Thursday, March 31, 2005

Inner Age and Colors of Spring

Oh yeah, and a smidge about the new quilt too... Today is my dad's 66th birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad!! Inside his head, he's younger than I am. We discovered that a couple of years ago, when we were talking about "inner age" compared to chronological age. You old would you guess you were, based on how mature you feel inside, not physical appearance, if you didn't know your literal age? For the longest time I would've said 27. But a few years ago, almost overnight, my inner age jumped up a few years. Now I would say I feel 35. When Dad and I were talking about it though, he said his answer would be 29. So my inner age is 6 years older than my dad's inner age, even though his outer age is 23 years older than mine. Go figure! I wonder how old I'll be when I start feeling 40-something inside? I got very little done on the sun quilt today. I cut a bunch of fabric into strips and sewed together a few chunks, but not enough to bother updating the blog with a new photo. Maybe tomorrow. For now I decided to post a photo of some flowers I picked today from my back yard. This is one of my favorite color pairings and one of the reasons I love spring. Shades of Blue and Yellow

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Books, Spam, and Quilt Progress

Let's take these in reverse order from the subject line, just 'cause I'm wacky that way. :-) Quilt Progress I finished the background for all the blocks on the sun quilt today. Yay!! I think I'm happy with the flow of the background pieces, although I may play around with them a bit more before I commit and start sewing one to another. I have a logical reason in my mind for which direction the diagonals are running in each block, but I keep looking at it and wondering if it's the best way or if I've just gotten an idea stuck in my head and am not seeing alternatives. Hhmm.... Either way, tomorrow I plan to start sewing some more sun pieces. Pics to follow soon, I hope! Spam As annoying as it is, I have to admit I sometimes love the subject lines of spam email I receive. Here's the subject of one I got the other day: "Feel yourself living in cloud land! Con temporary system of growing thin." At first glance, that's really nice. I think living in cloud land could be fun. Johnny would probably say I spend a fair amount of time in cloud land already. And a system of growing thin? Sounds good to me, as long as it doesn't involve pesky things like exercise or sensible eating habits. But wait a minute...let's look at that last part again. "Con temporary system of growing thin". least they're honest. They're trying to con me into trying a temporary system of growing thin. Sigh. Being thin in cloud land was a nice dream while it lasted. Books I just finished "Drive Like Hell" by Dallas Hudgens. It's his first published novel and is getting a lot of buzz. I was curious, so I had it on my Amazon wish list, but hadn't bought it yet. Then I won it! Joshilyn Jackson, whose first novel "Gods in Alabama" is hitting bookstores in two weeks and who writes one of my very favorite blogs, had a trivia contest a couple of weeks ago and I was a winner. Yay me! :-) The prize was to be "two weird things" from Joss's desk, and I was expecting something like an old grocery list and a stack of post-it notes or something. But I mentioned that the day I won was my birthday (it really was!) and Joshilyn pulled Dallas's book off her desk, took it to a book store where he was doing signings, and had him sign it saying "To Deb: this really is the copy from Joshilyn's messy desk" and then she sent it to me and bought herself a replacement copy. How cool is that?!! Thank you, Joshilyn!! I finished it last night and it was good. The story is quite different from my "usual" book, because the main character is a pot-smoking, foul-mouthed, car-crazy teenage boy. And I'm SO not. Well, at least I'm not a boy, or a teenager, and I'm not car-crazy, and I don't smoke pot. Ahem. So I wouldn't have expected to identify with him or care about him so much, but I got sucked right into the story and didn't want to put it down. And at the end, I was left sitting there thinking "but...but...but....what happens NEXT?" I found myself wanting to know what else Luke does with his life. I found myself worrying about him and hoping he'll be ok. He seemed so real to me. I love it when someone writes a book like that. So I'll be hoping to see more books from Dallas Hudgens in the future. I've already pre-ordered Joshilyn's book too. I just KNOW that one is going to be great.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Purist Hatbox?

This just in on Yahoo's Strange News, from Sheboygan, WI (where I lived for a while, years ago!): "Tankless Toilet Makes A Fashion Statement". Well. Alrighty then. First of all I have to wonder, do I WANT my toilet to make a fashion statement? I have a hard enough time making my SHOES make a fashion statement. I'm thinking I'd be pretty happy if all my toilet did was sit there quietly until it's needed and then flush properly afterward. Oh yeah, and it would be nice if I didn't have to scrub it so often too. A self-cleaning toilet would be very cool. That's an innovation I could get behind. But still, despite my doubts about Fashionista Toilets, it's the kind of headline I really have to check out. So I went to the Kohler website to read about it. You should go take a look too. Go ahead, I'll wait. Well, what did you think? Didn't it look JUST like that model was sitting on a lidded trash can? You know, the kind with the little foot pedal at the bottom you use to open the lid. And really Kohler People, having the model decked out in Bad Hair and Good Shoes (I really liked those shoes!) doesn't change that. She looks like she went to a party, broke the ankle strap on her pretty shoe, and plopped her skinny ass down on the kitchen trash can to fix it. C'mon...tell me I'm wrong. I believe this opens the door to some serious confusion. If I have guests in my home, and they need to use the bathroom, I don't want there to be ANY question in their mind which round white thing is the toilet and which round white thing is the trash can. That sort of confusion is a Bad Thing. And did you check out the price tag on that baby? Cowabunga! At between $2800 and $4300, I want it to not only be a fashion statement. I want the previously-wished-for self-cleaning feature. I want it to give me a wax job while I sit there. I want disco lights and stereo sound and custom vibrating action. And what the HELL is up with the name? The "Purist Hatbox Toilet"?? Puh-leeeeze. I can see it now: "Excuse me while I go use the Purist Hatbox." And someone got paid good money for thinking that up, yes? Or maybe they just get to have a Purist Hatbox of their very own. They'll be the envy of all the other kids in Sheboygan. Now, if you'll excuse, tell me again which one is the trash can?

Monday, March 28, 2005

Background Noise

I've been doing some more work on the spiral sun quilt and decided instead of finishing a block or two at a time (which involves switching back and forth between piles of cool-colored fabric and piles of warm-colored fabric), to sew all my backgrounds and then sew the pieces for the suns. It really should have been obvious to me earlier that this would be an easier way to do things, but what can I say? I have my "duh" moments. This was one of them. So anyway, been making some progress and decided to post another pic. I have all the background pieces sewn except for 4 of the smaller ones, which hopefully won't take too long. Should be starting to sew the sun pieces again by Wednesday or Thursday. (Got to run errands tomorrow and probably won't sew.) This probably looks like a big mess to anyone but me at this point, but here it is. Bright Suns yet again

