Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Additional Gems from CNN Today


  • Man Gets Jail for Throwing Pickles
  • EMT Gives Cat Mouth-to-Nose After Fire
  • Cheerleader Trampled by Players at Game
  • B+ -- 3 Stars -- Britney Album Ain't That Bad
  • Old Prostitute Left Streets, Needed Walker

I swear, they are driving me to the BBC.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm Okay

Thank you to those who have asked. I'm okay. I'm fine. Just uncharacteristically quiet for a bit!

Had a house guest or two. Been doing a lot of weekend traveling (with one more coming up real quick). Been very busy at work with some unexpected turns of events. Been training for a new part-time job that starts this week (the sewing and selling didn't work out). Been supporting hubby with some issues on his plate. Been low-grade sick for going into the fourth week.

Just too darned much going on. So something had to go. And it certainly couldn't be sewing -- that is how I keep body and soul together (almost literally). So it had to be da blog.

I hope the next post comes soon. I've been working on a new project and the blocks are up on the wall waiting for show and tell. It is Jacob's Ladder with a black batik for the darks and assorted Daiwabo taupes for the lights. I'm eager to show it off . . . . .

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

God Help Us All

Of the fourteen "Latest News" headlines on the CNN website at this moment, included are:

. . .Woman guilty of slicing fetus from womb
. . .NASA mum on plane data that would scare you
. . .Man allegedly killed wife with skin patch
. . .Worms gobble up toxic waste
. . .How the Dalai Lama fell in love with grits

I'm inclined to view grits and toxic waste as one and the same, but that's not my point today.

Comcast.net is no better. They have seven headlines, including:

. . .Woman guilty of slicing fetus from womb
. . .Parrot imitates alarm, saves family
. . .Britney's friends 'Boycott her album'
. . .Osmond collapses on 'Dancing'

I despair. I thought I was sitting at my desk, about to read serious news. But no, I seem to be in the check-out line at the supermarket.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Our weekend at White Oak was so nice. There were only nine of us, but we were such a compatible group. The weather was unseasonably warm, and in addition to the buggies, I saw a lot of Amish people using their scooters on Route 30. I still wasn't feeling one hundred percent, so I timed my travel in order to arrive at White Oak in time for a nap. Which was wonderful. I woke to find that Bonnie, Ruth and Hisa had arrived and the wine and cheese were ready for consumption. In short order everyone else came in, most of them already laden with bags from Sauder's, Zook's, and Old Country Store. Uncharacteristically, I bought absolutely no fabric, no patterns, no nothing -- do you need further evidence that I wasn't feeling totally well?

After Carol's delicious dinner, we had a little celebration for Ruth, who has just bought her first home. And then we got to sewing.

I had brought seven completed Stack and Whack blocks and cut components for five more. By Saturday at dinner time, the blocks were all done and the top was latticed and bordered! I was delighted!

After dinner, I took out all of my Time Began in a Garden blocks and began trimming them to size. Sunday morning I got all thirteen blocks sewn together. The pattern, as you an see
here, calls for embroidery stitching around each of the blocks and around the outside. The White Oak revelers, never at a loss for an opinion, were very firm that this was not what I wanted to do. They proclaimed that my finished top looked like a garden, and that separating the blocks with embroidery would take away from that look. I agreed. So I put a plain black two-inch border around the outside and called it good.

When I got home I went to Hancock's on line and ordered backing for both pieces; they'll be going off to Kat for machine quilting on November 1!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Blindness

The book club met last night and discussed Martha's selection, Jose Saramago's Nobel Prize winner, Blindness. It was an excellent choice for a reading group.

Set in an unnamed city in an unnamed country, peopled by unnamed characters, and written in a style that features minimal punctuation and long sentences, the book succeeds in bringing to the reader some measure of the disorientation experienced by its characters including the first blind man, the eye doctor, the woman with dark glasses, the boy with the squint, etc. It was difficult to read, not because of the style outlined above, but rather because reading the book makes full use of all of the reader's senses, and the unreal, the surreal, all at once become hyper-real. We can hear the voices of the oppressors, feel the slimy excrement on the tile floors, smell the unwashed bodies. We find ourselves on sensory overload.

