Friday, August 31, 2012

Gymkhana Folllies

A gymkhana is actually a sports contest of any kind, but the word seems to be most used in the horse world.  In a gymkhana, you play games on horseback and it's all about being silly and having fun.  No dressage, no formal attire, no ribbons on trophies.

My kind of competition.

We had a gymkhana at the barn last week and it was the most fun I've had since I've been riding.  And it was silly and crazy and basically, a bunch of women and one man in a tizzy on horseback.

Here's what we looked like to start:

It looks like we're starting a race,  but it was just so everyone could be in a picture together.  13 people on horseback in an indoor ring.

It sounded like a recipe for disaster.  I was sure some horse would pick that situation to pull a total nutty and go storming into another horse and someone would die.

Amazingly everyone behaved.  No one kicked or bit anyone else. 

The horses didn't either.

My favorite part was that we were all bareback.  No saddles, no stirrups and no saddle pads.  This was my first time and I'm hooked.  As my sister a-ster said, it's hard to imagine how you can move up and down and do anything without stirrups, but it's magic.

We played 3 games and I was a total loser at each one.  Thank GOD there were no prizes or I would have been mad because I am a tad competitive.  There wasn't much organization and the "judges" didn't do their jobs.  Bascially, it was a bunch of people doing their own thing!

First, we all had to put a dollar bill under our right upper thigh and it had to stay there throughout a whole course of things.  Mine stayed on for quite a while, but I was the first one out.

Some people  never lost their bills, so it didn't quite work the way it was supposed to.  People were supposed to lose them left and right and the winner would get everyone's dollars that dropped but it was a sweaty night and people were cheating, so the bill stuck pretty well!

Here's a view of what it looked like.  I don't know where I am.  I must have been out at this point and in the corner.

Then we all got a spoon and had to carry an egg around the ring.  I was fine until I started trotting.  I don't have a video of that one.

And the final task was to hold a length of toilet paper between 2 riders and ride around together.

I was with a girl I've never seen before and her horse had a little bigger stride than mine, so we didn't last too long, especially once we had to make a circle!

These people seemed to ride forever before theirs ripped!
I ended up liking bareback so much, I did a whole lesson bareback!  I think it has to improve my riding by leaps and bounds!

Linking here! and here

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Putting A Crimp In My Style

When I was in elementary school, I DREADED going back to school.  Once I was there, I was fine, but those weeks of anticipation, with the commercials for the back to school sales used to get me so worked up.

And they still do, for the same reason.

It's not that I was afraid of school or didn't like school or feared being a failure. It was, and always will be, the change in routine.  I love routines.  I love schedules. It makes sense that once I am in the groove of the school routine, all is well.

But, I've been going back to school for almost my whole life.  Elementary school, high school, college, and right into teaching.  Each summer, I resent having to go back to school.  Because it puts a total crimp in my style. 

I have a summer routine.  I have priorities. 

I have vegetables to grow.

I have grass to cut.

I have blogging to do.

I have all those projects to complete that I save for all that "time" I have in the summer.

I have blogging to do.  Oh yeah, that's not just a summer thing.

I have a hammock to relax in.

I have books to read.

I have projects to complete- did I already say that?

I have amazing lessons to conjure up in my head.

I have after school activities to dream up.

So today, when I have to go back for the first of 4 teacher professional days before the students start, I am full of annoyance that I have to be somewhere by 8:30 and I have to sit still for 6+ hours.

That's the hardest part- sitting still after a summer on the move.  Imagine an auditorium full of mostly women who have been moving about at will for most of the summer now sitting still for 2+ hours in a row, without a bathroom break. 

Or maybe it's not having AC in our school and it's raining and humid today and I will be soaked for 6+ hours and have to be pleasant to my neighbor.

And when you're thinking "hmm must be nice to just sit around all summer.  You have no right to complain about going back to work" you're right about part 2 but you couldn't be more wrong about part 1.  Spend a day with me in the summer.  You'll never keep up.  I'm in, I'm out, I'm up, I'm down, I'm wet, I'm dry,  I'm dirty, I'm clean.  And that's all before 8:30am!

And who am I am kidding? I'm never clean in the summer and rarely dry.

I can't help hearing that stupid K-Mart commercial that used to play the jaws the theme and the guy said "Just when you thought you were safe from reading and writing and rithmetic, it's time to go back to school...."

Or the Welcome to Pooh Corner song that swam in my head for an entire week before school one year in elementary school as I dreaded going back "Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, chubby little cub, all stuffed with fluff, he's Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, willy, nilly, silly oh bear..."  there's more, but I'm shuddering right now that I still remember it all.

And what do I really dread the most?

