Saturday, May 31, 2008

Quiet Day

Himself is doing okay. Has broken out into a pink, itchy rash -- not hives, exactly, but something like old-fashioned prickly heat. Phoned the doctor who suggested Benadryl and to stop two of his meds until Monday. So that's the plan.

Ran a couple of errands together, took him to get a haircut, and now preparing a nice, low-fat, low-sodium dinner for our old friends Bob and Sherry. Bob and Joe met on the train en route to Navy boot camp in October of 1967. There is not a whole lot that the four of us have not laughed about these 41 years. They are precisely what we need tonight.

The picture? Has nothing to do with today. It is from Paros, where we sat on a cafe terrace, sipping wine, and watching the sun go down. A very happy and relaxed time. Looking forward to the next one.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home

He's been home for two day and two nights now. Bodacious has quit with the reproachful look, though he still is in the bed each night. Just to be sure, I suppose.

Joe's tired and takes a nap or two each day. His appetite is adequate and he helps with light-weight tasks. Was able to adopt a supervisory role last night when two "Burly Lutherans On Call" came to install the window airconditioners.

He went to his office for a couple of hours today. We're not having any trouble with the dietary modifications, though we both know it is very early in that process. Both evenings we went for a short walk. He has his pill bottles lined up and is studying the info sheets on the various drugs. We are having negotiations about stress.

The worst of our ordeal appears to be over. The weekend looks promising: Saturday night our oldest friends are coming over to visit. Sherry and her family will be coming on Sunday and bringing chicken to grill.

I've decided what to do with my William Morris fabrics and hope to start that on Saturday.

The "new normal" is kicking in.

Thanks be to God.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Comcast Again -- All Too Soon

Do I need this right now?

Since I started trying three hours ago, I've not been able to access my email at Comcast.net. Sometimes I'll get a fluttery inbox for a second. Sometimes not. Mostly I get a message that the web page can't be accessed and to contact my provider. This was on Internet Explorer.

I tried Firefox with more interesting results. After logging into Comcast, I was greeted by a message: Hello Arlene A Conte!

Never heard of her. Good thing the email wasn't accessible on Firefox either, I guess. I'm not eager to learn what's going on in Arlene's world. But it did get me to wondering who was getting my greeting when he or she logs on.

This is happening a little more than two months since my last go-round with Comcast. Too darned soon, IMNSHO.

I went back to my earlier blog post when the last problem started and found the Comment by Mark C from Comcast Cares. He'd thoughtfully provided his phone number. Since I'm feeling somewhat fragile and vulnerable right now from the events of the weekend, I decided to give caring Mark a ring and have a bit of a chat about what's going on and when I might be able to get my email.

Unfortunately, he was unavailable.

Arlene, if you're reading this, rest assured, I won't read your email if it shows up. I've got enough going on.



Indulge Me Already

This is a picture of aspirin. You should have a bottle in your medicine cabinet. Near the Band-Aids, the Tums, and any other basic stuff.

After the use of Tylenol and Motrin became widespread back in the sixties or seventies, many people stopped keeping aspirin around. I was one of them. We never used it, so why have it?

Then I read somewhere that aspirin was helpful in reducing the effects of a heart attack and should be taken if a heart attack is suspected. Joe had an elderly father with a heart condition. We had an aging friend whose heart was fragile, too. So we began keeping a small bottle on hand. In the powder room with the band-aids.

We learned yesterday that the damage to Joe's heart is "moderate." Not "slight," which is what I'd been hoping. But, more importantly, not "severe," which it could have been.

If you do not presently have aspirin at home in a place where you can put your hands on it fast, please remedy this today.

It has made our lives different from what they could have been. It could do the same for you.

Indulge me. Get the aspirin.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Irony Was Not Lost

The hospital waiting room as well as the bedside chair are excellent places for hand-stitching binding down. This quilt, Hot Summer Hearts, is Jill's graduation gift. You may recall that the blocks are the yield from a swap of the same name. This was the first time I tried piano keys. It is a busy quilt, to be sure, but I believe Jill will be pleased with it. Her graduation is June 11 and we will take it to the party that follows later that evening.

