Thursday, November 29, 2012

Travelogue: {Not So} Sunny California

My guests, you're welcome here,
Be at your ease.
Get up when you are ready,
Go to bed when you please.

I'm happy to share with you,
Such as I've got,
The leaks in the roof,
And the soup in the pot.

You don't have to thank me,
Or laugh at my jokes.
Sit deep and come often,
You're one of the folks.

Thursday, November 15
9:20 am
Mr. Bug just called and said that his work is offering tickets to a pre-screening of Breaking Dawn, part 2 at 5:00 pm or 6:15 pm. It would have been nice to have a little more notice. I'm flying out to California tomorrow morning to meet up with the Twi-Quilters who live there, it is a work night for Mr. Bug and I don't feel comfortable leaving the Little Bugs alone for that long. We decided the responsible thing to do is not to go.

Being responsible sucks.

3:31 pm
My office-mates were talking about headaches and I noted that it's been almost three weeks since I had a migraine.

I hope I didn't just jinx myself.

6:13 pm
I'm off work at last. T-minus 16 hours and 57 minutes. I have so much to do before I leave.

6:43 pm
Where did I put my phone? It's not in my purse. It's not in my coat. It's not in the car.

Of all the days to leave my phone at work . . . I don't have time for this.

9:47 pm
Ugh. Driving to work once a day is bad enough.

9:59 pm
Please let my phone be here. Please let my phone be here. I forgot how much I hate this stupid lock. Please let my phone be here. Please let me get this door unlocked.

10:01 pm
Good. My phone is here.

10:21 pm
Home again. I just want to go to bed. I have too much to do.

11:39 pm
I've been lying in bed for at least 20 minutes. Why am I still awake?

11:47 pm
So close to sleep . . . but I forgot to put my camera on the list of things to take. Oh, and the batteries need charged. And the memory card is still in the card reader on my computer. Maybe I should get up and take care of that?

No. I'll remember. I'll remember.

Friday, November 16
6:00 am
What is that noise?

Oh. That's right. I changed the ring tone on my alarm so I wouldn't sleep through it.

6:00 am and 10 seconds
There's Mr. Bug on the land line with my wake-up call.

Why can't I find a phone?

6:14 am
How am I going to fit everything in a carry-on? I guess I can make due with only one pair of shoes, but where's the fun in that? My hair dryer is bulky and I really do need to bring clean undies. Why didn't I book with an airline that allows a free checked bag?

I remember now. If they loose my luggage I'll have to wear the same undies for my entire trip.

6:21 am
There's no way I'm going to fit everything into a carry-on.

7:02 am
It is not worth the stress. I'm going to pay for a checked bag.

Why didn't I have Mr. Bug get the suitcases down from the attic last night?

Oh, yeah. Because I have some silly penchant for clean underwear.

7:15 am
It wasn't as hard as I thought to get the suitcases down from the attic.

I'm glad I didn't fall off the ladder.

7:56 am
I just dropped Grasshopper off at school. It's a miracle he wasn't late this morning. He gets up at 6:00 am on weekends, but when he has to go to school he won't get out of bed. Teenagers.

One down, one to go.

8:29 am
Phew. LadyBug is at school.

I need to be out the door in 31 minutes.

9:14 am
Late as usual, but I'm finally out the door.

9:18 am
Longest. Stoplight. Ever.

9:20 am
Oh, no. I left my boarding pass on the kitchen table. I really, really, really hope the electronic boarding pass I had them send to my phone works.

9:47 am
Uh oh. I hope that what I'm feeling on the left side of my head is not what I think it is. I mean, c'mon. Can one person have this many migraines? It's not a migraine. It's just the stress of getting everything ready to go this morning.

Yeah. That's it. It's just stress and once I get settled in, I'll be fine.

10:08 am
Car parked. Row and shuttle stop noted.

Shuttle successfully boarded.

10:23 am
Wait. Is this my shuttle stop? I didn't hear what the driver said. What terminal are we at? What airline am I flying? Is this my shuttle stop? OK. I see the sign. This is it.

I love the airport. So many beautiful people off to exotic destinations or going back home.

10:27 am
I'm cutting it close. They start boarding in 20 minutes.

My bag is checked and I'm headed to my gate.

10:28 am
Which gate did she say?

10:29 am
I'd better make a quick pit stop.

