Monday, August 31, 2009

What I Did on My Summer Vacation...

... or really, 'What We Did on Our Long Weekend."

Hans and I headed down to the boat on Friday night and we just now (Monday) got back. This is the only picture I took of what was to become Speed Boat Weekend. At one point our little Miss Kitty Catamaran was sailing along at about 3 knots (an eighty year old can walk faster), when about five of these boats, along with two helicopters from BoatPix.Com (flying I swear just inches above the water in an effort to get fantastic pictures of said speedboats) overtook us and sped off into the distance.

All that was needed, to complete this surreal picture, was the soundtrack from Miami Vice

We anchored in Swan Creek, just north of Rock Hall where we were met by the local Welcome Wagon. Actually it was a bunch of screaming, hungry, gulls.

This little fellow has a big piece of bread in his beak and has no intention of sharing.
(I don't know why I thought about my kids right about that time!)

This slightly bigger fellow, felt that sharing was indeed necessary. Check out the big hunk of bread in his beak.

I should have taken a video of the ultra big mouth, who screamed, "HA HA HA!" everytime a piece of bread or hunk of steak fat was (and sometimes wasn't) tossed overboard. (I swear I waited on the female human version when I worked at The Inn!).

He/she drove us (and most likely its comrades) nuts with its raucous screaming and I bet its the most unwelcome gull at his/her family reunion.

Our backyard for the evening.

The folks who own this land pay the property taxes.
We enjoy the view.

We were treated to a beautiful evening skyline while Hans grilled the steaks.

Just a few of the other folks who enjoyed anchoring for the night.

Scrabble is a wonderful way to pass an evening aboard an anchored boat.

It took us two nights to finish this game and we used every single tile!!!!

I'm not allowed to gloat about who won.

We were unfortunate enough to run over a crab trap (we heartily apologize to all crabbers, and I mean it!) back on the Fourth of July trip, and it's been bothering Hans ever since, that part of the crab line might still be hung up in a propeller.

Here is Hans, at our anchorage, all goggled up and ready to dive under the boat to check the prop. This is something I cannot and will not do! If the water isn't crystal clear and/or shockingly blue, I just can't do it!

He was relieved to report that all was clear except for the ton of scum he found coating the bottom of our boat and most likely contributing to our slower than normal sailing speeds. (Gross!)

Here we are at our dock and I'm wearing my sailing version of Simplicity 2939. It's such a comfortable dress and incredibly easy to make, especially if you leave out the side zipper. This one features sail boats on the skirt and a striped bodice.
I'm also carrying my recycled blue jean, Nicole Mallalieu Day Bag.

This is a close up of the bodice.

I just cut it on the bias and matched the stripes.

This is our dock at sunset. I love the line of the uneven pilings, and the silhouettes of all the different boats as they sit in their slips patiently awaiting their owners return.

I only allow this picture because it shows what a wonderful time is to be had when sailing with Hans, and it also doesn't show my rapidly disappearing waistline.
This week I have a light work schedule and I plan on a lot of sewing!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Meet Evvy Malkin; AKA Evil Kitty

The not so innocent Evvy.

I managed to go back home and visit with Baby Girl who just returned from Europe, where she went with her college soccer and volleyball teams. In addition to learning that they didn't go into the red light district while in Amsterdam (big sigh of relief on my part), I was informed that she spent most of her time as 'Mediator' to the many 'Bitch Fests' that took place amongst the girls. She finally asked the girls if they couldn't postpone their hissy fits for back home, "We're in Europe! God! Can't you guys just have fun?"

Anyway, when I walked into Baby Girl's apartment she handed me the house's newest member.

A very tiny, black and white kitten.

Very tiny.

And her name is Evvy (after Evgenie Malkin the hockey player who, BTW, shares a birthday with Hans!). She had been abandoned at around three weeks of age and had to be fed with a dropper at first, and now has something like four different kinds of cat food (Baby Girl said this last part with disgust), to choose from.

I held Evvy between my thumb and forefinger, and let her fat little belly rest in the palm of my hand while she very sweetly listened to my gushing exclamations of her beauty.

A tea cup weighs more than this little girl.

I totally ignored Baby Girl's warnings that Evvy might be evil.

Baby Girl had told me that Evvy's mother had shown up long enough to give birth to Evvy and her brother, in the garage out back, but soon afterward had vamoosed with the brother and left tiny little Evvy behind.

