Thursday, January 31, 2008

Did someone say NASCAR?

Yep - The Queen B mentioned it over on her Blog... and I'm gonna be sitting right there with her - OK... actually several hundred miles apart - watching the cars and the drivers every weekend for the better part of the rest of the year...

So let's get this SuperBowl thing done and over with and let the races begin!

Zoom, Zoom!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Round Robin Quilts

The quilt shop I worked at in Massachusetts - Southampton Quilts - recently displayed 13 quilts made over the past year by a Round Robin group.

Here is just a collage of the pictures I took with my camera/phone - but please take a look at the pictures of each of the quilts posted on the shops web site... all the quilts are quite lovely!

A very successful Round Robin don't ya think?

Although I did not participate I did make a virtual quilt using EQ6 that was used as the label for the boxes for the group - I personally liked the 'round robins' applique in the center - but for an 8 x 8 inch picture it really didn't work - so I went with the single robin center for the final 'virtual quilt'.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Something quilty! Really!

Well at least it's a preview... aren't these just yummy together!!
I'm working on some applique... more to follow!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What was I going to say? No??

Remember my confession to being a technology junkie? Well the GPS was just a part of the upgrade.
The Man about the house needed to upgrade his cell phone. He was using an ancient Nokia that had been cast off by his more tech savvy daughters many, many phones ago. The problem with him getting a fancy phone years ago (besides being frugal and all) was that he worked for an aerospace company and you couldn't have a phone with a camera in it - security issues and all that. He also has been a long time user of a Palm PDA to keep his schedule for work and phone info, etc. When he changed jobs in 2006 it was to another aerospace company... Same security issues. Now the old Nokia was starting to show it's age... Not to worry - we had another of those old phones from the original purchase... So we just moved the SIM card and he was back in business. Our girls change phones much more than I'd like to see happen - but we have used it to our advantage more than once!
Since he started his new job in Dec and it isn't in the aerospace field he could finally upgrade his phone. This would be his work phone and so needed to have all the features he needed for work and travel. After a fair amount of research - remember he's an engineer... It's what he does - he decided to look at the BlackBerry's. So off we went to the Mall with his research in hand. We went into the T-Mobile store - looked at the different models, talked with the sales rep about features, went away and pondered as we walked the mall. We went back and he selected th BB Curve... Then he looked at me and asked if I wanted one too?
Now up to this point we hadn't discussed me... And I gotta tell you - I am not silly enough to pass on a BlackBerry Smart Phone! So I said "sure that sounds good" all nonchalant like - all the while I am doing a happy dance in my head and shouting "WooHoo!" Because I am just lame like that.
There is a fair amount to learn with these phones because they do so much cool stuff - but I am enjoying every minute of this little bit of extravagant living! Only down side I see so far... I need a bigger purse. My little purse won't hold all this technology... Now I have to go shopping.
This post was brought to you from my BB - typed one letter at a time - using only my thumbs - just because I can.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Too Much of a Good Thing? Say it ain't so...

As a quilter we dream of fabric... lots of fabric... lots and lots of fabric!

But this is one shop where I think a good thing has gone astray.
We visited this little place the other week... my sister is pondering the possibilities... the floor to ceiling possibilities!

I found it actually kinda scary... I can't believe it would be safe to be in there with folks trying to get a bolt out of it's very snug location. Who would have thought you'd need an avalanche early warning system in a quilt shop.
This is the first quilt shop I can say I was happy to leave.

Hi I'm Howdy and I'm a technology junkie.

I've always enjoyed technology, embraced technology in our lives. We've never strived to be cutting edge, never wanted to be the first on the block to acquire... my husband is much too practical for that. Our practice has always been to wait awhile - let those that 'gotta have it' help pay back the R&D costs and when the price comes down and the bugs have been worked out - we upgrade and acquire the new stuff too.

The past couple weeks have found us in one of those UPGRADE phases.

Remember I mentioned I had gotten a really nice Christmas present from my husband?

Well... it's a TomTom 720 GPS and I absolutely LOVE IT! Love it, Love it, LOVE IT!

Since I got my license at 15 in Nebraska I've lived or worked in 7 areas that I've needed to learn my way around. Our move here to PA would be just another location to learn - although I'll concede that the traffic congestion is a bit heavier (LOL) than I've had to deal with on a regular basis in western MA.

