Why Take the Class?

I recently finished taking a sewing class at G Street Fabrics. I loved the class (a pants drafting class) and really like the teacher, but the people in the class…my God.

The class was six weeks long and every single week, at least one person was unprepared. Usually, it was all but two who were unprepared (the class ranged in size from six to nine people each week).

So what, right? As long as I was prepared, who cares?

Well, it caused me to lose out on the class. During one of the earliest classes, a woman was so unprepared that the rest of us had to wait twenty minutes to get started.

Toward the middle, two of us spent an entire class period watching our instructor fit people. The previous week she had spent half of the class sitting around, waiting for people to finish their work. Had people been prepared, the second fitting class I could have gotten a fitting rather than sitting around. I did learn some things from the class, but it was still frustrating.

During the last class, one of the women ended up getting into a verbal confrontation with our instructor because she hadn’t listened and had messed up. She tried blaming the instructor, and even claimed she was prepared for every class. That was not at all true. She once showed up with none of her materials. None. Not even her measurements. The rest of us just stood there, uncomfortably looking at each other.

I did meet another woman in the class who seems awesome. (She was the other one who had to sit there doing nothing during one class.) We will be spending more time together and will help fit each other. I also left the class with a great fitting pants muslin, so it was worth it.

Still, I don’t get grown-ups. It’s one thing if my students don’t do their homework, but you’re an adult! Why take the class if you’re not actually going to do any of the work?

Well, That Didn’t Last Long

So, my promise to make six items from stash didn’t last long.

I did make one item from stash, a Vogue dress that looks great on everyone else, but not on me. I used up the last of a horrible knit fabric I bought from Fabric.com. I wasn’t supposed to use up all of the fabric, but I had to cut pieces of the pattern repeatedly. It was awful.

I was keeping up my stash promise until a few weeks ago. As I was leaving my sewing class a few weeks ago, I stopped abruptly.

Could it Be?

I pulled the fabric out and found this on the selvedge. Well, 2002 would be about the year I bought a dress at Marshall’s for $5. This dress, which later became a skirt that is still sitting in my closet.

Shamash & Sons

$5 Mica Dress from Marshall’s, Bought Circa 2004

I snapped photos of it, and when I got home, I showed them to Good Man. “Do you remember this?”


I dug through my scrap stash, where I still had pieces of the top half of the dress, because I use them for my fabric scrap books. I brought it to him. “Now?”

“Oh. yeah, that dress you wore when we were first dating.”

“Look,” I said, lining up the iPod with the fabric swatch. “That’s the same fabric, isn’t it?”

“It is.” Good Man smiled. “You should buy it!”

“I’m supposed to sew six things, and it’s not on sale right now.”

“Amanda, go buy it.”

The next day, I bought what was left on the bolt. I also called the other two stores. Neither of them have the fabric. I don’t know if this is old stock or new stock or what, but I now have five and a quarter yards of it.

Five and a Quarter Yards

Steady March: Spring Chores

When we toured our house, one of the planks on the steps was a little jiggly. Over time, it became loose, and a few days ago I tripped over it and it came off entirely.

I had images of getting sued or breaking my ankle, so we continued the Steady March this weekend with some minor work outside.

The wood supports on the steps had cracked. We secured them with a little glue and then used 3″ deck screws to secure the step again. The previous owner used 1 1/2″ screws. The steps are an inch thick. They make “deck screws” for a reason…

Missing Step



Good Man worked on cutting some ivy and clearing some drains while I worked on digging things out.

In our driveway, there was a large hunk of concrete with Air Jordan in it. It was about three feet by a foot and a half. Mom said I wouldn’t be able to get it out without using a sledgehammer, but she didn’t realize how thin the chunk was. I removed some smaller pieces (you can see the space they occupied) and then used the shovel to dig the large piece out.

The yellow spray paint marks the gas line, and Good Man was terrified I’d hit it, but I knew it wasn’t that close to the surface and everything worked out fine.

Air Jordan


Ready for the Trash

In the front yard we had several large pieces of slate. They didn’t start anywhere or go anywhere, so I removed them. Below you only see half of the slate. I found several more pieces that were completely overgrown and took those out, too. I put them all in the backyard until I decide what to do with them.

Overgrown Slate

Freeing the Slate

Spring Flowers

It turned really hot last week, and the aircon was out at work. Teaching reading in a 94 F room? Yeah, not so successful.

A few days ago we finally got some rain, and the next day our yard exploded. Perhaps (regular commenter) Jonathan knows what some of these plants are?

I know violets are considered a weed, but I find them much less obnoxious than the ivy growing in our yard and happily welcome them in our yard.

Wild Violets

Confederate Violets (?)

I thought we had onion grass growing, but then these translucent white flowers appeared. They are so pretty!

White Flowers

I thought we would get a lot of daffodils (or something!) from the early bulbs that sprang out of the ground several months ago, but we got exactly one flower from them.

The rest of the stands are flowerless. I know our house was put up for sale in late March of last year. They mowed the lawn for the photos, and I think they might have “blinded” the bulbs for this year. I’ll see what happens next year, since I haven’t mowed them down yet.

Single Flower


When Mom came for a visit, she bought us a very Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree-like Japanese Maple. We planted it behind the big rock in our front yard.

Good Man and I also bought a two-in-one Asian pear tree and planted it in the backyard.

Trees are definitely an exercise in patience. I was afraid neither had survived our whacky winder, but then we got a spell of hot weather and some rain!


Japanese Maple

Asian Pear Tree

The established trees are also starting to bloom.


