Saturday, September 27, 2014

Morning Has Broken

The past week has seen me driving into the city in the early morning. I remember when you could leave at 7 and be in the city by 8. It's not that way anymore.

As the sun brightens the horizon, at 6:15 a.m., traffic into the city is stopped, stopped so much that I can set up a shot of the approaching sunrise.

Traffic crawled forward and the city came into view.

I love the color of the sky with the gray silhouette of downtown Chicago in the distance.

Ten more minutes and the big orange ball of the sun peaked over the treetops.

A half hour later, the city is in full view and the gold of morning is full on. Wednesday was clear as a bell.

Thursday morning had more clouds.

Traffic was so much lighter. I started out 15 minutes earlier. I don't know if that made a difference, but the hour and 20 minute drive in on Wednesday was 45 minutes on Thursday.

Streets were deserted and I was actually able to get street parking, which is almost unheard of. I love the juxtaposition of the sky and the apartment buildings as I head east.

It can be a struggle to get up at 5. I feel stiff and it's slow getting going. But then, I get to witness the day beginning. It's so worth it.

Beverage:  Scottish Breakfast tea


Light Bright

I live in a fairly quiet neighborhood of Wheaton. We're close to the train station into Chicago, but, for the most part, not much happens around here. That's really okay. I'm not sure I would enjoy living 3 blocks west or 2 blocks east, both of which are secondary north-south roads on which there can be a lot of traffic. So, it was with some interest that I received a letter right after Labor Day from our Park District. There was going to be a 5k race to benefit the FT Cares Foundation. Based in Wheaton, the foundation raises money to provide resources to other charities in the area. They called the run "Light the Torch" and you were encouraged to dress up in lighted clothing, carry lights or wear glow sticks, etc. Each runner and walker was given a glow strip they could wear.

The reason I received a letter about this was that the race course was right in front of my house.

I live by the water/first aid station on the right side of the race route. We received another reminder, stuck in our front doors on Tuesday. The race would start at 7 p.m. but the street would be closed at 6:30. We needed to remind people, and ourselves, of this so no one was on the race course. Any cars parked would be towed to side streets.

The barricades were left at the street corners on Thursday.

I've never watched a foot race. I had no idea what to expect. Neighbors had been talking all week about standing in their parkways and cheering, adding lights to the front of their homes since the whole idea of the race was to add additional lights. I noticed, when I got home, that some people north of me had luminaria along their section of the street.

At 6:30, as stated, the barricades on the side streets went up.

Neighbors south of me strung up Christmas lights. I thought, I could have done that, or put something in the front of the house. We knew the race would start at 7 to the west of us. We weren't sure how soon we'd start to see runners after the start. I decided to just sit on the front steps and watch. I had to find the Deep Woods Off to combat the mosquitoes, although I was surprised at how few there were.

At 7:15, a police car came down the street. My little camera doesn't do well in low light situations. There is probably a setting for low light, but I couldn't find it right away. About 2 minutes after the police car passed, the first batch of runners came through. Most of them wore only the event issued light stick and that chartreuse-color shirt. Slowly, however, the colorfully decorated runners started showing up.

There were family groups running and walking.

There were friends and people with dogs or strollers.

You can see that some people really took the "bring your own lights" suggestion to heart.

It was fun to watch the race. I had a mug of tea and enjoyed a wonderfully mild September night. A walker was the last person to come by. She was followed by a police car. Neighbors cheered her as loudly as the first people to come down the street.

The whole event took an hour and 15 minutes. The street was not reopened until 9:00 to allow all racers to clear the course. About 10 minutes after this walker passed my house, a car came down the street. That car was followed, very quickly, by a police car and they were stopped just north of my house. I could hear the officer saying, "Those barricades are there for a reason ma'am." That's the time one goes back into one's house for a refill on the tea.

If this happens next year and they use the same route, I need to put Christmas lights on my arbor. They couldn't have asked for a better night, which won't always occur. This was fun and a nice diversion to the usual life of the block.

Beverage:  Scottish Breakfast tea


Friday, September 26, 2014

This Presents a Difficulty

The arrival of fall means that some of the most satisfying foods are in abundance; apples and squash. I'd been thinking about that lately, how my freezer needed homemade applesauce and butternut squash soup, pumpkin muffins and bread. I was thinking about how the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg and mulled cider always made me feel physically better.