10:37 am
I got through security without too much hassle. I was able to find some Dramamine. And lucky for me, they still have those screens with flight numbers, times and gates.

10:49 am
I kind of don't like flying. Except it is better than a road trip.

Mr. Bug told me that when he was in the Navy there were a few sailors who would throw up as soon as the whistle blew to signal they were underway.

Just walking down the sky bridge to the plane makes me queasy. It must be the same psychosomatic reaction.

11:01 am
We're pulling away from the gate. Eeee! I'm so excited.

12:06 pm
We've moved one time zone backwards, so I've got an extra hour. And we arrived a little early.

So glad I didn't get airsick.

12:19 pm
What is taking the baggage so long? Is this even the right carousel? Did they loose my suitcase?

I knew it. I'm doomed to three days in the same undies.

12:21 pm
False alarm. There's my suitcase.

12:22 pm
There's Iris! I'm so excited to see her! What a cute jacket! And it is so nice of her to pick me up and show me around.

I'm meeting Colleen for the first time. It is really nice to finally meet her in person.

12:38 pm
The city of Oakland is really very pretty. I love the architecture. Those buildings with the green roofs are very pretty.

Oh, and look, there's the Oakland LDS Temple on the hill, there.

1:14 pm
Iris and Colleen picked a really yummy Italian place for lunch. I love it!

2:00 pm
Is there anything better to do than to shop for fabric with friends? Iris picked this particular shop because they have lots of batiks and she knows I'm stash building.

The ladies here are very . . . friendly.

3:00 pm
Those ladies sure were chatty. It took forever for them to get us cut. I got some good batiks, though. I'm excited about that.

Next stop, San Francisco.

3:12 pm
What a fun trip. I'm enjoying catching up with Iris and getting to know Colleen.

Iris warned me before I came that it was going to be rainy. She said it was sunny the whole week before and was forecast to be sunny next week, but that it would be rainy the entire weekend. It's a good thing I like rain.

Maybe we'll get to see some Cullens.

3:57 pm
We've been across the Bay Bridge, which was pretty awesome. I've never been on a suspension bridge, at least I don't think I have.

We're on our way to the Golden Gate Bridge now.

4:24 pm
It was a pretty amazing thing to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. It's not something you do every day.

Unless you live in San Francisco.
{Colleen, Iris, Me}

4:35 pm
We're going to dinner in Napa. It will probably be too dark to see the vineyards as we drive through, but that's OK. I'm enjoying the conversation.

6:12 pm
It's not stress. It's a migraine. Or maybe it is stress that's causing the migraine. It seems like every time I go somewhere I get one. Good thing I came prepared.

Maybe I'm allergic to travel.

6:48 pm
My meal comes with a goat cheese souffle. I have no idea what to expect. I've never had goat cheese before.

Or a souffle, for that matter.

7:02 pm
The goat cheese souffle is fantastic! Wow!

9:17 pm
Iris is so kind to let me stay with her. I've seen pictures of her girls, but it great to meet them. They are such cute girls!

Saturday, November 17
12:02 am
Sleep-overs are even more fun when you're a grown-up. Iris made pumpkin pie—so good!—and she gave me a tour of her beautiful home. The best part was hanging out in her sewing/craft room. She showed me all of her fun projects.

My favorite was the Twilight quilt she is working on. She has it up on her design wall and she's done some really amazing work.

9:32 am
Today we're going to Sacramento to meet up with Jerri Lynn and Wanda. We're going to see the movie. You know. The one about sparkly, teenage vampires.

11:30 am
What a fun morning with Iris' family. It really was great to get to know them.

I need to remember to bug Iris for that recipe for French Toast Souffle. It was amazing.

1:38 pm
I think Wanda is the biggest Twi-Hard of us all. She dressed up the island in her kitchen with Breaking Dawn themed items, put together Twilight themed swag bags for us and she even invited Edward to the party.
{Iris, Me, Edward, Jerri Lynn, Wanda}

2:12 pm
It is so fun to meet Jerri Lynn in person. I've know her forever, but it is really good to put a face with my friend. She looks different in every photo I see, so now I have a fixed image in my mind. She brought here Twilight quilt. I've seen it in photos, and love it, but it is so much more amazing in person. Wow!

4:04 pm
Lunch was awesome. Again, lots of fun conversation and catching up. Our next destination is the movie. Finally.

It has been hard to contain my enthusiasm.

