Wednesday, October 31, 2007


"An opening in the trees now cheered him with the hopes that the church bridge was at hand. The wavering reflection of a silver star in the bosom of the brook told him that he was not mistaken. He saw the walls of the church dimly glaring under the trees beyond. He recollected the place where Brom Bones’s ghostly competitor had disappeared. “If I can but reach that bridge,” thought Ichabod, “I am safe.” Just then he heard the black steed panting and blowing close behind him; he even fancied that he felt his hot breath. Another convulsive kick in the ribs, and old Gunpowder sprang upon the bridge; he thundered over the resounding planks; he gained the opposite side; and now Ichabod cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should vanish, according to rule, in a flash of fire and brimstone. Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavored to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash—he was tumbled headlong into the dust, and Gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider, passed by like a whirlwind."
Washington Irving ~ The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Wishing you all a frightfully good trick or treat!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

56 Days

Every year, my mother drags out Christmas music in September (seriously, she’s nuts) and I always make some comment or other. I don’t break out the X-mas tunes until after Thanksgiving…when the decorations come out.

I can no longer chastise my mother for listening to Christmas music early. While listening to my media player at work, it went from Neko Case right on into a Christmas playlist and I didn’t realize it until I started singing along with Johnny Mathis halfway through the playlist. I was so involved in the work I was doing, that any and all music became background music.

You know, I didn’t intentionally put it on and I didn’t even realize I was listening to it right away…so it doesn’t count…right? Right?

It's the Great Pumpkin!

Tonight at 8:00, my second favorite Halloween special is on!

(the first being the cartoon version of Ray Bradbury's "The Halloween Tree")

Monday, October 29, 2007


light up devil horns: check
cauldron O' candy: check
spiderwebs in the windows and pumpkins ready to glow: check and check
We are all set for some tricks and treats on Mt. Vernon St!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lunch Hour

I spent yesterday's lunch outside, enjoying the last of the summer/fall cusp weather (warm sun, cool breeze).
The sky was that impossible blue, the leaves were practically glowing in the sun's light and the crows were playing on the front lawn of the State House.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sunrise Walk

This past Sunday morning, we were graced with continuing summer weather

There's nothing like taking a walk in a t-shirt, in late October, while the leaves are falling all around you. But those cool autumn temps have returned and the sweaters have been pulled back out.

Oh my sweaters, how I have missed you so!

(No new kitty yet. I think I will wait until after Halloween...after the week long visit of my folks...because if I bring a cat into my house right now, while my Dad is visiting - I won't hear the end of it. It doesn't matter that he doesn't live there or that I'm 30 years old, I will still hear "What do you need another animal for!? You've already got a cat...and a dog! Another one's just going to stink up the house...blah blah blah!" I just don't want to listen to it for the whole week that they're visiting.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Itty Bitty Kitty Update


Itty Bitty Kitty has gone bye bye. :^(

His owner came to claim him last night. It was sad to see that little bundle of cuteness go, but I had to.

When I called it a "him", his owner said "No, she's a girl"...I laughed and asked, "Are you sure?" - apparently they haven't taken it to the vet yet - the owner assured me that it was a girl. My my, are they in for a surprise! :^)

But this was a great thing to have happened. I've made the decision to get another kitty and I already have two phone numbers of people offering up free kittens!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Itty Bitty Kitty

Last night, my neighbors found a kitten. A little grey and black male tiger kitten with a jingle bell collar and a flea collar. Obviously, he belongs to someone. My neighbor's daughter went searching and we stood outside talking for an hour, but no one claimed him, no one could be heard calling for their little lost kitten. It was dark and well beyond dinner time, so we decided that I would take in this itty bitty bundle of cuteness and tomorrow (rather today), after work, we would make signs and resume the search.

I promised myself that I would not get attached. I've said for quite a while that, though I love kitties wholeheartedly and would like another cat, I have a wonderful and beautiful 8 year old grey tabby who has issues with sharing her domain with other felines (she only tolerates the dog - Sadie could be described as Tallulah's court jester). Well, I think I'm getting attached after only one night. I know, I know - this cat must belong to someone...but if they don't come looking...if no one claims him, I will.

He's so sweet, so lovable and litter box trained! He comes when you call to him; he curls up on your shoulder, purrs in ear and rubs his face against you with that little happy kitten smile. He stands his ground with the dog...he hisses and growls at Tallulah and she returns the favor, neither getting with in arms reach of one another. He has that little baby kitten meow and that kitty penchant for night time exploration (not a good thing for someone who gets up at 5:30 to start her day). By about 3 am, that damn jingle bell collar came off and kitty came to bed with me and Sadie. He was just so cute! He even tried his darndest to get into the bathtub when I took my shower this morning.
How could I not fall for this face?

