Friday, April 25, 2008

What Matters

My friend over at Bits and Pieces -- whose posts are nothing if not eclectic -- posted this bit (or piece) and it was a good thing for me to read today. And probably everyday.

Ready or not, some day, it will come to an end.

There will be no more surprises: no minutes hours or days.

All things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass on to some else.

Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.

It will not matter what you owed or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments , frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.

So, too, will your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists expire.

The wins and losses, that once seemed so important, will fade away.

At the end, it won’t matter where you were born or what side of the tracks you lived.

It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.

Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So, what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built…

Not what you got but what you gave.

What will matter is not your success, but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence, but your character.

What will matter is not how many people knew you, but how many people will feel a lasting loss when you are gone.

What will matter are not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstances but of choice.

Are you choosing a life that matters?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happy Times

A package from Australia came at the end of last week and inside was a wrapped gift for Caroline and a note from Little Mysteries. When Sherry and the family came to visit on Sunday, the gift was opened and the Owlie pronounced "Precious." Sherry was delighted and Caroline even gazed on it for a bit.

Thank you, dear faraway friend!

I've been coming to work an hour early this week because I want to leave early on Friday. Bonnie and I and our collective three daughters and one nursing infant have rented a beach house for the weekend. We do this together every couple of years -- female bonding and frivolity abound. We play games, shop a bit, eat good food, and are impressive in our silliness. We were tickled to learn that an annual event will be occurring this weekend while we are at the beach -- sounds like it is right up our alley!

Do return on Monday for an update!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

While She Warms Up, I'm Going to Sew

So, the Pennsylvania Primary is over and with it must be what had turned into an obsession for me. Today I read the spinners and the pundits and came away very confused. Came close to the conclusion that, really, no one knows how this thing is going to shake down.

Meanwhile, a very wise soul provided some much-needed advice. He reminded me of what happened several years back.

In the months following 9/11 (the day that I had one son living in New York City and the other working on Capitol Hill), I became obsessed with the news. Somehow I was afraid that something was going to happen and I wouldn't know about it. As if my knowing about it would enable me to do anything about it. It turned into an unhealthy situation for me, and finally I had to leave CNN, the newspaper, the evening news, all of these, cold turkey. After a month away from all of it, I was able to resume rationality.

Today, when I asked Andrew for the umpteenth time what he thought was going to happen, with amazing insight and even more amazing tact, he wrote, in part:

. . . . I think the intense competition of the media self-perpetuates them talking to each other about this race. There are far too many journalists on the air and they have to keep themselves employed.

I know this is important to you, and that’s because this is a vitally important issue. But maybe it is time to consider detox. Remember when you stopped watching CNN? Keep this in mind – you are currently following this race much more closely than I am, and I do this shit for a living. That’s just not healthy. . . . .

This mama raised a wise son.

Someone else reminded me that you-know-who hasn't uttered a single note yet, much less an aria. So while she warms up -- which could take several weeks, if I'm not mistaken -- I'm going to turn off the news and sew.


If you've been reading this blog recently, you would be expecting me to be feeling a bit less than splendid this day. And you'd be right. The loss of Obama to Hillary was not unexpected; but the ten percentage points is painful -- we had so hoped it would be less. So I'm saddened by the outcome of the election, listening to the spinners on what it means, and waiting to see what happens next.

But I'm shocked and stunned, nonetheless.

Because of a telphone call that came literally moments before CNN proclaimed the winner. The caller was a relative who lives far away; she is someone we see about every three years and have phone conversations with approximately four or five times each year.

I answered from the phone that does not have Caller ID, and her response to my "Hello" was "Well, did your candidate win?" I recognized the voice and replied, "It seems to be a little too early to tell. How are you?" She told me that it wasn't too early to tell, that the television station she watches had proclaimed the winner and wasn't it grand. I was uneasy at that point and mentioned that the outcome of this election was extra important to me because of the time I'd spent working at the campaign headquarters. When the caller learned which candidate I'd been supporting, I was the recipient of her scorn, her derision, her mockery -- "Well, I guess I should have talked to you sooner!" When she belittled me for voting for "a Muslim," I told her that her comment was so offensive that I wasn't going to continue the conversation and handed the phone to my husband.

