Monday, September 29, 2008


Monday morning....sitting at my desk, doing some last-minute-before-the-bell paperwork........students start filing into the room....and then.....................

SHRIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKK! A female student of mine LEAPS from her desk, screaming and squealing at the top of her voice. It wasn't until after a few seconds when I realize she's saying "mouse---mouse---there's a mouse."

So, MEEEEEE, being at my desk, go into "freak-out" mode thinking "oh my goodness! I have a mouse in my room??!!? Oh my golly----call Mr. Nauertz (science teacher) and get him down here with a net and bucket!!!!!!!" I walk over to her desk to try to see where the mouse is, STILL expecting to see it on the floor scurrying about.......THIS is what I see.....

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ewwwwwwwwwwww! Would this NOT give you the heeby-jeebies??!?!!???!?!?!? At first, I thought it was caught in the binder's prongs since it wasn't moving much or attempting to get away. However, upon closer observation, the little bugger was nearing death's door! We tried to get the story from Brianna about how on EARTH that lil' guy got in her binder----and she said she'd had it in her car for the entire weekend. (HA! At least she admitted that she didn't work on her homework) ;0)

Anyway......our faithful Science teacher, Mr. Nauertz, came down, expecting to catch a live mouse, so he had net in hand and a bucket. He didn't have to work very hard to catch it though :0) After it was removed, I grabbed the disinfectant spray, because sadly there was some "mouse-substance" on her binder and book that needed to be cleaned off. EWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!! *shudder*

But seriously!! Could you IMAGINE?!?!??! Sitting in a desk, opening your binder to get ready for class, and BAM!!!! Mouse eyes staring at you!!!! ick!

So, that was the excitement of my day! What about yours????? :0)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Derek's Storm at Sea progress...

Here are the "red blocks" that I mentioned the other day. I was able to wrap these up last Monday and an hour here-n-there during the week. I was actually quite impressed how well the points matched up----I had never done a square-in-a-square before.

This morning, I didn't really have any ambition to work on finishing up the sashing blocks. IN FACT, I printed out My Blue Heaven (NOT Bonnie's MBH) and was going to start cutting blue fabric for Isaac's C'mas gift (son of a friend.) HOWEVER, my conscience kept saying...."don't start YET another project until you finish another......" So, as you can see, I actually DID finish up all the sashing blocks and laid out everything on the downstairs carpet. The sashing squares are about 1/3 done. All the fabric is cut, and the inner square is sewn to the first outer square. They are square-in-a-square also, only MUCH smaller, obviously.

I came upstairs about an hour ago; I just wanted to put my feet up again and was getting a bit tired of sewing. So, rather than beating a dead horse, I just called it quits. DH isn't home yet with the girls, but I expect them soon. Perhaps I'll head back down after the girls are in bed tonight with hopes of finishing up the sashing squares.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sooooooooooo close!

*pulling hair out!*
TWENTY-ONE Seconds!!!! Twenty-one BLASTED seconds off of a new PR!
The Lyndon Ellefson Half marathon was this morning and Julie and I met at the registration booth. She, unfortunately, had a VERY early morning in order to make the start at 7:30. She was on the road by 5:00, while *I* was able to sleep until 5:30. (hee-hee). The weather was ALMOST ideal....overcast and low 60's. And I say ALMOST because for much of the course, there was a cross-breeze/wind just enough to make a runner realize it was there.

Okay....okay.....quick run-down. Miles 1&2 we were averaging 9:40's, mile 3 9:50 (cross-breeze). Mile 4-5 slowed down to about 10:15's----both had some hills, with a LONG SLOW climb for much of mile 4. Mile 6 was mostly a coast, UNTIL the turn-around point. And then....BAM! Full wind pushing against us along with a slow climb for about 1/4 mile. Yada-yada....2 climbs at mile 8, and at that point I said ....."UGH! I think we're losing our 10's as a goal-grrrrrrr---but we can easily make 10"30' let's just do what we can."

Then amazingly as we came into mile 10, the clock ticked 1:40----right on 10's!!!!!!!!!!! Ooooo.....we STILL had a chance of making 2:11:00 (10 min/mile average). However, the same wind that hit us at the 6.5 turn-around hit us AGAIN as we took a final turn coming into mile 11. AND not only did we have a full-force wind pushing against us, we saw a Lonnnnnnnnnnnng, sloooooooooow climb ahead of us for almost the entire mile from 11 to 12. *sigh*.......if ONLY the wind wasn't there I KNOW we could have made a new PR (2:11:30 current PR). My (our) legs just didn't have enough to push up that hill against that wind AND have something left to push through the final mile at 8:50, which is what would have had us finish right at 2:11:00. Instead, our final mile ended up being 9:41 to have us finish with 2:11:51 as a final time. Soooooooooooo close!!! But we just couldn't make up what we lost on Mile 11 (which I think we did in 11:15). *frustrating sigh*. Oh well----I really am okay with our time------it was better than my time last year on this course (2:14:31).

The scary thing-----LOOK AT THAT PIC OF ME! Oh my see those crow's feet ?!??!!?!? *giggle* Alright, alright....maybe I'm just smiling too hard/!??!!?!? Will that excuse work for you? :0) The pic on the right is of Sarah, who ran the Birkie Monster last weekend too. She finished in about 1:58 or 1:59 today----I didn't check the posted result times and I they aren't published online yet. BUT I KNEW she'd be able to run sub-2:00 based on her time last weekend.

