Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boundaries, Again

During the meeting where we talked about the appropriate (and inappropriate) use of Facebook by school employees, someone observed, "The kids have no boundaries." I think -- and hope -- that is an exaggeration. But it really got me to thinking.

There are different kinds of boundaries in relationships. The one that concerns me right now is the one about sharing of personal information. And I'm thinking about adults, not kids.

We can post something on a blog, or on Facebook, and perhaps later have second thoughts and take it down. We forget that once it has been posted, we don't know who may appropriate it or what that person might do with it. Once it's out there, it's out there. I try to keep that in mind as I write for my blog and only once or twice in all of these posts have I had small second thoughts.

The same is true for real life relationships and sharing of personal information.

Someone once showed me a diagram that was a ring of concentric circles. The idea was that I would be an X in the center of the smallest circle with one or two or three dots in that same circle. The next ring out would be larger and would hold a few more dots than the first. And so on. Each dot representing a relationship with another person. The closer the dot to me, the closer the relationship. I loved this diagram. The sharer went on to point out that ordinarily, the closer-in dots would be relationships of longer standing than the further-out dots.

I like to think that on other people's diagrams, my ring position is similar to theirs on mine. It just seems to make sense.

I want to be clear that this is about ordinary social relationships and not about any type of therapeutic relationship.

Once we share something, we can't take it back.

This whole idea that social boundaries are disintegrating is troublesome for me.

There are two dots in my innermost circle, my husband and my friend of 40+ years. I share things with them that I seldom share with people in the next ring out and certainly never with people in rings beyond that.

I read a couple of things on some blogs recently that made me cringe. People I have never met and never am likely to meet were sharing intensely personal things that involved people other than themselves. For all of the world, literally, to see and read and know. I felt uncomfortable. I pulled back for a bit from reading those blogs.

It puts me in mind of the woman I met some time ago. I liked "Marge" right away and could tell the feeling was mutual. It looked like the kind of thing that might turn into a real friendship. Too soon, however, too early in the relationship, when I had known her for only a very short time, she told me of an involuntary sexual experience from long ago involving someone from her family. Everything changed. I wasn't ready to know this about her, about her family member.

I don't know what that circle diagram was called or who developed it. I wish I did. It has been invaluable to me. For some time I had wondered precisely what had gone wrong in the Marge situation, and the diagram really helped to clarify it several years after the fact.

I have the feeling there is more to come on this topic. And you know what's funny? Much of the rumination comes in the evening, when I'm alone, cutting strips and putting pieced pairs of fabric through the machine. Bringing bits and pieces of this and that into some new whole.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Facebook and Boundaries

Two weeks ago, I joined Facebook. I had no interest in it, but took seriously a challenge by the tech-guy at work. You can read what he wrote here. Granted, his target audience was the faculty, but what he says applies to non-teaching personnel, too. Technology at our school is moving ahead at a steady clip, and I, for one, don't want to be left behind.

So I looked at how I use technology in my personal life. I began using email and surfing the web as soon as I had a computer and an internet connection, about ten years ago. I started my blog about two and a half years ago. At one point I had a web page. I belong to networking groups. Recently I set up a ning for my family's use.

In another effort to try to keep current, to not fall behind and stay behind, I opened a Facebook account. I'm not sure I'm going to keep it. It's not that I don't have "friends." In fact, I have an abundance of them, with additional people knocking on my proverbial door daily. And it's not so much that it's a time-eater, though it certainly is.

It's a matter of boundaries. My "friends" include some cousins, some seminary classmates from ten or more years ago, some coworkers and a couple of students from the school, folks from my quilting world, and my very first friend Estie from when we were in third grade.

I have never thought of myself as particularly compartmentalized. But it occurs to me: Do I want people from work -- either students or faculty -- following threads that will lead them to other areas of my life? I'm not sure. Do I want my family members exposed to the vernacular of some of the students? Do I want my Lutheran colleagues wondering why I'm accepting Quaker-themed virtual gifts?

I'm not sure.

And this has got me to thinking about the blog. I'm mindful of the concept that I shouldn't put anything out into cyberspace in any form unless I wouldn't mind if it showed up on the front page of the [possibly soon to be defunct] Philadelphia Inquirer. I share some of my musings with my blog readers, and often am enlightened by their insights. At the same time, I am mindful that I don't want to write anything that would make my husband or children feel uncomfortable in any way.

I'm aware that if I choose to write about someone, readers aren't getting a complete picture of that person (or of me) -- it is only what I am choosing to share. And I wonder how just that is.

Sometimes I feel uncomfortable when I read blogs where people share painful stories from their childhoods or speak disparagingly about their parents. I think about the gal who makes nice quilts and used to blog about them and then suddenly during the recent Presidential campaign turned into a ranter who posted untruths about one of the candidates and used the Drudge Report as a primary source. I wonder if someday she will feel at all embarrassed about having let her vitriolic passion become so public. I think about the blogger whose training, I believe, has nothing to do with psychiatry or psychology, who labeled her parents with diagnoses straight out of the DSM-III (or is it IV, now?) and I feel sad for them.

