Wednesday, July 11, 2018


I love being barefoot in the summer, but since this summer is so hot, and the air conditioner seems to be running all the time, my feet get cold so I wear socks in the house.  I have slippers but they get too warm sometimes.

Miss A wears socks inside her tennies and during the school year she would often come over without socks, or with one sock.  We wear the same size shoes so she's prone to borrow both my socks and my shoes (if she can get away with that!)

I have noticed that when she wears my socks, I often never see them again!  Since we get her morning laundry which is mainly pajamas, and her evening laundry gets washed at home, I have no clue where the socks go unless she happens to bring them over.

We discussed that the other day with her mom.  It would appear from that conversation that the socks have gone into the black hole of kid laundry, where sometimes they come back and sometimes they don't!  But if it's any comfort, her mother's socks have joined mine in that mystery place...

I particularly love hand knitted socks.  I have successfully (more or less) knit three pairs of socks and quite a number of single socks that never became pairs.  I guess I have Second Sock Syndrome, that is, I can knit one but I have trouble finishing the second one, or getting it to match the first one so that they can legitimately be called a pair.

Hand knitted socks, NOT knit by me.

Self Striping yarn is fun.
I own a lot of sock yarn... which has the potential to be socks if I just get my act together.  I admire people like Stephanie McPhee, aka Yarn Harlot, who can knit socks while she rides a bike or climbs Mount Fuji.

I struggle.

I have knit a couple of pairs of yoga socks... which leave off the hard parts like heels and toes!

Yoga socks, also not knit by me...
I signed up for a four part Sock Toolbox class at my local yarn shop, Cream City Yarn in Brookfield.  Hopefully by the time the class is over I'll have gotten over Second Sock Syndrome, at least partially.  I'm sure if I don't it won't be for lack of trying on their part!

I can't decide between two yarns.  I love the blue one in the center but it's really skinny yarn and would take longer to knit, but the black & white is already wound into a cake.  I'm leaning in that direction, although the blue would make beautiful socks!

I just found out I am supposed to be knitting a test swatch of the yarn I pick, then wash and dry it before class!  If Miss E gets up and decides we need to go shopping that will cut in on the swatching time and narrow the choice to the one swatch I can actually finish.

Boy this knitting stuff could be stressful!

Swatch on...

Sunday, July 8, 2018


Last time I blogged it was July 2, Day One of my retirement.  Next thing I know it's a week later!

The first week went like a whirlwind.  I honestly can't believe it's passed!  I got a text on Friday morning from my successor, and she said "I'm sorry to bother you.  I was trying to get through a whole week without having to ask you any questions!"  I said "Congratulations to making it all the way to Friday before you did!"

Things I did this week instead of going to work:

  1. Got a haircut, and didn't have to rush to the appointment, or home from it.
  2. Had lunch with some friends and lingered over iced tea after the meal was done.
  3. Spent three short shifts at the quilt shop and didn't spend as much as I earned.
  4. Went shopping with Miss A at the book store and enjoyed our usual beverage and cookie... again unrushed.
  5. Had a great time with the hubby at a family wedding.
  6. Sewed one column of blocks for my Escher quilt top.
  7. Cleaned up my sewing room so I can invite my friend Pam over.
  8. Went to the library and picked up my books on CD.

Things I did not do:
  1. Drive in rush hour traffic.
  2. Set my alarm clock.
  3. Put on heels.

I would call this week a success!

Rock on...

Monday, July 2, 2018

Day One

I know you all know that Charles Dederich quote, 'Today is the first day of the rest of your life'.

Today was my first day of retirement.  So guess what I did?  I went to the office!!

I didn't really want to drive downtown on Friday because it was hot, the traffic was going to be bad, and that was the first day of Summerfest so there were bound to be a lot of people going downtown.  I let the office know that I would be turning in my keys and my computer on Monday.

I was only there for about 15 minutes, but you know that one of those smart aleck guys would have to say "hey, you didn't retire after all, did you?"

Ha ha.  Yes I did, here's my junk, I'm outta here!!

Job two was to go get my hair cut.  That took about an hour, then home.

Job three?

There was no job three!  Although I did have to make the tweeny some lunch, and clear up some papers that were no longer needed from around the desk upstairs.

Ahhhh… retirement is fun.  No deadlines, no worries, right?  But someone said to me, you know when you're retired, there's no such thing as a day off!

Tomorrow I have to work at the quilt shop, and Thursday I'm having lunch with some friends.  In between there is the holiday, and on Friday there's a family wedding so I need a card and a gift.

Ah, well, tomorrow is another day...

Rock on...

Friday, June 29, 2018

Adventures in Las Vegas

The week of June 11, I was in Las Vegas, yes, Sin City, Nevada, for my day job.

For people who travel for pleasure I envy you a bit, but it's nothing like that for business. 

I had to be up early for the 3 1/2 hour flight and due to the time change it seemed like extra early to me.  I arrived there at noon Pacific time, and it was already in the high 80s.  I am a Midwestern Girl, and we don't experience that much heat in early June.  When I left the Milwaukee airport, it was 66 degrees. 
When we arrived, the baggage carousel was having
an issue.  Everyone stopped to wait for the bags
until an airline employee stood up in the shute
and started tossing bags up to the crowd!
The days in Las Vegas were packed with work activities, Monday was about 16 hours long from airport in the morning to bedtime at 11 p.m.

