Saturday, April 30, 2011

North Carolina Quilt Symposium coming up June 2-5

Please tell your quilting friends about the NC Quilt Symposium, which will be held June 2-5, 2011 at Peace College in Raleigh.  It is a really big deal, people come every year from a lot of states to stay as boarding students (which costs $415).  I've never "boarded" except when I taught at symposium one year.  I tend to just take one or two classes and live at my own house.

The public is invited to the quilt show/vendor's mall, which will be open all three days, it costs $5 to get in.  Quilt show: Fri and Sat: 9:00 am - 7 pm. Sun 9:00-noon.  I have 2 quilts in the show.

If you want to sign up to take a lecture ($15) or a 3 hr workshop ($50) or a 6 hr workshop ($80), you need to turn in a registration form.

Or, you can sign up for a special deal that is called "The Day of Fun", that is $18 for entrance to the quilt show and one lecture.  You have to send in your money ahead of time to do that.

Here's the home page:

Here is the registration form:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Kate Middleton's Dress had Sleeves!

I worked in a bridal factory, making and designing bridal veils and hats, when I was first married.  Almost all wedding dresses had sleeves.   Then Princess Diana got married and she had big puffy sleeves.  For many years there were a mixture of strapless and sleeved dresses in the bridal magazines.

Something happened around 10? years ago.  ALL bridal dresses became strapless.  There was no choice at all for LDS brides in the bridal shops, so you had to buy from an LDS company or you had to make a little shrug or jacket to go over the dress.  I have been waiting and WAITING for this fashion to change.  And Hooray!  Maybe Kate Middleton is the person I have been waiting for, to shove the fashion designers back the other way.  I was SO SICK of strapless wedding dresses, that trend has been going on for way too long.

(This subject reminds me of a poem Dorothy Parker once wrote, that I barely remember; in the poem, she referred to the future where the dresses would get more and more bare and we would be left wearing "a gownless evening strap.")

And some bad news about the economy:
"The next two months:  Best Case, Medium Case, and Worst Case"

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How to make a Strippy Flannel quilt

This is a cute little baby quilt someone had sewn and given to my friend Latacha.

It is made by cutting strips of flannel (lets say they are cut 6 inches wide.)  Put two layers of flannel with a narrower strip of lowloft batting (about 4 inches wide) in between the flannel, so the batting does not extend into the seam allowances.

Each section is made of a quilt sandwich:  flannel, batting, flannel, with the right sides out.

Sew the sections together using a 1" seam allowance.  All the seam allowances should be showing on one side of the quilt.  Topstitch all the way around the quilt, 1" from the edge.

Now clip all the seam allowances and wash the quilt, to make the clipped seam allowances get fluffy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obsessive, Compulsive Using Up Fabric

I went to a silent auction at Capital Quilters Guild last week, and purchased two huge bags of fabric scraps for $1 and $1.50, and also lots of quilt magazines for about $2.50.

I've been having lots of fun looking at the quilt magazines and ripping out pages.

And I spent part of my birthday sorting through all the fabric scraps.

The two women who donated these bags of fabric were very different.

Woman #1:  Here was a woman who could not bear to throw away ANYTHING.  She included every microscopic scrap from every project she did in the last year, and saved up the bag to donate it.  I threw most of this fabric in the trash, because the pieces were too tiny to use.  BUT this woman also included a bunch of quilt blocks in the bag.  I am assuming when she made several quilts, she miscounted and made a lot of extra blocks.  Rather than throwing them away, she put them into her donation bag.

Woman #2:  This woman wasn't very talented at rotary cutting her fabric.  For every quilt she made, she cut off large strips of fabric off the selvedge ends, and threw the strips into a bag, and donated it later.  This bag was completely stuffed with strips of flannel fabric, mostly in baby prints.

Now I have a confession to make:  I have an obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to fabric scraps.  I HAVE TO USE THEM.

So I have spent lots of happy hours in the last couple of days sewing charity baby quilts out of those fabrics.  (These are just quilt tops, I'll let somebody else tie them or quilt them.)

The quilt at the top left was made completely by me, out of the flannel strips from bag #2.

The quilt at the top right was made out of quilt blocks which were in the first bag of scraps.

