Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Cat In The Hat, Um, I Mean Grocery Bag

Nora, cat on the left, probably gave up one of her nine lives this morning. Kerry and I thought it was funny, but I don't think she did.

Here's what happened. She was in Kerry's office playing with a grocery bag, the kind with thin rope handles. She got her head caught in one of the loops and panicked. She tore out of Kerry's office careening off everything in her way as she tried to escape the bag that she thought was chasing her. She finally dove under my desk and dashed through my legs. I closed them on the bag to stop it and she kept going. I found her in the sitting room curled up on top of Georgio who was inside his little furry bed, which is made for one. She stuck to him like glue for most of the day.

This photo is of them sleeping together in my sewing room. He finds a place to sleep, she finds him and pushes her way in no matter how small the space. He tolerates it.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Sewing Room Overfloweth

I've decided to get another table that will go in front of my current sewing table, which I used to call my desk. I need more room for my projects. From left to right on the wall they are: Mardi Gras quilt entered in the Guild quilt show the end of February (needs more feathers), appliqued hearts quilt (needs a label which I have already designed but not printed), blocks for the wedding quilt, block of the month (big star) for one quilt shop, my coffee cup quilt top and under the big star, my first applique block for a quilt. On my sewing table I have my hand quilting hoop. I took a class in that yesterday and really enjoyed it. The teacher did a good job of passing on her skills to us. There's a big roll of freezer paper between the file cabinet and my waste basket. It's perfect for applique. I also found out that blue painter's tape, especially the thin stuff, is excellent for making straight lines when you are hand quilting. It doesn't leave any residue on the fabric.

Thanks to all of you bloggers, my family and friends, I have managed to continue my birthday for almost an entire week. I got two more birthday cards yesterday via snail mail. My brother and his wife sent one of those musical cards. The song was "Age of Aquarius;" how perfect for an Aquarius.

It's another rainy day so I'm going to sew and quilt. Dinner is already in the crock pot; I love crock pots. It's filled with beef short ribs, chunks of banana squash (peeled), red wine, Worcestershire sauce, four cloves of diced garlic, chunks of onion and salt and pepper. When it's done I take the bones out and serve it over rice. It's a good rainy day meal plus it makes great leftovers.

That reminds me, we had our favorite meat market visit us on my birthday. We buy a lot of our meat from Bob at nearby Coffee Pot Ranch. He raises beef, lamb and pork without hormones or antibiotics. The animals get to live out their lives in normal conditions, not in a feedlot. Usually I get meat from him at various farmers' markets but in the winter there aren't many of them around so he called to see what we needed. We got a porterhouse steak which was big enough for the two of us, two packages of short ribs (one is in the crock pot), two packages of the yummiest bacon we've ever had, two packages of ground beef for Kerry's Super Bowl chili, and one package of pork chops. It's nice to have the meat market visit. He did confess during his visit that he has a Big Mac periodically even though he knows it's not good for him.

I've been meaning to mention a blog that I really like: Heather Armstrong is the blogger; she lives in Salt Lake City but long ago gave up the Mormon church. She's funny and sacrilegious. Every month she writes a letter to her daughter (Leta is nearly four) about what has happened in her daughter's life during the past month. She has a picture each day of Chuck and now Coco (her dogs). Great photos. Give her a try.
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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Reflections on Getting One Year Older

My friend Turtle Doug sent me this photo for my birthday. He loves three things, Apple computers, Ms. Kate and me. So it was only fitting that Ms. Kate be posed in front of the Apple Campus sign. I think he still loves his wife but that's another story that I won't tell here.

So, how is it being 63, which I actually will not be for another 10 minutes. I was born on Jan. 24 at 6:20 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. That's 8:20 p.m. Central Standard Time in Minneapolis. When you are younger you always want to be older. When you are older you hold out to the last second before adding that extra year.

I really like the age I am. My sister and I agree that after a certain point in your life you stop using those magnifying mirrors that hotels often have. I'm convinced that the reason our eyesight goes as we get older is that we don't really need to see things that clearly. We understand life at a level that doesn't have to be seen under a microscope or through bifocals.

While these years have been great, some of the best years of my life were spent being a mother to a wonderful son, Mark. His dad always worked nights so Mark and I spent a lot of time together. He's a remarkable young man and I take a lot of credit for that. Julia is a lucky woman to have found him, and he's a lucky man to have found her.

Kerry left a card on my keyboard last night after I went to bed. He has an incredible ability to say the most wonderful things on occasions like this and actually most occasions. His message inside the card read, "Life is full of choices -- you are mine." That's the man with whom I intend to spend the rest of my life. He also bought me an incredibly beautiful handcrafted wooden jewelry box for all the jewels he has bestowed on me over the past years.

