Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's been a long time comin'. . .

Finally! Bird getting his "diploma." Sort of, that is. First off, they only give you the diploma cover and you get the actual paper later. For Bird, it will be much later. When he got to the ceremony, he noticed that his name was not in the program. They fixed that. A couple hours later, after the ceremony, his advisor called him to tell him that they didn't have his graduation form which is why he wasn't on the program. Funny thing is, he filled it out and turned it in in October several weeks before the deadline. They obviously lost it. The not so funny thing is that his diploma will be issued in May 2009. If he interviews for a job requiring a degree, then the school will write a letter explaining that he officially has the degree, so that's good. I told him that he should try to get his loans deferred until 6 months after his "official" graduation date (the one on paper). I will say that after 4 and 1/2 years at Duquesne, this has been the first snafu. They have always been efficient at everything. It just figures that the first boo boo would be a big one! That's okay! We still celebrated and had a great time.

What's the first thing that the graduate did?Light up a cigarette ! (much to his mother's chagrin)

Thanks to Andrew for taking the photos. He was an honorary family member for the weekend!

Check this out--I noticed during the ceremony that Ems is her mother's daughter!
The shoe queen gene is passed down to a new generation!

After the ceremony, we went to Fatheads in the South Side. Best sandwiches ever! I can't believe that I actually finished mine. I had a "headwich" which supposedly is a sandwich the size of a human head. It came close! I typically don't eat much, but I finished it and didn't feel all that full! Go figure!

After Fatheads (and Starbucks) DH, Ems and I went to Shadyside so that Ems could go to the Apple Store to get her iPhone looked at. We dropped her there and found parking. While walking to the Apple Store we passed the neatest little shoe store on Walnut Street called "Ten Toes." There was a pair of boots in the window that I loved. After the Apple Store, while walking back to the car, the conversation went sort of like this:

Ems: Ooh! I have to show you the cutest boots I saw there!
Me: Were they the ones with the buckles?
Ems: Yes! Isn't it funny that we love the same shoes.

And we ran to the window to discover that we loved the same boots! We went in the store and most of the boots and shoes were half off! I ended up buying two pairs of those boots--one for each of us!

They can be worn cuffed as well! There was a brand of shoes called Naught Monkey that both Ems and I fell in love with. They were all half off as well. If it wasn't the holidays, I may have picked up a pair or two, but money is a bit tight these days!
This type of situation occurred again when we were window shopping at BCBG. Ems wanted to show me a dress that she loved and I was rushing to look at one I saw that I loved. It was the same dress!

We went back to the hotel for a while then met up with Ems, Bird, Andrew and Ems' boys (her band buds) at Arsenal Lanes in Lawrenceville for some bowling. They have a $9 all you can bowl from 9 p.m. to midnight on Friday nights. There is also karaoke and a bar in there! I must admit that I find the bowling alleys in Pittsburgh a little strange in that the two I've been to are all upstairs! Around these parts, bowling alleys are all downstairs!
Bird and Andrew dressed for the occasion:

Here's Bird singing "Dust in the Wind"
We all did karaoke! We found out that Andrew does a mean Elvis!

Ems and her boys:

We met Ems, Bird and Andrew and the Cheesecake Factory for lunch at 11:00 on Saturday then hit the road at 1:00. We were home at 5 p.m. The kitties were pretty glad to see us. They get such good care from Pampered Pets that they are much more "ho hum" about it when we walk in. They used to be very clingy, but they get spoiled when we're away now. Their sitter forgot she wasn't supposed to come Saturday night and she came over. She said that if we ever get home to find Mikey gone, we'll know she took him! Everyone loves Mikey!

I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night, doing some Christmas knitting and watching HBO. I watched "Definitely, Maybe" which is a cute romantic comedy, followed by Sweeney Todd which is anything but a romantic comedy. I still love that movie, but it is definitely on the weird side. One has to figure that a movie with Johnny Depp that's directed by Tim Burton is going to be quirky, to say the least! Today I will run my usual Sunday errands and work on a few holiday gifts!

