Friday, January 30, 2009

Kidney Stones SUCK

I am having a kidney stone tonight. Blek.

I am kind of used to it... I have chronic stones and have been passing them for more than 20 years. Two years ago I passed an 8mm stone on my own. A doctor said, we almost always have to remove a stone that big by surgery. I said, I have passed bigger stones than that at home without as much as an aspirin. Of course, I thought I was going to die, but by the Grace of God I didn't and got it out (and over 100 smaller stones washed out in its wake).

One time when I was working at Kmart, I was helping unload a 1200 piece truck. I knew I was having a kidney stone, I was in pretty bad pain. I have a HIGH tolerance for pain, so pretty bad pain to me is enough to land most people in the hospital on Morphine. LoL. I went to the bathroom and passed a 5 (five) mm stone. I washed it and wrapped it in a towel. Went back and finished helping unload the truck.

When I showed it to my boss, he said, "OH, Nikki! I saw you leave during the truck! I didn't know you went and lost a TOOTH!" I said, Bryan, that is a kidney stone. He nearly passed out. The year before, he had one that was .5 (half) mm and had to go to the hospital.

Anyway usually I barely even take aspirin. But tonight I took a vicodin 500. I still have a little pain, but not enough to make me want to die.

I was working on some yarn this evening earlier, and didn't get it done. Today was a no-block day (just a pic of a quilt on the calendar), and I usually make something up. But today I didn't.

God's grace is enough for me, no matter what. Maybe I will hurry and pass this stone so tomorrow I can get on with life. Tonight, I am going to bed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Squaring-up Tutorial and stuff

A friend of mine mentioned that she LOVES to quilt but HATES to square up. So do I, but I have found through painful experience that it is a necessary evil to those of us who like our quilts to match up. So I have provided here a short tutorial on it. Click pictures for full-size to make captions readable. Use your "back" button to come back to read the rest!

Whatever your size block is supposed to be finished, you will need to add 1/2" to it, to account for seam allowances. For instance, a 6" block in a quilt squares up to 6.5". Most things that need to be squared will have a diagonal line in the block (though not necessarily). Find what measure the center point of your block would be found at... using our example of squaring to 6.5", the center point would be 3.25". (These hourglass blocks are being squared to 3.5", so the center point shown in the pics is 1.75".) Put the center of your actual block at the center point of the size the block should be.

Put one corner of your ruler at the beginning point of your block. (I line up the diagonal line from the center measure to the top right corner. If you are left-handed you would put it at the top left corner.) Then be sure your other corners will cross the diagonal of your block at the finished squaring measure on the ruler... 6.5 inches down and 6.5 inches wide and the point where both 6.5 inch measurements meet (mine shown are at 3.5" at all points). Cut up the side and across the top, guiding the rotary cutter AWAY from your body and keeping your fingers OUT of the way!!

Pick up the ruler... rotate the block 180 degrees so that the two UNCUT edges are by the hand you cut with and across the top. Once again line up your center point and outer corner points with the measurement you want the block to be. Cut again, up the side and across the top, guiding the cutter as before and keeping your fingers AWAY from the cutter! TADA!! Perfect little units for your quilting pleasure!

And on that note, here is my block for today. Ain't it cute?

Also, I messed with my drum carder more tonight. Well actually we did a LOT of other things today but I am giving you the Reader's Digest version because I want to go to bed! LOL! Anyway, remember that roving that I overdyed with black the other day, and I said I think it is the character Joe Morelli in the Stephanie Plum novels? Well I decided that instead of spinning it from the roving and having random little sections of color, I would card it and see what I got. I have an opinion, but I am taking votes. Which do you like better? The roving or the carded batt? Leave a comment! Thanks!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My LIttle Kitty

Alright! Today I got the Little Kitty brand "Kitten" model drum carder that I just ordered on Monday. Wow, that was FAST! and I LOVE it!! It is oak construction, with an 8.5" wide drum that is 8" across. Just for fun I took a little each of 3 fibers I started to spin together a while back: a green Merino, a yellow/orange/slightly red Merino, and some red wool that had only been carded once. Ran them through once, and again. Here is the batt laid out flat...

and here is another view, folded in half lengthwise and rolled up. I think I will like spinning from the batt better than what I was doing, just pulling a little bit off each roving at a time. The carder works very easily. I watched some videos on youtube the last day or so, and so taking to doing the carding was also easy.

Today's block was an hourglass... also known as an X. Tomorrow's block is a string of X blocks put end to end, as a border or something for the Stupid Penguin Quilt. So what I did, was do my own thing again today, but tomorrow I am going to do 4 little bitty X blocks like the calendar shows, and put them together for my block of the day. Here is what I came up with today though, and I think it ROCKS. LOL.

Richie was off today, and worked on our bathroom a little. And I got pics of the Corriedale fleece I just got, and the Llama fur I got last November. The Corriedale fleece is 4 garbage bags full. Altogether about 40 pounds. Now you see why I "needed" a drum carder! Right now it is a dark-beige to pale-caramel color, so I think when processed it will be white.

The Llama is a silvery color, with a lot of dry hay in it. I actually hadn't opened the box since I got it in November, because it was compacted in the box and I knew I would never get it all back in! But curiosity got the best of me! I think it will clean up really nice. Can't wait to wash these and see what comes of them!

Tomorrow at 2 Des and Tony are going to look at a house, potentially to buy it. I think I will ride along. We've bought several houses (some of which were The Money Pit), so at least I know some pitfalls to look for that they might not think of.

Will let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Who Wants A Penguin Block?

Today's block was a stupid appliqued penguin. Who needs that? But in keeping with the spirit of the block (if not the letter), I made an appliqued Snowball block of Sally Sweet, Transvestite Extraordinaire. LoL. Here is my drawing of the prototype, alongside the block in its finished state.

I started unraveling a 100% silk sweater today, for a special order. I don't know if the lady will like this yarn though. It is very strandy, like 5-6 strands of silk thread just running along together. Because of that, I have run into a snag that I can't seem to get untangled, so I quit for the day on it. I am probably going to have to try to ply it before I hand dye it. Another strike against efficiency, LoL.