So well-written, Blindness reminds us that in a crisis of massive social trauma, each of us has the potential to be heroic or self-serving. The book raises questions that come from deep within us, and provides no answers. You can read additional reviews here and you can probably get the book from your library. I heartily recommend it.



Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oh, My! Separate Vacations!

This time tomorrow, Joe and I will be on our way to separate weekend vacations! Oh, the scandal of it!

Joe's only sister, who is about eight years his senior (she'd kill me if I was off by a year) is celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday. She and her husband live on a cattle farm outside a teensy town called Lovelady, Texas. I visited there once, many years ago. It was very interesting to see the huge animals they raise and to be so far from everywhere. Unbeknownst to Janice and her husband, Joe is flying into Houston tomorrow where he'll be met by his nephew, host of the big party. He'll be home sometime Tuesday evening.

My vacation is equally exciting. Yup, I'm heading to Lancaster County for our semi-annual quilting retreat at White Oak Bed and Breakfast in Strasburg, just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Intercourse (and Zooks, and the Old Country Store). There will be ten of us this time. I've packed up my in-progress Stack and Whack project and also have my Time Began in a Garden blocks all ready to be joined together.

After working a half-day tomorrow, I'll head home, load the car, drop Bodacious off for boarding (yes, even he is having a separate vacation!) and be on my way. A complete report will follow!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sick Call

It's been a rough few days, Near Philadelphia. The malady of my last post persisted through the weekend, keeping me at home all of Sunday. Monday I came to work and coughed and coughed and coughed. That afternoon, at Sharon's suggestion, I went over to the pharmacy for a new vaporizer. While I was there, I had a chat with the pharmacist. I told him that last winter when I'd had a cough that was of the tickle-in-the-throat type, his colleague had recommended a specific product, and it had really hit the spot. It wasn't doing the job this time around, however. "Tell me about your cough," said the pharmacist. I told him it was from way deep down somewhere between the chest and the abdomen.

He walked me down the "cough and cold" aisle and stopped in front of a different product. "This is what you need for this kind of cough," he told me. There was one option that was liquid and relatively inexpensive; the other was a great big "horse pill" that cost more and, he said, would "pack a wallop." The wallop was the solution. I took the first one that night (they last twelve hours) and began to improve right away.

Stayed home from school yesterday and today I'm not exactly back to normal, but so much improved that I can comfortably be part of society. So I'm here to sing the praises of pharmacists -- they seem to me to be cut out of the same kind of cloth as librarians -- all about helping people to find the right thing.

On another front, Bodacious has been ill as well, and his situation is less easily (and less inexpensively) resolved. He started on Sunday afternoon to get into a peculiar position and kind of "freeze." Then there would be a vocalization of discomfort. He seemed to be cold and unhappy. We found a soft warm blanket. He couldn't get comfortable. Nothing was happening in his litter box. First thing Monday morning, Joe called the vet and got an appointment. Bo had something blocking the tip end of his urethra. He needed sedation, catheterization, and hospitalization. We learned that this condition, if not treated promptly, causes uremic poisoning and can lead to a painful death.

Bo came home from hospital today at lunch time, and Joe says he's on three different medications and a new diet. But vastly improved. Both Joe and I are going away this coming weekend (More About Which Later), and ordinarily we'd leave Bodacious home with a generous portion of Deli-Cat. We've decided the right thing this time is to board him at the vet's, just to be on the safe side, so soon after this problem.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Round Robin Update and Other Matters

There has been a lovely response to the suggestion of a U.S. group doing the May Britt style round robin. I don't know if we have fifteen yet -- I've been filing the responses as they come in until I have time to sort through them. It is my hope to do this during the weekend that is about to begin.


The "little froat thing" that I started with Monday before last didn't turn into a full-fledged horrendous head cold the way I had expected it to. It stayed annoying but not incapacitating, necessitating a lot of throat clearing and nose blowing and I thought that was that.


Unfortunately, day before yesterday it morphed into a bit of a cough. With me, coughs always have a propensity to settle into full-blown bronchitis, the kind that hacks and snocks for three weeks or so, usually necessitating a course of antibiotics.


