February Photos

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Photos: Sleepy Teensy

Monday, November 28, 2016

Journal: Thanksgiving Day, a New Laptop, & the Lace Quilt Finished

Early last week, Jeremy sent Larry an eTicket so he could fly to Texas to pick up another bucket truck for Jeremy and a ditch witch trencher for himself.  The bucket truck was in Houston; the trencher in San Antonio.  The flight would leave at 5:40 a.m. Tuesday morning and arrive in Houston at about a quarter after 8.
“From what airport is it leaving?” asked Larry as I was printing the ticket for him.
“Not Offut,” I said, in my helpful way.
Offut is the Air Force Base.  Eppley is the civilian airport. 
Larry laughed.  He’d meant, I’m sure, Omaha or Lincoln.  He would need to leave home well before 3:00 a.m.  So of course he should have gotten home early, and gone to bed early. 
He got home at about 10:30 p.m., ate supper, fell asleep in his plate, woke up, went to take a bath, fell asleep in the tub, and finally got in bed around 1:00 a.m. after waking up just long enough to pack his bag.  His alarm went off at 2:15 a.m. Tuesday morning.  He would not get more than four hours of sleep between then and Wednesday night, when he arrived home again at about a quarter ’til midnight.
Shortly after noon on Tuesday, Larry sent pictures and wrote, “The difference between looking out the window of a plane and a truck.”
I wrote back, “I reckon they both have their pros and their cons!” to which he answered, “Yeah, I’m flying one and the pilot was flying the other.”
I’ll let you decide which he thinks is ‘pro’ and which he thinks is ‘con’.
Since last week’s earthquake in Japan, there have been 142 earthquakes over magnitude 4.0 around the world, including a 7.0 magnitude quake in El Salvador, and one registering 6.6 in Tajikistan.
The NEIC (National Earthquake Information Center) now locates about 20,000 earthquakes each year, or approximately 55 per day.  While it’s true that the improvements in communications cause the public to learn about earthquakes more quickly than ever before, it’s also true that there has indeed been an increase in earthquakes in the last 50 years or more.
I feel such pity for those people who lose everything... sometimes their entire families.  So many are left with no hope – and those who died often had no true beliefs, and are lost souls.  I watch an interview with a devastated person who isn’t even speaking my language, and I’m liable to cry over it.  You’ve heard of a ‘social drinker’, one who (supposedly) drinks only when somebody else is drinking?  Well, I’m a ‘social cryer’.  If somebody else cries, it makes me cry.  I didn’t use to be like that.  I’ve gone all sappy in my dodderage.
We who love the Lord have this hope – “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”  So many prophecies have already been fulfilled.  In terms of all prophecy made compared to all that has already happened, there really isn’t very much left, is there?  When calamities – including the manmade variety such as terrorism – happen all over the world, and everything is falling perfectly into place, it really makes you wonder why evil people don’t fear, doesn’t it?
When that Malaysia Airlines plane went missing 2 ½ years ago, I watched an online interview with a mother of one of the persons who had been onboard – her only son.  She had a daughter, and a couple of grandchildren, but she said, weeping, that she had absolutely nothing, nothing, to live for, and her life was as good as over, and she would never, ever see that son again.  Made me cry, just listening to the interpreter, watching the woman sobbing, and thinking, But there is another world after this one.  There is eternity after this life!  And what of her daughter and grandchildren?  Loved ones can help each other bear sorrows – or they can make each other more miserable than ever.
When happiness comes only from exterior causes, people are bound to be overwhelmed and shattered by life’s sad events.  But joy in the heart can surmount trial and hardship.
We live in godless times... but every now and then, someone believes.  There will always be a remnant.  It’s comforting, for me, to see that my precious grandchildren are raised in loving, godly homes.  That is one of my greatest blessings.
Tuesday, I finished the main part of the quilting designs on my customer’s lace quilt, then added some stippling, took a picture, and sent it to my customer to see if she liked it. 
I would’ve been doing it from the start – but she hadn’t wanted it quilted too densely.  But... oh me, oh my, the linen part of the quilt stretched a bit, even though it really didn’t feel stretchy at all, and the batting was the thickest, densest stuff I’ve ever seen, and ... that ought to fill up all that excess fullness nicely, shouldn’t it?  But it didn’t work that way, until I did heavier quilting.  Without more quilting, it just... blooped and drooped around in lumps and bumps.  (There, did I describe it well?)