I got a new roving yesterday. When it arrived it was blue, green, and brown. I have overdyed almost all the green areas with black, and I think this yarn is Joe Morelli. It has blue for the jeans he perpetually wears, black for his hair, T shirt, and attitude, and brown for his sullied reputation. This is both the top and bottom of the braid. I am not sure what this will be when spun, but I am thinking it has to be a sock yarn. YUM!

No weirdness for today. We stayed home, LoL.

Artemas is baking Pineapple Upside Down muffins. I told him each step and now he has them in the oven and they smell wonderful. Tomorrow will be breakfast-to-die-for!

Here is the recipe:
Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a dozen standard-size muffin cups (or use baking spray)
"Bottom" topping:
12-oz. can crushed pineapple
Dark Brown sugar
Maraschino Cherries, if you like
Using an 12-oz can of crushed pineapple, put an equal amount of pineapple and juice in the bottom of each muffin cup. Add about a Teaspoon (maybe a little more) of dark brown sugar to each cup with the pineapple. And if you like, put a maraschino cherry in each cup. Set aside.
1 Cup Sour Cream (lowfat ok) or applesauce
1/3 Cup Butter
2 Eggs
3/4 Cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Beat until thoroughly blended. Then add:
1 cup Flour (I use unbleached. If you use self-rising, eliminate the following ingredients)
1 Tablespoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Stir the dry ingredients in. Then add another 3/4 cup flour, barely stirring into dough.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, on top of pineapple. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Turn muffins out onto cooling rack while hot. Sometimes it helps if you loosen the muffins around the edge with a knife. Enjoy!

Finally, I Have a Purpose

The kids and I chucked folding laundry yesterday and went to Des' house. I didn't have to pick Richie up until 11 PM so we had the evening free. We had some yummy Greek Salad I made, and Chili she made. I spun some more of the Caramel Raspberry Cheesecake roving into yarn and made my quilt block of the day. Please don't look at it too closely, because it is a sad and sorry little block. Like Stephanie Plum, I am going to say, "It wasn't my fault!"

I have a lot of black and white, 5" charms, so I am making this little series of blocks from them. for this block, I needed ONE 5" charm of white, cut into 4 equal pieces... and TWO black charms, cut into a 3" square and 5 little squares. I went to cut the white charm and the ruler slid... next thing I know I had cut it into 4 unrecognizable shapes. So I thought, I have one more with me, I will just cut it. Well guess what? The lady who cut those charms to send them in for the swap, cut them short on one edge by almost 1/4". So out of 2, 5" charms, I couldn't even get 4 little 2.5" squares. I had to end up piecing 2 of them.

That wasn't enough trouble. I cut the pieces for the center, little 9-patch block. I made this perfect little 3.5" 9-patch. Then I realized that for this block, I needed a 2.5" 9-patch. Head slap! How does one make a 2" finished square divided into 3 parts each direction? I don't even want to do the math on that one. So I just lay the thing down and whacked 1/2" off each edge, making my 9-patch somewhat wonky. Then I put it all together and mismatched one triangle in the corner.

While I was trying to finish the block, my kids go, "Mom, do you realize we should have left to get Dad 10 minutes ago?" So this is what I get.

I am in a Black and White challenge, where we can add ONE other color. That is what I had in mind for these little blocks. But my daughter has also opened a Bumbling Bounty Hunters Miniature Quilt Challenge. The books this is based on have a character called Sally Sweet, who is an immensely tall and hairy Italian guy who dresses in drag for his night club act, swears like a sailor, and drives a school bus for his day job. So Finally I Have a (dual) Purpose for these blocks! They are for Sally Sweet! This block is called Shortcut To School, and the fact that it is wonky makes it even better suit him. Very appropriate, don't you think?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dinner Out and a Show In

Tonight my dh and I went out to dinner. Rare for us! Last Spring we had a booth in a small local craft show, and I won a door prize of dinner at Shoney's. The waitress says, "Oh, that includes a drink and dessert too!" So I got Richard's coffee and a water for me, we both had the hot bar, and a hot fudge cake sundae for dessert, which we shared. And I think I am about to die. I mean really my stomach feels like it is about to es-plode. Friday morning I was down another pound, making 5 down for the month. Now I am afraid to get on the scale. Maybe I will wait until Friday again. LOL

This morning I caught Beverly "quilting." She had my rotary cutter, some Taco Bell napkins, and a piece of 5" ruler. I kept checking to make sure the lock was on so she wouldn't hurt herself. She would lay the napkins on my cutting board, lay the ruler on them, and "cut" around them with the rotary cutter. Clever.

I put my slipper through another HOT wash, cold rinse and HOT dryer, and this is the result. I think if I did the process one more time it would be fulled completely, but it would fit my Veronica (size 6 shoe) instead of me (size 8.5). If I do another pair after this one, I will do 28 st around instead of 32, and 18 rows from the full # of stitches at the toe to the beginning of the heel increases instead of 14. But when I put them on, they mold to my foot, and they are WARM, which was the goal. My feet get so cold on the floors in this house. So I am happy :D The stripes in this yarn were just different balls of wool that I threw in while spinning... and what looks like pink is more like a deep mauve, and it is Alpaca. I had never spun alpaca before, it is very long-staple and slick, almost like a stiffer silk.

There really wasn't a block on our calendar today, since Saturday and Sunday are combined. But rather than do nothing, I did a Dutchman's Puzzle. This block is 6.5" square, and I like it a lot.

Ok so I didn't get all that laundry folded yet, but nobody's perfect. And the night isn't over yet. One of my sons bought me The Rocky Horror Picture Show on DVD for my birthday, so I am going to put it in the player in our room and watch it, and make a mess of 40 piles of laundry on our bed. LoL.

More Later

I know that doesn't make sense grammatically, but what I mean is, I am finally getting around to blogging about Friday and Saturday, and I will write more, later. That will give me time to do today's non-existent block. Plus, you never know what a day will hold.

Friday was my BIRTHDAY!! Yippee for me!! I got up and listed 2 new yarns and 2 new sets of needles in my my7kids etsy shop, and a little pouch/clubbing bag in my HeartFeltFun shop. The bag sold in literally like 5 minutes. I have more materials so I have made another one to sell too.

Des and Tony and the kids came down about noon. My BIL also came down with my niece, so she could play with the kids. I cleaned out the Aerostar and got the junk in it down to about 8 boxes to put in the shed. The guys got the Aerostar running, so as soon as I put 4 wheels back under it, I can sell it. Tony and I made a trip to the dump, which was very satisfying.

