Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's been a while

Sometimes life gets so mundane, or so busy, or such a combination of both, that my blogs get neglected.  Well, it's been both lately.  I'm lucky to check my email to see if I have any Etsy orders, much less think enough to write a blog entry.

I'm finally making some progress with Weight Watchers.  The new program is pretty cool.  I like that fruits and veggies are zero points now.  That makes things so much easier, and really encourages me to eat more of them.  For some reason, I'm not too hot on veggies right now, but I'm eating a large Granny Smith apple almost every day.  I got a bag of oranges at Yuck Mart two days ago and, upon opening them today to get one out, discovered that almost half of them are moldy.  Can you say gross?????  Tomorrow that bag goes back to Yuck Mart and I won't be buying any more oranges in bags from them.  I do get the cuties in bags, but they are small enough to see well.  Ick.  I'm still shuddering to think of the grossness of moldy soft oranges.  Ewwww.

Norbie and I got our Christmas presents on Wednesday.  We've never spent a lot on each other.  I think the last time we spent more than $50 each was when we bought our wedding rings.  Now I've bought things for him that cost more and he's done the same, but not at the same time.
Enough chatter.  Here is my present..........................................

It's on my lower outer right calf.  In case anyone thinks I'm crazy, well.....let me tell you, this baby hurt.  The other two I got didn't hurt this much combined.  Some people get pain with legs and some with arms.  My upper arm tattoo didn't hurt much at all.  This was intense.
To explain the meaning behind it....1) Well, the cross is pretty obvious.  That's all about Jesus and what He did for me when He chose to come here to Earth and take my sins on himself so that I could have a personal relationship with the triune God.  It is the most significant thing in my life that I became His child and that I have had the privilege of walking with Him for the last 36 years.  I honestly don't know how I would have made it without Him there next to me.  He's carried me more than I've walked, despite the fact that I forget it on a pretty regular basis.  2) The meaning I see behind the Celtic aspect is fascinating to me.  Celtic knots and designs signify, to me, the love of God.  There is no beginning and no ending to a Celtic design.  There is no start and no stop.  It just keeps going and going and going.  This is just like my Heavenly Father's love, mercy, and goodness toward each and every one of His children.  3) The flowers are morning glories.  I know they don't exactly look perfect but that's cool 'cause I'm not perfect either.  Besides, I was in awe-inspiring pain and I don't know if Omar could have done them correctly even if he was familiar to the flower.  As it is, they came out fine. brother Ken died in January of 2005.  He had a massive heart attack while waiting for a bus in Charlotte, North Carolina.  It's a long sad story....but, to get to the point, his favorite flower in all the world was the morning glory.  The flowers themselves are a tribute to my brother.  The purple color is my favorite.  There are three flowers, one for each of my grown children.  They are at the foot of the Cross, where I placed them a long time ago.  That's not to say I don't think sometimes I know what's best for them or try to tell God how to take care of them, but they are in His arms and His care, not mine.  I have done the best I could to raise them, and what I taught them is there, inside, whether they utilize it or not.  I believe the Scripture that says, "Raise up your children in the way they should go, and when they are old they won't depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 (paraphrase mine)

So, there is the meaning behind my tattoo.  Here is my hubby's.

The meaning behind his is simple, kinda....he has felt many times in his life like he didn't belong here; that he would fit better in an earlier time where honor and integrity and loyalty were character qualities to strive for and that a person with those qualities would be recognized for them.  It seems so many times these days that selfishness is the word of the day, and that so many people live their lives by that motto....and he just feels like he's part of a dying breed. There is no easier way for him to express that feeling than with a dinosaur.

I've been sewing like crazy lately.  I've made boxer briefs for my twin grandsons, who had outgrown all of theirs; I made them new shirts, and made new winter pajamas for Patrick for when he comes to visit Oma & Opa; I made Abby 3 new scrub tops for her new temporary and hopefully permanent job as hairdresser at a nursing home about 20 minutes from where she lives; I made my son's girlfriend some new unmentionables; made Anna-Belle a pair of winter jammies; made Patrick a quillow for his birthday; oh, and a bunch of other things.  Right now I'm working on robes for the Missouri grandkids for Christmas presents.  I really don't know what to get for my Florida grandkids.  I've emailed Tobie and haven't heard back.  I guess I'll call in the morning and see if I can catch him and see how he's doing.  I'd like to ask him and Alexzandria what they'd like - whether they still want me to make them things or not.  It's hard to know.  It's hard to keep in touch with them lately.