I felt bad about this quilt, because I try hard to give my customers the best work I can produce – and this was going to be a long ways from perfect.  What a job!  Quilting the lace was fairly simple, with the stabilizer on top of it.  But the batting did NOT cooperate well with the French lace and the French linen.  I pulled the various parts of the quilt ‘sandwich’ so tightly, I hurt my wrists turning the bars on my frame – and still it wasn’t enough.  I just never could get it taut enough (and in one small place, a seam started coming loose, and I had to repair it).
Sigggghhhhh...  I tried, with all my might and main I did!  My customer is such a sweet lady, she’s all apologetic for “causing me trouble”.  Well, I’m all apologetic for causing her quilt trouble!  ha
That batting would have a place in certain projects... but this quilt probably wasn’t it.  If I’d have had more experience, I might have known better, and suggested something else when I saw what it was.
Well, I have experience now!  :-O
The lady asked what batting I would’ve used, rather than this that she sent me.  Quilter’s Dream Wool is a little more pricey than some, but I am particularly fond of it.  It’s soooo soft and pliant, and it stretches enough that I think I can safely say I have never had a single tuck or pucker when using it (or at least none I could blame on the batting).  It comes in various weights and lofts. 
On the other hand, I used that extra-high-loft Morning Glory polyester batting in the satin Christmas tree skirt and in the Buoyant Blossoms quilt, and had no troubles with it at all.  So it’s not just the thickness that makes a difference, it’s also the density. 
One quilting lady wrote to say, “Love it.  The crippling just sets off the feathers.”
Hee hee  Auto correct strikes again.  Of course she meant “stippling”. 
Larry sometimes uses voice text when he’s driving his truck.  Between interference from the truck noise and auto correct, he sure does write the most hilarious notes!
We were discussing on an online quilting group whether or not we like to listen to music or audio books while we sew or quilt.
I like old-time gospel music, the kind that makes you want to tap your foot in time or do a little jig.  No contemporary stuff.  Old Fashioned Revival Hour, Back to the Bible Quartet, George Beverly Shea... those are my favorites.  I also like some of the old Southern Gospel – The Cathedrals, Blackwoods, Jordanaires...  I like the Irish Tenors... Big Band... folk music... classicals... Andre Rieu...  I have many days’ worth of music on my external hard drives (over 6,000 music files), and speakers here and there through the house that I can plug into my laptop, wherever I decide to perch it.
Sometimes I listen to audio books (I like biographies, especially historic ones)... and sometimes I turn on a scenic video with a classical music background, and glance at the beautiful pictures now and then.  I’ve gone through the This Old House programs, a series about road trains in Australia, and camping in Alaska (though these sorts of videos catch my attention and slow down my sewing, so I don’t turn them on too often).  When I look at certain parts of the lighthouse quilt, I think of Ranger Bill.  Yes, I know it’s children’s radio... but I like it.  If stories get too deep and involved, I might start sewing right sides to wrong sides, instead of rights to rights! 
But sometimes I liked nothing better than total quiet, so I can hear the birds outside in the cottonwoods, maples, and evergreens.
One lady asked if I liked the Chuck Wagon Gang.
I liked most of the songs they sang, and in fact I had their books and sang some of those songs myself in various groups (octet, sextet, trio, duet)... but oh me, oh my, the older members of the Chuckwagon Gang sometimes sang so off-tune, the notes went into my ears as triangles, rather than circles.  And as if that wasn’t bad enough, sometimes their guitars were flat.  Or sharp.  It wasn’t quite as bad when the instruments were flat, because then they at least matched some of the voices, sorta.  But when they were sharp!!  Eeeek.  There were times when the sung note and the played note were almost an entire half a step apart!  Now, that’s baaaaaaaad. 
Happily, the first generation offspring were blessed with better pitch and more skillful fingers on the stringed instruments.  And they sang many of the same old songs, so that was nice.
The second generation offspring (three down from the originals) were even more talented, but they veered farther from the old songs.  Some of the newer ones I like; others, not so much.  The owner and manager of the group sings alto, and is the granddaughter of the first alto singer in the group.  And they’re still singing and recording and touring:  Chuck Wagon Gang
I went to school with a girl whose older sister dated one of the Blackwood Brothers.  I like the Statesmen, and London Parris (how’s that for a name?), bass singer for the Blackwoods, who also cut some solo albums...