I was shaking. Literally shaking.

At the school where I work, the Quakerism focus during this entire academic year has been on the theme of Equality. We have looked at racism; we have danced around anti-Semitism. We have begun to acknowledge that as liberal as we believe ourselves to be, there are seeds of racism within us. We have begun to look at the fact that as middle-class white Americans, we are persons of privilege. We have recognized that privilege carries responsibility. We have begun to understand that -- unlike many others -- those of us who are white do not have an awareness of our whiteness at all times. There are more than 150 employees here, and almost everyone has been moved, has grown, from our work together.

One of the joyful pieces of my experience at Obama for America these past weeks has been the equality. As a white middle-aged (dare I still claim "middle-aged" or should I perhaps be acknowledging "older"?) woman, I walked into that office on the first day with a little trepidation. My experience with blacks outside of my Quaker environment has been a perception that I am regarded with caution and sometimes with suspicion, because I am a white, middle-class person. This is understandable. But there was none of that in the campaign office. I spent my late afternoons elbow-to-elbow, eye-to-eye, with all ages and colors of folks, and we worked as one, and regarded each other as sisters and brothers. It seemed to me that simply because I was there, I had passed a test.

I experienced a welcoming solidarity, a togetherness and a unity, a pulling together for something so much more important than ourselves; something I have never known before.

So I was vulnerable last night when the phone rang. I knew it was going to be an emotional evening, and declined an invitation to watch the returns with my own sister, thinking I'd be better off in the privacy of my own home. I was totally unprepared for the intrusion that blasted me.

Harkening back to Luther and his admonition to ascribe the best possible explanation to our neighbor's (relative's?) offenses, maybe my relative wasn't trying to be mean, hurtful, and racist. Maybe she wasn't gloating but instead, trying to be funny. If so, in my vulnerability, I missed the subtlety of her humor.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Delightful Diversion . . .

. . . that may keep me from obsessing today about the Pennsylvania primary!

Sherry and family spent Sunday evening with us and Caroline has finally started keeping her eyes open a little more. Sherry's seen a glimpse of a smile, and she's begun looking around a lot more, seemingly fascinated -- as was Sam -- with the ceiling fans.

Life may be good, Mrs. Goodneedle. But grandchildren are spectacular! Just you wait . . . .

Don't you think I look like Daddy?

Oh, I'd say about 3/8 of a yard would do it.

And just what, do you think, we should do for a border?

Monday, April 21, 2008

An Open Letter to the Parents of

Kevin, Nate, Sabrina, AnneMarie, Nora, and the other 20-and-30-somethings in the Jenkintown Obama for President Office,
Dear Parents,

We've never met and aren't likely to. But please read this letter from a stranger. It is the kind of letter I would love to receive.

For the first time in my life, I have played a small part in a political campaign. I went over to the Obama office in my area on the day it opened to see whether there might be something I could do. There was.

I spent my late afternoons for the next couple of weeks entering data from calls that had been made that day. It was a mindless job, and one that I was very good at. (I don't remember which young person it was who looked at this gray-haired grandmother and exclaimed, "You kick ass at data entry!") I could enter my data and watch and listen to what was going on around me, at the same time.

There was a lot going on. There was phone calling. There were other data entry people. There were lawn sign buyers. There a woman in a wheelchair helping to man the front desk. There was more phone calling. There were volunteers delivering dinners. There was someone printing out maps for canvassers. There were people assembling packets. There was someone shredding. There was Nora with a phone apparently permanently affixed to her ear. There was cheering. There was activity of every kind. And more phone calling.