"Oooooo is so pitty!" I crooned to Evvy. "Oooooo is just so pitty!"

Evvy's nose twitched in the cutest way and she blinked her big blue eyes at me. I ignored Baby Girl's admonitions to 'be careful.'

"Oooooo is precious!" I rubbed noses with Evvy.

Baby Girl huddled in her chair and whispered, "Have you seen Orphan?"

Still tossing the exquisite little Evvy around, I said I hadn't, but I really wanted to. "It looks so scary though!"

"Well, that's The Orphan you're holding over there." she said.

"Huh?" I said, just as Evvy drew back her lips in a silent hiss thus showing me all of her 'not so tiny' and very sharp teeth.

She looked just like a cobra.

"Good God!" I shouted.

In addition to the silent hissing, via her suddenly unhinged jaw, Evvy added a routine that involved mesmerizing jujitsu style paw waving, and then she bit me.

"Good God!" I shouted again.

"I told you so!" Baby Girl announced triumphantly. "Her mother left her here because she's evil and you know what? She hasn't grown a bit! I was gone for ten days and when I got back the only thing about her that I can see is bigger, is her teeth!"

I dropped Evvy onto the couch and she immediately attacked my purse. She tore at the handles with claws that were as transparent as monofilament thread but as sharp as razor blades, and ripped at them with her many teeth.

I left her alone, hoping that she'd wear herself out, but if anything she picked up speed. It was finally decided that she needed to be put in her room (which is the bathroom with a litter box) and away she went.

I departed for home and was thankful that I don't live in Maine, where Mr. Stephen King resides, and where all kinds of strange and crazy things happen to ordinary people who have ordinary pets.

Update: Within a week I had to make yet one more pilgrimage back home and I stopped at Baby Girl's apartment. She was out on her front porch, working on her computer. And who do you think gamboled and cavorted her way across the porch to greet me?

Well certainly not Baby Girl. She hasn't cavorted for her mother in a long time.

It was Evvy and she was at her most charming.

She only bit me once and Baby Girl explained that they finally came up with the, spray bottle full of water punishment technique, in an effort to dissuade little Evvy from her evil ways. Everytime she's bad, she gets sprayed.

Out on the porch.

Hiding on the porch.

Baby Girl (who turns 21 this week!) also hiding on the porch and yelling, "Gawd!!! Go away, Mom!! Go away!!"

She never used to talk to me this way!

Where's that damn spray bottle!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A "GO STEELERS" Diaper Bag

Back in January when we were in Europe on business, another couple made the trip with us.

They were a lot younger than us and expecting their first baby this summer.

We were together for two weeks and I consider myself to be very lucky that New Mom and I got along very well.
Anyway this couple are HUUUUUGE Steeler's fans and our trip coincided with the playoffs. We were in Paris and on football night they came down for dinner completely outfitted in their Steeler's jerseys and asked Hans if any of the bars would be showing the game.

Hans had to inform them that this would most likely not happen as the French don't give a hoot about American Football, and given the time difference, also next to impossible.

We found out the next morning that they'd been able to find the game on the Internet (it wasn't cheap either!) and had watched until something like four in the morning before finally calling it quits.

It turned into a very long business day for the husband half of that team,

On the 4th of July they welcomed a little female firecracker into the world.

All of 9 pounds and 2 ounces.

And I finally finished their gift.

Football season is approaching and what better gift for a future Steeler fan than a Steeler Diaper Bag. I realize it's not frilly but so what. I also have a feeling that Dad is going to be a very hands on father and if he's going to be dragging a diaper bag around it may as well be a bit sporty!

This is a version of Nicole Mallalieue's Beach Bag. The above picture shows the inside pockets on one side of the bag. I put pockets around the entire interior and divided them into 2 on one side, and 3 on the other. I added a zippered gusset to the top and used a heavy duty zipper.

I also made the strap adjustable. Mom is about 5 feet 2 inches tall, and Dad is over 6 feet tall. I made a small zippered wallet to go with it.

The bottom is black and has 6 purse feet!!!! Hopefully this will keep the bag a little bit cleaner. I also Scotch Guarded it.

I got my adjustable sliders from Nicole as well. They are super nice and add a very classy touch to this bag.

I couldn't leave well enough alone and had to make myself a Steeler (or Stiller as it's called in the 'burgh) dress. It's my Simplicity 2939 dress and believe it or not I've made 2 more dresses from this pattern. I'll post them later.