We are having Chinese takeout tonight; my choice. The weather is not nice (by California standards) so I'd rather send him out for food than have to go too. Sunday night we will celebrate our seventh anniversary at a wonderful new restaurant that serves only local meats that do not have hormones or antibiotics. The cattle, chickens, pigs and lambs are allowed to graze in a natural environment.

Okay it's 6:20 p.m. PST so I'm officially 63, and I still feel great.

I start my 64th year as a quilter. A year ago I would not have imagined such a thing. I am besotted with fabric. Today I began cutting out the blocks for the wedding quilt. With each stitch I offer a blessing for a wonderful and long life for Julia and Mark.

I have received numerous birthday greetings from family, friends and fellow bloggers; all of them have warmed my heart. One of my favorites was from Blogauthor; the photo was of her young son holding a cupcake with a lit candled that spiraled upward. She swears they sang Happy Birthday to me. Her son lost his first tooth recently so his smile is especially captivating. He may lose the others just in time for fresh corn season.

That's all my thoughts for today. Life is good.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Christmas Is Finally Over

This morning the last of the Christmas decorations went to the top shelves of my walk-in closet. I know it's Jan. 22nd, but I was so caught up in quilting that I just didn't feel the need to de-decorate the house.

Kerry took the tree down this morning and stored the sections of it in the box. Now that's a weird statement for someone who assiduously had real trees for years. Nora, our youngest cat, valiantly tried to eat a bit more of the fake needles after Kerry had put it in the box. The tree was up a lot longer than I thought it would be. Mark and Julia were here after Christmas so that's why I kept it up then. But now...well, I really liked the way it looked with all the lights blazing. Nothing worse than a Christmas tree that is unlit. I'm sure the cows in the field behind us were a bit perplexed by the extended Christmas season. They had done their manger gig a long time ago.

Today we both agreed that it was better to have a full view out the northern window in the great room than to have the tree glistening.

I have to report that our lower pond has become waterfowl central the likes of which we have not seen in a few years. We have wood ducks (my personal favorite for a duck beauty pageant), common mergansers who love to torment the Great White Heron and the Snowy Egret, the belted Kingfisher, the great blue heron and the occasional otter who disturbs the hell out of just about everybody on the pond.

It's going to rain for the next ten days, which is just fine with me. Kerry is fixing dinner for us; that's a new twist. That means I have to clean up which will be just fine because I'm sort of burned out on cooking.

I've started reading a new book thanks to Tentpegs, another blogger. It's called "Not Wanted On The Voyage" a modern day look at the whole Noah thing by Tim Findley. So far it is a book I can't put down. Canadian writers, of which Findley is one, don't get much publicity in the lower 48. I'll keep you posted on how I like it but so far I see it as a metaphor for global warming although it was written long before the polar bears had to worry about ice floes in Canada.

Dinner is ready so I'd better stop now.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My Quilt Show Entry

It's called Mardi Gras On The Farm; it's the challenge quilt for the annual quilt show that my guild has in late February. Anyone in the guild could get half yard of two fabrics chosen by the guild leadership: the wild chickens and the checked pattern. The theme was Mardi Gras On The Farm. You could do anything you wanted with the fabric. I added the purple sashing, farmyard scene fabric, the Mardi Gras fabric with masks as the border, fake jewels and feathers. I'm probably going to add some more feathers. At Mardi Gras you can never have too many feathers.
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Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Quilt With A Heart...28 Of Them

This isn't done because it needs the batting, backing, binding and then quilting but this is the design. The quilt top, shown here, won't change. The pattern is from the applique class I took last Sunday. All the hearts are appliqued. That means they are individually cut out and then sewn by hand onto the fabric. You turn a small seam allowance under to get the outline of the heart. Not a big quilt, 27" by 31". I think I was born to applique.

The most important thing is that I am back quilting big time. Last week was a horrible week, but I got through it and came out the other end smiling.

Thanks to all of you who sent hugs and greetings. They were much appreciated.

Going out for sushi tonight. We both love it.
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Friday, January 18, 2008

It's Been A Tough Week

It started last Friday and culminated in my resignation from the board of directors of a non-profit that I have served on for four years. Due to the events of the past week, I can't provide any more details. But suffice to say the organization was a passion of mine and Kerry's. I worked closely with the president during the week to try to get things back on track. Yesterday it became very apparent that the track was not even in sight. First the president resigned, which would have made me president. I had pounded my head against a brick wall all week and decided I wasn't going to do it any more; I submitted my letter of resignation. Then another board member quit. E-mails and blogs are discoverable so I'd better stop now.

I was hurt, depressed and sad all at the same time. Kerry provided lots of hugs and back rubs but finally I went to bed. I didn't even feel like quilting. I curled up in bed and felt sorry for myself. I know there are lots of people out there with far worse problems, but right now my feelings are pretty raw and I just needed to tell all of you this.

