Saturday, April 30, 2011

T-2 and Sick of Packing Boxes!

I really, really, really shouldn't be messing around on the computer.  After all, I don't have most of the computer gear packed away, and I should by now.  Crap.

So what I did last night when the boys were all asleep was to really learn how to use my scanner.  I installed a new program (thank you kind tech at Canon) and decided to do some of my wedding pics.

It was such juxtaposition to see the London wedding and the tornado damage on the split screen, that I realized I have a lot of pics that I don't want to lose.  So here's a little trip down memory lane to August 13, 1983.

First Presbyterian Church of Maumee, Ohio

Me and DH

Hey Kate and Will~~this is how it's supposed to be done.

Bad Amy & DH, Me and my Daddy

Bad Amy and her Daddy.  Now you know why I fell in love with the two of them.

My Mom and Dad.  Bless their souls.

 Some day, I'll write about our wedding.  Not your normal stuff for us, no way.

And I got a cute surprise from Nanc today!  I love my bloggy friends.  It's so sweet!  Thanks, Lady.

And last but not least,  

Dear FBI,
These are my fingers.  Honest, I have fingers.  You just can't see the little lines, but I promise they exist.  Please adjudicate me asap.
Love, Ranger Anna

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blessings During This Season of Renewal

Regardless of your religious and spiritual beliefs, it is the season of renewal.  May you and yours enjoy its blessings.

And I'm in a panic.  Should I pack or sew?  Where's my "Who Wants to Be a Wolf Watcher?" stuff so I can fix the numbers for this year?  How much fabric should I take?  I'm not going to take our groceries this year, so what do I need?  How do I leave room in the cargo trailer for the groceries we pick up when we get to Bozeman?  Which route will be safer/saner this year? 


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sewing Blitz

I am counting the days now.  It's sort of a wasted effort until my fingerprints clear, which they won't.  But I'll be adjudicated yet again, so let's hurry up and do that, eh?

Sally Seam Rip-Her, #5/8, and her proud Mama

Knowing that I'll have to close up the crafty corner soon, I sewed like a mad woman over the week end.  And then BadAmy and Sally Seam Rip-Her made me go to the fabric shop with our stash of coupons.  I'll need to have fabric when I get home, doncha know. 

 First off, FTD's teeth came out okay.  He went back to school today, even though last night his eyes turned black and green and he looked like he'd been in a bar fight.  But he got through the day with some tylenol.
Sleepin' and droolin' like a baby. Thank goodness for iPods.

Next up, Bad Amy got her second yarn club shipment out, to rave reviews once again.  This one is called La Violeta Stripe.  Want some?  Too bad, it's a club exclusive.  So unless you're on Ravelry and can sweet talk someone out of a skein, ya ain't gunna git any.

Now to the sewing extravaganza.  I finished the log cabin squares for pillows.  Each one is quilted differently, as I'm trying to find ways to machine quilt without A) spending hours doing that and B) falling asleep at the wheel.  BadAmy hates the color.  She says the yellow is burn your eyes out yellow.  Hrumph.  See if she gets a pillow present any time soon....

The next project was a bunny.  It's a panel print by Benartex called Montana Modern.  I just added batting and backing, stitched around each block and in a couple other places, put on a binding and done.  I'm going to hang this at the office in our never ending attempts to class the place up.

Lessee, then there are the ones that I have to get done and quilted and bound before we leave.  This is how the pillow thing got started.  Making the strips for log cabin blocks is like eating chips and dip.  Sometimes you run out of chips first and need more dip.  Then you have left over dip, so you need more chips.  Okay, so I had a few left over strips.  Then I didn't quite have enough.. . and on and on.  I also couldn't decide on which icons for the border.....these are for my retiring ranger peeps remember.  I was talking with my niece "Sally" and suddenly had the idea.  Then I needed just the right fabric.  Then we spent a couple hours at the store. Then I didn't even use the fabric I picked out.  So there you have the creative process.  These are 'heat-n-bonded' on, and I was hoping they wouldn't need to be appliqued but yes they sure do.  That's tomorrow's project.  Did I mention that there are two of these?

Last but not least is a new batch of Kind Hearted Lady Lives Here mug rugs.  I found this calico and fell in love with the soft, girly colors.  You know the Calico Cat...

I made five variations of this for five fabulous friends.  I'm also on a stripey binding kick.

Bestest Ever Friend Ginny and her hubby stopped by this evening for a precious hour on their way home from Arizona to Michigan.  We try to get more time together, but this is all we could squeak out this year.  Sigh.  Ginny now has her Calico kitty.   They should be pulling in the drive way right about now. 