The quilt at the bottom left was made from 3 crazy quilt blocks which were in the flannel bag.  I only had to make one more block and put it together.  That quilt is my attempt at the"Gee's Bend" look.

The quilt at the bottom right was also made of quilt blocks which were in the first bag of scraps.  You will notice there is no yellow/blue border on two sides of the patchwork.  Too bad, thats all of those pieces that I got.  I'm sure that a baby won't mind.

No, they aren't works of art, but I can donate them to a charity and someone will like them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good food on that blog

A woman in my ward has this great blog.  She takes pretty pictures of the beautiful food she cooks for her family.  And she has nice dishes, too!

Monday, April 25, 2011

2 Kristen Bell movies

Wayne and I enjoyed "When in Rome".  It was fun to see Jon Heder and "Pedro" again, and the plot was cute, and the best part about the plot, they were trying to get MARRIED!  I get so sick of movies where the goal is to go to bed together.  This movie was completely clean, with the exception of one scene where Kristen Bell's sister has on skimpy clothing.

I watched another movie starring Kristen Bell, and didn't like it as well.  "You Again" also starred Jamie Lee Curtis, Segourney Weaver, and Betty White.  I guess it was moderately satisfactory, if you are just wanting to see a chick flick, but I didn't really like the way it turned out in the end.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Law of Entropy and the Recipe for Chocolate Cake

Entropy: a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder.
My cooking abilities follow the law of entropy.  Here is an example:
One year ago:  I saw a recipe for an individual piece of cake, to make in a greased teacup.  (The recipe said to measure flour, cocoa, oil, eggs, salt, sugar, baking powder, etc, mix it in the teacup and cook it in the microwave for 30 seconds.)  
I was excited about this recipe, and made it for myself one time.  I told Rachel about it, and she told me it was a waste of time.  She told me of the following recipe:
Ten months ago:  Rachel said just open a box of chocolate cake mix.  Spoon out a little bit into a greased teacup, add a little powdered egg, a little oil, and a little water.  Mix it, and cook it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
I was SO EXCITED!  This was much easier than measuring out all the individual ingredients as I had done before.  So I cooked myself these individual little cakes every so often over the past few months.
Last month:  I was craving something sweet, and since the cake mix box was opened and partially used, I just spooned some powder in a bowl and added a little water and stirred it around and ate the batter raw.  It was delicious!  And very quick!
Last week:  As I was passing the cabinet, I remembered “There is an open box of cake mix in there.  I should eat some!”  And I got a spoon and ate some powder straight out of the box.
The End

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I'm old

Its my birthday, and I'm old.  End of story.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tara Is Home/The Breakdown Draws Near (unrelated topics)

I thought those two headlines were funny together.  Ha Ha!

We picked Tara up from the airport last night at 11:45, and today Seth's family and Isaac's family came for lunch.  She will be living here, hopefully getting a job, and going to Wake Tech in the fall until she has enough credits to transfer to NCSU.

On to the next topic.  Financial news is adding up, something bad is getting ready to happen.

(Did you notice the BRICS mtg where Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa made announcements to deal in their own currencies, not use the dollar?

(Did you notice that Standard and Poor's downgraded the United States' credit rating?

Here's a good article putting all the pieces together:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I fixed Thomas' quilt

Here is the baby quilt I made for Thomas almost 3 years ago.  For some reason, this quilt really appeals to me.  I like the fact that I used about a hundred different colors in the blocks and sashing, and I enjoyed making the crooked stars in the corners.  

The Noah's Ark blocks were started as my Birthday Blocks in the "Beetweens" quilt bee (I was a member there from 1993 to about 2003.)  I have enough of these blocks left to make another baby quilt.  I had enough to make a twinsize quilt for Zac, but he grew up before I ever made it.

During the course of time, the quilt got a rip in it. So, during General Conference i appliqued a couple of hearts over the holes.

I want my grandkids to wear out their quilts, but when I can mend a hole before it gets bigger, I will.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tornadoes all around us in North Carolina Saturday

Saturday I knew there were severe weather forecasts, but I really wasn't paying attention too much.  In the afternoon we turned on the Weather Channel and found out a tornado was on the ground, and it looked to us like it was heading for Seth and Janette's apartment.

