Saturday, October 31, 2009

Out of the Mouths of . . . Old Ladies

As usual, Helen is right on.

Go here.


Friday, October 30, 2009

William Morris Strikes Again

By now it's getting chilly down at the Jersey shore. And Kathy, who just bought a Cape May house, is going to need to keep warm.

I thought I'd help her.

The fabric is Bill, of course.

I think it will be perfect in her bedroom.

If not, she's got lots more beds to try it out on!

The weather hasn't been good for photo ops and since Kathy was scheduled to receive her quilt last night, I put it on my bed in the morning just to get a pic before giving it away. It wasn't very satisfactory. Then my wonderful husband surprised me by taking a picture outside when he was home for lunch, and sending it to me.

Wasn't that nice?


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Who Am I?

Back in the late Sixties and early Seventies, we heard a lot about a phenomenon called "An Identity Crisis." It was something one had (or perhaps aspired to have?). More often it was something referred to as in "She's having an . . . ." It mystified me. How could someone not know who she was?

About the same time we'd hear people talking about "finding myself." Again, "Amazing Grace" notwithstanding, I never was really lost (other than that time on Ashbourne Road when I thought I would never see my family again).

Presently I'm active in the Lutheran Church and employed at a Quaker School. In both of these realms, I'm sometimes asked to participate in "exercises" of introspection. We'll be asked things like which of these markers really matter to us about ourselves: Gender, Age, Sexuality, Race, Class. We'll reflect for a bit (sometimes an interminable period) and then we'll "share."

"As a gay man," someone will begin. And another will respond, "Well, as a Latina woman," and I sit there mute.

As a late-middle-aged straight white female, I never think about those things! I guess that if I spent enough of that introspection time pondering these markers instead of admiring the pattern on the rug or enjoying the designs the leaves are making as the breeze goes through them, I'd become aware that they impact me far more than I think.

But here's how I think of myself. And here are the markers that matter and shape me: Wife. Mother. Sister. Friend. Listener. Quilter. Lutheran/Quaker. And, praise God, Grandmother.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

800 and Counting

800 hexagons? Well, no. Read on . . . .

Between the getting ready for the accreditation, surviving the accreditation (we're at 2/3 through at this point), miscellaneous small social events and baseball, precious little serious sewing has been done in the past week or two. Sitting in front of the late-night games, I've done a little hand-quilting on my CW baskets (picture available someday). But I've also had a lot of fun with something entirely different!

My great-niece Abby (the one of my sister's grandchildren I feel closest to) asked me if I'd piece a couple of Grandmother Flower Garden blocks for her. Now, I ask you, how could any self-respecting grandmother, particularly one whose next generation is scheduled to double, decline such a sweet request? Apparently Abby has asked several relatives to make these for her and she plans to put them all together into a quilt for herself. I've never made any of these before, and I've completed the two she requested and will be handing them off to her at Thanksgiving time. I've no idea whether I've done it correctly or not -- I didn't have any instructions, so I just sort of plunged in. After one false start, I believe I've got it right. The picture is lifted from the internet and is what I imagine Abby will end up with. Perhaps I'll have a chance to post the pic of my blocks.

I notice that this is my 802nd post! Which would seem to call for a give-away, wouldn't you think? And guess what! I'm heading out to Lancaster this weekend and surely will have ample opportunity to select precisely the right give-away.

If you'd like a chance to win this mystery gift, leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite Hallowe'en costume from your childhood was. Mine was sometime in the 1950s when not everyone had a television. My father helped me make a television out of a brown cardboard box and I had a Howdy Doody false-face to wear inside. With my plaid shirt. I sure wish I had a picture of it.




Friday, October 23, 2009

Our Cup Runneth Over

Our spring just got busier.

You may recall that our older son and his wife are expecting a baby early in April.

And now the news breaks . . .

. . . that our younger son and his wife are expecting a baby a very few weeks after!

Again I say, "Rejoice!"


Thursday, October 22, 2009

No Sweat

Y'know, I really thought Chez was gonna get on this one. But I guess he's too busy enjoying his adorable daughter. Which is a pretty good excuse, if you ask me. Though he did break radio silence to reflect on the balloon boy insanity. But I digress.

Since he's apparently passing on this one, I'm going to take a stab at it. But don't expect a lot.

