Boys and Girls

Isn’t it interesting how families seem to have more boys than girls, more daughters than sons, or more guys than gals? In our blended family we have 4 girls and 2 boys, 4 grandsons and 7 granddaughters, 1 great granddaughter and 2 more on the way (due in April and May). Thommmee is 1 of  5 brothers and 2 sisters, I am 1 of 4 sisters and 2 brothers.

In our more local/ immediate family we seem be surrounded by girls. As a result, I spend time with the girls in efforts of cooking, sewing, shopping, etc. We all spend time together camping, vacationing, playing games, barbequing,  beach trips, and a multitude of birthday parties. When it comes to doing ‘guy’ things, however, I have often felt that I fell short. I recently decided to make more of an effort to participate in some of the things that they enjoy. Surprisingly (or not) we actually ended up having a really good time.

A few weekends ago my 16 year old grandson and I made plans to attend an outdoors/sportsman event near me.  We were both really excited to spend this time together but honestly I was a bit apprehensive that I would disappoint him or he would be bored hanging out with grandma. Although we are very close and enjoy a very special bond, we are usually a part of a group since he has become a teenager. He lives about 30 miles away and this would also be his first trip managing the congested Southern California freeways by himself. On a Friday afternoon he headed my way as soon as he got out of school and arrived at my house about 3:30. I had decided to just go with whatever I would normally do so we quickly got busy making strawberry jam. Now, I realize this might not be a 16 year old boy’s idea of fun but I figured it was still hanging out with grandma so…. It was fun and he learned a thing or two about making jam.  Since it was Valentine’s Day weekend, we took a jar of fresh jam and decorated it for him to give to his girlfriend ( along with his other special mementos).

While I cleaned up, he went outside with Poppa (Thommmee) to barbeque some steaks and veggies. I made potatoes and garlic bread.  After dinner we settled down to play some board games and cards. We baked brownies. We talked. We laughed.  Eventually Poppa was ready for bed but we sat up and talked well past my  bedtime. We really shared with each other and I will treasure that evening forever.

Early the next morning the three of us were up laughing and talking over pancakes and bacon (which is enough to make anyone happy-right?) We didn’t invite Poppa or anyone else to go along on this trip so the two of us headed off to the event. Now, I don’t know what I expected, maybe a bunch of dudes in overalls chewing tobacco or some other foolish notions of what hunters, gun carrying survivalists might look like (sorry if I offended anyone here-I am somewhat a sheltered urban raised girl ). Anyway, it was mostly men (hey ladies, the ultimate place to meet a guy maybe?), normal looking people, a few women, and even a few families. Nonetheless, I am fairly certain I was the only proud grandma accompanied by her handsome 16 year old grandson. We had a great time but for me this was a one time event (just the show not the grandson).

Encouraged by this adventure, the following weekend I offered to take Thommmee to the Gold and Treasure show at the Fairplex (formally know as the LA Fairgrounds). He loves to watch all of those treasure hunting, prospecting, gold digging type shows so he was all in! (maybe this is where I got that stereo-type idea of the outdoorsmen?) They were selling all types of  machines, gizmos,  and every sort of prospecting gear you could imagine. They even sold dirt and a dirt of the month club membership so you could pan for gold in the privacy of your own home…really? Again, mostly men but more women and families at this event…..normal people! I think get these ideas from the shows Thommmee watches. They must pick extremes types to keep the shows interesting.

OK. I tried. I love the outdoors. If you read my blog you know I love to camp, I sleep in a tent and cook outdoors. These two weekends were a bit of a stretch for me but these men  appreciated my willingness to try something new and I got to spend time with these great guys.  I am not complaining at all. Next weekend our church is having a ladies afternoon tea which I will be attending. Not sure this is a fit for me either. I like my jeans, sneakers and bracelets. Perhaps I am someplace in between but I would like to keep an open mind.

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My sewing machine saga-conclusion

This past weekend I met with some close friends that I had not seen in a while. They have followed my blog and asked about the outcome of my sewing machine saga. I guess I left a few people curious  about what was happening.

Well, things went from  bad to worse. I received my beautiful Laura Ashley Limited Edition Brother sewing machine and I was in sewing heaven!

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I sewed for two entire weeks before the motor conked out. Once again I was without a sewing machine! I frantically called Brother only to be placed on hold and routed through several people before I found out I was speaking with the wrong department. By the time I was able to reach the correct department the office was closed.  Needless to say this was a Friday afternoon. In complete desperation, I contacted an authorized dealer in a nearby town . They suggested I bring it into the shop for a look see.

Saturday morning Thommmee and I took another road trip with this new machine and made the 20 minute drive to the sewing machine center.

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They listened to the burned out motor for just a few minutes before suggesting that I should get a refund if possible. Although I had read many excellent reviews on this machine, I must have received a lemon.

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I had purchased my machine from Amazon so checked their return policy and yea…I could return it within a 30 day period.

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I came home, printed a shipping label and impatiently waited for Monday morning so I could send it back. Now don’t get me wrong. It was an absolutely lovely machine with many wonderful features but back it must go. About that time I decided I would purchase locally (at Moore’s,  the shop that had assisted me) so that if I had any further questions or problems I would be able to return it or have it repaired with less hassle. Another bonus is that they offer free sewing classes on my machine and the use of attachments which some have remained a mystery to me.

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I knew that I would not feel right about spending more money until I got my refund. I was discouraged to think I would again be without a sewing machine for an extended period of time.  Monday morning rolled around and I headed to UPS. They took it,  handed me a receipt, and home I went home  to sulk.

Surprise to me, within 2 hours I received a notification from Amazon that since my machine was in transit they would begin processing my refund! I was shocked (and thrilled). I had not idea that in this age of technology that simply a computerized tracking of my return could be handled so quickly. Where have I been???

Within 3 days our refund was complete. About a week after I received  conformation that Amazon had received the machine and would begin processing my refund. Huh? I already had my refund!  Oh well, either way I was happy, Thommmee was happy and I was now in  the market for a new machine. As it would happen there was a craft and sewing fair being help at the nearby LA County  Fairgrounds.  Often the dealers and vendors have specials at these fairs so Thommmee and  I headed over bright and early on the first day of the event.

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We made a beeline to the Moore’s Sewing Machine Center booth and began looking at machines. It did not take me long to zero in on a Brother Project Runway Limited Edition (that was slightly over my budget).

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Thommmee took a look at the machine, at me, and the nice machine and ….said we’ll take it!! He then asked them to hold the machine so we could wander around the fair. What a great morning! We shopped the vendors, I looked my little heart our, and even purchased a few items here and there.  After a few hours we picked up the machine and headed home. I couldn’t wait to get started.

Well, I have had my head down just sewing along for the past few weeks…

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…until last weekend when  I looked up long enough to get together with my friends  for our annual reunion.

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(another story for another day)

I realized I have been so engrossed with my sewing I have not been dusting,  cleaning, or blogging !!

If it sounds like I am a walking advertisement for some the products and services I received, I guess it is only fair to give credit where credit is due!

Lastly, let me say, I love my new machine. If you are in the market for a new sewing machine this is a great choice! I am very happy. Until next time…..back to sewing now!