When I was young, I went with my parents to the Denver Auditorium, where we heard Jack Van Impe and his band.  His wife was an excellent soprano... and sometimes Jack joined her, singing tenor.  They could play any instrument ever made, I do believe.  What really brought down the house was when Jack played his enormous drum set entirely with foot pedals whilst accompanying himself on his big, fancy-schmancy accordion ----- and also had at least four harmonicas strapped around his neck on various brackets, so he could turn his head this way and that to play whichever key of harmonica he needed.  Wowzer.
I’m telling you, wowzer.
A little after 1:00 a.m., Larry wrote:  “Just took a one-hour nap and I still have 12 hours till I get home.  I put new headlights in the truck.  One was burned out and the other one might just as well have been.  It is a lot better now.  Should be home sometime after lunch.”
It was after lunch when he got home, all right.  It was a quarter ’til midnight.  Yep, that’s after lunch.
I don’t much like to call or text him when I know he’s driving; I’d rather he call or text me.  He doesn’t, very often.
I wonder how many men are surprised when they happily come blundering into the house to relax themselves after they’ve been gone a good long while, and their respective (that’s different from ‘respectful’) wives greet them at the door with, “Where have you been, are you hurt, are you okay, where have you been, are you hurt???!! – ’cuz if you’re not, there’s a skillet lookin’ for your head.”
The following was found in the comments section of GoComics.com:  “Twitter is absolutely wonderful.  Never before in the field of communication have so many people of so little importance been able to display so much total idiocy to so many.”
Next:  “Beware of a communication platform with the word ‘twit’ in it.”
Next:  “As a former teacher of English (30 years in high school and college), Twitter doesn’t bother me.  It’s just another form of communication.  To me, it’s a return to the days when the telegraph was nascent.”
Next:  “Did people use telegraph to tell the world that it just had ‘a club sandwich – yum’?”
Next:  “It cost too much to telegraph messages, so it was mainly used for urgent stuff.  Twitter is cost-free, so many tweets are worth what they cost.”
Sometimes the comment section is funnier than the funnies.
At a quarter ’til six, Larry wrote:  “I should be home around 10:00 (ha!  you’d think he’d have gotten better at ETAs by now) if I don’t have any other delays, such as the DOT thinking I need fuel permits.”
That delayed him an hour and a half – only for them to decide it would be okay to let him proceed on without said permit.  The U-Haul trailer he’d rented to haul the trencher on behind the bucket truck made his rig a little too long for the rules in one of the states he passed through, too.  He offered to leave it behind and come back for it later, but they had pity on him and let him go.  He got home just before midnight.
And then it was Thursday, Thanksgiving Day 2016.
I’m thankful for my family, including a new baby granddaughter who arrived safely despite complications.
I’m thankful for the God I believe in with all my heart and soul, and I’m thankful for the church my father started in 1954 (I think that was the year – it was before my time) with only 26 souls, which has grown to 393 (counting the two new babies born week before last); and I’m thankful that my nephew is now our pastor.
I’m thankful to have almost everything I need (if the roof didn’t leak, I’d leave out the word ‘almost’), and a whole lot of things I want, besides.
I’m even thankful for three cats (all of which were strays and adopted us, rather than the other way around), one of which is at my feet purring like a steam locomotive.  (Do steam locomotives purr?)  (I do get over this particular thankfulness now and then, depending on what said cats are up to at any given moment.)
I’m thankful for good health (with a slathering of Pain-A-Trate or Soothanol or IcyHot, I can mostly do what I want, despite rheumatoid arthritis).
The list could go on for a good long while, but I’ll polish it off by saying that right here and now, this very moment, I’m thankful for a steaming mug of Hazelnut coffee, and a laptop that connects me to friends and family and a gazillion other things of all class and category, ilk and file, description and persuasion.  Oh, and I’m thankful for a newly-tuned piano, on which I shall now go play ♫ ♪ Count Your Blessings.  ♫ ♪
One more thing:  I’m thankful for answered prayer for Larry’s Uncle Clyde after that bad truck wreck he was in, when he got hurt so badly.  He came home from the hospital a couple of weeks ago, and managed to come to the Thanksgiving dinner!  So we can say a prayer of thanks for answered prayer.  Thanksgiving will be a little more meaningful for him and his family this year!
A lady who doesn’t believe in prayer once said to me, “Prayer is always for something bad that’s happened!  The only time anyone ever prays is when they want something.” 
