During WWII, my dad was a bombardier on a B-17 (I believe it was a B-17G), the Stars and Stripes. I don’t know much about what he did – he’s talked about it more with others than with me, but I know that he bombed Germany, and I know he and his whole crew completed their 30 missions successfully. While visiting last week, there was a B-17G at the local airport for 2 days, and the crew called my dad as asked if he would like to come out for a visit. At 94, my dad’s mind is still as sharp as a tack, but his knees aren’t so good, and 25 years of smoking when he was younger have caught up with his lungs. Unfortunately, he had to decline.
A couple of days later, we took Sweet Daughter to a park to do some kid stuff, instead of all that boring grown-up talking, and I heard a very distinctive growly rumbly hum. Once you’ve heard it, you can’t possibly mistake it for anything else. I looked up, and there she was, the Aluminum Overcast, the Queen of the Sky.
While visiting in the mid-west last week, we took a side-trip to the Hormel Spam museum. It’s a really nice place. It was bright and shiny. It was kitschy. They spared no expense (which they apparently try to recoup soley through the gift shop.)
All was going well – Sweet Daughter was busy trying to stuff six empty cans with bean bags representing Spam, then putting on lids, “heat” processing them, and labeling them (all while being timed) when an older gentleman came through with a tray of “Spam with cheese” samples. I took one when offered, and when he asked SD if she wanted one, she replied “No, thank you.” as she continued to stuff cans with faux Spam.
His response? “That’s un-American!” he sputtered in a disapproving tone.
My response? “At least she’s got good manners!”, while giving him a modified version of my “eat flaming hot death” look.
I thought I’d try a new recipe I found for burgers tonight. Shorter Half prefers meat on his plate, and looks askance at most things in a vegetable state. He thinks anything with a root system would be be better utilized as bait for catching real food.
The burger itself was basically half sweet Italian sausage and half ground round with finely chopped apple mixed in as if you were making meat loaf. The recipe said to top the grilled burger with bacon, thin slices of apple and a dressing (sauce? topping? condiment?) made of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and honey. I added sharp cheddar and some grilled onions to the list of extra toppings. Once Shorter Half’s brain adjusted to the new combination of flavors, he went back for more. (YAY! Something new to add to the dinner rotation.)
This was definitely “AOS” which means it didn’t suck, or as we say, has an “Absence Of Suck”. Remember folks, you heard it here first.
Oh, and that "Are you a hippe?" thing that's going around?
You are -0% hippie.
Ok, you conservative soul. Do you even believe in global warming? Loosen that necktie a little, and try some organic food. It actually does taste better. And go to a farmer's market--they're fun.
It’s been a long 5 days with lots of mileage. No TSA scanners were involved at either end of the trip, and that made me happy. I’m pretty sure I lost my glasses (the ones I use to see to get from the bathroom when I take my contacts out to get wherever I’m going – like bed) at the first TSA checkpoint when I was removing my quart bag of liquids from my carry-on. That does not make me happy, but I figure I’m long overdue for (oh, I don’t want to type this out loud) bifocals. It’s cumbersome reading at night with reading glasses OVER the regular glasses.
Sweet Daughter was an absolute joy to travel with. There was minimal complaining (“Can we go now??”) and no whining what-so-ever. Well that, and she decided she was going to try to thank each and every “Camouflage Guy” she saw in the airport.
More later when I’ve had some sleep, and food that hasn’t been scavenged from SD’s leftovers.
We average 37 days at or above 90 degrees each year. We hit that mark already today, and summer has been here less than a month.
Other randomness … Sweet Daughter has had a stuffy nose and sore throat for about 10 days now. The strep test came back negative, so the doctor suggested I try allergy medicine at bedtime. That sent her into orbit last night (you bet your sweet bippy it was “non-drowsy”) AND it didn’t work, and Tylenol Cold medicine has been recalled. Did I mention we’re getting on an airplane in less than 40 hours? Cold and/or allergy medicine comes in 4 oz. bottles. 18 mL more than allowed by the TSA. Tomorrow I go in search of something in a non-liquid form.
As I’m scurrying around packing, I notice that Shorter Half is watching something on TV involving plane crashes. After looking at the TV with a picture of an airplane in descent with its back half on fire, I looked pointedly at SH and said “That plane there – it landed safely and everyone lived, RIGHT?” He concurred without looking me in the eye, and I left the room and went back to packing.
