Never fails….until it does.

Remember when I started that photography 365 project?  God I hope you remember….because it was yesterday.  Well I started it after my camera broke.  It was an elderly Nikon D80….and what was weird….I literally blew the dust off it because my daughter asked me to take pics of my brand new grand baby.  And the D80 performed great….right up to the time it died.  I took some pics and was packing up to return home….then saw the shot I’d been trying to get for a week….the perfect baby feet shot….babies don’t make it easy….they aren’t all that interested in holding a pose.  Took the shot….thought I’d do one more quickly just for insurance and CLACK!  Nothing more could be seen thru the viewfinder.  Had one of those Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moments.  The LCD window displayed ERR.  TO THE GOOGLE!!  Which is where I found that it would cost more than the D80 is worth to fix it.

Godspeed Nikon D80.  You were the first digital camera I bought.  I bought you as a reaction to a snotty person who saw me using a Nikon N90 (a film camera for all the non-dinosaurs out there) and informed me, while rolling their eyes, “Daaahling simply everyone is going digital”. Okay.  They weren’t that snotty….and they didn’t call me ‘Daaahling’….and there was no eye rolling.  Truth be told, all they said was  “you might try digital photography.” I just tend toward the sensitive and take advice badly.

Having no DSLR presently, I will be using the camera feature on my iPhone.  Until such time as I acquire a new camera or leave for Arizona where I, like tons of other older people, spend the winter.  That is where the rest of my photography stuff is stashed.  Why I didn’t bring it back up north with me, I’ll never know.  Yeah….I do.  I left it there because I thought I’d quit photography.  I do that periodically. My quitting usually stems from a lack of creativity and my tendency to be a hermit.

It was stupid….but….

Just because it was stupid doesn’t mean I won’t do it again.

Honestly if I should ever design a heraldic crest for myself that will be inscribed in latin on the banner.

Here is the last pic taken by my Nikon D80….

at least it went out on a high note.

I just remembered….I still have that Nikon N90….and the speedlight that goes with it!  How it survived my occasional fits of ’embracing minimalism’ purges I don’t know….and this time I really don’t.  It’s a bit banged up and the rubberized back has a sticky gummy feel I don’t care for….but when we went steady we usually had a good time together.  I remember why I bought the N90….because I’d read that that was the camera Tipper Gore used on the campaign trail and I thought her photos were nice.  Yeah….that was a long time ago….a real long time ago.  I could use it….but processing film is a pain and it smells. Then you have to scan it….I still have an enlarger but what I don’t have is patience.  But you never know….remember the motto on my heraldic crest….

Just because it was stupid doesn’t mean I won’t do it again.

I actually ran that through Google Translate just to see what it might look like in Latin.

And this is what I got back….


So I had to go for the next best thing….what’s that?….Irish….duh.

Díreach mar a bhí sé dúr ní chiallaíonn nach ndéanfaidh mé é arís.

My crest will have to be huge….or….I will need a shorter motto.




not going to bitch about it.

Thought I’d try a 365 photo attempt.  The idea….if I do it….and finish it….is to be able to look back at the year.  Okay there has to be more to it than “oh yeah, I remember that”….hopefully.  I’ve got nothin’ to lose….even if I have nothin’ to write about.

Which brings me back to weather….not going to bitch about it.

You can’t get a rainbow without rain….today small squalls blew in and blew out….and one came with a rainbow.

But there must come a time when a rainbow isn’t much in the way of compensation for the amount of rain….thinking of Houston.


Let’s go fishing!

I’m a snowbird.

Spring & summer I live in the Pacific Northwest (Washington State).

Fall & winter I live in the Southwest (Phoenix).

Just as my circadian rhythms gear up for fall, I go back into summer….which is the Southwest’s early Fall.

Conversely….as they gear up for summer….I go back into fall….which is the Pacific Northwest’s early Spring.

And though Phoenix can get colder than a coal mining witches brass monkey….it doesn’t last very long.  So I don’t have much in the way of Polar Fleece. What is more useful are light weight breathables.  I said all that to say this….I need warm weather staples.  My previous post documented my love of linen pants….a definite staple.  There is also another candidate for staple….skorts?….no don’t golf….sundress?….hmmmm maybe later but….no….shorts?….oh hell no.  I could wait until you guess Thai Fishermans pants….but we might be here a while.

