My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Bob Ross moment June 23, 2014

Filed under: Church,Made by me,Places,Sewing — blankenmom @ 12:57 am
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… “You made a mistake?  Turn that mistake into a happy little bird.  That’s it.  A happy little bird.”

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If you’ve never seen Bob Ross’ show, you have no idea what I’m talking about and now officially think I’m nuts.  Go google him.  He was awesome.  He was also excellent at putting my first-born down for a nap with his quiet tone and calm.  I’m sure the hair helped somehow too.

But beyond that, he teaches a great lesson.  If you make a mistake, you can always turn it into something good!  I got a “two-fer” on this post.  The dress I just finished (and LOVE) was designed around a mistake I made.  And some people I have met at church have shown me that even when we make a mistake, God can use it to make something great!

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Let’s start off with my spiffy new dress shall we!

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Amazingly comfortable btw!!

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So you’re asking… “What was the mistake; it looks fine?”

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That nifty little pleat in the front and back weren’t at first supposed to be there.  It was supposed to be one piece of fabric, wrapped around.  That’s great when you wrap the fabric around your pathetic little chest to fit it and forget that you have an ever-growing posterior.

So what fit up-top, didn’t so much around the middle and ended up looking more like a stylin’ hospital gown with cheeks flapping in the wind.

So a back was also cut out and I figured I’d just gather.  So boring!  When I wrapped the dress around “Betty” for the night, I just really liked the way it looked.  So clean and simple.  And if I really wanted to add more, I could always add a pin or a belt.

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When I first realized what I had done, short-changing my backside, I thought I had ruined a yard or so of fabric.  But when I sat and thought it out, it turned out perfectly!

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Now, on to the people I met at church.

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On my day to volunteer, I had asked the woman who oversee’s our area if she knew of anyone that would be able to help us out with “that house”.  You know, a little business advice.  I obviously suck at this and needed some serious guidance.  She thought for a bit and said “Yes!  Can you come by next week to meet them?”  I of course said yes excitedly and even offered to volunteer again since I was there.

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After service, she brought them over and I explained the situation.  They talked with me a bit and I became sort of disappointed that they didn’t have much in the way of business advice as they don’t have rentals.  However (and that’s a GIANT however) what I got instead was not only much better, but what God knew I needed instead.  The encouragement, advice, scriptures, prayers and reassurance that God can turn a mistake into something amazing was much more than I was expecting.

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The place we live in now is called Selah, meaning to pause and reflect.  After meeting these people and a few others here, I really believe that we are here to pause and reflect.  Regather.  Recoup.  Learn and get ready for the next adventure God has in store.

Have you made a mistake?  Selah – Pause and reflect on God’s goodness.  The answer will come and His goodness will set things right.

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selah

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As for your sewing.

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Turn that mistake into a happy bird… that’s right… a happy bird.  Or in this case, a purdy little dress.  That’s right… a purdy little dress.

 

 

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Oh the places you’ll go and the people you’ll meet. February 15, 2014

Filed under: Boys,Broken/Repaired,Family,Hubby,Places,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 11:56 pm
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February is a big month in our house – 3 birthdays.  And now that the first-born is out of the house, things are a bit different.  No sleep overs or parties for him.  But we did meet up half way to get dinner together.

 

Our trip wasn’t an easy one though – three broken tire chains and a usual 70 mph limit brought down to 30, chains or not.  I’m still trying to feel my finger tips from changing them so many times!  Turning a usual three-hour round trip into almost a six long hours.

 

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The snow was beautiful though and it was nice to get out and about and do something new.  And while purchasing *another* set of chains, the guy selling the next to last set to me asked me about my address – which frankly took me back a bit since we were 100 miles from where we live.  He asked again and then asked if we knew “Maria” in the off-white house.  I looked at him with surprise and he said “That’s my aunt!”

 

Our next door neighbor, in this super dinky town that we just moved to, is the aunt of the kid who was selling us our tire chains 100+ miles from home – because ours happen to break.

 

This isn’t my first experience with this however.  While living in “that house” the man at the jewelry store selling my oh-so-attractive utility hoops recognized our phone number.  It ended up, we were both from the same smallish town on the west coast and had both moved to the same ridiculously small town on the east coast AND we both worked in the same store.