My head has been doing flip flops lately.  I don't know if it's the weather or what, but the pain is more than normal and it doesn't want to behave.  I've been taking a lot more Vicodin than I like but the doc is kinda hesitant to increase the Methadone again so I guess we have to reach middle ground somewhere, eh?  Moderate pain control is a whole lot better than none at all. cursor has been doing all kinds of whacky things here.  It doesn't move down a line when I hit the "enter" key and I have to move it myself.  Is this a Blogger glitch, or maybe a Foxfire issue?  Maybe I'll contact the powers that be and see what they have to say.

God bless and keep you all, and watch over you and the ones you love.

Monday, September 20, 2010

plugging along

I've made a few grown up things in the last several weeks.  After a long time of making kids' clothes, I yearn to sew something that I can handle with my whole hand and that I can turn right side out without using a tool.

 This was made off the cuff starting with a tank top pattern I drafted from a tank top I had in my dresser drawer.  I was in the process of updating the pattern a bit since I had made some of the openings a little weird, and then I got to thinking, and ended up with the dress.  I shortened the tank top a bit and then took the rest of the flowered fabric I had, thinking of making a dress from it.  The thing is, I don't like short dresses.  I'm self-conscious about my size anyway, and prefer longer dresses for that reason as long as for modesty's sake.  I dug around in my stash and finally found this fuchsia interlock hiding in with the bamboo jersey in my other other stash site.  It happened to match the flowers in the pattern on the green fabric just perfectly, and I had just enough of it to fit in the space I wanted to feel.  There was enough of the flowered fabric left for the pockets and just a snip more.

The upper skirt portion is twice the width of the bottom of the tank top section.  Before sewing anything to the tank top or to the bottom of the upper skirt portion, I sewed transparent elastic to the cut edge of the fabric using a nice, sharp needle and a longer than normal stitch.  NOTE:  If the needle isn't sharp and the stitch isn't long enough, the combination of the two will just gather the mess out of the elastic and you'll end up wanting to chuck the whole combo in the garbage can.  I found that even for a medium weight interlock like the flowered fabric, the transparent elastic went on best with a 10BP (ballpoint) needle and a length of 3 instead of my normal setting of 2.25 to 2.5.

I have a book I got from, sew what? Skirts, and it has some neat patterns in it.  More precisely, it shows you how to take your measurements and make your own patterns based on your own size.  In all, you can make patterns for 16 skirts.  Some of them are based on others - for instance, the A-line skirt is the basis for a few others - but it is great to have access to a resource where I can figure out how to make patterns for skirts to fit my oddly-shaped body instead of making skirts that don't fit or fit poorly. 

This skirt is made from the A-line pattern I drafted based on the instructions in the book.  It was really easy to make.  I had this fabric sitting around for a while and couldn't decide what to do with it until I looked at the pattern I had in front of me. 

The vest is made from McCall's 8285.  This pattern is pretty easy for a vest pattern, though I believe I tweaked it a bit like I do most of my other patterns.  Part of the problem is that for plus sized petite people, having the tie belt things in the back just isn't good because there isn't enough room under them to stick out from beneath the belt.  I tried snaps and the two-piece D ring setup and neither one looked too hot so I'm just going to get rid of them and put some elastic shirring in the center back section right where the belt would go if I were taller and not so round.  This way I'll have the effect I wanted without the annoyance of the clank clank clank when I don't use the D rings, and I won't be constantly fighting to get the fabric underneath the belt instead of having it slide up and over, making it look all weird.  So anyhow, this is a comfy little getup with the skirt and vest looking almost like a dress without the waist issues or chest issues that someone with a round body and small chest is going to encounter with either ready-made clothes or non-altered patterns.  I like this pattern set.  I may use it again.

I made this skirt for my oldest daughter from another pattern in the same book as above.  It's similar to the A-line pattern but you add width to each layer, though you don't double the width each time unless you want an insanely gathered bottom row with up to a few hundred inches in total width.