After showering and eating, Julie and I hit the road and spent most of the day shopping. We both coughed up some $$$$ for a new pair of shoes (actually, I bought TWO pairs with both being on sale... so I essentially got 2 for the price of 1.) We both NEEDED new shoes! She's on year THREE for her shoes, and with the amount of miles I've put on in the past two months, my shoes have worn holes in the toes and on my left heel. I hit the jack-pot of sales on clothes and walked away with 4 pairs of knee-shorts, which I had SWORN I would never wear, but they were comfortable and ONLY $3.00 EACH!!!!! How could I pass them up?!?!? I also hit the sales racks for Cassie for next summer since most of the sales are on the going-out-of-season-summer clothes. Her Birthday is coming up in November, so I'm going to set most of them aside until then.

Julie and I parted our ways at 3:30 and I was home by 4:00 with FULL intentions of lacing up for another 6 miles. (That marathon is two weeks away and this is my last chance to log the long miles). *chuckle*....but I made a boo-boo! I told myself...."just 10 minutes....just 10 minutes" and I put my head down (on the bed). *grin*...the next thing I knew it was 85 minutes later!!!!! So, the 6 miles didn't quite happen, but the nap felt good! I have to mentally prepare to get my butt out on the road tomorrow though so some slow, EZ miles.

Anyway----I don't think I'll be heading downstairs tonight. There is a "House" marathon on USA-----I LOVE that show! What a sarcastic, pompass, arrogant character------I love him!

Oh.....that's final comment! When I got out of the shower this morning, I suddenly wondered what my weight was. I haven't been on a scale in well over a month, and with all the miles I've been logging lately, my pants have been sliding down a bit more if I don't tighten up my belt. Holy POOPERS!!!!!! For most of the summer, I had been toggling between 130 and 135. :0) ONE-TWENTY-FOUR this AM! Whoa-----I wasn't expecting it that low! But dropping those 5 pounds really does wonders to racing times! I remember reading an article in Runner's World last year or the year before that gave a calculation. Something like, for each 2 pounds dropped, 5 seconds per mile should easily be able to be dropped. Angela----have you heard that or know the exact numbers???

Happy Saturday everyone!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I'm here
Still alive
trying to survive HOMECOMING WEEK!!!!!

Tomorrow is Friday; Pre-Calculus PSHT! Class will last 10 minutes, so just gonna "hang loose" until FLOAT DECORATING dismissal. Then Math 7---PSHT! Gonna practice plotting points and have a debate about whether the "creature" created on the graph is a Duck or a Frog! *chuckle*.....EVERY YEAR I have students literally arguing if the pic is a Duck or Frog. I'll be sure to snap a pic of it and post it here so you can decide for yourself. That'll bring me to just after lunch; then the rest of the afternoon (weather HOPEFULLY permitting) the entire 7-12 will be out at the football field watching the Class Competition games. ALWAYS a riot and lots of good pics for the website. We have a wonderful Senior class this year leading our Student Council.

Anyway----I actually did get downstairs for a smidge over an hour last night, but wasn't really in the mood to sew, so I organized scraps, cutting up some more 2" squares for the Scrappy Irish Chain.

Oh golly----I haven't updated since Sunday! Yes, I spent quite a bit of Monday downstairs with Derek's Storm at Sea. All the red blocks are complete and about 1/5 of the sashing blocks are done. I am looking forward to some quiet time on Sunday just to myself since DH and the girls are heading up to the Farm to see Gma and Gpa. I have a Half-marathon on Saturday again around here, so I'll be by my lonesome.

So, there's the short-n-sweet update.

Regarding running---my legs were VERY sore on Sunday, still sore on Monday, however I went out for a short, simple 2 miles and they amazingly felt great. Tuesday was a 6 mile speed workout, and I haven't run since. That's alright....I'll coast into Saturday.

Alright---night all!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lotsa goody updates.....

I was up bright-n-early this morning: 4:30 am. I was awake, nose a bit stuffy since we had the windows open all night, so I think the allergens got an early start. I gave up trying to get back to sleep by 4:40, and started a pot of coffee and jumped into the shower. I spent the morning until 7:00 online perusing Bonnie's Quiltville. I fell in LOVE with Cathedral Stars all over again!!! AND... HOLY BUCKETS.....WHAT a coincidence!!! SERIOUSLY!!!! Tonight, just about 30 minutes ago, my Dad called to ask if I would be willing to make a quilt that his VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) could raffle off. HOLY BUCKETS! I KNOW just what quilt to make!!! I can't WAIT to start! BUT.......first things first. Thank GOODNESS he doesn't need it until the end of January, because I HAVE to start tackling that C'mas list more!

Last weekend, while I was moping about the house and refusing to find any energy to get my butt outside to run, I at least managed to fussy-cut 82 diamonds for Derek's Storm at Sea quilt for C'mas. 40 of them needed to be horizontally cut, while 42 of them needed to be vertically cut.

When I made my way downstairs this morning at 8:00, I started tackling the white "corners" of the diamonds to complete the sashing rectangles. (Another small world---after reading the Cathedral Stars, I was reminded to add the "Tri-Recs" ruler to my C'mas list!!!! I think it would've come in handy for this quilt!)

So.........being married to a construction worker who always jimmies up concoctions to make his job easier, I attempted this myself to tackle these corner pieces. You see that curled-up corner piece in the top pic? Well.....I rotated it this way and that way on my 6.5" square before I figured out a way to lay it so I could cut the pieces from a 4" strip of white. I grabbed a red-sharpie, marked the square, and then started cutting away. Pretty slick!!! *patting self on back* And right on target----4"x7.5" unfinished.