We called Seth, and told him to take cover, he doesn't have cable or satellite so he wasn't aware of the tornado, but he knew the weather was looking violent.  They live in a basement apartment so they were in a pretty safe location.

Then we watched the news coverage of several of the 60+ tornadoes that hit the five counties right around here.  It is so sad to hear of the people killed.

Sunday I drove to the Garner church building to hear Wayne give a talk, and had to drive through several intersections without traffic lights, because the electricity was still out along South Saunders street.  Police were blocking the road the other direction, where the buildings were torn up.

When I got to the University Ward, quite a few of the men were in jeans and Tshirts, because they had been out all morning helping people get trees off their houses.

Well, well, well.  Now I am reminded of all the other tornadoes in my lifetime.

The last tornado that I remember hitting this area was Nov. 28, 1988, that was shortly after we moved to Cary.  The tornado completely demolished the KMart in Raleigh, and then later a Walmart was built there.  That was right around Thanksgiving, the houses that were damaged had Christmas wreaths on their doors.

The night of that tornado I did a dumb thing.  We had four little kids, ages 5 months to 6 years.  I got up in the night and looked out at the rain going completely horizontal, and wondered whether to wake up all the little kids and Wayne and go down to the basement. (You know how awful it is to have to wake up kids and then try to get them all to go to sleep again.  Plus I hated to drag all the bedding down there.)

 Stupid me, I rationalized and said to myself, "Just go back to sleep."  I went to bed, and in the morning we found that the path of the tornado had skipped right over our house and made a path of devastation through the trees of Umstead Park.  You could draw a line on the map from our house through that line and on to the KMart.  I have always felt guilty that I didn't take my family to the basement, and I am thankful the tornado didn't hit us.

When I was very young in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, our tornado plan was to drive down into the rock quarry, since it was the lowest place around.

Then in Cleveland, Oklahoma, we had a "fraidy hole" (cement storm cellar) in the backyard, but we never went in there, it was too creepy and spidery and moldy.  I guess there were never any tornadoes while we lived in that house.

When I was in high school, in Stillwater, Oklahoma, a tornado hit our town.  We drove to the Morrill's house, because they had a walk-out basement (houses in Oklahoma just don't have basements, the water table is too high.)  We got to stand on the front porch and watch the tornado about 5 miles away.

Those are all the tornado memories I can think of.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, ADAM

We love you, Adam!  And we are so thankful that you chose Tiffany, she is a great addition to our family.  I wish you much happiness in your lives together.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter Lilies for kids to make

This is a cute craft for kids.  Trace around their hand, cut out the handprint and roll it up, and attach it to a pipe cleaner.

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Church building will hold 48 wards!

It is being built at 900 East 300 North, Provo, UT.  Look at the photos, they are amazing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Photos of my quilting class in Woodbridge, VA

In March, Wayne and I drove to Woodbridge, VA, where I taught quilting to the Cabin Branch Quilt Guild.

My workshop was entitled, "Curvaceous Pieced Houses for the Precision Impaired", and I also gave a power point lecture "Confessions of a Precision Impaired Quilter", (aka "When You Can't Precision Piece and You Hate Math, What Do You Do?")

 This is one of the student's class samples.  They learned to do freeform curved piecing, which looks a lot like applique but is much faster.
And here we are at the end of my class.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

To save money for Prom

I just wanted people to know that there is a good place to buy used tuxes:  the Formalwear Outlet.  I just got a flier in the mail, so I have all the info.   919-644-8243, 415 Millstone Drive, Hillsborough, NC 27278, Between 1-85 (exit 164) and 1-40 (exit 261).  Student prom special only $85 (its the whole package including shoes, and then you own it.)

We have purchased all the tuxedos there for 2 weddings, and we thought it was a very good deal.

This business gets all the used tuxedos from tux rental places, and sells them.
I don't think anyone would know that the tuxedo was last year's style.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Indoor camping adventure

As part of my ongoing quest for emergency preparedness, I re-thought my hatred of camping.  If I ever have to evacuate my home and camp out for awhile, I want to know how to do it.  So I told Wayne I wanted to go camping, and he said, "Who are you and what did you do with my wife?"

We had planned to camp out at Umstead State Park on Friday night, but because thunderstorms were in the forecast, we did the next best thing:  camped in our living room.

