26 June 2008

Water Everywhere

[Ed.'s note: this was written on June 26, 2008. Posted late because I have been taking care of some business. Read on.]

I hate flooding. I hate water in my house. Unless, of course, it is nicely contained in whatever is supposed to be holding water. The rain gauge holds water. It says 6 inches since last night. It stopped raining at around 3 this afternoon. I waded through the mosquitoes that are hatching out of our GRASS to look at the gauge.

This morning my first clue should have been the toad trying to climb up our window to escape the window well. He seemed pretty desperate.
The vole, however, should have sent warning bells clanging in my head.

It was going in and out of its hole, running around the well, back and forth in the window, and trying to gnaw the window apart to get in. Do you realize how difficult it is to take a decent picture (or any picture) of a crazed vole trying to run for its life?
Here are more pictures of a barely detectable vole in a life and death struggle. Against what? Well, at the time I was blissfully unaware.

More brave but pathetic attempts at snapping a vole in the throes of desperation.
BTW, the windows are filthy because the wells keep FILLING UP.
Which led to the devastation in the basement.
That 6 inches? About 2 of them came back into the house.
This morning, when I went down (I had one of those "someone behind me in the dark/shark in the water" feelings) my sewing studio and the poor de-carpeted area were covered in a layer about 1/4 inch deep. Water, with just the right amount of dirt mixed in to make it disgusting.
Later this morning, when the electricity flickered off, and I heard a high pitched squeal continuously, I got another one of those feelings. Watching a sump pump spew water at 10 gallons a minute back INTO THE HOUSE while every window in the basement is gushing INTO THE HOUSE is disconcerting to say the least.
No pictures for that one. Sorry.
I really, really can empathize with all those people whose homes were totally destroyed in the recent flooding. My eldest son kept saying (as he was extracting water from our basement on his day off), it could have been so much worse.
And he's right.

21 June 2008

Just ONE More?

I can no longer promise that I will no longer do flower boards chiri-men style! I'm addicted. This and paper crafting could just do me in. Blogging doesn't help. Time, I need TIME. And energy. Time and energy.
This is my attempt at clematis. My neighbor has the most beautiful clematis vine growing outside our kitchen window, so I had to try to memorialize it in fabric.
For those of you who don't care about 5th quarter arm-chair quarterbacking, quit reading. For those of you who do, read on, intrepid ones:
I found steam-a-seamII. I mean, I re-found it in my quilt stash and used that to stabilize the backs of the "flat" petals and the tendrils. Worked pretty slick. I still need to get more depth in these, but I'm working on it. Stabilizing really, really helped. Maybe I will use Pellon or something for the gluing down bits. Dunno yet. I need to figure out how I am gonna do stamens/pistols and the whole re-generational bits of the flowers. But, I left them out rather than make it way too complicated.
More to come, I'm sure!

20 June 2008


I recently went to the Asian Market, where there are a LOT of items that I have no clue what they are. This is one of them. Sakura Denbu. I know what it is, I just don't know what I would do with it. But I bought it anyway, just because it says "seasoned codfish grinded" on it. And the idea of cherry blossoms and codfish together is rather intriguing, don't you think?

My Japanese food fetish continues. I found these YamYam made by Meiji at the local grocery. The crackers have cheese in them, so they are good for you, and there is a very sane amount of icing to dip (not scoop) them in. I love how languages have their own ways of describing animal sounds and animals in general.
Squirrels are not necessarily thought of as our best friend in the U.S. Especially stomping thug squirrels. And our lucky number is 7, not 8. But then, if I were an octopi, my whole world would revolve around the number 8, I suppose.
By and large, I just love these treats. I feel for the poor child of the transplants that counts on getting one of these when he/she goes to Hy-Vee and some gai-jin has been getting them all! Although, I wouldn't be the gai-koku-jin, would I?

10 June 2008

Invisible Fence

I was watching my across-the-street neighbors this morning. The Invisible Fence guy was over there, setting out flags around the perimeter of the compound.

Before they moved in 2 or so years ago, our neighbors had the invisible fence installed for their elderly weimaraner. (That's a dog for those of you that -- don't know.)* Either the dog would never train into it, or they didn't use it much, because that dog was all over the place. Sweet dog, though. She has since gone where all dogs go (to heaven, again for those of you who a little slower on the uptake); they have added a child to the one they already had; and, they have recently purchased a brand NEW weimaraner puppy. Sweet dog. Hence the Invisible Fence guy again. It will be interesting to see if it works with this one.

Back to my Gladys Cravitz imitation (Bewitched. I'm getting really tired of 'splaining myself to you X'ers): I was watching the neighbors. Grandmama was on the front porch with the baby (person) watching the Fence guy, and Momma was in the yard, um, helping the Fence guy. It occured to me then that a kid friendly version of invisible fencing would be a terrific revolution in child care. A Force Field Playpen. PlayForce. People can walk by, and make faces at the children behind the force field and laugh at the kiddies playing, but the kids can't come out and bite people on the butts. Or pull neighbors' tree limbs off the trees (from what else would they pull them?) which is a particularly evil problem in MY neighborhood.

Just made me think of the possibilities.

I would love to see that hood squirrel stomp by and smack the dog one in the face, and stomp off.

And the poor dog could do nothing but go crazy.

