Friday, May 30, 2008

He's Student Of The Month

I hope you remember my little 8-year-old friend Jesus Juarez. Last year I helped send him to day camp; his mom cleans for me. She just doesn't have the kind of money that would allow her to send him to day camp. He had a great time at camp; he especially like the field trips. I told him that he was responsible for doing very well in school this year. Well, two days ago his mom arrived with the plaque that names him Student of the Month for his school. The plaque is mine to keep. I am so proud of him. Jesus is pictured below next to our favorite ceramic art, Bird Girl. He's wearing his camp t-shirt from last summer.

He's so cute and has so much potential. I just want to make sure that the Hispanic gangs in Lincoln don't get their hands on him.

So Jesus has earned another trip to day camp this year. This year day camp goes from 9 to 3:30 which is three hours longer than last year. That will really help his mom. He is so excited. Camp starts June 23rd.

I've also asked him to get the names of three books his teacher would like him to read over the summer and then to read them.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Birthday Quilt

Here's the birthday quilt I sent to my brother. It's about 3 feet by 2 feet. I called it "Coffee Lovers" quilt. Click on the picture so you can read the writing under the cups and see the beading.
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Vicky And Puppies

Just had a good talk with my sister. Last night they removed her feeding tube, which makes it much easier for her to swallow food. They had been using it only at night to supplement what she was eating during the day. She wasn't eating much during the day because of the position of the tube in her throat. Now that it's out she is already eating better. She knows that if she doesn't eat then the tube will go back in. Right now she has a terrible cold, which is causing her asthma to flair up. She is, however, able to get out of bed and get to the bathroom with her walker and then get back to bed. Someone has to be there while she is doing this but it's a huge step forward for her.

Her next home will be a facility in Elk River, Minnesota called Guardian Angel. She will be in a new wing of the rehab facility and will have her own room. That's where the real workout will begin so she can get strong enough to go home someday.

Now for the puppy news. I sent in my application to be a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence a few weeks ago. Finally got a call from the organization yesterday. Kerry and I have a phone interview with them next Wednesday morning. Very exciting.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wearing Your Clothes Inside Out and Kuala Lumpur

During a Scrabble game at our campsite this weekend, the sun finally came out so I took off my fleece pullover that covered a long-sleeved, three button t-shirt. We continued to play until the woman across from me looked up and said, "oh my God, you have your shirt on inside out." That produced gales of laughter from the rest of the players as they examined my attire and I realized that I did have it on inside out. No wonder I was having trouble buttoning the t-shirt.

The Scrabble game was on Sunday; I had put the shirt on at home when I got up Saturday morning. Yes, I slept in my clothes Saturday night, because it was too damn cold in the tent to take them off and put on my nightgown. I take this nightgown with me every year when we go camping; I've yet to get out of my clothes to put it on.

So for the rest of the weekend I was teased; and no, I did not correct my attire. I wore it that way until we got home last night. I'm sure next year people will be checking my clothing to see how I'm wearing them.

Now on to Kuala Lumpur; Mark and Julia have been invited to play with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra beginning in late August and running through the New Year. They may get the gig permanently (which is actually two years unless they signed on permanently at the end of two years). They won't know their status until they learn the results of their auditions which took place earlier this month in San Francisco. The web site is

Needless to say we are all very excited. This means they will have to fly back for their wedding on Oct. 4th. It's a good thing Mark has already sold his house. That's one less thing to think about. He is moving into Julia's small house that she rents in Albuquerque.

This summer she is playing at a couple of music festivals including one in Topeka, Kansas; he's playing for the Santa Fe Opera production of "Billy Budd."

All kinds of excitement in the family. This means that Kerry and I get to visit Kuala Lumpur too. I'm thinking Thanksgiving in Kuala Lumpur....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Learning To Foundation Paper Piece

The block is 14-1/2 x 14-1/2 inches. I started it yesterday in a class I took on how to paper piece. The four blocks with multiple fabrics are the ones that are paper pieced.

It's a precise quilting method that allows you to make patchwork blocks with exceptional accuracy. You will have precise, uniform results, even when you are doing complicated points and seams.

You actually sew the fabric to the paper pattern in a certain order. I ripped out a whole lot when I first started, but the last of the four that I made, I actually didn't rip once.