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Movie Magic

I was SO not in the mood to work on the sun quilt thang today. Perhaps I should've buckled down and worked on it anyway, but I didn't. I played hooky and took myself to the movies. I love movies. I love to cuddle up on my favorite corner of the couch, with a cup of tea (or coffee, or hot chocolate - I love them all!), and the warm, fuzzy afghan my mom crocheted for me, and my evil kitty purring on my lap, and watch an old favorite (or something new!) on DVD. But I also really love to go to a theater and sit in the dark, and eat movie-theater popcorn, and gaze at the big screen. I lose myself in the movie more in a theater than I do at home. It seems more magical somehow. I don't go as often as I'd really like to though, and here's why: There's only one movie theater relatively near me. It's about 20 miles away, which isn't bad when you live as far out in the boonies as I do. On the plus side, it has super-cheap ticket prices --- only $3.00 for an adult matinee many places do you still find that?? And they still make the popcorn right there in one of those old-fashioned square glass thingies with the round metal popper thing on top, instead of shipping in that pre-popped stuff. (Gee, I really know my popcorn-making terms, don't I? Snort!) On the minus side, it's a small theater --- only four screens, and with movies coming out as frequently as they do, that means they usually don't keep any one movie for very long. Also, they only have daily matinees during the summer, when the local schools are on summer break. The rest of the year they have one or two evening shows a day, and matinees only on Saturday and Sunday. This wouldn't be such a big deal except that I have some serious night vision problems that make it a Very Bad Idea for me to drive after dark. And J hates movies. Well, no, that's a little harsh. He doesn't hate them, but he doesn't love them like I do. And if he's going to watch them, he'd really rather wait and see them at home. He doesn't get the whole "magic of a dark theater" thing at all. So mostly if I go to the movies, I go by myself, which I kind of like...back to the whole "dark theater, no distractions, lost in the story" thing. But it does limit WHEN I can go, since I need to make sure I can drive home before dark. And because the theater never keeps any one movie very long, I end up not seeing a lot of the ones that interest me until they are released on DVD. So today, when I woke up in the mood to play hooky and take myself to a movie, and realized it was Saturday, which meant matinees were showing and I actually COULD take myself to a movie, I indulged. I'd love to tell you about some deep, complex, and moving story I watched, I went to see "Ice Princess". :-) Hey, it has Buffy's little sister, pretty sparkly costumes, and figure skating, which I love to watch, although I've never quite gotten over the disappointment of Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner having to miss out on the Olympics all those years ago. That's pretty much enough to make me plunk down my three bucks. And I had an excellent time. The popcorn was good. The other movie-goers were quiet. And it doesn't matter that I can't actually stand up on ice skates in real life. For a couple of hours I mentally soared along the ice with the actors, spinning, and leaping, and sparkling. It was a lovely way to spend a cool, cloudy Saturday afternoon.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Interview Game

Here's a fun thing that is currently making the blogging rounds. I heard about it from Dara, who got it from Suzanne. I'll tell you the rules at the end, in case you want to play. Here are the Interview Questions Dara asked me. I think she came up with some hard ones! 1. What is your earliest memory? Oh geeze....uh....I'm not sure I can pinpoint my very earliest memory. But one memory that would be among the earliest is the memory of a neighbor's back yard. The neighbor was Helen VanDel and I called her Aunt Helen. She was a teacher and an avid gardener, and she used to babysit me sometimes. Her back yard was surrounded by cottage-garden-style borders, filled with colorful, fragrant flowers and shrubs. And there was a hill in the back my dad would sled down in the winter, holding me in his lap. Aunt Helen's yard seemed huge and magical to me at the time. Stepping out her back door felt to me like Dorothy stepping out of the black'n'white world of Kansas and into the vibrant colors of Oz. We moved from that neighborhood when I was 3 or 4 years old. When I saw her yard years later, I was shocked at how small it really was. She actually had a tiny in-town lot. But when I was a little girl, I just knew that place was enchanted. 2. Two roads diverge into a wood. You take the one less traveled. Where does it lead you? Santa Fe (c' didn't think I could give serious answers to EVERY question, now did ya??) 3. How many quilts have you made? I don't really know! But I did a quick look through some photo albums and my website and tried to count, JUST FOR YOU, Dara! :-) I think, if you count everything from mini-quilts to huge bed-sized ones, I've made somewhere between 90 and 100 quilts since 1989. 4. What are the northernmost and westernmost states you've traveled to? Northernmost is Maine. Westernmost is Hawaii. (California, if you only count the mainland.) Interestingly enough (or at least I think it's interesting!) the easternmost state I've been to is Maine. The southernmost is Hawaii! (Florida, if you only count the mainland.) Kinda weird, eh? 5. What's your favorite adage? "You have only failed when you fail to try." Whew! That took a lot of thought for a Friday afternoon. ;-) Ok, here are the Official Rules of The Interview Game if you want to play. 1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying "interview me." 2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different. 3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions. 4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post. 5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The "I Get Tired of Thinking of Post Titles" Update

Up to a grand total of five blocks done so far. Yeah, baby! I did a little better today at quieting my "but I want to see how it looks when it's finished" voice (which is very whiny and annoying, BTW), and trying to enjoy the process more. I usually am a little more of an "enjoy the process" sort of person than this, but for some reason this one is hitting my impatience button, even though I like how it's turning out. I have no idea why it's affecting me that way, but there you have it. Anyway, here is a picture of the progress as of late Thursday evening. Bright Suns Again The block in the upper left will probably end up elsewhere in the quilt. The center spirally part is too matchy-matchy with the block below it right now for my taste. I like the effect of the two lower blocks better, where the spiral area creates a kind of positive-negative switcharoo. Since I'm cutting all this stuff free-hand, I didn't plan either effect. They just happened. I figure when I get lots of blocks done, I can play with arranging them to come up with the patterns and effects I like best. That part is usually fun. :-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Another Progress Report

I sewed today. I swear I did. But this thing is going MUCH slower than I anticipated. For some reason I thought the fact that these blocks are very free-hand---no pattern except in my head---would make them flow from my brain to my hands to fabric reality more quickly and easily. SLOW progress. So I'm attempting to make the mental adjustment to the idea that this is going to take longer than to finish than I originally planned. I like what I've got so far. This afternoon I finished the background for 2 more large blocks and one more small one. Tomorrow I plan to work on the spiral-sun piecing and applique for those same blocks. I'll get there eventually. I keep telling myself the thing about the journey being as important as the destination. My Self is looking sneeringly skeptical about that so far, but I'll keep working on it.

Explaining Bob and Sylvia

It has come to my attention that my post on March 20 may have confused some people. This occurred to me when my friend Bev asked---in confusion!---"Who are Bob and Sylvia? Are they Mavs*?" Nope, Bob and Sylvia aren't Mavs. Bob and Sylvia are a pair of TV news drones who live only in my lurid imagination. They're very clear in my mind though. Bob is tall and has carefully mussed brown hair, twinkling blue eyes, and a dimple in one cheek. He's dumb as a stump, however he is capable of reading from a teleprompter if the words aren't too big. His real name is Buford Krump, but he changed it to Bob Katt when he entered the world of TV because he thought Bob Katt sounded hot. No one has had the heart to tell him otherwise. And if they did, he would probably think they were kidding. Sylvia is tall too, and ruthlessly thin, but busty. She looks a lot like a mean Barbie doll with a blonde pageboy haircut. She's a former Miss Tennessee who placed as first runner-up in the Miss America pageant in 1989 and to this day she swears that the winner slept with one of the judges. She's worked hard to get rid of her Mud Ridge, TN accent but it still breaks through now and then when she's really pissed off. Her name really is Sylvia Slutterbug because, really....who would make that up? She would've like to have changed it, but since she was known by her real name on the pageant circuit, she kept it and pretends to be proud of it's uniqueness. So, in case they show up again (and I'm sure they will!) that's Bob and Sylvia. Maybe someday I'll introduce you to some of the other unique characters that live inside my head. Hey...come back! (*Mavs=QuiltMavericks, a quilting-related email group I belong to)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