It's just too cute but Hans wants me to make one from Raider's fabric (for me not him!!!) and if I can find some, I will!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

As the Stomach Turns Part V

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV

My total exhaustion, coupled with the delayed effects of my sleeping pill, caused me to sleep through the usual morning hospital noises. Nurses changing shifts, breakfast delivery, and a nonstop talking roommate, I slept through it all. I barely remember Hans stopping in on his way to work and suddenly it was time for me to be taken off for my colonoscopy and endoscopy.

Remembering how nasty I'd been to the compulsive talker of the night before I really had no desire to see her face to face but I needn't have worried. She had her entourage on the other side of the curtain that consisted of her husband (who was eating and criticizing his wife's breakfast), the doctor who couldn't get a word in edgewise, and and a nurse who was trying to take the talker's blood pressure etc...

As I was wheeled into a very cold room, my gastroenterologist gave me a cheerful greeting, and the procedures that were to be performed upon me were explained. He said that a mild sedative would be administered through my IV and that while I would be awake for the procedures, I would be in a very relaxed state.

Easy to say when you're not on the business end of a Roto-rooter!

An Endoscopy involved a tube being inserted into my stomach via my nose and I would be required to swallow the tube upon command. I felt a surge of panic as I'm horribly claustrophobic and I wasn't sure I'd be able to follow through.

A colonoscopy involves a tube being inserted in a whole different part of the anatomy and doesn't require any cooperation at all.

I had one simple request.

If they only used one tube for both procedures, I asked if they wouldn't mind doing the endoscopy first.

It took a second before this sunk in and then the doctor laughed and assured me that it wouldn't be a problem at all.

Whether it had anything to do with my request or not, he started with the endoscopy and the nurse explained that they had to spray my throat.

"Now this stuff doesn't taste good and you'll find your throat going numb. When I tell you to swallow, swallow."

She sprayed my throat with what looked like a can of WD-40 complete with the skinny little attachment that causes the spray to zero in on its target.

I gagged as the vile concoction foamed in my throat, and when asked for my description of what I thought it tasted like, I immediately answered, "Hot cat piss." And then I clarified myself. "Sizzling hot cat piss."

The nurse loved it. This was by far the strangest description she'd ever heard and to this day I've no idea if anyone has ever come up with anything better. My throat went numb and I tried my hardest not to panic. I kept assuring myself that I could breath but it was scarier than hell to not be able to feel myself swallow.

And then it seemed like seconds later that I heard my doctor saying I was done and they were taking me to my room.

"But I didn't swallow yet." I said, and wondered why my throat was sore and my voice so hoarse.

They assured me that I had done everything they'd asked, and didn't I remember anything?

No I didn't remember a thing, and to this day I wonder if indeed I was conscious, what the hell I may have said during our time together.

I'm probably better off not knowing.

I arrived back to a room that still contained a chirping roommate and her sullen silent husband, but I was so groggy I didn't care a bit.

The TV blared, yap yap yap went the roommate, lunch time was in full swing, and I still dozed on and off.

I certainly didn't give a hoot about my test results.

There was a great deal of hoopla in the bed next to me when a nurse arrived, with a wheelchair, in order to haul old Leather Lungs away. Did she have everything? Did she have all of her instructions? Did her husband bring the car or the truck because she didn't like the truck, were they sure her sugar was okay, shouldn't her bandage be changed one more time, could she take the mouthwash and kleenex the hospital had given her... I heard her voice trail all the way down the hall to the elevator, and then there was blessed silence.

My heart lurched when I realized that even though she was gone, someone else was sure to take her place, and so far I was batting zero.

Shortly thereafter my doctor poked his head in the door and asked if I was awake and ready to talk to him.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

As the Stomach Turns Part IV

Part I, Part II, Part III

While the nurses loaded all of my gear onto my bed (with me still in it as I was in no shape to hike down the corridor) in order to wheel me to my new room, Elizabeth demanded to use the bathroom ("you have a catheter Elizabeth, you don't have to use the bathroom!"), and complained about the noise we were making.

Down the hall we went and I prayed that whoever was dragging my IV along behind us could keep up as I had no desire to see it ripped out of the back of my hand.

After the nurses had settled me into my new spot, and I drew in a huge thankful breath of Non-Elizabeth air, one of the nurses got in my face and said, "I'm warning you, your new roommate is a talker so if you want some sleep you'd better be quiet."