His little face and his markings remind me of this fat cat when she was just a few months old
She always looks doped up in pictures...I really don't know why.

They look so much alike, she could be his mother!

If someone comes to claim him, I will of course give him back...but part of me hopes that no one claims him - is that bad? And even if someone claims him, maybe this is the Universe's way of telling me it's time to get another kitty. You see, I wasn't supposed to be home last night. Monday is the weekly dinner and t.v. night at Juli's house, but I begged off last night. I had some work to do and my house needed to be cleaned (still needs to be cleaned) and a bed to put back together before Mum and Dad come back up on I called Juli to say I wasn't coming out. I don't believe in coincidence - all things happen for a reason; I think my staying home last night was to be introduced to this sweet little thing and to come to the realization that it may be time for a new family member to be welcomed to Mount Vernon Street.

We'll see what happens; we'll make signs tonight. I've already put an add in the paper. We'll see...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mr. Sycamore

Have I ever told you about Mr. Sycamore? Mr. Sycamore was the maple tree that graced my front yard for about 17 years. He was a beautiful tree; always the first to bud and the last to change color and drop leaves.

I was probably 6 when my Dad transplanted this scraggly little maple twig from my neighbors yard into our front yard - it was barely taller than me and pitiful looking! We had just finished watching a movie about a man (Jason Robards) who wanted to find peace and quiet, and thought that his life would be better if he were to become a tree. Well the man's wife had him committed (she found him trying to take root in the backyard), but eventually he escapes the mental institute. I remember all these people chasing him and finally, when they think they've got him cornered in an area by the lake - they're surprised to find he's not there. There's just a lone tree standing by the lake, a tree that no one really remembers ever being there. It was very sad, but kind of sweet. The name of the movie was...(insert drumroll here)... Mr. Sycamore. And thus our little tree was named. The funny thing was that the name really stuck. We never called it the "Tree in the Front Yard", it was always "Mr. Sycamore" and everyone in the family knew what you were talking about.

Well, Mr. Sycamore grew into a gorgeous tree, like I said. But alas, the Ice Storm of '98 hit Maine. I was away at University, my family was down here without power for a week and every night at 6:00, I could be seen standing in my apartment in Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada holding my phone to the television (which was tuned to the Bangor, Maine news station) so my parents could listen to the news and weather forecast! I guess it looked like a war zone down here, but Fredericton was barely touched (we had about 3 inches of ice, but that was it).

By almost the end of the ice storm, Mum said she heard a god awful crack and then a thud against the side of the house. She looked out and there was Mr. Sycamore, split down the middle. Our beautiful shady tree was done for. Once the ice melted and spring settled in, Dad had to take the chainsaw to Mr. Sycamore - that was very emotional, we were very attached to that tree.

The following Mother's Day, my brother bought my mother a sugar maple sapling and she was planted in the same spot as Mr. Sycamore. We aptly named her, "Mrs. Sycamore." Mrs. Sycamore has been a slow grower, but she's 9 now and like her predecessor, she's the first to bud and the last to drop her leaves...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Yesterday Wrap Up and More on the Room Box

Everyone in my family is doing the dance of joy for me! I went out to my friends' house after work and we all had celebratory tacos. If anyone knows how to make you feel celebrated, it’s my friends! I swear they get more excited for you than you yourself are. :^)

But yesterday really was a red letter day! I had a smile on my face till I went to bed. I mean I got my step increase, the new job within my office that I wanted, I ordered cable (the very basic – I’m having issues with my rotary antenna and now I will have a clear picture on all stations. WHOO HOO!), my truck will be getting an oil change and a front end alignment next Tuesday and by the end of the month, I’ll have more than enough money to buy 4 new tires for my truck, which will make it pass inspection! I know, those sound like minor things, but when they weigh on you like a lead brick because you’re worried your vehicle won’t make it through a Maine winter – it’s a major thing. I feel like I can breathe now!

I also wanted to share picts of the “test” room box that I made, the completed cutting table set up and the finished magazine spinner:

This was made from fairly thick MDF that I had out in the garage. I want to increase the length and depth of my room boxes, so I think I'll have to head to the Big Orange Box (Home Depot) for some 1/4" MDF or plywood to make the real boxes. I haven't decided if I'll paint the inside or "wallpaper" with some scrapbooking paper, yet. I'll get a square of peel and stick linoleum for the flooring.