I learned how to set up our new tent, I learned to set up our cots, we measured everything to see what size storage boxes would fit under the cots.  I tested out the pad for my cot, and pronounced it "very comfortable."

 I felt very spoiled that we had electric lights, and that no bugs bothered us.   I loved it that the "outhouses" had regular flush toilets and were only a few steps away from our tent.

My next attempt at camping will be in the great outdoors, and because I practiced at home, I will be able to bring the right bedding and know that I have everything.  Wayne plans to start giving me lessons on building a fire and cooking outdoors.

Here is a quote I like: "Almost any fool can survive in discomfort.  It takes planning and skill to survive in comfort."

Monday, April 11, 2011

So proud to be an Okie

(Oklahoma is one of the states included in this article:  GO OKLAHOMA!!!!))

A wide-ranging rebellion is indeed under way – by a large majority of states – against what they claim are intolerable and blatantly unconstitutional encroachments by the federal government. And they are seriously intent on declaring such unconstitutional lawsnull and voidin their state.

Take Obamacare: Most people know the GOP-led House of Representatives repealed it (though the Democrat-controlled Senate almost certainly will not, nor will Obama ever sign it). And many also know 27 states are challenging Obamacare in court. But what few understand is that at least 11 states are attempting to legislatively nullifyObamacare within their borders. So far, an act to nullify the entire federal health-care law has become state law in Montana and Idaho, has been approved by one house in North Dakota, and introduced in eight other states – New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas, Wyoming, South Dakota and Oklahoma.
What about the federal government's labyrinthine gun laws? Eight states have already passed laws – signed by their governors – telling Washington its firearms regulations are not valid in those states for weapons manufactured and purchased in-state. Many other states are on the same legislative track.

There's much more: Utah last month became the first state to make gold and silver legal tender in that state. Twenty-four states are defying Obama by copying Arizona's immigration law – the one the Obama Justice Department sued Arizona over. Lawmakers in 40 states are working to halt the epidemic of "anchor babies" establishing "birthright citizenship." And 13 states are considering laws that would require every presidential candidate – including Barack Obama – to prove he is a natural-born citizen before his name can be placed on that state's ballot in presidential elections.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Parkour, skateboard, snowboard, - Out of this world

If I had Facebook I would "like" this, but I don't, so I have to put a link on here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

How to Steal Like an Artist

This has really great ideas about creativity and finding your own voice in art.
(Thanks, Lyric, for showing me this.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Favorite Conference Talk: Jeffrey R. Holland's

Jeffrey R. Holland said:  "Brothers and sisters, in general conference we offer our testimonies in conjunction with other testimonies that will come, because one way or another God will have His voice heard. “I sent you out to testify and warn the people,” the Lord has said to His prophets. 15
“[And] after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, … of thunderings, … lightnings, and … tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds. …
“And angels shall … [cry] with a loud voice, sounding the trump of God.”16
Now, these mortal angels who come to this pulpit have, each in his or her own way, sounded “the trump of God.” Every sermon given is always, by definition, both a testimony of love and a warning, even as nature herself will testify with love and a warning in the last days."  
("An Ensign to the Nations", April 2011 Conference)

This was a very meaningful paragraph, probably way more meaningful than anybody knows.   This seems to be a very under-the-radar way of warning the people that the judgments of God are coming.  And the National Enquirer can't blast it out on their headlines, because they would never suspect a thing.

If you always wanted to live when history was being made...

I think this is a pretty succinct article about all the historical events that have happened in the world so far in 2011.

Japanese LDS mission president's account of the big earthquake

This account is full of miracles.  I loved it that at one point they drove their car for 18 hours without running out of gas.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

If Moses had Google
Funny video.  Happy Passover!

Feeling defensive: I have good reasons for getting my food storage

I got into a slightly heated conversation with a church member yesterday, she was not at all pleased with the way I was focused so much on food storage.  She was troubled by my feeling of urgency to buy the food and survival items that I feel are needed, and was trying to talk me out of it.

She is probably not the only one who wants to tell me "Things are not so bad",  "The Lord will bless us" and "We don't have to worry, prices are cyclical, they'll come back down."