Then I made myself a Cherry Chip birthday cake. Because I make delicious cakes from scratch (especially dark chocolate) I almost NEVER use a mix and also almost NEVER get Cherry Chip cake, which is just about my favorite. I used 2 mixes because I am feeding a crowd, ya know. Made 3 layers, with strawberries and real whipped cream between them. We didn't even cut the cake until about 9 Friday night, and by Saturday morning, this is what was left of it. Sad huh.

After the cake, I knitted some on my felted slipper. This is totally an experiment, but if it works, I will make the pattern available here for a little while, and then put it up as a .pdf in my etsy shop. I handspun this yarn into 2 little 60-gram balls. One has just a few more yards than the other. Since I wanted to felt the slipper, I needed to use a huge needle size, and the biggest needles I have (other than the funky DPNs I make out of tree branches, which I have up for sale) are straight needles. So I figured out how to knit the slipper flat, toe up so I could stop when I ran out of yarn, and seam it down the top of the foot. Here is what it looked like when I got done knitting it. Goofy because it is so loose and WAY out past the end of my foot at this point.

We made Peccadillo for dinner, with vegetarian black beans and brown rice. Peccadillo is a Spanish (not Mexican) kind of sweet and sour jumble of a dish, that is not spicy. Delicious. And, my recipe of it makes a 2nd freezable meal for most families, or feeds the crowd at my house. My sister came down for dinner, so there were 15 of us in house.

Also Des and I worked on our quilt blocks for the day. Mine is ugly, but it is mine. LoL. Meanwhile what were the guys doing? Well ya know, Tony has been helping my dh lay new flooring in the back porch, so we can turn it into an actual room. And there is a lot of STUFF back there, with no place to put it so we can lay flooring. And, dh has some odd bits of lumber and 2x4s lying around. So Tony decided to build us a storage shed. The men worked on it until after 11 PM. Tony hadn't been to bed for the day (he works 3rd shift) so by then he was tired and beat. So I had our 2 girls sleep on the couch and gave their room to Des and Tony and the babies.

My Josiah threw up all over his blankets, and Jeremiah had an accident too. So yesterday morning I got up, made French Toast and eggs and bacon for 12, and did 2 loads of laundry by noon. I threw my slipper in with the sheets in hot water to start it to felt. This is what I got after one wash. It shrunk a little more after being in the dryer. I think one more wash and dry might do it.

Richard was off for the day, as was Tony, and my BIL came down again. So we left them to do their "guy" thing out in the driveway and we watched both Bridget Jones movies. Des wasn't feeling too well, and she needed to do some grocery shopping. So we left all the kids here, except Hannah, who might need to be nursed. Went to the store and of course had to hit the quilt shop right up the street!

Diantha and Artemas and I had to serve in the nurseries at church for the 7PM service, so we went, leaving Des to lie on the couch in misery. When I got home, I made a HUGE baking pan full of nacho meat and bean dip for everybody for supper, and chocolate chip cookies. And, made my quilt block for the day. I think I have enough Chicken blocks for now. I am in a Black and White challenge, so I guess I will use the next month's worth of blocks for that.

The guys have the shed, which is an 8x8x8 cube, up, with the siding on, and a stretched tarp for a roof for now. Now we get to begin hauling boxes out of the porch to store in it. Do I get to put a star on the front of my house? and first, can I take a day off?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Back to Normal? Whatever That Is

About yesterday... yeah, some of you are right. Yelling at hubby doesn't help. And don't get me wrong. I don't do it very much. For the most part, we dwell in abnormal and almost sickening harmony. In fact we get along SO well, our older kids say we think we are still dating. I tell him it is my goal to wear him out to the point that even looking at another woman is WAY too much trouble... which could be why he doesn't get more done around the house. (Disclaimer: You can believe this or not. Hard to tell on the internet, what is true and what is not... and probably over half of what you read falls in the "not" category. But some things are bizarrely, against "normal" odds, true. You can decide. LOL) But sometimes I just get fed up past the point of patience. Fortunately for us all, it isn't very often.

A little about our "new" house. It is 1450 sq. ft. It has one large bedroom and bath, which we now share with Beverly. Then it has 2, smaller bedrooms (maybe 10x12each, one shared by 2 of my boys and one shared by 2 of my girls) inside the house proper, and another small bathroom near them. Then out on the end of the huge screened back porch, someone before us made another, small bedroom, that Allen uses. It is perhaps 8x10. Other than the porch (which is about to become something else), we have NO garage, no attic, no basement. We have EIGHT people living here, and 4 working cars (and one that needs to be sold for $300) in the driveway. So you can see, we have NO room to spare for the junk.

Ok, on to something else. Yesterday my Beverly (whom we affectionately call Betsy) put a "chair" behind the couch, sat down with a notepad and wrote me a picture or a letter, depending on her 22-month-old interpretation. I thought she was cute, so I took her picture. And yes, she is *really* tall for her age.

Today we all got up not as bright and quite a bit earlier than usual. I took hubby to work, bought donuts, got all the kids up, and forced them like the MEAN mom I am, to go to the next town over and give a speech at the homeschool group 4-H meeting. Veronica took first place in her grade level. Artemas, who was SURE he was going to do this ONE time ONLY, also took first place in the High School level... so next week he and Veronica are expected to go give their speeches in the Regionals. ROFLOL! Artemas said, "You said I only had to do it ONCE!" I said, "That was before I knew you would WIN." I told him it is the same as in the Back to the Future movies, where they go back and change something, and that changes so many other things in the future. Winning first prize changed getting out of ever giving a speech again. Oh I am the MOST terrible mother in the WORLD!

I also finally picked up the 4 Corriedale fleeces that I donated to the group for. Each trash bag must have 10# of fleece in it, easily. It is unprocessed, so there is a lot of lanolin in it. But wow. I now have 40# of Corriedale wool and 10# of llama fur to process and turn into... something. I am trying to find a reasonably-priced drum carder, so I don't have to buy hand cards and do 50 pounds of fiber by hand.