 

Why is this important?

 

It’s not really I suppose, but it’s just fun to get out, get to know the people we interact with and see the connections we may have!

 

So glad we went out today – even though we probably shouldn’t have.

 

Happy Birthday to my dentist man, first and third-born!

 

To the rescue! January 4, 2014

Filed under: Pets,Places,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 11:02 pm
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We went over the river, through the woods…. and climbed a large mountain range to rescue our two new fur-babies.

 

Meet ~

 

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Lady

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and Dean

Both rescued from the same meth house, along with two other English Mastiffs who have been homed with other families.  Dean however *needs* Lady.  He doesn’t do well without her, so they were a package deal; which is what made me fall in love with them!

How can we resist such a love story?

Lady has had far too many litters and Dean was neutered wrong and too early.  Neither were properly taken care of and have a lot of health issues.  Who knows what they’ve been through or have seen at that house!  Both are in major need of some serious love – something they will find in ample amounts in this house.  They’ll be spoiled, loved, walked, snuggled, talked to and finally, after far too long, taken to the vet.

And somehow, through all this, they’re both the kindest, gentlest beasts you could ever hope to meet – how people could treat them this way is a mystery to me, but we get the awesome task of showing them just how great life can really be.

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The cat however is less than pleased – she thought we finally bought her a bed fit for the queen she thinks she is!

 

Wi-fi nigh September 10, 2013

Filed under: Boys,Family,Hubby,Moving,Places,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 12:23 am
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I must share a little story about our attempt at getting a bit of civilization dragged up to our newest digs.

 

First, I must share just how pathetically important the internet is to our household at this point.

USAA, a military only bank, only banks on-line (as far as I know??).  There are no Navy Federals in the middle of our state, since there is no navy base.  No water=no base, makes sense.  Our long-standing credit union from where we came from is 4 hours away and the bank account we keep open for “that house” is a block away from “that house, making a trip to cash a check a bit of a challenge.  That leaves us with two choices.  Open yet another bank account or get internet to do all our banking.

We also don’t have cable or dish.  After sitting in hotels for 2 1/2 weeks, we now remember why.  Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Crackle and various other outlets allow us to view what we want, when we want with out all the stupid commercials and nastiness that seems to exist on today’s television.

A lot of our schoolwork comes from off the internet.  I know – “it’s a little thing called a book”.  It’s a new age people – embrace it!

My dentist man and his off spring are huge gamers.  *hangs head in shame*  But lets face it, with nothing else to do until our furniture shows up, I’ve given them a bit more leeway on that one.

And lastly, I’m trying to buy a house and maintain another one from across the country – I need to have a connection.

 

Those reasons being said, we needed the hook-up.

 

While sitting in the hotel rooms, we started about a week before we got in the house, looking up various providers, none of which could find our house that has sat on top of this here hill since exactly 1980 (give or take a few months).

A few days before we moved in, we started calling.  “Ma’am, where is “S” again?”  “It’s right outside of “Y”, a major city in our state?”  “Yeah, I’m not finding that on the map?”

Once we moved in, I started seriously calling…. anyone and everything that offered the most remote chance of a whiff of “the net”.  (You have to say that in a deep, drug induced withdrawal type voice.)

We finally hit on a company that said “Sure, we know where that is!  We’ll have to check to see if we can service that house first though.”  What do you mean “if”, we’re not on the top of Mt. Everest?

We totally thought we were in.  I mean, all our neighbors have internet.  The house had a phone… shoot, it even had a cable coming out of the wall!  How hard could internet be?

Talking with another company later that day, hearing that their rival company could possibly offer us internet, they started making us deals.  “Sure, if (we’ll call them “Shmomcast”) can offer you internet, *we* can offer you internet!”  Whoa there buddy, don’t go offering things you can’t make good on.