And then I needed lunch after a long morning on my feet. It was yesterday and Panera always has cream of chicken with wild rice on Thursdays. I cannot, for the life of me, make that soup. Mine comes out lumpy or worse, burnt tasting, so I've given up. The occasional bowl of soup won't break my bank. I usually get the "You Pick Two" option so I can have half a sandwich and a cup of soup.

I look at the menu and, what's this? Butternut squash ravioli? I love squash stuffed ravioli. The old Dominick's grocery store chain had an in-store frozen food brand that had this kind of ravioli. I usually kept 4-5 boxes of that in the freezer. Paired with a salad or yogurt or warmed applesauce, it was a great lunch. I could get the ravioli in the "You Pick Two" option with my soup. Okay, I'll have that and the cream of chick...wait a minute. What's this? Autumn Squash soup? The gal behind the counter fetched me a taste. Oh my goodness. Yup yup. Butternut all the way. It tasted just like the version I have at home.

Here's my review of both items.

The squash is good. It's paired with a garlic cream sauce which, when I order this again, I need to ask for light sauce. I just don't understand why food preparers have to slather sauced food with so much. You're to compliment the food not drown it. I'm not a fan of the fried onions but those are easy to remove. The butternut flavor is complimented by the arugula. It's a satisfying dish. I like the carry out dishes Panera has, too. The bowl is a paper composite which is supposed to be completely biodegradeable. Of course I shall conduct experiments to see if this is true. Compost heap, here it comes. I will add this, occasionally, to my You Pick Two menu, but it won't replace anything.

Now comes the soup.

It probably looks better in a bowl but I have to eat lunch at my desk so their 'to go' cups are what I have. It is heaven, sheer heaven. It's rich and creamy with just a hint of sweetness to it. The full flavor of butternut comes through. They serve it with roasted pumpkin seeds. I don't think it needs the seeds, but then, I could eat this for days running and not be tired of it.

The only problem I can see is that now I have to decide on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I usually get the cream of chicken with wild rice, if I want this instead. Pay day is next week. I fantasize about walking into the grocery and buying all the butternut squash they have and making soups and stews.

If you're looking for a hearty, rib-sticking meal, adding this soup to your lunch is perfect. It will be a blessing as the days turn colder.

Beverage:  Water


Crafting in September-Project Curtains Done

I finished the last set of curtains last night. Side door done.

The stiff seersucker fabric makes the curtains hang very nice and straight. As I was sewing the hem, I had a momentary panic that I'd forgotten which way the fabric was to go and the stripes wouldn't be the same. Once I hung them from my rod, that panic disappeared. I did have to cut a foot off the panels for the hem. My inability to do math properly strikes again. Oh well. Carole says she loves them. I can't wait to see them hanging on her side door.

So, what's next? Well, while roaming the JoAnn Fabrics in search of items for another craft project, which I can't really show until after the gift is given, I stumbled upon a Star Wars fabric they didn't have at the JoAnn closest to me.

Is this not awesome!? I have to finish the above named project and then I can work with this. Oh do I have plans for something. Stay tuned.

Beverage:  Water



My job takes me into a variety of places. We usually meet maintenance guys and security personnel. I've come to see that these people, while respected, are sort of ignored unless someone needs something. They go about their business nodding at people going in and out of the building, but people don't generally take the time to chat. As my job involves getting into areas of buildings which are usually off limits to the average person, I've discovered that if I give these people 15-20 minutes of my time just to talk to me, I'm their best friend, for life. Indeed, I have gone back into buildings some 4-5 years after we were first there and encountered maintenance or security people who remember me. Plus, if I have to get into the building again, having listened to them talk about anything, means they view me in a positive fashion and my request to get into the room with our equipment isn't considered an imposition.

When you ask how they are doing or how long they have worked at their job or what's the best or worst thing they have encountered, you'll hear all manner of stories. I've heard about families. I've heard about pets. I've heard really interesting stories about jobs such as the $50,000 mice which are used for research. I was reminded of one rather interesting story while inspecting this warren of rooms in the basement of a building on this large project we're doing. Someone mentioned getting lost in the maze and running into a ghost, since the building is not quite 100 years old. I'd forgotten this story but it bears repeating.