"Oh my God! Are you kidding?" I hissed. "I don't want to talk to anyone! For God's sake I just want to go to sleep!"

"I'm just warning you, that's all." She made it sound like Elizabeth and I had just spent the last 6 hours giggling together like school girls.

As God is my witness, I was just dropping off when out of no where my roommate started screaming for help. Surely I'd died and gone to Hell, because there could be no other explanation.

I heard feet thundering down the hallway and suddenly the room was lit with what seemed like a million, thousand watt bulbs. Too many nurses, all talking at the top of their lungs, asked my new roomie what the problem was.

Her bandage was wet.

She burst forth with, "I woke up and realized something was wrong! My bandage is wet! Do you have any idea why this happened? Am I going home tomorrow? Is my doctor going to check on me soon? Do you know what my latest tests said? How does my sugar look? Because if it's not good then I can't go home! I have no idea why you can't seem to regulate my sugar. Do you think I'll get out before lunch because I'll have to call my husband and let him know. Of course if he can't come and get me then I'll have to call a neighbor and I really hate to bother anyone. Am I allowed to eat a full breakfast tomorrow? I'm sick of the food you're serving me and my husband says it's tasteless." All of this was said without a break and the nurses never really did answer her questions.

I couldn't help wondering why the hell they didn't just put her in with Elizabeth.

She must have noticed the pulled curtain, for her next breathless question was, "Oh, do I have a roommate? I'm soooooo glad, I'm lonely in here all by myself and it'll be nice to have someone to talk to!"

My blood ran cold.

The nurses confirmed that someone else was indeed in the room but it was late so she'd better get some sleep.

Out went the nurses, out went the lights, and open went my new roommate's mouth.

"Hello? Hello?" She eagerly offered from the other side, and I was reminded of my grandmother's parrot.

I ignored her.

"Hello? Hello?" Someone wasn't giving up. "I'm so glad I have someone to talk to now, it's been so lonely here. What's your name?"

I ignored her.

"How long have you been here?" She asked, and then, "I've been here for three days and they can't seem to regulate my sugar and then I woke up and my bandage was wet and I hope I can go home tomorrow but no one tells me anything and my doctor barely stays long enough to answer my questions and I don't know if they'll let me go home tomorrow and tonight they wouldn't let me have a snack before bed why are you here?" All of this without ever once coming up for air.

I was grinding the heels of my hands into my eyes and trying not to scream with frustration. I knew it was now about two o'clock in the morning, I was emotionally and physically exhausted, and since I was certain I was going to receive my death sentence in the morning after my tests, I wanted one last night of peace.

"Hello?" The talker chirped once again.

I now realized that being a good sport had gotten me nowhere. Since I'd been afraid to remind the staff about my painkillers, it felt like ground glass was snaking its way through my guts, and getting comfortable was next to impossible. I'd suffered through hours of agony with an Alzheimer patient, and even though I knew I was probably going to go straight to hell (which couldn't possibly be worse than this) for what I was about to say, I replied, "You know what? I'm very sick and I'm going to ask you, right now, to SHUT UP."

I never heard another word out of her, and finally I fell asleep.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A hellish work week, puffy cat syndrome, and a sewing weekend.

I clean houses.

I love my job.

But this week was a marathon that I feared might not end.

I'm the kind of person who throws herself into her work but we had a post construction job tossed into the mix that nearly kicked my butt. Let's just say that inside shuttered blinds are no longer my friends, especially after being exposed to newly sanded, hard wood floors. It's funny how you do a walk through and go, "Oh yeah, this will be great! No furniture, just walls, floors, mantles etc... and then you really get down to work. But after knocking down construction residue from the walls, window and door sills, of seven bedrooms, scrubbing down 3 1/2 bathrooms, attempting to clean something like 15 radiators (that have never been cleaned in the 12o years this house has stood), you realize that an obviously insane person thought that inside shutters were 'cute'.


I had just finished cleaning (individually) the last slat, on the last shutter, when my boss came in from cleaning the hallway walls. A huge gust of wind had blown in from an impending storm and the windows were all open. We both looked at the shutters I'd just polished and they were all covered with a heavy coat of dust.

It was like something out of the twilight zone.

We figured out that the screens in the windows were full of hardwood dust residue and the wind had blown it all right back in.

I wanted to cry.

So I had to clean them all over again.