After a brief hiatus at home, we picked up Richie and treated him (and us, LoL) to Burger King for supper. I had the new Angry Whopper, which isn't as hot as the Jalapeno SuperSonic they used to serve at Sonic when I skated there. But, not bad. Made my eyes water. The kids think I am funny, because whenever something makes my eyes water, I pretend to think of sad things and cry. Well, they think I am pretending anyway. But I make a big show of it, wailing "That's so SAD!" and they all go, mom, you are so funny.

We went grocery shopping. Always a joy. I buy Peanut butter by the vat and hamburger by the cow and a henhouse full of eggs (5 dozen flat) at a time... and the cashier always wants to know HOW many kids do I have? LoL. Grocery day only comes every 2 weeks at my house so it is always somewhat of a celebration. For the next 3 days we will have LOTS of stuff for them to get into and then for 10 more days after that, we will have "real" food. And for one day, we will scrounge. LOL.

I got my block for today done too. The calendar says it is the Lovely Lola block, but since I am a fan of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, and her sidekick is Lula, I am calling it Lovely Lula. She loves Chicken too. So there. Mine doesn't look like the picture but I like it better anyway.

Tonight has been TV night... first Bones on Fox, then CSI on CBS, then Burn Notice on USA. I am not a big TV person so it makes me happy that they have put almost all the shows I like (I really only watch CSI New York other than the 3 above) on one night so I can only have a sitting-down guilt attack once and get it over with.

I do have ONE skein of recycled, cobweb weight 100% cashmere drying in our bedroom and a mega-skein of Pittsburgh Steelers yarn soaking in dye, so I guess I don't have to guilt myself too much. It has been a productive day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I have had a crappy day. No blown-out tires, no weirdos coming to my door, no water or power outages. But I got nothing done today except run a couple errands. I didn't get any more wool spun, didn't get any yarn done, didn't get a quilt block made. Well in my defense, it was a no-block, quilt-picture day but still, I could have made something up, and didn't.

I yelled at my husband today. He is a packrat of magnanimous proportion, and we just don't have room for it. Not to mention I have had more than 25 years of the mess, and I am sick of it. He packs home "stuff" that he is "going to do something with SOMEday" and the years pass, the someday never comes, and the stuff piles up like the Tower of Babel. I fully expect to come homr sometime and not understand a word he is saying.

The first house we owned, he packed the garage so full of stuff that I had a little pathway to the washer and dryer from the door. When we finally had to convert the garage to a master bedroom, bath, and laundry area, we had to have a 20-cubic-yard pull-car dumpster placed in the yard, and we filled it with all the junk.

A few years later, we moved to a house with a larger garage, and the property had a small cottage with its own garage. In the 8 years we lived there he proceeded to fill both garages with stuff. When we moved, my oldest daughter and I made 12 trips to the dump with my Ramvan seats removed and the van packed FULL. And we still had to leave some things behind when we moved.

We moved to a house that was 3000 sq. ft. with 6 bedrooms and one living room that we didn't even use. The downstairs was the same size. We eventually turned 1200 sq. ft. of it into a store, but the rest looked like a Goodwill Gone Bad. When we lost that house due to the septic system failing, I told him, most of this stuff we haven't used in YEARS. Someone is going to have to tear this place down. Let them worry about the JUNK we don't need. Our new house is small, and we don't have room.

NO! While I was at work, he surreptitiously brought van-fulls of stuff to the new house and stuck the stuff here, there, and everywhere. Our full-size back porch, which was supposed to house a couple cabinets and boxes of out-of-season clothes, Christmas Decorations, buckets of paints, and my fabric stash, became Junk Central. Once again we have a perfectly usable space that has only the barest thread of walkway through it. We were expecting a baby 4 months after we moved here, and I found the newborn baby clothes box, that I had put right where I could find it, when she was a year old.

My fabric bins are in the dining room, clearly visible from the front door (how attractive). The back hallway, which housed the washer and dryer when we came here, was supposed to have become the small storage area for my fabric and yarn bins, and the washer and dryer were to have been moved out to one end of the back, screened porch. Two years later, the dryer has made it out there. And thanks to my son-in-law Tony, 2 weeks ago the water heater made it out there too. But the washing machine is still waiting.

So, fed up to the bursting, I hollered at him, and took the kids to Youth Group. I went to Des' house with the younger kids, where we made homemade waffles, sausage, bacon, and eggs for dinner. The one thing I did get was a pic of Tony's mother's scarf that I knitted her for Christmas from a hand-dyed handspun and a blue strand of 100% cashmere. (here it is)

Then back to pick up the teenagers and home. Richard stayed back home, and I don't know what he got done. I hope for his sake, it was something.

Nikki, whose head is throbbing, and who is almost done ranting.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Darn Tootin' Shootin'

Today is my 2nd son Artemas' 17th birthday. 17 years ago today my water broke and I went into labor while my dh was enroute to work, where I couldn't get hold of him. So I left a message at his work, put my almost-6 and 3 year old kids in the car, and drove myself 25 miles through heavy traffic on US 19 in FL, to the hospital. Why the rush? Because with my 2nd child, I only had 40 minutes of labor. So you can see I was in a hurry. Artemas was in a hurry too. He was 3 weeks, 4 days early. He weighed in at 8# 3 oz, came into the world hungry, and hasn't stopped eating since. He has grown into a fine young man, and wants to be a chef when he finishes school. I hope he pursues it, and I think he will make a fine chef, Christian, and a good husband for some very lucky woman.

We got up this morning and took him to the firing range. I get to shoot free on Tuesday, and anyone sharing my lane is 1/2 price, so it was a cheap birthday present. LoL. We showed him how to load, ready, safety, and fire each of our 2 handguns. Then we stepped back out of the way, he picked up the .22 Ruger Longbarrel revolver, and proceeded to put 6 out of 6 shells right into zone 9 or closer.
The next barrel, he got 4 out of 6 in the zone. Not bad for a kid who has never had anything more than a bb gun in his hand.

I put 22 out of 24 (6 from the Lorcin .380) in the kill zone, also not bad shooting for a middle-aged Biker chick with a bunch of kids underfoot. Annie Oakley, move aside!

When we got home my BIL was over with my 5 year old niece. We had some snow yesterday and last night, and our grass was still relatively covered. Theirs was melted. So they came here for her to sled down our yard a few times. The guys watched a Guy film, so I guess the trip wasn't wasted for him either.