Then, I set those aside for a moment while I pulled out some of my pieced 2" brights that I had cut from fabric that was donated to me from my mom's church. I hope to have this Scrappy Irish Chain completed to donate to the church by Christmas also.

Let's see.....what then.......?.......
OH YES!!!! How could I forget?!?!?!?
I knew I was going to head to Walmart to see if I could find some backing for my OTR, so I putzed a bit to see exactly what my "batting status" was. I had a few bags of scraps---nothing big enough to equate to anything. I had a small collection of pieces that will be great for some crib quilts, or I could really buckle down and piece them together for a larger twin or maybe even a full. Then......I remember my mom lugging a big black-plastic-wrapped roll of something downstairs a few weeks back when they were here. She said it was the batting she was going to use on the Zion Year of the Bible quilt that I surprised her with early in August. So, I pulled the plastic off, expecting to see really THICK batting since it was so large, but something is better than nothing.

HOLY BUCKETS!!!!!!! I wasn't expecting to see a whole flippin' ROLL of nice, THIN batting!!!!!!!!! 60" wide.......gosh! There must be .......I don't even KNOW how many yards on this thing!!! I ended up rolling out 6 yards to use on the OTR today (see earlier post). I assumed it was donated by the church, but after calling her to THANK HER FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, she informed me it was from Grandma's stash.

By 10:30, me and the girls hit the road to get to Walmart, bought our necessities, bought fabric for the OTR backing, bought some red fabric for Derek's Storm at Sea, grabbed some donuts on the way home, and arrived back at 12:00. I threw the fabric into the washing machine right away, and did up the dishes in the meantime. Then, AMAZINGLY, the girls were whining for some food......GOSH! They just ate donuts on the way home! So I whipped up some lunch, finished the dishes, threw the fabric into the drier, and waited. Gosh....what did I do during that time?!?!?.....ummmmm.......I can't remember for the life of me. OHHHHHHHHHH!!!! That's right.....I went downstairs and cut some more white tri's and started sewing more of Derek's sashing rectangles. Yeah, yeah.......I'm making the sashing first because I knew I wanted the Nautical fabric for that......I needed some red for the blocks. Now I'm set :0)

Anyway, once the drier was finished, the rest of the afternoon was spent with the OTR. can read about that in the previous post where I attempt to give a run-down of the Quilting in Sections method by Marti Michell.

It's almost 8:30 pm right now, and I think DH wants the computer. Gosh---I don't know why because he's watching the Packers play the Cowboys (football). Anyway....I thought I'd end with the signs of Fall in Wisconsin. The pic on the left was taken last Saturday, and the pic on the right was taken today. Within a week, we've gone from a spotty tree here-n-there, to about 25% of the woods full of "Fall-bloom." :0)

Ooooooo------and the kinda good news---------Daycare needed to close tomorrow due to a family emergency, so I've taken a personal day so I can be home with Candace. So.........*rubbing hands together*.....guess what *I* get to do all day?!?!?!?!!?....*giddy giggle*


Quilting in Sections--OTR

Let me first start by reminding those reading this post that the "quilting in sections" method is an innovative Marti Michell idea, and I read about it in the Jan/Feb '08 Quiltmaker magazine. (The very SAME edition that has Bonnie Hunter's Blue Ridge Beauty and her Leaders-n-Enders technique. I made the Michell design that is shown on the cover: Ramblin' Aunt Sukey, and my rendition is named Cathy's Aunt Sukey since it was a gift for a friend of the family named Cathy. (no surprise there, huh?)

When quilting in sections, there IS a bit of planning that needs to happen before you can jump right in. If there are borders, those are to placed on LAST after all quilting is completed and the sections have been sewn together. But before you can deal with any backing or batting, you need to know how large the final finished quilt will be. So, in my case of the OTR, I'm sorry, but I don't recall the exact measurements of my center, BUT I know that on each side there will be a 2.5" inner border, a 3" flying-geese pieced border, and a final 2.5" outer border (all finished measurements). Total, that's 8" of borders on each side . My final dimensions of the inside section were close to 70" x 90". Therefore, with the extra 8" needed for borders (on EACH side), PLUS the usual 2-4" of "extra" edging, I added close to 20-24" extra in length and width. So, my backing and batting were each cut close to 90"x110". Note: Marti Michell's article in the magazine has us piece the backing sections separately (there were three sections for that one). This takes a bit of math thinking when dealing with on-point quilts. Straight settings are very simple to plan out one piece at a time, but I have found for "on-point" quilts, it is easier for me to just oversize the backing/batting and then cut apart once everything is laid out (see next paragraph.)

I literally pulled the backing out of the dryer at 2:00 today and started piecing it together. Once the backing and batting are set, the layout is quite similar to what you've probably already done. Lay the backing right-side down, follow by the batting, and finish with the quilt top. However, in this case, there are two pieces that need to have about 4-5 inches of "dead-space" between them. This dead-space will be the point of separation soon!

Take your time to ensure you have enough border space. Recall that I will need 8" for borders (finished), so I tried to keep a MINIMUM of 2" more than that on all sides.

Once you've tripled checked all measurements, you can either slice away right away, or PIN the layers first, and then slice away! Since I don't like pinning on carpet, I sliced and then carried the smaller sections upstairs to the hardwood floor to pin the layers together.

Ohh-ohhh.....I actually get to say this....the FIRST TIME EVER!!!!

Quilt as desired

Okay...thanks. That was fun!

