Monday, August 31, 2015

Potty Boot Camp

My house looks like a war zone...and I didn't shower for three days.

But Warren and I are on the same team....and we're winning.

Helping him figure this out has been an honor. He will probably be the last child I'll help to potty rain...

And I know for sure he is the sweetest little boy in the world. THANK GOD I had a lot of good help the last four days...especially Frankie!!
When this siege is over, Frankie has earned three days of nothing but sleep...

video

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Three Day Potty Boot Camp

Today is the second day in my Grandma Rita Three-Day-Potty-Boot-Camp. 
The score is Grandma 4 -- Warren 3.  There is no Number Two.
Frankie is doing great with his own potty training...and I was hoping my little boys could do this together...
But they are easily distracted...

Friday, August 28, 2015

Blast from the past...

I wrote this blog in August 2009...it was one of my first blog posts...and as true today as it was then... ************* On a recent Saturday (remember -- it's AUGUST), I met Bert for breakfast -- we did some "junkin" -- and I put the new "treasure" in the back seat of my Taurus, on top of the old "treasure" (the trunk has been full for 2 years). I have puzzles, games, clothes, probably 40 books or books on tape, a riding toy, a car seat (laying sideways), a $1 lampshade, and a huge pregnancy pillow (only $5). Trust me -- it's PILED HIGH...

I also have four bags of groceries sitting on the passenger seat...along with more books, several totebags from the classes I've been taking...and, oh, yeah -- there were also two big bags full of end-of-the-summer-beach-towel-bargains I bought at Dillard's.

Driving through the small town of LeClaire, Iowa -- I got pulled over by a policeman. I wasn't too worried, because I knew I was not speeding...

Officer: Your tags are expired,Mrs. Farro.

Me: (inside my head, screaming a curse word) Sorry, Officer.
Him: They were due way back in March...

Me: (screaming double curse words in my head) So sorry, officer... Him: Your tags are so far out of date, I have the right to have your vehicle towed...
Me: (thinking -- that'll cost $200) Sorry, officer...
Him: And this insurance card you've given me is from 2008. If you do not have a current card, I could write you another ticket for $375.

At this point -- I was completely stricken. He could order that my car be towed -- and then give me a $375 ticket on TOP of the $100 "expired-tags-ticket" I already had in my hand. I swallowed hard....wondering if tears might help. (I'm pretty sure that only works for blondes) As I was trying to work up a sob or two...

He said: "But, you look like a nice lady -- and, obviously, you're in the middle of a move -- and I'm sure you have a lot on your mind..."

The next few moments are a blur. Forget crying! It was all I could do to stifle the hysterical laughter rising up inside me...

As he gave me back my license (thankfully, IT was current) -- I said, "thank-you, officer. If I'd been towed, I never would have heard the end of it. But I'm pretty sure I can keep this ticket a secret..."
He smiled, and wished me luck...(with the "move", I'm sure...)


I'M GONNA CLEAN MY CAR. But -- to commemorate the moment -- and as a first step in my recovery process -- I took a picture of the back seat of my car.

Yes, my name is Rita. And I have way too much stuff...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Kids Sewing Studio

I got an email the other day from my friend Bobbi Bullard...

Dear Rita,

I've been working with some friends and after almost a year of nose to the grind stone we have a series of videos for teaching young people to sew. We feel that it's so important to get the next generation sewing. My friends have been teaching children to sew for years, and they're trying to make what they can offer available to children who don't have access to a good sewing teacher.

These videos are so detailed, they're meant for people who have never sewed before. To launch, we're offering a free webinar Thursday with tips and tricks for people who do get to teach young people to sew. Of course, at the end of the webinar we'll explain about what we're doing, but the webinar is truly informative and not an infomercial.

************

THANKS, Bobbi -- it sounds like a great idea!!  I've signed up to see what it's all about -- and  if you're interested -- here's the information...

 www.kidssewingstudio.com

the webinar information is at www.kidssewingstudio.com/events/webinar.html

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pink and Orange Suede Shoes

Ann Person did come to see me do "How to Dress With Style When You Feel Like Cher But Look Like Roseanne" -- and I was a wreck.  For one thing, every single thing I was showing in my presentation started off being a Stretch & Sew pattern. Also -- did I mention I had no clue how actual pattern makers did things??  I just knew NOBODY WAS GETTING IT RIGHT.

At the time, NO PATTERN fit me.  There simply was not a size 22 pattern available, so I had learned to modify and make adjustments to Stretch & Sew size 16 patterns.