4:18 pm
Ugh. I just can't stay ahead of this stupid migraine. The medicine only dulls it, but I guess that's better than nothing. I won't enjoy the movie at all if I'm fighting to ignore the headache. Since I'm headed to the concessions stand for a soda, I'll get souvenir cups for everyone. The ones with Edward on them.

I love that I can show my geek with these ladies.

4:30 pm
Squee! It's starting!

6:48 pm
I loved it! I mean, I really loved it. And I loved what Stephanie had to say about it.

11:48 pm
Yep. Sleep-overs are better when you're a grown-up. I'm staying at Wanda's tonight. I have really felt like "one of the folks" this weekend.

Our little group really is made up of amazing women.

Sunday, November 18
3:58 pm
It really has been an extraordinary weekend. Aside from the migraine nonsense. Wanda and I went to brunch this morning, with her adorably awesome husband. Then we went to church. It's kind of an odd combination of things to do. But there it is. My plane is about to take off now.

I'm anxious to get home and see my family. I've missed them.

7:38 pm
Oh, no, no, no, no, no! I put my suitcase in the back of the Trooper, locked the back door, and as it was closing I realized that I am not holding my keys. It's too dark to see in the windows. They're not in my purse. They're not in my pants pocket. They're not in my jacket pocket. What am I going to do? Can I call airport security from the shuttle stop? Do they even help with that sort of thing?

I need a plan.

7:39 pm
This can't be happening. I just want to go home.

I'd better check my pockets one more time.

7:40 pm
I'm a dork. I big one. I freaked myself out for nothing. They were in my jacket pocket after all, just not on the side I usually put my keys.

I'm on my way home, and there's no place like it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm A Mormon: Lindsey Stirling — Hip-Hop Violinist

A lot of people are really surprised when they hear that I'm Mormon and that I do hip-hop violin. I want to stand for the fact that I haven't compromised any of my values and you can be what you want to be and you can stand for everything you want to be at the same time. –Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey competed on America's Got Talent in 2010. She makes beautiful music. And she's a Mormon.

Get to know Lindsey at and hear more of her music and see more of her unique style on her YouTube channel.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Grateful and Thankful: Top 10 Edition

Gracias, danke, merci—whatever language is spoken, “thank you” frequently expressed will cheer your spirit, broaden your friendships, and lift your lives to a higher pathway. –Thomas S. Monson

Growing up, there was this little old man who attended our ward {congregation} and whenever he was asked to pray, he always included a large number of things that he was “grateful and thankful” for. We thought he was being superfluous as he included those same words, “grateful and thankful,” in each of his prayers before every item on his very long list. And so we called him The Grateful and Thankful Man. Upon further reflection, I don't think it is possible to be overly grateful and thankful for anything we are blessed with.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I really like the idea of setting aside a day to be grateful and I like making lists, so this post is my top ten things I am grateful and thankful for this week.

1. When I was putting my list together the first thing, or person, that came to mind that I am grateful for was Mr. Bug.

Mr. Bug and I are as different in temperament as it is possible for two people to be. He is patient and kind and so easy-going. That's one of the things I love best about him {and also one of the things that drives me the craziest about him}. There is a song by Snow Patrol. It's called Chasing Cars. You've probably heard it. It's one of those seriously overplayed songs. There's a line in there that always makes me think of Mr. Bug; I need your grace / To remind me / To find my own. Over the last 16 years I have learned by his example to be more patient, more forgiving, kinder—to find my own grace. Thank you, Mr. Bug. I love you.

Disclaimer: Items #2 and #3 on my list are NOT ranked in that order. I am equally grateful for both of them, but I list them this way because that is the order in which they were born.

2. Oh how I am grateful for my little Grasshopper.

Actually, Grasshopper is not so little anymore. He's as tall as taller than I am. In the last 17 months, he's grown 6½". If he continues at that rate, he'll be 7' 2" tall by the time he turns 18 :lol:. He's really turning into a neat person. He has a fun sense of humor. He makes friends easily and treats everyone with respect. One of the things that I love best about him is that he doesn't take himself too seriously. He's happy with who he is, even when I tell him he's got huge, knobbly Hobbit feet, which is only appropriate since he eats like a Hobbit. Thank you, Grasshopper, for being you.