Ahhh....yes. A word of warning (but this goes ANYTIME you quilt---in sections or normal). WATCH YOUR BACK!!! Ummm......backing, that is! Yup....I got lazy and wasn't paying attention so THIS happened. BUT, maybe it was a blessing in disguise, because it happened early enough that I don't have much to rip out. And besides, when I took it out of the machine and "admired" the quilting, I didn't like how close I had the meanders. SO........I am now at the point where I need to rip out the little bit of quilting I accomplished today.

HOWEVER, I can fill you in on the rest of the steps for Quilting in Sections.

When you are done quilting the sections, trim ONLY the inner edges (backing and batting) to match the edges of the quilt top. (That would be in the inner diagonals on my OTR). You will then want to cut a 2.5" strip of backing fabric that will match the length of the entire inner diagonal to be used as a "connector strip." (Michell suggests 2", but I found that to be a bit small on the Sukey. I've been using 2.5" on my other QIS's) And actually, if you allowed enough inner "dead-space," you might have a wide enough piece of fabric from the trimmings you just performed. TIP: Make sure if you use that "scrap" -- trim it up to a nice 2 - 2.5" strip. Fold this, wrong-sides-together, and press to create one long strip about 1-1.25" wide (depending on how wide you cut the strip).

Layer the two quilted sections, right sides together. Place the connector strip on top, aligning all the cut edges together. I shot this pic even though I hadn't trimmed my sections yet, but the orange strip is my "connector strip" on top of my two sections that are right-sides together. (NO-I'm not actually using the orange strip for my quilt; it simply is easier to see in this pic than if I were to have used a brown piece.) PIN THIS BABY IN PLACE!!!! I'm usually not a pinner, but I am here! Sew all the pieces together using your standard 1/4" seam (using a Walking Foot if you have one.) YES, this means to sew the ENTIRE diagonal---even the "empty" border area.

Marti suggests to trim out some batting in the seam allowances to reduce bulk. I didn't do this on the Aunt Sukey, and I DID on Fun with Bricks. I really didn't notice much of a different either way, and I actually ALMOST snipped off too much when I trimmed out the batting. Just a heads-up there.

At this point, you should flip that connector strip over the seams and hand-sew to hide all the seams on the back (according to Michell). HOWEVER, I cheat! This pic is of my Fun with Bricks. I pinned the entire strip and then saved the hand-sewing until after putting on my borders. JUST BE CAREFUL to watch that strip and any pins once you start sewing the borders on.

To sew the borders on, just imagine how you usually do this when you only have the top. Place the side borders on the quilt top, right-sides together and sew. The only difference is you will sewing through all the layers! It's almost like you'll be creating an "in-the-ditch" quilt stitch by doing this. Neat huh???? I think so!
Next, (I know we're always told NOT TO iron batting, but) press the borders LIGHTLY before adding the top/bottom borders. Continue with the rest of your borders.

At this point, you are either DONE or you can quilt the borders "as desired." And the rest you know. Trim and bind.

I LOVE THIS METHOD!!!! I have Marti's book on my C'mas list because her article in Quiltmaker says that a "blindstitch" machine method is explained in the book when sewing that connector strip to the back. Besides, there may be some other goodies in it!

Good luck and let me know if this run-down helps :0)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A lady named Buffy....

Oh folks, folks, folks.

Today was the Birkie (short for Birkebeiner--large international cross county ski race ending in Hayward, Wisconsin, and for the past few years has been open and used for a marathon relay race and an open half-marathon at the end of September.) I signed up for the Half-marathon. Once word spread a month or so ago that TWO of the Shell Lake teachers were going to run this, our Superintendent said to both of us "Are you crazy??? That course is a monster." So, I naturally jumped online to find an elevation map of the course and compared it to others I've run in the past. It looked challenging, but managable. Those of you who have been following my blog know I've been out doing "hill" runs to prepare.

Well now........
before I really jump into a rundown of the day, let me share another "post title" I contemplated using.....
"The cross country course from h-e-double-hockey-sticks!!!!"

Upon studying and preparing for this course, it basically was broken down into three sections in my mind.
Part 1, about 5.5 miles
Part 2, just shy of 4 miles
Part 3, about 3.6 miles
Because at each of these places, there was an aid-station, water, energy-drink and Cliff-shots (along with some moral support by the spectators---THANK GOODNESS!)

I already had the game plan of just "going easy" and keeping my pace reined it for the first part since it appeared to have "rolling hills" for the duration. And I hit the 2-mile marker averaging about 10:15's. Then, I just stopped looking! The race definitely was already starting to be challenging and threatening to kick me in the butt!!!
I think around mile 4, my mind already started wandering to what I was going to blog about tonight and how I could POSSIBLY describe this course, because the elevation map DOES NOT do it justice!!!! is goes........ imagine going to a stadium, and running the blasted BLEACHERS, NON-STOP for a duration equivalent to equal 13.1 miles!!!!! Up and down, up and down, STEEP up and "better-hold-back-otherwise-you're-going-to-do-a-face-plant" down, and then more up and down, and up and down.

By the time I was running through mile 4, I was already walking all the up's and TRYING to run all the down's. Ya know...."gotta use the downhills" mentality. BUT, those were some drastic descents!! And face it.....when I came coasting into the first aid-station, I tried to sweet-talk some of the Marathon-RELAY participants to add me to their team so that someone could take over for me. Too bad that I didn't have any takers.

However, now comes time to explain the title of this post. SHORTLY after the aid-station, while walking up yet ANOTHER climb, and yet MORE people slowly peetered past me, I hear yet another set of tired-but-trying-to-do-my-best feet coming up behind me. And when the words escaped her lips that were actually going through my head, I knew there was at least one other person on this course feeling and thinking the EXACT same thing I was! This is WORSE than a monsterous course---this SERIOUSLY is the cross-country race from the worst, evilest depths possible!

