Saturday, September 28, 2013

Two sides to everything and it doesn't always end up with a prize in the end.

My daughter loves to read.  I've shared that with y'all multiple times.  They had a summer reading program for our local library system.  It paired up with the local and national park nearby and were promoting exercise for the mind and body.  That's all good.

K read for the entire 108 day run of this program. She read at least 1/2 hour every day.  I didn't have to ask.  She just does it.  Books are friends.  You should see the tears when we have to make room for more!

Knowing that she was the only child in our subsection of the city to complete the 108 days of the reading challenge, we thought her odds might be decent at winning a prize.  She won a prize.  She was delighted!

Besides winning the local library prize, she had received an invitation to go to the grand prize drawing held at the marathon health expo.  Being that it was downtown, parking and all, I asked Hubs to attend with us.  It was the health expo anyhow, so he was thrilled to take a look.  He had just gone to the Arnold Classic this past spring, so he thought it would be along those lines.

The library was giving free parking in their deck two blocks away.  Wonderful!  We'll take it!

We went on in and navigated the blue line course through the vendors and found the library booth.  What I found there kind of made me sad.  The giveaways that they were giving to the visitors were the very prizes that the kids had to work so hard to get through the summer reading program.  It was great that they were giving things.  Wonderful, in fact.  But, when your child reads for 14 or 26 days in a row and gets prizes, then goes and every single child in attendance gets 3 and 4 of each on their pass by the library area, the specialness goes south a bit.

Time came for the Prize Drawing and Celebration.  K chose a seat up front.  They had door prizes, but they were drawing from the library slips that were amassed from the entire library system from the whole summer.  That came up to over 1800 entries.  I whispered to K and told her that my feeling was that each one of those slips were going to be pulled for people who weren't there.  I said that the percentage of people (maybe 30) vs the number of slips in the box just didn't suggest the people being there.

None were.

It came time for the door prizes.  All of the adults in the audience won and none of the small handful of children did.  That's okay.  They don't always have to win.  When it came to one child thinking he won and he didn't and the lady who won kind of climbed over top of him to get her $10 Barnes and Noble gift card that I was stunned.  I would have given that card to the kid.  Not my kid.  I would have given it to the child who honestly thought he won.  (The lady, not the prize guy.)

Hubs walked away stunned.  All of the slips for everyone who completed the library summer reading program were tossed into the same box.  Hubs stated that he thought that since most of the people in attendance were retired and had time to read, the library should have separated the slips of kids vs. adults and given prizes accordingly.

Again, it isn't that we are chaffed that our child didn't win.  We just look at it and know that for kids to do all of that reading, it is generally a bit more difficult than for adults to do it.

As for K, we stopped by on the way home from the health expo and bought sundaes.  Yes, I realize the health expo would have suggested otherwise, but we were celebrating 108 days of reading.  Optional summer reading.  Reading that she loves to do and requires no bribery for, but we just didn't understand why the library handled their celebration and whatnot the way they did.  Reading is its own reward, I agree.  Still, why so much press for something that was so very lame?

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The land of the beepless.

Hubs' newish car (bought last December) is the low-as-you go model of Yaris.  I mean, it has power locks once you get into it, but there is no key remote to lock the doors.  It is standard shift.  Pretty basic.  The RAV, however, has some lovely perks.  It has a remote key for the locks, 4WD, the moon roof, power windows.  That sort of thing.  I really appreciate the power windows when in the Yaris and twirling the hand crank on the door.

Recently, my key remote has been giving me fits.  There are days on end that it will work and mornings that it won't.  I made an appointment to get it checked out because I have a warranty and why not use it?  When I called, the gentleman (not my usual repair guy) answered the phone and went though this whole thing about how it could be wiring and it would be at least an hour and maybe the warranty would cover . . . It was really making me feel like a stupid girl for even calling.  This morning, I went to ye ole local Toyota dealership where I love their service but strongly dislike the sales department to meet up with Aaron.  Aaron chuckled when I told him that the key was angry and no longer wanted to work.  When I told him that Mike was discussing wiring and so forth, he pushed the button and said, "You battery is dead!"  He popped the key apart and I was telling him that my husband said that he could do that but, "Is it, what-- $60 to replace a key?"  "$280.  That's why if you bring it to me and I screw it up, we replace it for free."  And he did replace the battery.  A nice Duracell battery that will last another 5 1/2 years.  You know what?  He didn't even charge me.

Hooray!  Thanks Toyota! :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Rag Wreath: I blame Rachael.

Rachael made a wreath.  She has a habit of doing that.  This was a wreath that I loved.  I loved her colors.  I'm not a VT grad though.  I also knew that if I were to do the wreath, I had to do it with materials I had.  I would spring for the form, but if I couldn't do it with fabrics I had, then it couldn't be done.  Hubs and I promised each other to keep spending to an absolute minimum.

You'd be glad that I held up to my end of the bargain.

I started to go through the mass amount of fabric that I have left over from a business venture gone south.  I had some delightful fabric that I purchased and never really got to use.  I knew that it would be perfect for this project.  When I pulled it out, I saw a delicious pink that I could match up with another fabric that I had.  I feared that if I used too much pink, it wouldn't look fall but just, well, pink.  I got those colors out, loved them and knew that I needed just a bit more fall.  I went hunting through the mounds of ribbon left over from the same venture gone wrong and I found that I had a fresh bolt of gold grosgrain ribbon.  Here is what I used:

I texted Rachael and found out that she used an 18" form.  When I looked at the forms, I found that 18" would be far too big for my door.  I decided that I'd rock out the 14" form.  It's the same wire form that you find in her blog post of how-to on the rag wreath.  (I've linked to that post in my first sentence in this post.)

Rachael used 2" x 9" strips and knowing that my form was 4" less in diameter, I decided to cut that back by 2".  I also had to consider that the grosgrain I had was 7/8", so going with a full 2" width on the strip I feared would make the gold ribbon bits stick out like a sore thumb.  I opted to run with 1 1/2" wide strips instead.

I followed Rachael's instructions and my time frame was probably about the same.  I didn't have quite as much clean-up fluff left over, but we did enjoy a Little House marathon while tying the wreath together.

I should add that I didn't do the same pattern as Rachael did.  Now what fun would that be if I, as an artist, would actually follow directions?  What I did was 2 brown strips, 1 gold strip, 2 brown strips, 1 gold strip, 2 brown strips, then 1 pink strip.  I then repeated the pattern.

Here is the finished product:

It's not quite as full as Rachael's.  I like her fullness, but I also had to consider the width between the doors that I have.  I wanted to make the tie-on widths similar, so that cut down on fluff, too.  I would have loved to have the scalloped edging, but I didn't have that wheel for my cutter, so I opted to just cut with scissors.  We love it!  The best part of my brand new wreath?  It cost me a total of $1.86.  (Including tax, thankyouverymuch.)

A pretty wreath for fall.  :)

(It was pouring in a biblical fashion.  I was certain that Noah was making his way around the bend.  I would have stepped off the porch to take a better photo, but I didn't want to drown.)