I'm sure everyone who stops by here is just breathless with anticipation --- Did DebR start the new quilt project today, as promised? Or did she slack? If she did start, how did it go? Were there sparks? Well never fear, I don't intend to keep you waiting any longer. I did, in fact sew today! WooooHooooo! The morning saw some continued procrastination, but the afternoon saw me at the sewing machine, cutting, sewing, pressing, cutting some more, etc., etc. All I have done so far is two blocks. My idea involves making the same block in two different sizes and arranging the blocks in a fairly complex layout. I made a sample block in each size today. I'd hoped to get more done (and hope future blocks go faster than these! sheesh!) but at least it's a start. I think I like what I've done so far. It's rather low-contrast because I have a bad habit of working right in the middle of the color spectrum where all the Bright Colors hang out and this one is no exception, at least so far. It's fun there! The Bright Colors throw a good party! Who wants to mess with those boring Dull Colors? Not me! Ahem. isn't love yet, but it's a start. The coffee date went well. Maybe tomorrow we'll do lunch. Don't know how much you can tell from just two blocks, but here's a peek at my progress so far. Bright Sun Whatd'ya think?

Monday, March 21, 2005

How To Stall, In 15 Easy Steps

So...Yesterday a certain reporter-who-shall-remain nameless told the world (or at least a handful of people who stopped by Red Shoe Ramblings) that I had a new quilt idea. So I should have some progress to report today, yes? What I Did Today:
  • I surfed the 'net while drinking coffee.
  • I talked to my friend Marge on the phone for a while. We---Johnny and I, Marge and her husband and daughter, and our friends Diane and Jimmy---try to get together for a visit somewhere every year. We're working on plans for this year. Sort of. At least we're talking about working on plans. Ahem.
  • I paid bills. Blech, Bah, Ptooey!
  • I went to the UPS store to mail some family photos to J's cousin in Missouri.
  • I went to lunch, where the server for my table was a red-haired woman named Debbie. We made mutually admiring comments about each other's name and hair. Also the hostess and I made mutually admiring comments about each other's shoes. I had on my JudyJetsons and she had some really rather fabulous lemon-yellow ones. I wish I'd asked her where she got them.
  • I spent an obscene amount of money to put gas in the car. Blech, Bah, Ptooey!
  • I tried on some clothes. Blech, Bah, Ptooey! (I don't always say B/B/P to trying on clothes, but today everything looked very steaming-pile-of-crappish on me, so...B/B/P!)
  • I tried on some shoes. They were lovely. I especially loved the red sandals, with the wide strap high on the instep and the red ring with the little flowers on it around the big toe. The red silk slides with the kitten heel were lovely too. But I resisted. I don't NEED them. Sigh.
  • I looked at yarn. I came this close to buying some, but then thought "do I NEED a fuzzy orange-and-purple scarf in April?" (which would be the soonest I would finish it). I reluctantly concluded that the answer was no, so I returned the yarn to the bin and backed away slowly.
  • I bought groceries. Blech, Bah, Ptooey!
  • I talked to my friend Nancy on the phone for a while.
  • I helped J bring his resume up to date, because working with MS Word makes him reallyREALLY crazed and it only makes me SLIGHTLY crazed.
  • I went for a walk. That was fun.
  • I answered a handful of emails.
  • I cooked supper. (yawn)

Where, you might wonder, is the new quilt project on that long, boring list? Totally ignored, that's where. I avoided even looking at the fabric piles on the cutting table all day.

I'm at a stage I get to sometimes in the early phases of a new project where an idea is niggling at the edges of my brain, but I'm not really committed yet. Do I REALLY want to spend some time with this fabric? Or would I rather wash my hair? If I start cutting then it'll suck me in, whether I want to be there or not. And breaking up is hard to do. Maybe I'd rather say "never mind, let's just be friends" NOW, before any fabric is cut and any of my time is spent....possibly wasted. Cuz it's not like I wasted any time today. (shut up)

Does anyone else go through a stage of commitment-phobia with fabric or am I COMPLETELY insane?? (That was a rhetorical question. Really.)

Tomorrow, I'm going to start cutting. I'm stating it here, publicly, so that I'll be embarrassed if I have no progress to report by this time tomorrow night. I'm not promising LOTS of cottage-with-picket-fence of fabric or anything, but I'll meet the fabric for coffee. We'll talk. Maybe we'll hit it off.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

News Flash!

Sylvia: "From WOUC, we have a breaking news story. We now go to our man in the field. Bob?" Bob: "This just in....DebR has A Quilt Idea. After weeks of studio inactivity, we finally see some signs that things may be turning around. Our reporter on the scene saw Ms. Richardson scribbling inexplicable doodles on graph paper this morning and looking speculatively at her teetering piles of fabric." Sylvia: "Wow! Exciting news, Bob! Can you make out just what Ms. R might be attempting with this new project?" Bob: "Sorry, Sylvia. It looks like a bunch of chicken scratches to me. But I'll keep you posted. From Bob Katt, that's the latest on Gobbler Knob. Back to you, Sylvia." Sylvia: "Thanks Bob. Stay tuned, folks. We'll keep you updated as the story progresses. This is Sylvia Slutterbug, signing off."

Saturday, March 19, 2005

100 Things About Me

One of the things I've seen around on a few blogs and found interesting was a list of 100 things people might find interesting about the author. Or not. Heh. So after scribbling notes to myself for a few days, I finally made up my own 100 Things list. I put a link to it on my sidebar, but here's a link to it too: 100 Things About Me No doubt you will all be suitably fascinated. :-) It was harder to come up with that list than I expected!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Cranky Irish Vulcan and Yay Goldfinches!

Cranky Irish Vulcan Ok, I'm not really cranky, or Vulcan, although I AM part-Irish, several ancestors back. But I liked how Cranky Irish Vulcan sounded, and that's what counts, yes? Here's what I wore today in honor of St. Patrick's Day: My Frowny-Face socks that say "cranky" all over them. I love weird socks. My weird sock collection is perhaps even larger than my shoe collection. (gasp!) And this is one of my favorite pairs. (Please ignore the shoes....they are my "ugly, but super-comfortable wear-around-the-house-with-jeans" shoes) And here is my Granny Smith Apple-Green Henley shirt and silver/peridot ring, on my right hand, which is making the Vulcan greeting symbol, just to show I can. Gawd, I'm such a nerd. :-) (Please ignore my stubby, unpolished nails...they are still in recovery from the abuse I heaped upon them by gluing fake GirlyNails to them for the cruise) And there you have nod to St. Patrick's Day traditions. I draw the line at green beer. I don't even like BROWN beer! Yay Goldfinches! Today, for the first time this year, J and I spotted some bright yellow feathers starting to show up among their drab khaki-olive winter feathers on the goldfinches at our bird feeder. That's a sure sign that spring is just around the corner. I always feel a surge of hope when I see those bright yellow spots for the first time. So YAY goldfinches!! Thank you for a literal bright spot in my day. Still no quilt project on the horizon. Stay tuned. Oh yeah...and Live Long And Prosper.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

What To Do, What To Do?