Nancy had introduced me to Ann before that seminar.  During my presentation (many of you could have been in the room that day) -- I  acknowledged Ann -- she stood up and got a nice round of applause.  Then, I thanked her for playing my game...because that year, I was featuring outfits that started with pink and orange (to make a point, of course -- that fat girls shouldn't be limited to BLACK).  And Ann Person was dressed in a spiffy outfit, also featuring pink and orange -- and she had a fabulous pair of Evan Picone PINK AND ORANGE suede shoes.  That was amazing to me...

The following week -- I was back in my store in Clinton, Iowa.  The UPS guy came with the daily deliveries -- and one of the boxes was from Ann Person.  She sent me those shoes.  Evan Picone, Size 10 -- PINK AND ORANGE suede.

I spent an hour last night, looking for those shoes.  I never, ever would have got rid of them.  I have checked out most of the seminar/sample/tubs in the basement.  I must be getting close.  I am determined TO GET A PICTURE OF THOSE SHOES...


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Good Bye Ann Person

Yesterday, my friend Gail sent me Ann Person's obituary:

http://www.oregonlive.com/window-shop/index.ssf/2015/08/ann_person_obituary.html

Apparently, she was sharp as a tack right to the end -- and I am not surprised.

The woman was a genius...and her influence on the sewing industry was huge and long lasting.  I learned a lot from Ann Person, and to celebrate her impact on my life -- I would like to share my best Ann Person story...


Mary Mulari had recommended me to Joanne Ross as a speaker.  When Joanne called to invite me, I had no idea where Puyallup, Washington was.  I had never even attended a consumer sewing show...

But I gleefully accepted Joanne's invitation -- and basically made some new clothes and packed up everything that fit me.  My seminar title was, "How To Dress With Style When You Feel Like Cher But Look Like Roseanne".

At the end of the first day, a woman came over and said, "Hi, my name is Nancy Cornwell and I've sold out of every pattern you talked about.  Who the hell are you and why didn't I know you were going to be here?"

One thing led to another, and by the third day, Nancy had invited Ann Person to come to the show and sit in on my seminar. ...

the rest -- tomorrow...

Monday, August 24, 2015

Pennsylvania, HERE WE COME...

I've decided this would be a fun way to tell Kathy Keefer we are COMING FOR A VISIT!!

In 1973, John and I bought a house in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania. Ross was born in that house. It had a little pond. John had a small barn for chickens...and a large garden...
Ross, me and John, Pine Grove, Pa: 1978
AND I HAD KATHY KEEFER. She was already well into the "I am busy raising-three-boys phase" of her life when we moved into the neighborhood. When I got pregnant with Ross, Kathy gave me a shower and every woman in the neighborhood came, and we had a picnic supper down in the Keefer Pavilion...

We talked every single day, when telephones had those long cords that kept you anchored to the wall. It would have been a rare day if we didn't visit. On the weekends, we'd go to auctions, and every week, we went to a TOPS meeting. Kathy gave me haircuts in her kitchen...and we knew what each other was making for supper every night. We'd get together to bake pies, and made doughnuts...(during a blizzard, and we kept blowing fuses besides...I think we had four deep fat fryers plugged in!!)

Fast forward 30 years...Ross got a job in Harrisburg, Pa.  He needed a place to park his U-Haul while he looked for an apartment.  Kathy and Denny insisted on moving him into their house.  They unpacked his stuff and returned the U-Haul.  Ross fell in love with the Keefers -- Kathy's cooking, Denny's good humor and Shoofly pie.  For his birthday that year, Kathy was in charge of his chocolate cake with peanut butter icing...
Kathy and Denny.  Ross's second Mom and Dad...
During our last visit, Kathy was learning how to sew! (she made her kitchen curtains)
So -- PUT ON THE COFFEE POT, Kathy and Den -- we'll be there in two weeks!! (I'm not worried about people finding out we'll be gone -- because Ross will be here -- taking care of the chickens AND Frankie!)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Project Runway: Week #3 SPOILERS

The show opens with everybody on board the newest Celebrity Cruise Ship...

OH NO...are they going to have to make a garment out of a deck chair, a lobster shell and a watermelon rind??

It's the first team challenge of the year.  Tim picks names out of the button bag and pairs everybody up. The duos each pick a suitcase with a location label...Hong Kong, South of France, Caribbean, etc.  Each suitcase had several different pieces of fabric representing the exotic location (to inspire their design)...Sounds like fun!

But -- for me, this episode was a total miss.  There wasn't one memorable garment.  Because I DVR the show, I have the option of watching over and over again.  Maybe if I watched it five or six times, I could come up with something pithy....but -- hey -- who's got that kind of time??

So, I'm going to talk about the losers this...

Merline and Joseph:  Merline wants to fit in??  Really??  She says she doesn't want to disappoint people (who says they WANT to disappoint people?). Joseph is a bossy, no-talent know-it-all who has no idea how boring his designs are.  He was very pleased with himself that he so easily stifled Merline to the point that she didn't have a single thing to do with the finished garment.  HE should have been the one standing on the runway, waiting to be auf├ęd...Merline survived -- but barely.  I predict this was Joseph's last challenge. 