I finished this binding yesterday in Joe's hospital room. The irony of finishing a quilt full of hearts (and Branky even quilted meandering hearts all over it) in a cardiac care room was not lost on me.

The Leader-Ender Jewel Box was finished in the waiting room of the cardiac cath lab. A delightful family sharing the corner I was in were telling hospital stories that all had happy outcomes as a way of distracting the wife of the patient. I so enjoyed listening to them. They didn't draw me into their conversation, though they must have known I listened to every word. When I finished and cut the last thread and stood up to fold it, the chief support person said, "Turn it around! Let us see!" They approved.

This is the quilt that I really think made itself, a leader-ender project. It is a graduation gift for Sarah whose commencement is the day following Jill's. There were plenty of squares left over, and a sister quilt to this one is now making itself in my sewing studio -- three blocks already painlessly completed!

Ta da! We have a winner!

lj_cox said...
"It looks to me like water in a tiled or stone fountain; beautiful aqua water and chocolate colored tiles or stone. So how about "Like Water for Chocolate", or simply 'Brownstone Fountain'. "


LJ_Cox, come out, come out wherever you are! Like Water for Chocolate is the name of this quilt and you are the winner of the green and violet FQs. Send me your mailing information (and also your blog address so I can get to know you) and they will be ITM within days!

I brought Joe home this afternoon about 2:30. He took a two-hour nap, ate a good dinner (low fat, no added salt) and is resting again. Our next task is to head on out to the pharmacy with his list of scripts.

My gratitude once again to all who have written, commented, or phoned. I have felt supported by so many as we have gone through this ordeal.



Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Disjointed Thoughts (All Good Ones) From a Tired Blogger

Our lives will soon be whatever the new normal is. There is much to be thankful for.

This morning's heart catheterization and stent insertion went very smoothly. Joe's heart has not yet begun to heal from the trauma of Friday night/Saturday morning, but Dr. Cohen is not worried. An echocardiogram in a few weeks should show some progress, he says. We also do not yet know the extent of the damage.

Discharge is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

He serves on a Synod committee and today the Bishop phoned because she'd heard he was ill. She wondered what was going on. I explained the whole story to her and she asked if it would be okay to visit him tonight. She wanted to know if she could put him on the Synod-wide prayer list. I told her he was so well-prayed already -- from near and far the prayers have come!

We've begun planning for After. I got a new cookbook and am looking at another one. We have tickets for Sunday to go with dear friends to see "Our Town," and though the doctor says there is no prohibition to such an outing, I do not believe I can face that graveyard scene, and so the tickets will be going to another couple.

I believe he is beginning to comprehend the seriousness of what happened to him, to us; this is challenging because he looks and feels so well. Painfree except for the groin incision, it would be easy to minimize the entire experience. But he has begun to look at some of the stressors in his life and has already planned a resignation from one of the major ones.

Bodacious has no idea why Joe isn't here. He gives me looks that are puzzled, mournful, and mildly accusatory as though I know more than I'm telling him. He follows me around when I'm home and has taken to sleeping in the bed every night, a behavior usually reserved for only the coldest times.

People have been so solicitous, with offers of all kinds. Meals have been provided, flowers have come, phone messages, and more emails than I can possibly respond to, though I have read every one and am printing them all out for his perusal.

We've gotten through a tremendous crisis in our lives, and now are ready to face the next steps. It is Joe's illness, but it has happened to both of us. The bishop understood this; she prayed and marked his forehead with healing oil. And then she marked mine, too.

Amen.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Three O'Clock in the Morning: Who Ya Gonna Call?

It was way back in the spring of '72. We were living in Kent, and Joe was in the first year back in college after a four-year U.S. Navy hiatus. It was three o'clock in the morning when the phone rang. We were young and naive, despite the Navy experience, and hadn't yet learned that a 3 a.m. phone call was always something bad. As I reached for the phone, I believed it to be a wrong number.