Stinking Uggs.  I'm not kidding.  Uggs might literally break or make my career.

Linking up here.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Animals Are Assholes

I put a lot of work into growing vegetables and I really like the results. 

Until some rotten animals do this:

THis is not the work of a tomato or tobacco hornworm like last year.  In fact, I don't have any this year!  And I'm pretty sure it's not birds because that's a whole lot of pecking.  I think it's something with paws, so either squirrel or raccoon. 

And you know how I feel about thos

So, I've had to resort to pulling tomatoes off the vine as soon as they start to ripen or risk losing them.

Forget vine ripening around here.  But do you see the size of those tomatoes????

In that random packet of heirloom tomato seeds, I got plants that made HUGE tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, normal sized tomatoes and a blackish tomato.  Here are the yellow and blackish.

I have quite a few more big, green tomatoes out there, so I get dibs!  Maybe you can invite all 4 footed wild creatures into your yard for a few weeks?

Friday, August 24, 2012

500 Posts Equals A Very Old Lady

Ta- da:  It's my 500th post!!  I'm really shocked that I have had that much to say in a little over 2 years.  I'm sure none of you are surprised, but I am.

For my 100th blogoversary, I gave you this.

For my 200th, I gave you this.

For my 300th, I debated for a long time what I would do and then it passed and I forgot.

For my 400th, I took a powder.  I didn't even know it had passed.

But 500.  That's a milestone. 

That's a lot of nonsense on one blog.

I could not spare you the pleasure of reading about my 500th blogoversary.

I was quite young when I started this blog.  You might remember I looked like this.

And then something happened.   With all of the creativity came a lot of wisdom and with that wisdom came wrinkles and more creativity.  And with all of that, came my desire to go to bingo.

That's right, bingo.

My sister e-ster started going this summer and has turned into an old lady said it was a lot of fun and I should try it.  It sounded like nothing but fertile ground for blogfodder, so I asked what time she'd pick me up since I can't drive after dark.

I should have known how the night would go when we parked and saw this mess.  I blame the church for not getting qualified help that would resurface the parkling lot before repainting.  It must have been my sister's youthful eyes that made sure we parked within the current line scheme. 

In that person's defense, Catholic churches do have a weird belief that everyone can have a parking space if they just paint long yellow lines on the parking lot, instead of breaking it up the way it is in every other parking lot.

This person probably is a devout Catholic that thought these were continuous lines.

I have to tell you that my sister's friend is VERY into bingo.  She goes as soon as the doors open, like 2 hours ahead of time, to get the boards and get all set up.  If you are going to join her, you must give her the cash ahead of time so she can get you the proper boards and tape them all up so they don't "blow away" as my sister explained. 

This girl runs bingo prep like the military and e-ster doesn't question any of it, she just shows up and dabs.    I asked too many questions and might not be invited back for more bingo.

So, we showed up around 6pm, for the practice rounds (which do allow winning cash, so I don't know what the practice element is about) and were greeted with this.

They usually (I'm like an expert now, so I can say things like "usually") play 2-3 games on one board and the boards are all colored so you know which boards to play on.  You'll notice there is a paper bag underneath.  That's so you don't have to get up and throw away your boards.

You just open the bag and put it on the floor beside you and you have a space to throw your garbage away all night.  Some people got all fancy and folded the top down, but I didn't know about that. 

This is what the room looks like and the type of people that were there.  All ages, really.

And the shrines.  The serious bingo gamers all had little shrines.  The lady on the other side of me had a bunch of ceramic elephants that she set up.  And see the thing with the 15 on it?  That's a needlepointed holder of some sort.  Lots of people had these holders.  But they didn't hold the boards, so I don't know what the purpose was.  But there were lots of shrines.  The bingo gamers didn't seem like the type that would a) know what a blog is or b) take kindly to me taking pictures of their shrines for said blog, so I had to sneak this picture in.

It's all totally automated and when someone yells bingo, one of the checkers comes over and reads a code at the bottom of the board.  The guy up front types it in and the actual board shows up on the screens so everyone can see that indeed, it was a "good bingo" as he said.  And then the money is delivered to the winner.

There's no hoopla.

No flashing lights or music.

Kind of a let down, actually.

Unlike bingo in my classroom, there can be many winners.  When I play, it's whoever says bingo first and has it correct.  At this bingo, everyone who has bingo wins, but they all have to share whatever the money is for that round.

And the amount varies.  Some rounds were $75 and one was $500.  Several were around $100.  There's some serious money to be won.  They aren't fooling around.