The skirt was going to be mine, but I made the layers too short and, again, it was not long enough for my liking.  Not that Abby minded - in fact, she loves it!  Her friend in Alabama wants one too.  Maybe I'll make her one for Christmas.  She'd love me forever if I did.  She kind of adopted me during Abby's senior year in high school, hanging out here as much as she could get away with and calling me "Mommy" to distinguish me from her other mother.  She still calls me Mommy, and she still calls me if she needs something from advice to support.  She's incredibly jealous that Abby has a sewing mom and she doesn't. 

So, three new garments, and three new patterns.....not bad, not bad at all.

God bless and keep you all close to His heart, under the shadow of His wings.

Monday, July 5, 2010

it's been a hot summer

Last Monday I ended up in the ER with heat exhaustion.  The older I get, the less I tolerate the extremes of weather.  It was in the high 90's with heat indices in the 110's on Friday, Saturday and Sunday before then.  On Friday night I was out a bit too long, and I started feeling icky almost immediately.  It just kept getting worse and worse, but I made it till Monday evening before I just go to where I was so sick I just couldn't handle it any more.  I couldn't get hold of hubby at work, so I called Abby and asked her to take me to the ER.  After a bag of IV fluid and some Zofran for the nausea, I felt better.  I'm almost back to 100% after a week of taking it easy.  Still, though, I'm sweating sooner and more intensely than before.  I'm not sure if it's heat intolerance or if I'm having hot sweats.  I mean, come on, I'm 50 and Aunt Flo is still coming around like clockwork...any time she decides to leave I'm fine with it.

I had an overnight pulse oximetry test last week to rule out suspected sleep apnea.  Apparently I didn't do so well.  The nurse called and scheduled me for a sleep study this past Friday night.  I drove up there at 8pm like they told me to, taking along my pillow, a few low-sugar and low-carb snacks, and my computer.  I got into the room they were going to do the test in and noticed right away that there was a smell there I might have an issue with.  After looking around, I took a sniff of the bed and - whoa!!!  They used some really strong smelling detergent or dryer sheets on the linens, something I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to tolerate.  About 10 minutes later I knew I had to go.  There was no way I was going to be able to sleep in the bed, and the smell was beginning to nauseate me.  The nurse and I had already been discussing how she was going to be able to attach all the electrodes and such to me since I am allergic to adhesive, latex, and several other things.  It never came down to that.  It is just another test I doubt I'm going to be able to take because of how my body reacts to things.

So anyhow, that's how things have been going for me.

As far as other stuff, more mundane stuff....I made myself a pair of bamboo jersey sleep pants the other day.  I don't wear pants, but they required two piece pajamas for the sleep study, so I needed to make something to wear.  These things are insanely comfy.  If I wore pants, I'd make a ton of them.  It's like wearing silk or satin, only better.  You don't have to worry about having to hand wash it or be mega-careful with it.  Bamboo is also eco-friendly; it's self-sustaining, has natural antibiotic properties, and grows in the wild with no encouragement.  It makes great diapers and baby clothes, towels, and other apparel. It's a bit more expensive than the cheap, foreign,chemically-laden stuff you get in the local big-name fabric stores, but it's far worth the cost.

Today I made some new pads for my Etsy store.  They are plus size panty liners.  I've sold nighttime pads and daytime pads in the store but no panty liners or light-flow pads.  A few weeks ago, a repeat customer asked me to make her some panty liners, so I drafted some up really quickly.  She liked them, and they go together well, so I built a little stash up today and listed some in my store.  I have just one left to make.  Next, I need to do some birthday presents for my twin grandsons whose birthday is August 3.  I have a dress cut out and ready to sew up for myself.  Once those are done, I need to make a couple more dresses and finish a few other little things I have almost finished.

On July 14 I will be having surgery on my right wrist for carpal tunnel.  I had the left side done the end of last year and knew this was going to happen.  I decided a few weeks ago when I started getting a lot of tingling in my thumb and first 2 fingers on that hand that I needed to get with the program and get it over with.  Besides, that way I'll be recovered and back to functional in time to make Christmas gifts.  The other thing is that this is a contract year so hubby suggested I get this done just in case something falls through with the benefits, though I doubt it. 