It wasn't. It was Jane, our neighbor two doors to the left. She and her husband were on the faculty; neighbors, not friends, though we'd had dinner together a couple of times. They were at the hospital in the next town; her husband had spent much of the night at the Emergency Room and when he was ready for release, the car wouldn't start. She just wanted to get him home and into his bed. So she called to ask if I could come to get them.

When I got there, her first words were, "I'm so sorry to get you out of bed at this hour." And my response, without even thinking, was, "Jane, I'm glad you think I'm the sort of person you an call for help at three o'clock in the morning."

Three o'clock in the morning: Who ya gonna call? I've always known it could be Bonnie or Honna. Not that I ever thought about it all that much.

I write this post to tell what I have learned: In the past two days, I've learned that there are many more. People have been wonderfully, amazingly supportive. They've offered prayers, meals, shoulders, errand running, and "anything at all, any time." They've respected my need not to have to answer the phone, and used good old email. They've been there with a touch, with an ear, with a glance. Some are the ones you would anticipate, the old friends, the people from church, the family. It is heartwarming, to coin a phrase. I'm so grateful.

Others are blog friends from across the U.S. and across the world. Prayers from Japan, empathy from Britain, cyberhugs from California. Late last night as I sat with the emails, I came to one from a quilter in Florida, someone I've "known" for only months, never spoken with, and yet there is this strong connection, this bond. I read what she'd written and the tears came again, healthy tears as Pat had told me. I thought, "She is someone I could call at three o'clock in the morning." I felt blessed.

Wee hours love,


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mending

If you saw him today, you would have no idea. It is as though the past forty hours never happened.

He phoned around eleven this morning, which in itself was startling as he had had no phone in his room. He was calling to tell me he'd moved. No longer in the cardiac surgical unit, he had been sent to a new room that had none of the frightening features of his original room. No gurgling intravenous pumps, no beeping monitor, no vibrating bed. Instead it had a bathroom of its very own and a telephone.

He's making amazing progress, wandering around the floor in his skimpy nightgown, and when I saw him early this afternoon he was his adorable cranky self with a list of things he wanted brought to him.

The second catheterization/artery repair is set for sometime on Tuesday morning. He'll most likely be discharged on Wednesday. It is as though the past forty hours never happened. He's doing so well.

People have kindly asked how I am doing. Friday night I was fine. I was my usual crisis-manager self at home, knowing exactly what to do and doing it. In the emergency room I was a fascinated clinical observer, marveling at how many people were involved in his care and how each knew exactly what to do. In the postop conversation with the surgeon, I somehow almost knew what he was going to say before he said it. I had flashbacks to the many times during my nights as a hospital chaplain, I sat with families while doctors drew pictures and described outcomes. Yesterday I was efficient, contacting the people who needed to know, checking in with Elaine to be certain that my instincts that Dr. Cohen was excellent were accurate, arranging for a Eucharistic Minister to see him after church, gathering the things he would need. Throughout all that time I was just fine, doing what needed to be done, confident that everything would be fine. I even did some sewing in between tasks and visits.

This morning was different. I woke at five and went downstairs in my jamas and began sewing. It was a different sewing, frantic, hurried, intense, as though somehow my stitching would mend my broken husband, would make him whole. When I realized I was making mistakes on the very simple work I was doing, I set it aside in favor of pacing. The reality of what could have been was closing in on me.

I showered and dressed and made the bed and fed the cat, and then I drove down to the church. It was 40 minutes before service time and I could hear the choir practicing. I walked into the choir room and tapped Pat on her shoulder. She followed me out into the hall and held me in her arms as all of the fear and the pain came out. It took a long time. And then I felt better.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

On Hold

Everything is on hold.

Everything.

