Sunday, July 31, 2011

Now Back to Our Regular Scheduled Programming

I'm back and talking about the things that I'm a little more qualified to speak of.  I just get so worked up.  Does that ever happen to you?  But after some thought, I realize that perhaps I should stick with crafts:) and stay out of politics.
So here it is.  My quilting bee quilt.  I finished the top last night and I am loving it so much.  I still haven't received some of the blocks back so I improvised.  I couldn't wait any longer. 
There were a few that I reserved for another project because the fabrics I chose didn't work right for this one.  Now I've got to get the backing.... any thoughts on what I should choose? 

Thanks to all my fellow bees.  You all did a tremendous job!!!


National Debt Rant

Not my normal area, I know, but I'm feeling powered up right now and I'd like to share my thoughts on the national debt.

Jason and I have been sitting here for awhile discussing the issue of raising the debt ceiling that we've all heard so much about these days.  We started by marveling at the fact that a major issue is being skirted in the whole debate.  How about the fact that we are raising the ceiling once again and therefore, we're driving our country even further in debt.  Not saying it isn't necessary to do so (I really have no clue) and I'll go with what I've heard- to not raise the ceiling would result in major problemos down the road (ie credit rating, interest rates) even though I have no way of knowing if this is true.  Then we started talking about the issue of the debt.  We looked it up and its 14 trillion.  I'm sure you all know this.  Each person's share of that debt is around 46 thousand dollars (there were differing thoughts on this I went with a middle of the road estimation).  That's to pay it off today.   ug.  Then I said we should move to Canada and we looked up their debt.  OK.  They have a debt of half a trillion, too (although, that seems like pennies when comparing).  Then I thought- Well, who are we all in debt to? Then I looked at China's national debt because I've heard they own us from some very vocal people.  China's national debt is 10 trillion dollars (and who knows if that number is correct- according to one article, they lied about it once already- but who do you believe?) So what?  Do we all owe each other trillions of dollars?  How does that work, exactly? Something's fishy.

So I made myself backup and start from the beginning- the debt is in the form of Federal Securities (savings bonds, bills, notes, and bonds that the Treasury issues) owned by different classes of people (private investors, pension plans, federal reserve banks, mutual funds... the list goes on)  and when the president says he's going to lift the ceiling, he's meaning that we will then sell more Federal Securities (I'm fuzzy on that last part- feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) in order to pay the debts that are due now for things like medicare and social security.  So how do we solve the problem? when our elected officials are voted into office and can be voted out just as easily if they do something a large majority disproves of ?  The largest sources of debt lie with the largest portions of the population, medicare being one of those.  If any government official even comes close to medicare it spells political doom.  Same goes for social security.  This is a pitfall of our system of government, I'm afraid, because in order for us to overcome this problem, it relies on the American public being SELFLESS as a whole and united.  (Snort)

Because I don't believe in complaining unless you can offer a solution, I've put one together.  And it doesn't involve the politicians.  The answer lies with us.  I believe that we should come up with a twenty/ten year plan and that every single person in this country should give up something.  That each individual has a choice of what they would like to forgo (when given a list of options) as long as it adds up to a certain dollar amount.    Those options might be a reduction in Social Security payments, a slightly different, more cost effective, medicare package, higher taxes... Those that depend on these things just to survive will have to be considered.  I'm not claiming to be smart enough to figure out the details, but you get the idea.  Maybe a city or town can opt to forgo something as a whole- cancel federally funded projects in their area, or something....  Its going to hurt, no doubt about it....

Its time to STOP pointing the finger at other people, and its impossible to ask the minority of people to shoulder the burden.  Its time to stop asking for change without being willing to contribute.  Its time to unite as a people and DO something.  It sucks that it has to be us (our generation) but that's just the way it goes.  We can sulk and fight and moan and whine or we can just get it done and move on. I get so tired of hearing the complaints.  Lets get something done!  I for one would give up my tax return if it meant that in twenty years we'd be out of this mess.  But it would have to be set in stone.  No overturning in four years when a new person takes office.  And when we've got a plan- then its time to make some changes in government so it NEVER happens again!

