Monday, January 24, 2011

You Can't Do This In Florida

I wouldn't exactly call our son "Mr Science". Brandon has always been attracted to off the wall crazy stunts because they are, well.... crazy... not because of the scientific properties involved. I spent much of his adolescence praying that he came home with limbs intact and hoping that he wasn't being escorted by the local police. Not that he was a "bad" kid, he just liked doing goofy stuff. If you get more than one boy with an attraction to goofy stuff in the same room, even if it is for just a few minutes, chances are you are going to need stain remover. Left unattended you may require a fire extinguisher or a new counter top. That only begins to explain why we have home video of what appears to be a flying vacuum cleaner. But I digress.

We have had a real cold snap here in the 'burg. Our overnight lows have been in the teens or even single digits for over a week. The windchill has been frigid by any standards. It was not enough to put a damper on Brandon and his now adult friends and their goofy antics.

It turns out that when the temperature is 5 degrees or below and you toss boiling water into the air - it vaporizes! It also makes a really cool sound! Scientific principals aside, it is fun!
Boiling tap water combine with frigid temperatures and you have what amounts to a poor mans version of fireworks. After the Steeler victory last night Brandon and his friends tossed several gallons of boiling water into the air to celebrate - and nobody lost a finger or shot their eye out.

Naturally I had to get Brandon to show me how it was done. Early this morning we boiled up some water in the microwave and whoosh! Vapor! How cool is that?
Ok, you had to know that Brandon got that "goofy" gene somewhere.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Home From the South

I did it. I managed to fly to Florida for the Ricky Tims Super Seminar, visit my friend and my daughter and return relatively unscathed. Five luke warm days in the somewhat Florida sunshine. Not exactly the perfect vacation...... but I would do it again in a minute!

My plan was to take my new, bright shocking pink, camera with me so that I could document my travels and share the photos with you here on the blog. That plan went awry when my purse fell over in the car on the way to the airport and that cute little camera slid out of my bag. I never even noticed the shocking pink camera on the car floor. Better in the car than in the bin at airport security, which is where I thought I had lost it until I phoned my husband.

No problem, I had my fancy schmancy phone with me. That would work just fine..... or not. If you want to see my photos of the trip, you will have to stop by and look at them on my phone. I've spent the last several hours emailing them to myself, but they never arrive. We will have to make do without my original photos

Flying for me is never easy, and I should have known better than to book a flight through Newark in any month where there is a chance of snow. When I tried to check in for my Wednesday morning flight, Continental informed me that my flights had been canceled. They had no options and their operators were very busy. They suggested I "try again later" before hanging up on me. I outsmarted them and booked a USAIRWAY one way ticket through Charlotte. I arrived at the airport very early for my flight so that I would have time to get my Continental refund before I left the burgh. With refund slip in hand, I checked the departure board and noticed that the 12:00 flight to Charlotte had been delayed. I headed straight for that gate and because other poor unfortunate travelers were going to miss their connections, they were rerouted and I was able to snag a seat on the earlier flight - the one that left so late that I actually arrived in Charlotte on schedule - instead of late, and made my connection for sunny Florida. Yippee!

After a night in West Palm, Bernie and I headed for Jacksonville, UNF, and the seminar. We found Lindsay, checked in to our hotel and registered for the seminar. That isn't a photo of the seminar building, that is the fancy new dorm at UNF with the lazy river. I couldn't find a photo of the University Center - work with me here....

There were over 370 women (and one man) attending. Ricky starts on time, stops on time and keeps things moving. Even though Bernie and I were just a few rows from the back, we had no problem seeing everything that was presented. The room was large, the presentations were on Power Point and shown on a large overhead screen. There were tight video shots of the "real life" demos and I don't think there was a bad seat in the house. I was impressed.

The days were paced to move quickly, but there were also generous breaks in the morning and afternoon. Lunch was an hour and a half, which was more than enough time to get out, eat and be back in your seat without having to rush. The doors opened at 7:30 am and the sessions started at 8:30. I would have preferred a later start and less break time, especially the morning that Bernie had to scrape ice from the windshield - in sunny Florida. Luckily the days got warmer the longer I stayed. The last night that I was there we actually ate outside on the patio! Now that I am home, I hear that Jacksonville is in the 70's. - figures......