He woke me sometime after 1:30 this morning, saying he was sick. He had terrible indigestion, he said, and was holding the bucket, just in case. He'd taken Tums and then more Tums and when he ran out of Tums, he called for me. We'd had a mighty dinner at the local pub and he'd followed that with some peanuts later on. Had to be indigestion.

But just in case. Just in case, I asked him to take an aspirin. He did, just in case. The pain didn't abate. It didn't radiate to his jaw or down his left arm; I checked to be sure. So it pretty much had to be indigestion of a major sort. He became diaphoretic and cold at the same time and we decided to go over to the ER. Just in case.

The hospital is a three-minute drive. They had him hooked up to an EKG practically before I had a chance to put my keys away. The team worked like a ballet troupe; each person doing his or her job with minimal conversation, and not getting in each others' way. Nitroglycerin and heparin were administered and a second EKG begun. The physician told me that the first EKG had been concerning for a heart attack and that he had called the cardiac catheterization team to come in. Almost before he'd finished speaking, Dr. Cohen was in the room.

The procedure didn't take all that long; and afterwards Dr. Cohen came out to tell me that one of the three main arteries in the heart -- the LAD -- had had a complete blockage and he had successfully stented it. Another -- the circumflex -- has an 80 percent blockage and will be dealt with in short order. The third -- the RCA -- has a slight blockage that needs no attention. The speed of our getting to the hospital and the administration of the aspirin had lessened the extent of damage.

He will recover. He will be in hospital for five days, at least. The second catheterization is scheduled for Tuesday. He could come home as soon as Wednesday. I know nothing beyond these immediate plans.

Things will get normal, but it will be a new normal. Dietary changes, addition of medication, religious exercise are all in the immediate forefront. It will take adjustment.

And for now, everything -- quilt bindings, book club reading, theatre plans, give-aways, dinner guests -- everything is on hold.



Friday, May 23, 2008

Give-Away Number One: Name That Quilt!

Here's the prize, the give-away: Eight -- count 'em -- eight FQs of very nice green and purple fabrics that although they are not from the same line, go together very, very beautifully. 100 percent cotton, and all tied up in a pretty green bow (that might go on to enhance your doggy's collar or some such). I won this collection as a door prize, and since it has been on the shelf for a very long time, I thought it should find a good home.

This is the first of my three give-aways for the Memorial Day Weekend, and the only one (I think) that requires any real effort on your part.


Here's a picture of the Quilt With No Name that can't continue on being nameless. And I'm stumped. I considered Chocolate Mint, but that wasn't exactly right. So it is up to you. Leave a comment to this post with the name that you suggest. On Monday night, at the end of the long holiday weekend, Joe and I will review all submissionis and select a winner.

Your packet of green and purple FQs could be ITM as early as Tuesday!

The quilt was made using a technique that Judi taught our hand-sewing group when she was visiting last month from England. Basically, one takes a stack of coordinating fabrics and cuts a stack of squares. The squares are then cut in thirds vertically. The middle third is cut again in thirds, this time horizontally. The center small square from the top fabric is removed and placed on the bottom of the pile. Then the squares are reassembled and trimmed. So easy! And so striking! Judi's sample was 6" squares of batiks. I had these utterly wonderful dusky teal and chocolate FQs that I picked up at the new shop in Bird-in-Hand and cut my squares at 9".

I like this quilt so much. I don't know where it will find a home or when I will have it quilted. But it just can't remain the Quilt With No Name. Please, won't you help?



Thursday, May 22, 2008

Civil War and More Civil War

Both of my on-line quilting groups do a similar project where each month one participant sends out fabric or fabrics of her choice and requests the others to do something specific in making a block or blocks for her.