I'm between quilt projects at the moment. So I'm trying to decide what to do next. Or rather I'm typing a blog entry about what to do next because it's easier and more fun to waste time on the 'puter than it is to actually WORK on something. So. I could baste and quilt some tops I already have done. That would be smart because I'd get some things finished. But it sounds boring. I could drag out the box of old quilt tops and loose quilt blocks (almost typed quilt blogs!) I got from Grandpa Keeton last summer and try to do something with them besides push the box aside to clean around it. (Hey! I do SO clean now and then!) That sounds kind of boring too, but I keep swearing to J I'll do something with that stuff one of these days. Or I could start something entirely new. That sounds the most interesting, but unfortunately I have NO ideas burning a hole in my brain at the moment. Why is it that I always either have more ideas than I know what to do with or no ideas at all? And why is it that when I have NO ideas, the ideas I had that seemed so appealing when I was busy no longer seem worthwhile? Why? WHY?? If I want to continue to enter shows, I must start work on SOMETHING soon. I'm running out of stuff to enter! Speaking of entering shows, the jurors at the American Quilter's Society, which I would normally link to in this paragraph, but now I WON'T, because I don't like them today, rejected my quilt, "Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese" for this year's show. The lovely judges at PIQF thought it was prize-worthy (see the pretty blue ribbon beside it?) and the AQS jurors don't even think it's worth SHOWING? Pppfffttt. Ah well, that's the excitement of entering juried shows, I suppose. You just never know what those wacky jurors will do next! Maybe the next batch will have better taste. ;-)

And Another Thing...

before I move on to quilts. I feel the need to comment on a couple of things I saw this morning, one a news headline, the other an email subject line. The news headline, from WLWT, Cincinnati, OH: "Double Fatal Crash Was 'Horrible,' Witness Says" (I'm not going to link to the story because, really, you don't want to read it. Or if you DO want to read it, you can Google it or something.) I hate this kind of so-called journalism. HATE it! They had a story earlier about the crash occurring...when, where, how it happened. That was news. And when I read it, I thought it was a horrible event. Now they post the above story. Do I NEED to have an eye witness tell me that two people dying in a crash of twisted metal and broken glass is Bad? The day I can't figure that out for myself is the day I'd better turn in my claim to being a decent human being. Yet still, reporters are out there, asking "Mr. Smith, how did you FEEL when you realized your entire family went down in the plane?"..."Mrs. Jones, how did you FEEL when you watched the disgruntled employee open fire in your workplace?"..."Mr. Duncan, how did you FEEL when you saw two trucks crash head-on right in front of you?" Bleah!! Enough already! When it comes to journalism, I'm with Sgt. Friday....Just the facts, please. I'll figure out how to feel about them all by myself. And on a MUCH lighter note, I found a note in my inbox this morning from a Mr. Gilbert Wru, with the following subject line: "You requires just 11 min to intend for the night of sexual activity" Well, really! How the hell does Mr. Wru, someone I've never met, have any idea how many min I requires to intend for the night of sexual activity? And is saying I requires "just" 11 min intended as the compliment or the insult? I guess I'll never know, since I sent the Mr. Wru to the recycle bin unread. And while it's fun to talk like the Manolo, I'll stop now and go talk about quilts a while.

A Bit of Post-Birthday This and That

First of all, a big Thank You to everyone who sent birthday wishes. Whether paper cards, e-cards, emails, or blog comments, they were all read and appreciated. Take a look at the front of the card my sister sent. Does she know me or what?? For those who asked, dinner last night was shrimp fajitas, followed by coconut cake (both yum!). And no, I didn't go shoe shopping. I'm trying to restrain myself. For now. Ahem. Hey, take a look at what PirateJan found for me: The Pirate Soul Museum! Remember the pic I drunkenly insisted Sandy take for me in Key West? Well this web site tells you what that sign was really about, although it still doesn't explain why the sign got me hot. I don't think even Freud or Jung could explain that. It actually looks very interesting! If I'm ever back in Key West and it's daytime and I'm sober, I think I'll have to go inside and have a look around. Thanks Jan! This next link is courtesy of PirateLaura: Innocent Escapes with the Brawny Man. I have to say, I found it a leeetle creepy. He's like a Stepford Husband with an ugly shirt and a bad haircut. But it was still kind of fun, in a weird way, to play with the "create your own movie" option. Be warned, it's pretty slow to load, so you probably don't want to bother unless your connection is speedy, and even then you might want to go make a cup of tea or something while it's loading. I was going to write some quilt-related stuff (gasp!) and I still will, but I think I'll do it as a separate post. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

It's the 14th Anniversary of my 29th Birthday!

...or the 43rd anniversary of my Grand Entrance to Planet Earth (at least for THIS lifetime). My thanks, BTW, to my Uncle Harold for the "anniversary of your 29th birthday" thing. That's how he refers to his birthdays and it cracks me up, so I blatantly stole the idea. Just a quick entry to say hello in case anyone stops by. I intend today to be a day of total ME-ness before returning to Real Life tomorrow. In preparation, yesterday was spent paying bills, shopping for groceries, renewing the vehicle tags, going to the post office, cooking, sweeping, etc. No doubt tomorrow will find me doing some of the same things. But today?.... Today is a day of No Cooking. We're having leftovers for lunch and J is taking me out to my fave Mexican restaurant for supper. Today is a day of Cake. There's a coconut cake in the fridge and I didn't bake it, and I plan to eat at least two large slices today. HA! Healthy eating is for Non-Birthday Days. If you can't have cake for breakfast on your birthday, when CAN you do it? Today is a day of books and movies. I intend to spend as much time as I want to reading and/or watching old musicals on DVD and I refuse to feel an iota of guilt about wasted time. Today is a day of walking in the sunshine. We actually HAVE sunshine today, very definitely NOT a given on March 15 in northern Kentucky, and I intend to get outside this afternoon and enjoy it for a while. Today is a day to hug and kiss my husband, talk to my friends and family, and be happy to be alive. I hope everyone has as wonderful a day today as I intend to have.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Pre-Birthday Flowers

ME, on returning from the grocery store this afternoon: "You bought me flowers." Johnny: "I did?" ME: "Yep. I saw some bouquets of tulips at the store and thought to myself 'Self, if Johnny were here, he would want to buy these flowers for your birthday.'" Johnny: "You're right, I would've." ME: "You have good taste. I love them." Johnny: "I'm glad. Happy Birthday." (My birthday is actually tomorrow, but he would've wanted me to have them early. I know these things.) March Tulips: Yellow and Coral with Yellow Edges - Pretty!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Eyes of a Child

This morning, as I was checking out some of my favorite blogs, I ran across this article, courtesy of Pam RuBert on her blog, PaMdora's Box. It's a summary of a piece John Stossel did on 20/20 Friday night (March 11) essentially slamming modern art - abstract expressionism, in particular. He showed various people, both online and in person, pictures of famous artworks along with artwork created by people who are not famous artists, including some paintings done by 4-year old children, and asked them to choose which pieces they thought were "real" art. He was surprised (shocked perhaps?) when some of the pieces created by children were chosen over and over again as "real" art. If I'm not misunderstanding, his conclusion seems to be that museums should stop buying abstract art, and in particular public funds shouldn't be used for such purchases, because "any 4-year-old could create something great". Ok, call me crazy, but I think he's completely missing the point. I wrote an email telling him so, but got to thinking later that I probably didn't get MY point across either, because I don't think I really explained my thinking. I threw a quote at him and just expected him to "get it". Here's the quote (which kerrismatic Adrienne uses as a sig line in her emails):

