Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holly Jolly Crafty Goodness

Since our tree is in Toledo, but our ornaments are in Savannah, I've been attempting to fill a very large tree rather creatively. These are my latest crafty efforts--premade plaster ornaments from JoAnns that I painted StumbleUpon

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Adventures in Dog-Sitting

We're puppy-sitting for Rich's co worker. She's 8 months--which means she's big enough not to look like a puppy, but still young enough to act like one. I had forgotten how much work having a puppy can be. This is particularly true when you live in an appartment. The apartment was spotlessly clean prior to the puppy's arrival and currently looks like I hadn't tried to clean in weeks. This would be a considerably easier task if we had a fenced in yard.
The puppy has so much energy, she makes Roslyn look calm--which is really saying something. She's also a barker--another trait I've never really had to deal with in any of my pets. She arrived with a basket of cute toys; Roz has managed to ruin just about all of them. On the plus side--the puppy is cute with lots of personality. Also, she's all Rich's after tonight. StumbleUpon

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Where does the Time Go?

I can't believe that I haven't written in nearly 2 months. Things have just been hectic, I guess. So for those who need to know, here's a recap
In October I had an interview and got to spend a fall weekend at home. I went apple picking with the whole family, which was a blast. At the end of the month, Maudy and Grumpy came to visit. We took in many of the great Savannah sites we hadn't yet seen as well as some great dining.
November. Well, I have no good excuse about where Novemeber went, except that it too flew by. I've been volunteering with the libraries and a local elementary school. I worked on three major school projects: a quilting catalog, a reclassification for the CD collection at the Library where I work, and a capstone project that was a larger bite than I should have taken. The capstone project was interesting, since I was comparing browsing habits of library and bookstore patrons, but it was also very time consuming since I had to follow patrons around and observe those habits. If I were smarter or lazier, I would have stuck to a literature review.
In my spare time, I've been following high school football play-off as Rich's road-trip attache. I'm not the biggest football fan, but I do like taking in the various corners of the state, including a pizza parlor featuring a shrine to Robert E. Lee.

The good news is, the projects are done. My hockey quilt is done. Christmas shopping is mostly done and I'm ready to go home for the holidays and relax. Now that I'm practically graduated, I shall have to resolve to keep up with this blog a bit more frequently. StumbleUpon

Thursday, October 8, 2009

3 a.m. Wake-Up Call

Rich and I had a somewhat frightening surprise this weekend. We walked Roz shortly going to bed around 2:00 a.m. It was a cool night and we smelled smoke. We smelled a wood fire and assumed someone had built a fire in their
fireplace. We thought nothing of it. As we were dozing off we heard sirens, and I commented that they seemed close. Some time after 3:30 Rich got up for water, he discovered no water pressure in our faucets and put it all together. He woke me and we discovered the building on the corner (across the street and down two units) was ablaze. We watched as black smoke and tall flames quickly consumed the building. All roads in the complex were blocked off. Thankfully no one was hurt. It could have been so much worse and we are extremely grateful it wasn't us.

As a side story, note the kid in the picture. I call him shoeless Joe. This kid walks around the appartment complex all day and never has shirt or shoes on! StumbleUpon

Monday, September 28, 2009

Adventures of a Busy Saturday

What do an old house, barbecue and a concert have in common? Our last Saturday of course. After a few month of struggling to find something more important than football to enjoy on a lovely fall Saturday, Rich and I found ourselves triple booked for a change.

First, it was Smithsonian museum day. The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace was available for tour free of charge. Although I had volunteered there, I'd never had the opportunity to explore the house. It was amazing and definitely worth the cost of admission (even on days when its not free). The home is very well preserved with incredible furnishings. The home has a lot of character. Unlike some museum homes, you can visualize a family living there. The history and family stories add to the charm. Of course there were less glamorous facets just glazed over, such as servants and Juliette's divorce. I think the glazing makes me want to do my own research and discover the unofficial tour information. Overall though, it really was worth the time.
Next, we attended the flying pig barbecue festival where Rich was a "celebrity guest judge." The carnivore had three servings of meat without having to pause for fillers like side dishes. He methodically and seriously approached his task. His professionalism attempted to mask his opinions. Yet I knew his "meat" face, the moment he tasted the winner, even if he tried to keep it in check. Luckily the rain managed to hold off until after we'd left.