I don't get it. People paid upwards of $9000 to be degraded, starved, sleep deprived, and parched, in hopes of getting rich -- erm, "to enjoy total abundance and true wealth financial, relationally, mentally, physically and spiritually."

I mean, I've checked out James Arthur Ray's website. I've read his "biography." I've looked at the various seminars he offers at various costs. Oy.

And people were -- literally -- dying to get what he has to offer. Beverley Bunn, one of the survivors, provides the gory details here, in case you're one of the three or so people who don't already know what happened in Sedona at the hand of James Arthur Ray.

How naive, how lazy, how stupid, how I-don't-know-what were these people who had more money than sense, that they signed up for such an experience? Don't they have any idea what life is about? Do they really, really think that money can buy happiness?

All right. Rant over. Got it off my chest. Think I'm gonna go back over to Chez's and admire the baby. He's got the right idea after all.



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

I've always had a fondness for banana bread. I never feel sad to see bananas start to "go." Because I know where that can lead. For about twenty years I used my mother's recipe; the card in my file box is battered and stained. Then out came The Silver Palate and I tried their recipe and was converted. Oh, yum. What could be better?

I'll tell you. This summer I discovered Cooking Light's Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze. I made it again tonight and decided it is too good to keep for ourselves; I'm going to share the recipe with you. So here goes.
. . . . . .

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. real butter, softened
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 C. plain yogurt (I've used vanilla or maple if that is what I have)
3 Tbsp. dark rum (I've used ight rum if that is what I have)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 C. flaked sweetened coconut

Cooking spray

1 Tbsp. flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Method

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Combine the flour, soda and salt. Place the granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Add the bananas, yogurt, rum, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until just moist. Stir in the coconut. Spoon into 9 x 5 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. coconut. Bake at 350 for 1 hour (Takes more like 70 minutes). Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan. Combine powdered sugar and juice, drizzle over warm bread. Cook completely on wire rack.

You might want to try this today.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Molly, I Did It!

Molly is the recipient of October's monthly block exchange for the Fat Quarters group. I believe she sent a different block from a BOM to each participant. I got Milky Way. The fabrics are just yummy. The thing is, the diagram didn't tell me what size the finished block was supposed to be!

And there wasn't quite enough of the background fabric. After a quick consult with Molly, we decided I'd fill in from stash, since the finished quilt is intended to be utterly scrappy. And so I did. This little finish-at-seven-and-a-half block has sixty-four pieces in it!

All of that being said, there was nothing at all complicated about it, and it was a lot of fun to watch it come together.

I sure hope it's right!

Molly, it'll be in the mail tomorrow. And there's nothing left over!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Home Alone!

Oh, I tell you, I've had the loveliest weekend! Home alone! My husband is not a demanding person; he is about as easy-going as an individual can be (has to be, I guess, to live with me). And yet having him gone and having no one else's needs (apart from Bo's minimal requirements) to think about, I was free to relax and go at my own pace and do what I wanted to do. I became aware that my usual pace is not my own pace; it is much faster than is comfortable, in response to all that I need to do or -- at least -- all that I perceive that I need to do. I multi-task so often that I'm frequently failing to just enjoy doing the thing for the sake of doing the thing, if you follow this garbly train of though (and I think you do).

Friday evening I had a light dinner of left-overs and then went downstairs where I began the laundry marathon. Which was painless as I had the Phillies on in the background and Bernina in the foreground. Someone had given me a gift of a pack of Moda turn-overs and I put them together.

The gal who does my nails is expecting her second child in January and has learned that it is a girl. Linda takes very good care of me and I had thought I would make a quick little tied pinkish quilt for her new daughter. This turnover top, I think, fills the bill. I actually had a piece of one of the fabrics that I'd bought for a round robin (yes, Ms. Jan, yours!) and there was enough to cut and piece for the binding. So I just need to get backing, batting, and floss and I'm good to go!

I also did the addition for this month's round robin, but I'm not permitted to show you that.

Emily No Blog's daughter Mandy is getting married in March. Em's a member of the monthly hand quilting group, the Uvulas (I've told you before: Don't ask!) and the group asked her to buy some fabric that Mandy would like and we'd make a couch quilt as a gift for her.