 

Two days later, a day after “Shmomcast” was supposed to call to let us know what our situation was, I got desperate and called them.  “Oh, I’m sorry ma’am, the box is 700 ft from your house and we can only go 350 ft.”  *click*  That was it….. The thought of lightning fast speeds torn from my laptop-empty hands in mere seconds from a cold, heartless and apparently slightly lazy cooperation was breaking my heart!  I called their rival (we’ll call them “Shmenterylink”) in protest, only to hear “Oh, “Shmomcast” couldn’t quit make it up the hill?  Yeah, neither can we then.  Anything else I can help you with today?”  While the fact that they didn’t hang up on me immediately was heart warming, the notion that they could “still help me” after promising me the world and then walking away was cruel at best.

 

We tried “Shmerizon”, who could only give us 20 gigs a month which is laughable.  I couldn’t even bank on that much and it wouldn’t hook-up to our t.v.’s.

We tried various satellite companies all who could only offer a mere 4 mps and 20 gigs a month and that was “If” they could get a clear shot.  Each company attempting to find our little town.

At one point one salesperson was so apologetic, he offered to send us to a service that was supposed to help us find service in our area.  “Hold on ma’am, this service will help you find a company that will definitely work in your area.  But before I go, how do you intend to protect this new property?  Our company offers a great plan for security systems!”  “I buy big dogs that can eat people.”  “Oh umm, well thank you for your time.”  Side note here…. they can’t get internet up the hill, but they can schlep the security lines up?  Go figure!

 

“Hello ma’am, I’m so happy to be able to help you today.  I’m with “Shmomcast”.”

AAAAAAHHHHHHH *hair pulling, nail-biting and possibly a bit of screaming may or may not have happened at this point.”

 

After about 6 hours on the phone while I finished several loads of laundry.  Cleaned, folded and put away.  Ironing and dinner made all while talking, being put on hold, and in the end being denied by every company, I finally gave up for the day.

 

The next morning my search started all over.  I contacted our realtor to find out who he uses.  And with that, finally found a company that was in our area, had unlimited access, but crappy speeds.  “I’ll take it!”  I exclaimed in both exhaustion and excitement.

 

I call, since as previously stated, I have no internet.  And after 20 minutes on their awesome phone tree…. that keeps telling me to stay on hold and then hangs up, I finally navigate to a real, human – I was so excited!  I exclaim in my enthusiasm for a real voice  “Yes, I know I’m in the wrong “branch” of your tree, but all the others kept hanging up on me before I could find a person?  Can you help me get signed up?”  She proceeds to tell me…. I kid you not, to tell me to “GET ON THE INTERNET TO SIGN UP!”  WTHk?

 

“Hon – if I *had* internet…. would I be *calling* you?”

 

“Oh uh, well, did you try calling customer service to sign up?”  *head… banging… on… desk*  “As I previously stated in sheer excitement at reaching a human being.  ALL the OTHER “branches” told me to HOLD and then HUNG UP!  Yes I tried calling – that’s why I’m here, talking to a real human being….. that would be you.”  “Oh sorry ma’am, I don’t know what to tell you.”  *blink.  blink, blink*

 

It was 2:30 in the afternoon on a weekday.  I pulled out a mason jar with a handle, since a plastic cup just seemed to suit this situation properly…. poured some boxed wine in it and sat to soak in all the glorious stupidity of the situation.

 

 

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Do we really need to bank all that much?  I mean, I don’t need to pay bills right?  I don’t need to be paid for “that house” right?  My children don’t ever want to play their games ever again I’m sure?

 

I pulled out my “smart” phone (we’ll use that term loosely here) and pulled up the same company as we last discussed, since at this point it was the only one who could find AND access our home.  I proceeded to order, something…. I wasn’t exactly sure what on my tiny screen.  By the time I set my phone down, I hoped I had ordered internet.  I had hoped I ordered the right plan.  I had hoped I didn’t just give my credit card information to a drug lord to fund his rooster fighting ring.

 

My dentist man comes home and says “We still don’t have internet?”  *Poured a second glass of wine.*

 

So, after all is said and done.  I did actually order internet.  I didn’t, as far as I know, fund any sort of underground hooliganism and our internet is working rather well.  And while I am quite aware that this is truly a “first world problem” it doesn’t make the craziness any less crazy.

 

 

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Btw – I’m still getting calls from the satellite company trying to offer me a product they can’t get to my house.