After walking that climb together, and both attempting to jog the downhill that followed, a short couple hundred meters later, we both found ourselves walking the next climb together, AGAIN. So....introductions were made. Buffy meet Amy, Amy meet Buffy. And after yet ANOTHER set of walking the climb and attempting a jog down before for the next climb, not only did we settle of introductions, but we also made a PACT! --- We would BOTH finish this monster even if it meant we would be crawling to the finish!!!!

At this time, we were well into Part 2 of the course. We tried to share our thoughts and TRIED to keep them positive (chuckle), but the aches and pains were talking control of our minds!!! A hint of a cramp was nudging on her right calf, and a hint of a blister was starting on my left heel. THAT RIGHT THERE was an eye-opener for me at what these constant up-downs were doing, because I have NEVER gotten a blister while running before. NOT EVEN with new shoes!

SOMEHOW we found ourselves strolling in to the 2nd aid-station; each grabbing a handful of water cups and gatorade cups. She chatted with a couple of ladies whom she appeared to know---she lives local to the race. And after about a minute or so, we were off again. Mind you....the word "Off" was equating itself to a mental-toughness approach of self-talking to our legs to start moving again! *grin*
Sure....I can grin now, and I guess we even chuckled a couple of times about how ABSOLUTELY crazy we were to be out there on that course.....

Anyway..... Buffy's cramp was starting to spread through her entire right leg, and my blister was definitely at a stage where it was MORE noticable. We knew we ONLY had about 3.5 miles left to go, and we examined our time at this point. The good news: EVEN if we WALKED the rest of this race, we would manage under 3 hours, and NEITHER of us cared any more about our times. We just wanted to finish.

I have to give Buffy ALL THE CREDIT IN THE WORLD! Her right leg was in a constant-tense stage, with short MASSIVE cramps coming on-n-off, and then she informed me that her left leg was starting to do the same. She said numerous times...."I'm sorry---you just go----I'm sorry----I don't want to hold you back." *chuckle*......and seriously......the whole time she's walking, I'm thinking...."Buffy-lady, ya gotta slow down or I'm not gonna make it! I'm on empty and going on fumes!"

And then........IT appeared!!!!!! IT being........."B*TCH HILL!" Seriously---no joke, that is what the hill is called on the course---in all printings, pamphlets, and brochures!!!! I know why! I don't equate that hill with ANY "race" course. I equate that hill with what is known as HIKING in my mind! Holy buckets!!!!! It was probably about 200 meters long, and 1000 Bleacher stairs HIGH!!! (chuckle). We just took it one walking step at a time; Buffy doing an "ape" stance climb (she needed to keep her legs from cramping and she couldn't keep her feet 'normal' or her calves would cramp) and I was doing the "place-hands-on-kneecaps-aiding-my-legs-to-get-up-this-hill!!!"

With about 1.5 miles left, there was a "surprise-self-serve" aid station that had been used at the turn-around point for the 5K'ers earlier. We took a short stop, grabbed some water and filled up on a Cliffshot (BOTH of us a bit unsure if we wanted to risk messing with our stomachs). However, for about the next half mile, we both were feeling a bit stronger. Heck, we even managed to run longer than 200 meters, too!

Finally----the happy "1 mile left to go" sign appeared! The end was so close----we were at 2 hours 35 minutes, so we were WELL under a pace to finish by 3 hours. And then.............the sign "5K to the finish" appeared. We BOTH had a moment of PANIC!!!!!! WHAT!?!? 5K!?!?!? We just passed the 1-mile marker---what?!?!?!?! THEN----as we examined the course, we put two-n-two together. The 5K'ers had come up a DIFFERENT path at the start, so that sign was telling them to take THIS path to the finish.

And then......a little bit of joy when we heard the first blaring of the music, telling us JUST how close we were getting. I was already close to emotional tears just because I was SO READY to be done moving my legs and just STOP!!!! I saw the finish line before Buffy, and I shared as much moral support as I could be get her to the finish because her legs were just about gone! And then........YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! 2 hours and 51 minutes after starting, we FINALLLY could stop!!!! (A FAR cry from my Half PR of 2 hours 11 minutes)

Unfortunately, Buffy's legs gave just about everything they had to get her to the finish line, and then the extreme cramping took control. I wasn't much assistance, so thankfully her husband and friends stepped in to get her water, bananas, and anything else they could to help her out. And me.......I just stood-----done-----thankful----not many other emotions than ....."numb."

Then I hear...."AMY!!!!!".......holy buckets! It's Keri and Pam who ran the 5K earlier. I was NOT expecting them at all! I completely thought they would have taken off LONG before I strolled into the finish. But when I saw them......every joyous, emotionly spent fiber of my body gave in, and the tears came! I think I scared them (SORRY GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!), but I was just SPENT! I was SO thankful to be done; it was SUCH a mental race!!!! MUCH more mental than physical for me! AND---what's worse---I just now am realizing I didn't ask either of them how they did on their 5K! I SORRY GUYS!!! (again)!!!!

I did manage to hunt down Sarah (the other teacher running the Half---her FIRST EVER Half, mind you!!!) and she amazingly finished under 2 hours 15 minutes! WOW! HOW INCREDIBLY AWESOME!!!!!

So...there ya have it! I chit-chatted just a little bit with Buffy afterwards while she was still fighting the cramps in her legs. I also shared my blog addy with her because I had told her what I was going to title this baby. HECK! If it weren't for her, I really might have dropped out of my first race ever. I am SO THANKFUL to have crossed paths with her. I think we both know what we each were to each other----we needed each other or that race would have been even MORE non-manageable!