I guess where all of this is leading is to the realization that on my Blog I can control what I share, but can't control how others might interpret what I write or what they might do with my writings. So I'm judicious. On Facebook, it seems, no matter how carefully I word my "status" -- "Nancy is tired" -- people will write what they like on my "wall" and their own statuses will show up in the "activity" for all to read, to think about and interpret.

I thought I'd give Facebook a month, and I still believe I will, but somehow I don't think it is going to be my thing. Whether I fall behind technologically or not.

Did this make any sense at all?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Take Me to the Beach

I've finished the beach bag for my friend's Gift of Life benefit.

I'd bought some blue and white beach-themed fabrics some time ago and at one point was going to make an elaborate quilte from them, with interspersed embroidered squares. Turned out that much embroidery was not my particular thing, and so the fabrics were set aside for another use.

I'm pleased with this beach bag. I wish that Joe and I could be present for Caeli's extravaganza. It's going to be wonderful.

But as it happens, we'll be at the beach!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dog Tired

It doesn't seem as though it has been a four-day work week. I'm whupped. Worked late on Tuesday and Thursday, and Wednesday I came home from school, took a short nap, and went back to attend a night meeting that kept me there until after 9:30.

But worse, I haven't sewn a stitch since Monday. And I've got an important project waiting for me!

My group of friends, the Good Guys, spent much of the early part of this winter worrying about one of our daughters who had been stricken with autoimmune hepatitis. By the time of her diagnosis, she was so sick that she needed to have a liver transplant. The family of a very young -- too young -- man gave her the Gift of Life a couple of months ago.

Rather than feel sorry for herself and ask, "Why me?" my young friend has plunged herself into organizing a fundraiser for the transplant program at her hospital! She's running a kind of a beef and beer event at the end of March. Joe and I will be away the night of the event, but I've been helping some with the quilt that will be raffled off that night, and I've promised to make a beachbag to donate for the raffle, too.

And so rather than write any more now, I'm going to go downstairs and get started on it! Pics in a day or so . . . . .

PS: It's a springer spaniel. Not ours. But we are thinking of getting one!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Three-Day Weekend

The quilt for Adam and Kate's baby is all put together.

Sherry is coming over this evening and we'll see if she likes it. If it isn't to her taste, no harm done -- there will be plenty of babies coming along and it will find a home.

I suspect, though, that she will like it. I thought about whether to put on a border and decided I like it very well just as it is -- it seemed to me that a border would detract rather than add to the overall look of the little quilt.

I mentioned previously that I'd been making Civil War snowball blocks. I don't think of them as snowballs, though. When I have them up on the wall next to each other, they make me think of a honeycomb pattern and so I've been thinking of this as the Honeycomb Quilt.

It's turned into a Leader-Ender project, so the remaining five rows will take some time to get done, but there's no hurry, really. The [likely] designated recipient won't need it for more than a year.

It's kind of fun to cut components for six or seven blocks and put them on the table for Leader-Endering.

Back when we made the batik and black snowball quilts to swap, Turbo saved all of the trimmings to use in a border. I don't believe she has finished that quilt, so I don't know how it turned out, using the trimmings in the border. But Turbo generally knows what she's doing and I know she would counsel me to save the trimmings from this quilt. Actually, I've not only saved, but as I was putting Adam and Kate's quilt together, as a Leader-Ender I sewed trimming triangle pairs together and have quite a few of them at this point. It will be fun to see what becomes of them.

Aren't three-day weekends just wonderful?

Thank you, Dear Mrs. Schmenkman!

Back during the summer, Mrs. Schmenkman had a giveaway and I won! I was really, really excited --the FQs she was giving away were stunning and gorgeous! And when they came, I admired and fondled them quite a bit. And then I put them aside.

I love the projects Amy does on her blog, I really do. I read her every post and marvel at the way she puts fabric together. And wish I could do it. I do batiks and I do Civil War and I admire contemporary but don't really know how to do it.

When Sherry asked for a quilt for Kate and Adam's baby, I pulled out some Civil War and considered some possibilities. And then, all at once, I remembered Mrs. Schmenkman's gift! Wonder of wonders, I knew precisely what to do with it!

Spent much of Saturday and some of Sunday cutting squares and rectangles and making blocks. (You should be able to enlarge by clicking the picture.) Have one row assembled and the rest on the wall. And I'm liking it so much!

Many, many thanks to generous Amy for helping me to stretch.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Kathy's Birthday is Tomorrow

It goes without saying that this past week I've done more sewing than blogging. It was a tough week at work, with a couple of difficult personnel issues, and when I'd get home, I just wanted to hole up with Bernina. Have made a bunch of 6" CW snowballs and now have turned that into a Leader-Ender project. And Sherry's friends Adam and Kate are expecting a little girl in a few months and Sherry asked me to make a baby girl quilt. So that's also in progress. Pics of both to follow.