I thought, Well, that’s not true; we pray in thanks for many things, even our meals.  Guess we just don’t say so often enough!  Sooo... I just said it. 
Our Thanksgiving service started at 11:00 a.m.  We heard beautiful music from our band (Bobby directs it and writes the music for the various instruments) and our orchestra.  We sang a few songs, Robert read some verses, and then we all traipsed over to the new Fellowship Hall for dinner.
Here is our new kitchen, in full operation.  The table in the foreground is full of trays of pie.  Hester and Andrew are on the right, filling trays with things they will serve.
Our meal consisted of turkey, dressing, corn, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, muffins, orange jello salad, frozen cranberry salad, lettuce salad, pickles and olives, apple, peach, pecan, or pumpkin pie with whipped cream, ice cream, milk, juice, and coffee or tea.  I’m sad I got full before I finished the main courses, and couldn’t eat a piece of pie.  Waa waa!  I love pie!
Afterwards, I trotted around taking pictures.  Everybody hates the cameraman!  Nevertheless, I take pictures.  Here are Jeremy, Caleb, and Larry, deep in conversation.
I was once making a favorite of ours – Dairy State Apple Pie.  I sometimes used sour cream... sometimes cream cheese... sometimes yogurt in that pie.  I reached into the refrigerator for the dairy something-or-other – and found nothing but sour cream with chives.  Apples drown out chives, right?  Right??
The pie had been baking for a while when the children came into house.  Noses began twitching, and everyone started drooling for pizza.
Hannah went to toss something into the trash – then paused and peered in.  She turned around and looked at me, eyebrows high.  
She’d discovered the apple peels.
It wasn’t long before everyone was looking at me funny when I pulled pie, as opposed to pizza, from the oven.  That pie had a distinctive onionish flavor to it.
There’s a reason why you don’t find Apple Chive Pie in cookbooks.
These days, I have to be more and more careful what I eat.  Sweets rarely go down well.  Ice cream makes my stomach hurt, but Schwan’s frozen yogurt is fine, provided I consume it in conservative quantities.  Chocolate makes me feel yucky.  I experiment with this phenomenon every once in a while, and come back to the same conclusion:  Yep, chocolate makes me feel yucky.
Thankfully, fresh vegetables and fruits, which I particularly like, leave me feeling just fine and dandy.
About 4:00 that afternoon, Loren’s granddaughter Brittany arrived from Minneapolis, and we went to his house to visit with her.  We hadn’t seen her for quite a number of years.  After growing up in Texas, she got married last winter and moved to Minneapolis with her husband. 
We met Bobby and Hannah and the children at the church, and showed Brittany around the building.  The new school is almost done.  The fire marshal came last Monday for an inspection, and passed us with just one thing that needed to be completed.  It was finished the next day, and then everyone including the students got into High Gear Tuesday morning and moved their classes into the new building.  Levi was delighted to show us his new classroom.
Loren, Brittany, Larry, and I went to Apple Barrel that night, a restaurant – one of the few that was open – inside Sapp Bros. Truck Stop.  Loren and Brittany ordered sandwiches.  I got a chef salad, and they brought me one big enough to serve the entire clan of Jackson, I do believe.  Larry got one, too.  I plodded my way through a quarter of it, and then Loren asked the waitress if we could have a little container so I could take it home. 
She took a considering look.  “How about a BIG container?” she suggested.  :-D
Brittany reminds me so much of our Lydia, her second cousin, both in looks and mannerisms.  She is a lab technician at one of the big hospitals in Minneapolis, with a particular field in bloodwork.  She plans to have her PhD in three years.  A PhD would allow her to advise the doctors, in addition to reading the tests...  and if I keep talking, I’ll be like the prophets of old, “speaking of that which they knew not”!  She headed back home Friday morning.
That day, I washed clothes and worked on the lace quilt.  By evening, it was done!  I removed my blue markings and the water-soluble stabilizer, then lopped it over my frame to dry.  I’ve had troubles with this quilt, but it does look pretty.
Then I happily trotted back to my Bernina Artista 180E, attached the embroidery module, chose an embroidery card, hooped tea towel and stabilizer, and pressed START.  By bedtime, one tea towel was done. One done... 35 more to go.  A set of six is already done.  
Some of my offspring went shopping on Black Friday.  Here’s Victoria in an Omaha mall, being Victoria.  She captioned it, #imanadultnow.  She’s always liked penguins.  When she was wee little, she pronounced it ‘peeng-gweeng’. 