Our convention was at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center.  The building is VERY LARGE.  It was a 10 minute walk from my elevator to the meeting room.  Of course it had to go through the casino!  They still allow people to smoke in there, but they must have really good fans because the air was not blue like it used to be, with clouds of smoke hanging over everything.  At least you could breathe, even if you could still smell it.

Our client event was at the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum.  We were dropped via Uber at the Venetian Hotel taxi stand because in Vegas there is no parking on the Strip.  Who knew?  So in our dress clothes (mostly black) we four ladies (in heels) walked across a pedestrian bridge and waited on the corner for a green light to cross, and MELTED! 

Once inside, there was air conditioning (duh, wax!).  The manager wanted to put our registration table at the entrance, but that was outside... and melting, people!  I said I'd prefer to be inside, and thankfully that was arranged.

I spent the evening sitting across from a white curtain that cordoned off our area from the general public, and next to the statue (is that what you call them?) of Brad Pitt.  We put a name tag on him and invited him to the event.  We also snapped a pic with the boss to prove it. 

that's my red bag in the lower left corner...
There were lots of very recognizable people there (in wax form) and some who looked vaguely familiar but maybe it's just me... I don't follow the Kardashians or whoever is the flavor of the minute like some people.  And being in charge of the registration table did not give me a lot of time to view the attraction.  I did see a homeboy from Milwaukee...

The amazing Liberace!  All glammed up too.
At the hotel we decided that a good place to connect to go to the various locations was the statue of Michael Jackson in the lobby.  "Meeting at Michael" became the code.  I'm not sure it really looks like him, at least you knew what people meant by it.  I will say he is huge!
On the way home I was part of the big blackout at McCarran Airport.  Power went out about 10 minutes after I sat down in the boarding area.  As I was flying Southwest and was in the last boarding group I figured what did it matter anyway.  It was going to be 107 degrees in Vegas, and the airport did get a bit stuffy, but what can you do in a case like that?  Keeping your cool takes on a double meaning.
Light was coming in through the windows, but all the monitors
were out.  The gate agents had computers but no microphone
so all messages were shouted from the desk by a woman who
was having trouble projecting!  Most people were pretty patient.
I was reading when a nice man sat down next to me to try to use the outlet to charge his phone.  No dice, only select things are powered by the generators that had come on.  He was anxious because his boarding pass was on his phone and his phone was at 4% power.  Ooops!
An hour or so later, the power came back on and he was able to charge his phone to 10% and get in line.  Lucky guy, he was in group A, so he got on before it went dead again.  When my turn came, only middle seats were available, which I knew would happen.  I was fortunate though, I got a seat in Row 3.  Right next to the phone charger guy!  We had a nice chat while waiting to take off.
Arriving at home I discovered that it was hot here too, but much more humid.  Fortunately the car is air conditioned.  Hubby and I went for lunch and when I came home I unpacked, put on comfortable clothes and crashed on the couch. 
As I get older I find that recovering from travel takes longer too.  Even the vacation trips take their toll.  Changing time zones got me worn out.  The first day was so long, I got to bed at 11 p.m. Pacific Time but my brain was still on Central Time so that meant it was really 1 a.m. to the old bones!
I am so happy not to be traveling anywhere that I cannot get to by car for the foreseeable future!
No more 'day job' for me, today was my last day.  What do they call that emotion, bittersweet?  Glad to leave the job, sorry to have to leave the people I so enjoyed working with, my work family if you will.  But WOOT WOOT!! I'm officially a retired person as of about noon today!
Rock on...


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

More Escher Progress

Finding out about MC Escher's graphic art waas very interesting, but it seems like he's been everywhere these days.  There was a segment about his art on CBS Sunday Morning this week!

They focused on the impossibilty of his drawings, specifically ones that had 'problems', like the staircase.

I prefer some of the other things he did, like Sea and Sky.

My own Escher production is coming along.  I now have 14 of the 16 blocks done, with two calling to me from the sewing room.

They've been fun to do, now that I know the technique.  And each one, when I take it out of the baggie, is a mystery but once it's sewn it reveals itself to be gorgeous!

I'm not sure which is my favorite -- maybe like children I love them all.

This pattern is so fascinating, it looks very complicated, and maybe a touch difficult, but it's really basic sewing.  It's a variation of log cabin techniques, and there are no Y seams, which most sewers do not enjoy.  If you can do a partial seam you can do this block.

Working at the quilt shop I cut LOTS of these kits.  I bought one at random, so I'm not sure it is one I cut or not, but I love, love, LOVE these Kaffe Fassett prints! 

The hardest part of this print was organizing the piece.  The designer was the class teacher, and suggested separating the pieces into baggies to make sewing easier to manage.  That worked great!  I also wrote on the outside of each bag which light/medium/dark pieces I was putting in there, and whether it was a right-facing or left-facing triangle.