We were working in this big building that contained machinery at one end and offices at the other. It's a brick building, built in 1935, solid as the day is long. The project we were on was adjacent to it so I had to inspect the half of the building facing the project. There were large pumps and other machines I don't know in a very large room that was 3 stories tall. The biggest of the machines was in a pit two levels below ground.

There was a security guard at the building because of what was done there. I don't remember what was produced in the building. I just remember the size of the machine/pump room. It was kind of dark, a bit dusty, with water leaking onto the floor in corners. It was really noisy, too, with pumps coming on and off and machines clicking and whirring and grinding. Whatever they did was important enough to require an alarm to be let in, a badge, and a sign-in sheet.

I don't remember her name so I'll call her Eliza. She was a short Spanish-speaking lady with a lot of energy. She had a couple of sons in the military, had been married to her husband, at the time, for 35 years, and had worked for the security firm for 18 years, 15 of them spent at this facility. She liked it because it was "quiet", in that the building wasn't busy. There were times when there were a lot of people there, but anyone in the building was someone she knew needed to be on site.

The guards provide security 24/7 so you have to work all shifts. She'd been at the building a couple of years when the first incident happened. It was about 1:30 in the morning, she said. She doesn't bring in music and there isn't a radio in the security office. She prefers to read. While reading her book, she became aware of piano music. It was very soft and quiet. This was odd, but maybe the electrician, who had an office one floor below her, had set his radio to come on at an odd hour. She left the security room and the music stopped, but she checked out his office, finding the door locked. It was a bit unsettling but she'd speak to him the next time she saw him.

It was a couple of weeks before their paths crossed. He told her he didn't listen to music. He listened to sports radio. Confused, she shrugged it off as being tired. A month later found her working nights again. It was 3 in the morning when she heard the piano music. It was coming from the machine area. She opened the door to her office, stepped into the main room and the music was loud, as if she was standing next to the piano. Terribly scared, she called the security company who had people staffing their main offices 24/7 to handle emergencies. They told her to get to the front door and wait. "They must have driven 90 miles an hour through Chicago because they were there in 10 minutes." She was sitting on the floor, completely scared and shaking like a leaf, next to the front door when they arrived.

One of the things the guards do at shift change is walk the building together. They make sure of who is in the building and that things supposed to be locked are locked. When she had arrived on that day, they'd done a sweep. She should have been the only person in the building. Loud piano music was not acceptable. The two people from her company went with her through the building. They could find nothing and, of course, there was no piano music. Seeing how upset she was, they called the police and the building's owner. Soon, there were a dozen people poking in everything, from lockers to electrical rooms to the unused stairwell in the northwest corner. Nothing. They could find no one. They decided that someone had parked on the street next to the building and cranked up their car's radio. They would make a note of it and add extra police patrols by the building. "They could say it was a car stereo but look where my office is. I know what I heard." Her office was in the middle of the building, down the main hallway. If someone had cranked up the stereo, they would have alerted other buildings in the area.

For the next few months, the piano music was soft. Sometimes, it was in the office. Sometimes, in the hallway outside the office. She started hearing it on her other shifts, as well. She could not figure out a pattern. It was played randomly and it was not the same song two times in a row. It didn't seem to be threatening but she was getting spooked by it.

Then, one day, the door alarm went off. Outside the door stood a tall, well dressed black man. "I will always remember how finely tailored his suit was, the tilt of the hat on his head and he had a red pocket square. I remember how bright red it was." The man stated that he had once worked at the building some 60 years ago, when he was 15. He wanted to know if he could have a look around. He just wanted to see the building where he'd spent his youth. She couldn't let him in without clearance. He was persistent so she had to get the electrician to talk the guy away. He returned the next day with his business cards and told her to run a check of him. She sent his cards to her boss and the owner. A check of records indicated he had, in fact, worked for this company some 60 years prior. The owner said she wasn't to let the guy in. "We don't give tours," was the response. Her boss, however, told her that if the guy came back, to let him have 15 minutes. "He's not going to hurt anything."