Today I started spinning a roving I got, called Raspberry Caramel Cheesecake. It is superwash merino top, that I got from Knitspaz on Etsy. I am using a cup-shape, top-whorl drop spindle that I got as a gift, and I am doing a terrible job. LoL. Well here is a pic of what I have so far, anyway. The colors are luscious though. I might make this available in my etsy shop for Valentine's day.

Today's block was Flying Geese. Finally! I made 24 of them. I need 22 for my project, and it's a good thing, because I had a couple rejects. Two little Flying Geese had bent wings and got rated 4-F. Here are the rest. I had in mind to lay them out with a row up, down, up, down... but somewhere I got confused. Doesn't matter entirely, because they aren't sewn together, and when they do get sewn together, they will be in 2 rows of 11 each. Lucky me.

We made homemade DELICIOUS pizzas for supper, and since Artemas didn't want a birthday cake, I made a double batch of brownies with dark chocolate chips from scratch.

Life is good.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Post on Snow and The Rule of Thongs

Ok, so here is the rest of it. We had SNOW today. Big fluffy flakes that happened on and off all day. At one point it was just sorry looking, not even covering the brown grass, and only laying in little soggy heaps on stationary objects. But by tonight, it has covered the grass and made the road icy enough that when I went to get hubby from work at 9 PM, someone had already skidded at a nearby intersection and taken out the stop sign. Sigh. Tomorrow, traffic here is going to be a MESS.

Yesterday Diantha finished spinning her 2nd yarn ever. It is a gorgeous superwash in bubble-gum colors, and she did a FINE job of it. She consistently achieved a worsted to heavy-worsted weight single, getting 148 yards out of just under 4 oz. Great job, Diantha!

Today I was SURE the block was Flying Geese. I had already cut my "geese," and I am going to use some of them up and down the sides of the Tree of Life I did yesterday. So bright but not early, I got up and cut my geese "wings," marked the backs of them diagonally for sewing, and the phone rang.
Des informed me that today's quilt block was actually a 4-patch in a square. Not wanting to break with my tradition of being slightly skewed from the rest of the world, I made my block skewed too. Thought it would be more interesting that way. What it is, is hurt-your-eyes loud. Well. Life is too short to make boring quilts anyway.

I started on a 100% cashmere, lace-to-cobweb weight RED, absolutely RED sweater to recycle but didn't get a whole skein done.

Ok, I know you have waded through all that to find out what in the WORLD is the Rule of Thongs. Here it is.

Those of us perverts who wear or occasionally wear thong underpanties have made a discovery. If you buy them in a size bigger than you normally wear, they are not actually excruciating. So do you remember my post from a couple weeks ago, about going to Victoria's Secret with my daughter and getting some plain black bikinis and a lovely, sexy, lacy little satin maroon thong that cost me for the ONE pair on sale what I usually pay for 6 pairs at the local megamart?

Well guess Who forgot the Rule of Thongs? Yep. I bought a medium in the black panties and then like a total nah-nah also bought a medium in the thong. Now don't get me wrong, I could stand to lose 10 pounds, easy. But I am not what is usually known as a "large" woman. BUT I put those lovely panties on and couldn't bear even for my dh to see them. I looked like a Walrus in a Rubber Band.

Richie, trying to be supportive, says, "Well they have nice lace. And you have been losing weight already... maybe in another 10# they will fit." He just Doesn't Understand. I suppose I could wash them and give them to charity. I refuse to give them to my 13 year old.

Another Blogger, Snow, and The Rule of Thongs

Another blogger has written about me and my recycled yarns. Joan has an interesting blog called How to Be a Housewife.

Ha, bet you are wondering about the snow and The Rule of Thongs, huh? You will just have to come back later on this evening, when I finish writing about those things (and see what I have been up to today, too).


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Small Progress

I have been so sleepy lately. I don't know if it is the cold or what. But drag me out of bed in the morning, and it is all I can do not to need a nap just about any time of the day. No. I am NOT pregnant. Though my dh's boss did send people home early last night, and last time one of us got to go home early from work, we got Beverly. LoL.

I couldn't post a picture of my block Friday night because one of my rat-fink kids temporarily lost the card to my camera. Again. And since right now I am broker than the Ten Commandments, we just did a house-upheaval search instead of run to Walmart to get another one. While I was AFK I did some more yarns and sold some yarns, so it wasn't really time wasted.

Friday's "block" was not really a block at all... it was strip-pieced sashings for the stupid Teacup quilt. So I did the strip-piecing, and instead cut them into 4 units and made a Rail Fence block. This one is ugly, but it has some of the same fabrics as the other Chicken blocks, so whatever.

Yesterday and today were combined on our calendars, and there wasn't a block... just a picture of a quilt top. So I spent yesterday working on the medallion I am going to use with the corners I already made, in the Monochromatic 4 Seasons Quilt Challenge swap. This Tree of Life block has 86 pieces in a 12" finished size block. As of last night, this is all the progress I had made.

Today I filled in the gaps, sewed everything together, squared everything up, and got the center medallion block done. I only lost *2* little points in all those triangles, so that is pretty good.

Last time I did a Tree of Life block, I was using a strange sewing machine that didn't have the seam allowance clearly marked, and the tree came out 1 1/2" bigger than I needed to fit the quilt it had to go in. I had to take in seams everywhere and it was just terrible.

Unfortunately, one of the points that doesn't match up perfectly is in the tree trunk, where it sticks out like a sore thumb. ~~ sigh ~~ But I added the corner triangles and here it is! It is 17 1/2" inches right now, and I think it is pretty nice so far!

I did some new yarns, a Superbowl Widow series. LoL. I will do some more tomorrow, after we find out who the other team will be. So far though I have Game Day, Gridiron, and Arizona Cardinals. Right nice.

And I sold the Spiderman Meets Obama yarn in only 20 hours. That isn't a record for me, but pretty darn good (or is it pretty Yarn good?).

Also yesterday in the shower, getting ready to go off to church and watch the babies in the nursery, I had an epiphany. My daughter Desiree and her dh Tony and their babies were down... also 5 of my other kids were home and one little girl who practically lives here on the weekend. So my house was full of noise and kids, and I thought, that is the way I like it really.

One of the promises in the Bible is that a woman will be saved through childbearing. The actual original Greek word means not just having a baby, but the scope of having the child and rearing it to adulthood. And I think one of the things we are "saved" from (if we are lucky, and willing to let the Lord work in us), is ourselves.