Needless to say we ran out of time on this house and therefor had to go back.

Since the family was moving in that weekend we had to go back after another full day, which meant extra hours, which meant I thought I was gonna die!!!!

And guess what?

The inside shutters were filthy yet once again!!

I pray that we're never asked to go back there again!

As a reward for our hard work week, Hans and I spent our Saturday and Sunday mornings, lying around in bed, with our coffee and reading library books until noon.

I made a diaper bag (I will take and post pictures tomorrow) and Hans played on line poker.
But I got a kick out of Chlorox. She loves it when I sew and lately I've noticed that she gets this weird 'puffy face' when I drag out my sewing supplies.

I start to lay out my material and then she appears. She has a slightly dreamy, I'm not interested look on her face but then lies down very close to my fabric. I turn my back and suddenly she's much closer. Hmmm. She still looks totally uninterested but the fur on her face is all fuzzy and she looks to be half asleep. I warn her that I'm not up to her nonsense today and while she gazes off into the distance she manages to hitch her body a bit closer to my material. By the time I'm ready to start she's fully asleep right on top of whatever it was I was planning to sew.

This has become quite the routine.

She's such a nut.

This is the passport purse and change purse that I made for Baby Girl who just got back from Germany.

I'm glad to report that she said it worked very well for her, she didn't lose her passport, and arrived home safely.

I love this fabric and have just enough left to make a bag for myself.

Now I just have to find time to make it!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

As the Stomach Turns Part III

Part I, Part II.

I was still frantically pressing the call button when a nurse skidded into the room.

"What's wrong?" She asked looking a bit frazzled.

Pointing to the curtain that separated me from my roommate I shakily explained, "She just started screaming for help and I didn't know what to do."

I had just hung up from talking to Hans when a few feet away from me, but separated by a curtain, my faceless roommate began shrieking hysterically for help.

Hence my frantic pushing of the call button.

With a knowing look the nurse said, "It's ok, it's just Elizabeth and she does this." And with that she yanked the curtain aside, and slowly and loudly asked, "What's wrong now , Elizabeth?"

With a kind of morbid fascination I listened to their exchange.

Elizabeth had to go to the bathroom but when told that she had a catheter she quickly changed tactics.

"What's this?" She asked in a pitiful voice and I felt awful just knowing that she was probably asking about her IV or something similar. Had she been unconscious upon her arrival at the hospital?

"That's your blanket," the nurse patiently answered. This really threw me. She didn't know what a blanket was? Did she have a stroke?

Elizabeth moaned loudly and asked once again, "What's this?"

"That's your wrist band."

And then I realized that my roommate had Alzheimer's.

Elizabeth finally calmed down, the nurse left, and it was time for dinner. For everyone else anyway. I got a huge cardboard cup of what looked like lime juice but wasn't. Its purpose was to clean me out for my morning colonoscopy. I told the nurse I was already pretty darn clean but she told me to drink it anyway.

When Hans walked in three hours later Elizabeth had been screaming for help the whole time ("you have a catheter," "that's your blanket," again and again and again!), I nearly got callouses from pressing the call button so many times, but by golly my stomach was happily grinding away.

The curtain had been pulled closed between us for the night and when I caught sight of Hans in the doorway, instead of crying out in welcome, I immediately made frantic waving motions and 'be quiet' faces and he probably thought a psych evaluation should be part of my stay also. But before Hans could utter a word and how she even knew anyone was in the room, Elizabeth bellowed, "Who's there! Who is that?"

I bellowed right back, "It's my doctor and you have to be quiet, right now!" And while Hans looked stunned, Elizabeth said in a very meek voice, "All right."

Trying to use the TV for background noise in hopes that it would throw Elizabeth off the track, I gave Hans a slightly hysterical whispered version of what my day had turned into. In the meantime his pants were stained and wrinkled from his SUV adventure and he still had about an hour to go to get to my house. During this time Dr. Hans had to admonish Elizabeth many times that she should 'settle down', and Elizabeth would, in a very tiny voice, thus making us feel like heels, agree.

Hans assured me that he would be there in the morning in time for my tests and finally left for his overnight stay at my house.

At ten o'clock I was to get more pain killers and a sleeping pill but unfortunately amongst all of Elizabeth's emergencies I only received the sleeping pill. I really needed the pain medication but in addition to not wanting to bother the nurses any more than I already had, I also harbored the fear that I would become a pain killer junkie and I envisioned myself skulking about the corridors stealing other patients medications.

