 2, 2017

This and That

You know what they say the road to hell is paved with.  Well, when it comes to this blog, I picture that path being very long and quite nice looking!  I’ve got all sorts of posts started – on paper, in the draft folder, and floating around in my head.

I’ve read a lot of posts lately from bloggers wanting to get back at it.  Some do, some don’t.  I’m trying to figure out what works.  There was a link up last month, Write 31 Days, but if I can't write once every two weeks, how could I possible write daily?

Anyone interested in a once-a-week, jump start back to blogging link up?  I was thinking along the line of about six weeks, with some really easy topics.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Work travel seems to come in clusters.  I've been to our home office in Washington twice in the last six weeks or so and I'm heading to Vegas for a conference this month.  For whatever reason, some of my family seems to think this traveling is interesting and exciting.  I don't know why.  I feel like I should be mooing everytime I go through airport security and getting on and off the planes.  I don't sleep well and I don't eat right.  Home is where I'd rather be.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

On the first of the two Washington trips I figured out what my "theme" song should be.  While waiting in the Chicago airport for the delayed last leg of my trip home, I bought a "protein" breakfast box  (eggs, cheese, nuts) from one of the vendors.  Of course, just as I dig in, the flight starts boarding.  I saved the almonds to eat on the plane.  As I bit into one, something felt funny.  I busted a tooth.  Unfortunately, since it was Labor Day weekend, I had to wait for Tuesday to get it fixed.  My song after that is now Crown Her With Many Crowns!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

What a great World Series!  The only way it could have been better is if the Indians would have made it in again.  After a really great regular season, they had a most disappointing post season run.  I was even prepared with two new, politically incorrect Chief Wahoo, long sleeve t-shirts.  Oh well, maybe next year!  Now that there's no baseball to watch or listen to in the evenings, I don't know what I'm going to do.  

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

The quilt is so, so close to being done.  There is just a lot of hand sewing to do.  The quilt shop, once again, did a tremendous job with the quilting.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Until recently, we have been having an unusually warm Autumn.  That has been great for the gardens.  Our pepper plants are still producing and the carrots are growing well.  We even had tomatoes up to about two weeks ago.  And to tell you just how dry this year has been, when Himself was digging out the potatoes, the steel tines of the garden fork bent almost ninety degrees!  

Because of the dryness, we didn't get many pumpkins or watermelons this year.  But the pumpkins we did get made for a tasty pie.  Pumpkin soup is on the menu this weekend.  

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I am officially hooked on Pinterest.  The soup recipe that I am going to try was found there.  And, it has been terrific for finding quilting ideas and techniques.  Hopefully, more on that later.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

The Hairy Beast thanks you for stopping by.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

More than a fair Fair

I don't have the best track record when it comes to attending concerts that I actually paid to see.  A couple of summers ago I got tickets to see The Band Perry at the local county fair.  That didn't happen

Earlier that same year I had tickets to go see Collin Raye at a fundraiser for a local volunteer fire department.  An ice storm hit just a few hours before we were suppose to leave and we heard many reports of cars off the road.  We didn't dare venture out into that mess.  And, probably ten years before that, tickets to Collin Raye once again went unused when a blizzard snowed us in.

Would the third time be the charm?

You bet!   Collin was playing at a county fair about fifty miles from our house.  In September, it was pretty safe to think we wouldn't have ice or snow to stop us from going.  Actually, the weather on Tuesday was perfect. 

What a great fair it was!  We never did see the animals.  We didn't get too far away from the rides, games and fair food before it was time for the concert to start.  The concert was excellent and he played some of my favorite tunes. 


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

WIP(#10) - On the Edge

That quilt I started back in March is getting so, so close to being done.  Between bouts of canning, I managed to get the edge sewn on.  There are four borders that are sewn on all four sides.  It's not difficult, just a bit awkward as the quilt grows larger and larger with each successive strip.

This weekend I dropped it off at a local quilt shop to have the quilting done.  Time and the lack of a long-arm machine keeps me from doing it myself.  They called yesterday afternoon, and it's done!

You know where I'll be tonight.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Advantages of Carrying a Weapon

A couple of weeks ago we decided that we wanted to go see an Indians baseball game.  It's probably been at least five years since the last time we went, and for people who used to have season tickets, it felt like forever.  I looked for a game that still had good seats, at a reasonable price, available.  I decided that Tuesday's game against Detroit was a good choice and got us a couple of tickets.

We left early so that we would have plenty of time to wander around the stadium.  A lot has changed since the last time we were there.  We also wanted to grab some dinner and I was set on having a Rally Drum Red Ale.  