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." --- Pablo Picasso

I believe that. I believe young children are naturally creative and expressive and not embarrassed about putting themselves out there on paper because they haven't learned The Rules yet. They haven't learned what things *should* or *shouldn't* look like. They haven't learned to censor themselves. If they want to draw big scary monsters, they draw big, scary monsters without embarrassment, and without worrying about if such things exist (which, of course, kids know they's grown-ups who don't understand about monsters, and convince themselves that such things aren't possible). If little kids want their trees to have purple leaves, and a fish with wings and feet to sit in the branches of the purple-leaved tree, they DO it...until someone, somewhere, sometime teaches them that it's *wrong*...that the leaves should be green, and that fish live in the water, and don't have wings or feet, and they start to believe that what they can see and touch is more important than what they feel or imagine. I think what makes a person - an adult person, that is - an artist, is the ability to hang onto a small fraction of the ability to see the world the way a child sees it, and to filter that vision through years of experience, and give it a tangible form. It's easy enough to learn the principles of design, but much more difficult to know how to really SEE. I don't think the fact that a lot of people perceived the work of 4-year-old children as "real" art diminishes the artwork of the adults. I DO think it says we should value the artwork of children more than we do. And I think we should value the artwork of adults who remember what it is to see the world as a child sees a place of wonder, and horror, and beauty, and frightfulness, and magic.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

If Your Friends Jumped Off a Bridge

It's all Julie's fault. I say that a lot, because Julie is a bad influence. Ok, really, Julie is probably a good influence, because the things she lures me into often turn out to be educational, or fun, or both. But it's more fun to say she's a bad influence. For those of you who don't know her, Julie Zaccone Stiller is a talented and amazingly prolific artist. She's also a of Tarot decks. Yesterday on her blog, High Fiber Content, Julie mentioned that Lunaea Weatherstone's personal collage deck, the Full Moon Dreams Tarot, is finally available as self-published, limited edition, real-life deck instead of just pictures in cyberspace. Do I NEED to spend big bucks on another Tarot deck right now? No. But of course I did. Because it's beautiful. And because self-published decks are my particular favorite Tarot decks and therefore my particular weakness. (My particular weakness in the area of Tarot collecting, that is. I have too many weaknesses to list in my life in general. Let's just say Denial and Self-control are NOT my middle names.) And besides, JULIE GOT ONE, so God forbid I shouldn't get one too! So I'm now the proud future-owner of a Full Moon Dreams Tarot Deck, which I know I'll love. Thanks, Julie. Really. ;-) Another Tarot Thing Julie and I have in common is that we've both created our own collage versions of the Major Arcana. Here is her version, which I LOVE. And here is mine. And we've both done several Tarot-themed quilts, either for the Tarot Art Quilt Project or for other projects, or on our own. Here are Julie's Tarot quilts. Here are my three TAQP quilts. And here are my two latest Tarot quilts, completed as part of a collaborative deck project for Comparative Tarot. The Queen of Pentacles The Hanged Man It's also because of Julie and Dara, of Daramusing, that I did the whole NaNoWriMo "write a 50,000 word novel in a month" thing this past November, despite that fact that I've never written fiction!!! Well, ok, that's not QUITE true. When I was about 9 years old I decided to write a book. I think I'd just finished reading "Little Women" at the time and so I decided I was going to write a story about four kids. But I knew I wasn't allowed to totally COPY "Little Women", so instead of four sisters, my story was going to be about two sisters and two brothers. And the family I was writing about was rich instead of poor because I thought it would be more fun if they could have a swimming pool, and a pony, and pretty clothes. I seem to recall that I spent most of the first several pages describing the swimming pool, and the pony, and the pretty clothes. Then I decided it was getting a little dull, so I decided to kill off one of the kids from some unspecified disease we'll now call Bethitis. Naturally, I killed one of the boys. I WAS nine years old at the time and boys are icky when you're nine years old. After killing one of the children, I couldn't quite decide where to go with the story next. At some point I remembered the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" and thought "hey! that'd be a fast way to finish then!" and started drawing pictures of the kids, the swimming pool, the pony, and the pretty clothes, figuring I was drawing thousands and THOUSANDS of words worth of book. Eventually I gave up and made paper dolls. I wish I knew whatever happened to that first writing attempt. I'd love to have it. So anyway, this past fall, when Julie posted the link to the NaNoWriMo site and said "we should do this, it'll be fun!" and when I chatted with Dara and she said "c'mon, Deb, it'll be fun...I'll do it if you will", somehow before I knew it I'd signed up and was writing every day, despite having NO experience and NO plot. That's why I wrote a romance novel. I figure there's only one real plot in every romance novel ever written: Two people meet, they want each other, they can't have each other, they overcome the obstacles keeping them apart and get together. Or sometimes maybe they die, but those aren't really romance novels, those are romantic tragedies....whole 'nother thing IMO. All that changes is the details. So. Thanks to Julie and Dara, I spent the entire month of November writing a still-untitled romance and even have an idea for another one. And I did it all without drawing a single picture. Go figure. Now I'm blogging. Guess why I'm blogging. Go ahead, guess. BECAUSE JULIE AND DARA ARE BLOGGING AND THEY CONVINCED ME IT WOULD BE FUN!!! And ok, so far it IS fun. But somehow I can still hear my mother's voice in my head asking "If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?" Well I think I've already answered that definitively. If the friends were Julie and Dara....yes, Mom, I'd jump too. Of course I hope we'd all be smart enough to be attached to bungee cords at the time. :-)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Winding Things Up

For those of you who are still with me and not completely and TOTALLY sick of looking at What I Did On My Winter Vacation, here are a few photos that didn't really fit into any other category...mostly pics of some artwork I liked and some miscellaneous people pics. Because there is assigned seating for dinner, you have the same wait staff all week and get to know each other a little bit. The people responsible for our table were super-nice and very professional. Here's a pic (taken the final night...what we called the Last Supper) of Sigit from Indonesia, Jocelyn from the Philippines, and Rosario from India. Our room steward, Carlos from Costa Rica, left this towel elephant on our bed one night. If you look closely in the mirror behind the bed, you can see Johnny and me in formalwear. I have to mention one of those "strange-but-true" things. Before the cruise, Sandy and Andy were trying to guess possible names and countries for our dinner waiter and guess what Sandy said. Go head, guess....I'll wait. Yep...Carlos from Costa Rica. Ok, so he turned out to be the room steward, not the waiter. But c'mon! Still worthy of a few bars of the Twilight Zone theme, if you ask me. This is Johnny, sitting at the pool bar one afternoon and gazing west. I just thought the light made a cool shot. This is a mosaic on the wall by the pool bar. I'm not sure what it's supposed to represent, but I love the colors and shapes. This is a sculpture in the Windjammer Cafe (casual dining just off the pool deck). I LOVE this piece and would love to have a smaller version of it in my garden!! (If anyone has ever seen one of these for sale anywhere, send me the link...seriously!) This is the sculpture that's hanging in the Centrum (ship's lobby), as seen from Deck 7. (Our cabin was on Deck 7, close to the library.) I'd imagine the artist's intent was to show something about the earth and it's place in the universe, but I think it looks like a swirl of mastodon rib bones, with a giant's marble in the center and a giant's strings of beads intertwined around it all. That's not a criticism, BTW. I think mastodon bones and giant's toys are more interesting and original as an art theme than earth's place in the universe. :-) Here's another pic of the same sculpture, from a different angle. It shows more of the Centrum, including a fountain I really liked, which was not, unfortunately, running at the time I took the photo. This is Johnny with John Wayne. No, I'm not going to explain that. Just take a look. You know you want to. This is me with Clint Eastwood. And finally I end with one of my favorite photos from the whole trip: The Pina Colada Gang! (Ok, so J has a Bloody Mary. He always has to be different. He DID marry ME, after all.) Clockwise from the left (not counting the women in the background...I don't know them): Andy, Johnny, Ron, Linda, Sandy. If you look at the table between Linda and Sandy, you'll see a pina colada and a trashy novel. That's me. :-)