I had a couple of yards of a nice light cotton.  I purchased this from the quilting section of Joanns.  Thinking it was destined to become if not the binding then maybe the backing of a quilt or even part of the quilt top design.

So, piece of nice light cotton….what would you rather do….become part of a quilt that I’ll cut out, probably piece together but, even with the best of intentions, most likely never finish….or a pair of Thai Fishermans pants?  Specifically, Sew House Seven’s Thai Fishermans or Nehalem Pant.

Thousands of years ago, the dinosaurs had died off, man had just emerged and I was in the seventh grade.  It was required that girls take a sewing class.  In that class our first, and probably for many girls their last, project was an apron.  Granted it could be given to Mom on Mother’s Day….but an apron….really?

The world was a much larger place back then….I didn’t even know there was a Thailand.  But, thanks to Rodgers & Hammerstein, I was reasonably sure there was a Siam and that it was ruled by this guy….

I have no words….is it hot in here or is it….never mind.

Who knew their fisherman wore something as awesomely funky as Thai Fisherman Pants.  If those 12 year old girls had had the option of making those….home sewing would probably have never nearly reached extinction level.

The Sew House Seven Thai Fisherman Pant version is quick and easy.  The perfect first project. There are no fasteners of any type….save the easily constructed ties that hold the pants on.  I made the large. I also made the cropped version….which I knew would be full length on me.  They fit great.  The most time-consuming part is putting the .pdf only pattern together.  I’ve downloaded several .pdf patterns and painstakingly joined the pages together….and it is kind of a pain….I’m thinking next time I’ll spring for taking the file to Kinkos.

Here’s what they look like completed….

Generous….to say the least.

Here’s what they look like on….

Wore them all day….and they never worked themselves loose.

Love them and will make them again….starting tonight.

Good job Sew House Seven!




The Sewing Workshop Trio Pant

But first….

….still here.

Going on….

Before I decided to blow the dust off my sewing machine my usual attire was what typified ‘Athleisure’?

Upscale sweatpants that bore names like ‘city pant’  or ‘metro pant’.

They were hot.

Not hot like….



Nope….hot like….



“Oh Dear God I’ve got to get my pants off” sounds sexy if not slightly porny except when it’s uttered by a woman well over 60. Because then it’s a warning of possible spontaneous human combustion.

What’s a girl to do?

I don’t like wearing shorts anymore….for a variety of reasons….not the least of which is the imprint problem….sometimes known as potty leg but could also be called wicker chair leg or park bench slat leg.  Also I hate the sound of thththththththththpppp when you have to peel yourself off something like a vinyl booth seat in a diner.  Okay….not something like….exactly like.  If it’s warm enough to wear shorts….it’s warm enough for condensation.

Hello Linen.  Linen and I have become BFFs.  I’ve avoided Linen in the past having found her to be finicky, stiff and wrinkle prone.  What I didn’t know was that over time Linen becomes airy, comfy and that her wrinkles soften and fall away….wish I could say the same about mine.  She also looks like she’s put forth more of an effort to look presentable.  Plus she makes a great vinyl booth seat silencer.

I’ve made several pairs of linen pants.

The latest being….


This whole pattern grouping is awesome.

The outer shirt I will save for another post….suffice to say I’ve made three of them.

The T-shirt once….not really a T shirt person anymore.  But the raglan almost dolman-like sleeves provide more boob room that wouldn’t exist without a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA).

The pants also made once….but will again!

Can’t remember where this particular fabric came from….it was slightly heavier than I thought it would be….but all in all….I dig it.  It has softened up great.

I modeled the finished pants for my husband….

“Were you going for Cossack?” he asked with genuine curiosity.

“No” I responded with genuine annoyance.

I thought they would go well with my red Danskos clogs.  The pants are a sagey green gray.  Thinking each color would kinda make the other pop.  Color popping aside….the pant/clog combo did not ‘read’ like I had envisioned.

The pants go well with my Bob’s for Dogs shoe lobster (‘shoe lobster’ explained another time….one of my daughters sent me the link to the shoes and said “you need to get these, they’re your shoe lobster”….it has nothing to do with lobsters as I know them….but the shoes are great!).


With some flip flops….