When I was in High School I was briefly engaged to a guy, and we planned to have NO children. If I had married him, that would have probably still been a good idea, since he turned out to be a person who used drugs, beat his wife, and was all around a despicable kinda guy. And on my own, I really don't like kids that much. Well I like mine, but as a rule, they are messy and noisy and you can't make other people's kids behave (and often the people don't make their own kids behave).

But like taking up my cross (my lot in life) daily and following Christ (who always knows what is best for me, even if I don't agree)... I have had to lay aside my own personal reservations and aversions to children, because I was willing to let the Lord give me the people He wanted here for whatever His reasons were.

And in doing that, I have learned to be less selfish, to give and be kind and be a servant even when I don't feel like it, to bind up hurts and share joys and keep a child-like delight in God's creation as each new little person gifted to me discovers their feet, and fresh grass, and ladybugs, and clouds. And I think for that, I am better, gentler (which is a BIG thing for me), and more like Christ.

At least I hope so.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Yarn, New Blocks

Well yesterday I didn't really do my block. Oops! Well first of all it was a stupid, paper-pieced Teacup. I don't do paper-piecing, I don't like tea, and I don't do teacups. So there. What I did do yesterday, was spend the day spinning the rest of the Spiderman Meets Obama yarn. I am really happy with the turnout and I have it up for sale in my Etsy shop. I have 7 Obama yarns up, and I am offering free shipping on them until midnight on Inauguration Day.

So today I made a block to make up for yesterday. These are the LOWER setting triangles for the Monochromatic quilt top I am making (the operative color being ORANGE). So the top setting triangles were brights, like a sunrise, and the lower ones are darker orange to orangey-browns, like earth.

Today's block was stupid too. It was a lil' bitty Diamond In A Square that finished to 3". I mean really. Like what am I going to do with that? And if I make it finish to 9" like the rest of the Chicken blocks I have been doing, it would look just dumb. So I made it a 9-patch Diamond Square. Nothing like complicating things for myself. Here is a pic of the block, and below I will give you directions, just in case you are a quilter or piecer and want to try one on your own. And below that, I will give the math, so if you don't care about that part, you can glaze your eyes over and skip a paragraph.

Cut 2, 5.5" squaresof a rather dark fabric. Halve them diagonally. If your print is directional, halve one upper right to lower left and one upper left to lower right. These are your outer setting triangles. Cut 2 squares of a light or medium tone fabric to 4 3/16". I know this is an odd measure but just trust me. 3/16" is just shy of 1/4" on your ruler, so measure to 4 1/4" and back the ruler off a hair and you will do fine. Halve them diagonally as you did the 5.5" squares. Then cut 5 dark and 4 light, 2" squares.

Assemble the 2" squares into a 9-patch. Press and square it up to 5" exactly. Next take the triangles that were 4 3/16" squares and sew one to each side of the 9-patch, letting a *leetle* corner of each one extend evenly past the edge of the 9-patch. Press and square this up to 6 7/8" exactly. Then sew the larger, dark triangles to the sides as you just did the light triangles. Press and square up to 9.5". Tada!

The Math: The Total square will finish to 9" plus seams. So half that, for the outer triangles, is 4.5". You add an inch in order to compensate for having to halve the squares diagonally and make a seam. So the outer squares are cut to 5.5". The next square will be the hypoteneuse of 4.5" (4.5" x 1.414) which is 6.36". The nearest common measure we would use is 6.375" (or 6 3/8"). Half that is 3 3/16" inches. You add an inch for making it into triangles and adding a seam, 4 3/16". The hypoteneuse of 3 3/16" (3.187" x 1.414) is 4.5" which gives you your finished size of the 9-patch. 4.5" divides evenly into 1.5" finished components. After adding seam allowances, the pieces must be cut to 2" square. Easy as 1, 2, 3, 5. LoL

Richie was off today so he got some stuff moved in the back porch and otherwise we goofed off, went to the post office and the store for trash bags, wheat bread and sugar. Tonight we are going to watch the new CSI (I can't stand that Grissom is leaving) and a movie, I will read to him and call it a night. Goodnight!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Doin' Nothin'

Well I have spent all day doin' nothin'. Except.

I did spend about 2 hours this morning in the computer catching up on 3 days worth of emails. And, I string-pieced together a block that I am going to use as my top 2 setting corners on a Challenge quilt I am doing. It is a monochromatic quilt in shades of, are you ready for this? Orange.

I cleaned up a mountain in my room, down to bare wall and had the boys rearrange the room for me. We put my little lampstand-slash-bookshelf where Richard's dresser has been, because it takes up less room there than the dresser did and that means we can actually open the closet door all the way. We put Richard's dresser where Beverly's crib was. And the whole reason for this change-around, we put Beverly's crib where my lampstand-slash-bookshelf table was, against the narrow wall between our bedroom door and the closet.

Richard said that the crib was against an outer wall of the house and Beverly would get too cold at night. Which is true, she did. She seems to like her crib where it is, and I guess I will get used to it there. It is easier to get to her if she should need me at night... she is just about 6 feet away and parallel to our bed. But before, it was a straight shot from my side of the bed to the bathroom and now I will have to detour a couple feet around the end of the crib. But at least she will be warm.

I finished another baby bootee and a little bitty hat. I don't know this baby at all. My SIL works with this man, and his wife had their long-desired baby at only 25 weeks, the day before Christmas. He weighed only a pound, but he apparently is a little fighter and is hanging in there. My daughter Desiree is making the baby a little quilt. More than 20 years ago, when I was pregnant for Desiree, I went into labor at 25 weeks too. Back then a baby born that early wouldn't have survived. So we lived through 12 weeks of bedrest, medications that made me sick to my stomach, and tests, and ended up with Des. That girl has been worth her weight in gold, a blessing through and through.

So I want to write a letter to the parents and tell them to hang in there, keep the faith, and this little boy will be a blessing to them no matter what the outcome is. And send him a little hat, bootees, and mitts to keep him warm there in the hospital. In fact I might make 2 hats, one for when his head gets a LEETLE bigger. This one would fit a small apricot.

Oh, and I made Oatmeal White Chocolate Chip jumbo muffins so I could use them to take pics of some stainless-steel food-grade display boxes I want to sell. We had to eat the muffins afterward. Too bad, so sad.