You think I'm too idealistic? Too naive? You're probably right.  Do you ever think about this?  Do you have any ideas for a solution?  I'd love to hear it. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Got Nothing to Wear? Don't do this.

I've been looking in my closet less and less lately because I'm coming to the conclusion that there just isn't anything in there for me anymore.  Its either too small (pre-baby) or too big (immediately post baby or maternity)  and I'm about to just walk around naked.  Not really.  I still employ the girl scout changing method (how to change into an entirely new outfit without showing any skin.  Its a real talent. And one that comes in handy when, say, you just came from work and you are going to play and you don't have time to go home to change.  The best tool ever.)

You all know how it is.  You get into your thirties and it seems like all your money goes to unfun things all the sudden.  Vet bills.  Gutters. Foundations. Doors.  Blah.  Yuck.  So there's nothing to wear but expandable/contractible sweat pants, but you have the nicest chimney in town. Does this sound familiar to you?

So, you couple the aforementioned lack of spending money with the fact that I've become a miserly lady and the result is a clothing McGiver ready at any moment to clip/sew/tie my way out of clothing emergencies.  Yes, that's me.  Queen of the random clothing concoctions.  These clothing inventions can be very good OR more often VERY BAD.  We're talking wardrobe malfunction bad.  Sometimes it takes me a little while to realize I should back away and never touch it again!  One such instance happens to be a black skirt I bought from target a couple of years back. I don't like it as a skirt.  It's too long and flowy and the top doesn't work with any of the shirts I own so I decided one fateful church morning to wear it as a dress instead.  Now, you must know that the top of this "dress" when its worn as a skirt is loose and its meant to fold over and be scrunchy.  When worn as a dress, it stays up really well when when its just come out of the wash.   And, it stays up pretty well when you are running around your house getting ready to go.  However, its just about the time you leave the house and drive off in the car that you begin to have a problem with it slipping. Add in one squirmy toddler that likes to grab and pull (especially when wearing something like this) and you've got trouble.   My first time wearing it was uncomfortable.  A lot of tugging and checking and tugging was involved.  Until I finally tied my cardigan so tight around my waist that I could have suffocated. Apparenlty though, this experience was not traumatizing enough for me to remember to never wear it again.  I've worn it three times since and every time I curse myself and vow NEVER AGAIN.  How I've not flashed people is beyond me.

This morning, I found myself grabbing for it again.  Whats the definition of insanity?    Doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a new result?  I think I must be insane.  But, narrowly, I think I can say I'm not.  Because I stopped myself, after putting it on, from leaving the house without FIXING it first!  I scoured the house, high and low looking for something that might serve as straps.  I thought to myself- something that doesn't need hemmed, something that is wide, something that won't break on me.  And then I found it quietly hanging in my closet.
A  little red and black belt I never wear because its too big and can't be sized.  Perfect!  I said as I grabbed it and ran to the sewing machine which now happens to be way too accessible for things such as this.  I hastily marked where I wanted to attach it and made a few hazardous swipes and bam.  
What was once a skirt is now a dress with an elastic, red and black strap...
Did I tell you guys I started packing heat.  Its my gun holster straps.   But, at least this dress isn't going anywhere!  And I guess I haven't really lost anything since I wouldn't have worn either of these without the other.... So, a little cardigan over the top and you'll never see the strange little makeshift straps I pulled out of my tookus.  And I'll be so relaxed I won't know what to do with myself.  Right?

How about you?  Any funny clothing misadventures to share? Do tell....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Shop... Eek

Well, I've gone and done it.  I've taken a little mini leap.
kind of a kiddi hop.
 But, there is no denying, my feet left the ground a little.  
Feeling a little barfy now:)
But that's a good thing, right?

I humbly introduce to you-- my shop...