Dogwood Flowers

Storm Coming Up

Wildcat Mountain Hike

Yesterday Good Man and I went somewhere new for a hike. We went to Wildcat Mountain, which I thought was far away since we passed through two counties to get to it. However, it ended up being only five minutes farther than Riverbend, which is in the same county that we’re in!

The hike started with a half mile of switchbacks and wow, we need to start going out west more to get some more incline practice. Once we made it to the top, the path mostly flat.

Not Quite Winter

But Barely Spring

Eventually, you reach two small home sites and a stream that is either human-made or human-directed. I’m not sure what the bricks/stones were near the top of the stream. A well? Old foundation?

Near the Stream

Very Green Pond

Twist in the Tree

The home sites were interesting, and I wondered if the second site (the stone one) was actually intended to be a house since it had no windows and very low ceilings. I thought it might be a cellar or something like that instead.

Wildcat Mountain Home Site



Broken Windows


Second Home Site

Wooden Latch

Under the stairs, I found this. The beginning of a new nest? An abandoned one? While we were there, no insects appeared.


Apparently there are wild turkeys in the area, and we could hear them but couldn’t see them. I really wanted to see a wild turkey!

We stopped for lunch near the end of the hike. Because the trees were still bare, we had a tiny bit of a view (mountains to one side, and farms to the other), but this hike wasn’t really a hike for views. It was a hike for the hand-built stone wall and homes.

In the dead of summer, I think this would be a great place to go to cool off since there are so many trees.

Near the Picnic Site

Stone Wall

While we were there, a runner passed up three times in the opposite direction. While we were eating, we chatted with two people who walked by with a clipboard and a road-measuring wheel. They were working on a guidebook for the PATC and said that the runner told them he was up there most weekends, and he’d been there since seven. It was noon when they told us this.

Good Man and I made it back to our car, passing several couples and families on the way up. We had read that it wasn’t a busy trail, it was pretty busy!

I liked the hike and expect to visit again this summer.

Mother Comes for a Visit: Police and Waitress Adventures

“When will you be home?”

I crammed my box of sewing things in my trunk and juggled my phone. “Um, I don’t know, I’m leaving my class now.”

“The police were here. And they scared my mom.”



So Mother went home today. The visit was…interesting.

Last week Good Man and I both had vacation, but this week Mother was home alone. We took her to the Korean spa and left her there for the day while we worked (which she loved), and she did a Korean tour agency’s tour of Luray Caverns and DC on Wednesday (which she also enjoyed).

The real adventure came Thursday afternoon, though!

After Good Man called to tell Mother he was on his way home, Mother saw the police digging through our mailbox. She peeked at them through the windows, and became very nervous. She decided to go out and see what they needed

When she left the house, she locked herself out.

Mother managed to explain to the officers that it was her son and daughter-in-law’s house and that she had locked herself out. (I was really proud of her when I heard she did it in English.)

The officers, in turn, tried to break into our home using a credit card.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

The credit card break in was a failure (luckily, I think?) and our neighbor across the way saw Mother. She came over and asked which language Mother spoke. She then called several friends until she got one who was able to interpret for her.

When the neighbor discovered what was going on, she invited Mother in, but Mother was too nervous. (Ir probably didn’t help that the neighbor has some very gorgeous, very large Huskies!) So the neighbor gave her a lawn chair and some blankets so she could keep warm while she waited.

She wasn’t locked out for too long, and Good Man soon came home.

When I arrived home after my sewing class, it was well after dark and I called the police to see why they were digging in my mailbox.

Mother had gone for a walk during the day, but not wanting to get lost, she had walked up and down our street several times. She was afraid that she had looked suspicious and wanted to be sure she hadn’t gotten us in trouble.

I wanted to make sure the police were real, since we had a weird incident a few months ago where a woman knocked on the door and accused us of having her husband’s iPhone.

They were real police, and they had been digging through our mailbox. They were looking for a name, but weren’t sure of the address.

I don’t know why they didn’t use computers.


When Good Man got home, he and Mother went out to look for boxed juice. She wanted to give the neighbor a thank-you gift, but wasn’t able to find the bottles of juice she wanted. Instead, she bought a whole lot of…grapes.

After school yesterday, Mother and I walked to the neighbor’s house so we could thank her.

“In Korea, you give food. Usually you give a box of bottled juice, but we couldn’t find that. So we bought these,” I said, holding out the bag of grapes.

My neighbor peeked in the bag and exclaimed, “I love grapes!”

We spoke for a few more minutes, and Good Man got home and thanked her as well. Finally, the three of us headed out for a last dinner together.


At dinner, our waitress was amazing! It was super busy, but she was always friendly, attentive without being annoying, and really bubbly.

When the manager asked how our dinner was, I complimented our waitress. When the waitress brought us our check, I told her I had talked to her manager about her. She laughed and thanked us, and then asked what we were doing during the weekend.

I told her Mother was leaving and she wished her a good trip. Good Man was away from the table and I interpreted. Mother told me to tell the waitress that she was great.

I did, and the waitress continued her friendly banter and then, out of nowhere, Mother patted the server’s butt.

My hands shot across the table to grab her wrists. “Mother, you can’t do that!” I said in Korean. I turned to the waitress and apologized.

Mother put her hands together as if she was praying and apologized. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.”

“Older Korean women, when they like younger people, they sometimes swat your butt,” I said, the words tumbling out of my mouth. “I am so sorry!”

The waitress laughed and said it was OK. Good Man arrived at the table. “Your mom just patted her ass.”

“I’m sorry.”

I started laughing at the absurdity of the situation. I looked at our waitress and chuckled. “She knew me for years before she patted my butt. She must really like you!”

We tipped her twenty-five percent.