3. I am ever so grateful for my LadyBug.

LadyBug is the most amazing girl I've ever met. She is sassy, witty and has great timing. She's creative. She's thoughtful and polite, obedient and cheerful. She's determined and knows her own mind. And she's a restful person to be around. Thank you, LadyBug, for being you.

Shameless Plug {for which I receive no compensation}: I'd like to thank Mr. Bug's brother and his wife for the amazing photos! Matt & Krystal did a wonderful job. They live here in Springville and are offering a 15% discount on their already low prices for anyone who mentions my blog when you book a session with them. Check out some of their other amazing work at MK Shoe Box Photography.

4. I am grateful to be me. Sometimes it is hard to live in my own head; I tend to be not very nice to myself most of the time But today I am giving myself a break. I'm thankful for my quirks and idiosyncrasies. I'm thankful for my strengths, but I'm also thankful for my weaknesses. I love my blue eyes. I love that I always have a plan. I love that I am organized. I am thankful to live where I do. I'm thankful for the experiences that have made me who I am. I thank thee, Heavenly Father, {it seems rather impertinent to address deity using the common vernacular, so I hope you'll pardon my formal phrasing} for all that thou hast blessed me with.

5. I am grateful for talents. Specifically, I am grateful for the talents I have. I am so glad to have several things that I love to do and that make me happy. Thank you to everyone {mom, I'm talking mostly to you, but also to my teachers, mentors and friends} who has helped me to develop my talents.

I am also grateful for those who are willing to share their talents and who add beauty to the world. There are so many talented people out there who have influenced my life. Whether I know you personally or not, thank you for sharing your talents with me.

6. I am grateful for family—both immediate and extended. You don't get to pick your family, but if I did, I wouldn't choose a single one differently. Thank you for being who you are.

7. I am grateful for friends—old and new, distant and near. You do get to choose your friends and I'm glad I chose you and that you chose me. Thank you for your kindness.

8. I am grateful for beautiful music. This kind of overlaps a little with the talent category, but I think that it is separate enough to deserve its own mention. I am thankful for composers and performers who make music that elevates my soul, enlightens my mind, speaks my thoughts, calms my fears and makes me happy. Thank you, musicians, who have spent countless hours practicing so that I can enjoy your music.

Shameless Plug {for which I receive no compensation}:
Available for purchase from ThePianoGuys
The Piano Guys album available for purchase from ThePianoGuys, at Amazon {on sale through December 1} or on iTunes.

9. I am grateful for the beautiful things of the earth. To list a few, I am thankful for the renewal that spring brings, for the majesty of the mountains I live near, for green grass, for tall trees, for flowers in every shape and size, for orange sunsets and rainy days, for new-fallen snow, the heat of a cloudless summer day, and for starry nights. I thank thee, dear Father, for the beautiful world thou hast created for me.

10. I am grateful for my job and not only that, but that I am able to work. There are so many good things about my job. My hours are flexible. There is plenty to do while I'm there and I can leave when I am done. I can take time off when my family needs me. I like what I do. Thank you to my employer for keeping me around.

This list is really only the tip of the iceberg. I think one day of thankfulness is not nearly enough to be properly thankful, so I'm going to work on being more aware and more verbal about things I am grateful for. Perhaps, after all, being known as The Grateful and Thankful Man or Woman is something to aspire to.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Random Bits: Vol. 5

Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break. –Jane Wells

Baby, It's Cold Outside
Saturday morning, we woke up to 10" of snow. I know how much it was because I measured.

Friday morning started out with rain. I love rain. But then the rain turned to fat, wet flakes of slush. I don't like slush so much. After the sun went down and temperatures dropped, the rain and slush on the ground began to freeze and the stuff falling down became more snow-like and began to stick. I'm sure the skiers were ecstatic. Me? Not so much. Although I do ski. Or I did. It's been a while. But I digress.

Because of the storm, the power went out just after 11:00 pm and since there was nothing else to do, I went to bed. I laid there half-way between waking and sleep until the power came back on around 4:30 am. I'd left a light on, which ended any hope of sleep. It was an inconvenience. And then I thought about the poor people who had to be out in the weather to fix the problem and I was glad the power was back on, because baby, it's cold outside.