We took a few pictures on the plaza with Bob Feller and Larry Doby and then headed to the entrance.  They scanned our tickets and I walked through the gate.  Himself followed after me.  


They now have metal detectors at the entrances.  Those weren't there five years ago.  So he had to empty his pockets to see what was causing the fuss.  Wallet - no.  Keys - nope.  Camera - maybe.   Pocket knife?  Yep!  That was it.

With the size property we have, a pocket knife is just a useful tool we have gotten in a habit of carrying.  But not, apparently, good at a ball game.  Since there was no place to 'check' it and pick it up after the game we had to bring it back to our car that was parked about a quarter mile away.  No big deal since we had given ourselves plenty of time.  

After stopping at the car, we decided to take a more 'scenic' route back to the ballpark - through an old cemetery neither of us had ever been in.  Every time we have gone by it, the gates have been closed.  What an interesting place!

The almost nine acre Erie Street Cemetery dates back to the early 1800's.  Among its interments are veterans who participated in conflicts from the Revolutionary War through the Spanish–American War as well as many of Cleveland's earliest pioneers and leaders.

“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; 
an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.” 
– G.K. Chesterton,  All Things Considered, 1908

Chesterton had it right.  Even before the game began, we had an adventure!

And, the Indians didn't disappoint.  Kluber's pitching was spot on and we saw victory number twenty - the game that tied the American League record for number of consecutive wins.

Go Tribe!



We haven't had this much excitement since last October and November in these parts!  I love my Tribe!


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Photo Blogging Challenge (August 2017) - Summer Fun

I haven't done one of the photo blogging challenges in a while.  I guess they were too challenging for me!  But, when I saw this month's theme, I was excited as I had a lot of ideas.  Paring down to just five photos was difficult, so I stuck with just one activity.

We finally went to the County Fair this year.  We have talked about going for a while, but something always got in the way.  Often the Chesterton conference was at the same time.  This year I took a day off and we visited on opening day.  And, boy, I'm glad we went!

From the pictures below it is obvious that my favorite part was the animals.  I couldn't take enough pictures of them.

This beautiful young woman was such a joy.  She was excited to pop in the picture of her horse and tell us about him.  Her dad, who was nearby, was just as excited and oh so proud of his daughter.  The horse's lineage goes back to one of the Kentucky Derby winners in the mid 1960's.  Dad mentioned the name of the horse, but mini memory that I have, I don't remember it.

I love goats.  They seems to have so much personality.  This cute one seemed to like to get his picture taken.

It was wickedly hot and humid the day we went.  The young people at this stand made a superb glass of lemonade - shaken, not stirred!

She had something to say and was telling anyone who would listen, and even those who weren't.

I had thought about entering a quilt into the competition this year, but didn't manage to get it done in time.  It looks like the competition was stiff.

Bonus.  Just because.

To see more, visit A 'lil Hoohaa


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

WIP(#9) - Getting Sauced

Let the canning begin!

Yes, it's that time of year.  The tomatoes are coming fast and furious and wait for no one.  This weekend we picked, cleaned, roasted and canned over 120 tomatoes.  It is what I would call a good start.

I've been waiting for this.  We used the last of the previous year's tomatoes in the spring and I cannot bring myself to use store bought spaghetti sauce.  It's a lot of work, but so worth it.  There is something about home grown, home canned sauce that can't be beat.

Our scarecrow has done a good job watching over the garden.  His job is not done just yet!


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

When the World Goes Crazy

With the events of this past weekend, I have felt sad, mad, troubled and depressed.  There are things I thought about saying, most likely not what you might think.  However, I was reminded during last night's Mass for the Feast of the Assumption, there is but one thing to do.  It is time to turn to Mary, patroness of this country.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is from age to age
to those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped Israel his servant,
remembering his mercy,
according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.
Perhaps it is time to commit to prayer, even just one Hail Mary, one Ave, each day.  Won't you join me?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

WIP(#8) - Garden Goodies

The man standing in his own kitchen-garden, with fairyland opening at the gate, 
is the man with large ideas.
― G.K. Chesterton, Heretics

The gardens and yard have been a joy this year.  It may have taken us a dozen or so years to figure out what it takes to keep it up, but we learned.  Slowly.  It's been fun to wander out, pick a spot, and futz.  There are any number of jobs that need to be done.  I've spent more than a few evenings recently watering and weeding and deadheading spent blooms.  

Last night the Hummingbirds weren't too happy as I tended to the area around the butterfly bush. They buzzed my head trying to shoo me away.  That made me want to stay even more, to be near this flurry of flying energy.  What a treat!

