Monday, March 30, 2009

Three days, seven cities

Day 4, Monday, March 30, 2009
We will be departing Rome early today as we make our way to Montecatini. On the way we will visit Assisi (St. Francis Basilica) and Siena, then continue to Montecatini (40km from Florence, spa town with many hotels). We will stay overnight in Montecatini.

Day 5, Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Today we will go on an all-day excursion to Florence including a visit to the Uffizi Museum (I am dying to see Botticelli's Birth of Venus) and Sta. Croce Church (Michelangelo's and Galileo's tombs). We will stay overnight in Montacatini.

Day 6, Wednesday, April 1, 2009
This morning we will depart from Montecatini and continue to Venice. We will stop for a morning visit of Pisa with its leaning tower and wonderful cathedral. We will also make an afternoon stop in Padua to see the famous church of St. Anthony. We stay overnight in Jesolo.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Benvenuto a Roma

Day 1, Friday, March 27, 2009
Today we arrive in Rome. Our first stop will be the hotel to freshen up, we will then start our tour with a walk around the city center. We will stay overnight in Rome.

Day 2, Saturday, March 28, 2009
We will spend all day sightseeing, and will be visiting sights such as the Vatican Museums and Forum Romanum. We will stay overnight in Rome.

Day 3, Sunday, March 29, 2009
Today, we will take a morning excursion to the Via Appia Antica including one of the early Christian Catacombs and the church Domine Quo Vadis (with Jesus' footprint). The afternoon will be spent on an excursion to Tivoli including Villa Adriana (Hadrian's summer residence) or Villa d'Este (Renaissance palace with gardens). We will stay overnight in Rome.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lucky days

The other day, I got an email from Sharon who asked me if I had received anything in the mail from her. "Why, no," I replied coyly, "was I expecting something from you?" Apparently I was, because a few days later, what should appear in my mailbox but this:

Look at all that polka-dotty goodness. And that soap...mmmm... smells so nice! Now, I'm still not sure what I did to deserve such a sweet parcel from Sharon. Maybe there's a catch to this... I'm so suspicious. Sharon said she would reveal all on her blog, but I'm impatient to know. Hmmmm.
And my luck didn't stop there. I won a giveaway at heylucy and Marné sent me a package:

Just look at that cute little bird on the envelope. Then I opened it up and found inside this beautifully decorated box containing three sweet little mushrooms.
What a lovely surprise. I'm going to use the mushrooms when I make my terrarium. I did some research on terrariums and they sound so easy to put together. As soon as it's warm enough for me to be tranporting delicate plants, I will bring home some clippings from plants at work, and maybe I'll pick up a miniature violet. I heard they do well in terrariums. I have the perfect glass cookie jar to house it and it will take a place of pride on my dining room table (thereby displacing any dogs who think they have the right to nap up there in the mid-afternoon sun).

Yesterday I got a message from Barb at Bejeweled Quilts by Barb who told me that she was giving me the Sisterhood Blogging Award. Isn't that an honour!

Of course, I have to pass on this award to some fellow bloggers. I have picked just a few, mainly because I'm short on time right now. So, my nominations go to:
Jenessa at Rainy Day Treats
and my newest friend, LillySue at A Peace of Bliss.
Now you know that I would not intentionally leave out anyone. I keep up on many many blogs and I think they're all great (or I wouldn't bother reading them). I picked the bloggers above because they are relatively new to me and I think you should go over and meet them, too!
So, if your name is above (or even if it's not and you know you deserve an award) you can do the following if you want - no pressure.
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate 10 or fewer blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.
Okay... you still with me? Good. As you know (because I keep bragging), I'll be gone for a couple of weeks. I've pre-written a few posts to keep you up to date on where I'm going. Every two or three days, a post will appear (magically!) telling you what we're doing that day and where we are. I fully plan to divulge details of the trip when I get back, but just in case you think, "I wonder where Rachel (and her group of 20-something teenagers) is today..." Well, all you have to do is check my blog and you'll know. You can also check the weather forecasts online and laugh at me because it's supposed to rain for the entire time we're in Italy. I hope that 15-day forecast is WRONG! I also hope that when I get back to Canada, the snow is GONE! Is that too much to ask?
You'll be having your own adventures while I'm gone and I doubt I'll have the opportunity to check in on you. I'll miss you!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I've got nothing

I'm on a series of monthly vitamin B12 shots. You'd think that would give me some energy, but I still find myself exhausted at the end of the work day (and sometimes during the day). I'm going to blame in on the weather. It snowed all day yesterday and temps are still below freezing. Hey, Mother Nature, it's supposed to be Spring!