So time dragged on, and Elizabeth, who just like a baby that had its days and nights confused, seemed to gather steam and screamed with mind numbing regularity. Needless to say I quit pushing the panic button and if my IV pole would have allowed it, I very well may have sashayed on over and pressed a pillow to her face.

It was that bad.

I told her over and over that the doctor said she had to be quiet and she would agree yet immediately start to scream again. Trying to read or watch TV was impossible for me.

She called out many times and by now I was 'Jeanette' in her mind and I was knitting a sweater. I was asked for updates on said sweater so many times that I finally quit answering her in hopes that she would forget her questions, and then once again I felt despicable when, in a very hurt voice she said, "Fine, don't talk to me."

Then, just like that, she shut up.

I drew in a couple of slow breaths, tried to relax and then realized I had to use the bathroom. Ever so slowly I eased my way out of bed and tried not to make any noise which, because of the plastic lined mattress, is like trying to unwrap a candy bar in a house with kids or a dog. But, miraculously I made it to the potty, and even with the door open (thanks to my too tall IV pole), there was still no word from Elizabeth. I was just sliding back into bed when Elizabeth dared to roar, "WHO'S MAKING ALL THAT NOISE!!!!"

Oh my God, you've got to be kidding, my mind screamed, and I felt just like I was in a 1940's movie where the heroine has been mistakenly locked away in a psychiatric ward and lies in her bed tossing her head to and fro, except in the movie the heroine's hair is perfectly coiffed and she's wearing false eyelashes.

With a vengeance Elizabeth was back on track shrieking for help, and by now it was past midnight, and I couldn't take another second of her behavior. My sleeping pill wasn't doing a damned thing and when I pressed the call button it was for me only.

"Get me out of here," I said, "Or I'm going to kill her or myself." And I meant it.

It was around one AM when I landed in my new room.

But guess what?

I had a new roommate.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sewing, Sailing, and Acts of Stupidity

First of all I'm still having tremendous computer problems. My computer is typing very slowly.

Just the typing.

It's been going on for a week but the weird thing is that on Thursday it started working again. Then we went to the boat, came back, and when I fired it up it started all over again. This is making blogging very difficult! I need to continue with my As the Stomach Turns story but I type too fast and then my computer screams at me!

So here I am at the dock wearing my new Simplicity 2939 dress. Thank God I lined it with cotton or I would have melted into a puddle of sweat. It really is amazing how a simple lining can make a dress wearable.

The temperatures were in the 90's and that's too hot for me. It was absolutely stifling.
Anyway, I have to tell you that I got a lot of compliments on this dress and I was a little surprised but certainly pleased.

This is with the wind behind us and I thought it made me look pregnant.

So we took this at a different angle and I like it better.

For some reason it seemed like a lot of people were very drunk at the marina and surrounding areas last night including a gentleman who offered to take our picture for us. We ended up with pictures of the ground, I kid you not! Luckily I discovered this right away and found that we could balance the camera on a piling and use the timer to take pictures by ourselves.

These are the only pictures I took this weekend. I didn't have my camera ready when Hans dumped a guest (the mom part of the family of 5) that came along with us, into the Chesapeake.

We had the bright idea of taking a dinghy with us so that when we anchored for the evening we could row into shore as opposed to taking the expensive water taxi.

Hans had successfully rowed two of their children to shore and when he arrived back at our boat I didn't step forward to volunteer to be next.

I've been in small boats with Hans in the past and I'm not totally stupid.

Believe it or not.

So we all watched as the kids' mom attempted to board the dinghy, and we all watched as it rocked in a crazy fashion before tipping almost completely over thus dumping her into the Chesapeake.

I just want to forget about how we couldn't get the swim ladder to work and she was stuck hanging onto our boat for about 15 minutes, and how we ended up calling the water taxi anyway, and that she didn't have a change of clothes and we had to bring her dinner back to her.

I'm just thankful that there wasn't a jelly fish convention being held in the cove that night.

I'm also thankful that she was such a good sport.

I wouldn't have been.

I should have known there was a reason why I didn't take a picture of that stupid ugly dinghy.

I just want to forget about it!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Simplicity 2939 revisited...

...with a little better result than the first one.

At least I'll wear this version this weekend.

