Saturday, April 25, 2009

What part of (fill in the blank) don't you understand?

My mind is fried.

So fried that I clicked on "publish post" just for the fun of it just after I typed "my mind is friend."

At the end of the school year, we are required to tell the exchange students how to go home.

This is actually necessary. They need to be told that the airlines don't average the weights of their two bags, that their tickets do not go in checked luggage, that they don't need to take home almost empty shampoo bottles from their own country, that fireworks that we sell here in June are explosives and are not allowed on the airplane, that they should wear comfortable athletic shoes on the plane and not sandals with spiked high heels. (For one thing, the heels take up less room in their bags. And they weigh less.) (The boys just laugh at me when I say this, for some reason.)

And no, if the bags average to only 40 pounds, you still have to pay. And no, sometimes the agent will charge you if you are only one pound over. What part of "they don't average them" didn't you understand?

Every year, we have someone who thinks they can get away with it and they end up repacking their bags and exposing their underwear to everyone and their brother. That is how I discovered the shampoo bottles.

They also need to be told that they will be adjusting to their own country again. No one believes it, until they get home, act like an American and get interesting reactions. One story I heard (this is 20 years ago, before digital cameras) is of a German boy who took the last of his film in to be developed. When he told the shopkeeper that he wanted things like matte finish and double prints, he was interrupted by "We speak English here."

His accent was off, plus he had probably forgotten some words.

They are like potted plants, who have been taken from a square pot and set in a round pot for a year, and now are heading back to the square pot.

Anyway, my mind is fried because we were stupid enough to arrange for a sleepover. I am 53. my boss is 43. We don't stay up late very well anymore. I'm dealing with 4 hours of sleep.


What part of "don't bounce the basketballs after midnight" don't you understand? I told you why (we can hear them in the next room). That means you put the balls away. 10 minutes later, I clarified it to you can't just shoot free throws either. This was to my boss' son, who speaks english fluently.

I also provided a cooked breakfast. A casserole, not pancakes or fried eggs, I'm not that stupid. But I don't believe in doughnuts and juice for breakfast. What part of "clean up after yourself" don't you understand?

What part of "take your stuff to the car now" don't you understand?

After they had only slept 4 hours, I woke them up with the following song:

Way up in the sky, the little birds fly.
While down in the nest the little birds rest.
With a wing on the left, and a wing on the right,
We'll let all our birdies sleep all through the night.
(softly) "Shhh, they're sleeping!"
(loudly) Then the bright sun comes up, the dew falls away
"Good morning, good morning" the little birds say.

My revenge: I have the second worst voice in the world!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I just finished this top, in the Bargello Blues class at It contains 1038 pieces (not including borders, which are 9 pieces and really shouldn't count). The smallest pieces are 1 inch by 3/4 inch, or finished in the quilt, 1/2 inch by 1/4 inch.

I used strip piecing.

Otherwise I would be a drooling idiot about now.

And also not finished.

The only way I survived was to realize that I can screw up sewing a checkerboard pattern together. This, if you look at it closely, is a checkerboard -- a very complicated checkerboard -- which means I can screw it up.

Very easily.

The teacher provided a chart of where each piece was. I checked to make sure I was going to sew the pieces in the strips together correctly. I checked to make sure I had sewn them correctly. I sewed the strip to the next strip. I checked to make sure I had done this part correctly. Then I marked off my progress on the chart.

(This comes from working in the nuclear industry. We have quality control up the ying yang. We make sure we are going to do it right, we check multiple times during the process to make sure we are doing it right, and we check to make sure we did it right. And when the process engineers believe the analytical laboratory when the results aren't right, nothing terrible happens. Usually.)

(I like digressing, don't you?)

Because of this, I encountered only one glitch. The good news is that it was on a strip that was 3/4 inch wide and I didn't have very big seams to redo. The bad news is that it was on a strip that was 3/4 inch wide and fraying is a big problem.

The other good news is that the rectangles are offset, so I did not have to match seams. There is NO bad news to this!

I am covered it little tiny threads. To the point where I had to go buy a new lint brush.

I am very happy with the results! Now on to the next part, which is designing my own pattern! I'll keep you posted!