And all of it was put together by your kids. Kids I would be so incredibly proud to call my own! They are warm, friendly, dedicated, polite, forgiving, patient, tenacious, sincere, hospitable, organized, tolerant, kind, and just downright lovely individuals.

There was a lot of talk these weeks about Hope and Change. Whatever happens tomorrow here in Pennsylvania, I have personally experienced both Hope and Change at the hands of Sabrina and AnneMarie and Nora and Kevin and Nate and the others whose names I never managed to learn. I left the office each day blinking back tears of hope, of joy, of inclusion. After these years of George Bush and the very real fear of John McCain, I had been afraid to believe there could be anything different. I now know that the spirit that you and I once felt when Bobby was running is alive and thriving in this current generation, in these amazing people that you have raised.

You should be so very proud.


Nancy, Near Philadelphia
The Kick-Ass Data Enterer

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Poke is Back

Tom wasn't quite three when it happened. It was time for Sesame Street, and there was something else on the screen. He came running to get me, "Mama. Sesame Street's not on. There's a big car band." A car band; well, this was an interesting new one from the kid who had brought us the "living closet" (where the towels are kept) and the "rummin," the room where the sofa is located. I went down hall to check.

Sure enough. Big Bird was AWOL and in his place was the papal motorcade in downtown Chicago. The car band.

My challenge: To explain to an unchurched almost-3-year-old who was so important that he could require a car band, and usurp everyone's favorite feathered friend. I tried:

"Well, there's this man who has come to this country from far, far away. And he is a very, very important man. A powerful and important man." At that point, a picture of His Holiness, looking quite a bit like a Storm Trooper in his white robes and amazing headress came across the screen. I'm a gal who, you'll remember, grew up Near Philadelphia, and am quite familiar with men in outrageous outfits and funny hats -- we have the Mummers Parade each New Year's Day. But Tom had only one reference point, and this would become obvious in a minute or two. "He is why Sesame Street isn't on."

Blank stare in return. So I tried again.

"He's called the Pope."

"The Poke?" Close enough.

"A very important man."

"Like Darth Vader?" Tom inquired.

"Yes," I told him. "But a good Darth Vader." And at this point, the man in white was surrounded by a flotilla of black-garbed priests, and Tom knew he was right.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Here's Today's, Bonnie!

"Judge tightens reigns at FLDS hearing"

For some time, Bonnie and I would report to each other on "the misspelled word of the day." It would show up in various locations: a billboard, a hand-lettered sign (one of the best was "For Sale: Chester Drawers"), a poster, a newspaper article, a church bulletin.

In recent years, this hobby has fallen by the wayside. I sure was tickled to find today's specimen -- above -- as a headline on the CNN website a few moments ago!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It Seemed Odd

Well, we watched "the debate" last night. It seemed to be misnamed. It wasn't a debate, really, but rather an opportunity for the interrogators to bring up all of the media frenzy tidbits (truth about peril during Bosnia landing, why can't you control your pastor, that kind of thing). It was pretty much a waste of time, as the candidates really did not get to explore their differences on many meaty issues.

I was really peeved by the question that was patched in from a righteous (and perhaps bitter!) Pennsylvania Woman Of A Certain Age, who suggested that perhaps Senator Obama was not proud of the American flag because he didn't wear one.

Is it just me? Or did anyone hear that question put to Senator Clinton as well -- she wasn't wearing an American flag pin either?

I consider myself a political novice (and Andrew would prolly be the first to applaud that assessment), but at least I'm not planning to choose my candidate on the basis of his or her jewelry.

Oh, and completely off topic but noteworthy nonetheless, the Queen of Issues yesterday was whining about the unhealhy food selections in the campaign office shortly before the entree du jour was scheduled to arrive. When offered a jello cup, she indignantly replied, "I'm a vegetarian! I'm not going to eat that!"


Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Sherry's first job outta college was as a social worker in the foster care department of a highly respected agency In Philadelphia. Once in a while she'd report on a child who was difficult to place because "she has issues." Of course nowadays people have and talk about their issues all over the place, but this was all new to us back in 1998.

Yesterday I met the Queen of Issues. Y'all know I've been volunteering at Obama for President after I leave work each day. I haven't said a lot about that and prolly I won't say a lot about it because I certainly don't want this to turn into a political blog.

Yesterday when I arrived at my post, all of the data entry slots were filled, so I was give the task of addressing postcards. Easy, enjoyable work. I set up at a table where a newcomer was entering data. Looking back now, I'm aware that all of the regulars were giving her pretty wide berth.

She wanted to talk. She ostensibly was there to volunteer ("I've worked in the campaign offices in Texas, D.C., Ohio, and Connecticut already") but didn't get a whole lot done that I could see. She wasn't crazy about the offerings in the food room (a lovely fresh deli platter) because there was so much meat (as well as two kinds of cheese) and the potato salad was "too mayonnaisey." She's a vegetarian, she was quick to point out. She was very slow at her data entry because she had her headset on, and from time to time would stop work to share with the rest of the room what she was hearing on NPR ("the only reliable news source; I would never listen to Fox or even CNN"); never mind that most of the rest of the room was making phone calls. She confided that she has a "chronic illness" and waited. I didn't ask. I was addressing postcards. There was no other space for me to move to.

Soon someone came in bearing a huge pot of -- how fortuitous! -- vegetarian chili! Ms. Issues went and helped herself to a modest portion. Unfortunately, it contained too many beans for her taste. And, "I really don't like it when they put all these vegetables in it -- you know, like celery!" What the hell else are they going to put in vegetarian chili? Oy.

My postcards finished, I switched to data entry and as luck would have it, the 'puter that was free was next to You Know Who. As soon as I settled in with my call sheets, she passed hers over and said, "I'm going to give these to you. And I'm going to make phone calls." Alas, she didn't move to a new location, and sat making her calls with some form of a comment after each one. Sometimes it was just a very heavy sigh, begging me to inquire. I didn't. "I don't know why in this day and age a person wouldn't have an answering machine." Another sigh. "Well, they could at least say goodbye before hanging up on me." Another break -- this time for a beverage. Of course, she didn't drink soda. "Is the water here out of the tap okay to drink?" The saint behind me pointed out that people Near Philadelphia drink the water all the time but there was also bottled water if she'd feel more comfortable. She wouldn't -- "I never put plastic into the environment!" Why wasn't I surprised? Other campaign offices had nightly conference calls involving everyone; this one apparently didn't. She was in from D.C., staying with her cousin. And we wouldn't believe the family dynamics . . . . Oy.

On and on. On and on.

My data entry was nearly finished when she produced the pièce de résistance: "When we schedule an event and invite people to it, we should provide free child care so that more people could come." I nearly choked on my brownie ("I really shouldn't eat chocolate, but it is healthier for me than all those potato chips"). Even the saint was incredulous. I finally had to respond, "Yes, and all it would take would be one parent to say that one campaign worker had touched a child inappropriately and everything we're working for would be gone." I turned in my data sheets and went home.

What, you may be wondering, does the Queen of Issues have to do with Martin Luther, pictured to the left? Well, one of Luther's wisest insights that I fervently believe and attempt to practice is that we should always seek to put the most positive spin on our neighbor's failings (not his exact words but you get the idea). I'm trying, friends, I'm really trying.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Weekend Report

Look! Look! Here they are! Behold the entire stack of the twenty completed What Was I Thinking? blocks! They were finished at some point on Sunday afternoon. The tedious part of these blocks was getting the claws made and affixed. After that, cutting the logs for the two sides and choosing which logs to put on which claws, well, that was just fun! Putting the 80 blocks into foursomes to make up the big blocks was kind of fun, too.