The only thing I wish I'd done, was use a 1/4 inch seam between the bodice and the skirt, like I did with my first try. I used the 5/8 seam allowance on this one and it hiked the skirt up a bit higher on my bust than I would like.

Oh well, next time!

I bought this material about 3 years ago for a different dress and it was a total flop (so what's new, right?) but I had just enough left for another stab at this pattern. It's a crinkly, slinky, polyester blend from JoAnn's.

The pattern calls for cottons but let's face it, slinky drapes better.

Anyway, I kept a size 10 for the bodice (which stops right below the bust) and then I cut the skirt in a 10 at the top where it meets the bodice and then graded it out (meaning bigger!) about a good inch starting just below the waist.

And I mean an inch on each side, both front and back. Added up that's about 4 inches total!!!! I don't even want to know what size that would compute to! So much for my self image.

I am a 'sweater' so I lined the skirt with Egyptian cotton, which by the way is a bit pricey! Thank God I got it on sale but it still cost more than the dress.

We're going to the boat this weekend and I'd like to wear this ashore for dinner. But I can't stand the whole 'skirt sticking to me' issue, and believe me, if I hadn't lined this thing that's exactly what would happen.

I do think I'll make this again and I already have some fun fabric (left over from purses) in mind.

I mentioned before that Hans and I are going to our boat this weekend, and we've had someone come along with us almost each time this summer. I was looking forward to just us this time when Hans informed me that a family of five is coming with us!

That's seven people on our 'camper on the water' !!!!


If I'm not committed by the end of the weekend I'll let you know how it went!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Simplicity 2939

First of all I'm having really awful computer problems.


While I type wildly away (in my usual crazy manner), my computer can't seem to keep up, therefor the letters I type plod across my screen in a very slow, soldier-like way.

I've googled myself sick but I can't figure it out. That's not all of the problems it's giving me but I don't have the patience to try to tell you about it now.

So I'll show you my latest dress/fitting issue.

First of all this dress went together very quickly.

It's not something I would have picked out on my own but Christy, at Sew Much Fabric, has made like four versions of this dress and I loved all of them!

That girl can sew the cutest things! Like the McCalls trapeze dress ,that she added horse hair to the hem of, to keep it from looking like a sack.


But after I finished this dress I found myself in the exact same boat, I was in before, with this dress.

Big Butt Syndrome!

Obviously it's me, not the pattern.

I paid $1.99 for the pattern and used polished cotton (free from a friend) for my muslin.

I was wearing it tonight, and except for the big butt issue, I thought it was pretty darn cute.

And then Vet Tech Girl (who's dyed her hair red, black, and orange thus making her look just like a torty cat) came up to borrow a cup of food for her cat, Evy Diva (who lives up to her name and won't eat the gourmet food my daughter prepares for her), and said, "You look like you're wearing a table cloth."

Not because of the size mind you, but the fabric, because polished cotton was a huge home dec fabric thing of the 90's.

Needless to say I won't be wearing my latest endeavor this weekend when we go to the boat. And yes I really was planning to wear it.

Now I won't.

But I'm truly baffled.

What am I doing wrong?

Here are the facts:

My measurements are a perfect size 12 in the Big 4 patterns.

Usually if I make a 12 it swims on me.

So I generally start with a 10 and work down to an 8.

But after looking this pattern over, I opted for a 10.

The bodice and front of the dress fit just fine.

And then I turn around.

Vet Tech Girl says there's just not enough fabric in the back to support the pleats. In other words there's more of me than there is of the dress.


So, do I just cut the skirt portion of the dress a lot wider right below the bodice?

Or should I add a center back seam and add a sway back adjustment?

But does a sway back adjustment work with this type of skirt?

I'm going to try for the more fabric part first.

I can see some pulling in the back.

Actually this looks pretty good (if you ignore the look of panic on my face), believe me it sticks out much more in the back.

Anyway, if someone an give me some guidance, I'd really appreciate it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

As the Stomach Turns Part ll

Part I

Before driving to the hospital I cleaned up my desk at work, called my kids (Baby Girl was worried, Unhappy College Girl would have been worried if I'd been an animal, and my son didn't answer his phone), my mother (who said to please let her know as soon as I found out anything), and Hans, who much to my dismay said he was driving up as soon as he was done with work. It was the beginning of January and we were supposed to be getting a lot of snow that day (remember, I lived in a snow belt), and Hans (who lived an hour and a half south of me) is one of those people who think All Wheel Drive = I Can Drive Through Anything. I pleaded with him to wait until the next morning but he refused.