One of the nice side effects of getting sick last weekend is that my appetite almost disappeared for 4 or 5 days, so it's been easier for me to get back to eating the way I should.  I'd slipped back into some really bad habits, including my stress eating.  It's been tough here since I got sick and the fact that some of my meds cause weight gain and fluid retention.  I had been praying in the last few weeks that God would help me with this struggle, and He did.  It wasn't how I expected, but I'll take what I can get.

No pics in this entry.  I'll probably have some next time around.  I need to get more pictures of the chicks; my daughter and her family are coming over tomorrow for dinner and then the guys are going fishing;  I need to make sure the camera batteries are charged.

God bless you and the ones you love; may He show you His grace, protect you, and keep you from harm.

Good night.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Oh my goodness

Things have been wild and I've totally neglected my blog.  I have been sewing like a mad woman and didn't even post any of the stuff I made!

First off, here's Anna-Belle's birthday dress.  It's an Ottobre pattern - actually two patterns from two different issues.  I made the bloomers to cover her diapers since I think little girls look adorable with matching diaper covers instead of diapers with regular covers or (ick) disposables under a pretty dress.

front view

 back view

I wasn't sure when I started if the pink and lilac would look good together.  Well, it does.  In fact, it looks great!  Mom and Dad love the outfit.  They love just about anything I make for her.  Maybe now she won't live in the blue and yellow pinwheel outfit I made her.  Sheesh.  She has that one on an awful lot.
I made this dress for Abby for their vacation to Florida.  It was originally intended for her sister-in-law's wedding, but she used it before then so she is going to wear it for graduation instead.  I had to take in above the bust just a little, about an inch front and back, in order for it to fit well.  Of course this meant I had to remove the zipper (on the right side) zippers are the bane of my existence.  She loves the dress, though.  And, I will admit, it looks good on her.

Here is the tote I made for Abby's mother's day gift.  I wanted something a little different, so I made it fully lined with lots and lots of pockets, and made the bag part so that I had enough to fond down at the top.  The result was a tote with 6 pockets on the inside and 2 on the outside; the outer pockets are denim, one smaller than the other and centered on the bigger one.  The webbing is strong enough to hold just about anything she can fit in the bag.  The sizes of the internal pockets are varied so that she can put all kinds of things in there.  In fact, it would even be good for the boys' swimming lessons later this summer.

I made myself a wrap around skirt.  It's too small according to the pattern, so I'm going to need to make another one, but it fits better than a lot of things I've made, and it was most definitely a learning process.  I know how to fix the pattern for the next skirt.  It won't be too hard.

I've had this fabric for a little while and wasn't sure it would be good for a skirt.  The nice thing about quilting fabric is that it doesn't wrinkle as much as some cotton fabric; it is also rarely see-through like some cheaper stuff.  I will be using this pattern again.  I do have to alter the pattern but it won't be tough.

I've drafted two basic patterns in the last couple days.  I used the sew what? SKiRTS  book to make a basic A-line pattern for myself.  I cut out the skirt today using black and multicolored batik fabric.  I added pockets to the side seams because I need pockets in my skirts and dresses.  They are practically essential.
I also traced a tank top and made a muslin of inexpensive rib knit; this showed me where I needed to change the pattern to make it fit better.  After the alterations I made another top using some brown pointelle rib knit I had been saving for this kind of top, and it looks great.  It fits like a dream.  Unfortunately, I don't have any brown stretch lace, foldover elastic or any other kind of trim in a dark brown - I'll have to wait till the stuff I ordered today arrives.

My cursor is acting weird again.  Hmmmm....

God bless you all and keep you safe.  Have a good week.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Annabelle's Easter dress

The pattern is from the Ottobre 3/08 issue.  It is pattern #4, the 2 in 1 dress.  The panty underneath is all one with the dress, so it covers the diaper.  It is definitely large enough for a cloth diaper with an extra liner underneath.  I made it from the yellow print with blue underneath because I like unusual color blends.  The top is a Monag blank that I cut the sleeves off and lettuce edged.  I have several long sleeve blanks and I need to use them up's the first one. 

The lettuce edging is just as easy with my regular machine as it is with the serger.  It's a bit slower but it works just fine.  I really like how it looks.

The bodice was a challenge.  The straps are elasticized and you sew them to the front of the bodice first; next, you put the back together and then have to sew the back to the front with the straps already in place.  It requires a little maneuvering but now that I have experienced it once it wouldn't be so hard the next time. 