However, the final clincher of the day!!!! After all those blasted hills, we needed to walk up yet ANOTHER hill to get back to our vehicles!!!!!

If I don't see another hill in my life......well.........I don't think I need to say anymore......

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Holy Cow! It's been a week!

Wow, wow-o-wow! I finally have a moment in an evening to sit and blog! I just put the girls to bed and waiting for DH to get home so I can go downstairs to run. (ALL thanks to Angela's running post!)

So...the quick run down since last Thursday

No further action on the OTR---no shopping done to buy batting.

NO running on Friday, Saturday OR Sunday, and I fought the inner-guilt-battle because of it! Specially since I had a 17-miler on the training schedule for this weekend and the marathon is looming 4 weeks (now just over 3 weeks) away. But, I buckled down on Monday night and ran for 6 miles. After coming in the house, DH told me he was NOT going to be heading off it a buddies house, so I went back out for another couple miles to bring the total to 8.3 for the night.
Tuesday night I worked the Vball game and got home just after 10:00---whew! That was a long, exciting match, and then I decided to do some quick paperwork in my classroom before heading home.

Last night was actually a somewhat quiet evening, but I was exhausted, so I didn't accomplish much other than finish fussy-cutting 82 diamond-shaped pieces for my BIL's Nautical C'mas quilt (pics to come later). I then parked my butt on the glider and poked around the web for an hour; during which time I finalized my registration for the marathon, verified travel plans for this Saturday's half-marathon, and emailed Julie (running-buddy) to get plans lined up for next weekend's Half-marathon.

Amidst most of this; evening school work has started to become a common occurrence, but I'm working on fixing that. I'm really contemplating the amount of HW I'm giving out to my students----How much is too much? What is the actual purpose of each assignment? Is it just busy-work? Is it for accountability? Isn't 84 minutes enough (we run a block schedule at school) So.......slowly I'm going to be making changes, and hopefully will be for the best for everyone.

ahhhhhh....the front door just opened----DH is home.
I'm off to change and run.......and MAYBE even sew??? I don't know---I won't push my luck.

Happy Thursday

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Facing my fear.......

Okay....maybe it's not so much a fear; more like a "want-to-avoid-at-all-measures" task.

But I did it.....after getting home from working the vball game tonight (9:00pm), I changed clothes into my running shorts and top; I laced up the shoes, and gave hubby a kiss. He asked what I thought I was doing??????!?!? Because he KNEW I avoid IT at all costs.......


my response back was indeed......"Running."

DH: "Running? Ummm......where?" (because it's DARKER outside than a murky basement during a power outage!)
ME: Downstairs
DH: REALLY!?!?!?

And then..........I did it.
I swept the cobwebs off........plugged IT in.....survived a coughing spasm after blowing the dust off the counsel.....


Ran on the "DREADMILL!!!!!!!!!"

Okay, the "drama" here might be a bit much----but SERIOUSLY! I HATE the treadmill! And what is SO ironic.....when I started running back in 2002, I LIVED on the treadmill and HATED running outside. It is now the COMPLETE opposite!

It's SOOOO BORING!!!!!! And redundant!!!!! And hard to breathe inside!!!!!
However, 3 sweat-dripping miles later, I'm patting myself on the back and saying "Good job!"

And now......she'll probably start collecting dust again for another year before I finally break down, suck-it-up, and hit it again.

FYI: I'm looking forward to tomorrow night when I can hit the streets again during daylight :0)

It's FRIDAY tomorrow!!!! Whoooo-hooooo!
Happy sewing!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

OTR at a standstill.... what next?

This is as far as I can go on the OTR at this time. I will be quilting it in sections (2 sections), so I am not able to sew the borders on yet. That actually will happen once both quilted sections get sewn together, and I'll be homefree! I don't have anything in mind for a backing yet, so I'm at a standstill. Also, I don't think I have any batting left in my stock!! OH DEAR!!! I haven't bought any all summer because I had been getting so much "donated" to me from family members----but I'm EMPTY now!

I don't expect to go shopping until this weekend, so now I have to think about what to work on next. Of course, I have many many UFO's, but I'm contemplating that C'mas list! Time is really ticking away FAST now that school has started, and my quilting time is definitely limited now. I've started Scot's (DH's boss) Camo quilt, but I think I've actually found a pattern for my BIL's "nautical" quilt. It's a "Storm at Sea" pattern..... So......

I'm tired AGAIN! No running tonight even though I should have. The next night I MIGHT be able to run will be Friday since DH has to work tomorrow night and I have to work the Vball game Thur night. I suppose I could always jump on the treadmill (DREADmill), but that get's SOOOOO BORRRRRRING for any amount of time longer than 30 minutes!

Okay----I'm off to do some last minute email checking, and then I'm off to bed again by 9:00.
Happy Tuesday

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Wasted post.....

HA! Right when I wrote that title, my instant thoughts were "oh dear----I wonder how many are going to equate the word wasted with drinking?????" *chuckle* Sorry folks, not that type of wasted!!! (Although it was definitely "5 o'clock somewhere" yesterday at 3:00 when I grabbed a Smirnoff Ice.

But no.....this is just going to be a short, sweet post.

I sewed all part 4 together yesterday on the OTR (no pic yet). I started and finished sewing all 94 Flying Geese units also for part 5. So I am now to the "math part" of figuring out the inner border measurements, which is no biggy, but I'm not interested in going downstairs tonight. I'm sitting here, watching the Packers vs. Vikings----HUGE RIVAL up here for us Cheeseheads.....*sigh*......even without Favre......but we will move on.