Finally, we got back in Doug and were on the road. The Decemberists were playing in Athens and we drove 4 hours to be there. Along the way, we stopped to do some junking (I love antique stores!). We were greeted by many unusual sites including my dad's place-- "Grumpy's Restaurant," a manatee shaped mailbox that was probably as tall as me, and billboards advertising "Free Guns." Only in Georgia...The scenery was nice as the landscapes starts to roll as you head north. I've decided, if I have to live in an old home in Georgia, I want to be in some small town or in the middle of nowhere. In Savannah, no one has much of a yard.

About an hour out of Athens, the sky opened and buckets of rain drenched the route. Driving conditions were scary. We thought of pulling over at the next gas station, but since we were in the middle of nowhere that plan failed.
Thankfully we arrived in Athens in one piece, but then had the chore of finding parking. Who's bright idea was it to schedule a concert in a hall near the stadium while UGA was home and playing a 7:00 game? Seriously, one garage was charging $40. When we stopped for dinner, it was pouring outside. Yet Georgia fans, armed with bulldog red ponchos were joyously marching onward. Who are these people?

After all our trials, the concert was definitely worth the trip. The Decemberists are amazing. Their live performance and stage presence do not disappoint. I was impressed with the crowd they drew--there were many of the expected geeky-chic college students but also an assortment of middle-aged music lovers. They played The Hazards of Love from start to finish without a single pause. That takes talent and a really well-organized road crew. They then came back for a second set which found the crowd on their feet. They closed with an unexpected cover of Crazy on You which rocked.

The four hour drive back to Savannah was definitely not the highlight of the day, but all and all, not a bad way to spend a Saturday. StumbleUpon

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Crafty Goodness

I've been pretty swamped with course work, regular work, job hunting.... I haven't had much time to quilt, but I have had a little weekend time to get some sewing in. Lately I've been making stuffed toys. My first effort was the bunny. I used a simplicity pattern that was easy to follow and some yellow and white striped flannel. The button eyes came from a shirt we were getting rid off. The nose is embroidered, though you can tell that I've never embroidered. The accent ribbons were leftover from the flower girl baskets. I think the next time I make one, I want to use chenille.

I also made this geometric toy. Essentially it's three oval cuts of fabric stitched to form a single piece. Each is turned out, stuffed, and hand stitched close. Four units are stitch together to make a ring. Three rings combine to make the toy. I was glad to have had heavy duty thread on hand--I had used it to repair Rich's hockey gloves earlier in the summer. The stronger thread was harder to work with, but should hold the toy together well. StumbleUpon

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A librarian's weekened

For my law library and legal research class, I got to take a field trip! I was not overly excited about waking up before 6 a.m., especially since Rich didn't get home from the football game until 1:30. I wasn't too pleased about the three hour drive to Macon either. Despite these petty complaints, it was a great learning experience. I learned so much by talking with my classmates, several of whom had been lawyers or worked in law libraries. They were able to help break down the language barrier I'd been suffering from since the class started.

We also toured the law library at Mercer. This was a great opportunity to physically see many of the materials we'd been discussing. I loved the architecture and have decided that law libraries must have better alumni than any school I've ever attended or worked for. The comfortable yet traditional furnishing that were everywhere gave the library a sense of familiarity, yet distinction. There was even a mirrored dressing table in the women's restroom. I could get used to that.
The day got me thinking that maybe someday I could become a lawyer. It's an interesting thought. I'm smart enough, I could make a go of it. However, I don't think I'd like the arguing, just the research. I like problem solving and am pretty good at it. Librarian it is. StumbleUpon

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our Home for Wayward Animals

Our apartment building is really rather perfect for stray cat mothers and their progeny. Unlike many of the buildings in the complex, it has a rather large crawl space. Directly below our quad is some loose lattice work just large enough for a cat to squeeze through. The humble abode is securely guarded by lush, thick and spiky holly bushes. Consequently, we are on our second litter of fur balls this summer. There are four black kittens and "Momma Cass," who is actually rather skinny for such a name. She started as "Momma Cat," but that wasn't much of a proper name. We've taken to feeding them dry food when we see them. I never realized small and hungry kittens could be so territorial over there food. They growl at one another. I've decided to place four small piles across the porch rather than one large bowl.