Em brought the check and the green to a meeting and we all agreed that we'd make two basket blocks each, using both fabrics and adding anything else that might be needed from stash. We'd use Kona black for the background. And then we'll divide up the tasks and purchases to get the blocks turned into a quilt. So I started those blocks on Friday night.

Saturday was a continuation of the laundry marathon (it is a wonder we weren't wandering around stark naked, there was so much of it!) and it also was a day of body work: hair cut, mani/pedi, and eyebrows. I shopped a little and made a casserole for tonight's dinner. I tried to buy new tires, but the store was closed by the time I got there. I had dinner with Bonnie at our favorite burger place.

And I made this friendship star block for Michelle, a member of our monthly block exchange. She's an Air Force wife and is making a couple of baby quilts to have on hand for Air Force moms who deliver babies after their husbands have been killed in combat. Such thoughtfulness! And how heart-wrenching.

After dinner I put on a terrible TV movie on Lifetime, "Sorority Wars," and mercifully finished my sewing before the film was over. Yes, you are correct if you are thinking that this is the October block for the BOM from the Fat Quarter Shop! It's not my favorite block in the series, but it was a lot of fun to make.

I've noticed that the packets this year have an abundance of fabric. I'm thinking that when all twelve blocks are finished and set, there will likely be enough to make another dozen blocks from the left-over fabric.

This morning I got up for early church and then went out to breakfast with a couple of friends from church. Came home and finished the closet change-over, tidied the guest room, did some on-line shopping, and just as I was thinking it was time to put a sandwich together I heard Himself pull in and I was awfully glad to see him!

No longer home alone,

Friday, October 16, 2009

Staying Home

As our accreditation visit draws nearer, the anxiety level at school has picked up and the stress over the visit seems to have spilled into all kinds of non-related areas. I've had a week of calendar nightmares -- scheduling meetings for folks with diverse responsibilities and diverse calendars of their own, rescheduling meetings that didn't happen, and having a bunch of people show up for a meeting that somebody had canceled but not told me. I tell you, I'm glad it is Friday.

Joe is going down to DC tonight to visit Andrew and Amy and visit the Solar Decathlon on the Mall. I had been scheduled to go along but yesterday after I determined that my job was temporarily out to get me, I decided to forego six or eight hours coming and going on I-95 even if it meant foregoing time with A&A, just to regroup.

Tomorrow I'm getting my hair cut, my nails done, and having dinner with my sister. And sleeping, reading, and sewing. And trying not to answer the phone!

The picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post or anything else, except it is one of the pictures on the box of notecards I bought last week in Cape May to use to make invitations for Anastasia's baby shower next month. I thought the bunnies and kitties were irresistible.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Victorian Week, 2009

The weekend of Columbus Day is the start of Victorian Week at Cape May. For years, Joe and I made it our custom to spend that weekend right there. Then a few years ago we began going to Downrigging Weekend in Chestertown, Maryland, and we just couldn't manage to do both of these wonderful escapes. This year, we returned to Cape May, spending three nights at the Humphrey Hughes House, a bed and breakfast inn right in the heart of the historic district and one block from the beach. In all the years we've gone to Cape May, we'd never before stayed here, and it was really quite wonderful. A great big place, with many gorgeously appointed rooms and lovely, spacious communal rooms, HHH made us most comfortable. The porch is high up and generous and the first morning our breakfast was served right out there. The other two mornings it was a tad chilly, and we ate inside at huge tables that held ten or twelve guests.

Our room was a little suite, the queen bedroom beautifully decorated in shades of lilac, and the adjoining sitting room held the television and comfortable places to read. We were most content. The breakfasts were nothing short of miniature works of art, and utterly delicious. I enjoyed a dish that I never expected to try, let alone request the recipe for, called "Grits and Greens."

We took a long walk on the beach one morning, picking at the shells and pebbles, always admiring the gulls, and marveling at the group of skimmers, standing so precisely, almost like a military drill team. One night we went to Cape May Stage and saw an outstanding play called "Proof." The acting was stellar, and the story captivating. While there we ran into some old friends and walked home together.

Dining is an important part of Cape May. Joe always likes to go to Louisa's and I love a place called Frescos, and this year we managed to get to both of them. We shopped a little bit on the mall -- I picked up a pair of size five pink Crocs for Caroline and Julia Child's book, My Life in France.