A couple weeks later, the guy returned. With the electrician accompanying them, they walked the main hallway. The man recalled names of people who were in the offices when he worked there, how the building had beautiful leaded glass windows and all the transoms over the doors, which were now wood, had been painted glass. Because the building was built in the depression, money was provided to put artists to work and they made the windows and transoms. He walked to the pit where the machines are and remembered sweeping up dirt and debris and helping the maintenance men keep the pumps in working order. He remarked how much quieter things were than when he was there.

Then, he looked at Eliza and said, "You know, two guys died in this building." She said she just stared at him. He nodded. "See the hoist. (There is a hoist spanning the building. It's used to replace the large machines in the pit.) They were replacing a machine and the guy moving the hoist had been yelled at to slow down. He was moving things too fast. Well, they had a machine on the hoist, all the way at the top and he was to move it toward the door where a truck was waiting for it. He started moving it fast and people were yelling at him. Then the superintendent yelled that the machine was tilting and people needed to run away. It broke loose, fell, and crushed two guys. They died instantly." She said he looked down into the pit with a very sad look on his face. Then he pointed to the southwest corner of the building. "The sad thing is that it killed a guy who loved to play the piano. They had a piano in the southwest corner over there, for him to play on his break or lunch or when he didn't have anything to do."

Eliza said her blood went cold. She shivered. She said she couldn't speak. The man nodded and thanked them for letting him remember his youth and left the building. She never saw him again. "I hear the piano player. I swear that's got to be him. I hear it more since that man was here. I hear him. I'm not scared anymore because I know he's just here to play his piano."

About a couple months later, she was working nights. She hadn't heard the piano since the man had been there. "You how you're reading or doing something and you just know you have to look up? You're not sure why, but you have to? I have that feeling. I look up and turn my head to the right. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a man's shadow come out of the locker room, turn left and go down the hallway." The employee locker room is located across the hall from the security office. It's always been there, from the time the building was built. She said she was angry that someone would still be in the building, so she jumped up, threw open her windows and was preparing to yell at whoever it was and, of course, because you know what's coming, there was no one in the hall. She stormed across the hallway into the locker room and, of course, there was no one there. She said she shook her head and thought maybe she was tired.

But, a few days later, it happened again. It was the same time, between 1 and 1:30 a.m. It was the same scenario. She would feel the need to look up toward the locker room and the shadow of a man would exit the room, turn left and head down the hall. If she turned to look at the shadow, it would be gone. "I believe it's the other guy going home. He's done with work and he's going home. Because I think this is what it is, I am not scared. They aren't here to harm anyone. The music is never at the same time and the shadow never appears on the same day as the music. It's those two guys." She was completely convinced in her experiences.

Now, I believe there are some things which we may never fully understand. I had one experience after my dad died that causes me to believe there is another world, another layer to perception, that is sometimes opened to us. Piano music provided by a person who died in a tragic accident? Sure. Why not? A shadow that is perpetually "going home". Sure. Why not? So many things are unexplained. Why can't they be a part of a world we can't always perceive?

I never did do the math to figure out when this accident would have occurred, to look things up in the newspaper. Something like this would have been covered so there should be a record of it. But with the memory of sitting in Eliza's office listening to her tell me this story, I'm tempted to do some digging. And then I wonder, what would I do if I heard the music? I wonder what he plays. I know a lot of music. Would I recognize the tune? I believe Eliza and I believe the place may be haunted, but not in a way that needs the Ghostbusters.

Beverage:  Dunkin' Donuts tea


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Opening Tomorrow

I get to go amazing places and non-amazing places with my job. One of today's locations was a repeat of the space from back in March, those balmy days in March when it was in the 70's and we were starting this crazy project. We're back in the same spaces and people seem to be reasonably understanding about it. It's one of those, "When it's done, it will be wonderful. It's just the getting to the done part that's awful."

Anyway, today's trek started at the National Hellenic Museum at the edge of Chicago's Greektown Neighborhood.

The museum is located at the corner of Halsted and Van Buren, just off Chicago's downtown, just west of the Kennedy Expressway. You can see the Kennedy from the west side of the museum. We had to invade their space and stick 2 more monitors in the building and I had to inspect the south side again. The previous visit was to an empty exhibit space. It's not that way right now.

We could see, yesterday, when we walked by the museum on the way to lunch, the staff doing the finishing installation of this exhibit. It opens tomorrow, Friday, so there is much scurrying about to get things ready.