The next visitor to our home for wayward animals earned the name "Annie," as in little orphan Annie. She's a reddish-tan mixed breed with a black snout. She has a square head and soft short coat. I first noticed her while walking Roz in the evening about a week ago. She seemed to scurry away from us and caused no problems. I figured someone had just forgot to bring her in for the night.

On Sunday, Rich really noticed her. He tried to befriend her. Doing so went extremely easy. Once she got over her initial hesitations, she became the sweetest thing who wanted nothing more than to be petted. She wasn't even very hungry, although we left food and water for her the first night, just in case. She reluctantly sat on our porch with us and played with Roz through the window. Roz was excited because she wanted a new friend.

Another couple had been out walking that night and noticed her. They felt bad too and left her a bowl of kibbles and bits and some water under the tree in front of our apartment. Compared to our Pedigree, Annie loved the Kibbles.

Although Rich wanted to keep her, it was late and I informed him she couldn't come in without a bath. I was concerned about vet bills and the added expense, but so we agreed to temporary custody of Annie, until a better home could be found for her.

I had Monday off, so that morning we went in search of her. She was no where to be found. I searched all day. However it wasn't until Rich came home shortly after sundown that she returned to her playground "den." When Rich pulled in, she came over to him. We boxed Roz, petted Annie and brought her in for a bath. The bath went great; she was scared, but definitely more calm about the whole affair than Roslyn ever is. Rich and I discussed a Kroger run to get some Kibbles and Bits, a collar, maybe a second leash, even a new bone (or two so Roz wouldn't be jealous). While the flea shampoo set, I "baby proofed" the kitchen, relocating any chewable foods to higher ground.

After the bath, we dried Annie and moved her to the kitchen. We set up the baby gate so she and Roz could gradually socialize. I then let Roz out of her box. Without any warning, our "sweet" Annie snapped. She violently growled and bolted for Roz. In an instant, she had bust through the baby gate and was in pursuit. She chased Roz who ran for the shelter of her box. I did my best to block her, but was also afraid to stand between them. She nipped at Roz, who thankfully had enough fluff to keep the skin from being broken. Rich grabbed Annie's tale and yanked her out of the spare bedroom. I closed the door to keep Roz safe while Rich used a dinning room chair like a lion tamer to force Annie out of the house. We clearly wanted nothing more to do with her.

We tried chasing her from the house and ignored her hoping she'd move on. Yet Roz needed one last walk for the night. When we came out, we saw Annie across the yard at the playground. We hoped we could quickly sneak out without her approaching us. Unfortunately, Roz was attached a second time, as Annie had clearly become very territorial.

Throughout the night she remained on our porch or in the yard. Roz didn't seem too phased, especially since she got extra love and a peanut butter filled bone. However, she was restless and kept checking the window every few hours.

This morning, we were awoken by Annie's aggressive barks as cleaners attempted to visit the apartment above us. We knew we couldn't walk Roz if this continued. We went to speak to the folks in the front office who reported that animal services had been notified. They had attempted to catch her three times already this week, but Annie was clever and had evaded them.

Rich obtained a rope from the office, as well as the number for animal control. I called while Rich kept Annie in his sight. She no longer would let him approach and had become increasingly territorial. She even attacked a city worker's pick-up. After an hour or more, with the help of the office worker, Rich got the rope around Annie and had her tied to the office while she awaited pickup.

This has been a learning adventure. There are so many more things that could have gone wrong. We're really grateful that no one was hurt. We're sorry that it didn't work out for Annie. We hope she finds a good home some day. For now, we'll settle for being more cautious Samaritans. StumbleUpon

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Best Picture Book Ever

For a youth services librarianship application, I needed to write an essay identifying the "best picture book I ever read" and describe why. The following is my response.

Recently, I have been volunteering to shelve children’s books with the Savannah’s Live Oak Public Library newest branch. New children’s books have an exciting smell and luster that has yet to be marred with character from loving little hands. As I sort the titles, many are familiar faces from my own childhood or experience, babysitting, or work at Locke Branch. Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, Blueberries for Sal, Alexander and the No Good, Very Bad Day, Where the Wild Things Are, Olivia, Eloise, and an entire case filled with Dr. Seuss. Mrs. Nelson, Amelia Bedilia and all those Froggie books I used to bribe Jonathan into bed time, greet me as old friends. The list of titles suitable for the honor seems endless. Still, my heart will forever remain loyal to one title.