Less than one month left of the following--
Bushism of the day:
"You know, I'm the President during this period of time, but I think when the history of this period is written, people will realize a lot of the decisions that were made on Wall Street took place over a decade or so, before I arrived in President, during I arrived in President." --George W. Bush, ABC News interview, Dec. 1, 2008

Kitty Cam: Bar makes himself comfortable like a little prince.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I love goodies!

I love surprises and I got a lovely one in the mail yesterday! A box of goodies from my Winter Wonderland Swap Partner! Let's see what she sent me:
On top in the box we have a Nicky Epstein Felting book and a lovely handmade card

Next we have some sweet goodies for me and some fishy ones for the kitties!

Next we have more kitty toys, some holiday tissues and some playing cards with the St. Louis Arch (my buddy lives in MO)

Next is a small Christmas tin with more kitty toys!

And finally, a large Christmas tin with a gorgeous skein of Mountain Colors Merino/mohair blend yarn in all those fall colors that I love along with some crystal snowman earrings:

Here's a closeup of the earrings:

Thank you so much ArmyMom! I love everything!

Here are a couple of photos from our night out at Rams Head:

And here's the whole group!

I've been getting some shopping done and making gifts this weekend so there's not much else to share! Back to the old grind tomorrow!

Bushism of the day:
"The question is, who ought to make that decision? The Congress or the commanders? And as you know, my position is clear -- I'm a commander guy." --George W. Bush, who apparently is no longer "The Decider," Washington, D.C., May 2, 2007

Kitty Cam: Mokey looks perfectly at ease on Em's pink comforter!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care . . .

I put out my decorations last weekend and finally got around to putting my fresh greens around the house. We have a huge holly tree that has more berries than usual this year. Notice all the stockings? All 4 kitties and Elvis (the turtle) have them. It was really crowded when we had 6 cats and pet rats in addition! I had to hang 2 stockings on some of the hooks!

I decorate in 3 phases. The Christmas stuff goes up the first weekend in December. A week and a half or so before Christmas, the tree goes up. The first week in January, the Santas and other Christmas stuff gets put away and the rest of the snowmen come out. You may have noticed that part of the snowman collection graces the mantel. They will stay there until March. I will put more snowmen out when I put the Santas away!

Here are a few more of the decorations:

This is the creche that my Dad made in the early 1950's. I've had to do a little restoration. It is surrounded by antique bottle brush trees. They are my new favorite thing and I've been collecting them for a couple of years now.

More Bottle Brush trees!

Wooden Victorian Carolers on top of the china cabinet!

Snowman hurricane lamps on top of the bookcase!

I went to Joann's for the super sale yesterday and I picked up a couple of patterns and some fabric. I specifically went for this Simplicity pants pattern which got really good reviews on Pattern Review. This pattern has all kinds of fitting tips and separate pattern pieces for slim, average and curvy fit.

It is pictured with two pieces of stretch fine wale corduroy. I typically don't care for corduroy, but this is a very fine wale and it is really stretchy! I will actually use it for some pants from the Burda World of Fashion magazine. It ended up being about $2 a yard!

I stumbled on this pattern:

It is a Project Runway Simplicity pattern. There are long sleeves that have rouching along the seem and I will make it with those. I decided that it needed a slinky knit so I found a leaf green rayon/lycra knit:

Then today I stopped by the other Joann's in my area only to find that they were going out of business! So I picked up some sale stuff.
First I have a stretchy satiny suiting in leaf green to use for a skirt from Burda WOF and a brown herringbone polyester suiting for some dress slacks--most likely that Simplicity pattern pictured above:

And there was one piece of a herringbone stretchy denim which I will probably use for capri's since there is probably not enough for full length slacks. I also picked up more wool suiting. I already had enough of this for a skirt, so I thought I'd get some for a jacket as well.

I hope to devote more time to sewing after Christmas. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it!

DH and I got our Christmas Tree today. We ended up getting the first Noble Fir that we saw! It's unusual to find the perfect tree so quickly. We've gotten Noble Firs the last couple of years and I really love them. They are similar to Fraser Firs but less blue in color and the branches open out more. They last a good long time! It's sitting outside for the time being. Tomorrow we'll cut some off the trunk and put it in water then in a few days it will come in the house where we will let it open up. Since we are going to Pittsburgh on Thursday, we figured that we'd bring it in on Wednesday. It will have a few days to open up and we'll be able to decorate it when we get back!