I had an uncomfortable moment at the hospital check in desk when I thought I might have an 'episode' right then and there, but with sweat standing out on my forehead I managed to persevere.

Then I named Hans as my emergency contact and told the check in lady that his relationship to me was 'fiance' (which he wasn't at that time) because I thought 'boyfriend' sounded pathetic for someone my age. Why the hell I was worried about what someone I didn't know thought of me when I felt like I was dying is beyond me! I sometimes wonder if she told her family about the woman who couldn't remember her so called fiance's address. Yes, that would be me! But I think I deserve points for knowing his last name and phone number.

Finally I was taken to a room, given a gown, had my blood pressure and other vital signs taken, and then if I'd been embarrassed before, it was nothing compared to what I was told next.

The nurse took me into my bathroom and showed me the inside of the toilet. To my horror it held two bowl-like trays balanced on the edges and abutting (no pun intended) each other; one in front and one in back. All of my 'eliminations' were to be measured she explained, I told her that there was no way that was going to happen, and by then I was almost in tears.

But before I knew it I was in bed, an IV was started, and within about a half hour the pain medication began to take effect, and for the first time in two weeks I found myself relaxing. My God, I was able to take a breath without grimacing and I quit clenching my teeth every time I moved.

My gastroenterologist popped in to introduce himself and ask some questions. Later on my mother (who has the inside track on everything within about a hundred mile radius of her house) was told by her friend, who used to be a nurse at this hospital, that I really lucked out that Mr. Good Doctor had been assigned to me. For that I was thankful because if she'd thought he was a quack, I never would have heard the end of it.

I told Mr. Good Doctor about my ulcer theory, about the past month with my daughter, and the root canal, but I didn't tell him my deepest, darkest fear. And that was that I was sure I had pancreatic cancer. I'm not joking either. I was terrified.

I was pretty sure I didn't have ulcers because they just don't develop that fast, but I was hanging onto that hope with everything I had.

Because what else could it be? What else moves in so fast and debilitates a person so quickly? Everyone knows that by the time pancreatic cancer starts showing its signs, it's pretty much too late. I've known people who were diagnosed with this awful cancer and I couldn't get it out of my mind.

But this doctor had a nice bedside manner and when he left he told me he'd see me at nine the next morning and then I was alone. Or pretty much alone as my roommate was fast asleep, but with the curtain between us closed, it was like a private room.

I quietly watched some TV, thoroughly enjoyed being pain free, and loved the fact that I obviously had the best roommate in the world when my hospital phone rang (no cell phones allowed). It was Hans and he was getting ready to leave The Big City and head up my way. It was snowing and sleeting but also for some bizarre reason they were also in the middle of a lightening storm. In January.

I begged him to wait until morning as there was nothing he could do anyway but he wouldn't listen to me. He was just pulling into the driveway of his old house (it was for sale but he didn't live in it) because he had one last thing he had to do. I could hear him slamming the door on the SUV and then he was in the house, all the while talking to me. And then he said, "What the hell's going on? There's a white vehicle at the bottom of my driveway and no one should be here." And then he yelled, "Oh my God, it's the SUV! How did it get all the way down the driveway? I'll call you back!"

No longer feeling relaxed and pain free, I waited.

He called me back shortly, completely out of breath, and explained that somehow when he'd parked at the top of the driveway (one of those drives with a level part that then has about a 45 degree drop to the lower part) somehow he left the vehicle in D(rive) but was able to remove the key. By the time he'd walked to the back of the house it had coasted to the bottom of the drive, and was wedged on the foot high stone wall that had thankfully stopped it from rolling further into the yard where it would have gone over a cliff and onto the houses below.

After pulling huge stones out of the wheel wells and ascertaining that he hadn't damaged the frame or undercarriage, he was completely frozen and soaked.

Once again I begged him to stay put and once again he refused.

I hung up the phone and started crying again. I was so worn out and tired of being sick, I felt guilty that Hans had wrecked his vehicle and why did I have to cause everyone so much trouble. My mind and guts continued to churn, and when I tried to use the potty my IV pole was too tall and I had to leave the bathroom door open. So as I tried not to think about who was going to get to check my 'eliminations' I also had to worry that someone would walk in on me!

And then I found out what agony really was, because my roommate woke up.

Part III to follow.