The seminar days flew by. Alex Anderson did a segment on drawing your own hand quilting designs. As always, Alex made herself available at every break to sign autographs, take photos and listen to endless stories about how her fans have connected with her over the years. I was no different.

On Friday Lindsay joined us for the afternoon session. I specifically wanted her there to meet Alex. The quilt featured on the front cover of the Start Quilting book has a border on it made from fabric that I designed for Timeless Treasures. I named the fabric line after Lindsay. Lindsay's birthday is January 15th, Alex's birthday is January 14th. I now have a photo (on my phone) of Lindsay and Alex and the book which she autographed. Just for fun.

One absolutely delightful segment was presented by Libby Lehman. (that is Ricky's quilt, Libby does thread painting) Libby is a national treasure. She is hysterical, talented, more fun than you can imagine and a very good teacher. Her honest, down to earth comments about her work were great fun to listen to and I don't think anyone left the room thinking "I could never do that". On the contrary, I think everyone that possibly could, raced home to give it a try! I even considered giving it a try on the sewing machine that Lindsay took to school with her, but there just wasn't time.

Blending the seminar with a college visit required that we include Lindsay with meals, take her shoping to Target for "necessities" and spring for a very expensive birthday dinner. Bernie and I have been friends for over 20 years so there was lots of talking and laughing. There justs wasn't time for anything else.

Sunday morning we headed back to West Palm and stopped to vist with another of Bernies friends over lunch. Cindy's home was absolutely delightful, beautifully decorated with quilts - some of which are published and award winning. It was a perfect ending to a great weekend. Then I had to fly home. I left in the wee hours of the morning and other than a 5 hour layover in Atlanta due to mechanical dificulties, all went well.
Quilting weekend, daughter visit, warmer temperatures than we had at home. Steeler victory, New England loss, what else could a girl want? ...... I want to do it again!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm glad that is over......

There is nothing like the year end inventory to suck the fun out of having a retail store. It is not only a necessary evil, it is required by law. Weighing several thousand bolts of fabric, counting zippers and fat quarters and patterns and notions and thread (3,380 spools to be exact) and packages of pins and needles and ........ well you get the idea. Then comes the paperwork that inventory generates. The cross checking and verifying and correcting and when it is all done, it is TAX TIME. What kind of reward is that?

It is no wonder that after all of the numbers are put to bed I try to schedule some sort of treat for myself. A pedicure in the middle of winter, a shopping splurge for a special treat, anything that I can dangle as a carrot to help me get through the fact that I spend most of my holiday lifting, counting or answering paperwork questions.
This year I have gone a little overboard. Ricky Tim's is hosting one of his Super Quilting Seminars with special guests Alex Anderson and Libby Lehman in Jacksonville Florida. On the campus of the University of North Florida. Our youngest daughter attends UNF in Jacksonville and her birthday is next weekend - the same weekend as the seminar. When my BFF Bernie discovered this, she suggested we attend. I could not have agreed more.
I'm sure my daughter, who was just home for 3 weeks is dying to spend her 20th birthday with her Mom and her Mom's best friend. Although I have already been informed that we can take her out to dinner, but we aren't invited to the party her friends are throwing.... I can't imagine why.
Seeing Lindsay for her birthday is a bonus. My main reason, besides spending time with Bernie, in what I hope will be the Florida sunshine, is business related. This seminar is serious business. Day one starts at 2:30 and runs until 7:30 pm. Day two starts at 7:30 AM and doesn't finish until 5:30 and then there is an evening concert by Rick at 7:30 pm. Day three runs from 7:30 am until 5:30 pm. That is a lot of hours to fill. The entire thing is lecture demo style. No sewing, no cutting, no materials list. I know that I can be long winded. I once talked for 45 minutes on batting alone, but 2 1/2 days is a LONG time. What can they possibly tell us that will hold the interest of everyone for that long? I can't wait to find out, and then I will share it with you.
At least I hope I have the chance to find out. As I write this another storm is set to hit the New York area on Wednesday. Naturally I have to fly through Newark NJ to get to Florida - on Wednesday. I'm leaving a day early because it is not uncommon for my flights to go a bit haywire. Later this week I will either be able to tell you about the wonderful time I had at the Ricky Tims Seminar or you will be forced to listen to me whine about yet another airline disaster. Keep your fingers crossed for me!