Monday, September 29, 2003

Where's the dress?

Ok... I'm man enough to where I don't feel threatened. I am.... making a dress. Two of them actually.

I'm doing a lousy job -- and no wonder. I only know how to sew a straight line on solid, non-stretch fabric. And I'm not using a pattern. Or rather, I'm making my own patterns. Probably for a first try it's not too bad, but who wants to wear a first try -- or in this instance... who wants their wife to wear a first try? Well -- I guess I do because it's for her to wear to the Renfest this weekend. It's based on Eowyn's "refugee" outfit from "The Two Towers".

The overdress I made a little too small and not exactly like a woman's surcoat but sort of close. I made it fit fairly close (matter of fact I had to let it out a little at the hips last night) so that it would move with her hips -- there's nothing like the way a woman's skirt/dress moves when it moves with her hips. I have to hem the bottom of that and add gromets and laces for the side.

Yesterday I tackled the underdress, my first project ever (out of maybe 5 projects my entire life spread out over the last 25 years) that I ever had to make and attach. First go I put it on inside out. I'm sure I'm not the first to do that. Anyway, this thing I made of crinkled cotton so it looks kind of wrinkly like the one in the movie and so it would be stretchy and comfortable which I'm told it is. I dyed the material a while back. Got it for a buck a yard at wally world. Anyway, I got everything on right and went to hem the neck. I was so proud I found out how to use the old "Griest" hemmer attachment on my 50-year-old Monarch sewing machine. Well.... turns out when you hem crinkle fabric against the crinkle-grain... it stretches out and the neck is Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too big. Cutting it smaller would have helped -- but I can't do that now. So it looks like a drawstring neckline... like you find on a lot of the chemises you see at ren-fests. So I'll probably tackle that tonight. It's all gotta be done by Thursday night, as we're leaving Friday night and going Saturday morning.

Saturday I ran all over town spending money like I had it -- went to Lowe's and picked some stuff up to try to fix the litterbox so that Theo has to actually walk farther into it before he can do anything. He goes right in front of the litterbox "door", then turns around and steps in it on his way out getting wet gucky litter all in his paws. Oh, and one of his claws came out the other day and he bled all over the carpet - yeah, that's another thing I got at wally world... more spot shot. Also went to Sam's and got a case of Beck's Octoberfest (it was the only Octoberfest they had) because...

Saturday night Ryan and Kristie were BBQ-ing a big ham.... We brought corn casarole and salad and pie (but we never got around to the pie) and had one of our outdoor neighborhood cookouts and sat up talking around our chiminea until 10. It was the first official and successful use of the chiminea. Turns out for one like mine you need small chunks of wood. Small logs no good. Chunks. That's what you want. It was pretty chilly out, but it was a fun time.

Also got stuff for the upcoming "Haunted Float" -- which is really just an October float trip with "A Haunting In the Hills" that night at Alley Springs. Local ghost stories told by lantern light. Alley Springs is absolutely beautiful -- check it out yourself as long as this link is good: Alley Springs Anyway, we now have matching sleeping bags (they match the tent -- oooh-eee!) and fleece liners for them and a self-inflating pad for Vicki. I'll use the foam pad.

Well folks, that's about all we have time for today, so until next time, vaya con dios.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

I've Been too long on the road

(It's a 'Bread' reference) I've been away from the blog again. And I've been on the road as well. We went to Fort Wayne last week to visit Mom. Did a lot of visiting and a significant amount of fixing-up. Burried a drainpipe for one downspout in a corner of her house that was clogged and just ended in the ground. Water was getting in the basement when there was a lot of rain. Covered the trench and sodded over it. Vicki weeded a very large area along the property line. Took all day. She was a tired puppy at the end of that day. We also cleaned the bathroom carpet. Finally got her motion light out front adjusted right so passers by don't set it off. I'd put it up years ago but when an electrician replaced the lamp he placed the motion sensor too close to the light and you couldn't adjust it correctly. Secured her phone to the wall better. Fixed the problem with her memory dialing on the phone. Had a lot of good food. Sunday Brian and Jess came up to visit along with Vicki's cousin Linda -- who is always fun to have around. She's so funny. Never get to spend enough time with her, especially during the school year. She's a school teacher up in South Bend.

Took the backpacker along and played it a lot. That's a good thing to do on vacation. I think I progressed some. I'm continually surprised by how good the tone actually is for such a tiny little guitar. It's the ultimate convenience on a trip. Small & light.