When I actually paired the pants with my red Dansko clogs….I sorta kinda maybe saw what my husband saw.


I don’t think he meant Cossack….

I think he meant….


No sorta kinda maybe about it….

now you see it….don’t you.

But I will wear my linen pants….with or without my danskos….okay….most likely without.

My pics don’t do the pants justice.  They are cute and offbeat….just the way I like stuff.

Elastic waist but with a flat front with 2 tucks that I elongated by 1 inch.

My only alterations were to shorten the length….which I do with almost everything (I’m 5’2″)….and, because I wanted to accentuate the tucked in bottom hem I took in each seam approx. 1/4″ at the bottom….and could have done more.

I chose the option of button pockets rather than the zipper pockets….my reason being maybe metal zippers would make the pant hang weird.  A cautionary word about the pockets be they zipper or button….if you use them as an actual pocket be prepared to dig….they are deep….at the grocery store my car keys were banging around my ankle.

I should check my altered pattern so I could more accurately report my changes but my neighbor (another awesome one—-previous post involved neighbors awesome and not so awesome) saw my pants and asked to borrow the pattern!  I guess they didn’t look so Dutch Boy to her….but I wasn’t wearing them with danskos when she saw me.


Oh great….

something else to worry about.

Like any normal person I have a few phobias.

Are phobias really irrational fears? Or are they just mother nature’s alarm bells?

Mine are garden variety….

Spiders (arachnaphobia)
Crowded Elevators (claustrophobia….or that one could be some sort of germ phobia seeing as how my doctor moved to the top floor of a ten story building and logic dictates some, if not most, of the people in that tiny [size doesn’t matter here….ALL elevators regardless of dimension are tiny] elevator with you are sick).  In most circumstances I opt for the stairs.

That the woods bordering my house are inhabited by werewolves (lucanthraphobia)….okay, I might have made that word up.  But it is better than the word my husband has for this phobia….which is….nuts.

Sharks (Galeo or Selachophobia)….just commonsense really.  Wikihow will help you get over your fear of sharks.  What will they help me with next….how to get over my fear of walking through bad neighborhoods by myself at 3:00 in the morning?

Sea Monsters….or lake monsters….having seen one….did to….it is just best, if you share this particular phobia….and I’m sure there are many who do….do to….stay out of the element in which they live….in this case the element is water.  But this could also be Thalassaphobia which is fear of the sea.  A goo way to handle this phobia, as well as the aforementioned shark phobia, is to simply stay as high on the food chain as you can.  If you swim in the ocean it’s a clear signal you’ve relinquished your spot on the chain so you have no one to blame but yourself.

My newest phobia….crows.  Creepy and intelligent is never a good combo.  My next-door neighbor, who is neither one of those things, has been feeding them.  He then informs me there is quite a bit of crow doody on my house. Since it’s the side of my house that only he can see….I could not possibly care less.

Because the crows have now found an easy food source they are constantly hanging around.  Landing on my deck….walking back and forth….stopping occasionally to peer inside….silently compelling me (or trying to anyway….so far unsuccessfully) to feed them.  When they aren’t trying to employ the art of hypnosis to do their will, their Plan B is theft.  The Ol’ Smash & Grab.  Actually the Grab & Fly.  As was the case when my other neighbor (an awesome neighbor) was relieved of a breakfast pastry he had planned to enjoy while on his deck.  Not realizing a threat existed he turned his back to get his cup of coffee when BAM!  A rustle of blue black feathers and perp and pastry were now gone.  Gone but not far.  My neighbor watched his pastry be devoured on a nearby roof….my roof.  In full view of my neighbor the crow consumed the pilfered pastry with an attitude of ‘what are you gonna do about it’.

I had Minnie & Sookie (pugs) out in the yard when a crow landed not 10 feet from us.

It then proceeded to walk toward us!  As it closed the distance it cawed repeatedly at me.

I think it was saying “feed me if you know what’s good for you and your little dogs.”

I’ve seen Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds….so I know what crows are capable of.

Encouraging the pugs to quickly get inside….I carefully backed my way to the door….I think I may have said “okay we’re leaving….please don’t hurt us”, “just let us go in peace” ,  “I don’t want to die”….or words to that effect.

They are called a Murder for a reason.