I ran a hard 6 tonight----warmed up 1, pushed 4 miles (tried to sustain 9:00/mile pace, but HARD to do with our hills), then cooled down 1 mile.

my legs are tired
my mind is tired
my eyes are tired......
I'm going to prop my feet up, look through some quilting magazines, relax, and go to bed by 9:00.

Happy Monday

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Miserable allergy day (AGAIN), but progress on OTR successful

The day started with DH leaving early to get to work, which meant I was off my typical "allergy-season" schedule. Ya see, whether it's just "in my head" or whether it really works, I have a routine I typically do during allergy season.
As soon as I wake up, I take my allergy medicine and then take a nice warm shower to "steam out" any allergens in my system. (*chuckle*.....gosh, I hope a doctor isn't reading this, because s/he'll think I'm a looney!)
BUT-----it seems to work! By the time I'm out of the shower, hair done and dressed, I'm usually doing great---very little sneezing, eyes having very little itch, and minimal congestion and runny nose.
Hmpf------and today just goes to SUPPORT my crazy routine, because.....I DID NOT FOLLOW IT! Sure, I took my allergy medicine, but I didn't shower....and the result.......MISERABLE, MISERABLE, MISERABLE! I seriously used up an entire box of Puff's Plus w/lotion kleenexes. (which is the ONLY brand I'll buy----they are softer than any other tissue I've used, and my nose appreciates it during this time of the year.) My eyes didn't itch at all, but I was contemplating calling a plumber to come and fix my leaky nose! UGH!!!! And for some WACKY reason, by 4:00 (FINALLY), my nose stopped running. Golly---I would THINK so---I was getting almost dehydrated from how much "fluid" I was losing.....*crinkling nose*.....ewwwwwww That was a bit gross to think about, huh????

Anyway....regardless, I had ONE goal today-----THE OTR!

By 8:00, I was downstairs piecing away the millions of pinwheels crazy-minded Bonnie requested in part 2 of the OTR! I was motivated (ummm...for about the first two hours), and then, the pinwheels were starting to turn my mind crazy! My goodness!!!!!!!!!! There were soooooooooo many of them.

BUT----by about 10:30....success! The last pinwheel was put together. I headed upstairs for a morning snack with the girls, printed out step 3, and was back downstairs a bit after 11:00. Step 3 was going together FAST----MUCH faster than 2! was a nice change of pace. However, at 12:00, I was back upstairs to make up some lunch (pizza). DH arrived home about 12:30, I tucked Candace into bed by 1:00 for a nap, and by 1:15 I was downstairs again. All of step 3 was complete by 2:00----yup----it was a fast one!

So...what next? DUH! Step 4, or course. I had already pulled SOME fabrics when Bonnie first posted the Original Information, but wasn't really sure if I wanted to use THEM or to use more plaids for the 3.5x6.5 bricks. After a few tryouts of the plaids, I decided----it was TOO MUCH PLAID! So, I started throwing more and more darks, rusts, blacks, greens, etc into the scrap pile and started cutting away.

This and that, this and that.....some time later (maybe an hour????), I was ready for the layout. I've been reading many emails stating that many ladies have now called this one their favorite, EVEN over the CC AND OC...... well, when I saw Bonnie's layout on part 4, (I hate to admit), but my mind said....."eh.....not my fav, but I've done this much work already, I might as well finish it."

I started laying out a few diagonals at a time......getting a bit lost due to the large-eventually-to-be-cut-off bricks, and the fact that SOMEHOW SOMEWHERE I didn't have enough half-4-square blocks????? I still need to look back and figure out what happened there. the time I had the entire quilt laid actually started GROWING on me! And I can only imagine that once I piece it all together, it most likely will join the "oh yeah I like this one!" list.

I am most likely going to make this for my brother, and I only want a snuggler for him. BUT.....I peeked ahead to part 5, and I agree with many emails......WOW! The flying geese borders POLISH it off! So.......he'll be getting a LARGE snuggler! :0)

I came upstairs at 4:30 after laying out the blocks, and I haven't been back down. I'm tired! I didn't get to bed until after midnight last night-------duhhhhh! After blogging, I flipped thru the channels and came across "A Few Good Men" which I haven't seen in a long time and I hadn't remembered a lot of the plot....soooo..........ya, ya.
It's just a bit after 10:00 right now, so I am going to wrap this up and get to bed! I know it's only Saturday night and it's still "early," but I NEED to get out running by 7:00 tomorrow so that DH can get to work by 12:00. I am planning for a nice-n-easy 16 miler, which will take a "strong" 3 hours.

Happy sewing!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Christmas???? In September! OTR update

Holy Buckets! Life has gotten so busy now that school has started that I COMPLETELY forgot about Amanda's give-away that I won! That is, until I picked up the mail today! Ooooo----how exciting! And--my goodness, she even WRAPPED each one so it really WAS like Christmas!

When Candace saw all the presents, she came a-running over! So I called all the girls over to help open gifts...... Each one grabbed a gift, and Cassie yelled..."MOM--this one is for US!!!" Sure shootin'----Amanda sent the girls their own craft goodies (pompons, bright colorful feathers, and metallic leaves.)

Caitlyn opened up a GORGEOUS set of fat-eighths (actually, I haven't measured them and they seem a bit wider than 9")..... Oooooo....all the ideas running through my head to use those AWESOME FALL COLORS in.....I can't wait!

Candace found herself opening this ADORABLE chicken; and she knew exactly what it was because she started clucking and struttin' around like one!!!!