The next steps are easy, but steps I'm not crazy about. So What Was I Thinking? may well get relegated to the proverbial back burner for a bit. We'll see. I've cut the cornerstone squares, and the next task is the lattice. That's a task I don't enjoy. Not fond of putting borders on either. Mentally, I've moved on -- more about that in a minute -- so we'll see how long it takes to turn the WWIT? blocks into a completed top.

These, friends, are the yield from the monthly birthday block exchange. And are they not utterly dazzling? (Those disagreeing need not reply!) This is the "basket of chips" pattern in the 10-1/2 inch size, and I think it to be mighty fine. The exchange brought me fifteen blocks. When I put them on the wall and spaced them out, twelve looked perfect.

But the finished project would be on the smallish side. So I've picked out more fabrics and begun cutting components to make five more and we'll see how twenty look together. It may well turn out that I go back to the twelve and have eight remaining for a second project. I've only made one block of this pattern before (the teal and brown one) and know that they take a little time to do. So I'm going to focus on one per evening for the next week and then decide what happens next.

Here it is! Here it is! This wall hanging (brought to you by the gal whose motto is "I don't do wall hangings") was the result of the very first round robin I ever did. I started with the trademark dancing ladies and explained that the inspiration for them was from Psalm 30: "You have changed my mourning into dancing." I suggested for anyone who couldn't wrap her mind around that to go with "Buffalo gals, won't you come out tonight and dance by the light of the moon." I was so pleased with the completed project and sent it off to Kat for custom quilting. And when it came home, I was even more pleased. And then it got set aside. Until this weekend. Joe undertook the project of hanging it above our bed using a wonderful hanger that was a gift from Bob and Sherron. (In the process, we had to pull the bed all the way out and found several generations of dust bunnies breeding under there. Which necessitated getting out the vacuum and the attachments. And pulling the bed out further. Turning a project into an ordeal. You know how that goes.) Anyway, I think it looks spectacular. You should be able to click it to enlarge and see the detail; and I hope you will.

It will look even more spectacular in a year, though. In the stash are coordinating batiks for a Blooming Nine Patch. Which just might have to rise to the top of the project pile, now that we've come this far!

I mentioned picking up a little something for myself when I was at the artisan store looking for Elaine's birfday gift.

I saw these terrific dancers, males and females, doing different types of dances. There were large ones that would go on the wall, and smaller ones that would go on the table. I couldn't resist, and decided I just had to take one home with me.

She fits in very well, I think, and now I see her first thing each morning when I wake!

Thought that just to complete the theme here, I'd show you something on the wall in that same room. Working at a school, I have the opportunity to be surrounded by amazing student art. Every once in a while, I'll decide that a particular piece of photography is something I can't live without. I have two photographs in my office of graveyard statuary that are just lovely. I bought them from the student photographer soon after we moved into our new office space.

This winter when the senior photography display went up, this piece was among them and, obviously, it had my name written all over it. When the student got the notice to come to the Head's office, she was a tad apprehensive. She knew she'd done nothing wrong. She was astounded to find out she'd done something so right and quickly provided me with a print of her beautiful work.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"I Feel Like I've Been to Church"

Approximately once each month I serve as eucharistic minister to residents at an inpatient treatment center for young women who have eating disorders. Today was one of those visits. And it started off badly.

When I got to church, I realized that I didn't have the worship leaflets with me. I could visualize exactly where they were. On the desk downstairs, with other papers I'd carried in from the car. I decided that even though it would make me a little bit late, I would come home after church and pick them up.

My vision betrayed me. The leaflets were not where I thought. I set on my way nonethelss. I was scheduled to bring communion to four young women and based on past experience, I believed three would show up. We could share.