I still have a stack of jeans to put away off my bed, and a stack of recycleable sweaters to find a home for, so I have to go. Goodnight!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Away But Not Idle

Alright, I have been away since Friday. Saturday Des and Tony and the babies were here most of the day. The guys went to lay flooring in some more of the back porch. If you could see my back porch, you would know this is no small task. This house has no attic or garage or basement, so everything we owned that wouldn't fit INSIDE the house and still be able to put the people in it, went on the back porch. And a lot of things that I wanted to leave behind in that condemned shell of a house for someone else to have to Dumpster, but my packrat DH brought here anyway. That house was 2,980 sq. ft. with almost as much storage. And this one is 1450 sq. ft. So imagine.

So the guys had to jostle and move stuff, and I brought a BUNCH of boxes into the house to go through. Found an entire box of my bath towels that were missing since we moved 2 years ago! And some stuff to sell on Craigslist.

Sat. night we had to work the nursery at church, but for the late service, no one showed up. We did church Sun. morning as a family and spent several hours running to a few stores, then my BIL came to help try to fix the broken spindle on the Ramvan. They had to give up after a while because it was so dang cold. He came back today and got most of it done but still needs ONE part from the junk yard so will get it tomorrow and come again to work on it.

Over the weekend I started a lil' bitty project of knitting some bootees, mitts, and a hat for a baby. I got one bootee done while sitting in church Sunday morning. Don't gasp. I am kinesthetic, which means I learn while using my hands. So I often knit while listening or watching, because doing something actually helps me remember.

Meanwhile I did the Sat/Sun Snowball block. The calendar showed a stupid snowman in the middle. I did chickens instead. They are both what is called "needle-turn" applique, but one is my own goofy design and one is what is known as Broderie Perse... which is when one cuts a motif (flower or other design) out of a fabric and appliques it on another block or piece of fabric. So here are the girls from the weekend. Cute huh?

And here is my other ugly 9-patch, which is today's block. Tomorrow there is not a block listed. But I am in a challenge, and one of the things I need for it are four setting-triangle blocks. I am going to make two large blocks and halve them diagonally. So tomorrow I will make at least one of those, so I have something to do for the day. Because we can all tell I have nothing to do.

While I was at it, I also did 4 new yarns in honor of the inauguration: Hopes and Promises, Winds of Change, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, and renamed and relisted a yarn in honor of Michelle Obama. I also have Obama-rama up to sell. LoL. Whether I agree politically with our presidential choice is immaterial. Every inauguration is a new beginning.

I have the first half of Spiderman Meets Obama done, skeined, washed, and the twist set. Hopefully I can finish the rest tomorrow... too tired tonight to do it, and my back is hurting. But I may wait until Wednesday to list it, because that is the date the comic debuts.

Gotta go get Richie from work. Goodnight!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Does It Have To Be Everyday?

So last evening, after I had already written in my blog for the evening, Richard goes in to put the handles on our shower faucets. You know the shower he has been working on putting in, for 8 months. This week he finally cut the hole big enough to patch the drywall, and last night he had just cut the piece of drywall, so I can get to tiling the bathroom. I am supposed to return the borrowed tile saw on Saturday. Sure.

He goes in there, and I hear him yell, Help! Help! and he says, "Tell Artemas to go out to the street and turn the water off to the house!"


I go in there and he is standing in the tub, drenched from head to foot. And there is a DELUGE of water pouring out of the HOT water pipe where the handle should be, and he is trying to stop it up with a towel, which is soaked and pouring water down into the wall.

I took over for him, so he could go out and see if Artemas was turning it off right. mind, it was 28 degrees outside. I figured the towel was just complicating things, so I threw it in the tub and deflected the water down into the tub with the palm of my hand until it stopped running. He was only out for a minute, but he was chilled already when he came in. and I was soaked too, because when I first went in the bathroom and the water was spraying and he was trying to stop it up with the towel, it was spraying EVERYWHERE.

Only place he didn't get was on the far side of the door where I have a primitive ladder for towels (same wall as the pipes only about 10 feet away) and the back wall behind the toilet, which is 12 feet away.

The handle had just BLOWN apart. So he spent the rest of the evening trying to figure out the schematic for putting it back together, and we spent the night with the water turned off to the house. Which made a grocery-shopping expedition this morning look welcome, even if I did have to take 3 of the kids with me.

We put a heater/blower in there this morning and it is dry, so he can drywall it. I am so glad, because I am totally allergic to mold since I lost one of the babies (the loss damaged my immune system so badly) and I told him, no way can we seal that wall up if there is any moisture in it.

Before sealing the wall up, he gets the big idea to fill all the wall-holes he has made with Great Stuff to help insulate the walls, because that is one COLD bathroom. I mean with the holes in the walls and the outside temps lately, I am really reluctant to sit down in there. So he starts to use the stuff, and the end blows right off one of the cans (and down into the wall, of course). He tries another can. It is supposed to come out looking like a fat maggoty worm, then swell up greatly. No. It came out and stayed, just like that. Fat maggoty worms of Great Stuff in the wall.

What the heck? I mean, can't some of these things happen to somebody else? Does it have to be something EVERY day? My life is so WEIRD.

Ok, on a maybe just slightly
less weird note, Marvel Comics is going to feature Mr. Obama in a Spiderman episode. News story here: Spiderman Meets Obama. So in honor of just such a momentous occasion, I am making a handspun yarn by that same name. I am so proud of myself, I have only been spinning about 3 months, and this is SOCK weight yarn, and very even, about 15 WPI. I am going to make it available in my Etsy shop for purchase.

And, there really wasn't a block for today on our quilting calendars. But the quilt pictured is only over the next two days. It is a 2-block quilt that is a Snowball and 9-patch. So I made a couple random 9-patches. Never hurts to have some of them lying around anyway. And, here is a picture of one. It is UGLY. Today must have been Make Ugly Quilt Pieces Day, because my oldest daughter made an Ugly quilt top too.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What Vacation?

Richie has been on vacation this week. Typically, a vacation for him is not a vacation for me.

Usually, when we go on vacation, I make reservations at the campground, or motel on those rare occasions. Though we don't do a motel very often, because they make us have 2 rooms because of all the kids. That gets expensive pretty fast.