I'm starting to sound like an old lady with my constant weather updates.

I'm doing my weekly Loser Monday update, even though I don't want to share anything this time. I've got nothing. Nope, nothing worth sharing. I think I will have to go back to Weight Watchers when I return from my trip. I just can't seem to do this on my own. When I started this Diet Challenge in January, I fully expected to be down 15 lbs by the end of March. Three months, five lbs a month. It was an achievable goal. Right now, I still have 13 lbs to go. So, my grand total loss after nearly three months is 2 lbs. Yeah yeah, I know two down is better than two up, but it's frustrating. You hear me, right?

I look in the mirror and I do not like what I see. I try on clothes and nothing seems to fit comfortably. I'm tired and I lack motivation. It's kind of a viscious cycle. I know if I could lose the weight I'd have more energy, which would motivate me to lose more or at least keep it off. FATigue indeed!

Believe me, I'm not looking for your sympathy. I don't even want a pep talk. I want the PEP not the talk. Enough talk! I'll make you (and me) a promise. When I get back home from my trip, I will attend a WW meeting and I will continue to blog about my progress every Monday as part of General Geranium's Diet Challenge 2009. But, don't forget - I won't be around for the next two Mondays. Please don't delete me, Sharon. I'm coming back, honest. I'll just be gallivanting around Europe for a couple of weeks and keeping my fingers crossed that I won't weigh even more when I get back.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Portrait of an OnlyChild

We have a special guest in the studio this afternoon who has agreed to an exclusive interview for the Not-So-Plain Jane readership. Please say hello to the daughter known as the OnlyChild.

NSPJ: Hello! Welcome to Not-So-Plain Jane and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.
OC: Grunt.
NSPJ: I know our readers are curious - where did you get your name?
OC: I'm the only child. No, seriously, Mum read some cheap, cheesy novel when she was in high school... well, a long time ago... and one of the main characters was named Theodora. It's not a good book, but I like my name.
NSPJ: What "arts" do you pursue?
OC: I am a painter. Painting is my favourite thing to do. I'm also interested in mixed media - combining painting with other techniques. I love writing, but don't do it as often as I used to. I also used to be into photography, but haven't pursued that for a while. I like lots of stuff.
NSPJ: What are your inspirations?
OC: The eras of the 1920s to the 1950s, Audrey Hepburn, Blair Waldorf (from Gossip Girl).
NSPJ: What are you reading right now?
OC: I am reading The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, I just started The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, and I am re-reading Twilight.
NSPJ: What is the best thing about being you?
OC: Nothing. Haha. Well, I have the most wonderful pets, especially my sweet Abby. I get to see her every day.
NSPJ: How would you describe your decorating/design style?
OC: Eclectic. A combination of everything I like is on my walls. My floor is not so much the result of a "style" but of laziness. I keep the other end of the room clear for painting.
(Interviewer's note: I am somewhat - make that very! - embarrassed to post this picture. Please don't call the Health Department. She lives like this purely of her own volition and no matter how many times her father and I help her clean, it disintegrates into this awful state in less than 24 hours. We figure we'll just wait until she moves out then have it fumigated.)
NSPJ: What accomplishments are you the most proud of so far?
OC: My paintings. I love the way they've turned out. I currently have a painting on display at the University Extension Art Gallery. We went to a reception there this afternoon.

(Interviewer's note: This is the painting that is on display at the Art Gallery. It is called "Do not go gently" and is a mixed media piece. In this photo, the painting is displayed in the main office at school.)

NSPJ: Will you share with us your future plans?

OC: I plan to move to Victoria, BC and get a degree in Fine Arts with a major in Writing (perhaps screen writing) and minors in Painting and Women's Studies.

NSPJ: Are you excited to be featured on my blog today?

OC: Oh yes! It's the thrill of my life!

(Okay, she did say that sarcastically... but still...)

So there you have it folks, my offspring, my daughter, my pride and joy. And she was sooo proud to be featured as my special guest. Thanks for joining us for this Sunday edition of Not-So-Plain Jane. 'Night.

