Friday, August 27, 2010

Biggest home improvement yet

We knew this day was coming.  The time when the house needed reroofing.  Despite our best attempts to stretch out a cedar shake roof beyond a 20-year lifetime, the time had come.  Who knew that picking out a color to reroof would be so hard!  We drove all over the area trying to find houses in the materials we were considering.  But pitch, time to day, number of trees, orientation can all change how the same composite shingle looks.  Well, we finally decided on a color (on our vacation, no less!) after weeks of agonizing.  (Decisions are not my strong suit.)  Any roof was more important than the "perfect" color.  We just want this one to last so we don't have to listen to 2 days of racket ever, ever again.  What do you think?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gotta love adjustable waistbands!

Anyone with growing or grown kids knows that they reach stages when they grow out of clothes before they wear out of them. We are blessed with friends that pass on their hand-me-downs. Shorts, ski jackets and pants and other extra-cold climate apparel, boots, sandals, as well as lots of shirts and regular pants have made a regular series of very welcome appearances at our house. We call it the E Collection.  Well, Offspring wore out the seat of one pair of shorts recently and I really did not want to have to go shop for more and did not think it likely we would even find any left in the stores. So we rummaged around in the drawer of the E Collection and found the perfect pair. And I don’t know about you, but I positively adore the inventor of the adjustable waistband that is becoming standard issue on kids’ pants. I have lost track of the hours and gallons of gas traipsing all over our metropolitan area to find uniform pants and jeans that fit. Before adjustable waistbands, Offspring once had to try on 17 pairs of jeans to find one, I repeat, one pair that fit even somewhat. Perhaps I should clarify that. Seventeen pairs of the same size, same brand, same cut that came the closest and then looking for the one pair that did not immediately drop to his ankles and in which he could still bend over without cutting off the blood supply to his lower extremities. Well, the adjustable waistband changed all that for us. Life is good!
Well, back to my story. This pair of shorts from the E Collection? Only one problem. They had an adjustable band. “What?!” you say? How could that be a problem?
See? The elastic “buttonholes” had coalesced into one very looooong buttonhole.

My solution? To replace the elastic. Not so quick! The elastic was sewn into the middle of the back waistband (so that it doesn’t pull out). So first I had to open up the back waistband and happily the beltloop was not sewn into that seam. I found that the elastic was sewn onto a small strip of fabric just hanging free in the casing so I ripped out that stitching.
The next step was to take a piece of elastic, fold the ends back and stitch them down. After that I made three buttonholes, on each end, for a total of six. Thank goodness my sewing machine has an automatic setting that replicates the first one. Then I restitiched the middle of the elastic to that little flap of fabric, threaded each half into the waistband, and cut open only the buttonholes that were needed.

The hardest part was resewing the waistband. I couldn’t sew under the belt loop in one straight line so I just divvied it up, starting from each outward edge and sewing as far as I could with the belt loop smushed out of the way, and then repeating from the other side. Ta-da!

I think it took me all of 30 minutes, maybe 40. And most of that was refreshing myself on how to make buttonholes with my machine.

When the time comes we will pass on this pair of shorts to another weed who is growing so very fast. We will have helped someone else who may not have the time, sewing skills, or the access to a sewing machine to extend the life of another piece of clothing. Now that is the green way of doing things! One person at a time, doing one little thing here and there. It all adds up.  (It also helped to pass the time while listening to the cacophony of roofers replacing our roof.)  One more thing to check off my list(s)!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nature's Masterpieces

I finally learned how to download the photos from my new camera. The new camera my wonderful husband thought would be a good idea given that we were taking what was likely to be my once-in-a-lifetime trip to Yellowstone. (My old camera just would not have survived so many photos.) Not that I wouldn't like to go back. It is just not the sort of trip that can be planned at the last minute, the kind we typically take.

Anyway, I thought I would share some of my flower photos. A photograph cannot do justice to the wide vistas and the wonder, but a girl can try!  (And right now I am just happy that I figured out how to post photos.)

No, I have no idea what this white one is. 

Monday, August 16, 2010


I tried once before to do a blog.  Actually, I set it up for my offspring, but by then school had started and homework took over.  So I occasionally posted a trivial bit.  But life was too hectic.  Isn't it always!  When I decided to try and pick it up again, I discovered that the note with the offspring's convoluted password that I could never remember had disappeared.  Yes, I know you are not supposed to write passwords down.  But just call me "Dory"!  Short term memory disappeared about 2 years ago.  If I don't write it down, I don't remember it.  Period.  Zilch, nada, nothing.  I wonder how I function sometimes, but I am my lists.  Stacks of them.  Some are ten years old but still valid.  No bucket list, though.  Although, if I did have a bucket list, seeing Yellowstone National Park would have been on it.   I am happy to say that if I had such a list, that would be get crossed off now. 

Yes, we took a real vacation.  Not that visiting family is not a vacation.  Anything that gets me away from the house and my piles of lists and projects and have-to-do's qualifies as a vacation.  But we did the whole road trip, see the sights along the way (although not as many as I would liked), savor the moments vacation!  We only do that about every 3-4 years because of schedules and finances and needing to see family.  What's more, we did not run into any problems.  We came back driving the same car we left home in.

I must admit that I did not expect to have those ooh-and-ahh moments in Yellowstone because I expected crowds to be everywhere.  (And I am an introvert in how I get my energy.  Crowds suck the life out of me.  I much prefer small groups.  Once a group hits 7 or 8, it's big.  Not that I can't enjoy a bigger group, I am just exhausted afterwards.  So shopping at a mall?  Dementor city!)  But the only place we felt the crowds were overwhelming were in the Old Faithful area.  Now, really people, Old Faithful is big and reliable, but it is not, in my humble opinion, the best feature of the park.  I loved the colors of the hot springs, the plopping of the mudpots, the variety of columns in the biofilms (don't's a geeky science thing).  So Grand Prismatic Spring and Dragon's Mouth Spring and the Anemone Geyser get my votes for favorite spots.  And listening to the bison grunt and snort was totally awesome.  I could just picture the hills covered with the huge herds of long ago.  While our time in Yellowstone was short (four days/three nights), it was a wonderful experience.  One I hope the offspring will long remember.

Perhaps the other thing that made this trip so special is that I got to see two of the best friends one could ask for.  Neither friend lives anywhere close to us, but I still consider them among my best friends.  One friend we stopped to visit along the way (I planned our route so we could do that), but could not stay even remotely as long as we would have liked (thanks to a late start due to a broken irrigation line).  The other friend drove all the way from Billings with her husband just to spend time with us.  This friend #2?  I had not seen since 1987!  In minutes the years fell away and we were enjoying our time together as we always had.  It could have been awkward since we married since we last saw each other.  And one can easily run out of things to talk about.  No.  The men got along, the offspring took to them quickly, there were no awkward moments of "what shall we talk about now?", and I was mentally planning the next visit as we said goodbye.

Maybe we will have to do this vacation thing again.  I guess we were just gun shy after the last trip resulted in a series of events that they base movies on.  And that's good.  We couldn't afford both a new roof and a new car this time around.