The Beetroot Design Group has imagined monsters from Greek mythology and put them in a black, red and white color scheme. The result is, I think, fantastic, and hugely playful.

Look. A cyclops, with sheep.

How about a phoenix rising from the flames?

Or maybe you'd like a minotar, kneeling, wondering what you're doing in the middle of his maze. He was just eating his hay and you've walked in and disturbed him. (That's Gene and our client in the background waiting for the machine to call in.)

There are giant panels of painted artwork, too big for me to get into one frame of the camera. 

And pieces which would fit on a pedastle in one's living room 

I would buy a miniature of this piece. It's a black cat. I really love the bold colors. 

Each piece will be accompanied by the name of the monster represented, a poem and a brief few paragraphs about the monster. My Greek and Roman Mythology class, so very long ago, failed me, for I couldn't remember the monster in the painting nor the cat. The minotar and the cyclops are very familiar by virtue of their use in other art and stories. 

As much as I love the cat, these are, hands down, the stars of the exhibit, for me. 

Look at these. If this doesn't bring a smile to your face, you're too far gone. Chickens, flying chickens. You can see a graphic representation panel of all the monsters they have designed at the lower right. It's 35 feet long and 7 feet high. It was fun to just stand there and admire the images. These are representations of the Stymphalian Birds. Dealing with them was Hercules' sixth labor. According to the myth their feathers are bronze and they can shoot them like arrows. Their beaks are like swords and they fly at anyone who comes to kill them. Their poop is highly toxic and will kill people who touch it. They were terrorizing the town of Stymphalia and needed to be eradicated. 

Chickens. That's what theses are. I laughed. It was so fun to stand under them and just watch. When you heard the air conditioning come on, which you'd probably not hear at the start of the opening due to people noise, you could watch a very faint sway to the birds as you stood looking. It was not hard to imagine a flight of millions of these. I think I would be laughing too hard to do much about them. 

I am sorely tempted to return to the museum to see the final installation. I also have to admit that I'd pay money for a cat and a chicken. I love art that's imaginative and this certainly is. If you're a reader from the Chicagoland, NW Indiana, SW Michigan or SE Wisconsin area, do come and see this. It's delightful. 

Beverage:  Water


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Colors of Sunshine

So I'm sitting at the table having my Cheerios (see post below) and totally enjoying the sunshine of the first day of fall. It splashes over the table and everything on it. I have to take a bunch of pills every morning. Most of them are vitamins, but it's still a lot. I have the sewing machine set up to finish the curtains and to progress to Christmas presents. I'm already thinking that far ahead. I have all this fabric. Oh! I know what I can make. Inspiration comes from everywhere.

I put my pills on the sewing machine and the sunshine caught them.

The various colors of cream and white are quite interesting to me. There's the cream-clear gel of the vitamin D in the back and the cream of the round folic acid in the front. And the white of the diuretic and the zinc and magnesium. Contrast that with the stark white of the sewing machine and the lightly gold tinged sunlight. There's beauty in everything if you just look. You could say it makes taking all of these an exercise in art consumption.

The sunlight also illuminated the curtains on the table.

Look at how the fabric glows. This is exactly what, in my mind's eye, I wanted for Carole's side door. I wanted sunshine and happiness and color. The side seams are stitched and tonight I will pin and sew the top for the rods. The fabric is quite stiff and will hang beautifully. Now I'm thinking I should make curtains for my house. I have rooms that would benefit from a sprucing up of new curtains.

Beverage:  Scottish Breakfast tea


Officially Fall

I declare it officially fall.

I was involved in a conversation with guild mates and someone referenced pumpkin pie. Drat. That was all I could think of, pumpkin pie and Cool Whip. I wound up at the grocery looking for a half pie. They had half pies in fruit based pies and I almost got the blackberry. It looked so good. But my heart was set on pumpkin which wasn't available as a half. Gosh, I had to spend $5.00 for a full pie. I now have pie for lunches and dessert after dinner.


Beverage:  Scottish Breakfast tea



I got a balloon on Sunday.

The original recipient didn't want this. Balloons and cats seem to go together, thanks to the curling ribbon. I tried to entice someone into play.