When I made the underskirt I just put it right sides together like always with a dress, only to remember when I was done that it needed to be right side of bodice to wrong side of skirt so the skirt faces out and the bodice faces in.  It was a good experience in paying attention; ripping out 2 rows of stitching and then redoing the gathering and sewing it all again was a lesson I won't soon forget.  It all came out in the end, though.

Now I am going to make some Easter outfits for my daughter's 4 boys and I might even have time to make myself a new dress in the next week so I have an Easter dress, too.

The plants are budding and it will be greening soon.  The grass is growing and the forsythia bushes are getting ready to pop out their pretty yellow "winter is over!" declaration.  I can't wait.  I love gardening and playing in the dirt.  So do the chickens. 

Enough for now.  Time to go pick out patterns for Easter clothes.  Blessings on you and yours.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's been a while since I posted

Sometimes I just get way too busy and forget to put my projects in here.  I think I'll just post some pictures and explain what they are; that way I'll feel caught up.

This is a skort set I made for Alex for her birthday.

Here is a photo of the back of the top. I edged it with satin ribbon.

This is the skort. It was easier to make than I thought it would be.

I also made her this dress. This fabric had been sitting in my fabric closet for several years and it just hit me when I was looking for fabric to make her birthday dress.

I made these shorts to go under the dress. Anyone with a girl knows this is a good idea.

I made these booties for Annabelle one day last week. She had taken off her socks and her feet were cold.

I used gripping fabric on the bottom. She's trying to walk and this will help her keep from slipping.
The booties are a bit on the small size but they kept her feet warm. That's what I get for not checking the size against her feet.

Unfortunately, Alex's birthday outfits didn't fit, either. So....on to plan B.

This outfit is made for play. I had fun making this one. The yoke and midriff was a lot easier than I thought it would be. It is made in a much different way than one I made for myself a while back. I had really hated that pattern and was relieved to see this one was not as complicated to assemble. If the pants are too snug at the waist, Grandma Kathy can have her neighbor take the elastic out and put in a longer piece. The pants are large enough to do that. It's hard to know how big to make things from 1200 miles away.

I chose an Ottobre pattern for her next dress. It's a jumper and blouse made from the 5/06 issue specifically designed for larger sized girls.

Here is a side view of the sleeve. There is shirring on the sleeve made by wrapping elastic thread around the bobbin and then sewing to make the little gathers.

The wrist area of the sleeve is also shirred. It was much easier than I thought it would be. I had this idea of struggling with the stitching but, fortunately, I thought to practice on scrap fabric first. Now I know I can do it.

I wanted to pick up the eyelet flowers on the denim so I added an eyelet lace at the bottom of the jumper. Like the fabric from the other dress, this denim had been in my closet for several years. I believe I got it on Ebay in, oh, 2003 or so.

This is the first of two pair of boxer-style panties I made for Alex at her request. I guess she doesn't like elastic on her leg folds, so she had asked for undies like her brother's. These only had one layer; I added a full lining so that there wouldn't be raw seams against tender skin. I added the waistline elastic like piping. The legs are done like the legs on regular panties. This is an Ottobre pattern from the 4/04 issue.

This is the second style of boxer briefs. It is from the same Ottobre magazine. I took the boy's long johns pattern and modified it to be like the toddler boy's boxer briefs by shortening the leg piece. Again, not wanting raw seams against tender skin, I doubled the insets on the front and back, making these like I make the crotch/gusset on panties. They went together well. A person or two suggested I modify them more to take the center seam out of the front...I believe I'll wait and see which pair she likes best before I do that. If she wants more of these, I'll alter the pattern a little before I make her more. Otherwise, I won't have to.

Finally, here is a thread catcher I made. I was going to use it for the serger but the pocket is far too small, so I'll use it for my Janome QC4800. I'll modify this pattern to make the pocket for the threads and scraps bigger so I can have one for the serger as well.

Now I feel caught up.  Tired, but caught up.  Too bad I have two more things sitting on the table, cut out and ready to sew!!

God is good.  I sold 14 pads yesterday.  10 are headed for Australia and the other 4 are going to North Carolina.  I guess it's time to restock my Etsy store a bit. 