I arrived ten minutes late to find three young women waiting for me. Another, wearing headphones and holding a book, was sitting cross-legged on the chair. I apologized for being late, and one of the women said that there were two more who had been interested; she offered to go off and get them. The girl with the headphones took them off and asked if "the meeting" was starting and when I explained what I was there for, she said, "I don't go to church. Can I stay here anyway?" I assured her that she could and then she offered, "I haven't been to church since my mom died." I mentioned to her that often when one is grieving, church can be very difficult. I told her she could either join us or not, as she preferred. "How long has it been," I asked her as we waited. "Since 2000. I was ten."

The other two girls came in then, and being so very short of leaflets, I decided to improvise a bit, telling them I would read the prayer of confession for everyone, and they could say "Amen." Most of them knew the other responses. A girl with the beautiful red hair agreed to follow me with the wine. As we began our little service, I noted that the headphones girl had taken them off and put her things on the floor. I heard her say, "Amen." Megan and I went around the circle with the bread and wine; the Roman Catholic girl asked for a blessing, and the girl without the headphones was clearly hearing something she needed more than what they had been bringing her. She received the bread and the wine.

When we were finished, although "the meeting" was scheduled to begin in the room very soon, the girls were in no hurry to leave. "Thank you so much for coming." "That was wonderful." "I feel like I've been to church," came from the young women who had not been in eight years. "Are you okay about?" I asked her. She affirmed that she was.

She really was.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dagwood, Where Are You?

Years ago (showing my age here), back before being blonde was associated with being "dumb," a haircoloring company had "Blondes have more fun" as their slogan. Many girls I went to high school with "bleached" their hair. And they seemed to have quite a bit of fun. I have always had light brown hair, straight, and not very much of it. As I began to grow older and it became even more thin, I began "highlighting" it because the hairdresser said it would give it more body, help it hold a style better. I've always kind of liked the highlights.

This morning was my quarterly appointment with the colorist. And apparently, over the last three months, my brown hair has become much more gray. Except I didn't notice it because of the frosting. Today's frosting leaves me with not much brown at all -- in fact, I'd pretty much have to say I've unintentionally become a blonde!

And have I had more fun? Well, "more" is relative. It's been a good day. In addition to the trip to the salon, I did some shopping -- bought a new light cotton summer blanket for our bed and while I was at it, picked up a new set of sheets: pale pink. Went to an artisan shop to get a birfday gift for a dear friend, and while I was there, picked up a little wood carving for myself. When I got home and showed the carving to Joe, we both remembered a wall hanging round robin I have from several years back that has never been hung. If things go according to plan, it will be hung tomorrow and photographed in its glory along with the carving.

That's it for now,

Blondie, Near Philadelphia


I'm posting this pic purely for the benefit of my family, especially Tom. I don't mind in the least if some of the rest of the readership takes pleasure from it as well.

I lifted it this morning from a blog I serendipitously discovered while seeing what Juliann is up to. Juliann is amazingly tidy and organized and has some terrific stuff up on her wall. But enough with the digression.

Katie, the commenter, has a fascinating blog, one I just scanned briefly this morning. I'll certainly be returning for a closer look. She's a woman of faith, a fine writer, a deep thinker, and a soldier returned from war. All things to admire. She's also a Republican. In view of all of her other qualities, I can live with that.

Tom! "You must not seek the treasure!"

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

WWIT? -- An Update

What Was I Thinking? is turning into a quilt! I'm almost incredulous. A few weeks ago, this was the farthest thing from my mind.

I've diligently worked at getting the "claws" parts of the blocks finished, and as of last night, they are!

You can see my lone finished block in the upper left corner. The remaining nineteen blocks are all in claw-quarters. The next step is cutting and applying the "logs" to two sides of the claws.

Probably not tonight, though one never knows. The mess on the kitchen counter is calling more loudly than it did last night, and the bills need to be paid. But just to have reached the stage that I have with WWIT? is amazing enough. For now.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Good Kind of Tired

A crazy clock. That's kind of the way all of the clocks are looking to me right about now. I think that just two more hours per day would be about right. Is that asking too much?

That was a rhetorical question.