April was my month for the FQ (betcha can't guess what that stands for!) group. I had this gorgeous piece of black CW fabric and several coordinates that I'd bought prolly five years ago, at least, when I was out at the Old Country Store in Intercourse. It had been languishing on the shelf. I hauled it out, decided on the Flower Pot block and sent black, background, and one coordinate to each participant, asking her to make me two identical blocks. As y'all might recall, April was a bit of a busy month for me, between the election, the hiring season, and the church committee. So no one at all was surprised when people began emailing that they didn't have enough background fabric. They asked if they could fill in with something similar. I said sure. So some did. Some made one and a portion blocks and sent them back for me to finish. Some of the ones who supplemented with their fabric sent me additional of that fabric. Last night I got out all of the blocks that have come in thus far, finished a couple of the incomplete ones (with one, of course, that needs some frogstitching later tonight), and am loving them. The scrappiness of the supplemental fabric makes them just splendid. Also, I gave inconsistent instructions on fabric placement, so some used the black for the basket base and others used it for the top spikes. Again, serendipity! These blocks are wonderful. There are perhaps six or eight more to come in. I'll prolly need to make some to come up with an even and manageable number. And decide what to do with the alternate blocks (since I surely will not have enough of the original background. I'm just hummin' as I gaze upon 'em.

Meadowbrook Farm, aka I Must Have Been Crazy, is in great shape. All twelve blocks are finished. (How 'bout yours, Nicole?) They went together like a dream. I'm ready to put the border on, but unfortunately lack a CW stripe which the pattern calls for in the border. I could use something I have, I suppose, but have come to like the stripe and would like to learn to miter the corners on that border. So these blocks are on hold until I can -- oh, dear! -- get out to the LQS to find something.

Meanwhile, Hot Summer Hearts (the graduation quilt for Jill) and Leader-Ender Jewel Box (the graduation quilt for Sarah) have come back from Branky. She did such nice meandering on them. Jill's involves a heart-meander that is just perfect. Sarah's is simpler, and also just what the quilt wanted. One of the tasks for the weekend will be to get the binding pieced and machined on them. Graduations are June 11 and 12 respectively.

Batik Baskets on Black and What Was I Thinking? are heading out to Kat tomorrow for machine quilting. She lives near Chautauqua, where we will be spending a week at the end of July, so I will pick them up from her at that time.

Pictures of all completed quilts will be promptly posted.

Tomorrow: Name That Quilt Give Away!


I Cannot Fathom Pain of this Magnitude

Earthquake in China


Famine in Ethiopia


Cyclone in Myanmar


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stay Tuned for Triple Give Away!

Well, I downloaded a terrific picture of a numeral 3. It was really very nice. It even had a dragonfly on it. I was planning to load it for this post. But I clicked on the wrong picture. And decided, "What the heck. Leave it there." Making it very, very clear that this is a photo I downloaded from the internet. Neither of my grandchildren was humiliated in the making of this photograph.

Anyway. Now that I'm reclaiming my life after The Report, I notice that I missed not only my 400th post (this is 451) but also my second blogiversary (May 2).

In the next day or so, I'm going to make it all up. I promise. I will post a triple give-away. One for my 400th post. One for my second blogiversary. And one for "Name That Quilt!" Thassright. She who does not generally name her quilts has made one that really needs a name. It reached final flimsy stage last night but I was too tired to set up a photo op. So that will happen either tonight or tomorrow. I'm pretty smitten with this top and feel like it needs a name. I'll let one of y'all pick the name.

Have a new philosophy on my UFOs and WISPs and PIGs. Am going to consider "final flimsy stage" as done. If I get every completed top quilted and bound, the pile would be unmanageable. (It already is.) So henceforth, I will complete flimsies, and keep them in a less humongous pile, and when I learn of a need for a quilt, I will choose from among the flimsies and have one quilted and bind it.

But back to the give-away. One give-away will be a nice stack of FQs, all green and purple. Another give-away will be a couple of patterns that I bought and now know I never really will use. And the third give-away? Well, that remains to be seen!

Stay tuned for all of the details and the picture of the newest flimsy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ethel?

It's an unlikely friendship to begin with. He's a single dude who was born the year after I was married (note the age differential), a mathematician (ask me about my checkbook balancing sometime), a rock concert attender (Philadelphia Orchestra subscriber), and so forth. He reminds me of my second son in many ways, his intelligence, his wittiness, his quickness and his hidden tenderness. Unlikely, but friends nonetheless.