Back home, fall is starting to make its presence known. We spent a lovely cool evening outside with Ryan and Kristie and Kevin. Then spent the rest of the evening playing the guitar while helping Kevin watch the Cubs beat the Reds. He's very much into the Cubs -- keeps a close eye on the scores, even to the point of checking them periodically on his cell phone when he's away from a computer.

I also dyed the cloth for the underdress for Vicki's Eowyn renfest costume. We'll see this weekend if I'm worth my salt at the sewing machine. The dye job turned out nice. Just about what I was going for.

Three weeks until the Haunted Float Trip on Jack's Fork. Need to get a self-inflating sleeping bag pad for Vicki.

I've been listening to some tapes Jeff made of "The Bone Conduction Music Show" -- Radio the way it was meant to be. Such a fun show and jam-packed with great tunes. I've bought my first CD as a result of listening (Chuck Berry, "Blues") plus I'm going to have to make me a Rhapsody CD of a bunch of the other tunes I like. See? People sharing music CAUSES people to BUY music. Who'da thunk?

Well, that isn't all, but it's all I have time for.


Monday, September 08, 2003

I get by with a little help from my friends

Ah, the weekend. Last thursday night the new neighbors causally stated that they were having some friends over Friday night, but it wouldn't be loud.

"Having some friends over". Well, in my book, that means a relatively managable sized group of friends comes by, usually during some sort of shortish time-frame, arrive. Hang out. Talk. Listen to music. Maybe barbeque.... and at some point in the evening, they all go home, or some of them go home and some stay overnight, whatever.

What this was... was different. At about 10:30 there were a dozen cars belonging to people who do not live on our small street parked up and down the street. The rave music was thumping next door. They'd given me their number so that I could call if it was too loud. It was. I did. The first number, I got their answering machine. Guess they couldn't hear that one. The second was a cell phone which was answered. They turned it down and we went to bed. We couldn't hear the party in our bedroom.

However, what we could here was the outside effects of a revolving-door party that goes on way into the night. A nearly 5-hour steady stream of people coming and going. Car doors slamming, people talking as if they were in some night-club parking lot instead of a quiet neighborhood. Cars cruising up and down the street looking for places to park. I got no sleep. About 2:30am when the umpteenth car had its doors slammed and the couple who came out of it were hollering at each other across the street, I got up and went out and yelled out "HEY! This ain't a night club parking lot, it's a neighborhood! Keep it DOWN!"


People started leaving shortly after that. Probably afraid I'd call the cops. But I was peeved and didn't get any sleep until about 6:00 am, and we needed to get up at 7:00 because we had plans that day with the neighbors across the street.

I think any decent neighbor will turn his head and acommodate the occasional big party. But this was the second one in three weeks, and certainly not what was "advertised" to us ("having some friends over"). And I think... if you'll dig the pun, that it's "par-ty for the course" as far as they're concerned. So it looks like it's time to talk to them again. Sigh. Why can't people just be considerate?

Anyway, went to Ha Ha Tonka state park ( Saturday. Very pretty. Had a picnic lunch that the Williams' brought along. Hiked through the park. Took lots of pictures. Saw springs, lots of karst topography. Apparently that whole valley was once a huge cave. There's a spring there, and a "balanced rock" on a small island. And up on a ridge is the ruins of an old stone mansion... it was like a 17 room mansion. It was something in its day. It was built in the early 1900's and burned down in the 30's. Guess they should've used a slate roof ;-)

Sunday I FINALLY got around to replacing the windows in the front. It was a lot harder to get the old glass out than I thought it would be. And it took a lot more glazing. I was going to silicon the new glass in, but after trying to get the old glass out I went for glazing.

There were a couple of small cracks in a corner which I sanded and sealed with epoxy. Ryan came over and helped get the glass out and put the glazing on. I had to go back to Lowe's and get more glazing... took a lot more than I thought it would. It also didn't harden fast... it still wasn't hard this morning.

But we put the windows back up about 8:30 last night and it seems like it's all going to hold.

Well.... that's about it. We finally got some rain last weekend (that's two weekends ago) but it's been dry ever since. Oh, and apparently the sump pump in the crawl space blew the hose off and has been sitting there churning water ever since. I noticed that last night about 2:00 in the morning and fixed it.

Ok, that's really about it. I'm going now.