In order to be a proper bingo player, you are supposed to use these dabbers.  I would have just used a good, old fashioned highlighter,  but my sister insisted I use her dabbers,

They come in all kinds of colors and sizes and even glitter.  Everyone seemed to have lots of dabbers, in case there is some emergency where they run out of ink and can't stamp their boards.

They even make them dirty, like e-ster's.  Click on it to read it if you don't know why it's dirty.  If you still don't, I can't help you.  Ask your husband. 

There are, of course, special bingo dabber bags that you can buy.  E-ster is hoping a-ster will make her one for Christmas, but that's a long way off.  She's bringing them in a grocery store bag right now and if her sister taking pictures of everything with her phone didn't make her stand out, that grocery bag sure did.

Everyone is very serious.  Bingo is not to be toyed with.  People like their space at the table and don't seem to venture beyond their shrines.  Even friends seemed to keep to themselves, especially after an old man yelled at a lady to "JUST  MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS" and everyone snickered.

A few people accidentally called bingo when they very definitely didn't have it.  I thought one of the checkers would come over and snatch the board away in punishment, but there was nothing punitive.  People just yelled "social error", when I thought they said "social hour" and that was it.

I was shocked that you could win and then win again in the evening.  I assumed once you won, you had to leave.  This is the Catholic church, it tends to be punitive, thus my surprise.

The biggest "social error" happened during the last game.  The caller called a number that was correct, but when he entered it into the computer, he put the wrong number so it showed a number on the board that wasn't right.  This caused quite an uproar.  Then a guy tried to help him fix it which just made that round drag on and it wasn't being fixed.  Someone yelled "see, you're just overtired".  It sounded just like my grandmother.  Everything was always blamed on someone being overtired.

Another shock is that people groan EVERY time someone says bingo.  Another difference between my classroom bingo games and this one.  If I hear people groaning, we stop playing.

As a clear indicator of my age, I will admit that I lost track of what was going on on  more than one occasion.  Sometimes I couldn't remember which pattern we were doing and for a second, I would panic that maybe that was the ONE TIME I would win and then I remembered it was a) listed on the sheet in front of me that listed every  pattern, board color and prize to be won and b) shown digitally on the bingo board up front and c) just a game and if I lost, it did not mean I was a moron. 

My mind wandered a few times and I found myself doing math.  Like the time  that you had to cover the whole board and if you did it in 49 calls or less, you would win $1199.  At 39 calls, I started counting how many more numbers I needed on each board and would that be able to happen before 49.   Then  I lost track of what I was doing.   No one won that amount. 

The checkers are senior citizens who walk around with mics and tell the guy up front what the codes are for the winners.  One lady had the nastiest, loudest cigarette voice you could ever imagine.  I don't know why they give her a mic.

The callers had accents that made me fall on the floor.  The practice rounds were called by a guy who kept saying 'tree' instead of 'three'.  The main caller had an issue with anything with a 4 and would said "fowa" every time.  There are rounds called 'stingers' and people would say 'STINGA' when they won that around. 

Both e-ster's and my favorite are the "hoss races".  We don't understand the rules, but you can buy an additional ticket that is called a horse race.  And it's a very hit or miss thing.  It goes alongside a regular round.  So, in the middle of the round, out of nowhere, they guy says "watch out for the hosses now, thay-uz a hoss race goin on" and then eventually, someone yells bingo,  not hoss race.

It was a fun evening and I will probably go again.

You might remember my "old lady waiting for a bus" pose. That was just foreshadowing of my 500th blogoversary.  I should have known bingo was in my near future.

The most entertaining part of the whole night happened as we left.  This is at church, remember.  So we got out around 9:15 and as we walked out into the parking lot, this woman was on the phone and said, very loudly:

"well, you better effing hurry up it's like ten o'clock"

So, I said, just as loudly to the people I was with:

"no, it's not even close to ten o'clock, it's 9:15"

and we heard her say:

"well fine, 9:30 then but hurry up, I'm standing here"

and a lady walking out with us said:

"I wonder what happens at 10:00"

and I said:

"the priest comes out and arrests you for swearing on campus!"

Oh, my old brain almost forgot. The very best part of the whole night?

One of the patterns was an inside frame which means all of the inside squares except the free space.  And I won!!  It was a $75 round and 3 of us won, so I won $25.  But that's more than I had when I walked in!

I'll have to use it to buy the pieces for my shrine or a sweet needlepoint holder.

Linking up here:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm Marrying My Chef

My Pampered Chef.  I can't live another day without being betrothed to such a great entity.  I'm madly in love.  He gives me gifts.  He swears he'll stand by me through a lifetime. 

First, they wowed me with the kit that every new consultant gets.