Edmond tried really hard with the Horrible Hapless Hamniao.  Because he had immunity, Edmond could have just finished a mediocre wrap skirt and let Hamniao hang herself on the runway...but, he kept pitching right to the end, even making a smashing second swimsuit (which the judges never saw).
Hanmaio went home.  She will not be missed...I'm probably spelling her name wrong.  I just don't care...
Amanda and Gabrielle made a red/white/blue asymmetrical outfit. I was disappointed that they didn't use their printed fabric.  But their garment was kind of pointless and uninspired.

Ashley and Candace got the win -- but I thought their three piece garment was a dog's breakfast.  The oversize back cowl made no sense with the flowered flouncy thing they called a cape...shudder...

I thought the BIG MISS of this episode was not having the final runway show ON THE CELEBRITY CRUISE SHIP...

Actually -- looking back -- I wish they'd gone with the deck chairs and lobster shells...


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hellloooo??? Rita???

YiKES...what was I thinking??  Really, Rita -- a puppy??

I am an old lady -- with an interesting, busy life.  Most days, I can't even get to half the things on my list...

We haven't had a dog in the house since Sam died in 2009...

Then Marion and I took a road trip to Aurora...and we met Sarah's Sophie.  And Marion talked about Charlie...Pets are such good company...there's all that unconditional love.

And I started thinking...

Lilly and Warren are here all the time -- they will sooo enjoy a puppy.  It becomes a life experience.  Do you remember you childhood dog?  Your Grandma's cat?

If I don't do it now -- I'll NEVER do it.  Ross is still living here, but he'll be finished with nursing school soon...





My blogging life has suffered...but  Frankie has his own photo file on my computer.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Flip or Flop SCUMBAG SCAMMERS

I CANNOT BELIEVE I FORGOT TO BLOG ABOUT THIS...



In July, I received a VIP invitation to a Flip or Flop event, at the Radisson hotel in Davenport, Iowa.
I was SO EXCITED. I love the Flip or Flop Show on HGTV. Tarek and Christina are great -- I love how they work together to design their flip houses. And I am always interested in business events, speakers, seminars, etc.
Put on by Success Path, every single piece of literature had this beautiful picture of Tarek and Christina from Flip or Flop, and every thing said they WOULD BE THERE, presenting. They sent me the RSVP invitation, then called to confirm I would be attending, then emailed confirmation tickets.
The woman on the telephone encouraged me to bring a guest -- so I invited my cousin Linda.  She was excited, too.  We are both big fans of HGTV.  It was on a Tuesday...so we'd do the TMBC, and then go on to the Radisson.
  
The room was full.  We found a seat in the back.  Although I expected a sales pitch -- I never saw this coming...
Tarek and Christina did not attend.  Clearly, that was all part of the scam.  They never had any intention of attending.  Instead -- they made a very slick video -- where they bragged about their luxurious lifestyle, and how much money they've made flipping houses...their frequent vacations, traveling in private jets, etc.  AND YOU, TOO, CAN ENJOY THIS LIFESTYLE, AND BECOME RICH...
NOT ONLY DID THEY NOT ATTEND THE EVENT...it was a high pressure scam from beginning to end. I have never been so disappointed in a public figure.
They present as such a likeable, hard-working couple on their show -- but the fact that they call this their "team"...was simply disgusting. What bottom feeders...preying on the misfortune of other people...telling you if you are struggling, you should spend your last dime to find out THEIR secrets to success...
 

Their "team" is there to pressure people into spending $4000 to go to a weekend event -- where the REAL secrets to success will be revealed.

And what are they selling at the weekend event?? You NEED TO INVEST $40,000 and then Tarek and Christina will help you to attain a line of credit, and become rich.


THEY ARE SCUMBAGS...
Tarek and Christina el Mousa -- I am so sad you would stoop so low...Taking advantage of your popularity to rip people off.

You should be ashamed.  Your parents should be ashamed.  HGTV should cancel your show.  I hope someday, the KARMA gets you and you crash and burn....


I can't watch your show without thinking how your willingly deceive people who are down on their luck, and go out of your way to manipulate them by making promises you cannot keep.  You are liars and thieves... 




Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Summer Highlights

Having Pat visit from Olympia was a highlight. She recently sent me a couple hundred ACTUAL PICTURES she had printed out...and there is something so different about a REAL picture, y'know...not just a digital version.

Thanks, again, Pat, for taking the time and trouble to come ALL THE WAY TO IOWA. I sat out on the porch, watching the hummingbirds, and in complete quiet, looked at every photo. I can't believe we packed all that into your short visit...