 

Happy surfing!

 

 

Where is that ma’am? September 4, 2013

Filed under: Boys,Family,Hubby,Military,Moving,Pets — blankenmom @ 2:31 pm
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We’ve finally somewhat settled into “our” house.  The somewhat and “” are due to the fact that we are currently renting the home we’re attempting to buy because the V.A. takes so long to finalize paperwork.

 

As I sit here, we still have no furniture, short of two folding camp chairs and a blow up bed.  Our move is considered a “specialty” move since a giant moving truck may not fit up our hill and back down again and so to save everyone involved a headache, we’re not sending for the furniture until we’re signed and official…. we are after all the same people who had a double deployment, broken arm requiring surgery, a house ran into, a hurricane/flood and lost two dogs all within 6 months.  We’re not pushing our luck.

 

 

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Now that we’re here, I am getting a refresher and the boys, including the big one, are getting a new lesson on rural living.  Septic tanks and well pumps create a whole new set of challenges, along with the inability to get phone, internet or cable – not that we ever would.  Just to get our internet set up took us two weeks and probably over 100 phone calls, but that 700 feet was just too much for anyone and we finally had to go with a “rural”, 4G provider.

 

Within an hour of finally having a bit of civilization back, the power went out.  While this has nothing to do with be considered rural, it does pose a challenge when you’re on your own system.  “Oh, you want to flush?  Well, you get one.  Use it wisely.”  For those of you who have never been on a well system, you have a pump hooked up to bring the water into the house from the well.  No power, no pump.  The only water you have is what’s left in the house.  Personally I see this as an excuse to drink the wine in the fridge, but that’s just me.  Now, having boys, we got to cheat a bit.  A bit I say.  Not all of us can use the ample shrubs out back!

 

 

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A pump also means that when you water your grass, you don’t get a decent shower or get to run the dishwasher do to a lack of water pressure.

 

I’m having to teach the boys about the septic also.  No 30 minute showers boys!  Besides – you have an inch of hair, what are you doing in there?  Umm… never mind, don’t answer that, just get out!

 

If you fill your septic tank full of water, you’ll end up with a field full of….  ew… let’s not think of that.

 

All of this may seem like a huge pain.  But when you walk out on to your porch and there is a nearly deafening silence.  Maybe the hum of far of farm machinery, or a rooster crowing a mile away.  Birds singing, or at night a coyote giving away its position, it all becomes worth the small inconveniences.  No neighbors yelling, short of the distant far off laughter of some kids in their backyard pool.  No dogs constantly barking for hours on end.  I don’t hear other people’s televisions or discussions with their teenagers.  The only cars passing are your neighbors, who want as much privacy as you do.

 

And that leaves our fur-baby.  She used to be a champion birder and mouser.  Now she won’t leave the porch without me because there are bigger things out there that will eat her.  She has to learn to be a cat again.

 

 

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So as we all learn and relearn what the world really looks like, we’ll keep explaining to companies where our little piece of quiet is.

 

 

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…..aaaaand hold. June 11, 2013

 

 

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I’m in a holding pattern… and I don’t like it.   While the school year has ended freeing my mind up from one more task and me up to get things done, it’s not time to get them done yet.  I’m stuck with nothing to do and a million things that will need to be done.  Soon….

 

I don’t like sitting still.  I’m a multitasker at heart, but I also have a short attention span too, so the major projects I’ve been working on…. for months, are starting to really wear me thin.  I want to move on, but again, here I am…. waiting.

 

My sewing is about to be put in a box.  My knitting is about to be put in a bag.  My tools are being packed up to be brought out at the next house.  No projects to distract me.

 

I’m trying to think of it as the calm before the storm, but that just gets me more anxious.

 

I am however finding some comfort in the thought that I know the Lords hand is in all this.

 

There are lessons I’m not learning so I need to stay here a bit longer and big things that need to be done, that can’t be, until I have a full grasp of what He expects.  And I tend to be a bit thick, I need extra time for it to sink in.

 

No matter what, things will be happening.  My oldest will be graduating next week and moving out at the end of the month.  We will be transferring to the reserves and attempting civilian life, again.  Moves and major life changes – it’s scary, especially when I’m already tired and worn out, instead of the usual excitement and anticipation I feel with change.