Kathy's birthday is tomorrow, and it's one of those significant ones. The Good Guys -- all apparently having the day off -- are getting together for breakfast to celebrate Kathy. I thought she might need a bag to take to the grocery store, and I had some wonderful fabric that Sherron had passed along to me a couple of years ago and I finally just cut into it and made Kathy's bag. Reinforced with batting, it should hold an arm's worth of groceries.

Happy birthday, girlfriend!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


The school where I work is under seige from not one but two horrible plagues. Those who don't have the vomit-diarrhea version snuffle and hack from the chest-lung-sinus congestion version. One-third of the grades 9-12 student population is missing today, and the nurse's office is backlogged with more, waiting to be sent home. Lethargic kids wait in the lobby for pick-ups. Sicker ones, buckets at the ready, are in the deans' offices, praying for a parent's prompt arrival.

The faculty isn't faring as badly as the kids, though some have a gray complexion and aren't eating much. All of us are going through Purell Hand Sanitizer like crazy.

It's made me think of a really good book I read some years back, Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. While I don't think we're heading into anything as deadly as The Plague, it was an outstanding story, and I'm glad I read it. You might like it, too.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Land Down Under

My knowledge of geography is pitiful. It's right up there with my knowledge of mathematics beyond long division and the precise reason why you can't put fresh pineapple in jello. Things I've just entrusted others to know.

And sometimes this comes back to bite me. Like now for instance. There are wildfires burning in Southeastern Australia and I've absolutely no idea whether this impacts any of my wonderful blogging buddies or not.

When we went on our trip to Greece, we met people from all over the world and the ones we liked the most were from Oz. Andrew spent a semester in Sydney and I'm partial to Australian quilting magazines and aboriginal fabrics. I wrote before that when I watched the recent Olympics, when I wasn't rooting for the USA I was rooting for the Aussies. It's a place and a people I'm partial to.

And now there's this fire siege and I don't know if it is affecting my blogging buddies. People like Tracey, Lorraine, and Peg, and Tazzie, and Donna and Little Mysteries and so many others. Geeze, do I feel dumb.

Sisters in quilting, know that I'm holding you -- and your country -- in the light.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

My Very Own Button

Look! Look! I've got one too! My very own button-link!

Isn't it terrific?

My friend's wonderful DIL made it for me. And I'm SO pleased!

If you like my blog and want quick and easy access, please grab my button (you'll need the HTML) from my sidebar and put it in your sidebar.

Thank you!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Pink Stuff

In the house where I grew up, there was a big bottle of Pepto Bismol in the medicine cabinet. It may have been the same bottle for twenty years.

It was a small family, a mother and a father and two daughters. When anyone got sick, someone else always offered Pepto Bismol. I never accepted. Neither did my sister. I have a vague recollection of offering it to my mother once when she was sick, and a vague recollection of her declining. Feeling sick was one thing: there was always the faint hope that the inevitable would not come to pass. Taking a dose of that pink stuff, I was certain, would hasten the cleansing process.

My sister married a man who took Pepto Bismol when sick. She marveled but did not convert. I married a man who in 41+ years has had a stomach sickness (other than a case of food poisoning) exactly once. We don't have Pepto Bismol in our house. Tums and Pepcid, to be sure. But not the pink stuff.

All of this by way of explaining my absence from blogland the past three days. We were at Sherry's on Saturday night and she casually mentioned that Caroline had thrown up earlier. Carrie was off her feed, but her usual cheerful, winsome self.

The sickness struck me on Sunday night, a few hours after my last post about my splendid weekend. I was very sick all night and all day Monday and well into Tuesday. I had hoped to return to work today, even got up and showered and dressed, and then crawled back into the bed. Tomorrow, as Scarlett would quickly point out, is another day.

My sister came to visit yesterday, bringing sympathy, consolation, and offers of jello. Thank God, she didn't bring the pink stuff.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A Satisfying Weekend

It's been a very nice weekend. Especially last evening when we went up to Sherry's for dinner. Our family has a big clump of birthdays that fall at the end of January into the beginning of February and last night we celebrated three of them. Joe and I bought Sam an artist's easel which was very well-received. It's hard to believe he turned three today. Sherry was delighted with the Asher Lev tickets we gave her, and I was so happy that she baked me that wonderful angel cake with the Heath Bars in the icing.

Today our new pastor began his work at our church. What a wonderful day! He's exactly what we need, IMNSHO, and I'm feeling more optimistic about our church than I have in years. And others have indicated that they share that feeling.

I spent some time on the mittens project and believe that the top is nearly done. I think one more brown border around the outside will do it. Tomorrow I need to measure the dimensions of the wallhanging in my office, because I've decided to make several different seasonal ones and they need to be the same size.