Bear with me, if you can. I'm sincerely hoping to sort through the round robin questionnaires and assorted other things I've neglected over the weekend, between naps, hot tea, and swigs of cough medicine!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What Was I Thinking -- The Reveal!

At our monthly meeting last May, my evening hand-sewing group embarked on a summer project called "What Was I Thinking?" The complete sentence would be, "What was I thinking when I bought this fabric?" We brought some fabric or fabrics that posed that question; the fabric was in a brown paper bag. Those who wanted to participate selected an unopened bag to take home to dream up a project over the summer. Of course, we had to show what we had received. Most times, the fabric was received with an outcry of "What were you thinking?"

Last night was "The Reveal." Kathleen had submitted some fabric with international flags on it, and Bonnie made her a matching pincushion and under-the-machine mat.


Bonnie had provided a piece of fabric that had a feather print all over it. Emily turned it into some terrific blocks that she plans to make into a wall quilt for Bonnie.


Helen's fabric came to me. It was a half yard each of six all-over fruit or vegetable prints. I knew immediately that this was to turn into placemats and I was delighted when there was enough left to make napkins, too.

The fabric that Emily brought was a couple of pieces of autumn tones, including some Kaffe Fassett prints. Kathleen almost finished turning them into a terrific handbag.

I had brought a huge quantity of Mary Engelbreit fabric. I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought it. Helen was very happy to receive it, however, and decided that it would make an exellent tote bag or two. Or three. Or four. Or eight. Here she is, about to distribute them:



And here are Kathleen, Bonnie, Marsha, Helen, Emily, and Judy standing, with Honna seated, all showing off their bags!









Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Who's Been Sleeping on MY Quilt?

When Sherry was expecting Sam, at the baby shower that was held for her, I was in for a surprise.

My relative, Susan, is a member of the on-line quilters group I've belonged to for nearly ten years now. It's called, appropriately, Fat Quarters.

Little did I know that Suz had organized a project wherein my buddies made cat blocks out of 30s repros. Then Holly put it all together and Suz hand quilted it.

Bodacious believes he knows who this quilt is for. After all, it has all these cats all over it.

But it would seem that Bo is mistaken! Sherry, Chris, and Sam came to lunch on Sunday. You-know-who had fallen into a sound sleep between church and our house. We had set up lunch out on the deck (don't get me started about the unseasonable weather Near Philadelphia), so we just made this very comfy place for Sam to finish his nap, among the cats.


He woke cheerful just as we finished our lunch and after some lunch of his own, he was ready to roll. Pinecones are a new favorite item, from great big down to miniscule. And he came over to look with interest at the I Spy squares I'm turning into snowball blocks, mimicking each word as I told it to him. "Skateboards," "ladybug," "seashells," all rolled off his tongue easily. But the best word was, again, "Grunmum."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Time Began In A Garden, Center Panel

The center panel has been finished for about five days, and this morning -- I have a day off from work for Columbus Day! -- one of the items on my list of eight responsible things to do was to take a picture of that panel and get it posted here.

I had so much fun doing this panel. The directions indicated some minimal embroidery for the flowers; I really got into enhancing them and renewed my acquaintance with french knots, lazy daisies, and some other stitches.

The next step on this project will be to machine all of the thirteen blocks together and then oversew the seams by hand using decorative stitching.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle . . . .

Erm, herb garden . . .






. . . Bodacious is on the prowl!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Friendly Place to Work

I've said before on this blog that I'm employed by a Quaker (Religious Society of Friends) school, and it occurred to me yesterday that perhaps it is time to tell a little bit more about that. It is a different environment from the public schools that everyone in our family attended.


A Quaker school generally falls "under the care of" a Quaker Meeting, and usually it is imperative that members of the Meeting comprise a high percentage of the board of trustees. The students attend Meeting for Worship once each week, and this is held in the Meetinghouse adjacent to the campus. Getting there involves a walk through the graveyard that separates the two campuses. At our school there are four different weekly Meetings, one for each division. Employees not assigned to a division are urged to attend whichever Meeting they like, and often a person who works, for instance, in the business office, will become a special friend of a particular class and accompany the children from that class to Meeting and sometimes go back to the classroom for a snack afterwards.