It's still a busy, busy time at work, with the search processes and candidates and hiring continuing with no end, really, in sight. We -- perhaps naively -- think that we know of all of the vacancies for the coming year. But that could change in the wink of an eye. In addition, I've sat on a special committee called "Hiring for Diversity" for the past two years and as our work comes to a close, our report needs to be finalized and our recommendations made to the administration. I've agreed to handle producing the final version of the report; we met today and I really have my work cut out for me as I try to incorporate all of the changes and input in a relatively short period of time. I'm very committed to the project, though, and if it means I need to put in some extra hours, well, so be it.

Except. Except. I've been doing something else for an hour and a half after work before going home. And the timing is critical on that. Really critical! The important Pennsylvania Primary is two weeks from today and a week or so ago it dawned on me that it isn't going to be enough to want my candidate to win and cast my vote for him. I feel that more is required. And so each workday I stop on my way home at Obama For President Headquartes and do data entry for 90 minutes.

I have never done anything like this before. In fact, this is only the second time in our lives that we've had a lawn sign! And I had no idea whatsoever how much I was going to enjoy what I'm doing for the campaign! The atmosphere in the office is so positive, so optimistic, so energetic and happy that I immediately forget that I've put in a nearly eight-hour day already. I settle in with my pile of call sheets and update the records reflecting the results of the calls made that day. It is very easy work; I'm good at it and do it quickly. And so I listen to the people around me, most of whom are tirelessly making phone calls, never taking the rejections personally, always being cordial and friendly. They amaze me. Every single person is a volunteer; a couple of them have quit full-time jobs to volunteer for the campaign. Most of them appear to be between 18 and 25 years old. And they are so poised, they are appreciative, they are organized. When my little shift is over, I leave feeling absolutely exhilarated. And looking forward to returning the next day. Some evenings I'm tempted to go back after dinner! But I know if I don't go down and sew, I'll get cranky. And we certainly don't want that right about now.

I'm about as busy as I was during the time I was doing the supplemental transcription. But so much happier with what I'm doing. I'm just as tired at night as I was then. But this time, it is a good kind of tired. If you know what I mean.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Just LOOK What She Has Done!

My dear cyberfriend Debbie was one of the three winners in my "Pay It Forward" from last summer.

I decided my Pay It Forward would be my signature dancing ladies who were, in fact, inspired by Psalm 30.

Debbie has bordered and embroidered and quilted and turned my little starter piece into a work of art! And it is going to this wonderful cause -- I am so proud to be a part! You can read all about it here!

Debbie says we make a good team. I agree. Let the dancing begin!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

On the Wall, On the Table, On the Floor . . .

On the Ironing Board, on the Suitcase, on the Pew, on the Desk . . .

Karen has asked to see Design Walls. And I promised to post pictures of recent purchases. So this post will be a flurry of photos of both categories. Read on if you dare!

Pretty many years ago we had a swap of Batik Baskets on Black. The yield was beautiful. I finally got them assembled about a year ago and decided I wanted it for our bed. So I added a black border, then a turquoise border, then more black. And then ripped all three borders off. Turbo had a thought -- she suggested a narrow light border and then a wider medium border and then black binding. I thought she was right. So when I was at Lancaster, I bought the borders. As soon as I get them on -- with any luck, during the coming week -- I'm sending it off to Kat to machine quilt for me to pick up when I'm in her neighborhood in July!

On the pew is the pattern and the border fabric for "Sunday Best," the wall hanging I'm hand appliquing for Caroline. I found some amazing miniscule buttons to put on the desses. About four or five of the dozen dresses are done. I work on this in front of the TV. When the movie has subtitles, I don't understand very much of it!

Branky gave me a collection of FQs for doing her a favor a few months back. When I was at Lancaster, I found a perfect coordinate. Don't know yet what this is going to become.

Also on the pew are these scraps left over from a project Sherron was working on the last time we were at White Oak. I guess my ooohing and aaaahing worked, for when she was done she gave the scraps to me!