     The Duel

    THE gingham dog and the calico cat
    Side by side on the table sat;
    'Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
    Nor one nor t'other had slept a wink!
    The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
    Appeared to know as sure as fate
    There was going to be a terrible spat.
           (I wasn't there; I simply state
           What was told to me by the Chinese plate!) 
    The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"
    And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"
    The air was littered, an hour or so,
    With bits of gingham and calico,
    While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
    Up with its hands before its face,
    For it always dreaded a family row!
           (Never mind: I'm only telling you
           What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
    The Chinese plate looked very blue,
    And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
    But the gingham dog and calico cat
    Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
    Employing every tooth and claw
    In the awfullest way you ever saw-
    And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
           (Don't fancy I exaggerate-
           I got my news from the Chinese plate!)
    Next morning where the two had sat
    They found no trace of the dog or cat;
    And some folks think unto this day
    That burglars stole that pair away!
    But the truth about the cat and pup
    Is this: they ate each other up!
    Now what do you really think of that!
           (The old Dutch clock it told me so,
           And that is how I came to know.)
    Eugene Field

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Autism Sucks, Dental Work Not Far Behind.

There I've said it.  Again.

There are days when we live relatively comfortably with autism.  Not many, but some.  But no matter how hard we try to ignore it,  it's there.  Damn.

Some days are better.  No fighting, which in our case is more brother related than autism related, no hassles, just a family doing family stuff.

Then there are the todays.

FTD had his wisdom teeth pulled.  I realize that for many it's a right of passage type thing.  How many of us had our third molars pulled in our college years?  I sure did.  DH, too.  But last October when FTD first complained of a toothache, the whole wisdom tooth thing didn't even occur to me.

FTD never complains about physical pain, unless it's way beyond what you or I could bear.  Last year when he had the flu, it wasn't until I found him lying on the cool tiles of the bathroom floor did I realize how rotten he felt.  He never let on.

I didn't know about the teeth until last October, when we were at the Scout Council Camporee celebrating the 100th anniversary of the BS.  We were getting ready to head to the Big ToDo, and he suddenly went into near panic mode.  We stayed behind, although in hind sight, we maybe should have packed up and headed home then.  But he said he wanted to stay and would take a couple of Tylenol instead.  (As an aside, it was announced that night FTD's beloved troop leader was selected to represent the Erie Shores Council in the BS Hall of Leadership, one of about 300 selectees nationwide.  Unbeknownst to me, someone had clued the powers-that-be in to the video I did of our Parent's Statement on his Eagle Application.  That letter was then used as the nomination letter for his leader.  Wow. Mark was presented with his award that night, and we missed it.  Damn. Aside #2, a mom of another boy with autism saw the same video.  Her son's leaders/District/Council were telling her that he couldn't really earn Eagle.  His COH is in May.  I wish FTD and I could be there....)

Back the the tooth saga.  In the past, we've used a dentist, Dr. T., who is not among our insurance providers.  He's a great guy, good friend, terrific dentist, but also not cheap.  At all.  We decided it was time to find someone within our insurance, and with any luck at all s/he would also be a Medicaid provider, so when the boys are booted off our insurance they could continue care and not have to go through the trauma of a new doctor in their lives.

Lo and behold, one of the two dentists in our other town is a provider.  She, Dr. N., took one look and said, "Well, that tooth needs a root canal, and as jumpy as he is, you'll need sedation therapy to get it done.  And I don't do sedation therapy."  Okie dokie.  So now I have to find a dentist, Dr. B. who is a provider and does S-IVs.  That took another month of phone calling and web-searching.  By then it was Christmas, and the good doctor was off playing golf (I'm quite sure) but we got FTD an appointment in January.  This appointment involved the anesthesiologist who specializes in dental IV stuff. She also gets paid in cash on the day of the treatment.

The weather couldn't have been much worse the day of the appointment but we made it.  (By the way, the doctor hilariously calls his office the dental spa.  Seriously? Is that why it's so expensive?)  They started working on him, in an attempt to fill 'several' cavities in the back teeth.  But they couldn't goof him up enough to get in there.  "What's that instrument called? What does it do?  Where did you get it? Why are you doing that?  When will this be done" and on and on.  The doc gave up.  There goes my $325 for S-IV that didn't work.  And he still needs a root canal. But the doc has a new idea.  After all, since his wisdom teeth are coming in sideways, you could have them pulled by Dr. S, along with the rotten tooth.  Then while he's still under from that, I'll fill the cavities. Sounds like a plan.

We call Dr. S.  He's booked until March.  Surprise, surprise.  We meet with him.  He says that the wisdom teeth and rotten tooth pulling will be covered by our insurance and Medicaid.  The cavity work, called dental restorations, mind you, would also be covered by our insurance.  The only thing we might have to pay out of pocket was the cost of the dental suite, so Dr. B. could do his thing. Okie dokie,  I'm thinking this will run us another $300.