(Click on the pictures to make them bigger. I can't put them on Flickr yet, because my mother and aunt both look at my photos on that site - they don't read this, so I can share)

I was hoping to make these roomboxes up this weekend, but Mum and Dad are coming up to help me sheet rock. Guess they'll have to wait until Monday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Okay, here's the backstory...back in June, the Legislative Aide in my office let slip that he was looking for a new job. He's very campaign oriented and off session here is very, very quiet. You basically twiddle your thumbs and have to look for projects to keep you busy til January. So to hear this really didn't surprise me. My first thought was, "I want that job!" It's a higher pay grade and more responsibilities, but essentially I've been doing Legislative Aide work all along.

Well, the Legislative Aide went for several different interviews (and believe me, I was sending positive thoughts and luck with him to every one), but after two months, he was still looking...until about August, when he announced that he would be working on a Congressional campaign starting in January. I was rejoicing! Not that I don't like the guy, but because I wanted his job.

Just before we all headed to our staff retreat, I made my intentions known to my boss (Beth) and she seemed very happy that I wanted that job. She had a conversation with my Chief of Staff (that I happened to overhear) and it did not reassure me - even though I was only getting one side of the conversation, I gathered that he had other candidates in mind. But I let it go, thinking that if it was meant to be would be!

Anyhoo, two weeks ago my Chief said "I know you've expressed an interest in the job. And I not saying that we're giving it to you...but I'm not saying that we're not. I want you to be thinking of other ways that you can be of assistance to our members to get your face out there more, because after the next election, Beth is termed out and if Libby takes over this office, I'm gone too. We need to make sure that the rest of the members see you as an asset, so you can slide into any role that may come available and to keep you in a job." (that's the crappy thing about working here, it's all dependent upon elections, who has control of the Senate and whether or not you are an invaluable asset!)

So, today we had staff reviews with my boss and my Chief. They both said they're very pleased with my work and....


Seriously, I'm doing the happy happy dance of joy right now! Not only did I get offered the job I wanted, but my step increase went into effect today! Money's been a little tight lately (like a dress 6 sizes too small), so this has just been the best day!

Anyhoo, gotta go spread my good news to the rest of my family and friends!

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fran's Quilt

Fran's quilt is moving along nicely. I finished the center, now I just need to wash and dry it (pray it holds up), sandwich it and I think I'm just going to free motion two circles around each silhouette. I wish my camera could really pick up the sparkle in this quilt. When the light catches it a certain way, the glitter glue around the image shimmers with blues, purples and silvers.
Well, have a lovely weekend. For me, it'll be sheet rocking (I already have a few pieces up!) and carting fire wood to my folks house with my brother. Whoo hoo...yippee...I so can't wait...(oh yes, that was sarcasm)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

You know how I said I was creating a room box for my mum and my aunt? This is what I have so far for the "Quilt Shop" (well, what I've taken pictures of):

The hutch, magazine spinner (which isn't complete) and all the accoutrementsthe shop will have an array of fat quarters
and some very nice bolts of batiks this is the gridded cutting table in process. It's done now, completely glued and even has a mini gridded ruler and polymer clay rotary cutter to go with it.
I have two chairs with a green padded seats that never got used when I finished Juli's dollhouse. I think I need to make one more basket to go on top of the magazine spinner, more bolts of fabric, more thread spools and some quilt books for the hutch. I have some other ideas, but have yet to make them. I want to put the room box together first, start putting things in it and see how much room I have.
Anyhoo, that's what I've been up to, besides starting the sheet rock in this room (a project that should have been done a year ago, but alas procrastination is my middle name)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What A Bag!

The tote from my swap partner arrived on Saturday! Isn't it lovely?The liner fabric totally rocks!
And I was pleasantly surprised by the fabric love inside...
Oh so many wonderful prints
This is my favorite!
I was actually sporting it today on my way into work. It's just the right size for my lunch and any little odds and ends that need to come in with me.

Melissa, thank you from the bottom of my heart! I really love this tote and those fabrics are fabulous! You're tote will be winging it's way to you shortly.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Autumn Eye Candy from Maine

Snapped these while wandering around outside on Saturday, enjoying temps in the high 70's...our last warm day before true fall hit. By Monday I was dragging out my beloved sweaters and plasticing the single paned windows in the house!

One last little bee friend partaking in the pumpkin flowers...

Tallulah enjoying a rare bit of freedom
Sadie had had enough of picture taking. It was "nap in the grass" time.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Read the Directions, Even if You Don't Follow Them

Not too long ago, someone emailed me a copy of Kurt Vonnegut's speech to a MIT graduating class. It was pretty amusing, so I sent it to my mother.