The weather kind of foiled my plans for the weekend. There were all kinds of fun family events going on an hour's drive north of here. My sister's oldest boy just turned eight was baptized on Saturday morning. Her new baby {the one who got the Pinkilicious quilt} was blessed on Sunday and in between, on Saturday afternoon, was a wedding shower for my youngest brother's fiance. I wasn't keen on driving when there was bound to be ice on the roads and the prospects for more snow were pretty high. It was a tough call and I hated to miss all the fun, but I opted to stay home.

Shoveling snow is one of my least favorite things. It ranks just underneath trudging through snowy sidewalks/driveways/stairs and slipping on sidewalks/driveways/stairs that have iced over because they weren't shoveled. So, shovel I must.

There are different kinds of snow. Sometimes the snow is dry and powdery. That's not bad to shovel. But this was heavy, wet, sticky snow and with so much of it, it was a long job. Because of the consistency of the snow, though, I could shovel neat, tidy paths in it, which I like. It reminds me of The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, when the kids and the Cat make a huge mess in the snow and then the Cat and all of his helpers make short work of it, leaving the snow sparkling clean and white, with sharp, straight edges where they'd cleaned off the walk ways.

After we shoveled snow, the Little Bugs and I went to get new coats because they had both outgrown their old ones. We found a really nice one for Grasshopper that rang up at 75% off when we combined a one-day sale price and and a coupon. If you know me at all, you know how happy clearance rack shopping makes me. This was even better, because coats are not clearance right now. It was a win for everyone because Grasshopper is pretty enamored with it. Later in the day when we went grocery shopping, he wore it the whole time even though it was too warm inside for it. He said it was too cool not to wear. This was just after he told me that we'd really scored with his coat.

We did not find a coat on sale for LadyBug. We almost couldn't find a coat at all for LadyBug. She is categorically opposed to "girly." I'm OK with that. I want her to be who she is. But finding her clothing presents a problem because clothing manufacturers seem to think that every girl on the planet likes pink and sparkly. All the girls' coats had faux fur trim on the hood. So with the help of Mr. Bug, who is infinitely more patient than I am, she finally found one she liked in the boys' department at Wal-Mart. It is green, her current favorite color, has a zip-out liner, is very gender neutral with no faux fur trim on the hood and was full price {but still less than Grasshopper's :confused:}. Most importantly, it will keep her warm. Everyone is happy. Another win.

The Spam-Bots Attack
I've turned on the word verification for comments. Don't take it personally. I know Google/Blogger's verification words/pictures are ridiculously difficult to decipher, so I'll turn it back off soon. The Spam-Bots seem to be extra busy lately and I'm hoping to deter them. Perhaps they're staying inside, what with all the snow and cold weather, and have nothing better to do with their time than pester people with bogus comments.

The Best $12.75 I Ever Spent
This is a Green-Vase Zelkova {also known as Japanese Zelkova or Zelkova Serrata}. I took this picture a month ago.

I love this tree. For several reasons. The telling of which requires a back-story. When we bought our house, there were flower beds laid out, but not much in the way of plants and no trees. The few perennials that were here either died because they were planted in the wrong spot or I pulled them out because they were planted in the wrong spot. I started adding plants that I thought were interesting right away. Trees, on the other hand, are a huge commitment, and it took several years after we moved in to pluck up the courage to plant a couple in the front yard, even though I knew what I wanted.

A couple of years after that, I started thinking about trees for the back yard. I wanted something fairly tall and quick growing, making Poplar trees an obvious choice. Because I didn't have much expertise with trees, I called the guy who is in charge of landscaping for the city to see if he had any suggestions or opinions. I asked him what he thought of poplars and he told me that because they grow so fast, they are brittle and branches break off easily. Aside from that, their normal state is "messy" as they are always dropping things. He gave me a few suggestions and at the top of that list was the Green-Vase Zelkova. It is a cousin to the Elm, but is more resistant to bugs and disease. It grows quickly, has a pretty shape and beautiful foliage.

I went to the nursery looking for a Zelkova. Then I went to another one. And another one after that. There were none to be found. As a matter of fact, none of the trees on my list were at any of the nurseries. So I gave up my quest. Several months later, while on another quest for chairs to match the kitchen table I'd just acquired at a spectacularly huge discount, I happened across a Zelkova at the KMart way across town. It was sitting next to the front door with a 75% off tag on it. My mind was focused on getting enough chairs to match my new table that it didn't register until after I'd bought my chairs and was hauling them out to the car that, 1. this was a tree I'd searched high and low for and, 2. it was 75% off. As soon as I got the chairs loaded, I went back and bought the tree. Getting it into the car was an adventure.