Seriously, for the price you pay to get the kit, you are getting such a bargain, it won't even matter if you don't ever sell any products.

Then, for reaching a goal, they sent me this.  My official apron. 

And then, for reaching another goal, they sent me this, with a few other goodies in it.

And then, for reaching another goal, they sent me this.

A picanic basket!!  And it's insulated!  And it's happy and cute!  And it zips closed!  And I have never been on a picnic in my life!  And I don't even know what I'll do with it!  But I LOVE it!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Some People Are So Creative

Here are some of the creative things I saw at the wedding:

A great way to store the beverages at a sort of oceanside wedding.  If I were a catering company, I would totally bring this to every summer event I do!

The seating chart.  Those are all pictures of real buoys, numbered 1-12 with names written beside them.   I 've seen a lot of ways to number tables and let people know where to sit but this is definitely unique.

There was a cake but there were also 4 jars of cookies.  It's like she knew I didn't care about wasting calories on cake and got me cookies!  The cake smelled very yellow cakey or, as I like to say, like feet.

Butterflies were a theme and she had them all around the gazebo and in her bouquet.  They looked pretty authentic!

A bridesmaid bouquet.  I think they made the bouquets but I can't get straight answer from k-ster.

The bride's bouquet.  I really like the balance of white and orange.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Can't Make You Wait Forever

I might have mentioned the wedding we went to here, here and here.  And some of you have been eagerly awaiting my review criticism commentary observations summary of the wedding.

I thought I'd take you on a pictorial stroll.

The Justice of the Peace is either telling everyone to STAND BACK or showing the groom
 what the gazebo could look like with just the right piece of furniture over there.  Notice k-ster is running away, probably afraid he'll be asked to move said furniture and the other groomsman thinks it's all pretty funny.

K-ster kept a very close eye on the Justice of the Peace, making sure she read every word on that tome.

The groomsmen were obviously tending to every guests' needs.  Or checking in with headquarters.

Hmm, wedding scene or campsite?

I stood in the field and showed everyone some of my cool dance moves.  This might have been the robot.  Or my I-might-be-wearing-a-hoopskirt-to-go-with-my-hat-so-I-better-keep-my-arms-out pose.

This lady and her dog totally crashed the wedding.  They spied on the whole thing.  And then walked away.  And didn't even leave a donation as a thanks for the free show.

The photographer's assistant had a most intriguing dress.  I believe it was a knit tube dress and then she added these ribbon straps to, I imagine, allow her to photograph anything at a moment's notice without exposing herself.

If I had known that costumes were allowed...

...I could have shown up in either of these.

Someone wore these even though she wasn't in the bridal party or on a catwalk.  And her dress wasn't red.

A man, yes, a man, wore these loafers with his shorts and navy blazer.  Let's pause and think about this for a moment.  No, he was not 85 years old.  Not, he wasn't wearing a pocket watch or using a fancy cane as a prop (that was the guy from above).  All I know is I wouldn't have gotten near his bare feet afterwards for a million $$.

We saw quite a variety of footwear.  And not footwear.  Lots of heels for 2.5 seconds, followed by bare feet and flip flops for the rest of the night.  There should be a law against that.  Wear the damned shoes you came in and leave it at that!!

The bride wore her new shitkickers.

And it's not really a party until there's a bridesmaid on the floor, is it?

Linking here

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Taste Of What's to Come

So, we're going to a wedding tomorrow. 


In predicted rain. 

In August, the notoriously hottest month we have every summer.

Whether it rains or not, I am sure to be pretty soaked since I can work up a sweat if I blink too fast.

That's why I'm wearing this.  I figure with all of the flowers, the pools of sweat will be camouflaged and it will probably take a while for those ruffles to get totally soaked.

And if it's sunny, I'm going to wear a hat.  Everyone will think I am a movie star in all my glamour and then they will come up and see the rings of sweat and realize who they are dealing with.

The rehearsal was 48 hours before the wedding, not the usual 20 hours before.  I have no doubt that everyone promptly forgot everything they learned and I am very excited for the show this wedding even if it is in the rain.

Because events like this are made for people like me to find little gems to share with you on my blog so special.

For example, when I arrived at the scene of the rehearsal, I sat at a table in the shade because I am not part of the wedding, but k-ster is the best man. Remember that.  He is the best man.  I figured a bird's eye view of the dress rehearsal would give me all the information I needed for the second showing actual wedding, so I'd know what is and isn't supposed to happen.

The scene is a public park with ball fields, tennis courts, lots of lawn and the requisite gazebo. 

A nice woman was sitting at the table too and she asked me if I was there because of the rehearsal.