We are beginning to see the fruits of our labor, literally.  Tomatoes and peppers are ripening and are ready for picking.  They are as pretty as they are delicious.

Taking care of the gardens, and fairlyland, has truly been a labor of love!


Friday, August 4, 2017

Funny Foto #20: Rats!

Yesterday morning one of the women with whom I work asked me if I had seen the sign on the ladies room door.  Another one started laughing and told me I needed to go take a look.  I was just a little surprised at what I saw.

We think the cleaning lady left the note.  When we ventured in later in the morning, the offending rat was nowhere to be found.  I'm not sure I want to know where it went.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Photo Blogging Challenge (July 2017) - Perspective - Timothy

Tim once again had great pictures for this month's theme.  Here is his guest post.
A peach and herb covered chop with a garden-fresh cucumber and potato salad lies awaiting my attention.  I took the photo to taunt my brother-in-law who is a devotee of my lovely bride’s culinary skills.  Point of view: “Git in my belly!”  

This next shot is from the perspective of our scare-crow looking over the vegetable garden.  The term “scare-crow” is a bit of a misnomer, though.  We have pictures of birds from the size of wrens to hawks sitting contemptuously on his hat.

We have been trying to simplify the gardening process over the years.  This season Donna suggested the use of annual rye-grass as a weed block and end of season cover-crop.  Awesomeness ensued!  A tenth of an acre of corn, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and carrots are progressing wonderfully.  Fifteen minutes of mowing beats hours of weeding.    

This is my point of view of the garden.  Love that annual rye-grass and the subsequent saved time for more important activities.  

I missed the different lenses and cameras challenge last month.  I intended to connect the Canon 7D to my 6” Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.  So, this month I took a shot of the waxing gibbous moon with that same set-up.  The terminator line where day meets night often offers some interesting features.  Here is an unique profile perspective of a lunar crater.  The upper-left corner of the shot shows the curled edge of the debris from impact which formed the rim.   

These two fawns recently visited and seemed to have different points of view on which way to head for a tasty snack before the next feeding time with mom. 

To see more, visit A 'lil Hoohaa

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Have a Nice Trip

We decided to have an Independence Day party this year.  And, you know how it it.  There's always one more "project" that will make everything just perfect.  I decided that my never-ending-but-it's-going-to-be-finished-this-summer landscaping project that I thought was done still needed a little something something.

I bought a new clay pot and and bunch of coleus.  Since the the supplies I needed were in the garage, I put the pot together there.  Six plants and a bunch of dirt later, it was looking pretty good.  It just needed some mulch.  I always mulch my outdoor pots as it helps keep them moist.  It also keeps the dirt from splashing out during rainstorms or waterings.

Instead of bringing the mulch to the pot, I decided to carry the pot to the wheelbarrow full of mulch on the other side of the garage.  I had to walk out past the cars and then go back in.  Big mistake.

The garage floor is maybe an inch higher than the driveway, if that.  I've walked in and out of the garage hundreds, if not thousands of times.  I didn't do so well this time.

Have a nice trip!

Do you know how many things you think of in that time between tripping and hitting the ground?  A lot.
I hope this pot doesn't break.

I don't have time to go to the hospital if I get hurt, there's too much to do for the party.

Don't hit your face and break any teeth!  (That's my mom in my head.  She broke her front two teeth as a teenager when she fell roller skating.)

I hope the bruises don't show.  

Ugg, I'm going to have to redo this pot.

Did the plants fall out?

That's the snow blower there, don't land on it and break it.
There were more things I thought of in those two seconds.  Really.

The good news is that I wasn't badly hurt.  I had a few aches and pains and a bruised ego.

The better news is that the pot didn't break!

See you next fall!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lost and Found

When I was digging out the last shrub of my never-ending-but-it's-going-to-be-finished-this-summer landscaping project, the shovel hit something that clunked unlike any of the roots that I was aiming for.  A couple more jabs and I pulled out a white plastic something coated in dirt and mud.

After I wiped off the muck, I discovered that St. Joseph has been right outside our front door for the last thirteen years!

Over the last few years we have developed a special devotion to this saint.  He is our "go to" guy for all sorts of prayers and petitions.  Every morning, Himself and I pray the following prayer:

St. Joseph, 
you provided for those who were 
given to your care in this life.  
Intercede on our behalf, 
so we may receive the grace we need 
to provide for those whom 
are given to our care, 
whether for a moment or for a lifetime.  

Now I understand.  He's been standing guard all this time.

I cleaned him up and found a better home for him than the dirt in which he was buried.  He now resides in the flower pot just outside the front door.  If you visit, don't forget to say hello!