I will recover, but it may take a while. I did do a bit of quilting last night which Kerry took to be a good sign. I'm going fabric shopping today; that always makes me feel better.

One thing I learned from all of this is that I shouldn't be in charge of dinner when I'm upset. We didn't eat until 9 last night because my timing mojo was out of synch. I put chunks of butternut squash (peeled) and red potatoes in a ziploc bag, sprinkled olive oil on them, poured in a packet of Lipton onion soup, shook the whole thing up until it was well mixed and then poured it in a roasting pan around the pork roast (no bone). I poured a little more olive oil and onion soup mix on the roast and then put the pan in the oven at 375. I can't tell you exactly how much time it took to cook because I kept taking it out and putting it back in when it wasn't done. Pork needs to get to 170 if that helps. It was yummy but by the time we ate we were starved so we might have been willing to eat shoe leather.

The sun is shining today and it's supposed to hit 58; sunshine is very healing. Add Kerry to the mix and I just know I will get through this. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hand-appliqued Hearts

My quilting buddy Linda and I took a class today in hand applique. The class was five hours but it flew by. Applique is something I've been very interested in learning. The class was originally scheduled for early December but was cancelled because Linda and I were the only two signed up for i t.

Applique gives a new dimension to your quilts. We made hearts today but not the exact ones shown here. I just pulled this off Google Images. You can machine applique, but I really like the idea of doing it the way that women did a 150 years ago.

We traced the template of a heart that was in our book on clear Mylar. Then you cut it out; this is your pattern for the appliqued heart. Trace it onto the fabric, cut out the heart and leave a quarter-inch seam allowance around the heart. Then pin it to the background fabric and start tucking the seam allowance underneath with teeny tiny stitches using a teeny tiny needle. I really enjoyed it. Linda found one method that she really liked. I have a couple that I want to keep doing. The quilt we are making for this class has 24 hearts. I made five today in class. This quilt won't be a fast one but I'm going to enjoy doing each and every heart.

We had sun today for the first time in a week. The cats were very excited to finally get their sun baths. I had trouble finding my sunglasses but finally located them before heading for class.
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Friday, January 11, 2008

My Favorite Lunch Right Now

I get stuck on certain foods; I can eat them day in and day out. One of my old favorites has just returned: rice cakes covered with a big mound of cottage cheese and then covered in ketchup. Richard Nixon used to eat this. When he was doing it I changed to mustard instead of ketchup. As soon as the world got rid of him I switched back to the red stuff. I love ketchup on just about anything. It's a Midwest thing, I'm sure. I make sure the cottage cheese does not have any of that Rbst stuff and my ketchup is organic. Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are a blight on the health of the universe. I haven't even had breakfast yet and I'm already blogging about lunch.
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Wedding Quilt Takes Shape

It may be hard to visualize but the fabrics here will become the wedding quilt for my son Mark and his fiancee Julia. We spent quite a bit of time yesterday at my favorite quilt shop deciding on what colors to incorporate. Luckily we were there on a weekday when the sales clerk had lots of time to help us. It's going to be a pretty traditional pattern.

The first two rows of fabric will comprise the quilt top. The last row will be used for borders. The plain fabric in the bottom row will be used as a thin border around the quilt pieces in the top photos. I want to have their names and the wedding date embroidered around the quilt. Then the fabric on the right in the last row will be wider and will be the final border. I'm going to have it professionally quilted by a former teacher of mine. I want her to incorporate the letters of their first names into the quilting. This is all in my head; now I just need to get it to happen. It will be lots of fun. More on their visit later.

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Monday, January 07, 2008


That's how long our internet service was down thanks to the humongous storm that came through here last Friday. I never realized how much my life depended on the internet. So I am glad to be back among all of you. My son and his bride-to-be are here so life is good. I'll be checking up on all of my favorite bloggers. I hope you missed me...sigh.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Have You Had A Colonoscopy?

This is sort of a strange way to begin my blogging for 2008; but I have a very good reason.

My sister had a routine colonoscopy recently during which they discovered a large precancerous nodule. She had not had any discomfort or bleeding; she was just doing the right thing to take care of her body. She will have laparascopic surgery to remove the nodule, sections of colon on either side of it and some surrounding lymph nodes. Doctor says it was caught early and he's predicting a good long life for my sister (she's younger than I am by four years).

A little more than 52,000 people lost their life to colon cancer in 2007. I hope you won't be a victim of this terrible disease in 2008 or any year beyond.

If you are older than 50 than you should have a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. I had one at 50 and another at 60. My next one is when I'm 70 unless something happens in between that causes me to think I need one earlier. The preparation for the procedure is worse than the procedure itself.

I will climb down from the pulpit now. I just hope that everyone reading this will resolve to take care of his or her body the best way possible. That means a mammogram, PSA test, Pap smear, blood work and colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy. The life you save might just be your own.
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