Hmmm... At the continued urging of my co-workers (who are tired of hearing me cough), I went to an after-hours clinic on Friday. Diagnosis? Allergies. Duh ;) I knew going in there wasn't really anything anyone could do for me, unless there was an underlying issue that I was assuming was allergy-related but wasn't. Luckily -- and unluckily, I guess! -- I was right. I did get enough samples of my everyday allergy medicine to get me back to Rochester next weekend when I can get my Rx refilled. (My so-called "national network" insurance is, well, not.)

I did some work today on my little quilt for Kate's swap. It's slow going -- paper piecing 3" blocks is not for the faint of heart (or those in a hurry!). There's plenty of time to make this little darling; I was just surprised that it took 75 minutes to chain piece four blocks! I'd give you a sneak peek, but that would require me to know where the cord is for the camera! I've got half the blocks made now, and everything cut for the remaining ones, so maybe I'll be able to move a little more quickly. (I prefer to paper piece the Carol Doak way, where you trim firm, then stitch; it makes pre-cutting very easy and accurate, and wastes less fabric as a result.)

I also fused this month's block in our year-long Birthday Block Swap on quilting.about.com. It's not exactly as I imagined it, but it'll do. Miss April requested 9" blocks to make a village; mine's just a house, but it's kind of cute. (Doesn't your house have a brown and pink homespun plaid roof?!) Again with the camera cord... Now I have to figure out what kind of stitching it needs to keep it together. Not quite sure this one's going to make it in the mail by April 30, but I'll do my level best tomorrow!


The Jerk

Image by David Cowles, who is a fantastic illustrator in Rochester, NY. This is from his kids portfolio -- it just seemed apropos in my life ;) Shown here only for my own amusement, of course.


Where do the days go?!

I can't believe it's been a week since I last talked to you... well, actually, if I think back over the week, it's easy to see why... :)

Some of us at the office took a long lunch Friday to go see the cherry blossoms... too bad the best looking ones were behind razor wire, best seen from the train! It was great to get outside on a beautiful day, but the pollen was out in full force (my black shoes had a distinct yellow cast to them by the time we made it back to the office)... by the time I left the office, I was coughing. Spent the day lolling around yesterday, coughing, blowing my nose and generally feeling like something the cat dragged in. I was feeling somewhat better today (enough to start my little quilt for Kate's swap), then spiked a fever after supper. This seems like the same kind of garbage I had 6 weeks ago when I moved here (and 6 weeks before that...) I do NOT care for the theme of 2008 so far!


Poor Sam

Sam is my dad's new "shop cat" -- a companion to hang around his garage/shop. Sam is just a kitten -- he was tiny at Christmas when we first met him -- and was living with my cousin's family. He's incredibly curious and kind of a troublemaker and just wasn't fitting in with the other animals and people very well, so my dad adopted him.

Strangely, he was limping from the very beginning -- favoring his left front paw. Apparently it was swollen, but dad couldn't see any cut or sore or anything. Well, the swelling went down, and it became obvious that something still wasn't right -- his toes seemed to point in the wrong direction!

My mom took him to the vet, where she found that every single one of his toes on that paw was broken. The breaks are so perfect and clean, she thinks something fell on him. Poor kitty. Since it's been a couple of weeks, the bones are already fusing and scar tissue is forming, so the vet recommended leaving him to heal naturally, I guess rather than try to reset the breaks. (Not for nothing, but that's undoubtedly a less expensive solution, too!) She doesn't expect him to have any trouble with healing -- he'll just look a little funny because his toes kind of point outward!

I just had to share -- as my mom was telling me this, I couldn't help but think of my former cat Pickles, who tore her ACL when she fell off the furniture.


No longer a homeowner...

But fortunately, not due to the current bru-ha-ha in the mortgage business! The closing on my house was this afternoon, so as soon as I get the check, I'll pay off the mortgage and be debt-free. A good thing, although I'm a little sad. I love that house...

Mama, [s]he's crazy...

Seems everything is a song this week! My lack of willpower has taken over again, and signed me up for another fun activity. Kate's hosting Another Little Quilt Swap, and, although signups are now closed, she's promising another one in the fall if you're interested. Luckily, the mail date is July 1!

Now, I've *got* to get started on my April birthday block... I found a suitable pattern yesterday that I just have to resize. Yeah, just... ;) I haven't sewn a stitch in how long, and now I have to applique?! Heaven help me.


Cool tool...

If you use Google Reader and Firefox, this is my new favorite add-on: Better GReader. If you're frustrated by bloggers who only publish previews in their feeds, this is a solution. One click (either in the settings box or on a post-by-post basis) pops the page into your Reader window (OK, it's in a frame, but it's still handy!). Even better -- click the preview and you'll even see the comments. Hallelujah!

(And thanks to Lifehacker.)


Odds and Ends...

1) My friend Cindy just started blogging... go forth and visit her... she has a real gift for writing that makes even the everyday seem special. A lovely remembrance of her grandmother, in her debut post, includes some nice Michigan history, for those that are interested.

2) If you prefer your Coca-Cola without high-fructose corn syrup, now is the time to stock up. Look for the yellow capped two-liters -- those bottles are kosher for Passover, and thus made with sugar (sucrose) instead of the ubiquitous substitute. I think it's "fizzier" than the everyday version -- a lot more foam in the glass -- and rather yummy.

3) If you work for the NJDOT, please know that there is NOT adequate signage for the Garden State Parkway going north on the Turnpike. Thanks to this oversight, I contributed way more than my fair share in tolls to the state coffers as I wandered around heaven-only-knows-where Saturday night in the dark. (Another note -- having two exits numbered 14, as well as 14A, 14B and 14C, is not really helpful.)

4) Two of my favorite fast food restaurants have locations in NJ -- Sonic Drive-In and Chick-fil-A. Neither is terribly close to me, but they're closer than they have been in many years, so I'm happy!