But I disagree.  I love history, and have read too many books on how economies collapse, how currency hyperinflates, and what it looks like just before a big stock market crash.  I can see that the dollar index keeps falling, that gold and silver are breaking records, and that the stock market keeps climbing without any logical reasons.

I am feeling an urgency to get food storage because food prices are hitting records, the unemployment rate is much higher than reported, and the European Union, Japan, the United States, and every single individual state of the union are all completely awash in debt.   And I don't even want to get started talking about the unrest in the Middle East, oil prices, natural disasters, nuclear disasters, and secret combinations.

I am feeling a little picked on.  So what if we spend our discretionary income on food storage?  It doesn't hurt her.  I'm not going into debt for it.  And if I have extra food storage, so much the better for those people who are around me.  So don't jump all over me and tell me to lay off on the food storage.  I feel great urgency to get it and hopefully it will bless others as well.

And just in case you don't know all the things going wrong right now, here's an unusual story from CNBC.  Every once in a while the smiling pundits there will come out from their happy "this bull-market will keep going forever"  and actually point out some somber facts: "Could 2011 Be Worse Than 2008? Don't Rule It Out".

(In case you don't remember 2008, we had the largest market crash since the Great Depression. And in two-and-a-half years, the Dow still hasn't gotten back up into the 14,000's where it had been before the crash.) 

Here's the scariest part of the article:

"The one major difference between early 2008 and early 2011 is that this time, the numbers are bigger."  Read the article to find out more.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I was forced to play basketball, so I empathize with Orson Scott Card

I know what it is like to be forced to play church basketball when I hated it.

I was in a small ward in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and we barely had enough girls to make a basketball team, but only if I played too.

The other girls had their hearts set on it.  "PLEASE  PLAY, AMY!"

I couldn't stand basketball, but that tiny part of me that didn't want to hurt their feelings made me be on the team.  I was terrible.  I couldn't dribble.  I couldn't make a basket.  I didn't know the rules.  But being there allowed the other girls to play against the other wards in the stake.

It was awful.

Many years later as an adult, I was visiting my mother in Stillwater.  Brother B. came up to me and said, "I've always wanted to tell you how much I admired you as a teenager."

Dumbfounded, I asked "why?"

He said, "Because I saw how much you hated basketball but you played anyway because you didn't want to disappoint the other girls."

That was a shocker to me.  I had no idea that any adult ever knew what suffering I had gone through to be on that team.

Fast forward to today.

I recently read this article by Orson Scott Card published in "Mormon Times".

I read it with a little bit of sadness for myself but a lot of sadness for youth like Orson Scott Card.  And that includes a couple of my own sons.  I hope they had enough joy in their church attendance that feeling out of place with basketball didn't hurt them permanently.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More mansions about to bite the dust

When I was a teenager living in Oklahoma, the oldest mansions in our area were built around 1910.  (Oklahoma didn't have any buildings like that until after the Land Rush settlers had made a little money.)

When our family took a vacation eastward my senior year, I saw the riverfront mansions in St. Louis and I was hooked.  I just loved old houses, especially Victorian ones.  One of the essays I wrote for my college entrance packet was how I was going to become an expert on Victorian architecture and planned to write a book about it.  (Didn't happen.)

Anyway, as you probably all know,  I still love to put creatively shaped houses on most of my quilts.  I just really like to look at houses.

I taught quilting in Saginaw, Michigan a few years ago, and while there, one of the quilt guild ladies very generously presented me with an expensive hardbound picture book of all the great mansions that had been built in Bay City, Michigan during the boom of the lumber business there in the mid-to late 1800's.

As I looked at all the gorgeous, huge homes, over and over I saw above the photo/drawing:  "Razed 1928" "Razed 1945", etc.  I was amazed how much treasure had been invested in these beautiful homes, which were inhabited for about 40 to 50 years each before they were demolished.

Today I saw this slide show on CNBC, ten mansions which are probably going to be demolished sometime in the future.  You can see that they are/were beautiful, too, once.

A couple of years ago I really enjoyed reading the book  "Rubble- Unearthing the history of Demolition" by Jeff Byles.  But it was painful reading the story of the demolition of Pennsylvania Station in 1963, to make way for Madison Square Garden.  With no regard for the beautiful statues or marble and granite decorations, the whole structure was bulldozed and dumped.  Adam read it too, and that book really hurt both of our feelings.