I drive an old Isuzu Trooper {you can see the back bumper of it in one of the photos above}. I folded the back seat down, reclined the passenger seat and angled the tree in through the back gate. It crossed up through the body of the vehicle diagonally and out the passenger window. I found some rope and tied the top of the tree to the side mirror, but it extended about 18" beyond that and I worried all the way home that the top of the tree would break off because of the air pushing against it as I drove. So I drove slowly, through back roads to get home.

I think this tree is four years old now. It might be five. It has grown pretty quickly and now provides shade on the back porch. And it lives up to its reputation for being a good tree. This was how I found it Saturday morning.

It looks like a weeping tree. I went out and beat it with a broom to knock the snow off. Not a single branch was broken and without the snow to push the branches down it snapped back into shape and is as good as new.

Yes, I love that tree.

Baby, It's Cold Outside: Reprise
The world is a slightly different place covered in a blanket of snow. It sounds different. It's quieter, I suppose. And when there is sunlight, it is brighter—a nice white covering over practically everything makes for a good reflective surface. Without snow, you couldn't ski. I love that LadyBug loves to play in the snow so much. Snow brings back happy childhood memories. Snow makes hot cocoa taste better. And snow is kind of pretty.

Deep down, I think I maybe like snow a little more than I let on, but don't you dare tell anyone.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sabbath Songs: I Look To You

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. –Helen Keller

On the fourth of July 1952, Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, determined to swim the 26 miles to the shore of mainland California. She was the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways, and she enjoyed a challenge. At 50˚, the water was an ice bath and a thick fog obscured her view of the coastline; she could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still, she swam for fifteen hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water along the way, her mother and coach, encouraged her to continue. She told Florence she was close and that she could make it. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled out. It was not until she was on the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away.

At a news conference the next day she said, “All I could see was the fog.…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

Two months later, Florence got back in the water to try her task once more. This time was different. She swam from Catalina Island to the shore of California in a straight path for twenty six miles. The same thick fog set in, but Florence made it because she said that while she swam, she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind. Florence Chadwick became the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel, eclipsing the men’s record by two hours!

She didn't lose sight of the shore because she focused on that image of the coast in her mind, and in this way, she reached her goal.

We have times of joy and celebration. But let us face it—we live in a world of struggle, that can create a fog which makes it difficult to find our way. We end up focusing on the fog because we cannot see the shore. Sometimes we feel like giving up because we do not have the strength to stay afloat any longer. Consider Florence Chadwick’s words: “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.” If we look to Christ, he will show us the way.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Life Would Suck Without You

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.
–George Levinger

The writers of romance would have you believe that marriage is the end of the story. But it's really just the beginning. We may all start out like Cinderella, but somewhere along the way, even the best couples have a Taming of the Shrew moment or two {the Shakespeare Retold version is amazing, BTW}.

Mr. Bug and I were married 16 years ago today. Sometimes it's about the romantic, mushy stuff. Sometimes it's about the everyday business of life; work and kids and mortgage payments. Sometimes it's about the dysfunctional stuff {and you know we all have it}. Today, I'm celebrating all of that.

Happy Anniversary, Mr. Bug!
I love you.
We belong together.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Random Bits: Vol 4

After enlightenment, the laundry. –Zen Proverb

A Return-to-Standard-Time Miracle
Daylight savings time is not one of my favorite things. To be honest, I think it is the stupidest thing ever. I mean, just pick one and stick with it, already. I loathe losing an hour every spring and look forward to getting my hour back every fall. I wonder if it is because I was born during Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time throws my internal clock out of balance?

Anyway, with my extra hour this year, I decided to fold laundry. It seemed like a responsible thing to do. And as far as chores go, laundry is one of the ones I mind the least. I keep a lone-man sock pile at the bottom of my laundry basket and every time I wash socks, I hope that the lone-man sock pile is gone when I've finished folding. It never is. Ever. I've had a lone-man sock pile since 1996. Sometimes, when a lone-man sock has been in the basket for about three years and I'm absolutely sure that I'm never going to find its mate, I'll throw it out. But there are always two or three other lone-man socks left hanging around. Except for this time. The stars aligned on Saturday night and every. single. sock had a mate. It's a miracle! It can only be because we got that hour back.