Who knew I could be so wrong.  The cost for that would have been $2600.00.  What. The. F.

Cancel Dr. B.  Go back to Dr. T. and just get the damn thing fixed once and for all.  Dr. T. says, yeah, pulling the rotten tooth is a good idea. But says he, he can come in 'after work' at 1 p.m. and get the three cavities in his front teeth filled.  Front teeth?  What about the "several" cavities in his back teeth that Dr. B said needed to be filled, I thought but didn't say out loud. Dr. T said he could do it with laughing gas and a Valium.  For FTD, not me.  We did that last week.  Pretty dang easy.  $300, please.

So finally, the wisdom teeth came out today, along with the rotten tooth.  Only took us 6 months. And now, FTD is goofed up on vicadin or something, swelling up, drooling blood and slobber, and trying to listen to my iPod with an ice pack next to his face. There's nothing I can do for him for now, except to keep the ice cream and pudding coming.

And hold his hand.  It's what Mom's do.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

An Alleged Birding Trip & a Pillow Party

We drove over the the Lake Erie Marshes today-- the Magee Sportsmans Migratory Bird Center and the Magee Marsh Bird Trail and beach.  It's too early for the warbly's~~mostly, although Loopy says he saw his first yellow rump of the year (sounds like a personal problem to me).  I did see a robin.*  Wowza.

And my first butterfly of the year. I tried looking it up online, but that was a bust.  I have a butterfly book here somewhere, but it might still be packed up from last summer.  Anybody know what this is?

(Not my pic)
Also saw three ginormous dragon flies.  I was telling FTD about how my friend Rick N. takes pics of DFs and Damsel flies by catching them, cooling them in a cooler, taking their pic, and then they warm up and fly away.  Whadoyaknow, up walks Rick N. right at that moment.  I told him I saw the whoppers and he said he'd been looking but didn't see any.  I saw three!  I believe he said they were Green Darners--the big boys.  They are migratory and just arriving here.

The last time all four of us were in a good pic together. At Acadia, 2005.

This was the last chance all four of us will get to do something fun together.  It's not all that much fun when DH is complaining that he could be out splitting wood (like that woulda happened), FTD spends all of his time searching the car for a power cord for his DS, and DD spends all his time saying he's hungry then smacking FTD for no reason.  Yeah, we know how to have fun family trips.  They like it when we're there~~sorta~~but it's a pain to pull this off.   We did have a nice supper at Blackberry Corners, a local tavern frequented by birders, fisher and hunter persons.  Danny's favorite thing for the day were the dead birds on the beach.

Since I'm leaving early this year, I'll miss the Biggest Week In American Birding, as well as the waves of cool stuff that goes through here.  (Past posts about the BWAB here.)

*Okay, we also saw loads of mud hens, goosi, a couple of egrets, GBH, buzzards, a wren, and three birders who had all the answers.  I just didn't ask them any questions.  They did talk about the white Wagtail that folks are chasing up in Monroe Co. Mich.  If it weren't for the 6 mile hike I'd go up there for the hellofit.  It can usually only be seen in coastal Alaska or the Bering region of Russia.  Cool.  This is the third MI report.  One of these day's I'm going to figure out my life list. Yeah, sure, I'll get right on that.

I did see no fewer than 4 kestrels driving home from camp on Saturday.  We also had 2 hawks, probably coops, screaming at us in camp.

Crafty Time, Too.

I also got a little bit of sewing in before running away to Girl Scout Camp Libbey Friday and Saturday.  I love the way this turned out.  I'm making bigger wall hanging versions of this for retired ranger friends.  I had tons of strips left of some of the fabric so I made several extra blocks. I bought some pillows when they were on super-sale, not having any clue what I'd do with them, and this worked out.  I'm thinking Christmas presents already.  I went ahead and quilted the top--batting, backing the works, then sewed that to the back piece.  Worked out perfectly.  Even DH really likes it.

Hey, I just read about the Pillow Party! And looky here, my first pillow in ages.  I can't say much more because the aforementioned retiring rangers might be sneaking a peak!

And my friend Barb is the winner of the "When will the snow finally melt in the Duv's yard Contest."  Sometime Friday while I was at camp it all went bye-bye.  We'll get some more April snow, but it will melt quickly.  Then when we get to Madison Junction, we'll have to shovel our way to the laundry room.  Oh, well.  Today's hot, muggy weather reminds us why we go through the hassle of packing up and moving twice a year.