Cassie also opened up these items----a Christmas ornament and what appears to be a coaster. (Amanda, if it is meant for something else, please let me know). I won't use it as a coaster----it's too PRETTY!

I don't remember who opened this---it just showed up in the midst of paper and gifts. ADORABLE little sewing/needle case with Amanda's "known-for" stitcheries!

What else.......oh yes! How could I forget?!?!?! A BAR OF DARK CHOCOLATE! And what PERFECT timing----we had just finished eating dinner and I was hunting around the house for a bit of chocolatey sweetness! *chuckle* I had to bride it out of Candace's hands though!!!

So, for the next TWO HOURS, the girls sat at the table with the craft goodies, some WASHABLE glue, crayons, some paper and paper-plates. Thank GOODNESS the glue is washable, because Candace drained about HALF the bottle on her paper-plate, which then got transferred to the sleeves of her shirt. *shaking head, chuckling* They were in HEAVEN!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU AMANDA! You were SUCH a dear to personalize this gift for my girls, too! You are a dear! now...the girls have decided to relax with Ice Age, DH just arrived home, so I am thinking of heading downstairs (FINALLY) and pick up where I left off Monday night on the OTR.

Catch'ya later!

11:25pm update
Yup....I headed downstairs, but didn't get down there until 8:00. I finished up sewing the HST's (all 188 of them that were left). I debated on ironing ALLLLLL 388 of them, or to just iron a few at a time, make a couple of pinwheels, and repeat. Yeah, well, 388 seemed rather daunting, so I ironed 10 sets at a time (40 HST's) and then sewed the pinwheels. I have 20 completed pinwheels. I WOULD have more, but I decided to throw "The Lake House" into the DVD player, and I was getting to some "good parts" and didn't want the noise of the sewing machine to block out the sound. So.........iron, iron, iron. ALLLL HST's are now ironed, although at one point I was sniffling and blowing my nose every 4 HST's and ironing through teary eyes. I mean....S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y!!! I must have seen this movie a BA-ZILLION times, but GOSH----I am SUCH a sucker for sappy, happy endings! *chuckling sheepishly*......What a pansy!

Okay folks..I suppose I should TRY to fall asleep, even though I feel pretty darn wide awake. However, I want to utilize as much of the day tomorrow as I can to continue on OTR without dragging my butt too much. DH is planning to work from 8:00-noon and then I hope to run tomorrow afternoon (UNLESS I actually feel up to running BEFORE he leaves......hmmmmmmm.......6 hours away...not so sure that'll happen!) :0)


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

1st day of school!

It finally arrived, and FLEW BY! Holy buckets---what a crazy day with very little breathing time. In fact, it was one of those days where I had to go to the bathroom by 9:00 am, but was so busy that I completely forgot about it until the last bell rang at 3:18!!!! The 7th graders were pleasant -- listened when they needed to -- *chuckle*-- and when I GAVE them the opportunity to get up and "bust a move" to the music, they sat, stared at me, and probably thought I was off my rocker!!! I DID manage to show them Mathemagic-----

Video can be found at Mathemagic if loading seems to be taking forever.

I don't think I'm going to get downstairs to work on OTR tonight. It's almost 9:00, and, well, after running 6 miles tonight, I'm just ready to relax and kick back and maybe even hit the hay a little early tonight. Here is the status that I left the machine in yesterday-----as said, 200 HST's are sewn, while another 190 await in piles. No rush here, so..........they'll wait another couple of nights :0)

This weekend, we celebrated Cathy's 60th birthday, and she L-O-V-E-D her quilt!!! It got plenty of ooh's and aah's once revealed.

Alrighty, short post tonight. I'm ready to veg with a Runner's World magazine in bed and crash. Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Catchin' up

Okay---lightening speed post coming! I have 10 minutes before I'll be ordered to bed by DH!

So....great weekend! You know about Saturday. Sunday and today were relaxing at the farm, INSIDE, staying away from those nasty RagWeed plants!!! This allowed me to find the perfect pattern for BIL's C'mas quilt....more to come later on that.

Today----whew! FULL! Left farm at 11:00, arrived home at 12:45. Ate pizza, spent 2 hours going through Cassie's closet with her, trying on EVERY piece of clothing, putting away what doesn't fit, and organizing what does. Spent 1 hour picking up Candace's and Cailtyn's room and making their bunk beds.

Amidst all of this, washed, dried and folded three loads of clothes; packed two school bags, putting together pencil boxes and a spare change of clothes for Caitlyn (pre-schooler) :0)

THEN...finally, at 4:30, I was able to head downstairs to work on OTR#2 for a bit-----cutting more 2" plaid strips from the 2.5" strips I had already cut. I didn't start sewing though until after the kids were in bed (8:00), after supper at 5:30, bath at 6:30, teeth and story at 7:30.

So, from 8:00-8:30, I finished cutting strips AND cutting ALL 388 HSTs (okay...if I counted correctly, I cut 390 just to be safe.) So---for about 30 minutes, I started mindlessly piecing the HSTs together. I'm 200 down with 190 left to pick up with tomorrow night.

BUT---during that mindless time, a thought struck me for tomorrow's first day of school. I always want to start the year off FUN and NOT BORING WITH ALL THOSE RULES!! (*ugh*)
Well...I had completely forgotten about "Mathemagic.!!!!" I am wrapping up with 2 minutes left before 10:00 (when DH is ordering me to bed). I'm off to do a quick google on Mathemagic--------if you wish, you can too. Otherwise, I'll touch base again tomorrow evening with a link (Oh, and PICS will come too)