There are whole books full of paper pieced quilt patterns. I'll probably do more with the method but not right now.
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Our First Box

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. We signed up with a local organic farm to get a small box of organic vegetables each week starting today and running through October. We picked up our first box today and met the farmers, Caren and Bryan and their assorted cats and dogs.

The box contained pea shoots (pile of stuff on the top right), fennel (left of pea shoots), arugula (below fennel), kale, green garlic, spring onion, and lettuce. Caren also included a recipe for pea shoots. It's pretty simple: pea shoots, green garlic (all of it even the stalks and leaves) slivered almonds, olive oil and salt and pepper. Sauteed for a few minutes and then eat immediately.

So we are off on a grand adventure to discover new vegetables.
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Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm Feeling Better

Turtle Doug and Miss Kate (pictured here) arrived last night for a visit. Doug has to see his doctor here so he can get his meds renewed. Miss Kate is as wonderful as ever.

I spent most of yesterday playing with fabric so that helped my mood a lot. Today the weather is a bit cooler so that helps too.

Not much going on today; I'm just going to run a bunch of errands including finally mailing my brother's birthday present. His birthday was last week. Once I know he's received it, I'll post a picture of it here.

I just talked with my sister. She is such a worrier; if you have any prayers or energy left, she could sure use some to help her worry less.
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Saturday, May 17, 2008

This 'n That

I got my tax rebate; my son and his future wife and all of you young folks out there in blogland will be paying for this economic blunder for a long time. When Clinton left the White House (I don't care if you didn't like him) we had a surplus. Now this country is cash and debt poor. Hell, we are in debt to China, a country whose air is unbreathable.

I'm in a pissy mood tonight. A good friend just got a horrible diagnosis of metastatic cancer. When they say "five years" and you are cancer free, don't believe them.

Okay, on to another topic; weather (I know, very mundane). It has been at about 100 here for the past few days. This is pretty early to get this kind of heat. Our air conditioning is going kaching, kaching. The bill this month won't be under $50.

Okay, I'll stop kvetching. I had a good talk with my sister this morning. With the aid of a walker, she walked from her bed to the door, which is quite a distance. It was slow but she is gradually gaining strength. Today she told me she was worried about her heart rate which hovers around 100. I told her it had been as high as 140 so 100 wasn't bad. She worries about every little thing, sort of like our maternal grandmother for whom I'm named. My brother is a worrier too. Somehow I escaped that genetic predisposition.

Okay, I'm done. It's time to go back to fabric.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's Puppy Time...Hopefully

After being with Julia's dog Zoey (she is adorable...part Beagle) this weekend, then seeing all the Corgis at book group Tuesday night and my brother and his wife's adoption at Petco of Magic who is part Great Pyrenees, I decided we needed a dog in our lives. Kerry agreed.

I filled out our application to raise a puppy for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). I got the application last year. We met a couple in Palm Desert last November who were raising a puppy for CCI. They told me where to go to get the application. I got it and then my sister got so sick; I just didn't think I could handle anything more.

She walked eight feet today and had the final tube taken out of her belly so I know we could have a wonderful time raising a puppy who can go everywhere. That's the point of having it. It could be Best Dog at the wedding (Zoey isn't coming). So I dropped our application in the mailbox yesterday.

I used to be a foster mom to rescued Golden Retrievers. I took the dogs who were closer to the end of life than the beginning. It was hard but I did it because these dogs deserve better at the end. Now I'd like to look at the beginning of life. You have the puppy for 16-18 months and then return it to CCI for further training and hopefully placement with someone who really needs a dog. I say hopefully because not all dogs make it. Some become breeders and others are available for adoption.

You can get another puppy at that point or opt out. They asked for the name and phone number of our vet to find out if we are good pet owners. I think we will rate pretty high after they find out that we had a CAT scan, ultrasound and spinal tap for Emily when she developed seizures. I know that money is not the determining factor here, but I hope love and determination to help an animal are.
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What's On My Design Wall?