DebR Does Formalwear or "She Cleans Up Real Purty"

In my Shoe Self-Portrait post, I promised to show you the whole gold silk ensemble and I'm SURE you've all been waiting with bated breath, so I thought for this next section I'd share some pics of J in a suit and me in grown-up girly clothes, full make-up, etc. Pretty damn exciting, yes? These pics are from formal night number one. I'd bought a champagne-gold, bias-cut silk dress that reminded me of something Jean Harlow would've worn in the 1930's. Here's a pic of J and me standing on a balcony overlooking the Centrum (the ship's lobby). And here are some pics we took of each other outside the theater. J in all his suited glory. Me in all my gold-silk glory. WooHoo! (as QuiltMav Margi would say.) For the second formal night, J wore the same suit with a different shirt and tie. I wore a black velvet skirt with sheer black insets around the bottom and a beaded black top. Here's a link to another pic in the same outfits. And this is my dad and his wife, Merle, on the same night. Now I'll tell on myself. The night I was wearing the black outfit, I took one of my shoe self-portraits in the ladies' room outside the ship's theater....remember that pic? Well what I didn't know at the time I snapped it was that my damn skirt was tucked into my damn pantyhose in back!!!! Aaarrrggghhhh!! Luckily, since the skirt was long and full, it actually covered my ass (barely!) even tucked up like that, but still....I walked over half the damn ship before stepping into an elevator and seeing, with horror, my reflection in the back wall and fixing it. As an aside, it must have been fate that made me step into that elevator because I almost NEVER used the elevators that week. My penance for eating like a pig was to take the stairs EVERYWHERE and I only used the elevator MAYBE a half-dozen times during the entire cruise. Luckily, that night was one of those times!'s a question for you...why the HELL did no one stop me and TELL me I was a walking Formalwear Faux Pas?? I covered a LOT of ground between the bathroom and the elevator and no one said a word. I mean come on....if I saw a woman walking around like I was walking around, I don't care if she was a complete stranger, I would say tap her on the shoulder, or gently touch her on the arm, and say, as quietly as possible, "Excuse me, but your skirt is tucked up into your pantyhose, exposing more than you probably meant to expose...just thought you should know." There were over 2000 passengers on the ship and another 1000 or so crew. Could NO ONE out of those 3000+ people take a moment to TELL me about my wardrobe malfunction?? So I'm asking now....please, folks...if you ever see me walking around with my skirt tucked into my hose, or my zipper unzipped, or my boob flashing through my shirt, or a big wad of spinach stuck to my teeth....TELL me! I'd rather know sooner than later.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Shoe Self-Portraits

Since I keep talking about the damn things, and since I think I have time to squeeze in one last blog entry before I toddle off to bed, I thought I'd go ahead and post the infamous Shoe Self-Portraits. It all started one afternoon in the Viking Crown Lounge. The VCL is the highest public area on the Rhapsody of the Seas. It's round and multi-level, and has lots of windows and great views. It also has a way-cool stained glass obelisk as one of its art pieces on display. I want one of these for my house! Check it out. By night the VCL is a disco, but by day it's one of the quietest places in the ship. It is, in fact, designated as an official Quiet Zone during certain hours of the day, so that those who want to relax and read, or do a crossword puzzle, or people watch without the noise and bustle of calypso music, or bellyflop contests, or line-dancing demonstrations can hide away there in a calm aerie. Being someone who REALLY values my quiet time, it was one of my favorite afternoon spots. One day, as I was sitting there with my book, feeling fat and lazy, I propped my feet up on the railing in front of me. I was wearing the beaded sandals I'd bought in Key West and there were my relaxed-looking toesies against a backdrop of busy ship and calm, deep, blue ocean and I thought "Hey! PhotoOp!" So I whipped out the camera and took this pic. That gave me the idea for a series of Shoe Self-Portraits. "Hey!" thought I, "I could take pics of my feet all over the ship! Wouldn't that be fun?" What can I say, I'm easily amused. So here are some more, for those of you who are as easily amused as I. :-) I took this one on the pool deck when I realized the pink umbrella in my pina colada JUST matched the pink umbrellas on my capri pants. Life is in the details. Those shoes, BTW, are the ones that were rubbing the bottoms of my feet, thus prompting the shoe-shopping-mission in Key West. Thank you, Black Slides. I was wearing these sequin mules when I went to the onboard internet cafe and propped my foot on a railing. See the ship parked next door? It was about 3 stories higher than the one I was on. I wanted to tour it! I propped my JudyJetsonGymShoe-clad foot on J's chair for this picture. Doesn't he look thrilled? Well, doesn't he?? (Just so you know, I had on ankle socks. My legs are white, but not THAT white.) This is the first of two "formal" portraits. I ordered these beaded, champagne gold silk mules from Hong Kong to go with my champagne gold silk dress. (I'll show you the actual outfit later.) And this is the other...the beaded, black satin mules with the kitten heel that I ordered from Zappos to wear with my beaded top and long black velvet skirt. I took this pic in the ladies room outside the theater because I thought the floor was pretty. You can't see the beadiness of the shoe that well, but that's ok. I just had to include the pattern on that floor! So hey...wasn't that fun, kids?! Wanna do it again sometime? All right!