Not the brightest and best picture. I fell in love with the black fabric about five years ago when I was at The Old Country Store. I bought a couple of yards and also bought background fabric and a half yard each of about six coordinates. April is my month to send out packets to the FQ group and I had a good time assembling them with copies of the Flower Pot pattern. Each participant will make me a pair of blocks, and by the end of May, I would think, I should have back enough to make a very good show and tell post.

"Diggers" are Sam's current passion. This fabric is to make a tote bag for him to carry his books back and forth from the library.

At the site of the old Bird In Hand Country Store, the place that was famous for the neon green rulers, is a new place and I think it is called the Log Cabin Quilt Shop. They have some things that no one else has. Like these teal and brown FQ sets. And the wonderful background.

One of the things on my list for the Show was double pink FQs to go with my brown FQs from the swap. I found 'em.

Jewel Box Leader/Ender project is moving along, nearly finished. Except there are plenty of components cut and remaining so I'm thinking instead of 16 blocks, it is going to be 20. Or so.

My Design Wall is a masterpiece creation of my wonderful husband. It has a flat center surface and then two flaps that open up, giving me several different surfaces, and when it is all open, space for a very large project. These Bright Baskets are from the February birthday block project; when it is complete I should have received 18. The colors are all hand dyes. I love them. Had planned the final project as a gift, but seriously doubt I'll be able to part with it!

More Jewel Box units on the inside flap of the design wall.

What Was I Thinking? is moving along beautifully. The Claws portions are close to done! Once they are, I'll start putting the sides on.

Bright and Cheerful squares, a gift from Turbo, on the main portion of the design wall, alternating with Kona white. Am thinking this will be a graduation gift for a young woman from church that I'm inordinately fond of.
There are more purchases of fabric, of course, but some are a secret, and others will have to wait for another post. 'Cuz I gotta get back to the sweatshop, erm, sewing room.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Stars From Across The Pond

The week of the Lancaster show, our friend Judi from Canterbury, England, came to town. She stayed with Bonnie, and we rescheduled our monthly hand-sewing group meeting so that she could attend. Judi is always so generous; this visit she brought everyone a gift of a reusable grocery sack from a British food market. Because of the comfortable handles and the spacious size, I took mine to the show with me to tote my purchases. It was amazing how many people stopped me to comment! She also brought us a complimentary lesson or two!

Here's Judi teaching us a new technique for making star blocks. Helen and Bonnie are visible on the sofa, paying close attention.

This is partially-headless Kathleen holding a lovely example of the new technique.

Another one -- a bright and cheerful wall hanging.

And here is Judi again, holding a finished flimsy that all of us just loved!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I'm Drowning!

But don't call the lifeguard!

I can tread water. Really well. I had to do it for ten minutes one time to pass a swimming test. A long time ago.

The search season at school is at its peak. Each day I process many, many resumes. Each day we have candidates coming in for the major and minor openings, and schedules to coordinate for all of these people. Hotel and travel arrangements for many of them.

The Interim Committee I'm co-chairing at church is also at its peak. We have a timeline event scheduled for this Sunday and our Zoomerang survey is due to be launched. The latter is my responsibility.

And tonight I have a meeting over at Obama HQ to see if I have skills that could be put to use in the next three scant weeks.

I still haven't unpacked the fabric that I bought last week. Therefore, still haven't photographed it. I will.

And sometime this week I need to get my packets out for the monthly block -- I'm the April recipient for the one group and am thinking I will send out more of the hand dyed fabric for the Baskets of Chips that I had sent out to the other group. I'm going to want more than 14 of those Baskets, and there is plenty of fabric, and, well, enough said. I had planned to cut up and package the William Morris FQs for the Bear Tracks project. But the more I think about it, Bill isn't going anywhere and the more of the Baskets of Chips that come in, the more I want, so there's a plan.

Stay tuned. I'll be swimming to shore very soon.