I've been thinking and thinking about something he said last week. He brought a candidate for a math position to my office, and while she sat there, he and I got to chatting a bit. I don't remember exactly what the conversation was, but as an aside to the candidate, he said, "Nancy's like the nextdoor neighbor from a Fifties sitcom."

I was amazed. I had no idea what he meant. I wondered if I should be offended.

I brought it up to the book club on Thursday night. A little bit taken back, too, they kicked it around for a while and tried to come up with examples and characteristics of Fifties sitcom nextdoor neighbors. We thought of Ethel Mertz, the definitive neighbor. We thought of Trixie Norton. And then we pretty much stopped. Carol pointed out that these women were faithful, supportive friends. Not the stars, but the sidekicks. The ones who set it up, who make it happen. Martha pointed out that they and I share a tendency to wear pearls, to pick out the right earrings each day, and to wear a sweater that matches something else. Hmmm. I wear dresses to work most days. I like to make people laugh.

I always liked Trixie, who didn't have to worry about going to the moon. And I was fond of Ethel, who didn't have a whole lot of splainin to do. And I like my friend. He made me think.

And he's a good hugger.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

The House Guest

I said to my husband, "It is as though there has been another person in the house. A demanding house guest who has worn out her welcome!"

For the past three months I've been preoccupied with work for a church committee. Our pastor of 31 years left our congregation in January of 2007 after having given two or three months notice. An interim pastor came a month after he left; she was to stay approximately a year to help us establish a call committee to find another pastor. Time has passed and people have become impatient. Finally we took the step of establishing an Interim Committee. This committee's charge was to study the congregation and prepare a report on the state of the congregation; the report was to be given to the call committee to guide them in their work and also to be available to prospective new pastors for our church. I was asked to serve on the interim committee and as we began our work I agreed to serve as co-chair.

It has been a lot of work. More work than I had anticipated.

Because of the work for the committee, I've neglected my email, my relationships, my housekeeping. My 500th blog post went by unacknowledged as did my second year blogiversary.

But now it is finished. The report, which we will present to the church council tomorrow night, is 39 pages long and we have come up with seven recommendations. I am relieved.

And I can air out the guest room!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

AGIMW: Clarification

Some have written to say that they need further explication of the photos in yesterday's post, "As God Is My Witness."

The top picture in that post is a really great silhouette of Hillary Clinton vowing to press on in the face of increasing obstacles. Her tenacity, her determination, her strength and stubbornness all were so apparent in the photograph. As I looked at it, there was something familiar about it. It took awhile for me to figure out what it was.

And then it dawned on me -- it was a classic scene from a major motion picture.

Most of us tend to live as though our own experience is similar to the experience of others. It didn't occur to me until I started getting the curious emails that perhaps not all of my readers have seen "Gone With the Wind" ten or twelve times. At least.

The second picture in yesterday's post is another tenacious, determined, strong and impressively stubborn woman: Scarlett O'Hara. In the picture, turnip in hand, she raises her arm to declare, "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!"

And look, now, to the left of this post. Someone's captured the scene in fabric! How cool is that!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

So Sorry It Has Come To This

A year or so ago, I had to enable Word Verification for my Comments section because spammers were leaving marketing links there. This has worked well. Until now.

In the past day or two I've received some comments that -- in my opinion -- were racist, immature, and offensive. I've chosen to delete them, but it may be that a reader or two (thanks, Lois, for the headzup) saw them before the removal. If so, I'm sorry that happened.

Have decided "Comment Moderation" is the way to go for a while until the person (or persons) who seems to be a lonely, unhappy, racist who doesn't have enough interesting or important things to do, loses interest. He or she may decide to continue to leave their unpleasant comments, but at least you won't have to read them.