Mostly applique and one block from the Block of the Month at Cabin Fever Quilt Shoppe. Calvin the cow is awaiting batting, backing and quilting. The four smaller appliques will end up in a larger quilt with 12 appliques in total; all of them are baskets. The large butterfly applique is...well, I'm not sure where it's going at this time but I had fun doing it. I'll probably add some sparkles and other embellishments to make it look more fairy-like. That's all for today.
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Vicky Update and Mother's Day

Vicky is doing so well. Yesterday they removed her trach and her catheter. She's not able to walk yet so she is going to have to use a bedpan. That should spur her on. Bedpans are awful. Also, now that the trach is gone she is eating more. She still has the colostomy bag and the one drainage tube, but otherwise she is not tethered to anything. Thank you again for sending all the cards and letters. She really gets a boost when they arrive.

Mother's Day weekend in Albuquerque was fabulous. Our friends Beverly and George picked us up at the airport, because Julia and Mark had a rehearsal for the Mother's Day concert at the zoo on Sunday.

What I remember most about the weekend was the warmth and love from everyone and the good food. We went to Cold Stone Creamery twice! Mark's house has sold which is a big relief for both of them. He has to move out by June 1. Not sure where he will live yet but they will sort that out. His house sold in two weeks and he got 97% of the asking price. He and Julie did lots of work to get the house ready. It showed very well.

Julia made a delicious Mother's Day brunch and Mother's Day dinner. That means I haven't cooked since Sunday, May 4th. I have book group tonight so I may be able to extend my non-cooking streak for one more day. It's not that I don't like to cook, but it's nice to have some time off once in a while.

Today I'm getting my hair cut and colored. It's driving me crazy because it has gotten so long. That means it is covering my ears. Then I have to find time to sort through all the stuff I brought back from quilt camp and get my sewing room set up again. My friend Deborah is coming over on Friday with her sewing machine. We are going to work on all kinds of projects.

Thursday I'm going to donate platelets again. I had to take a year off because I was in a malarial zone in Costa Rica. I'm looking forward to getting back to my regular every-two-week donation.

I hope this weekend will be very quiet. We need that.

Quilt Camp Photos

Hope these photos give you an idea of what it was like inside Dobbins Hall where 53 women spent five days creating things from fabric. The top photo is of the table where I sewed. That's my sewing machine on the far right. Two ladies at my table, Margie and Pam, work at my favorite quilt shop, Cabin Fever Quilts.

The next photo shows quilt blocks on a design wall; it's just flannel affixed to a frame. For some reason the cotton fabric sticks to the flannel without aid of a pin or anything else. This quilter was placing her butterfly blocks in different places to decide how to sew the quilt together. It's called a window pane quilt; The white bars represent the window panes.

Next picture shows a black and white quilt on a design wall. The women at the table were a real hoot. I played Farkle (a dice game) with them at night. And finally a view from my sewing machine looking toward the front of the hall. I can hardly wait until next year; quilt camp is so much fun.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

I'm Baaack!!!!

This is the view of Lake Tahoe from Quilt Camp. I took the picture with my cell phone. I can't write much because I have to get ready to fly to Albuquerque tomorrow morning very early. Gotta wash clothes, etc. I had a blast. Spending five days with 53 women who all love fabric is just fabulous. Rooms were wonderful including the beds, food was great and the weather was perfect. I've already signed up for next year. I'll write more when I get back from ABQ.

Blogauthor, Vicky loved your son's drawings.
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Monday, May 05, 2008

Cards And Letters

Just heard from Vicky; she got five cards this morning and is overjoyed that so many people who don't even know her care enough to send a card. They came from blogauthor, creamy silver, Rondi, Lucina, and Susan. Thank you, thank you, thank you. She explained to her nurse why her last name is not on any of the cards. I'm not sure her nurse knows much about blogging but she said she would let the mail room know to watch out for cards with the room number and only a first name.

I've packed all the stuff I'm taking to camp; it looks like I'm leaving for good. I'm even taking my chair for sewing. I didn't do than for Jamboree day and found myself in a very uncomfortable position. My little Prius is going to be jam-packed. predicts isolated thunderstorms and a high of 60 where I'm going today.

The one thing I haven't packed yet is my clothes. I can do that in a minute. Shows what's important for this trip.

We had a thunderstorm last night which is a real rarity here. Sort of nice to hear the rumbles. They get a lot of those in the mountains when it's warm, but they rarely make there way here. Our weather comes from the west not the east.