By noon Saturday, the temperature had gotten up to 46°, and it was bright and sunny.  My customer’s quilt hadn’t totally dried, so I planned to take it out on the back deck to let it finish drying.  I thought possibly I could ship it out that afternoon, though the UPS Store closes early on Saturdays.  But if I hurried...
And then Larry called.
He was working in Gretna, a town southeast of Omaha, and would soon be heading for Fremont.  I could head for Fremont, too, he suggested, meet him there, and then we’d travel to Nebraska Furniture Mart in Omaha to get me a new laptop and a flash for my camera  – and that would be my Christmas and birthday gifts.  So off I went to meet him. 
The lid to my laptop is alllllllmost ready to fall off – it’s all broken loose on one side.  It’s 4 ½ years old, so it has lasted a year and a half longer than any other computer I’ve had.  It’s been to Yellowstone National Park, the San Juan Mountains, over Imogene Pass, to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, all the way to Florida and back, and a whole lot of other places besides.
It’s lots of fun to walk into the electronics department, look helpless, wait for a young salesman to come gently along and ask politely, “May I help you, ma’am?” and say sweetly, “Yes, I need a laptop.”  
They invariably start herding me off to some wee little grandma-type clunker.
The salesman who came to offer his services Saturday was no different.
“I need a 17-inch screen,” I began.
Would you believe, the man actually started telling me they didn’t have 17-inch screens??!  Now, I knew better than that.  First, I’ve bought them there before.  Second, I’ve seen them online on the Mart’s webpage.  Third, I’d just seen it on a display rack, mere seconds before!
So I gleefully announced, “I need a hard drive of least 1 or 2 terabytes, 6th generation Quad processor, 256 GB SSD, 16 GB of RAM, and at least 4 super-speed USB ports.  A backlit keyboard would be nice, and I need the full Microsoft suite, including Outlook, Publisher, OneNote, Excel, and Word, too.  Oh, and I need the 580EX II Canon Speedlite flash and a SanDisk Extreme SDHC UHS-I card.”
The salesman’s face underwent a dramatic change, as did his tone of voice.  “Oh, I’m sorry!” he exclaimed.  “I didn’t want to oversell you!”  Then, in a cautionary tone, “You’re looking at a price range somewhere around $1,000.”
At this point, Larry remarked with an agreeable smile, “That’s about what her laptops usually run.”
So off we went to the big, shiny laptops, with me feeling all smug and stuff.  Teach ’im to pigeonhole me, won’t I!!
Now, if I could just act like that in the Bernina store... the HandiQuilter store...  Might as well toss in, the Porsche dealership while I’m at it, since I’ve slipped over into pie in the sky, eh?
I now have an HP Envy laptop with a 1 terabyte hard drive (I would’ve had to special-order it to get a 2-terabyte, and I have a couple of externals, so this will do), 16 GB of RAM, a 17.3” HD LED touchscreen, lighted keyboard, and a bunch of other important-looking letters and numbers that don’t mean a thing to me.  The important thing is, it’s shiny, it’s big, it’s shiny, it’s fast, and it’s shiny; and my quilting, photographic, music, and Microsoft suite programs should run like lightning on it.  Plus, it’s shiny. 
Instead of buying the Office program set outright, I purchased a year-long subscription, which will have to be renewed each year.  That, because the suite with all the programs I need has gone up so much in price, it’s cheaper this way, especially since Office 2016 is now sold to be used in one activation only.  If your computer goes kaput in a couple of years, your Microsoft programs will be kaput, too, as you can’t download them again into a new computer.  At least that’s what the salesman said.  I just checked to see if that was really true, and can’t seem to find a definitive answer concerning Office 2016, although the small bit of discussion I read on the subject indicates that it’s true.  I purchased the one-year license for $60, which must be renewed each year.  Even if my new computer should defy all odds and last 5 years, I’ll still be saving money.
I got a new flash for my camera, too, as the old one wasn’t up to the level my new camera needs.  I’ve given it a few tries, and it seems to meter for dark and light quite a bit better than the old one.  They were totally out of Extreme SD cards, but Amazon has several gazillion.  My camera needs those extra-fast cards to cope with the high def movies it’s capable of taking.  When I try shooting video with the cheap cards, the movie stops in about 15 seconds.
I did a little search through the manual for a few settings to get that flash working exactly as I prefer.  I never want the AF preflash on, for instance, as it makes people and animals squint.  Just look at this picture of Teensy I took before I changed the setting.