And I can not tell you how happy I am to have finally beaten the lone-man sock pile.

A Quilt So Nice I Had to Make it Twice
Remember Pinkalicious? The quilt I made for my sister's sweet new baby girl? Well it was so much fun to make and I thought it would be just as much fun to make one in blue. When I found out a good friend of mine was expecting her first baby I knew that's the quilt I wanted to make for her. We've been friends since the 8th grade. She wasn't married until she was in her mid-thirties and has struggled with infertility for several years. Her little miracle arrived about three weeks ago, which was about six weeks ahead of schedule. I've got the top finished and if he'd have waited a few more weeks, I might have had it quilted in time for his arrival.

I Wove When I Should Have Dodged
In 30+ years of sewing, I've never sewn my finger. I hear about people doing it and wonder how the heck they manage it. I mean, there are sharp moving parts in there. It just seems like a common sense kind of thing to keep your finger out of the way. But I sewed my finger {about three weeks ago now} and I thought my stupidity deserved a little world-wide web airtime.

Grace is a pedal-free machine. She has a pedal, and I used it once for about 10 minutes, but it didn't respond to subtle movements, so I tossed it into the back of the closet and use the stop/start button. And here's how I sewed my finger. I had the auto-backstitch on and pressed go. It sews at a snail's pace for the backstitch and the loose end of the top thread was kind of getting pulled into the stitches, which makes a little bird's nest on the back. Instead of stopping the machine to pull the thread tight, I decided that I could reach in there really quick while the machine was going slow to pull the thread out of the way. And the needle nicked my thumb. It didn't hurt much and healed really quickly. But the worst part about it was how hobbled I felt with a band-aid on there to keep it from bleeding.

Lesson learned.

The Piano Guys: Titanium/Pavane
The Piano Guys have a new album out. This is the first track and it is, as always, amazing.

Available for purchase from The Piano Guys, at Amazon or on iTunes.

Vocal Version

Story behind the song:

Have you ever awakened with a melody in your head and you don't know how it got there? That was the beginning of our PianoGuys' version of David Guetta's "Titanium (feat. Sia)." Paul especially loved this tune — he lobbied us to arrange the song, but after we could not find a way to begin the arrangement. Every time we tried it just didn't flow. We also were concerned that the hook of the tune was nothing but the beat :biggrin: and lacked a lead melody, which would make it more difficult to convey with piano and cello. Steve woke one morning and couldn't get a melody out of his head. It was Gabriel Faure's "Pavane" — a hauntingly beautiful melody that weaves in and out of richly sequenced harmonies and fluid counter-melodies. It had been a favorite of his as a child, but he hadn't heard it for years. In the studio that same morning we tried the melody over the top of the chorus of David' Guetta's Titanium and it was like witnessing a reunion of two childhood friends. The main melody of the Pavane and its supporting chords, transposed and changed stylistically to mimic Guetta, also fit nicely as the intro we had been searching for. And we thought since Guetta and Faure are both French it must have been meant to be! :biggrin:

If you're not familiar with "Pavane" Listen to a version of Bobby McFerrin singing it with La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra. (As a boy Steve heard this very version live in concert and it evidently had an indelible impression on him!)

Classical music is such a big part of who we, ThePianoGuys, are. You can hear it in everything we write. We love pairing it with the music of today.

This was the most difficult music video to set the "stage" for thus far. We considered so many locations — a copper mine, a steel mill, an industry factory, a mountaintop ski resort, a wildflower meadow, a desert bluff, and many others. As you know we love putting pianos and cellos in crazy places (a common comment is 'how the heck did they get the piano up there??') — places that show off breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. When Mark Wade with Garfield County's Department of Tourism called and offered full creative access to its national parks we abandoned all of our tabled ideas and focused on showcasing Bryce Canyon National Park — an incredible place of raw beauty and geological history written in rock. It is a place like no other. We feel so blessed to have been able to film there.