She chewed for a bit but the ribbon isn't as long as some of them so when the balloon is up against the ceiling, they can't reach it. Pilchard doesn't seem to be remotely interested in this. Maybe when it loses some of its helium and floats lower in the living room, I'll see more play.

Dragging the measuring tape around yields better results.

She attacked that ferociously. We had a great time, for about 10 minutes, of my dragging the tape across the recliner and her charging after it. It's kind of hard to get good photos when you're playing with the cat.

I'm on a Cheerios kick right now. I bought the biggest yellow box I could get and that's what I'm going to have for breakfast. I should have bought bananas, too, but I didn't think about that. I have to take pills in the morning and Mija knows that when I sit down with a bowl, chances are very good, there's milk in it.

I usually pour a bit extra so I have my cereal, use the residual milk to wash down my pills and then have a tablespoon left for her. It depends upon the cereal I've had whether she actually drinks the milk. When I have chocolate Chex, she's not interested. But when it's Cheerios without bananas, she's almost in my bowl with me.

Ah, life with cats.

Beverage:  Scottish Breakfast tea


Friday, September 19, 2014


There's been a cycle of rain, chill, warm, rain, chill, warm in this month. If I had the money, I'd get the drive redone to remove the puddles, make the drainage to the street better. I buy bags of gravel and spread it around but, over time, the gravel disappears and the puddles come back.

But if I got rid of the puddles, I'd deprive myself of this.

Raccoon tracks. Annoying buggers, they are. They come up onto the deck and mess up the birdbath. I'll have the feeling someone is watching me, turn to look out the office window and see a pair of beady black eyes looking in at me. About this time of year, I get the single males or females nosing about. During the summer, it's usually the juveniles traveling in duos or packs. The new garbage can has thwarted their attempts at dumpster diving, thankfully. I've had only one incident all summer of the garbage being strewn about.

Footprints remind me that we share our lives with all manner of animal. I never saw raccoons on the farm as I have seen them in suburbia. Skunks? Oh yeah, but not raccoons or opossums. Maybe they were too skittish, too wild, to be a part of farm life. In the urban environment, they have to be bold to survive. We enable them with our smorgasbord of foodstuffs just waiting to be picked and then we complain when they leave wrappers in the birdbath.

I think about getting another bag of stones and filling in this puddle before winter comes. Meh, maybe not. I think I'll wait until spring of next year.

Beverage:  Dunkin Donuts tea


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Crafting in September-Finished Kitchen Curtains

Curtains for Carole's kitchen are done.

That window is short. I still bought six inches too much but it didn't feel really wasteful in the pocketbook to lop off six inch strips. I dropped those pieces into the quilt scraps box.

I started the last pair, a set for the side door.

Instead of a Star Wars or Star Trek print, I opted for something brighter. Ninety-five percent of the people who come to the house come in through the side door. Carole's favorite color is yellow. I wanted those curtains to be bright and cheerful and to radiate sunshine and happiness. Plus, the only other themed fabric was dark and this window faces south. It's going to fade over time. I think there is nothing worse than faded dark fabric. If they are in the house long enough to cause this to fade, it won't look bad.

The problem is that the door window is only 22 inches wide. The fabric is 44 inches wide. Ah! Just cut it in half., that won't work.

See, I have to hem the sides and once I put that in, the fabric width shrinks to about 20 inches which is not wide enough for the door. Plus, she has two small rods on the door, each about 14 inches in width. So I was going to need to lop off some of the width of the fabric. (See how happy a design this is? Yes, it's seersucker. I've always liked that kind of fabric.)

I started measuring and realized that seersucker, with its gathers, has a line I can follow without pinning. Very carefully, going slow, I followed the line outside the pins and cut off a portion of the width. The window is just as long as the kitchen window so I anticipate having to lop a bit off the bottom. The excess is in the quilt box. Some day...

Because I'm working with two rods, I have to then cut the remaining chunk in half.

The nice thing about the weight of seersucker, when I folded it in half, made sure that the edges matched, and ran my hand along the fold, it stayed folded. It did not move as I slowly cut the piece in half. Here's the result.

One piece has the printed edge, which tells of the fabric's maker and has the dye numbers on it. That seam, which is usually one half inch wide, gets folded over and stitched. The actual cut edges I have to turn twice to prevent unraveling. That's why I had to cut more than just severing the fabric in half. There needs to be enough, when completed, to cover the width of the window.