The bag I used to use for my over-sized purse/diaper bag/etc. when flying got converted to my range bag. It’s great – it’s got lots of pockets and it’s doesn’t scream “GUNS! I’ve got GUNS!” Now I know that people have tried to get the attention of the TSA by taking just such a bag through security and have failed to raise so much as an eyebrow. I, on the other hand, do not wish to draw any untoward attention to myself, and so had to find a new bag.
I won’t be back until early next week, and will be without computer access (for the dozen of you that stop by) until then. Wish me luck and hope for clear skies. SD is looking forward to flying through the clouds so she can finally prove to me for once and for all that Care Bears really exist.
The beach was mostly lovely. Except for the idiots that lifted the jelly-fish netting. Repeatedly. It seems they were looking for something that lived in the bay, because they had a plastic bag with about 12 oz. of water in it, and something that they gleaned from the bay side of the netting (that HAD been doing a dandy job of keeping the jelly-fish out of the swimming area) and they kept peering at their catch. Whatever it was. These were adults, too. So we had an hour or so of jelly-fish hunting to do before we were comfortable going back in the water.
Product rave: One application of Aveeno 100 sunblock on Sweet Daughter meant she got to spend six hours playing in the sun and in the water and the only part that got red was the part in her hair. AWESOME stuff.
And six hours of sun and sand meant I got this on the way home. “Mama. I wasn’t sleeping. I was resting my eyes.”
Content has been low lately because I've been getting ready for an audit-from-hell at work. It was supposed to start next Tuesday, but got bumped up to Monday. Shorter Half is out of town this weekend, so Sweet Daughter and I spent half the day in the office yesterday, and the rest of the day doing errands.
Today, we are going to the beach. It's a small beach in Maryland, about an hour away, but it's got a fenced and netted swimming area to keep the jellyfish out, and restrooms. I simply buckle the life jacket on SD, dump out her bag of sand toys, and turn her loose while I try to review procedures. She might as well have some fun while I'm freaking out.
Time to pack the cooler and the sunblock and head out.
When Sweet Daughter got Goldie, the rocking chair in her room had to go. It blocked the view of the aquarium from her bed, and we’d outgrown it. As in she didn’t fit on my lap at story-time anymore. So I kept an eye out for a small chair that would fit in that spot in her room – low enough to see over, but big enough to curl up in and read. Well, we were heading out to do errands one day, and our local thrift store-type place had a chair on the porch that invited a closer look. It was the right size, it was in excellent shape, and the price couldn’t be beat ($5!), but dang, it was ugly. Let me tell you that few things clash with burnt orange and harvest gold plaid like a 1980’s “dusty rose” rug, and pale violet walls. At least it had the advantage of being mostly right angles and straight lines, which would make it easier to cover.
So home it went, and SD picked a fabric she liked. (Excellent taste. She chose a Waverly print that, fortunately, was on sale. A lot on sale.) I pre-washed and dried it and waited for that whole “center brain” thing to shift out of neutral. This Monday morning I woke up in full math-brain mode figuring how to cut the front out of mostly one piece. The interior depth of the arms was the same as half the width of the seat, so I could cut down the middle part of the way, up the interior sides of the arms, and across. I measured up the front and back along the arms and since the front and back of the chair were the same width, added some seam allowances, and I tore myself a rectangle of fabric. Yes, tore. Most fabric (unless it’s twill) is woven at right angles, and tearing will give you a perfectly square piece without having to worry about wavy cutting lines.
Here's the fabric going up the front, and across the arms to the very back of the chair. Notice we've got the pattern running "up", and a flower motif somewhat centered.
Here, I've ripped the fabric lengthwise to get a perfectly straight and square piece. This is the right front corner, and right side of the chair.
Here I've cut down part-way down the middle of the rectangle, folded the ends down, and cut the center flap free. The math part of my brain was going gangbusters!
I stitched up the front interior arm seams, then cut side panels for the outside of the chair. The front was an inch higher than the back, so I angled it appropriately, and made sure that the pattern was still running “up”. I sewed the top and front seams, and reinforced all the seams with some top-stitching.
Here is the side panel sewn on.