Here are some of my digital photos, Pat...all wonderful memories...
If Pat Leslie comes to your house -- YOU WILL BE GROCERY SHOPPING...
And doing some major Foodie Touring...
This is Lilly's typical attitude nowadays...BUT YOU KEPT ON PITCHING...
Remember the Rummage Sale for the Historical Society?? I got a treasure that day that I am just starting to use!!
There you are, in Deena's yard, taking pictures of cows...
What a beautiful night...Deena has TWO barn bouncy houses...
You were here when the little chickens came...and last week, John started butchering them!!  (they are now 7 pounds)
The flowers were absolutely STUNNING, Pat...
They lasted for two weeks.  I was amazed...

Monday, August 17, 2015

Project Runway Hallmark Challenge

I think I missed a day of blogging...because I was busy doing THIS last week:
I have never actually had a PUPPY in the house...it is exactly like having a newborn....and Frankie gets me up every morning at 6:30. I am sleep deprived...
Although, I was able to DVR Project Runway -- and this blog post contains spoilers...so if you haven't seen last week's episode -- stop reading now.

This was the unconventional challenge. And the sponsor was Hallmark. (which I think Laura Mendoza arranged personally. YOU GO GIRL).

In my opinion, this was a better fit an appliance or a yogurt...ugh... But only marginally...

I basically object to the whole idea of the unconventional challenge. First of all -- the show blatantly uses it to reel in a big money sponsor -- be it a car company, or a refrigerator manufacturer. But, secondly -- what do we really learn about the designers when they have to make clothes out of something never intended for that use? (seat belts, paper, artificial flowers?)

Every year -- this challenge annoys me.

It's like saying -- bake a cake, but you can't use flour or sugar. How would that help you find out who the best baker is?

Nice product placement...plenty of talk about the Hallmark Gold Crown Collection...
AND THE WINNER IS EDMOND. I was blown away by his paper wedding dress, and there was absolutely NO DOUBT about who should win this week. He rocked it...and I was surprised and impressed.
David deserved to go home for his oversized hoodie MADE OUT OF FABRIC...duh. As much as I dislike this challenge, if everybody else has to make a dress out of Hallmark cards -- JUST DO IT, BUDDY...or it's Auf Wiedersehen.

But, without a doubt, the biggest disappointment was my girl Ashley. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? The week you have immunity, for Crying Out Loud.  I don't care what the challenge is -- you have the freedom to SHOW THEM SOMETHING. You can do ANYTHING YOU WANT....MAKE IT FUN, HAVE A GOOD TIME....and you sent this piece of shit down the runway??

Ashley -- this is all you've got??
The judges got it right this week.

Hanmaio will go next week because she has absolutely no game. It's too bad her skills are not commensurate with her ego.

Ashley went way down on my designer scale -- and Edmond went way up.

Hummm.....maybe this challenge did show us something...

Hey -- I've been wrong before!!

Friday, August 14, 2015

My GREAT Summer

Time really does fly when you're having fun!! This summer has been simply wonderful -- and I am just now looking at some of the pictures I took. SUCH GREAT MEMORIES, those pictures!!

Marion's visit was a highlight, of course. And we always love our ROAD TRIPS.

On this day, we were hanging in my hood.... 
Can you guess where we are?
Here's a clue -- brass fixtures in the Ladies Room!!
Stained Glass in the lobby?
Magnificent fresh floral arrangements?
OF COURSE!! We are about to have a little lunch at the beautifully restored Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport, Iowa.

Marion is a sports fan -- so we sat in the bar so she could see a little Wimbledon. See the guy sitting at the end of the bar? The two of them started talking about tennis...and I noticed his shirt had a CBS logo....

Turns out -- he is one of 80 CBS people staying in the hotel to cover the PGA tournament that weekend. The John Deere Classic was happening in Milan, Illinois. We had a little conversation with him. It was interesting to hear his take on the Fox Sports coverage of the US Open -- in Tacoma -- which, I'm afraid, fell flat on many levels (sorry, Tacoma).
We only wanted a light lunch that day...because we were saving our appetites for...the evening meal.
John took us out to TC's in DeWitt, Iowa.  BEST PRIME RIB EVER..Honestly, I just don't know how they could do a better job..
okay...now that I'm looking at the pictures, maybe they could buy some new steak plates...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Happy Thursday

Frankie has only been here for one month. But he is already a member of our family...and I can't remember what life was like without him. But he has added a whole new layer of work and worry to my day.

 Although I am smart enough to know that's a good thing -- it's the affection and laughter that he brings which makes it worth the effort.  And the kids LOVE him. 

Warren spent the night last night...and when he wakes up -- this is what I'll be doing...all day....