*The reason I say this is that when my Momma was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, there was a woman going room to room with a weimaraner therapy dog named Grace. I saw them in the hall while I was giving my husband an update via my cell phone. I started petting the dog, which is something I cannot ever keep myself from doing, and told my hubby I was petting a weimaraner. The owner was so thrilled I knew what kind of dog it was, she practically hugged me and almost adopted me into her family. From that, I gather that not many people, at least people who inhabit hospitals needing therapy dogs, would even know what a weimaraner is if one bit them on the proverbial hand.

Writing of weimaraners, this is great:

Our first long-hair dachshund, Fritz (Margrave Ritzy Bits-O'Fritz) liked to take off after rabbits. We lived on about an acre in an outlying section of Brewton, Alabama at the time. There was a weimaraner in the house across the woods from us penned in with an electric fence. Fritz took off one day, chased a rabbit through the woods and straight into the electric fence.

That was the weimaraner's luckiest day on earth. Dachshunds get grumpy when they don't catch rabbits and Fritz probably would have taken it out on that poor HUGE dog. But the fence took care of THAT. All we heard was a YELP and then about 30 seconds later, heard Fritz crashing through the brush and saw him limp into the yard.

It was great.

09 June 2008

I know, this will be the last one of these in a while -- Maybe

I just had to share one of my latest creations. Out of my daughter's love for origami crane motifs, I made these for her to have if or when she wants them. The background fabric is antique, and has those lines and dots scattered throughout. I loved the way it looked as a background. Of course, later versions will have changes made to them, but I thought they weren't bad for prototypes. At least there are no glue spots on the tops of these!
That's progress.


We have some boyz that hang out in the 'hood. They are suspicious looking. They are thugs. They are peeping toms. That pun was intended, by the way.
We had a BIG rain. I could write that almost every day. Referring to yesterday. This particular big rain spilled over into our basement. We had to rip the carpet up. Wah. Wah. I'm sure we were better off than a lot of people in the area.
Back to the boyz. In the 'hood. We didn't know that they were going to be hangin' around this year 'cause of all the leaves in the well, yo. My home dog and I kept checkin' the window well 'cause that's what we do. In our spare time. We check out the toads.
Sometimes when they be messin' with me through the window, watchin' me work and all dat, I sic my home dog on 'em and watch 'em right back.
But I don' really mind them bein' there 'cause they eat bugs.
And that's cool wi' me.

Check out Sonny's version of events at http://sonny-clu.blogspot.com/clu.blogspot.com/.

08 June 2008

Yellow Poplar

This is the flower of the yellow poplar tree, otherwise known as the tulip tree. It's Latin name is Liriodendron tulipifera and has a sister plant in East Asia called liriodendron chinense.

This tree must be a smaller version than the Smoky Mountains kind, because in the Smokies it only blooms when the tree is 60ft or more high and you can't see the blossoms until they fall.
This is only the 2nd year this tree has bloomed. Last year, we barely noticed it because there were only about 7 or 8 blooms. This year, it's loaded.

07 June 2008


This is one of two quilt pieces that I made from some fabric my daughter bought at a flea market in Shimonoseki. The purple is the Japanese fabric, the creams are from my stash, and the gold I purchased to go with the gold in the purple. That was the only color I could find to match a color in the purple. The pattern is from American Patchwork & Quilting Oct. 2005. It's called "Pierre". It's supposed to be monotone, but I only had a "skinny quarter" of the Japanese fabric, so I had to fill in with the creams. So, there it is.
I sincerely could not even imagine doing a bed sized quilt with that ice cream cone border. This came out to be about 30" square, and it took me a month to handstitch the binding.

I have some issues with my design of it. I kind of wish I had done the purple in the 4 bear claw corners, with gold sashing and purple blocks on the outside edge, but I have not been one to do much design contemplation. The frenzy just kind of takes me along. I am starting to be a little more conscious of the design elements now, though. :-)

04 June 2008

Coffee, Tea and ME!

My daughter's 1st Japanese (as a 2nd language) teacher in Japan was Ishii-sensei. She volunteers her time teaching Japanese to foreigners, and worked full-time as an English teacher in a Japanese elementary school.
She very graciously invited us to her home for a tea party to celebrate "girls day". Actually, I guess it lasts the whole month of March, but we had a girlie tea party with the other Americans who are Ishii-sensei's current Japanese students. I say she "worked" as an English because the day we were there was her first official day of "retirement" and she was going to start a new job as a house mother at a boarding school not too far away.
Ishii-sensei has a beautiful apartment, and she had quite a spread of food. She had maki rolls, Pretz, yatsuhashi (I'm not sure of that spelling - sakura flavored mochi folded into triangles), sembai, which are rice crackers, Pocky and then she had strawberry short cake AND cheesecake. For drinks she served momo sake (peach sake) and green tea and coffee.

Her decorations for girls day was impressive as well. On the piano (at left) and

on her foyer display shelf.
It was an enjoyable little glimpse into the home of a Japanese, and it was the only one that I had, other than staying with my daughter.

We had pictures taken of the other American girls and Ishii-sensei, but I didn't think they would love having them plastered all over cyberspace.
For what it's worth.
Ishii-sensei also took my daughter and I to Ganryujima, an island in the Kanmon strait right close to Shimonoseki. It's where the two samurai duked it out. See http://homsar06.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html for a more complete story of the history.
I was completely bowled over by the charm and hospitality of the Japanese towards me, and taking my daughter under their wings, so to speak. It was very precious, and will stay with me forever.
Arigato gozaimas, Ishii-sensei!