Everything at school, except perhaps the Halloween parade (no costumes associated with military or violent themes, please) begins with a Moment of Silence. Every committee meeting, assembly, class meeting, even many classes, begin with this MOS. When this was new to me, it seemed strange; over the years I've come to welcome it and have begun to incorporate it into some of the meetings I have had to run at my Lutheran church. It is a time to pause, to catch one's breath, to leave behind whatever one was doing, and to begin to focus on the present purpose.


There is an extra element of respect given to everyone at a Quaker school, and we hear quite a bit about looking to find "that of God" which resides in every person. Sometimes this can be more of a challenge than other times! Each year the Quakerism Committee at our school selects a theme for the year. Last year it was Peace; this year it is Equality. The theme is carried through in classrooms and in administrative projects as we work with intentionality towards a deeper understanding and practice of the theme.


Yesterday was an in-service day for everyone: faculty, staff, and administration. We began the day with breakfast -- an oatmeal and yogurt bar with imaginative and interesting toppings, and huge bowls of fresh cut-up fruit. The morning was filled with work on Equality-- we started with a movie about an African-American high school student who chooses to be bused from her inner city neighborhood to attend a school in an area of white privilege. We then spent an hour or so in small groups processing the movie, sharing our own feelings and experiences, and working on prepared queries. After this, boxed lunches were picked up and faculty went to activities prepared by their divisions and the staff gathered with the head of school to learn about a new agenda committee that is being formed to focus on staff issues. After a safety presentation by the school nurse, we went off to enjoy our lunches and then to do our regular work for the afternoon. The day closed with a cocktail party held at the nearby community art center, in honor of two employees who were retiring after many years of service.


It seems incredible that I was paid for yesterday!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Okay, Let's Try It!

Wonderful May Britt recently shared the results of a round robin she participated in with a group of local friends. The completed projects are simply wonderful, and so diverse! You really have to look to see that they all followed the same recipe.

A few people thought it would be interesting to do this with blogging friends, and I thought so, too. I thought, also, that it would be fun to start a little group and chat about ourselves and share our lives a bit so that when the final projects come home, we'll really know the people who worked together on them. And, then, when I was searching for a picture to illustrate my post, I stumbled on this book cover and got to thinking we might also read the book and maybe talk about it. I dunno -- maybe I'm getting things too complicated.

To learn more about the original project, go here and read the post for September 28, "Mini Round Robin."

My thoughts on this are:

  • Group would be fifteen people, one for each prescribed round of the robin
  • Group would be only people with USA mailing addresses -- I'd really rather have it be an international group, but I can't figure out a way to make the mailing costs equitable, so we'll just do USA
  • Preference would be given first to members of the Quilting 4 Pleasure Ring
  • Other bloggers would also be welcome if space is available
  • If you want to join and are not a blogger, perhaps now is the time for you to start one!
  • Really precise rules will be developed once we have the group in place

If you are a blogger and would like to participate, and if you are comfortable making a fifteen-month commitment for one small round each month go here and sign up! The group is set up so that only members can view messages and files, and once the group is full, it will be removed from the Yahoogroups directory.

We'll try to form a group of fifteen, work out the details together, and get started. If we don't get fifteen participants, we'll decide whether to modify the plan or abandon it f0r the present.

Y'all come!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tagged


Tagged by my buddy Jan, who makes me smile almost every day, this meme involves revealing stuff about one's self using the letters of one's name. Not as easy as one would think! Where is that "Q" when I need it? Talking Quilts, talking Quaker school, talking Quiet -- NOT! Anyway, I'll give it a stab . . .


B-logger

L-utheran

O-rganizer, but not organized

G-rundmum

G-iggly

I-ntrovert

N-ot thin

G-reece afficianado


N-urturer

E-arly

A-unt

R-eader


P-hilosophical

H-appy more than not

I-ntense

L-over of classical music

A-uthentic

D-evoted

E-ntertaining

L-lama-lover's mama

P-atchwork

H-onna is what my oldest friend calls me

I-ntense

A-vid

If you've read this far and would like to be tagged to do this meme, please, by all means do! One more thing about me is that I'm not one to assign tasks to others to do!