My husband - always the engineer - did his research after seeing a "201 Best Gifts" article in the December 2007 Consumers Reports (best $5.00 I've spent all year!). After his through evaluation he selected the TomTom and choose the one that has the capability to be upgraded with other PLUS features if we decide we need those in the future.

Someone in my family said that now I'll be able to find all the quilt shops in the area... but oh noooo - finding quilt shops was never the problem... I think my dear husband wanted to make sure I would find my way back home! LOL

How do I love it... let me count the ways! OK maybe just a couple of them...

It came with a program (TomTom Home) that I run on my computer and link with the TomTom Go and can operate it with my computer keyboard. Makes it much easier to make Itineraries up and add Favorites or new POI's (point of interest). Last week when my sister was here visiting - I created a new 'POI' category called QUILT SHOPS - then I added 17 PA quilt shops with their address and phone numbers. The next morning we headed off to check out a few of them. I had set up an 'Itinerary' to visit 4 shops and then head for home. We had a great time - no concerns about where we were or where we were going. We even took a detour to have lunch at a local eatery and it kept track of where we were and how to get to our next quilty location when we were finished. When we ran out of time after visiting just 3 of the shops... we told it to navigate to home and off we went.

I've still got a lot to learn about using it... but I'm having fun and it has added a whole new dimension to driving and finding your way around in a new area.

Did I say that I absolutely LOVE IT!?

Love it, Love it, LOVE IT!

Well I do!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Honey, it AIN'T "The Network"!

Apparently all of the folks who work for "The Network" are out in Hollywood making new commercials... because they aren't here working.

This is kinda long - but it's not my fault. I'd love to say I called - they came - I'm back in business... but it didn't happen that way. I've often heard folks talk about their customer service problems with this, that, or the other company - I can't remember ever having problems myself quite like this.

So lets start at the beginning...
December 19th I call "The Network" to set up for new TV, Internet and Phone service for when we move on the 22nd. I will admit that I called "The Network" because I couldn't get a call back from the Cable Company sales representative for our complex (3 calls over 3 days) - if he didn't want my business I'd just take it someplace else. Anyway - "The Network" gives me an install date of Dec. 29... oh well - OK I can live a week without services... I do have a cell phone and we have the holidays and all those boxes too... and as it turns out the cable was still on (but I didn't use it - noooo not me)... and we could get a weak signal on occasion for wireless Internet... so we make do until Saturday the 29th.

Our install date arrives and our 'service window' is 8 AM to 5 PM - they told us to expect the install to take about 6 hours because it's the new FIOS (fiber optic) service and they have equipment to install and yada, yada, yada... OK - we've got lots of boxes to unpack so that's fine we can keep busy while "The Network" works their installation magic. So we wait for "The Network" to show up... all day... ALL DAY we wait - but "The Network" never shows up.

"The Network" with all those people and equipment never shows up AND doesn't call to say they aren't coming. Really?!!?

Sunday comes and goes and still "The Network" hasn't called. OK - so maybe "The Network" takes a day off.

Monday - I wait until late morning... you know - just in case they wanna call me first! But we've got shopping to do and it's New Years Eve... you know how much I like shopping... so I break down and call "The Network". The PA sales office number I have says "The Network" is closed for the holiday. So I call the other tech services number I have - after a long wait I get a very nice young man. He can't explain why nobody showed up - you know he's Tech Services and doesn't know what the install team does. He can help me by giving me a new installation date... January 18th... Yep, more than 2 weeks away... a month after I originally ordered the service. "You know that I find that date completely unacceptable don't you?" was my question to him. He says he will call dispatch and see if they can move it up - he can only take what the computer gives him - but he will call me back in about a half an hour. Nice young man! NEVER HEARD FROM HIM AGAIN!

New Years comes and goes and on the 2nd I call "The Network" again. Guess what? The PA sales office is still (according to their message that thanks me for calling "The Network") is still on holiday... maybe their office is in Europe - they are big on month long holidays in Europe aren't they?

Anyhoo... I call Tech Services again because that last guy from there was just so very helpful. This guy also can't explain why nobody showed up for the original call or why the other guy didn't call me back... but he can help me. He can put through 'a ticket' and someone will call me that very afternoon or the next (Thursday) morning. Also a Nice young man! NEVER HEARD FROM ANYONE that afternoon nor the next morning.