Grand Cayman and Cozumel

This part of the story won't be as long as the Key West part of the story (at least I don't THINK it will). Although we had fun, our other two stops didn't seem quite as eccentric as Key West. Plus we stayed sober. :-) We stopped at Grand Cayman on March 3 (which incidentally would have been my mom's 66th birthday if she were still alive). I suspect that Grand Cayman would be a lovely place to visit under normal circumstances. But do you want to know how many cruise ships were anchored off the island the day we visited? Ok then, I'll tell you. Eight. Counting ours, but still....8 cruise ships, clustered around a pretty little rock in the ocean that is only something like three miles wide and twenty or thirty miles long. The normal population is around 30,000 people. Each of the cruise ships carries between 2000 and 4000 guests, plus crew, some of whom get shore leave at each stop. You do the math. To say the island was crowded that day is like saying I sort of like shoes. We quickly decided that if we ever REALLY want to see Grand Cayman, we need to fly there, rent a hotel room or condo, and stay inside until about 3 PM when the cruise ships leave, THEN go explore the island. Unfortunately that wasn't an option this time, since we were ON one of the thrice-damned ships. (And does anyone but me wonder how much damage is being done to the natural beauty of the place by dumping that many people on it all at once on a regular basis?? Yikes!) So in the end, we didn't spend all that much time on the island. We wandered down to the end of Seven Mile Beach that was closest to Georgetown and walked on the beach for a little while, but even the beach was crowded. We stopped at a little seaside bar, to sit in the shade and drink cool drinks and cool off and spent some time chatting with a man named Adrian who is from Italy. Or as he said it, "Eeeh-tah-lee". I adored his accent. He's been in Grand Cayman for eight years, working as a chef and promised to fix us a lovely meal if we'd come back sometime without the ship. :-) After that we stopped at one of the Tortuga rum shops and bought a bottle of rum and a package of rum cake, assorted flavors, all very yummy. J took a picture of me with the pirate statue on the porch of the shop. I thought the statue was hilarious because he evidently used to be holding a sword, but the blade was broken off at some point and now he's just holding the hilt, which bears a striking resemblance to something you'd see for sale at a sex toy party. The picture is horrid, but I had to include it anyway. If I may digress for a minute, why did I have to be the world's most unphotogenic human?? Especially since my sister always looks PERFECT in photos. I have an uncanny knack for closing my eyes or talking, or SOMETHING just as the photographer snaps the pic. It's a talent of sorts, I suppose, but couldn't I trade it in for...oh, I dunno...the ability to juggle or something?? After buying our booze products, we gave up and went back to the ship for the rest of the day. Cozumel was nicer...a few less ships and a larger area to hold the passengers of the ships that WERE there. We'd hoped to meet up with some friends who were going to be there at the same time (but not on a cruise) but our cell phones weren't cooperating and we never did manage to hook up with them. Oh well. We wandered around town, mostly looking at silver shops and at some artists that were working and selling their work around a square near the ocean. I bought three rings, a lovely (if conventional) watercolor of a street scene, and my favorite souvenir: a painting on a feather! There was a whole range of sizes, but the ones that really fascinated me were the tiny ones. The one I bought (and I hope the pic shows up large enough for you to see it!!) is only one inch tall, not counting the stem, and one inch wide at it's widest point. The detail crammed into that inch is amazing! There's a whole family who do these feather paintings and sell them on the square. I kind of wish now that I'd bought a couple more and had a grouping of three. Maybe they'll still be there if I ever go back. And that pretty much sums up our shore visits. I'll post a couple more sections about some of the stuff we saw and did on ship, plus the infamous shoe self-portraits. :-)

Key West Pub Crawl or "The Liver is Evil; It Must be Punished"

I promised cruise stories, complete with pictures, so here we go. (I'm going to attempt to make most of the pictures pop up in a separate window rather than including them as part of the blog page, so the main page loads quickly. I've never done that before, but what the hard can it be? Most of them will be between 30 kb and 100 kb, so click 'em if you want to see 'em.) When we last left our heroine (that would be ME) on the cruise, it was Tuesday, March 1, and was typing from the ship, about to go get a massage and facial. I did just that and it was rather fabulous. A cute little girl from South Africa, who didn't look like she was strong enough to massage a butterfly, never mind a SturdyGirl woman like me, did a wonderful job with both the massage and facial. It was amazingly relaxing and made me wish I had a masseuse on retainer. It must be nice to be filthy rich, don't you think? Sadly, my sister, Sandy, had a less wonderful experience. The woman who was doing her massage and facial was running late and kept her waiting, then hustled her back to the room with no apology or explanation, barely talked to her, and in the end gave her a drink of water in a cup that dripped. NOT relaxing! And I feel bad because I was the one who talked her into it. "Hey Sandy, we should do the massage/facial thing at the spa...wouldn't that be fun?" Ha....last time she'll listen to ME, I bet! About the time we were finishing up at the spa, we were pulling into port at Key West, Florida. J and I wandered out into town for a couple of hours, but didn't stay long because we, along with 4 of our 6 traveling companions, had booked a Pub Crawl later that night. I had two goals that afternoon: to eat a piece of frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick, and to buy a pair of shoes, as the pair of slides I'd brought for my main daytime shoes were proving less comfortable than anticipated, even though I WORE the damn things a LOT last summer and they were FINE!! But when I wore them around the ship on Monday, they felt like they were rubbing the soles of my feet raw. Therefore I had a Legitimate NEED to shoe shop. J's goal for the day was to stay out of stores and have a rum drink. Because we didn't have nearly enough of those onboard ship. Heh. We managed to combine our goals admirably. I found my frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pie on a stick and carried it across the street to a waterfront bar where J ordered something with rum and we sat and people-watched a while. I also met a man dressed like Elvis, who called me Priscilla and told me he still loved me. I told him the feeling was mutual, but it was obvious it would never work between us,what with him being dead and all. After leaving the bar, we were walking down the street and a large man with a beard, who must have been 80 years old if he was a day, smiled sweetly at me and said "Don't worry, honey, I'll be home for dinner." I said "Good, you know how I worry." People in Key West are very friendly, yes? Shortly after that we wandered into a little market area where I found a lovely man selling lovely shoes out of something that looked an awful lot like a garden shed. It was tiny, but the shoes were great. I restrained myself, however, and only bought one pair of sandals...rubber soles, black suede straps, with BEADS on them. Very comfy too. I'll show you a pic later when I post my shoe self-portraits. :-) After finding rum, pie, and shoes, we headed back to the ship to nap, eat pizza, and change clothes, before heading back into town for the pub crawl. We each got a t-shirt with a bright (mostly lime-green) pic of a cocktail on it and the logo "The Liver is Evil; It Must be Punished". So if you see what looks like gym towels around our necks in the photos, it's the t-shirts. Dad and Merle opted not to go, but my sister, Sandy, and her husband, Andy went, as well as Andy's parents, Ron and Linda. There were probably 20 - 25 people in crawlin' group. One more thing I should probably mention before I continue with this story...I rarely drink alcohol. I think I drank more on this trip than I normally drink in about two years time. So I was drunk FAST. So, anyway..... First stop: Billie's. I'm pretty sure Billie's is where I took a pic of my mom petting an iguana when we were in Key West in 1999. The bartender was surly and the drinks were cheap, but they guy playing guitar was good, even if he DID ignore my request to play "Smelly Cat". There was a line of bras hanging over the bar, presumably donated by female patrons. I was disappointed in the bras. Nearly all of them where WHITE and UNADORNED. I mean, come on, ladies! If you're going to go to Key West, get drunk, and start throwing your underthings at the bartender, plan ahead and wear something pretty! Where were the black bras? The red ones? The pink ones? The ones with lace or ribbons? What could've looked very festive just looked like boring laundry hanging on a clothesline. (For what it's worth, mine that night was blue, but I chose to keep it.) Sandy, who was smart enough to bring a camera along, took this pic of me, Linda, and Johnny (sitting on Linda's lap!) at Billie's. Then the CrawlLeader (who I referred to as HornyGuy) blew his conch shell and off we went to bar number two. I liked bar number two. Second stop: Two Friends. Two Friends had lousy drinks (my so-called pina colada tasted like someone had poured rum into powdered Sweet Tarts) but a great bartender. Her name was DEB and she drew a picture on my t-shirt and signed it. People were singing karaoke and a quiet-looking middle-aged bald guy in our pub crawl group hopped up there, surrounded by a group of women and did a kick-ass job of singing "Down on the Bayou". At some point during the song one of the women yelled out "He's our gynecologist!". The rest of us were all looking at each other and saying "huh?" So Sandy and I talked to her later and she was serious. They were a group of friends who had gone to high school together in Louisiana, and chose to go on a cruise for their 40th reunion and the man singing was their gynecologist. I have to say, there's not one guy I went to high school with I would trust to be my gynecologist. But whatever. He put on a great show. We hated to leave Two Friends, but eventually HornyGuy blew the horn and off we went. This is J and me at Two Friends. Third Stop: Uh....the names were already starting to get a little fuzzy at this point. We had someone take a pic of our whole group in front of a sign, so you'll see the bar's name if you look at the pic. Something about a schooner, I think. Here's Johnny, me, Linda, Sandy, Andy, and Ron. This was the bar where a rather large blonde woman made what might have been a pass at me. She walked up and stood between J and me and asked for a hit of his cigar. While she was asking, she leaned over me and was patting my ass (something he couldn't see from where he was). It is a mark of how drunk I already was that I didn't even say anything to her, just looked at her and thought "my, that seems inappropriate". J declined to share his cigar with her, but told her he'd give her the rest of his drink if she'd go away. She considered a moment and allowed that seemed fair, then took his drink and stumbled off to the bathroom (which had some interesting wall graffiti, btw). This was the bar where Sandy decided to hug me, hold the camera out in front of us, and snap a pic. I think we were going for A Look, but I can't quite remember what. Don't her nostrils look nice and clean? :-) Somewhere along in here...either just before Bar Three or just after, I got very excited about this sign and INSISTED that Sandy take a picture of it for me. I'm a little fuzzy now on just WHY I was excited about it. Maybe it's because in my fabulously amazing (hardee-har) NaNoWriMo story, a couple of the characters were reading a book called "Passion's Pirate Soul". Maybe I thought someone had captured a bunch of pirate souls and was displaying them in jars. Maybe I thought it was a museum featuring pirated music by Aretha and Ray. I really have no idea. I just know I HAD to have a picture of this sign, so...there ya go. Anyone ever actually been there and want to tell me what the hell this place is?? :-) Fourth Stop: I have NO freakin' idea what the fourth place was called, but they made a good rum punch and had really good dance music. Not that I was capable of dancing at that point, but if I had been, they had really good music. This is J and me watching other people dance. Fifth Stop: We gave up. Sandy, Andy, Ron, and Linda went into the fifth bar, but J and I decided to call it a wrap and head back to the ship. Want to hear something amazing? I KNEW HOW TO FIND THE SHIP!! People I didn't even know were following us, trusting me to know the way (because HornyGuy proved piss-useless in that regard) and I did it. Yay Me!! Wanna know how I did it? Well I'm gonna tell you. Earlier, when I was still sober, I noticed that we passed a large brick building that had signs all over it that said "Artists in Season". Having the kind of mind I have, my immediate thought was "Are the nice, fresh, in-season artists being served with lemon and dill or what?" I still have no idea what those signs were really about, but my weird mental picture stuck even though the alcohol haze. The building was tall enough that I could steer toward it, take a right around it, and TaaaDaaa! There was the ship! I was ridiculously proud of myself. Stay tuned for more....