When I write about Cape May, I always talk about the inns and the restaurants and the shopping. I seldom write about one of the most important aspects of this town. It is on the migratory route for several species of hawks and other birds of prey, and down at the nature center at Cape May Point, there are stands where a person can wait with binoculars and help with the counting of the migratory birds.

Also, oddly enough, the town is on the migratory route of monarch butterflies and Victorian Week is exactly when they pass through. We saw some goldenrod along the Promenade that was just laden with monarchs, and I was tickled to see some resting on the sand as we walked along.

A good friend from home has just bought a home in Cape May, and we stopped to admire the progress she is making as she turns it into her own.

All too soon it was time to head north, leaving behind the hawks, the monarchs, and the people wandering around dressed from head to toe in Victorian clothing. It was a lovely, relaxing, and delicious getaway. We're so glad we went.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

All in a Day's Work

As we enter the home stretch (16 days and counting) until the accreditation team arrives, there is much to be done. Nerves are frayed, computers are behaving badly, rewrites abound, and yet those of us at the epicenter have managed to keep our sense of humor. Atop this stress today came another chaos -- the annual Field Day, where kids in blue shirts compete against kids in white shirts, and employees are very careful to wear neither color (I went with purple and aqua to be safe).

Near the end of the school day, my phone rang. It was the parent of an 11th grader who had been home sick today. She wondered if I could go to his locker, retrieve his history notebook and get it to her 6th grader to bring home. No one had answered when she'd called the division -- everyone was out watching the Tug of Conflict (only in a Quaker school). I took down the particulars including the location of his locker ("near the baaaaaaaathroom" he said in his most disdainful 11th grade tone) and headed down the hall, hoping to be done with the errand before Field Day ended and hundreds of hormones in sweaty stampeding bodies burst through the door.

I failed. I got the notebook okay, but had to wend my way back through the hordes of upper schoolers to get down to middle school before their dismissal (earlier than the upper school end of day). When I got there, the hall was swarming with the directionless bugs that middle schoolers often are; one of the teachers helped me to find the kid brother, who had red hair and a grin cute enough to make one rethink one's prejudice against middle schoolers.

As I started back, feeling good about "mission accomplished" I ran into -- literally -- a tall woman with a spaniel of some sort on the end of a leash, snuffling and wagging amidst the kids. I tried nicely to ask her not to bring the dog inside the school, and made reference to allergies and hygiene. She scooped the offending pup into her arms (it was almost as cute as the red head had been) and stormed off saying, "I need to find my daughter!"

When I got back to office, I began to tackle what was being billed as the last of the revisions, when my door opened. In came Mrs. Middle School, dogless, and began to take me to task for speaking to her "the way that I did." She said that her daughter had been in the school since kindergarten and no one had ever said anything about not bringing the dog into the school. I was surprised at that, because I remembered sending out an all-parent bulletin on the subject about six years ago, but I thought better of mentioning it. She wouldn't have been able to hear it or anything else; she was on that great of a rant. Furthermore, she was not the kind of person who "flaunts the rules." I waited until she calmed down and thanked her for coming in and saying that I was sorry that she was so upset by our encounter. Neither of us felt good at the end of her visit, but out she went.

Fully expecting this not to be the end of it (you have to remember that families pay a tremendous amount of money for tuition and some of them develop a strong sense of entitlement), I documented the incident, and finished the "last" of the revisions to the student records section. Then the phone rang, and although we don't have caller ID, we can tell when a call is coming from on campus or outside. It was the latter. I almost didn't answer it, so convinced was I that it was Mrs. Middle School calling with yet another round of ammunition.

"This is Alice R," said the voice on the other end. "I just wanted to call and thank you for getting that notebook and giving it to my son to bring home. You were so nice to do that!"

What a good way to end a crazy day.

PS: I never heard whether Blue or White won.

What's a Gal to Do?

I've been smitten with this line of fabrics ever since I saw the previews of them months ago. I just think they are gorgeous. Unusual and gorgeous. French General. Great colors. Greater designs.

I'm not the only one. I've seen other quilting bloggers drooling over them here and there. And a couple of people have somehow managed to get advance packets and are actually sewing with them.

They'll be available at Hancocks of Paducah next week. And I'm just dying to get them. But I've no idea what to make from them. I've already got a stack of Morris Garden FQs sitting on the cutting table. They get fondled regularly, but I haven't got a clue for them either.