I’m sitting outside on my deck as I type this.  And, I kid you not, a crow has landed on the railing 4 feet from my head. I’m wondering if, like the Tyrannosaurus in Jurassic Park, it can only see me if I move.  I am typing….that counts as movement….since it’s looking right at me….I’m assuming I’m visible and possibly doomed.  My frame of reference is, again, The Birds and I don’t want to be the next Annie Hayworth.

I just turned my head and spoke to it.  I said “Go next-door”.  It didn’t fly off, but it did turn around showing me it’s backside.  There’s a message in that….somewhere.

Turning my head and speaking to it didn’t scare it away.

It wasn’t scared away for the simple reason that it wasn’t scared.

How can this be a good thing?

Postscript….I see one of my other neighbors….she’s nice….I like her….sprinkling peanuts around one of the common areas….the common area right in front of my house.  And sure enough, like moths to a flame or, in this case, crows to a peanut….here they come.  From my vantage point on my deck I call out to her…. “Hi Carol….how ya doin?….what’s up?”  She kinda sheepishly says….”I figure if I left them peanuts down here they won’t poop on my deck.”  She must be assuming they (the crows) will know which house is hers and now I’m assuming they do.



A muse is….

an inspirational goddess.

There are nine of them….

Calliope, Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Terpsichore, Melpomene, Erato, Polyhymnia and Urania.

Inspirations for literature, science and the arts.

A quick aside….
I had a cat named Moonbeam….white with penetrating ice blue eyes. She was dignified….regal….and the embodiment of pure evil but that is a story for another day.

It’s only a quick aside in that I regretted not naming her Calliope.

There are, in fact, eleven Muses if you include Minnie and Sookie.

Who serve only as inspiration for me.  Sometimes inspiration to go for a walk. Not a long walk and certainly not in hot weather.  Pugs (did I mention they are pugs?….no?….well, they are pugs) are reputedly heat sensitive, though both like to sleep in the sun.  Sometimes inspiration for housecleaning when my clothing is so covered in pug hair it looks like I have my own pelt. Sometimes inspiration for driving with the car windows wide open in February.  I don’t know why but the thrill of a car ride will inspire Minnie to launch a salvo of ‘air biscuits’ (I hate the word fart).  They have also inspired thoughts of never owning another pet.  Usually after another trip to the vet….followed by another sizable bill….followed by my offering to send one of my children to veterinary school should they become disillusioned with their current careers.

Lately they (Minnie& Sookie) serve as an inspiration for me to paint.

They are the perfect subject for a novice.

For two reasons….

  1. They are attractive (admittedly in a ‘only a mother can love’ sort of way)….and
  2. They don’t move quickly….or much at all….if not inspired themselves….usually by food.



I have tons of photos of both of them.

But here they are captured in oil….Minnie and Sookie, respectively.



Not Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy….but they look nice in the bathroom off the kitchen.

In the not so still of the night

What the hell was that?!!

That was my first thought of the day upon waking.  It wouldn’t have been my first thought had it not woken me.  And technically it wasn’t my first thought of the day….because it was still night.

It was a combination screech/howl/cry/scream/wail….piercing but blessedly brief and luckily singular.  Had it continued I would have had to do something about it….like wake my husband to go investigate….had he been home….which he wasn’t….making it all the creepier.

I wasn’t alone.  I had two sweet, loving, snoring (at the time), totally useless pugs.  And, equally as useless (at the time)….and, frankly, I’m hard pressed to think of a good use….an overactive imagination.  Which immediately went on hyper-drive.  These are the possibilities it came up with….

  1. The screech of an owl.  I live across the street from a wildlife sanctuary so that’s plausible.  But an overactive imagination can’t be bothered with the plausible….it makes too much sense….and as everyone with an overactive imagination knows….resting on the plausible can get you killed.
  2. The howl of a lone coyote.  Here in Arizona coyotes sightings are frequent….maybe too frequent.  They are this frequent….my husband requested I close the blinds during breakfast one morning because he found the sight of a coyote munching on a rabbit, in our backyard, nauseating.  Poor rabbit….must have rested on a plausible.
  3. The cry/scream/wail of a Banshee.  Irish folklore.  And that’s what I’m running with!  I had no idea their reach extended as far as the American Southwest but it seems plausible and we all know what can happen with that.

So now I’m sleep deprived and worried.