Now somewhere around this point the coffee kicked in. I don’t generally drink coffee, especially with French Vanilla creamer. And sugar. On ice. The next section is a bit of a blur, but luckily I transitioned from the “math” to the “art” parts of my brain right on cue. After cutting a scrap piece of canvas for the part of the seat that nobody will see, and sewing that to the front and side pieces, I took what was left of my rapidly dwindling supply of fabric (who knew that a chair with a 37” square footprint would end up using 4 yards of 54” fabric?) and cut a piece for the back of the seat, keeping the pattern running “up”, and managing to sort of center the floral design. I got that neatly seamed in place, and then started fiddling with the sides of the backrest.
Here's the front, pretty much done.
Here's where I've fiddled with the sides of the backrest, and pinned it all in place.
Let’s just say I got really lucky, and managed to piece two scraps together so that the seam wasn’t very noticeable. You can see the seam just left of center.
So, now I’ve pinned the back on, and I’m fitting around the corners with plans to topstitch it all. The math part of my brain hat deals with the precise angles and seams is long gone. I get the back on with plans to put giant snaps down the side edges, once I get some snaps, and I mark the hem and sew that in.
The back panel pinned on.
The back panel sewn on.
I take what’s left of my scraps, and find a piece that sort of has that same flower motif on it for one side of the cushion, and whatever is left for the other side. The sides are pieced together with 3 scraps. I realize I’ve forgotten the golden rule of upholstery zippers, which is “go long – you can always cut off the extra”. So with a zipper about seven inches too short, I get creative. Let’s just say I’m glad I picked up a cheap separating zipper. I summon the last of my strength, get the cushion in the new cover (raking my forearm with a forgotten pin in the process), stick on the chair, and voila! My first slipcover since the Berlin Wall fell.
Not bad for a $5 chair! And the best part is that when it gets dirty, I can take it off, and throw it in the washer.
I also picked up 4 big boxes of WWB at Wally World. The nice young man with the great hankin’ grommets in his ears and the bad ink sleeves seemed a little confused with the middle-aged mom with complete with the polo shirt and plaid headband asked for four boxes of 9mm Luger. “No, the big boxes. Yes. The ones that say ‘100’. Thank you!” Not his usual customer, I’m guessing.
First fireworks for Sweet Daughter. The first one went off, and she started shrieking with joy like a steam whistle with the valve stuck open. And we didn’t have to tell her to quiet down because we could hardly hear her over the fireworks anyway. The look on her face was priceless – the grin was brighter than the explosions in the sky. It appears she has inherited my love of things that go “blammo”.
The sewing muse returned long enough for me to slipcover a chair for Sweet Daughter’s room. It took all day, but it was the biggest slipcover job I’ve done so far. The last time I slipcovered cushions, the Berlin Wall was being torn down on TV as I sewed. So, yeah. It’s been a while.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
Go read the whole thing and reflect on reflect on the last sentence:
And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
These two I understand. Others understand. Nobody stares at me (much) when I start mopping my eyes and blowing my nose. But the third one? The National March of the United States of America?
3. The piccolo obbligato in The Stars and Stripes Forever. It's just the piccolo part, and it gets me every dang time. I don’t know why it makes me boo hoo -- it’s not like I’ve ever been terrorized by a piccolo, or anything. And people do look at me funny for crying during this one.
BTW, did you know Stars and Stripes Forever has lyrics? Ones that don’t begin with “Be kind to your web-footed friends …”
Let martial note in triumph float And liberty extend its mighty hand A flag appears 'mid thunderous cheers, The banner of the Western land. The emblem of the brave and true Its folds protect no tyrant crew; The red and white and starry blue Is freedom's shield and hope.
Other nations may deem their flags the best And cheer them with fervid elation But the flag of the North and South and West Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.
Hurrah for the flag of the free! May it wave as our standard forever, The gem of the land and the sea, The banner of the right. Let despots remember the day When our fathers with mighty endeavor Proclaimed as they marched to the fray That by their might and by their right It waves forever.
Let eagle shriek from lofty peak The never-ending watchword of our land; Let summer breeze waft through the trees The echo of the chorus grand. Sing out for liberty and light, Sing out for freedom and the right. Sing out for Union and its might, O patriotic sons.
Other nations may deem their flags the best And cheer them with fervid elation, But the flag of the North and South and West Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.
Hurrah for the flag of the free. May it wave as our standard forever The gem of the land and the sea, The banner of the right. Let despots remember the day When our fathers with mighty endeavor Proclaimed as they marched to the fray That by their might and by their right It waves forever.
'You know in the bell curve of bad-assness you are on the far edge. Maybe not as far as female helicopter door gunners but you are closer to her that to the soccer moms...' - someone who wishes to remain anonymous