I keep thinking that I should come up with a plan for Rouenneries and then order yardage and forego the FQ bundle. But no plan is coming to mind. And if I wait too long, I'm afraid they will be gone. And I think of Bill sitting there with no plan, and think I should order some yardage to accompany him before it is all gone.

Such are the sighs of the everyday quilter.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

It's Not the Cough . . .

. . . that carries you off.

Thank you to all who expressed concern about my cough.

I did see my nurse practitioner and shared my theory with her (the thought that the cough starts in September with some sort of falling leaves allergy and lasts until the winter cold comes in; by that time, the lungs are primed to settle into inevitable bronchitis that requires antibiotics and a possible trip to the Carribean) and guess what -- she agreed! She said, "Let's nip this right away!"

She said to keep taking the Zyrtec at night and gave me two weeks worth of Singulair to try and a prescription to fill if in two weeks it works.

She said it would take a week to ten days to kick in. It's been two days, two pills, and I swear it is already a little better!

She also said not to be discouraged if it doesn't work. She has other tricks up her sleeve, like some sort of inhaler.

Hooray!


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Mystery Woman

A few months ago, a nice woman started leaving comments on my blog. After a few comments, when she mentioned a fabric store that isn't terribly far from my part of Near Philadelphia, I checked her profile. She really didn't live far away at all. About a town and a half away. And there was something vaguely familiar about her.

I don't know exactly what caused me to put 2 and 2 together. But eventually, I wrote her, "I think we used to know each other." Our sons, both Andrews, were in kindergarten and first grade together. Her Andrew was in the Cub Pack part of the time that Joe was the cubmaster. I remember him as a nice kid with nice parents and a sister (who prolly was nice as well; I just didn't know her). After first grade, they moved and the boys were no longer in school together.

She's articulate, she writes decent blog posts, she's kind of funny, and makes right nice quilts. What more could one ask? Oh, and there's another thing: Her maiden name is a very unusual one, but one I'm familiar with because it runs in my husband's family and somewhere downstairs we have a great thick book about that particular branch of the family.

We decided to get together for breakfast and, friends, she did not disappoint.

I had a bit of a hidden agenda for our breakfast: Helen and I are running a White Oak quilting getaway at the end of the month and we both were thinking we had room for another person or two and it might be nice to bring some new blood into the group. I'd told Helen I was going to meet the mystery woman and she said if I thought she'd fit into our peculiar culture of a White Oak weekend (a little wine, some off-key singing, occasional dancing, and a lot of laughing combined with sewing sewing sewing and plenty of advice, solicited or otherwise), to invite her along.

Well, it took all of ten minutes into the visit. We clicked. It was almost like reconnecting with someone I used to know! Duh -- I was reconnecting with someone I used to know!

Isn't this just a nifty story? Hey, you know what? You'd prolly like her too. Go meet her here.



Sunday, October 04, 2009

Weekend Goals

Well, it is the end of the weekend already. I had two realistically attainable goals for the weekend: (1) to do the seasonal change-over of my closet and (2) to clean the sewing room.

It was a nice weekend, following a hard week which had begun for me with The Colonoscopy on Monday, followed by our Circle meeting where we discussed and discussed and discussed. Tuesday was the day we found out about the need to format all of the documents for the self-study and I was scrambling to catch up from having been out on Monday. Wednesday was day one of the formatting, followed by a late three-hour meeting and Thursday was return to the formatting. Friday is a bit of a blur.

Superimposed on all of this has been an annoying cough. Not a World Class Cough, the kind that sends colleagues fleeing and keeps one up at night and hurts one's ribs and often causes one to break out in bad language. Just an annoying, slightly productive cough. It comes each autumn and my theory is that it is some kind of an allergy that comes on when the leaves begin to turn and settles in and irritates my lungs so that when the inevitable head-and-chest cold arrives, the stage is set for unavoidable bronchitis. Year after year that is the pattern. I've made an appointment with the primary care doctor for tomorrow so we can discuss my theory and see What Might Be Done.

So anyway, here's how I did with changing the closet and cleaning the sewing room: I met a fellow blogger for breakfast on Saturday, I went to the LQS for thread, I sewed on the brown and aqua quilt which has now been named Earth and All Stars. I did a couple of loads of laundry. I hand-quilted in front of Netflix with Himself.