I have a few more cards in the works.  And maybe a painting too. 
Wish me luck:)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Food Friday- Pizza Pie

Remember this old lovable tradition I sort of let slide?  The one where I force myself to try new (and often totally gross) things all in the name of motherhood and healthy eating?  Well, I thought I'd raise it from the dead all Pet Cemetery style for this week and this week only. Its not gruesome or utterly terrifying at all as was Pet Cemetery.  Its just pizza. Although, who would of thought a bunch of dead pets would haunt you for the rest of your adult life.  Truth be told, I didn't make it past the dog getting hit by the car in the very beginning.  It was the scariest build up I've ever seen. And the fact that I'm a total weeny didn't help.  Oh, and the fact that I have a husband who seems to enjoy taunting me.  That too.  Moving on.

Pizza isn't exactly new.  I've probably had it once a week for thirty-two years.  Whats that?  Close to 1500 pizzas in my life?  Oh man.  Java the Hut. (brushing it off now, whatev).   BUT, what IS new is that I've never made it myself.  It's not healthy, per the rules?   eh.  Sue me.

You all know my current desire to make a good life for my son, to provide wonderful memories, lots of support and laughter and fun and most of all, to make a good HOME for him. They are the same desires of every mother.  I often think about what it is that makes a home a HOME.  One of those things, in my estimation, is tradition.  Traditions are those little bits of habit that we carry with us throughout our life that connect the present, past and future.  They are the things we can draw on, when life's chaotic and swirling around, for comfort and familiarity.  I want to give that to my son.  Its a gift he won't know he has until he has a child of his own, I'm sure.  But it will be there, waiting. And so, the homemade pizza tradition was born, one summer Thursday night at the Stafford house.
Armed with my new pizza stone, my trusty mixer and all the knowledge I could was patient enough to glean from the internet, I dove in head first. I combined the yeast, warm water and sugar and let them proof (still not sure what that means but I think it means "let it sit", yes? )
Then I mixed it with two kinds of flour and salt.
Mixed it some more.
And some more.  Thank goodness for mixers! When it was finished, it was a very heavy dough and not very sticky. 
All the while, Sam remained blissfully ensconced in the alphabet game.
I set up my ingredients and then I waited for about an hour for the dough to rise. I put my stone on the bottom rack of the oven and cranked it up to 550.  This is not an energy efficient recipe, that's for sure. 

Then when it was about twice its size, I split it into three balls.  Then put it back in the bowl to rise some more.  Then came the fun part.

Part of the reason I wanted to do this is because I feel guilty about shooing Sam away from the counter.  He is desperate to watch and help me make dinner and he's old enough now that he can pull up the chair, climb up himself and mess with all the appliances and (shhh, don't tell) dirty dishes (yuuuuuukkkkk) while I'm trying not to burn everything to smithereens.  And, being human, I find my patience lacking on most such occasions. I felt like this was a good opportunity to turn a fight into something fun and educational.  It worked today.  Now what about tomorrow?
It really was fun. 
I read somewhere that its best to saute the moist (ewww) ingredients before putting them on the pizza in order to keep the crust from getting soggy.  I did this with the pepperoni (Jason likes it super crispy), and the mushrooms.  Then I put it all together.  Um.  Road block.  How do I get it from the counter to the stone?  It took two and a half Staffords to work it out.... we pushed and pulled and yanked and grunted and amazingly, it landed in a reasonable pile on the stone.  I didn't measure the stone or the dough and unfortunately, I smooshed the dough out a little large.  No problem.  Our pizza is more like a box.  Whatev. 
Unfortunately, this picture doesn't do the mess justice.  It was epic.  I'm talking flour all over the floor, junk here and junk there.   I do think that will clear up with time and wisdom.   

Presto, chango
10 minutes later. And oh my goodness.  It was good. 

 Did I mention flour was EVERYWHERE? 

What about you?  Any traditions you love?   Anything you do just because you always have?  


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