This should have been a clue to what our conversation would be like for the next 10 minutes because it was very obvious that the only reason I would comfortably sit at a table with a stranger, while facing the myriad of wedding participants would be because I was somehow affiliated with the wedding.

When I go to a wedding and I am sitting with someone I don't know, I always ask what the affiliation is with the couple so I can figure out who I am talking to.  She was a very nice woman and she explained why she was there, without me even asking.  She was kind of defensive, actually, like I had come over to the table, all smily and nice and was going to arrest her.  She is going to videotape the wedding and she wanted to see if she could preview everything and get the best place to record but stay out of view. 

Pretty hard to do in a round gazebo, but I wasn't going to split hairs.  And when this conversation took place, I quickly learned that it wouldn't even have mattered if I had said anything:

So, are you here for the wedding?

Yes, k-ster is in it.

Oh, so how are you connected to this wedding?

Oh, k-ster (I point) is the best man.

Oh, that's nice.  So, is he in the wedding?


Of course I'm linking here and here

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I've Been Pretty Crafty Lately

One of the things I look forward to in the summer is having more time to make some of the projects that I just can't find time to do during the school year.  But, my sewing room gets really hot after noon, and many days, it's way too humid to even think about touching fabric, so I really don't get much accomplished!

Last week, I posted pictures of my denim quilt.  That was in my mind for years and years and years and finally, I got so sick of tripping over the pile of old jeans on the stairs, I broke down and made one.  It's on my etsy if you are so inclined.

We have a wedding to go to this weekend and I had a quilt pattern floating around in my head that I really wanted to try.  For  many, many, many weddings, I have made queen or even king sized quilts as the wedding gift.  I use a lot of log cabin arrangements because the log cabin pattern is easy to do and lends itself to lots of different arrangements.  I've done others, but that is kind of my default.

Most people make a really big deal about the quilt (except for one couple who have NEVER even acknowledged receipt of it but who did receive it because someone asked them for me- and we see them all the time and never so much as a 'got it!') and I kind of got tired of the hoopla people would make.  Because I never did it for the hoopla.  I did it because I thought it was the best way for me to come up with a gift that wasn't all that expensive but was unique and would last forever.

And then I started noticing that people would put them on the guest room bed.  Or keep it away because they said they were afraid to use it.  And it made me start thinking maybe that's not the best gift idea.

Because if you gave me a large bed quilt, I absolutely would not use it.  I don't use bedspreads or top sheets.  Just duvets and covers that I wash with the rest of the linens.  I don't even like to have a top sheet and bedspread when I stay in a hotel or at someone's house.

Plus, it is highly unlikely that your choice of colors and the layout would be something I'd fall magically in love with and want to see on my bed every single day until it falls apart.  Yes, it would mean I would always think of you, but really, it's not something I would use on my every day bed.

So, if I had a guest room, that's exactly where it would go.

And all of that thinking just made me mad.  All of those quilts I'd made just sitting in closets not being used?  Not being liked by the couple I gave it to?

At least with baby quilts, if they hate it, after 1.5 million washings, it will fall apart and they can just "oopsies" it right into the trash.  So, I'll always make baby quilts.  Plus, they are fun to make because they are whimsical.

But wedding quilts?  Maybe no more.

I really, really wanted to try this What Knots? quilt pattern that my mother showed me.  And I realized it wasn't a full bed size.  So it was like a throw.  Everyone will use a throw.  Even if it doesn't match, they will likely use a throw.  And if it get dirty, they'll be more likely to throw it in the wash because it's smaller than a big quilt. 

So, maybe the throw is what I should be making for wedding gifts.

There is really not a lot of material to buy for this pattern and it's only 4 colors, so how hard could it be?  And it doesn't have crazy triangles or weird points to match up, so I figured it would be easy.

Try finding 4 pieces of material that do exactly what you want them to do while standing at Joann fabrics.  I went through like 5 different color schemes before finally giving in out of sheer boredom to these.

I really love how the knots intertwine.

And it was really easy to put together.  I chose the darker green for the back and wrapped the edge over as the binding.  And I tied it because quilting isn't so easy for me!  Hmm, easy seems to be the word of the day today.

But, the whole time I was making it, I kept thinking that green really isn't in her house at all.  She has a navy blue couch.  And the last thing I wanted was for this to be relegated to the guest room.  Plus, it's too small for a bed.

So, I went back to the fabric store and found these.

I think these are much more in keeping with her living room.  And I could look at yellow and blue all day.  In a quilt, yellow and dark blue trump pink any day! 

And since I had already made one, the second one just flew together for me.  Which was good because it was exceptionally humid the week I chose to work on this one!

And the green one is now on my etsy too.

Linking here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.