Bushism of the day:
"Amigo! Amigo!" --George W. Bush, calling out to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Spanish at the G-8 Summit, Rusutsu, Japan, July 10, 2008

Kitty Cam: Harley naps in the one little sunny spot he can find!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bad Blogger!

That's me! I've been neglecting my duties here lately. I guess there have just been too many other duties that have gotten in the way! I won't go into that. I've been busy with work/social things so this will be a quick "what's been going on" type of post.

Last Saturday, several things happened that made me very happy. First it snowed.

It was just starting when I took that photo.
I ran out to the grocery store and the snow started falling when I was on my way home. By the evening, the ground was white. I got home to find this:

A fire! We haven't used the wood burning stove in a few years but DH bought some wood. Nothing says "winter" quite like a roaring fire, snow and turkey soup on the stove. That was the third thing that made me happy!

You know it's winter at our house when you see this:

We put our snowguy out in November. Actually we usually put him out on Nov. 11 because that is when we have gotten our earliest blizzard. It was Nov. 11, 1987--Ems' 4th birthday. We got a foot of snow! We went to Chuck E. Cheese that night for her birthday dinner and we were the only people in the place except a handful of vets that were in town for Veteran's Day. So we always put SnowGuy out in hopes that he will bring us another blizzard. He's been slacking the last few years.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. I found this little tree on Ebay and had to have it.

It's a musical bottle brush tree from the 1950's. It is 12 inches tall and it plays "Silent Night." We had one just like this when we were kids. It sat on the piano. I remember that it was the only thing that I wasn't allowed to play with. Whenever I would go to wind it up, my mom would take it away and wind it for me. I think she was afraid that I would overwind the mechanism and break it. I always loved that little tree. It rotates. My brother has the original one so I found an exact likeness.

I've been working on a few projects which I cannot share at this time. Once Christmas is over, I will share them. I've gotten to the point on Silken Scabbard when I need to try it on. I've gotten to the waist and I need to determine how many increases to do over the hips. I hope to finish it over winter break.

One little project I will share is my new t-shirt! Someone at work ordered staff t-shirts. You could get either a polo shirt or a baseball jersey type shirt. Neither of them appealed to me. I like my skinny fitted tees. I decided that I would create a shirt specific to my being a music teacher so I came up with this:

I have my school initials and the word "staff" right under the music staff. I liked the pun. My students have all commented on it. I've decided that next I will make a Thermofax Silkscreen of the design and use white ink on a green shirt. Fortunately I had the foresight to snag the old Thermofax machine we had at school when we were renovated 12 years ago. The machines had become obsolete as copiers, but someone has devised a way to make silkscreens using them. The refurbished machines are now selling for $900. I haven't checked mine to see if it works, but that will be something I will do over winter break.

The other thing I did last weekend was to tweak my hair color. I get my color professionally done, but it gets dull in between. Ems is able to get the same demi color--Paul Mitchell Shines-- at Davidson's since she is a beautician student. I added a little more red and it is more of an auburn now.

Speaking of Ems--she is certainly her mother's daughter! She's been getting into the Pittsburgh spirit by remaking some thrift store Steelers' sportswear:

How much fun is that!

This week has had its share of social functions. My knitting group had a cookie exchange on Wednesday. There were about 25 of us who each made 7 dozen cookies. We had goodies to eat and our hostess printed up cookie cookbooks containing the recipes of all the cookies that were shared. She also supplied colorful tins for us to take our goodies home in. This is our second annual exchange and it was a great success. Tonight DH and I met up with two other couples at the Ram's Head. It's fun to go out with grownups. That is one of the pleasures of being empty nesters. We've decided to do this on a regular basis and we've already pencilled in a date in January.

We have a winter weather advisory, so I have to go do my snow dance before going to bed.

Bushism of the day:
"The best way to defeat the totalitarian of hate is with an ideology of hope -- an ideology of hate -- excuse me --with an ideology of hope." --George W. Bush, Fort Benning, Ga., Jan. 11, 2007

Kitty Cam: Harley and Mike know how to chill on a cold snowy day.