I’m very happy to get a new computer before the old one totally fell apart, as it would certainly be difficult to transfer everything properly without a screen!  But it takes a good two or three days to get everything set up as I like and all the data transferred.  I may have to purchase Wondershare DVD Creator again; I don’t know if I’ll be able to deactivate it on this old computer and then activate it again on the new.  Stupid Microsoft stopped putting DVD Maker into their programs in Windows 10! – so when I upgraded to 10, it was wiped right out.  I didn’t discover that until three months later, when I set out to make some photo/music DVDs.  Aarrgghh, you should have seen me throwing things and yelling. 
Not... really.
After leaving Nebraska Furniture Mart, we went to the Olive Garden restaurant.
Larry decided on the Tuscan Sirloin platter, which includes a grilled 11-ounce sirloin topped with garlic herb butter, served with garlic-parmesan mashed potatoes and parmesan crusted zucchini. 
I looked through the menu, and saw that every dinner entrée seemed to be about $20.  A little steep for the likes of us.  Then I spotted this Crispy Chicken Ravioli Supremo dish, and happily ordered it. 
The waitress looked properly appalled.  “Ma’am, that’s just an appetizer.”
Right.  An appetizer.  And it’s big enough for three of me.  Good grief, how do people eat so much?! 
I smiled and nodded and looked at her.  She looked at me.  I looked at her.
“So, that’s what you want?” she asked in a disbelieving tone.
I smiled and nodded and looked at her.  I’m the customer; I can have whatever I dearly so well want.  (I won’t be able to eat it all, but I want it!)
(The girl was a nice waitress; I’m giving you a biased idea of her with my description, probably.)
And then I heard somebody at a nearby table order soup.
No soup was listed on my menu!  (Later, I discovered Larry and I had different menus.  How many menus do they have, and what if everything I want is on the other menu??)
“What kind of soup do you have?” I queried, and got a list so long that by the time she’d finished, I’d forgotten the first 2/3 of the list.  I ordered chicken and dumpling soup, and Larry decided that sounded good and ordered some too. 
I keep telling him, “Order something different, so we can try more flavors!” 
“But what you order always sounds so good!” he protests.
And mmmm-mmm, was it ever good.  We were served piping hot breadsticks fresh out of the oven with our soup.
By the time I’d scarfed down the smallish bowl of chicken and dumpling soup along with one breadstick, my gauge was rapidly approaching the full line.  But then... along came the Crispy Chicken Ravioli Supremo, piping hot, looking twice as tasty as it does in the picture.  There were slices of jalapeño peppers on each Ravioli stack.  Mmmm... I love hot stuff.
If something is yummy enough, you can eat even if you are almost full, you know that?
Larry let me have a bite or two of each of the items on his plate, and they were scrumptious.  I reluctantly let him have a couple of my Ravioli stacks.  He is more willing to share his food than I am.  He’s also more likely to eat mine than I am to eat his, especially when I’m not looking.  But... he shared his... so I shared mine.  After all, I was full.  (And he had paid for it.)
While we ate, I played with the little electronic tablet-on-a-stand that was on each of the tables.  It displayed the Olive Garden’s website, complete with all the entrées, and one could order more food directly from the tablet, should one so desire.  It also had a credit/debit swipe, for paying the bill.
I pressed ‘Desserts’.  And there, right before our eyes, was their newest addition to the menu:  Chocolate Baci cake.  It was described thusly:  “Chocolate hazelnut cake with a molten hazelnut-cocoa center, served warm and finished with our decadent vanilla cream sauce.”
We were full – but we ordered one.  Larry cut it in half and put a piece on my saucer. 
It was good, but ... sadly, it tasted pretty much like cake.  Cake with a good center and sauce, granted; but cake, nonetheless.  I’m not particularly fond of cake (nor is it of me).  I took two bites and gave Larry the rest.  One of these days, I’ll try the Tiramisu.  Or the Zeppoli.  Or the Warm Apple Crostata.  Or the Dolcini
We’d never been to the Olive Garden before.  If we want to try all those other things on the menu, I guess we’d better not wait half a century to do it, eh?
The waitress brought me a Styrofoam container for the Ravioli I couldn’t finish.
When we got home a couple of hours later, I headed downstairs to press and steam my customer’s lace quilt.  It was still a bit damp; I wouldn’t have been able to ship it anyway.  (I had to dampen it to remove the Solvy stabilizer.)  Maybe I could take pictures of it on the back deck in natural lighting on Sunday ------ or maybe not.  Look at the forecast:
Mostly cloudy.  A chance of rain showers, possibly mixed with freezing rain in the morning, then rain showers likely and a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Highs in the mid 50s.  Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph shifting to the south 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon.  Gusts up to 30 mph.  Chance of precipitation 70 percent.