6000 Words from Mother's Day, 2008









Saturday, May 10, 2008

Remember Meadowbrook Farm?

It's nearly a year now since Nicole enticed me down the garden path to Meadowbrook Farm. Yup, that Nicole. That Meadowbrook Farm.

I spent a warm and linty day in Fellowship Hall last June beginning this project. It was a long and linty day, actually, and I made amazing progress. Started out by grouping the fabrics into possible blocks and then cutting all the pieces. That took most of the morning. After lunch, I got all twelve blocks through making the on-point square center and getting that darling border on the centers. Oh, I tell you, they were looking good. Then it was well into the afternoon and I started piecing the outer border for the first block. And couldn't get it right. Tried twice. Knew it was hopeless. "I must have been crazy to think I could do this," I told Honna and the others as I packed up to go home. The triangles were being recalcitrant and I drove home muttering unkind things about triangles, Meadowbrook Farm, and threw in Nicole for good measure.

Came home and stuffed the bag in the cupboard next to What Was I Thinking? And there it sat. I glanced at it a couple of months ago when I pulled out WWIT? and snarled. I did not like thinking of myself as crazy.

And now, she reiterated triumphantly, What Was I Thinking? is ready to go to Kat to quilt (the weather remains too iffy for a photo op this morning -- we'll try for tomorrow when it is supposed to be better). This week I was talking to Honna about my projects in progress and mentioned Meadowbrook Farm, now thought of as I Must Have Been Crazy. What would be the harm in hauling it out and giving it another chance. In a year's time I've learned a few things, and not all of them have been about quilting! Patience, tolerance, persistence, flexibility have all taken a slightly better hold.

Last night I opened it and was amazed anew at how wonderful the fabrics are, how delightfully they go together, how I'd done such a nice job as far as I'd gone. The offending block was on top, so I moved it to the bottom, and cautiously started the outside border on the second. Oh, what cooperative triangles! Triangles of love, KDL might suggest. And before very long at all, three of the dozen blocks were finished. Took the offender upstairs and frogstitched during Bill Moyers. Pressed it out this morning and will do it next. It is very obvious what I had been doing wrong.

Turns out I wasn't crazy after all (well, at least in this instance). It was the late afternoon of a long day. And I was tired.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Tying Up Loose Ends

I've been in a period of productivity lately. So many loose ends are tied up and others very close; it is such a good feeling!

First, rather amazingly, What Was I Thinking? is ready to go to the quilter! I got the last border strip on last night. If it isn't raining tomorrow, I'll get a photo of the completed top to post before sending it out to Kat. I really had not imagined that this would ever happen! There is another project stuffed in a bag that I am contemplating retrieving. "I Must Have Been Crazy" to think I could do it. We'll see.

Hot Summer Hearts, Jill's graduation quilt, is on its way back from Branky. I'll be binding it next week.

Batik on Black Baskets is also finally ready to go out, as are the Leader-Ender Jewel Box and Austinburg Floral Stripes. The first one is for our bed (hooray!) and I'm going to choose between the other two which will be a graduation gift for Sarah.

My Miniature Booty is moving along. It has nothing to do with what My Partner's profile suggested, but somehow I have the confidence that she will like it. The date to mail international is May 21 and in-states May 31. As school life gets busier and busier as we race towards the end of the year, my goal is to have this ITM by the 21st, even though it is in-states.

Sunday Best, Caroline's wall quilt, is being hand quilted.

Our hiring is nearly done.

The committee that was making me crazy has, in part, turned over a new leaf.

Now, if I can just get to that heap on the kitchen counter . . . .

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Change and Hope. And Decency.

This has never happened to me before, this passionate interest in a political contest. Joe has been following it with a greater intensity than ever, too. There's always been a decided preference for one candidate over the other, but nothing like this. The other night, as we sat out on the deck after dinner, we tried to analyze what was at the root.