“In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf,” and thus began my childhood obsession with Eric Carle and his The Very Hungry Caterpillar. From my first trip to the local public library (Locke Branch) and every other visit until I graduated to “chapter books,” it remained the coveted prize I would nudge other kids out of the way to grab.Maybe I’ve always been a fan of Carle’s colorful illustrations and the unique “hole”-some page design. Maybe there is some deep, post-modernist interpretation to be gleaned from its glossy pages. I think the most likely reason of all, however, is the thrill of the happy ending revealing that “He was a beautiful butterfly!”

No matter how many times I heard or read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I couldn’t help but become hooked. With exciting onomatopoeia and repetitive phrasing, it is hard not to anticipate what will happen next. These traits make it the perfect book to share with young readers cultivating their curiosity and passion for reading. Additionally, the story lends itself to enrichment and education. One could easily tie in lessons on diet, days of the week, colors and metamorphosis. Of course, that’s not to mention the myriad of caterpillar and butterfly art projects to take home.

I could cite the scholarly literature and reviews I perused in an effort to justify my selection. Yet, with a book as classic and timeless as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, doing so only detracts from the simple elegance of the story. Many children’s titles come and go. There may even come a time when the great Spongebob Square Pants fades from popularity. However, other titles seem to always have been and always will be; they are the core of any public library’s children’s collection. Any children’s collection worth its state budget allotment will forever contain The Very Hungry Caterpillar, earning its deserved place as the best picture book ever.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hockey in Savannah

Do you have any idea how hard it is to learn hockey while living in Savannah? I took up hockey a few months ago--just as something to do. Something I knew I could get Rich outdoors for. (It's hard to find motivation to leave the air conditioning during a 110% humidity Savannah Summer.) It started innocently enough--we just passed a hockey ball back and forth and tried to avoid Roz. I used Rich's regular stick, while he used the sacred stick he used to score his goal while playing on real ice. When we realized that, unlike Rich, I am not a right handed hockey player who can use a left-handed stick, we decided it was time to upgrade.

Finding a hockey stick in Savannah is a trick. About the only place with any is Play it Again Sports. There located in the back corner. There isn't much selection, so you've got to be lucky to find what you need. Rich must be lucky, because he found a basic street hockey stick (no frills plastic blade and all) for a right-handed player about my height. Truth be told--he didn't know my exact height and just bought the shortest stick they had. It fits perfectly.

We'd practice shots after work and I started getting respectable. However, just because I could clear the tennis court net did not mean I could aim. Rich decided we needed a net. Do you know how hard it is to find a hockey net in Savannah? Sure you can get a regulation size (4 x 6 foot) net meant for soccer, but they are flimsy and the holes in the net are too large for a hockey ball.
Rich decided to construct the frame from PVC pipe bought at the Home Depot.

Finding the net itself was another challenge. Apparently netting is harder to come by than you'd think, especially in Savannah. We searched high and low for an adequate material and finally settled on mesh laundry bags--you know, the sort that are on sale everywhere in August for the college bound.

The top tier of the net is one bag cut open on both the left and right side. The bottom tier consists of three bags, each split open on one side and the bottom. They are sewed side by side, with the aid of some extra-wide bias tape that was on clearance. The two layers were then stitched together, again using extra wide bias tape. My basic Singer sewing machine was not pleased with this project; it took an hour before I started my next project to return settings to normal cotton sewing mode.As you've guessed it, the net is attached to the frame with my own version of duct tape--cable ties.

The down side of our masterpiece? We can no longer play hockey on the tennis court. The management of our apartment has decried the court strictly for tennis. All other forms of recreation are strictly prohibited. Not that many people in the appartment complex actually play tennis. Guess they have to keep one thing about the place look nice and not outdated.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting Started

My mind is spinning with the hundred and one things I'd like to do, and the seven thousand things I have to do. I originally thought of starting this blog to show off my crafty goodness. Now, I hope, I'll also be able to showcase what else keeps me so busy and happy. Here's hoping! StumbleUpon