One piece was pinned for the start of the side seams before I went to bed. I have to change the color of thread in the machine now. I'm thinking black is not a good match.

Beverage:  Water


It's Coming

Next Monday, Autumn begins. There have been changes in the yard to remind me that fall is coming.

It's too chilly at night now to have the windows open. I have to remember to open them before I leave or the house seems close when I come home. Funny how it doesn't feel that way once November comes and I have all the windows covered in plastic. I know some people love it when the night temperatures dip into the 50's. I think good sleeping weather is mid to upper 60's. So, I go around closing windows at night and opening them during the day.

The other thing that's happening is the spiders are coming inside. I came home from work yesterday and decided to open the windows. We've had rain and a threat of it enough that I had been keeping the windows closed. But yesterday, the temperatures were in the 70's and there was not a reason to keep the windows closed, even though I have to shut them at night.

I go to open the living room window and my hand hits a mass of spider webbing. You can see one long strand in the photo but trust me when I say the whole bottom of the window was a mass of thin webbing. I opened the window and then got the broom to remove it. The girls usually sit over by this window because squirrels will go up and down the pine tree just outside it. I wondered why they hadn't been in the window. They didn't want to deal with it either.

And, on Monday, as I was brushing my teeth before bed, I felt something fall into my cleavage. Thinking I had misjudged a glop of toothpaste, I looked down to see a spider crawling across the inside of my pjs.

Now spiders don't necessarily bother me. Their benefit to the outside world in removing harmful insects is well known. If I find one, I usually chase it onto a piece of paper or the fly swatter and drop it outside. The operative word in all of this is "outside". That's where they really need to be and to stay. Crawling across the ceiling of my bathroom and then deciding to drop onto whatever they can find is not my idea of a beneficial insect.

I did not scream but I removed that pair of pajamas in record time. If there ever is a pajama removing contest, sign me up and tell me there is a spider in the top. I saw it later, crawling across the floor. before I could crush it, it darted into the pile of dirty clothes, which included the pajamas. I just scooped the whole pile up and dropped it into the laundry chute. Maybe the weight of clothing, including pairs of jeans, will crush it.

This morning, we had fog, another harbinger, at least in the Midwest, of the arrival of fall.

I don't remember when the last time was this year that weather conditions produced morning fog. I love how it makes the world smell. There were minor delays at the airports because it kind of rolled in unexpectedly but it wasn't that heavy.

We haven't had a heavy, can't see your hand in front of your face type, fog in years. I'm wondering if that's a product of global warming. Conditions are just not right anymore to develop that kind of "peering through waxed paper" fog. The world looks so different when it's foggy. We see more of this as fall approaches.

I need to buy more hot cocoa and some pumpkins and some apples.

Beverage:  Water


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Like I Need More Ideas

Last year, I got a free issue from this magazine, Just Cross-Stitch. I don't really need more patterns and ideas for cross-stitch, but it's such a neat magazine. Here is the issue I received today.

As if I needed more ideas to make. I have not looked through it, as of this post, but I can see post its stuck on all pages with names of people who would love a handmade ornament. Look! A cat!

When I was buying the fabric to make the curtains, I spotted this magazine on the rack.

It's a British magazine. It's an odd size, taller than our usual magazines. What I liked about it is the needle case. The black is a magnet. The top is a ruler to measure the thread-count of your fabric. It shows everything from 12 to 32 count, which would be linen.

I know. I know. I don't need any more magazines, but, look! A needle case. I'll be back to cross-stitching next year. I have so many ideas.

Beverage:  English Breakfast tea


Crafting in September-Curtains 2 Done

The second set of curtains are done.

They came out as nice as the first ones. I added a bit to the pocket and that made them easier to get on my curtain rod. This is a lighter weight cotton than the previous fabric, but it still hangs well. Mija approves.

Once I finished these, I laid out the fabric for the kitchen curtains.

I have wash and dishes to do. I should sweep the floors and the deck. The squirrels are digging in the geraniums. Fall is coming and they are looking to bury food for the winter. But, I'd rather be sewing.

Beverage:  English Breakfast tea