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

We Have a Winnah!

In the bag sweepstakes, that is. Any of you who have been reading my blog entries know that I've been searching for The Perfect Purse to replace my rapidly fading, but beloved, Laurel Burch fish bag. Just before we left on our trip, I found one I liked online and decided to take a chance and order it. When I was finally (FINALLY!) able to make it to the post office and collect our humongous load of mail, the bag (and, um, a pair of shoes that looked great with it...ahem) were waiting for me. I can't say I think it's The Perfect Purse, but it's Good. It's good enough that I'm willing to give it some time and see how things work out. Here's a pic of the purse, the shoes I ordered along with it (on the left) and a cute pair of flip-flops I picked up the today, even though I can't wear flip-flops. But I WANT to be able to wear flip-flops and these were cheap so I decided to get them and see if I can train my toes. Stay tuned. But I digress...I promised a picture, no? Ok, here ya go. It has beads and sequins, so it can't be all bad. I had to give up the Risky Lime wallet though. It was just too bulky. Now that I've switched back to a smaller wallet in a more boring color, I wonder if the too-small lime green LB fish bag might work. Hmmm.....I haven't sold it yet...may have to check that out! Speaking of shoes, remember my post about the philosophy of packing and how many pairs of shoes are needed for a week-long trip? Well, I just have to note that Johnny thought 1, then agreed probably 2, but between when I wrote that entry and when we left, his total had crept up to 4. Ha! I, on the other hand, thought 21, but managed to whittle it down to 7, and when we left I had 7. Ha HA! Although I came home with 8, so maybe I shouldn't get TOO carried away with the gloating. I took some "shoe self-portraits" last week. I'll share later. :-) (DebR waits for the crowd to calm down from their excessive excitement at that announcement and then continues.) Remember I talked about books too? J was going to take one, right? Wrong! He took four and read three of them! HA! I took 8 and read 5, mostly light and funny romances, but with one mystery thrown in. I liked them all, although I'm not QUITE sure yet what I thought of the ending of the mystery. I'm still thinking about that one.

There's No Place Like Home (dustbunnies and all)

I'm baaaaaack! We had a good time and over the next few days I'll tell you about it, complete with incriminating pictures. But first.... We got bad news while we were gone. J's mom, who had been sick for a while, died early Wednesday morning, while we were at sea. His family managed to reach him Thursday when we were docked at Grand Cayman. They said we should finish our trip and they'd hold off on the funeral until we returned and we took them up on it. And believe it or not, we managed to have a nice time the last couple of days since we practiced fierce denial. But still. Sigh. Sunday morning, we got up early (5:30 am), and got off the ship as early as we were allowed to after the customs and immigration folks did their thing, and then went straight to the airport, certain we could get an earlier flight back home. We were SO very wrong. They were canceling and delaying flights right and left that day. Sheesh! Not only did we not get an earlier flight, but our original flight was one of the ones delayed. Aaarrrggghhh! As a result, we spent an hour on a bus, 10 hours in the airport, 2 hours on a plane, and another 2 hours in a car before finally arriving home around 12:30 am Monday morning. To say we were exhausted would be an understatement. The idea of sleeping in our own bed was heaven. Oh wait...what's this? Our cat, Sky, chose THIS trip, of all trips, to show his displeasure at our absence by using our bed as a frickin' litterbox!!! He's nearly nine years old and it's the first (and I hope, for his sake, LAST) time he's ever done anything like that. It's also the closest I ever came in my life to hurting an animal. Demonic possession is my theory. Take a look at this pic I took today and tell me I'm wrong. I SO couldn't deal with the bed problem at 1:00 am after the travel day from hell, so we ended up spending the night in the guest room. Pppfffttt. The next day I spent the morning paying some bills and doing some emergency laundry (the aforementioned bedding and some underwear!) and then we hopped in the car to drive 2 1/2 hours to J's hometown for his mom's wake and funeral. We won't talk about that because, really, what can you say? It's something we all have to go through and that's about the best that can be said. J is holding up about as well as you'd expect. We got home not long before dark yesterday and fell asleep early and deep, but not deep enough to prevent me from having a dream about being chased by rapidly breeding sentient dust bunnies. Did I mention that besides having MOUNTAINS of laundry to do, my house is filthy? Bleah. Ok, enough. I'll stop this depressing post and start another one about my new purse. I'd always rather laugh than cry.