It is amazing to think of the millions of structures that have come and gone in the history of the world.

(Change of topic)  Here is a video of what happened on CNN when the two female news anchors interviewed a CIA official about the war in Libya.  If I was a body language expert, I think I could learn a lot from the defensive ways the two women started waving their arms or folding their arms as they got into an argument with the man.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Two heads better than one? Where'd he get that scar?

Who knew that Obama was actually a Siamese twin joined at the head?  I enjoyed this humorous look at why Obama has a scar all the way around his head, and what his identical brother is doing these days.

(For one, the article claims that his dumber brother is the one who started the Libya "kinetic military action" while the real Obama was partying in Brazil.)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What a difference a war can make!

Ever since Obama started this "kinetic military action"  I have not stopped wondering why are we fighting there?  What makes us go to Libya and not to Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, or to any of the other middle east countries that are having protests, demonstrations, and military coups?  And I wondered how many people who were totally AGAINST the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (because they were started by Republican presidents) are now completely comfortable with a war (because it is started by a Democrat president).

Well, here is an article that says a lot of the things I was thinking:

Here are quotes from this great article by Anthony W. Hager, April 2, 2011 on The American Thinker.

"How times have changed! The United States isn't the imperialistic, blood-for-oil war machine that it was just a few years ago. We've shed the "I ride alone" image and become acceptable in the world community. Every charge levied against the United States following the Iraq invasion is yesterday's news and America can again wage a just war. All we needed was a change of party at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

"President Obama has no clear objective in Libya. First he said Col. Gaddafi must relinquish power. Then he said Gaddafi could remain in control if he promised to play according to Hoyle. Obama has since reversed course again, and Gaddafi must go. We're unsure of our objective, if indeed we have one. Even identifying our enemy is harder than in Iraq. Gaddafi is a loon no doubt, an unpredictable despot with a terrorist history. But the rebel forces we aid in Libya arelinked to al-Qaeda and could prove worse than Gaddafi.

For a proper perspective on our current alliance, look at World War II. What if America had fought Nazi Germany in Europe while joining forces with them on the Russian Front? The scenario sounds ridiculous. But that's what we're doing with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Libya."

I think I want to learn how to knit again

This was an excellent video on how to do basic knitting, including casting on, garnet stitch, and binding off.  It looks like there are a lot of how-to-knit youtube videos available.

I actually took a Home Ec class in high school that was called "Crafts" and we learned to knit, crochet, MACRAME and who knows what else. (That was in the 1970's, boys weren't allowed to take Home Ec and girls weren't allowed to take Shop.)  So I barely remember the vaguest things about how to knit, so this video was a great refresher course for me.

Friday, April 1, 2011

What do these three songs have in common?

"Ode to Billie Joe" by Bobbie Gentry.

"A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash.

"Harper Valley PTA" by Jeannie C. Riley.

1.  I purchased all of them yesterday on Itunes.

2. They were all on the radio when I was around the 4th and 5th grades, and my older sisters played their radios constantly so music is a big part of my childhood memories.

3.  I can picture every detail of our upstairs at 709 N. Broadway, Cleveland, Oklahoma when I hear these songs.  I can see Cheryl's bedroom wallpaper and OpArt poster, the blue shag carpet, the window air conditioner.  All those things went away when we had our house fire, the whole upstairs was redone after that.

4. All three songs are stories.  I like those kinds of songs. (I also like "She's Leaving Home" by the Beatles and "99 Red Balloons" by Nena, they tell good stories too.)

 "Ode to Billie Joe" always haunted me, because I couldn't figure out why Billie Joe jumped off the bridge, or what he and the singer were throwing off the bridge the day before.  I read on Wikipedia that the writer, Bobbie Gentry, said she didn't know why they did that either, so all answers are just conjecture.

"A Boy Named Sue" is pretty funny.  His dad names him Sue to make him tough.  But its too bad the dad didn't just stay around to be his dad instead.

"Harper Valley PTA" shows the hypocrisy of a small town.  Reminds me of Cleveland, Oklahoma where I grew up.  Population 2,000.  Where there was a lot of prejudice against us because we were Mormons.