The forecast was correct, as it turned out.  In fact, there was even a rare late-November tornado in southern Nebraska.
Monday, however, was supposed to be sunny – and it is.
Sunday afternoon, we ate dinner at Kurt and Victoria’s house.  Victoria fixed ‘boneless roast chicken’ (“How did it walk around the barnyard?” asked her father), mashed potatoes and gravy, and carrots.  For dessert, she had Greek yogurt with strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries piled on top.  She’d marinated the chicken all night, and it practically melted in our mouths.

Years and years ago, back when the world was very young, we had a cheapie hotplate ... and a big ol’ honkin’ (but lightweight) pot that we often carried with us on trips with our kids.  I made all sorts of soup in that pot – good and healthy suppers for a large tribe, and not terribly expensive.  Well, we were once in a motel somewhere out in the mountains when I made a gigantic pot of soup, and set it on the hotplate to cook.
But the pot was fuller – and thus heavier – than usual, and it wound up frying the poor little hotplate’s circuits.  It smoked the room and set off smoke alarms in the entire motel.  Plumb emmmmmmBARRrasssin’.
Fortunately, the soup had finished cooking before the hotplate went toenails up, so nobody went hungry that night.  We replaced the hotplate with a heavy-duty one.
This afternoon, I took the lace quilt out on the back deck to take pictures... spread it out... and discovered that the central section didn’t lay flat.  So I took it back downstairs, reattached it to the frame, and added more quilting to the feathers around the center medallion.  That helped, but didn’t totally solve the problem.  I pressed it, steamed it... and told my customer she may wish to do it again when she lays it on the bed, perhaps laying some books on it to ‘block’ it.  Aarrgghh, that quilt hasn’t played nice!
I folded leftover batting and muslin, then the quilt, put them all into plastic, and layered them into a box.  I went for the packaging tape.
The packaging tape wasn’t there.
Why do thieves constantly come into my house and steal nothing but the packaging tape?
I put the box, flaps a-flap, into the Jeep.  The grandchildren would be squished.  Good thing there are three rows of seats, good thing the grandchildren are small, and good thing there are only five of them in school.
I printed a letter and shoved it into an envelope... filled a Thermal mug of coffee... and rushed off. 
On the way to town, I stopped to pick up Larry’s check, took it to the bank, and got back to the school just in time to gather up kiddos.  On the way to their house, we dropped off pingpong paddles and balls at a friend’s house (one of those unexpected but totally necessary things to do) (do you like to play pingpong? I love it). 
Then I went back to town, and stopped at Dollar General to get the aforementioned losted packaging tape, which was more likely stolen by the recent bride than done losted or taken by an unknown thief.  I walked back out to the Jeep... looked stealthily over my shoulder... peered this way and that... and when I discerned nobody looking my way, I jumpedintothebackseatoftheJeepasquickasawink.
So there I was in the back seat of the Jeep in the Dollar General parking lot, doing battle with a huge, heavy, awkward box and a roll of packaging tape.  It was sort of like trying to fight a bobcat in a smallish cave.  I finally wound up turned around backwards, smooshed up against the front seat, one knee on the back seat, the other knee pushing against the box in order to hold it on the seat, while I tugged the box flaps together (with difficulty) and then held them in place with elbows and chin whilst extracting a length of tape from a dispenser that had sharp enough teeth to administer pain and suffering to the user (while not necessarily cutting the tape).
I taped and scrambled and taped and shoved the box around and taped and clambered and taped and struggled and taped and upended the box and taped and scrabbled and taped and muddled.  Then, wonder of wonders, I even remembered to tape the lady’s address onto the box. 
Eventually, feeling like I’d gotten run through a wringer backwards thrice, I forgot to look for possible onlookers before opening the door, tumbling out, and then reaccessing the vehicle via the front door.  The throng of onlookers had doubtless been wondering what on earth was making that Jeep rock and roll, shimmy and shake.
Did you know that when you bail out of the back door of your vehicle and then proceed to crawl straight back into the front door of same vehicle, people stare?