Friday, March 20, 2009

To sleep, perchance to dream

I think Derby has the right idea:

A good nap is a beautiful thing.

I can't seem to keep my eyes open in the evenings lately. I got home from work tonight, read the newspaper and promptly fell asleep sitting upright in the chair. I drifted in and out of a very uncomfortable sleep for almost two hours. It was terrible. When I finally woke up, I was groggy and disoriented. Why, I ask myself, did I not just go up and have a real lay-down on the bed? I think I was in denial and didn't want to admit I needed a nap. I had far too much to do tonight to waste time on sleep: I needed to go to the gym (didn't happen), pick out something to wear for the wedding tomorrow (haven't done that yet either), and clean the house because there isn't time tomorrow. Nothing is done and I'm ready for bed.

I've been so tired and unmotivated in the evenings lately; I haven't worked on a single project since last weekend, and I miss it. The OnlyChild has been sick all week; she's coughing and hacking and sniffling and sneezing. Poor girl. I'm not sick (knock on wood), but I feel dragged out. I wonder if it's due to this lingering winter weather. First day of Spring? Ha! Our temps are barely above freezing for a few hours a day and the snow is still covering every available surface.

I'm sooooo ready for some sunshine.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


When I was in high school, I was considered to be "functionally bilingual", meaning that if I were to be dropped in the middle of Quebec or somewhere in France, I would be able to survive. I continued to take French in university, although I don't think my abilities improved much. Then, the OnlyChild was enrolled in a French Immersion program for grades 1 and 2 (we moved away in grade 3). So, I figure I will be able to get by on the French leg of my upcoming trip. But, just to make sure, I started practising with a couple of language programs on the computer. Only one of them works on my computer at school and I have had a bit of extra time lately because I have a student teacher who has pretty much taken over all my teaching duties. I was in my office the other day, listening and repeating, when all of a sudden I realized that the CD was teaching me sentences such as, "Would you like to meet for a drink?" and "There's a nice restaurant around the corner." I now know how to pick someone up while I'm abroad! That particular CD also has lessons on how to dump the new, foreign beau, which should come in handy if he gets too frisky or I decide it's just not going to work: "Get your hands off me!" and "I don't think we should see each other anymore." hehehe.
Aaahhhh... Italian and French men. A whole new world for me. I told Mr. P the other night that if I really really liked it there, maybe I wouldn't come home. He just shrugged. Yeah, I don't think he's too worried. He probably knows that I'm more interested in the sightseeing and shopping anyway.

This is where we're going on the trip:
  • Rome
  • Assisi
  • Siena
  • Montecatini
  • Florence
  • Pisa
  • Padua
  • Jesolo
  • Venice
  • Verona
  • Geneva
  • Paris
  • Versailles

All these cities in 10 days! Obviously, some of them are just quick tourist stops, which is just fine with me, as long as I get good pictures. I'm most excited about going to Paris because it's been #1 on my Places to Visit List since I was about 13 and, although I was born in southern England, I never crossed the Channel. Isn't that awful! My mother and I were planning to go for Spring Break when I was in grade 11, but my grandmother died the October or November before and Mum had to go back to England for the funeral, which sucked dry our travel fund. Then life just progressed at an incredible pace: university, marriage, child, more university, career in rapid succession.

Now I get to go... I'm fulfilling on my my life's goals. I definitely have plans to keep travelling, even if Mr. P isn't interested in accompanying me. It's cheaper to travel with friends anyway!

Buonas noches.☺

Monday, March 16, 2009

Loser Monday makes me feel like a yo-yo

Up and down, up and down... Today down, but just by 0.5 lbs. So, I'm back to having 13.5 lbs to lose. I took a trip over to the Happy Weight Calculator and was not so happy when I left. It says I have 22.5 lbs to lose. I think I'll stick to the WW number, even if it is the top of my healthy weight range. I can reassess when (if) I ever reach that goal.

Here's an interesting article you might like to read. Don't be put off by the first two pages of talk about cluttered houses. He does eventually get to the point and it's quite enlightening.

I'm off to see if I can do a loop-the-loop or walk the dog. Oh, hey, maybe I should walk the real dogs and burn off some calories.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ego partum proinde ego sum (I create therefore I am)

(Philosophical musings on a snowy Sunday morning)
Mr. P is downstairs watching television, a nasty habit if you ask me. TV and hockey games comprise the sum total of his hobbies right now. He used to be very active ~ a true "jock" ~ and was even, in his much younger days, scouted by two Ivy League schools in the U.S. because of his prowess on the ice. Unfortunately the scholarships they offered were too many thousands of dollars short of the required amount and his family could not afford to make up the difference, so he ended up going to university close to home and he met me. The rest, as they say, is history. Maybe.

Anyway, I digress. The point I'm making (or attempting to make) is that Mr. P will leave nothing of himself behind when his time comes to depart the earth. With the exception of a room full of sports memorabilia, there will be nothing left to say to the world, "I was here!" And I happen to think that's very sad.

You may be wondering where all this is coming from. Well, Friday night, we went to visit friends at their house. Mr. P works with the gentleman, who is in his early 60s. We very much enjoy their company, despite the age difference. When we got home that evening, the OnlyChild asked me what we had done at their house and I replied, "We sat around and talked, and I looked at Peter's stamp collection." And she laughed, "Stamps? Wow, he sounds like an interesting person." (sarcasm)
"No," I protested, "you don't understand. These aren't just stamps. They're history." Really, he has his stamps in albums, based on historical period and the album I was looking at was on the Treaty of Versailles era. He had put them all in context and annotated the layouts. It was kind of like a scrapbook, except with stamps instead of photos. I'm not interested in stamps or stamp collecting; but I am a history geek and this was a fascinating way to display the story. Plus, Peter is leaving behind a part of himself. His children, grandchildren, and so on will pore over these pages in the years to come and they will know who their dad/grandpa/great-grandpa was. He has created something that will last.

Mr. P has created collections of stuff he got from ebay and HMV (namely multiple seasons of NYPD Blue), but none that of will tell future generations anything about him, except that he liked to watch TV. Booooring.

Aren't our children lucky? They will pass down to their children the items we have created. There will be quilts and clothing, knitted scarves and sweaters, soft toys, scrapbooks, holiday decorations, and a generous stash of fabric. They will know, definitively, that their mother/grandmother/great-grandmother was a talented seamstress, and proficient knitter, a dedicated scrapbooker; a lover of red, pink, green, florals, stripes, polka dots; that she loved her family and created for them; that she wanted to be remembered after she was gone; that she believed in the power of the creative spirit. If they're really lucky, we also will pass on our talents!
And speaking of creating... It worked! My Let is Snow test block was a success and washed up well. There's only one place where it frayed a little, and I know just how to fix that.

Now, I can continue with the quilt and there will be released into the world yet another item created by me!
I love seeing the items other people have made. I find inspiration; I oooh and aaah over them; I suppress the twinges of envy at other people's talent. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way. Today, as I navigated my way through blogland, I visited Jodi's blog at Simply This That and the Other. Jodi has created 703 posts! Seven-hundred-and-three! Wow! That is something worth celebrating - so she is. With a giveaway. Take a look at what you could win:
Pretty awesome, eh? Happy Creating!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday has gone to the dogs!

Yesterday was the day we officially, legally, sold the PEI house. We had all the papers notarized by a lawyer and they were sent off this morning. It's over and done with (barring any disasters) and, I promise, so is my boohoo-ing over it. But thanks, my friends, for your words of understanding and encouragement. Yes, new doors will open and new opportunities will arise and I appreciate your gentle reminders of that.

This morning was annual Vet Check Up Day for Abby and Derby. This is usually not a happily anticipated excursion; in fact, Mr. P and I try to cut deals with each other to make the other person do the dirty deed. Our sweet dogs are a handful, to say the least. This time we went together and had a couple of nice surprises. First of all, the vet we used to see, who only works part-time now, was there. She's wonderful and she absolutely loves Abby and Derby because she's a Jack Russell Terrier owner herself. Then she told us that the dogs did not need the usual variety of vaccinations because the ones they had last year are valid for three years, so they only needed the bordatella (kennel cough) for when they stay at the kennel. That saved us some dollars and the pups each a pinch! All in all, it was a pretty easy visit. Even Derby behaved himself (sort of).

I made a quick trip to the fabric store this afternoon for...

... a roll of emerald green cotton thread to do the applique on my March Seasons of the Heart BOM. I used two shamrock cut-outs on the block instead of one, just to add some dimension. I found this charm square of shamrocks and cute little ladybirds. As soon as I cut into it, I smacked myself on the forehead. Why didn't I use this in the Bunny Hill block instead? I've been doing all my baskets in A Tisket a Tasket in red and this would have been perfect. Plus, I wanted to have a touch of pink in all the Seasons of the Heart blocks; I don't think pink will look good with this fabric but it would have looked great with the pale green batik I used in the other block. Arrrggghhh. Oh well... I like this block anyway. It's simple, but cute.

I also picked up this zipper to make the back of the cushion cover with my Let it Snow test block. I put together the cushion cover, washed it, and it's now in the dryer. We'll see if all those fiddly little applique pieces stay put. If it's a success, I can go ahead and finish the quilt... finally.

Poor Bernice, though. While I was sewing she was doing some strange things with the stitches. I opened her up and found what looked like a mouse's nest of lint inside her. No wonder she was protesting. I cleaned her out and she hummed along nicely after that.

I found this on my adventure to the fabric store, too.

It's a peel and stick chalkboard. The OnlyChild was looking at these last time we were there, but I wasn't paying $23.00 for one (cheap old mum). Today they were on for 1/2 price and $11.49 I don't mind spending. I think it will be a nice little Easter gift, so she'll have to wait until then to get it. Hopefully she won't read my blog before then - she usually doesn't.

So, I'm back in the saddle, so to speak. I'm sewing again. I'm finding lately that all my projects are little things - Pink Penguin baskets, BOM blocks, Itty Bitty Kitties. The biggest project I've completed so far this year was Jane Marie's baby quilt back in January. I really need to get moving... I really need bigger chunks of time to work on things... I really need to spend less time on the computer... yeah, right.

Happy Saturday, my friends. Tomorrow looks like a great day for sewing!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Saying goodbye

Just over six years ago, Mr. P and I bought a house on Prince Edward Island. He was born and grew up there, and we always planned on retiring "back home". We found this old farmhouse, built in 1929, on 5 1/2 acres of land in the Eastern end of the Island and fell in love with it. It's surrounded by red dirt and potato fields, and the ocean is across the road. Our nearest neighbours rest quietly in the Catholic cemetery, so it's a peaceful setting. I loved puttering around the house, hanging laundry on the line, reading on the veranda (maybe you can see my chair tucked into the nook on the left side of the picture below), and receiving visitors. Over the years we have done some renovations to the property: removed carpeting, new paint, totally re-did the bathroom (except for the floor), rebuilt the veranda, and created a lawn out of a hayfield.

This morning, after I ate my oatmeal, I signed the papers to sell the house. It's breaking my heart. I had plans and dreams for this house, including a fabulous studio/sewing room in the attic.
But the place is a bit of a money pit. It's on the other side of the country from where we live so we don't get there every summer and it costs far too much to travel when we do. It's unbelievably expensive to heat in the winter so we haven't been heating it, and the effects are starting to show in the lathe and plaster walls. Plus, in the past it's caused some, um, disagreements between us because Mr. P's family lives on the Island and he always wants to drive around to visit them while I prefer not to spend all my vacation days sitting in his mother's living room watching daytime TV. Last but not least, Mr. P, who used to be a school principal, recently switched jobs and now doesn't get his summers off (he is already regretting that) so the prospects of us spending another whole summer at the house are pretty dim.
Goodbye sweet house. Goodbye future dreams. Goodbye ocean breezes.
Sigh. I know there's an upside to this somewhere and I will discover it, but for now I'm pretty bummed out. So much so that I haven't even felt like sewing for the past few days. Gasp!
Sigh again.
(no smiley face today)

Monday, March 09, 2009

I forgot...

Sorry about that... I forgot to post my weekly silly cartoon for Loser Monday. Here it is. That's me on Saturday. haha.

Lost and Found

Hey all you Losers out there! If you lost weight this week, I may know where it's hiding. Do you want it back? @#$&*! I gave up SWEETS and I think my body is punishing me! Someone at work suggested that I may be overcompensating for giving up what I love by eating more of other foods. There may be some truth in that. But, honestly, you'd think I would be rewarded just a tiny little bit for my dedication. Sigh. I am sitting at the SAME number this week, leaving me with still 14 lbs to lose. When will this madness end? Maybe I'm supposed to remain a chubby little thing. Maybe I need to try harder? I don't know.
So, a new week, a new resolve. I feel like crap this morning and I wish I could just take the day off. But it's a well-known fact among teachers that it's easier to go into work than to call in sick.

I'm posting a couple of pictures from the homefront to show you what March looks like here. The first photo was taken out the bedroom window (yes, through the glass - it was minus 20 degrees celsius yesterday and is even colder this morning - and dark, stupid daylight savings time).

And this is a picture of the back yard. So now you know... while you're talking about jonquils and leafing through seed catalogues, we're still bundled under blankets, using the seat warmers in the car, and wearing layer upon layer of clothing when we venture out of the house.

I finished my scarf and sewed on some lace and buttons. But I wasn't sure I liked it. I like the idea, but for me this is a bit overdone. I considered taking my stitch-ripper to it and making it naked again because I probably wouldn't wear it like this. Knowing me, I'd smack myself right in the eye with one of the buttons or get my hair all tangled in them. But then the OnlyChild came into my sewing room and saw it sitting on the cutting table. She ooohed and aahed over it, so I gave it to her. I'll make another one for me and forgo the fancy accessories.

And a Saturday morning project to show you. I just love those Pink Penguin baskets, so I made one to take to the wedding shower/staggette party I went to this weekend. The bride-to-be loved it (and the goodies tucked inside).

And speaking of that party... it was a blast! All of us in our fanciest pajamas - we went bowling and out to dinner and rode around in a limosine (dancing in the back). Then we went to the hostess's house for chocolate fondue (no, I didn't have one single bite!) and chick flicks. I dragged my tired butt home at 2 o'clock in the morning (3 o'clock, if you count Spring Forward). I can't remember the last time I stayed out that late or had that much fun! I don't have any pictures because (duh) I forgot to take my camera, but there were plenty of photos snapped and I'm sure someone will email me a few. I'll post when I get some, I promise, then you can laugh at my silliness.

The hostess, SIL-to-be of the bride-to-be, is a very clever girl. Just look at our party favours!

Everyone got to pick a pair of slippers. Of course I went straight for the pair with chocolates on them. If I can't eat it, I can still look at it, right?

Talk to you later!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Sick of Winter and Dreaming of Spring

This picture from very accurately illustrates my present feelings about the lingering winter weather. The ground is white, the sky is white, and we're expecting yet more of the cold, white stuff tomorrow. Bah! I keep reading on other people's blogs about the flowers blooming and the temperatures reaching 90 degrees fahrenheit (which is 32 celsius - hot!). I really need a dose of that Spring weather right now!

I had some paper snowflakes adorning the window of my office at school. I took them down this afternoon because it suddenly occurred to me that I might be sending out the wrong message to Mother Nature. What if she takes my decorations as an invitation to keep winter around longer? Noooooooo. By Monday I should have some flowers and butterflies up. Do you think that would work?

If not, maybe this will:

It's the March block from Bunny Hill's BOM. Don't you just love that little bunny? I am scheming ways to use him on other items - maybe an Easter bag for the OnlyChild? This was my project tonight while Mr. P and the OnlyChild went to a hockey game. It was so nice to have the house to myself. I dusted, vacuumed and mopped when I got home from work this afternoon so I was FREEEEEEE, and able to pursue my own interests for a couple of hours.

Tomorrow I will be attending a wedding shower. It's a pajama party and we all have to wear our best pjs. We will be going bowling in our pjs, out to supper in our pjs, then watching movies in our pjs. They're having a chocolate fondue - but you all know I cannot partake of that evil C-word, so I will have to happily munch on something else. Carrots, perhaps? Cauliflower? It should be fun, even if we do look like idiots running about the city in our pajamas. We'll all look silly together at least (and my pajamas are quite stunning).
While you're cruising around blogland today, go and visit Jen at Miss Punkie Pie. She is having a giveaway for her 100th post! She'd love for you to pop by and leave a comment (and admire the cute little face of her daughter).
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

My husband has put me on a diet!

That sounds much worse than it really is. He didn't tell me I'm overweight or anything like that. Nope, he went to see a financial advisor last Friday and for the month of March we have to write down every penny we spend. Apparently, we're "bleeding money" - in other words, we spend here and there and it all adds up. Well, no kidding!

When we first got married (over 17 years ago!), Mr. P was the spendthrift. Money slipped through his fingers and out of his pockets like you wouldn't believe. I, on the other hand, had pangs of guilt when I bought towels, for goodness sake! Over the years, I've become a little freer in my spending and he has become a little wiser. We've met in the middle, I guess. But it seems that we still waste far too much on unnecessary luxuries so we're going on a spending diet for at least a month and will write down everything we spend and see where our money is going. All I can say is it's a good thing I ordered all these goodies from Lara's Etsy shop before we decided to do this! (They arrived yesterday and are more beautiful than the pictures show.)

Speaking of diets... my family is in shock. They cannot believe I actually cooked a healthy supper TWO nights in a row! Good suppers, too. Last night was chicken, potatoes (Mr. P made those) and veggies. Tonight: pork chops with apple chutney (made by me last fall), brown rice with almonds and nutmeg, and veggies. I love it when the food I made turns out good. Mr. P had seconds - even of the rice. He usually complains when I make brown rice, preferring white Minute Rice to the "stuff that takes forever to cook". I figured that if the pork chops needed to cook for 45 minutes, I could just put the rice on at the same time. Wow, the logic! I really don't enjoy cooking very much but there's nothing like a delicious meal made at home. Right now I have banana bread in the oven. 35 minutes to go. I'll take a picture and post when it's done so you can drool over it.

And now a project update. I finished my scarf from the pattern posted by golden bird. Here's a goofy picture of me wearing it. Yes, I took the photo in the bathroom using the mirror, just like a giddy teenager. Please ignore the strained smile, the orange sweatshirt I am wearing (I have work clothes and home clothes. I am home right now.) and the strings hanging (I haven't woven them in yet).

I plan to do something special with this scarf, inspired by heylucy. I love what she did to her scarf so I'm thinking of something similar. I just need to find some vintage lace - the buttons I have in abundance!

And I sewed some scrappy borders onto my skier test block. That's as far as I got with that. Monday night was open house at school, last night was a "gym night" (not to mention I cooked supper - I'd forgotten how time-consuming it is to eat properly), and tonight... well, I'm spending some time with my invisible friends from blogland.

So, here's the banana bread. I think "bread" is a misnomer. This is loaded with sugar and fat. I usually make 2 loaves - one for home and one for work. Look at all those chocolate chips. You know I won't be eating any of this - it's on the forbidden C list. That's okay. I prefer my bananas yellow with a touch of green, not mushy.

Ciao. (I'm practicing my Italian for the trip)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Inside some of us is a thin person struggling to get out, but they can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate cake. ~Author Unknown

Good morning, and welcome to another edition of LOOOOOOOSER MONDAY! Today's show is brought to you by the letter "C". Let's see... what words begin with "C"? How about CAKE, CHOCOLATE, CANDY, COOKIES... and CAN'T have it.

Nearly a week has passed since I last indulged in the sweet goodness of all those things listed above. I'm not really missing them... okay, just a little maybe. But I've been good. I've been very good. So why isn't the scale rewarding me? I was actually UP 0.5 lb this morning. Hmmmmph. Maybe I should go back to eating ice cream for dinner... No, I'll just keep on trying - as we used to say at WW, maybe it will show on the scale next week!

Some of you may have been wondering whatever happened to the Let it Snow quilt I was working on, with the pine tree blocks (or maybe you have lives and hadn't even given it a thought). Anyway, I had to put it away for a few days so I could work on costumes for Open House (including a shirt for a three-headed person, a hat that looks like a tire, and a shirt covered in medals - don't ask). Open House is tonight, so I finished all that work yesterday and, after, I put together a "test block" of one of the appliqued skiers.

I used fusible web and then a tiny little straight stitch to secure all those little pieces. I also used invisible thread and I'm not sure if I like it. It's not as, um, invisible as I'd hoped it would be. But, I don't want to have to change thread after about 10 stitches either. I'm going to put some borders on this, sew it up into a pillow cover and toss it in the wash to see if it holds up.

And here's a little holiday happiness that I saw while out walking the other afternoon. The neighbours down the street have decorated for St. Patrick's Day (while keeping up some Valentine's Day decorations). Cute.

And you know what else is cute? Moda Honeybuns. V and Co. is having a giveaway and you could win! Tell her I sent you.
Happy March, everyone. Can't you just smell Spring in the air? No? Not here, either. But I just know it's coming...