I map out a route. I make lists of what we will need for food (in the car and cooler and camping, if we are), lists of what each person needs for clothing, grocery shopping lists, what needs to go in the car (especially if we are camping).

Then I shop, do laundry, pack a food box, mark refrigerator food for the trip, pack duffel bags, clean out the car, pack the car in a reasonable manner so that we have feet room and can reach the cooler, food box, coloring/puzzle book bin, pillows, towels (in case of spills or someone throwing up). The day of the trip we get up early, I make sure the kids are dressed, everyone uses the bathroom, and nothing is left out of the car. Richard goes around turning off lights.

Then we get in the car and drive 600 miles. While we are driving we magically have food to eat and stuff to drink and books to read. And when we get there, Richard magically has all his clothes.

While we are gone, I make sure everybody keeps their things together, has all their shoes, puts wet clothes in a special bag, cook (if we are camping), and at some point go do a load or two of laundry. We drive home and Richard magically has clean clothes to go back to work.

Having him on vacation at home is not much different, with the exception that I didn't have to pack a small version of all our belongings into the car and go somewhere else to use them.

~~ sigh~~

Anyway this week he is working on finishing the shower in our bathroom, and on cleaning out the back porch. Or not. In four days, he goes back to work.

Today I made 2 new yarns for my my7kids recycled yarn shop at etsy. And, I made the block of the day, which is called something I can't remember on the calendar page which I can't find, but I know the block to be called Swamp Angel. It is a modified Ohio Star, with Half-Square Triangles (HSTs) in the corners.

And chickens, if you are lucky.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Alone, All Alone

This evening my dh left to take 2 of the kids to Youth Group. He took 2 younger kids with him just for the ride. One of our children is at my sister's house (dh will be picking him up). And the 6th one was working, but is going to stop by my sister's and then go pick up the 2 that are at Youth Group for us. So I am alone. Alone. ALONE.

I don't know whether to go have a LONG shower, take a nap, or do other stuff. So I elected the other stuff. I have dyed a skein of yarn for and have made a pair of very gothic, felted lace, black angora fingerless mitts for HeartFeltFun.

And, I finished my block for the day. This is the 2nd yellow and purple block for one of the healing quilts, and my 4th and last for those. Friday I will be able to mail them off. This one is called Harlequin Star. It is very striking and not boring. My daughter put hers together wrong, and I like it even better. LoL.

It is COLD here today. Supposed to be cold again tomorrow too, with a chance for snow. Everybody around here will be wiping out the grocery stores from bread, milk, and eggs. Because if there are FIVE fluffy, floating flakes of snow, these people panic that they are going to be snowed in. And of course if you are snowed in, you need staples, like bread, milk, and eggs. People actually call in to work saying they can't get there because of the snow! Wow, what would they do if they lived where I grew up in Ohio. Guess they would knuckle under and starve.

I am down 4 pounds since New Year's Eve. I think I must have shivered it off. LoL.

Ok that's all the news I have for now. Wow. I am ALONE. Think I will go have that long, hot shower after all.

Oh, So You Want the Recipe for Lentil Soup!

Ok, here it is. Very cheap soup to make for as nutritious as it is. Very yummy for a cold winter night too. Delicious with homemade wheat bread, or go ahead and cheat and get a loaf of Italian bread from the bakery. LoL.

Lentil Soup
  • one bag lentils (12 oz. or 1#, red or brown doesn't matter)
  • water
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • one bay leaf
  • scrap meat of the hammy variety (smoked sausage will do, as will ham, cooked crumbled bacon, turkey smoked sausage, or even turkey. any ol' thing)
  • a couple carrots, shredded
  • one chopped onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a can (14-16 oz.) of chopped tomatoes if you want them in there

    Additionally, you will need:
  • large soup pot
  • colander

    Start this early in the day or the night before. Put the Lentils in the colander and rinse them. Dump them in the soup pot with enough water to cover them twice their original depth and cook them a little while. Half hour is fine. Turn them off and let them sit a while, a couple hours is fine for this too. Or put them in the fridge overnight and finish cooking them tomorrow after work.

    After the lentils have set a while and are looking plump and comfortable, turn the heat back on under them. Throw a couple cloves of crushed garlic in the pot, along with a bay leaf, the shredded carrot, and meat of some sort. Add a little water if the soup is too thick to stir.

    Saute the onion in a skillet until it is waxy looking, then add it to the pot of lentils. Cook the stew a little while (maybe half an hour) until it is hot through and rather thick. Just before serving add salt (about 2 teaspoons should be enough), pepper, and chopped canned tomatoes if you want them.

  • Tuesday, January 6, 2009

    Rain, and Boring Blocks

    It rained during the night last night. (It is Tennessee Winter, who is surprised?) I woke up this morning needing to take a ride. I know that may seem weird to some of you. But I grew up on a motorcycle and it is like defrag for my soul. If I am nervous or upset, even if it is something I can't put my finger on, taking a ride works all my kinks out and I feel better.

    Betsy woke up sleepy. She came out to where I was at the computer, wanted to nurse, then slid down to the floor, lay on the rug, pulled the notebook I was using over under her head, and started to snore. I covered her with a quilt and she slept another hour and a half. Wish I had done the same. Richard is on vacation and it was still raining.

    I mailed some orders today, made a new yarn to put up, then went to Des' house for the evening. We had some really good Lentil Soup. She hardly ever gets to eat it anymore because Tony won't eat it, because it is brown (go figure, I think that is the only thing the man won't put in his mouth, LoL). Made today's block while I was there. When we got home I made a new cell phone cozy for my HeartFeltFun shop.

    Today's block was called Sawtooth Star on the calendar. It is NOT a Sawtooth Star. A Sawtooth Star has little tiny points marching up and down all the big points of the star. Though Quilter's Cache lists *yesterday's* block as Sawtooth Star, and a block known as Variable Star as Sawtooth Square. So. Anyway. This is actually a Diamond in a Star block. That's the right name, and I am sticking to it. This block goes with the one I did yesterday, to the same Healing quilt, and it is boring. Life is too short to make boring quilts.
    -- sigh --

    Not getting to take a ride makes me cagey and mean feeling. They are predicting drier weather tomorrow, but a 15-degree drop in temp, putting it down in the even-too-cold-for-me-to-ride category. I spent all day waiting for the rain to stop, and it never did.