One of his pieces of advice was "Read the directions, even if you don't follow them."

I am a doer, not a direction reader and have been known to say (and quite often), "Directions? We don't need no stinkin' directions!"

My mother is known for persistent asking, "did you read the directions" (when she's talking to me, this is normally followed by "God, you have no patience!") Since this email, she has taken to quoting Mr. Vonnegut's little piece of advice back to me ad nauseum, like it justifies 30 (31 next month) years of asking me this question (okay, so maybe not 30/31 years, but since I could read and comprehend).

Recently, I was trying to put a new blade into the scroll saw sitting in my garage. I'm fiddling around with it and finally, frustrated, I pick up the phone and call my parents (long distance).


*Me: "Ma, how do you change the blade on the scroll saw"
*My Ma: "I don't remember, it's been a while since I used it. Mark, she wants to know how you change the blade on the scroll saw. Here talk to your father." She passes the phone to Dad. He starts explaining about loosening this screw and that and doing this and doing that. Yeah...not making much sense to me, as I cradle the phone on my shoulder to still listen to my dad and continue to fiddle with the damn thing. Then faintly, in the background, I hear the voice of my mother repeat that time honored question, "ask her if she read the directions".
*My Dad: "Did you read the directions?"
*Me: "," and he tells me where they are. So I actually read the directions and yeah, still not working. And by this time, I'm just cranky enough that I'm cursing the scroll saw and this gets me a "God, you have no patience" from my mother. Needless to say, I didn't fix the scroll saw.


Before hanging up with my parents, I make the mistake of saying, "Oh yeah, the band saw blade needs changing too." All I get in response is a "read the directions."

My Ma stopped in at my house the other day and lickety split, changed the blade. What is it about a parents' ability to understand directions better than their children? Is it something that just happens when you have kids? Do you suddenly develop the patience needed to read directions? I don't have children yet, so I don't know.

Anyhoo, this whole story really is leading up to something. After a week without my camera, I was playing with it (I've owned this camera for almost 2 years) and I pressed a button and it did something took a super clear and marvelous picture of something really close up! I was psyched. Where was this button before? Why didn't I know that I had this ability to take such amazing close up shots? Oh...yeah...I never read the directions, I just started playing with it.

So I guess Kurt Vonnegut's advice is sound. And I guess from now on I should take a couple of deep breaths, reign in my frustration and "read the directions", even if I don't follow them. Now, I wonder where the book to my camera is...

Friday, October 05, 2007

One Down, Three To Go

I am happy to say that Juli's computer quilt is DONE (and as you can see, the camera is back in business)! I have to say that I did cheat. I didn't bind it; I did the Eleanor Burns sandwich, stitch and pull right side out method (so much faster). I just really despise binding!

When I started the computer quilt, my idea was to fold up the bottom of the quilt to create a pocket that your feet go into. Yeah...that didn't work and looked very dorky! So I revamped the idea and came up with a better way to create a place for your feet. The bottom corners of the quilt have button holes (you can see two buttons on the back of the quilt in the next picture. Just more of those wonderful buttons from Paula - I have used those on so many things!). You button the right corner to the right button, the left corner to the left button and the bottom of your quilt forms a point. On either side of that point on the back of the quilt, 2 pockets are created. You slide your feet into those pockets, wrap the quilt around you and sit down. Now you're toasty warm!

Here is the back - you can just see the free motion butterflies. I was very nervous about free motion quilting a design. I'm a good one for squiggles, stippling and spirals, but nothing else. I did use a pattern and made several practice butterflies to get the tensions just right. Here's an up close of the b'fly on the quilt topAnd this is the start of Fran's computer quilt. I've got to cut out 4 more silhouettes, but half the size of this and with different images to block off this center image. I'm so in love with this fabric (it's a Nancy Crow - her stuff rocks. I used her fabric in this)! I wish I bought another couple yards of it !

I have a few more projects in the works (Christmas presents for family) that I need to photograph and share. My fascination with miniatures has lead me to create a room box for my mother and my aunt of a quilt shop. I've painted 2 little hutches, created mini bolts of fabric, mini fat quarters, mini spools of thread and a mini magazine spinner complete with quilt books so far. I have several more ideas that need creating and thankfully, Mum fixed the scroll saw yesterday so I can start playing this weekend.

So for those of you who get Columbus Day (Canadian Thanksgiving) off, I wish you a happy three day weekend! For everyone else, I wish you a happy regular weekend!