 

But knowing that it’s all got a bigger purpose than just me and that it’s handled by someone bigger and better than me (thank goodness it’s not handled by me!), is what keeps me hanging on in this holding pattern.  I have a feeling this particular landing may be a bit rough and may only be a lay over, but I’m going to learn what I can from it just like I always do and enjoy the scenery while I can.

 

 

 

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On the hunt…. May 19, 2013

Filed under: Boys,Dentist,Family,Hubby,Moving,Pets,Places — blankenmom @ 10:10 pm
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Whether I’m ready for the next step or not, it’s happening – this weekend we went out and looked at houses in the area my dentist man has chosen.  He has agreed to the acreage, but we’re not exactly sure if it’s to keep the neighbors away from us…. or us from the neighbors?  Either way, we don’t want to be able to see people.  “You…. you just stay over there, got it!”

 

At least an acre was the prerequisite.  But while we were out on the hunt, we discovered that an acre was not nearly enough to keep people at bay.  I could still see them.  I could still hear them…. and their little dogs.  Granted my husband is a fibber when he says “This is the last house”, so technically I wouldn’t have to listen to it the rest of my life, but I still don’t want to hear other people’s dogs, or kids, or music, or cars.  Ok, maybe it’s to keep me from them?

 

We noticed two and a half was just about right.  The two we really liked were both on about that much.  And both are completely different.

 

A one story, which is good for large dogs (with a very tiny “basement”). It was obviously renovated to sell quickly.  A “flip” if you will, but very nicely done!  It’s on a pretty level lot.  Tiny yard, but about one and half acres of dry grass (think hay) as a good “buffer zone”.  Two outbuildings for various tools *grin*……  Because most of the land is dry, the sheep and goats would keep the fire hazard at bay.  It has absolutely no view to speak of, unless you like looking at fields of hay?  But that’s fine, that means I don’t see other people’s houses either.

 

My favorite draw to this house is the open kitchen/great room area.  The house may be smallish, but it feels huge and has windows everywhere.  That would mean it needs nothing done except to be personalized.  That would be something we’ve never encountered?

 

The other is two stories, same square footage, but not good for large dogs.  The upstairs living area is completely redone, but all the bedrooms and downstairs are in serious need of renovations (excluding the very well done bathrooms – THAT is a new one for us.  Stupid bathrooms).  Most of the land has a slope to it, but also has nice, smaller watered area we could envision a pool in at some point.  There is also an out building with great storage.  The slope would be great for sheep and goats, not much else.  My dentist man loves the view.

 

Our draw to this is the downstairs, which would make a great living area for the boys (read: keep the funk in one place) which has 2 bedrooms and a “great room” area with a second partial kitchen.  Nice for entertaining.

 

So this week, we’ll be going over all the info to see which house we think will work better for us.  The boys, including the big one, are leaning towards the two-story, while I’m leaning towards the one.  I can hear my dentist man from the other room “Happy wife – Happy life boys.  Remember this!”  Thanks dear?

 

Through-out the day we got a lesson in home oddities.  We learned there was a such thing as a “built-in blender”.  One house, which didn’t seem to have a front door, had a lovely cat pee aroma but wanted full market value – we left rather quickly.  We looked at a very strange house with a cat door into the master bedroom.  The same house had an indoor gun range and over 3400 sqft, but all of it was partitioned off almost like cubicles? I’m not even sure how many rooms there actually were in the house, I started getting a bit lost?  I would have taken the house and knocked out all the walls, but the land was unusable.  Two acre’s of hill.  Besides, I don’t think my fat cat would fit through that tiny cat door?

 

Before looking at houses on Sunday, the boys and I toured the town while their dad worked at his new office on Saturday (one day a week until we’re out of active duty).  The town was throwing some sort of carnival, so we thought we’d join in.  Hours of rides to keep them entertained.  *SPOILED*

 

 

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While it was exhausting and I’m still adjusting to the idea, it was nice to not think about “that house” for a few hours.  A nice breath before the leap into our newest adventure.