Well.  Hmmmph.  I can get into the back seat of my Jeep iff’n I want to.  Furthermore, I can do whatever I want whilst I’m back there, too (within reason).  I can then get out of the back and shinny headlong into the front, should I so desire.  So there.
On I went to the post office, where there was a fairly lengthy line in the Inner Sanctum (à la Winthrop), but nary a soul in the outer lobby to open the door for me.  Did I mention that that box was big?  Big, ungainly, and heavy.  Heavy for me, anyway.
I had to open both the inner and the outer door all by me po’ li’l self.  But I did it.  I set my jaw, lifted my chin, tried to look elegant, and did it.
Please pass the IcyHot.
I used to think I was pretty tough.  When I was a teenager, I could lift 80 pounds over my head.  But those days ain’t no mo’, no mo’, no mo’.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if the weight was concentrated in something small, with a handle, so I could’ve opened the doors easier.
The French lace quilt is now on its way home to Cincinnati.  I always breathe shallowly until I know a quilt has arrived safely at its destination.
Next, I went to my friend Linda’s house and did a bit of updating on her computer, and then I went to my brother’s house to pick up some pictures he wants me to scan for his granddaughter.  “Photostat,” he calls it.  :-D
Two-and-a-half hours after leaving it, I headed home, feeling quite a lot like a chicken with its head cut off, and looking forward to some peace and quiet so I could write this letter.
The Schwan man’s truck was in the drive when I got here.
So now the freezer is restocked.  I’ve warmed up the food from Olive Garden I got Saturday night and couldn’t finish, and am finally sitting down at the table.  ((munch munch munch munch munch)) 
Why did the waitress cram my breadsticks into the Crispy Chicken Ravioli Supremo?!  Now they’re all soggy.  Plus, warming breadsticks up in the microwave is always a severe letdown, especially when you’ve first had them fresh out of the oven.  Turns them into miniature memory foam neckrolls. 
But this Crispy Chicken Ravioli Supremo is delicious.  Especially the first time around. 
Okay, now I’ve had an apple turnover and a cup of milk for dessert, and I’m absolutely, positively full right up to the top.  Therefore, I shall stop.  I’ve lost 7 pounds; don’t want to gain any of it back.  Another 3 down, and I’ll be about right.  I’m about the same weight as I was in Jr. High, but I gained about a pound a year during the last 10 years.  Can’t keep that up, or I’ll weigh 170 by the time I’m 106!  :-O  Sooo... I’m being just a little more careful what I eat each day, and have lost a pound a month over the last seven months.  Doesn’t seem like much, and it’s not very fast... but this way I don’t have to do any violent dietary changes, and what I lose is a whole lot more likely to stay off.
Okay, where was I when I got interrupted by the soggy, edible(?) neckroll?
Oh!  Yes!  Quite so!  (in a Winnie-the-Pooh tone) 
I was about to post pictures of the lace quilt online.  Here’s one of them:
I sure hope my customer is satisfied.  I tried so hard to eliminate tucks and puckers, but just couldn’t keep them all out.  That was one difficult job!
As soon as my weekly is done, I’ll launch into the big job of transferring data and programs to my new laptop and setting it up to suit me.  The lid and screen on this old laptop is baaaarely hanging onto the keyboard by a thread.
I really like computer/electronic stuff, and I like learning new things; but I don’t really relish using up a couple of my days transferring everything to a new computer.  I have my old one just right, after all.
I wanna embroider!

But first... let’s open the lid of this new HP Envy, and see what makes it tick.

,,,>^..^<,,,       Sarah Lynn       ,,,>^..^<,,,

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Photos: Trip to Omaha

We made a trip to Omaha today, going to Nebraska Furniture Mart's Electronics Store for a new laptop.

At the bottom of our hill...

Now for some ORTs (Obligatory Red Trucks)

And a little ORC (Obligatory Red Car), just for good measure

Elkhorn River

Home again, trying out my new flash

It's sending out bursts of flashes by default, to meter and focus.  This won't do -- makes cats and people squint, so that when the shutter finally opens, there they are, in full SM (Squint Mode).





Okay, got that default flash-burst turned off.  Now to finish the French Lace quilt: