Friday, May 29, 2009

Happiness is...

An Oh Cherry Oh honey bun... and a jelly roll of the same fabric is in the mail. I have great plans!

Sometimes it doesn't take much to make me happy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Loser Monday... Yippee!

I've lost ONE pound since the last time I weighed myself... can't quite remember when that was. Hey, it's a loss - I'll take it!
And a recipe to share. I found this in a magazine at the gym and tried it the next night. Delicious! And healthy! And so easy!
Three Bean and Turkey Chili

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapeño peppers
1 10.5 oz can of each: chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans
1 can low-sodium chicken broth
¼ tsp each salt and cumin
1/8 tsp each cinnamon and cayenne pepper

Heat oil on medium-low heat. Sauté onion until transparent. Add turkey and brown 5 minutes. Add other ingredients. Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Done!
I'll be back tomorrow with photos of my Spring Spell quilt, which I finished yesterday. I have a sore finger from sewing on the binding. boohoo.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunny Weekend ☺

I finished my paper yesterday afternoon. Hurray! It's not due until Saturday morning, but I'll email it off Friday night so I don't miss the deadline. I am going to let it sit and 'percolate' for a day or two and then I will edit it with a fresh eye. I feel like a burden has been lifted... never mind that I still have three chapters of reading to do (in the very boring textbook) for this week.

Last night I did this...

I planted some tomatoes in pots (and in front is a container of zucchini).

And I did this...

Filled the barrels out front with flowers - pansies, viola, lobelia. Pretty!
This morning we did this...

We planted our plot in the community garden, which is only four blocks from our house. I've never gardened before, except for planting flowers in the barrels shown above. We put in peas, carrots, beets, potatoes, onions, parsnips and lettuce. I sure hope something grows! Look at Mr. P hard at work, turning over the soil. This is going to be our 'together' project; since we no longer have a place to go back east in the summer, I need to have something to do to keep me occupied.

It's only a little garden plot - 10' x 10' - and it's totally natural and organic, so no chemical fertilizers, no machinery, no hoses.

And this is what I'm going to do... right now!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dog Haikus

derby is snoring
beneath my feet he slumbers
rhythm of his dreams
poor sweet abby dog
she shivers when i whisper
when i shout, she hides
written when i was supposed to be working;
posted when i should have been sleeping

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Measure twice; cut once.

What is this? Are you having trouble seeing the picture below?

Let me explain. Monday night, fairly late, I realized that if I wanted to pin my Spring Spell quilt after school on Tuesday, I had better cut a piece of batting and get it all ready to go. I had written down the measurements of the quilt and underneath had written the size of batting I needed to cut from the chunk I had on hand.

Unfortunately, when I went to cut, I read the wrong set of numbers and ended up with a piece a bit too narrow. Like I said, it was fairly late at night. Uh Oh! What to do?

Since I didn't have another large piece of batting, I decided the next best thing was to sew a length to the piece I'd already cut. I've done this before, but usually only on table quilts or 'test' projects - just trying to use up and not waste.

Can you see the seam in the picture above? Sort of... I just used a wide zig-zag and butted the two straight sides together. The seam is fairly flat and I've hidden it under the 'racing stripe' on the back of the quilt. Fingers crossed it doesn't show or leave a ridge.

So, here's the quilt, batting and backing all packed up to take to school.

And here's the quilt laid out on the floor of the classroom. I was down on my knees (in a skirt, no less) pinning the quilt after school when a colleague walked by. She said she thought maybe I was praying. haha.
The quilt is now all pinned... I don't know when I'll get around to quilting it. I have my first paper due next Friday, so that's taking priority right now. Even over marking and other work.
For all of you who think I've been complaining too much about the weather lately:

This was what I saw Monday morning when I woke up. The temperature has been hovering around the freezing mark for about a week now. I think we're in for some nicer weather in the next few days. I hope so!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Loser Monday

Status: did not weigh (Still too scared, unmotivated, apathetic... you pick a word...)

Weather: Snowing when I woke up this morning
Temperature: 0 ºC = 32 ºF

To-do list: 2 chapters of textbook to read, assignments to mark, paper to begin, seminar to prep, date with Mr. P at the gym, laundry to wash

Response: sigh

Bright side: I have a pot of stew bubbling in the slow cooker for supper tonight. Yum. Always gotta have something to look forward to, right?
Tomorrow: back to work; hope to finally get Spring Spell quilt pinned after school

Friday, May 15, 2009

What now...?

The OnlyChild and I had a little falling out this afternoon. She convinced me to take her to the mall (the BIG one) after school and, although I hate the mall, I thought it might be nice. Not so much. First of all, I hate the mall... did I already tell you that? Second, it's the Friday of a long weekend, so it was busy and getting busier each minute we lingered there. Third, the OnlyChild has a bit of a sharp tongue and her mother has little patience for sharp words from her progeny. So, it wasn't so much fun after all. We drove home in stony silence and now she's sulking down in her room.
In order to fill the time, I cleaned the downstairs - dusted, vacuumed, mopped - and then I sat in the porch for a while and thought about doing some course work. But I snapped out of that quickly enough and decided to go upstairs and sew. Hurray!
As small a job as this was, I hadn't yet got around to sewing together the backing of the Spring Spell quilt. I wanted to use up pieces of fabric that I already had but I had to do some piecing. Here's what I did:
Don't mind the wrinkles; it's just strewn across the bed in the spare room.
Mmm...marvellous! I can't wait to get quilting.
BUT. As I mentioned before, I have nowhere to pin a quilt in my little house so I planned on laying it out on a classroom floor at work. BUT. It's a long weekend and now I'll have to wait until Tuesday to do that. Arrrgggghhhh!
WHY didn't I sew the backing last night so I could pin it today after work (which would have averted that whole mall incident)???? WHY? Because last night I was marking so I wouldn't have as much to do this weekend, so I could read my textbooks and start my first paper for the course. And, so I would have some time to sew.
Ahhh... this is starting to sound like an O. Henry story. Sort of.
You know what? I bet I can find something else to sew or quilt if (and that's a big if) I have any free time this loooonnnnggg weekend. Do you think?
Oh, and guess who also wants some of my time?
Ooohhh... I gotta add this:
Elizabeth is having a giveaway over at her blog Pigtails and Snails. Oh my goodness, you should see what she's giving away. I'm tickled "pink". (You'll get it when you go over there.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Inspire me

It has been a very uninspiring week so far, and I'm glad it's almost over. Between the snow, cold weather and just a general lack of enthusiasm on my part, I've found myself unmotivated to do anything work- or quilting-related. I think my moods must definitely change with the weather, so I can't wait until I see some sunshine and can feel warmth on my face. Maybe then I'll get something accomplished!

But not all is gloomy. I did some exploring in Blogland. One link led to another and another and eventually to Floss's blog Troc, Broc and Recup'. Floss, who is originally from Scotland, now resides in France where she teaches English. I think she's living the life I was meant to have! I am going to enjoy getting to know Floss and reading her adventures.

Floss is also having a giveaway! Included in her prize pack are some unique Scottish, French and vintage items.

You should go and visit Floss. You can also enter her giveaway!

Chin up, my friends, tomorrow is Friday. And here in Canada it's a long weekend. Thank goodness for that!

À bientôt!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Oh, for Heaven's sake. Would somebody please tell Mother Nature that it's May! It's snowing outside.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday's Post / Graduation Day(s)

There was an interesting article in the local paper yesterday about why people overeat. The article is about David Kessler, the former head of the FDA in Canada. Through his research, he has come up with a new theory as to why people eat too much, and too much of certain foods. I have copied and pasted some excerpts for you

His [Kessler's] resulting theory, described in his new book, The End of Overeating, is startling. Foods high in fat, salt and sugar alter the brain’s chemistry in ways that compel people to overeat. “Much of the scientific research around overeating has been physiology — what’s going on in our body,” he said. “The real question is what’s going on in our brain.”

“Highly palatable” foods — those containing fat, sugar and salt — stimulate the brain to release dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure centre, he found. In time, the brain gets wired so that dopamine pathways light up at the mere suggestion of the food, such as driving past a fast-food restaurant, and the urge to eat the food grows insistent.
Once the food is eaten, the brain releases opioids, which bring emotional relief. Together, dopamine and opioids create a pathway that can activate every time a person is reminded about the particular food. This happens regardless of whether the person is hungry.

But the key to stopping the cycle is to rewire the brain’s response to food — not easy in a culture where unhealthy food and snacks are cheap and plentiful, portions are huge and consumers are bombarded by advertising that links these foods to fun and good times, he said.
Deprivation only heightens the way the brain values the food, which is why dieting doesn’t work, he said. What’s needed is a perceptual shift, Kessler said. “We did this with cigarettes,” he said. “It used to be sexy and glamorous, but now people look at it and say, ‘That’s not my friend, that’s not something I want.’

“We need to make a cognitive shift as a country and change the way we look at food. Instead of viewing that huge plate of nachos and fries as a guilty pleasure, we have to … look at it and say, ‘That’s not going to make me feel good. In fact, that’s disgusting.’ ”

Interesting, eh? Definitely "food for thought".

That's my Loser Monday post, Sharon. I never have any good news anymore. I may just have to go underground for a few weeks and, hopefully, come back a svelte, healthy person. I don't know how I'll swing that, though.
I didn't tell you how grad went, did I? It was wonderful. Thursday night was the commencement service at the Basilica. It included a liturgy (mass without the eucharist) and then a diploma ceremony. The diplomas aren't actually their High School diplomas, since school isn't finished for the year. They are simply a certificate of participation in the commencement. The service was really nice, though. The students all did really well and there were only a few glitches 'backstage' that nobody would have noticed. Here is a not-so-great picture of the church. You can see the students in their blue and white grad gowns in the main part of the church. It was packed with students, families, teachers... and it was very warm in there!

I wore my red skirt and got quite a few compliments on it. People were astounded that I made it myself and that surprises me. Not because everybody should know by now how talented I am ~ haha ~ but because I can't believe the number of women my age who can't sew. I thought every girl had to take home ec. in junior high. No?

Friday night was the banquet and dance, which was held at a convention centre downtown. It was beautiful. All those girls in their gorgeous prom dresses with their hair up. And the boys in tuxedos and real shoes. Wow! It made me a bit teary to see them all dressed up and looking so grown up. I didn't want to post photos of particular students, so here's one of the staff doing the traditional dance at 11:00 pm. That's me on the left-hand side of the photo in the brown dress (that I also made), acting like an idiot... and I wasn't even inebriated this year. It was a very late night ~ I got home at 2:00 am after clean up and making sure everyone was gone.

It's back to school for all of them today. But, not for me. Mr. P has an appointment at the hospital for some tests and the OnlyChild has a doctor's appointment, too, so I shall be taking the day off to drive them around. I'll have to make sure I take my textbooks with me, as I still have a chapter to read in each to stay on track for the week.
Happy Monday (if that's possible).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon

This is where I have spent the better part of the weekend: in the front porch. It is absolutely the best place to be when the weather is nice.

We moved the couch in there last summer when the OnlyChild decided she didn't want it in her room anymore. I love it! It's a wonderful place to nap in the warm afternoon sun. The quilt on the couch is one I made quite a few years ago from fabrics I purchased in Nova Scotia. It was one of those slash and sew quilts.

Don't you love the little Jack Russell puppy? No, he's not one of the Wild Things; he was my Mother's Day gift from the OnlyChild. She must have thought I needed a well-behaved pet to make up for the two crazies. His name is Simon.

Here's the other side of the porch. The rocking chair is one I bought when I was pregnant. Many nights I rocked the OnlyChild to sleep in this chair when she was a baby. You can also see Lola, the OnlyChild's bicycle, which was parked in the porch when it started to rain one night.
And here is a view of the house across the street. It's the oldest one on the block, according to the OnlyChild, who did some research at the public library. Our house was built in 1909; this one is a few years older. A quite elderly man lives there alone and he is very self-sufficient ~ he shovels his own walks, mows the lawn, trims the hedge. If I lived in that house, I would give it a good paint job and trim the windows in black, or maybe red. Oh, who am I kidding. I haven't even painted the windows in my own house.

You are seeing his house through an old window frame that came out of our PEI house (you know, the one we just sold).

The porch has a nautical theme ~ it was decorated that way to keep me going during summers that we didn't go back to our ocean home. The sand and shells in this container are from two beaches near our ex-island house.

We bought this lighthouse and the Bluenose below on the Island and brought them home with us, too.

Here's what I was doing during my sojourn out in the porch ~ reading and taking notes for my course.

Here's what I'd rather have been doing ~ reading something inspirational (yes, even in French) and creating... maybe finally finishing my quilt. Soon... soon...

Sigh. Oh well, at least the weather is getting better. Look at that blue sky! And the trees are starting to bud. I can't wait until it's all green and leafy outside. This street is so beautiful in the summer time because of all the mature trees and old houses. Now, if I could only find a way to keep the cars from speeding up the road...

Remember my mantra? I really do have a good life. I'm going to keep repeating it, especially in the next few weeks when things start to get really busy.
The countdown is on for Summer Vacation!
Have a great rest of the weekend (what's left of it, for my Eastern friends).

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Duck and Cover

There are no atomic bombs heading my way (I don't think) but sometimes it's just best to keep your head down and avoid getting hit by flying projectiles. Haven't you ever had those days where you just can't seem to do anything right? That's my week so far. Nothing major and it's probably just me, but my new policy is to Duck and Cover:

Isn't that great! I found it while doing some research for my next grade 12 Social Studies seminar. I wanted to do something different and it had to be a Cold War topic so I started googling, looking for ideas. I've decided the topic will be propaganda of this era, so I'm going to show this video (the real version is about 5 minutes long) along with 4 others. Then I'll do teacher stuff and then I'll make them do some student stuff. Planned!

Over the last few days, I've been reading these:

I wish I could say I was making good progress, but I should be finished reading up to page 58 in the book on the right and I'm on page 11. Yeah...sigh. It's as dry as dust and I can't get into it. Lucky for me I am a Class-A bullshitter so I was able to write my online post about it without even reading it. Now I'm just backtracking to cover my butt.

The book on the left is pretty interesting, though, so I'm on track with my reading in that one. That is until the weekend, when I'll officially be behind again unless I Back. Away. From. The. Sewing. Machine. And. The. Computer...

Speaking of the sewing machine... after that frenzy to get the Spring Spell quilt sewn together, it still sits on the bed in the spare room awaiting a backing, batting, quilting and binding. It may have to sit there until the hurricane that is my life settles down a bit. The good news is that grad is tomorrow and Friday then that's all over until next year. The bad news is that I seem to be lagging behind in every single task I have to complete right now: housework, this course, my marking (how quickly that piles up when I'm not looking ~ I swear those assignments multiply in captivity), and all the learning guides and tests I still have to write for next year's new courses. I'm drowning. Yep, the housework will have to be put on hold haha.

And speaking of housework... for the third day in a row, I had to clean up dog shit when I got home from work. Yeah, I'm through with the euphemisms. It can be "doo-doo" or "crap" the first day, but it's "shit" the third time I have to clean it up! I know it's Abby Dog. She just can't hold it. Ugh! And it's hard to be sympathetic when you're gingerly scooping up lumps from the floor. Ugh!

Anywayyyyy... it's raining here. Remember all that snow we had a while back? Yeah, well, now we have rain. Can you see it in that picture? It's helping the lilac bush blossom, I guess. No, we don't have any flowers yet. It's too cold here still. How about some sunshine, please?

I shouldn't complain ~ when it's colder out, I can still wear sweaters and pants that help to disguise my flab. I'm quite disgusted with myself. I promised me I would wear my nice red dress to grad but there's no way it will do up. I had really hoped to be down to my goal weight by now, four months after I made the commitment. I think I actually weigh a bit more than I did when I started.

So here I am bitter and frustrated and cold. Blogging when I should be reading or reading when I should be marking or marking when I should be writing. When am I going to be able to say, I should be sewing?


Monday, May 04, 2009

Every Monday

Every once in a while, my department has a breakfast. I bring in the waffle iron, fresh fruit, whipped cream. Others are starting to contribute items to make a real feast. At our last one a few weeks ago, one of our retired teachers was in subbing. I offered him waffles but he declined, explaining that he had started Weight Watchers. Oh, I said, I start that every Monday! He thought that was a great joke... but it wasn't really a joke.

Today is Loser Monday and after a weekend of eating dangerously, I decided to start again with the Diet Challenge. I had oatmeal for breakfast, a pear for a snack at 10:00, and a salad and strawberries for lunch.

And then I got home from work and, as usual, the no-holds-barred snacking started. Sigh. Okay, it's not quite that bad. I had some flavoured popcorn and now supper is in the oven and I'm not hungry. I'm tired, I had to clean up dog crap and puke when I walked in the door, and I have about 80 pages of reading to do for my course. So, when I'm frustrated or overwhelmed, I eat. Does that sound like you, too?

An article I read the other day said that people tend to do better at reaching their goals when they don't make them public. I wonder if talking about this constantly (well, weekly) is actually getting in the way of my weight-loss success. Maybe I should go underground with the diet. Maybe...

Anyway... in other news... I didn't get any more done on my Spring Spell quilt. The only place I can lay out a quilt to pin in this house is on the floor in the OnlyChild's bedroom and... well... you've seen what that looks like. In the other rooms we have hardwood floors, or the rooms are just too small. I'll have to take it to work and lay it out on the floor of a classroom. This is going to be a really busy week, though, so it may have to wait until next week. Too bad. I really wanted to get it done.
Have a great Monday (if that's possible).

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Splendid Saturday

When I was in university, the favourite word of one of my professors was "Splendid!" She had a British accent and when she said this word, it did indeed sound splendid, full of promise, and very positive.

Today is Splendid Saturday. Why? Well, first of all because it's Saturday. That should be reason enough. But it's also very nice outside and the predicted temp for this afternoon is 19 ºC (66.2 ºF).
Plus, I won a giveaway and the prize arrived in the mail yesterday. Look!

This package came from Joanna at Fig Tree Quilts. I entered her contest for naming the new Moda Patisserie Line. I had forgotten all about this so it was a wonderful surprise. I cannot wait to make these projects ~ I guess I'll have to buy another jelly roll!

And speaking of Jelly Rolls... (no not the one around my middle; I'm working on that)... I did some sewing on my Spring Spell quilt last night. I've named it "Spring Spell" as a result of a comment Stacy made about me casting a spell to get Spring to finally arrive in this part of the world. I think the spell may have worked! I have just the borders to sew onto the quilt and, of course, the quilting to do. I'm very happy with the way it's turned out and excited to finish it.

Another splendid event is the giveaway at Magnolia Bay Quilts. If you leave a comment on her giveaway post this weekend, you could win this:

What a gorgeous book! I love scrap quilts because they give me the opportunity to do some stash-busting... except for the very first scrap quilt I ever made, which was beginning of my stash building.

Yes, it's Splendid Saturday. I hope it's splendid for you, too!