All of these conversations occurred after having been on HOLD for long periods of time - there was nothing easy or quick about talking to "The Network" - I'm thinking all that equipment is just movie props. Although I'm sure you can 'hear' my sarcastic tone here - I'm not that way on the phone. I don't yell or get angry or blame the person I'm talking to... I'm nice, I'm always nice, I hate it that I'm nice - Miss Goodie Two Shoes! I just don't understand "The Network" - I was nice to "The Network".

So Thursday - at 12:02 PM (I gave "The Network" all morning to call me) I call the cable company. I actually tried the 'cable sales rep' again but his service says he's not taking messages right now - I'm thinking he must be on holiday with his friends from "The Network". I cut my losses and call the 1-800 cable company and yes they would be more than happy to help me out with TV, Internet, and phone service... would I like that installed Friday or Saturday? Lets see - today is Thursday... and you could come like tomorrow or the next day??? REALLY? We opt for Saturday and they give me a 2 hour window and tell me that if the tech arrives after that time - we get a 20$ credit on our bill. Gee I'm thinking I'm just gonna be happy if he shows up at all!

Sure enough - Cable guy shows up before the 2 hour window is closed - does his job and is out before a full hour is complete.

Now - just for grins... I was playing a waiting game with "The Network" through Monday, Tuesday, and most of Wednesday to see if "The Network" ever gets around to calling me... NOPE they don't.

And being the Miss Goodie Two Shoes I am - I feel compelled to cancel my order - no sense having someone finally show up (LOL... I know - wishful thinking!) to install something I don't want anymore.

Oh - in case you were wondering... the PA sales office is still on holiday... but thanks for calling!

After waiting 19 minutes and 20 seconds on hold - the young lady I reach says she's sorry but she can't cancel orders - she will have to transfer me to someone else... they are the only ones who can cancel orders. OoooKayyy - Miss Goodie Two Shoes will be patient... for a little bit more! I get another nice young man... who can cancel my order and asks why? "If you really want to know I'll tell ya - but other wise I won't waste your time." Sure he says - he's waiting for my account to come up on the computer. So I detail to him my calls, the promises, and the lack of follow though. "The Cable Company installed here on Saturday - I have TV, Internet, and phone." He starts to explain something about the cable company already having all their equipment in place and that for "The Network" to install the FIOS equipment it requires a long install..... and I cut him off. "I know that you needed about 6 hours to install the system - we understood that and spent a whole day waiting for someone to show up. ANY service is better than NO service - which is what we got from "The Network"!"

The phone call to cancel my service order from "The Network" cost me a total of another 32 minutes... the last bit of time "The Network" will get from me.

So when someone asks me what service I have... my answer will be - Honey, it ain't "The Network"

Monday, January 7, 2008

If looks could kill...

As part of the moving in process we've had to do a fair amount of shopping recently. For any of you who know me you know that I don't like to go shopping when there are a lot of people around. And in the last year or so in MA I had pretty much turned over the grocery shopping to my daughter because I also don't like grocery stores.

I especially stay very, very far away from the MALL during the holiday shopping season, back to school shopping season, Presidents Day sales shopping events, Valentines get your loved one some of these shopping events, and any of the other just come and buy more stuff cuz we want your money shopping events. Which pretty much leaves me to shopping just after Ground Hog day and before Columbus Day - oh no - that's right they made that a Monday holiday - so it's now also a shopping event - scratch that... I'm left with Ground Hog Day.

So imagine how much fun I'm having shopping between Christmas and New Years!!

The day after we move in here my husband suggests that I go to the grocery store and he'd move all the furniture into place... NOPE - ain't happening - I'm not going by myself to get all the fixins for Christmas dinner. So we went together and hit a few other places as well - but as the parking lots filled - I was ready to go home and unpack boxes.

Christmas came and went and we hit the stores again to satisfy our growing list of "I need and gotta haves". On Sunday we hit Circuit City, Bed Bath and Beyond, Ikea, and Costco (which was the last time I go there on the weekend!). On Monday we headed off to Target, back to Circuit City for an exchange, to the pet store for some much needed dog food and to hit the super sized 'upscale' grocery store in the same plaza.