This video features a NEW STEEL cello made by Dawson Swan: Thor II — with significant improvements over Thor I. It's lighter, easier to play and it looks awesome! Dawson is an incredible artist! Check out his website here. Thank you again, Dawson!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I'm A Mormon: Stan Checketts — Amuesment Ride Inventor

My eyes of success is happiness and today I'm an extremely happy person, so I consider myself very successful. I'm Stan Checketts. I'm husband to an awesome wife. I'm a father to a great bunch of kids. I'm a grandfather to 23 grandkids. I'm a creator of thrill rides. And I'm a Mormon.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Stitch In Time: October Finishes Giveaway Winner

I frequently-regularly-often trip while reaching for my high ideals. Then I giggle, or cry, and get back up. Erika Harris

The last few months have flown by in a whirl of crazy and once again, I did not visit a single finish for the month. That's not very good hostess etiquette, I have to say. When I planned this linky party, that was not how I'd envisioned it. In contemplating whether to continue next year, I am on the fence because I want to hop around to all of your blogs and see your amazing work, but I don't know if I will have the time. It's not that it's not a priority; it's just that everything I want to do it a priority and finding a way to balance it all out is proving difficult. I seem to be saying that a lot these days. It's something to consider and I welcome your feedback on how you feel about continuing without a proper hostess. In any case, I'm excited to announce October's winner, drawn by Grasshopper. Whenever I have a giveaway, I wish I had something for everyone, but you all knew when you signed up that I don't, right? I just have one prize and Grasshopper drew number 44 as our winner.

Amy Butler Spots

Congratulations to
:partytime: Allison :partytime:
at Dreaming in Patchwork

Allison will receive a charm pack of Amy Butler Spots from our awesome sponsor The Fat Quarter Shop. Allison's winning entry was a set of cute little Christmas coasters. She also linked up the cutest patchwork quilt she made from abandoned fabrics. Thank you, Allison, for sharing your fun finishes! And thank you to everyone who participated in October! You all are amazing!

The November Finishes Linky Party is open, so you can link up as you go throughout the month. Remember to include the NovemberFinishes button {code found in the November post} somewhere in your post. The giveaway, sponsored by The Fat Quarter Shop, for the November drawing is a a Rolie Polie of Happy Ever After by Sandra Workman

Happy Ever After

Today's post brought to you by:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Stitch In Time: November Finishes Linky Party

There can be no great accomplishment without risk.
–Neil Armstrong

Welcome to the November Finishes Linky Party! As an aside, where did January—October go? Thank you to everyone who continues to participate! Whether your project has been a while in the making or something you just whipped up, it is always nice to share the accomplishment.

To participate in this month's linky party:
• Finish a project {finished as in done, finito, nothing more to add, ready to use/display/give away} with some sort of stitching in it and blog about it or post a photo of it on Flickr.
• Scroll down to see what other bloggers are up to and link to your own finishes.
• Please include the November button in your blog post. Copy the code in the text box below and paste it somewhere in your post. The button is a link back here, so that other bloggers can find their way over and link up too.

• Each time you link up a finished project, you're entered to win the November giveaway, a Rolie Polie of Happy Ever After by Sandra Workman

Happy Ever After

• Thank you to The Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring our giveaway!

The Fine Print {which might be boring but you really should read}:
• Projects must include stitching of some sort. For example: appliqué, crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting, practical sewing {garment construction, bags, curtains, etc.}, quilting.
• Projects must be completely finished. As in done, finito, nothing more to add, ready to use/display/give away.
• You can pick something new to do, but projects do not have to be started during the month. If you pick up a UFO, Ph.D, WIP and finish it during the month, it counts.
• Finishes must be completed during this month, but you have until noon MST on the 1st of the next month to link your post.
• Post about your finish and then link your specific post {instructions here} above. Links to your blog and not the individual post about your finished project will be deleted.
• Have more than one finish this month? Great! Post about each finish individually and then link the specific posts up separately. Each finish, and therefore each link you add, counts as one entry for this month's giveaway.
• If you've already posted about a finish for this month, there's no need to do a separate post. Just add the button to that post and link up.
• Please copy and paste the code below to include this month's button somewhere in your post {not your sidebar}.

November Finishes

• Don't have a blog? You can link from your flickr account. Just post a picture, include a little note about your finish and a link back here {code included below} in the description. Then join the linky party.

• Make sure to visit a few of the other links and leave them some love {ie, a comment}. A good rule of thumb is to visit two links for every one you include.
• Winner of the sponsored giveaway will be drawn randomly from among the links and announced by 8:00 pm MST on the 3rd of the following month.
• Instructions for making an index page to your finishes can be found here.
• Kindly consider changing your comment settings to the pop-up window option for faster and easier commenting for visitors to your blog. Instructions can be found here.