P.S.  I'll also be happier when I can actually put pictures and text where I want them in the blog.  I'm sorta picky about this kind of stuff, and it's frustrating to be so close and yet so far to getting the look I want.  Like it matters in the Big Scheme of Things.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Kids Outside and the Importance Thereof

 A fellow blogger, retired NPS Ranger Bruce W. Byntar hits the nail on the head with this one.  Check out his post on the (ill) effects of standardized testing here.
Metroparks of the Toledo Area Julie Streb at at 'owl' release in Oak Openings Metropark, Whitehouse Ohio

Kids of all ages watching bison at the Madison Junior Ranger Station in Yellowstone National Park.

Girl Scouts studying their plot at Secor Metropark, Sylvania Ohio.

My nephew, the Lil Ripper, enjoying Oak Openings Metropark the fun way.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Winding with BadAmy

Wanna have some fun?  Spend quality time with BadAmy in her fiber arts studio!

I've been winding yarn for her.  Miles and miles and miles of it.  This year she was coaxed/decided to do a stripe-y sock club.  The gist of it is that folks sign up and send in money for three skeins of yarn that are delivered over a 6 month period.  So 75 folks sent her some serious scratch for sock yarn which they then have to knit into socks!  Go figure.

As the Assistant Second Team Winding Lackey, I actually help unwind the yarn.  It comes in undyed hanks that are in loops about 40 inches in diameter.  We have to get them into loops that are nearly 30 feet in diameter. Lemme tell ya, this ain't no easy trick.  So you need a swift, a warping board, and books on tape to get you though.

This gizmo is an umbrella swift.  This is not how you want your yarn to look.  Oops. 

This is a warping board.  You determine how long you want your loops to be, then find a pattern of pegs that will do that for you. And you wind and wind and wind and wind.  I can do a skein in about 20 minutes, if the knot gremlins stay away.  Yeah, that will work.

 From the warping board the loops go to the tried and true back of the chairs for tying for dying, and washing and soaking.

Then the magic happens!  BadAmy dyes the yarn.  As with her ceramic glazes, the exact colors and combos are a tightly held company secret.  I have utterly no idea how she does this.  I do know that she must think in color.  I can look at a blue and a green and say, "Wow, nice blue and green."  She looks at the same colors and says, "This one has yellow tones, and this one has magenta tones, but if I change this to that....." and voila!  An incredible new colorway.  Awesome to watch her work.

To make self-striping yarn, you have to calculate 1) how big an average sock is and 2) how big you want the stripes to be.  Then you have to figure how much yarn gets color A and how much gets color B and so on.   Amy makes special colorway maps to keep track of her designs.

 See how the this yarn, called Kopoho Stripe is black on one end and varigated on the other?  When you knit it up, it makes stripes!  I'm surprised every time it happens!!  Isn't that just freakin' amazing?  This pattern is an exclusive color for BadAmy's current sock club.

These socks were knit by club and Ravelry member Shannonstitches.  Thanks!
After applying the dye, the yarn gets cooked, which can be done in several ways, but I'm not going to divulge BadAmy's secret to super-lustrous color.  Then the yarn air drys, which is where our basement with the radiant in-floor heat comes in perfectly.  Then it has to be wound ::again::, this time back into the 40 inch loops. BadAmy then packages it and ships it out. 

Amy has several other colorways--there are a bunch of Harry Potter things~~something about House colors, but since BadAmy says I'm a Muggle, I don't get it.  There's a Caf-pow, Dr. Seuss, a Halloween Kit series, and much more, but to check all of those out, go to BadAmyKnits on Etsy and find the sold products.

So I hear she needs some Nyphadora or Sytherien or something, so I'd better get back to the winding.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Seriously. I'm obsessed. Since I don't get to sew for 4 months of the year, it's like I'm trying to make up for lost time now. (I have decided to take the long strips out west for when I need fabric therapy. No thinking required, just a zillion strips to stick together.)

So instead of posting about how autism sucks--we got a full 'dose' of it this week, what with dentist appointments and all (all being taking both boys to the family doc and the eye doctor~~my nephew David, that is) or about the programs I'm thinking up for next summer, or of the ideas we've got for our GS Council's 100th Anniversary Celebrations, I'll just post these.

Table runner done~~quilted and bound. Yea. The quilt from this material is at a long arm quilter here in my hometown. She's been doing this for 3 years, but I just heard about her. I hope I like her work on the big ol' Gammil.

Loopy's bird butt mug rug is ready for the mail--thanks to another wonderful little bird who flew in with his address. He's been kinda blue lately what with all the crap that's going on with our state and federal elected officials acting like 7 year olds. Naw, that gives 7 year olds a bad rap...

So with all these done, I got some beautiful yellow and blue log cabin squares cut and sewed for presents for certain retired rangers. And there's lots of material left in strips so who knows what will happen with that.