I can't wait to finish the last two so I can start sewing the columns.  I'm already thinking that I want to do a table runner or a pillow case with the extra blocks I'll have.  Oh yes, I WILL have extra blocks, because I made 12 of each, and if you read the actual instructions before you begin, you will see that for some you only need 11.  Also I was only supposed to cut three of the four strips of each color into wedges, but I cut all four, so I may be sewing Escher blocks til the cows come home!

Sew on...

Monday, June 18, 2018

TWO Weeks to Go!

I have two weeks to work before I retire from my 'day job'.  I can hardly believe it myself.  It seemed for along time that I might have to literally work forever.  One day, I opened up my statement from my 401K account from work and realized that I'd saved more than I expected and the company match was making the account look pretty good.

Not that i saved a fortune!  A little bit taken off my check on a weekly basis made it seem not too painful for today, and added up over time for the future.

If you have a 401K match at your company I am telling you right now, you are foolish in a major fashion if you don't take advantage of it!  It's 'free money' and you will thank yourself later.

So I have two weeks left to work... and what I'm calling work is not really work!  I have a successor and she's pretty well trained by now.  We have one or two things to complete, and really I am just there in case she has a question about something.

We did our final conference last week.  We ran a client meeting and an internal meeting together, and the fun part of it was that when the events were over, SHE took home the paperwork and my briefcase was pretty empty!

The company sponsored a client appreciation event at the Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum.  I don't know what I was expecting, something kind of cheesy i guess, because that's what someone told me was their reaction to the one they saw in New York.

The entrance, next to the Venetian Hotel.
This is in the 'musician's lounge'... not the best likeness.
Brad Pitt was a guest, see his name badge??  LOL!
Liberace, in all his glory.  He's a Milwaukee home boy.
Sports were big at the Wax Museum!  NASCAR
was well represented.

Random guest with headgear from Senior Frog's.
Traveling for business is always less fun than it sounds like it will be.  On the way there, the baggage carousel decided not to work and I had to wait for my luggage to show up.  On the way back I was in the  airport at 7 a.m. and shortly thereafter the power went out!  Our flight was delayed by about an hour.  The temperature in Vegas was supposed to get up to 107F, I just wanted to get home and take a nap!

I've been sewing on my Escher blocks, I'll update the blog with that progress tomorrow.

Nine and a half working days left...

Sew on!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Escher Quilt - Progress Made

I've taken the Escher class at my local quilt shop, and now I'm working my way through the blocks.  The kit I bought was Kaffe Fassett fabric, all gorgeous prints and bright colors.

The pattern has three 'elevations' with a light, medium and dark value of each fabric giving the appearance of light coming into the quilt  from above, once the blocks are sewn together.

Since I started to work at the quilt shop, I have cut portions of fabric for at least a dozen of these kits.  Sometimes deciding what was medium or dark was easy.  Sometimes the values were relative to the print being used.

The kit could be done with only three fabrics and a center color, or it could be done with six fabrics or nine, or as my kit was made up, with 24 fabrics.

I bought the kit so I wouldn't have to think about the color choices, and I'm sure I will love it, but getting myself organized to sew was a bit of a challenge.

First we made a chart, and laid out all the fabrics, from one to eight down, and L/M/D across.  After cutting, we needed to then pair up the pieces according to the chart.  Each piece has a light, a medium, and a dark bar, but they're different depending upon their relative location in the row.

All I can say is that the quilt designer Chris is probably a genius.

Never in a million years would I have had the patience to figure out what each one of those blocks should look like!

That said, once I got organized and figured out what was required, the sewing was actually quite simple.  Picture a triangular log cabin block.  Think partial seams.  Easy peasy!

These are blocks A,C,E,G,I,K and M, top to bottom.  Aren't they gorgeous?  Ok, so they have some strings hanging, and they need their little dog ears trimmed.   But I'm now one group short of halfway finished.

If you're doing this block without pressing between steps, beware!  Pressing makes things fit better.  Also using some starch alternative in the final pressing helps the seams go the way they're supposed to go and stay there.  That will be important as the columns are built.

This is turning out to be one of the more fun patterns I've done thus far.  It's a challenge but it will be really cool when it's done.

if you want to see the pattern or get a kit you have to go to the Quilt-agious website here:

and check the class list for the Escher class.  If you're within a gazillion miles of the shop, taking the class is worth it, in my humble opinion, and not just because I work there.  You will enjoy the class itself, and you'll be able to impress your friends with your amazing talent with very little risk.  <wink wink> 

Next week I have the privilege of attending my last Water conference (ever) for my day job.  It's in Las Vegas NV where rumor has it the temperature is over 100 degrees F on a daily basis.  Not my thing, but the hotels I'll be in will be air conditioned, probably to the extreme.

I don't plan on spending any extra time there, so even if there is a fabric store or quilt shop anywhere in the 100 mile area, I won't be going there.  Guess I'll just have to order something slightly flashy from some quilt catalog and call it even.  Or buy another kit the next time I work at my own local quilt shop, in memory of my trip!

Hmmmm.  Wonder if Penny has any poker chip fabric in stock???


Sew on...