I'll try to find a computer to keep up with all of your lives but if you don't here from me just know I'm in fabric heaven.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Quilt Camp Scenery

This is Zephyr Cove on the south short of Lake Tahoe. It's actually in Nevada. The steps you can see in the picture are the amphitheater at the camp which is called Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center. Maybe we will congregate there and sing "Kumbaya." It's still pretty cool there (about 32 at night and low 60s during the day). The room that we will sew in overlooks the lake. I am so excited.
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Fava Beans

Aren't they just the ugliest things you've ever seen? I bought some yesterday at the first farmers' market of the year. I talked to my brother about them; as a vegan I thought he would have cooked just about every vegetable there is. Well, he hasn't cooked fava beans. Go figure, I'm actually cooking a vegetable before he does and I'm not a vegan.

A little on-line research got me a couple of recipes. I'm going to make the easiest one with lots of garlic, a bit of fennel and olive oil. Any thing cooked in garlic and olive oil will taste good. And I like the mild anise flavor of fennel.

I'm also going to make portobello mushrooms stuffed with fresh pork sausage and chopped leeks. I'm leaving for a week so I want him to eat well before I leave.

I love the farmers' market. Week after next we are going to start getting our box of vegetables from a nearby organic farm, The Natural Trading Company. You sign up to buy a share of what they produce. I bought a small box for us. Delivery starts next week and runs every week through October. I figure it's a great way to learn about new vegetables. The fava beans came from this farm's booth at the market so we will probably be getting more of them.

Change of subject: my sister needs to work on her small muscle control in her hands so she is going to crochet something. I found a very simple pattern for her on line yesterday. I e-mailed it to hubby; he will print it out and take it to the hospital today along with her crochet hooks and yarn. She has crocheted before but never after her hands had been immobile for so long. She's also starting to set goals for herself, which is a great sign.

Yesterday she took three steps. She had a walker and two physical therapists there to make sure she didn't fall but she did it and was very proud. She told me she is resigned to the fact that she will probably be at Regency through the summer.
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Friday, May 02, 2008

Lots Of Good Stuff Happening

I know it's not fair to show a picture of a beautiful sunny day in California complete with pool and swimmer while many of you are still freezing. I can't help myself. This was the view from our room in San Luis Obispo where we went for the North Meets South Porsche 356 group. There were 175 restored 356s. Kerry was in heaven.

I, on the other hand, found out about a huge quilt show just around the corner from our hotel. So both of us were in heaven.

I met a wonderful woman at the quilt show who showed me a better and easier way to applique. I bought some of her patterns; this week I have been happily working on one of them using her technique. I had tried needleturn applique before but just couldn't make it work. Her technique, however, solved the problems I had been having. That's what I love about life; when you are open to people you make amazing discoveries.

My sister is doing quite well considering what she has been through. Her emotional state seems to me like post traumatic stress syndrome, which doesn't surprise me. There is a wonderful psychiatrist and a great chaplain there. I met both when I was there. They have been very supportive of her.

Vicky and I talk every morning, which is wonderful. Sometimes it's just a few minutes but then yesterday we talked for an hour. They removed the catheter for her dialysis which is a very good sign that her kidneys are working. The trach is still in her throat even though she's pretty much breathing without aid of oxygen. A couple of nights ago her oxygen level dropped to 88% so they put the oxygen cannula back in her nose for a short while.

On Tuesday she went back to Methodist Hospital for a CAT scan to see how her belly is healing and to see if they could remove the drainage tubes. The tubes stayed in; she goes back next Tuesday for another CAT scan. Getting those drainage tubes out would make it easier for her to be more mobile.

I can tell she's doing better because she's getting bored and has decided to set goals for herself. That's a really good sign.

She received her first blogger card; it came from Rhonda (thank you, thank you, thank you). She cried when she thought about someone caring enough to send a card to a person she has never met.

The Farmers' Market in Lincoln opens today and I will be there. It's going to be from 8-12 every Friday for the rest of the year. Love that locally grown stuff; plus the guy we buy meat from will be there.

Monday I head for Quilt Camp at Lake Tahoe. I can hardly wait. That's all for now. Once again, thank you for all your support for my sister. It means a lot to my family.
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