That was Saturday. Tom had driven up from Virginia to attend a wedding and said we should leave the front door open as he wanted to spend the night. I didn't sleep well, waiting for him to come in, and once he did, I still was fitful. The dratted alarm went off at six o'clock because church has adopted a new schedule where the early service begins at eight o'clock. After church we picked up Tom and drove up to Sherry's for a yummy brunch, and after Tom left to return to Richmond, we settled in for a nap. Joe got up and I didn't. For a long, long time. It turned into one of those hibernation type of naps that leave one feeling a big bluggy and on the verge of a headache when one finally does crawl out.

A little more sewing post nap while the first spaghetti sauce of the season simmered, and now here I am thinking about my two goals.

And thinking that there are those who would point out to me the importance of rest, of relaxation, of rejuvenation. Things that I seldom think about until my body demands them.

So the closet is unchanged and I'll put on a cardigan tomorrow and perhaps face the closet tomorrow night. And the dirty sewing room is a little dirtier, and I'll get to it eventually.

Tomorrow begins a new week. And I'll start it refreshed.


Saturday, October 03, 2009

Return to Quilty Content

Oh, it's been about two years now, since we did the swap. The rules were nine inch star blocks using creamy background and only brown and aqua for the stars.

Participants knocked themselves out. The blocks were drop-dead gorgeous, I thought. I intended to get right on them.

And somehow, they languished on a cupboard shelf.

In September when I was putting Melanie Wilkes together, I was looking for some kind of a leader-ender to alternate Mellie with.

And the stars came to mind. Mellie got finished, and they nearly did. And today I put together the last rows. Yes, that's the trusty husband/design wall back on the job.

Any thoughts on a name, friends?


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Oh, My WORD!

The school where I work spent the past year doing a self study in preparation for our accreditation evaluation that is scheduled for the end of this month. People have been earnest about the work, and consequently there are hundreds of pages of standards and descriptions and narrative, and all manner of supporting binders, documents, exhibits. Each of the sections has been written by a different author, each using a format that makes sense to her or him.

A free lancer was hired over the summer to take all of the reports prepared by dozens of different people and attempt to get them all into one "voice" and to get them into a common format. She did the first part and somehow managed not to do the second part. And has now gone out of town. This was discovered by the self-study team leader on Tuesday of this week. The chair of the visiting committee is coming on Friday -- yes, of this week -- for a preliminary visit. Two complete binders are needed for him. Our team leader was stunned to discover the condition of the documents, especially when she looked at the calendar.

I see that once again, reader, you are way ahead.

I spent all of yesterday, from about ten o'clock until four o'clock formatting and began again this morning at 6:45, finally completing the last report at 3:30 this afternoon. Someone else has the task of printing the documents and setting up the binders.

So I'm tired.

And I'm also a bit cranky. I never like having to work under pressure to get a project of any kind done at the last minute. But I'm realistic enough to know that sometimes that happens. And I've tried to step up with good grace to rescue this disaster of a project, for the sake of the school and also for the team leader, who's always been one of my favorite people at school.

My rant and present crankiness are not about the task. Despite the pressure, there was a certain amount of exhilaration in hastening toward the deadline.

Oh, no.

My disgruntlement is with Word.

Like practically everyone, I've learned Word by using it, not by taking a class. And over the years I've picked up pretty much of what I need, and beyond that, I know who knows some of the things I don't know. So I've managed. But this summer a new version came out and the tech guys put it on my computer, and I've not thoroughly learned my limited way around it.

On this project, I established a format and tried to take all these different files in all these different formats by all these different authors and standardize. It worked up to a point. And then, appropos of absolutely nothing, Word would refuse to do what I wanted it to do. Once it arbitrarily italicized a 3 and would not back down. And don't get me started on the alignment of lists. No amount of persuasion on my part could convince Word to do the same thing all of the time. The arbitrariness of the variations was astonishing. And frustrating.

Eventually, for the most stubborn situations, I came up with a system where I opened a new document and would copy from the big project and paste onto the new sheet and format it there and then copy and paste it back where it belonged. So in the end I won. Up to a point.

But I still could picture Word sitting there just smirking at me.

Oy.