Bedtime....I see the psychiatrist in the morning.  Good night!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Of grandsons and frogs

This weekend I got to keep Kenny and Patrick overnight.  We had a good time.  We went to the store and got some things and then came home in the rain and mud.  It was no fun getting up the hill.  The rain has made the few inches of unfrozen topsoil more like a mix of quicksand and mud than ground.  I really had to struggle to get my footing.  Now the boys - that was something else.  They are so small and light it wasn't an issue for them.

We came in the house and had some cheap cardboard pizza.  The boys ate well so I gave them M&Ms.  It was bathtime after that and I let them stay in till they told me they were cold.  They got in their new sweats and put on some socks, brushed their teeth and went to bed.  I think they were asleep in less than 10 minutes.

While they were sleeping I made Kenny some new underwear.  This kid doesn't like wearing underwear and he "forgot" to put them on, again.  He doesn't like snug undies against his tummy.  He's been this way since he was sick.  Anyhow, he and his brothers like the underwear I make them far better than store-bought ones made in a third-world country.  First off, they're durable.  Secondly, they're original.  Lastly, I can make them in whatever fabric the boys choose from my stash, and they get a real kick out of it.

So, here are they are.  Once again, I used the Ottobre 4-04 issue, pattern #37, in size 98 this time.  I really like this pattern aside from the fact that the seams are exposed. 

Kenny is delighted with his froggy underwear.  The kid is stuck on frogs with a vengeance.  I think it's probably my fault, at least partially.  His crib set was frogs.  Lots of the clothes I bought him had frogs on them.  His first birthday quilt was frogs, his second birthday present was a stuffed frog, and lots of stuff he has is froggy.  And, when he was in the hospital and wouldn't let Mom take his frog quilt to wash it, I made him another frog quilt so she could wash the first one.  So yeah, it's kinda my fault.

I have a ton of underwear, for boys and girls, cut out and ready to sew.  I need to do them, but first I really want to get A's jacket done.  It's getting cold again and I know she could use it.  I think I will make that my goal for this week.  Once I set to, it will be done in no time.  Then I need to make Alex's birthday skirt, another Ottobre pattern, and a top to go with it.  She's going to love it!  She is in the princess-y phase now and loves all things pink and purple and princess and fairy.  Thank goodness it isn't a difficult theme to find fabrics for.

Okay, off to clean the litter box and then check for eggs.  My life is so thrilling I can't stand it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A few more last pictures; I'm finally caught up

This sleep sack was made from a Big4 pattern.  I made it for AnnaBelle for her Christmas gift, among other things.  She looks so cute in the hat!  She isn't wild about hats but she looks adorable in them.

This outfit is from the Ottobre 5/2006 issue, pattern #8.  Miss AnnaBelle's mom loves this.  She said it looks like it came from the store.  I wanted to use the pink giraffe fabric, but I needed something that would keep her warm as well.  I do believe I achieved that.  The bamboo velour looks awesome with the pink and green.  The feet weren't even as hard as I thought they would be.

I made this top for myself from Kwik Sew #3370 and some $2 per yard WalMart fabric.  If you watch, you can find some decent stuff there for a good price.  This is velour; I'm sure it's polyester, but still it's got a nice nap to it and it's comfy as heck.  I keep wearing it as soon as it gets clean.  In fact, a couple days ago I picked up some more fabric and I'm going to make another one.  I will be trying just a bit harder to keep the stripes straight, though, so they don't go on an incline.  I thought I had this one straight but I guess not, huh?  Still, it's not for a special occasion so it really doesn't matter all ath much.

And finally, I made these for my son from the Kwik Sew pattern #3298, the same pattern as Tobie's boxer briefs.  These have the long leg option while Tobie's have the short one, but that is the only difference.  I'm waiting to see if he likes them.  He's not really fussy and his other underwear are getting a bit raggy, so I decided to make him several pair at once and just get it over with.

I have one project cut out, Alex's birthday present in the plans, and I also want to make myself another denim jumper with a long sleeved t-shirt to go along with it.  I have the fabrics picked out and all; it's just a matter of getting them done.  I am also working on hand-quilting a king-sized 110" by 110" quilt for Abby and Donovan's bed.  It's taking longer than I ever thought it would, but it will be nice when it's done.

Staying busy is a good thing.  It keeps me out of trouble.