Friday, May 01, 2009


Some days I find myself being just a little too bitter and... can I say this online?... bitchy. Like yesterday after work, I was driving the OnlyChild to a job interview at the mall not far from our house and the entire time ~ I mean the whole 15-minute drive ~ I crabbed and nagged about little tiny annoyances. She thought it was amusing, bless her heart. But when I play back the conversation in my head, I am somewhat ashamed of myself.
Earlier in the day, I had a chat with a couple of students about positive affirmations and, although I've never been the mushy kind, I do know that these have been proven effective. You need to adopt a 'mantra' and repeat it continually to remind yourself of the positive. I've never tried it myself; perhaps that's part of my problem. We also (my students and I) talked about gratitude and being thankful for what we have. That, too, has been proven to improve your outlook and mood.

So, I'll try this. I am grateful for:

My family ~ They drive me nuts and make me wish I lived alone at times, but I'd be so lonely without them. And who would I get to empty the dishwasher if the OnlyChild wasn't here?

(With the OnlyChild in NYC, Summer 2008)

My job ~ I have an interesting job with a good salary. It's pretty secure, even in this recession. I work with great people and, though the kids sometimes make me shake my head, I have more good days than bad, and more fun than aggravation with them. I've also learned so much from working with young adults, some things I'd rather not know...

(Social Studies Department, June 2008)

My brain ~I may not have been born stunningly gorgeous, but I was born with a brain in good working order and that's more important to me. I just can't imagine being dumb and I'm thankful I am able to earn a good living, solve my own problems, read quilting patterns, enjoy good books, and have interesting conversations.

My friends ~ As I get older, I find it more difficult to form strong friendships. I live 5000 km from where I grew up and have moved around far too much in the past 18 years. Although my high school friends mean the world to me, we sometimes lose contact for months at a time. Thank goodness for the handful of new friends I've met since I moved to the city. I do tend to keep to myself, but there is still someone to meet for coffee, someone to have lunch with, a quilting and scrapbooking friend, and colleagues with whom to share a friendly word. It's not good to live in isolation.

(With my best friend from junior high, Cheryl - February 2008)

The pets ~ Poor old Rexy. At nearly 18, he must have used up about 8 of his 9 lives. He gives us more trouble than pleasure lately with his midnight meowing, the failed attempts at getting it in the litter box, his tendency to be underfoot at the most inconvenient times, and all the messes we are forced to clean up. But he's family and we love him. Abby and Derby are a constant source of entertainment and are great company when I'm home alone (which is not very often lately). All three of them love us unconditionally and are always excited when we get home from work/school.

(A Christmas Day walk with Abby)

Bernice ~ I ♥ my sewing machine. I think she must be the best gift I've ever received! I am never bored because there is always some project that Bernice and I can be working on together. In the 8 years I've had her, she's never let me down.

(The only thing I wanted for Christmas last year ~ but not the only thing I got)

Dance class ~ Six years ago when we moved to the city, I was unemployed, friendless and lonely. One day I won $2000 in a radio contest and the OnlyChild (in grade 6 at the time) said to me, "Now you can take that belly dance class!" And I called the instructor, Nada, to register immediately. Since that first session in September of 2003, I have missed only one term of belly dance classes with Nada. I love it! Sadly enough, she had to cancel our spring session due to low registration. We'd had two weeks of classes, but there weren't enough people to make it worth her time (or the hall rental fee). I think the dogs will be happy, though. They'll get walked more often now!

(Spring dance recital, 2005)

You ~ I entered the world of blogging in January of this year. I was not a decision I made with trepidation; I just jumped in with both feet the day before Christmas vacation ended and haven't looked back. I love connecting with people who share the same interests and I love catching up on what everyone's doing in their homes, gardens, jobs, with family and friends. It's a very interesting world out there! Thank you!

So there you have it: my gratitude list. Not a sentimental list, by any means, because I'm a pretty straightforward gal, but it will be something I'll go back to now and then when I need a gentle slap upside the head and a reminder that I really do have a good life! (That's my new mantra)