As I try -- admittedly awkwardly (how I wish I had Chez's confidence of phrasology!) -- to unpack this, I must begin by stating that I am not attempting to reiterate any Great Truths, to produce a Profound Analysis, or anything like that. I'm just wanting to sort and pinpoint my own impressions and feelings. Certainly there are other valid viewpoints. Supporters of other candidates could argue from their own positions, and their impressions, thoughts, and feelings would be just as true for them. Mrs. Clinton's and Mr. McCain's supporters surely recognize attributes in them that don't resonate for me.

It has to do with two keywords from Barack Obama's campaign: Change and hope.

It has been so long since I have felt respect for the individual holding the highest office in our land.

A few weeks ago we watched the movie "Bobby," and we remembered anew the excitement and hope we had felt about his candidacy. Bobby represented change and hope. We felt we could see a basic, underlying decency in this man. And we wanted that in the White House. We were denied that opportunity.

Over the many subsequent years, we began to believe that we'd not have another. We'd come to think it was a once in a lifetime phenomenon. We endured wars, recessions, inequitable taxation, and philandering at the hands of our elected leaders. We believed another Bobby would never come along.

But he did, and we really believe this is our last opportunity. Twice in a lifetime was unlikely. Thrice is unimaginable.

Change and hope. Decency. A possibility that through this leader, our country could once again earn the respect of other nations.

In a way, it is sad that this is what it comes down to: Decency. It should be a given that anyone who would aspire to the presidency and did not have the right character would be eliminated early on; that both of the final candidates would be decent, honorable people.

A colleague who is a Hillary supporter said to me sadly yesterday, "She's a good woman." Another friend believes to his very core that John McCain has the qualities that we need now. I am glad that they feel that way; there remains the possibility that come next November I might have to ask one of them to help me understand these admirable traits that they perceive in their candidates. And, if it comes to that, I will ask them. I so need to feel good about our leader.

But right now I'm feeling very, very good about my candidate. The one who -- to me -- represents consistency and trustworthiness. Opportunity. Hope and change. And decency.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

She Wants To Be Surprised

I've put a lot of time into thinking about what to make for My Partner for the Miniature Booty Swap that Quilting Pirate is running.

I've read the info that was sent me about her interests. I've visited her blog. I've auditioned and discarded many ideas. Nothing seemed "just right."

And then I discovered exactly what to do.

Since My Partner wants a surprise, I can't tell you. But I will tell you that reading Lisa's blog was a huge help.

At last, I started work on the Miniature. And I am already very pleased with it. I think she will be, too.

When is the Reveal? Early in June, I would think, as it must be sent to My Partner by May 31,

Monday, May 05, 2008

Back to Normal -- Well, Nearly

I spent the better part of four days being sick with a head-and-chest cold. Uncharacteristically, I lay low! I slept a lot. I stayed in. I took non-crystal-meth drugs. I drank orange juice. And I got well. Or pretty close to well.

The other thing that helped was: I sewed. For a couple of weeks, I was putting in extra hours at work and was sewing-diminished at home. So, being sickish, I got to sew to my heart's content when I wasn't sleeping. And, I tell you, I was doing one or the other just about all of the time.

Hot Summer Hearts is heading out to the long-armer today. Leader-Ender Jewel Box will be all finished in the next couple of days and out to the long-armer by Friday. Crystal Meth was a short-lived notion; on further inspection, the block I invented is pretty ugly. So the leader-enders that are left will get put on hold in a box for a while until they are new again. Meanwhile, I made a Split 9-Patch for Peggy's monthly block and got so enthused about it that I'm hoping to cut some lights and whites and start a new leader-ender of this block for a baby quilt. Thirty-six 6" blocks should go together pretty quickly. The 16-patches and pinwheels that Turbo gave me are up on the wall, but I think they are going to come down for a while to make space for something as yet undetermined..

Best of all: I'm putting the borders on What Was I Thinking? And second best of all: Sunday Best, the little appliqued dress wall hanging for Caroline, is in the hand-quilting stage!

My soul is purring like a Bernina. Almost worth having been sick.