I knew from the parking lot in front of the grocery store that I didn't want to be there - and when I walked in and saw that they had a bazillion registers and most of them were open... I was positive I wasn't gonna have fun shopping in this new place - at this time. At that very moment I knew I was the closest I had ever been to having a panic attack. It was about 3:00 PM on New Years Eve and everyone and their cousin was shopping in that store.

This place has it ALL - coffee shop, places to eat, bakery, olive bar?... oh and they even have groceries. We had a limited list (thank goodness) and we went about trying to navigate our way through and find the aisles we needed. Did I say the place was PACKED - well it was. And I was working on my last little bit of self control to find my way though. So imagine my surprise when I realized people on a regular basis were leaving their shopping carts SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AISLE and waltzing WAY over there to get this that or the other. I amused myself looking around the first time or two - but I'm a pretty quick study and soon realized that this is the way these folks shop. Yeah, it's crowded but there were better places to park a cart like all the way over to one side or over by a display... but NO these folks were just leaving the carts WILLY NILLY in the middle of the aisle and not making any effort to not be in the way!

OK - I already want to leave and now these inconsiderate ninny's are slowing me down... NOPE that ain't happening to me! I just started MOVING THOSE CARTS ON UP OUTTA THE WAY so I could get through and on I went on my mission to escape - ummm finish my shopping.
I never even commented on it to my husband - I couldn't talk - I just had to get out. It wasn't until the next day that I mentioned how folks just left their carts around in every ones way... my husband says "yeah - you should have eyes in the back of your head to see the looks you got when you moved those carts!" LOL

My sister says that this is the norm around here... REALLY?? I don't think I'll find that acceptable. I might just find shopping FUN again... yeah!

My poor husband is gonna get a call one day at work to be told that I just DROPPED OVER DEAD in the middle of the grocery store... because if looks could kill... it could happen. So please send him a really pretty sympathy card... it will make him feel better I'm sure. Oh and please move your cart over to the side if you are gonna walk away from it...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hey Lucy! I'm Home!

We are moved... not all unpacked but we are moved in and fairly well settled.

The actual move onthe 22nd went very smoothly... my brother-in-law is a 'moving machine'! I think we all just decided to stay out of his way so as not to get rund over... (I'm pretty sure rund is a word - at least in the southern part of the country...)

The dogs were again concerned about being left behind and quite happy to go wait in the car while we packed and unpacked the uhaul truck. (Note to self... a 17 foot truck isn't really all that big.) We filled the truck at the apartment - unloaded at the townhouse and then nearly filled it again at the storage unit.

My focus was to get the kitchen unpacked... which was fun and hard. I had a small kitchen at the house and here I have way more than double the floor space, counter top, cabinets and drawers. I actually have some cabinet space and shelves that are empty! I've already made it known that a big kitchen is a must have when we buy a new house. My daughter needed to be able to cook Christmas dinner for us - so getting the kitchen set up was a priority.

Since we had 2 of our kids coming in on Christmas eve we also needed to have beds for them to sleep on... so those were set up and made up. That was about as fancy as those rooms got... one room will be my sewing room so it was full of bins of fabric and the other will be a guest room so it just held some overflow boxes to be unpacked.

I've still got to unpack some bins of stuff that came out of the bathrooms at the house - although I may just better organize those bins and store them that way.

My sewing room is about half way organied - the closet is full and I'm using bins of fabric as a base for my large ironing surface. I'll be using my SewEzi table while we live here and will most likely set that so I can look out the window and take advantage of the light. I hope to finish that later today as well as get an area organized for my computer and printer.

We had a really good Christmas. The kids came in on the 24th. We visited with my in-laws on the 25th and my daughter made a wonderfully delicious brined turkey dinner with cornbread stuffing and HOMEMADE green bean casserole. MMMmmmm MMmmmm Mmm! Good stuff!

I'll have to tell you later about my favorite - read that FAVORITE gift this year from my husband! I love the gifts from the kids too - they were all nicely thought out and I'll enjoy using all of them!

Although we did have an appointment for installation on the 29th - I don't yet have real internet access, TV service, or a phone... that is also a story for another time. Lets just say... 'the network' must be on vacation... STILL!

I've got very limited internet access courtesy of a neighbor who doesn't have their wireless locked... yep I'm a thief... but it's kinda like stealing a head of limp wilted lettuce.

So I'm gonna post this and get outta here before my connection evaporates... I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!