Anyway, I am feeling remakably relaxed today. I'm listening to music at my desk. I'm chairdancing, which is likely very embarassing, but since I can't see it, I don't care.
The song Defying Gravity from Wicked came on and the song starts with this line;
"Something has changed within me,
Something is not the same..."
And, that inspired today's post.
That is soooo how I'm feeling today. I'm still learning. Still growing. And, still changing. I'm learning to really take care of myself and I'm starting to let a lot of useless crap go. And, I gotta tell you, it feels weird. Weird to be out from under more of the burdens I've carried for years. And, weird to feel relaxed in situations I haven't felt relaxed in for a long time, like work and at home with the family. Even driving is a more relaxed activity, involving less sticking my tongue out and more smiling at my fellow drivers as we pass for that briefest of moments.
Part of the weirdness is just thinking back and seeing this change in spurts where I dealt with this burden and then that burden and another until I've managed to make my life a bit easier and to enjoy the things that I've decided to keep doing.
One burden I can point to is the day I decided not to be responsible for Sydney's grades anymore. And, sure enough, she pulled it out as an A/B honor roll student this year. I stopped being stressed by her unwillingness to let me help. I was ever available, but a few months back, I made her come to me. And, I stopped worrying about it. Poor Rob likely worried more, but I worried a whole lot less and started enjoying time with her more. And, holding her responsible for what she did instead of what she might do.
Another burden I put myself under was at work and my need to get people to do what my boss wanted them to. For a long time, during my last extended project, that was my job. And, it changed who I was and I didn't like it. I had to be more demanding and I had to learn to negotiate in a different way that required a firmer hand than the word negotiation normally implies. And, I was successful, working with a huge group of people and representing my team's interests very well. Learning their processes sufficiently to use those processes to get what I wanted. But, I was so stressed out that some days I'd go home and just growl for a half hour. Not at anyone there, but just growling because I was so frustrated that I couldn't do anything else! And, they had to listen to it. That's part of what I was talking about the other day when I talked about kids picking up the behavior we model, whether it's the behavior we want them to pick up or not.
And then I learned to recognize when I had exceeded how much I really cared about whatever problem was going on and started passing those problems to someone with more authority to solve them (and more give-a-damn about them than I had).
Even my crafting was suffering. Being so stressed at work was leaving me driven in the sewing room, too. Driven on one day to finish everything I had started because UFO's were a heavy burden and then on the next day, driven to start something new so I could learn some new skill. And, not really enjoying either of those because as soon as I shifted from one drive to the other, I felt guilty about the one I wasn't doing. (does that make sense???)
Anyway, over the last few months, I've started to slow down and enjoy the process. Watch the beauty of a block unfold or enjoy the pleasure of a hand sewn binding to finish some project off. I still do the same thing; alternate between wanting to finish and wanting to start something new, but I'm not feeling that pressured drive to do it.
One thing I realized is that I am the only person on this whole earth that really cares if I ever finish those UFO's...okay, except Becky wants me to finish that Indian Orange Peel. But for the most part, if I leave this earth with them unfinished, nobody is going to care one bit. So, why was I pressuring myself instead of enjoying the work???? Does that make sense?
School's out. Summer is starting. My kid is growing up. We are a great family. My relationship gets better and more understanding every day. I have good hard work that requires my attention and the days pass fast and I make enough money that I can keep us happy and share some with those that don't.
You know what? I don't think it's going to get better than this.
And, it's up to me to enjoy it because that's what my higher power gave me, just for me, not for anybody else, and it would be a shame to waste it with worry and stress.
In a week, when I'm typing in all caps and red, please remind me of this post, eh?
Have a great Thursday everybody.
Last night was the last dance of the year; the last one for Middle School. And, we both chaperoned. Good grief!! The DJ was not very good. The vice principal kept telling him to play music the kids knew so they would dance. But, he either was out of touch and didn't know what the kids knew or he didn't have it, because he was not playing it. The kids milled around. They ran all over the gym and there was no stopping them. They threw glo sticks and they threw beach balls, but the only dangerous thing I had to stop was them catapulting one another...you think I'm kidding?...one kid squatted down and made a step out of his hands and another kid got very far away and ran at him full tilt and the squatter catapulted the other kid into the air. And, they would have done it again if I had not physically stepped between them. And, they looked at me like they didn't understand why I would put a stop to their fun. Idiots.
Finally, they brought in another DJ, and the kids started to dance. And, they danced and danced and danced.
The first part of the dance was pretty boring. Then, the girl athletes, who had been to a pre-dance party, got there. Now, there are just two rules at these dances. No running. And no humping. Pretty much everything else a 14 year old can think of is allowed. Fortunately, they can't think of much. Now, most kids, when caught breaking the rules, just break up and move away. But there's a few girls that are "special" and they don't think they have to. After I broke them up 5 times, I kind of lost control and pulled out my rapid fire finger and started calling them by name in a voice that could be heard over the dance music...at least in a small area. And, that was when I knew it was time to go outside and get a water. After that, I just hung around the outskirts. 99.5% of the kids were good as gold. And, that half a percent got my goat and made me feel bad.
Anyway, my kid behaved fine. She was hot and sweaty and not once did I ever walk up on her doing anything I would not have approved of. I just didn't want that hot, sweaty mass of hair to hug me. And, she was glad for both of us to keep away and after as many dances as we have chaperoned, we all have a system for making sure we don't "harsh her good time" as I found out the kids call it.
This morning, before work, there was a thing for all the athletes at the school. A little ceremony for them to thank their parents. I was not planning to go. I didn't want to go. So, this morning, just after she woke and while she was still groggy (her most honest time of day), I asked her if she was going to act like she knew me if I went or if she was going to ignore me like I wasn't there. Her reply was "you don't have to go." That's what she said. But, what I heard was "please go for me." It wasn't in her words, but it was in her tone and in her eyes.
And, at that moment, I decided I was going and I made it happen. Cuz, that's what we do. We hear what she means and try to look through all the unpleasant words she says. It's like learning a new language that lies behind the language.
The whole thing was about the coaches expressing appreciation for the parents and the kids. Each athlete had written a thank you note to their parents, thanking them for extra rides and support. It was very sweet. All the kids dressed up. Boys in ties and some girls in dresses...even Sydney was in a dressy shirt and jeans. There was a video presentation where they interviewed some of the best athletes and the coaches and everyone was saying their tearful good-byes.
There was enough angst to make even the strongest parent weak with emotion.
I got out of there as quick as I could.
When Sydney brought me my card, she mouthed thank you and walked off. When I left, I mouthed you're welcome and waved goodbye. She mouthed goodbye back and waved.
It doesn't take a thousand words between us to express the most. Just with our eyes, we said:
I am here for you. I will not embarass you. I will be unobtrusive and stay in the background while you hug everyone else's mother and father and ignore me. And, I will not be hurt about it. And, tonight, when your friends are not around, I'll tell you how proud I am of you.
Today is the last day of Middle School. It passes so fast. And, it takes forever. And, I'm getting to watch a child "become" so many things. And, when I'm not shaking my rapid fire finger at her for being a big idiot, I can see the good things that she is.
We were busy as cats. End of school year has its own requirements. And, I am busily trying to finish projects...again this year. We spent lots of family time and I spent lots of time alone, just recharging my batteries after the trip last week. My hands were busy and so were our cars.
I finished ripping the quilting out of that table runner I’m re-doing. And, I got most of the quilting back in it. That is looking much better. This time, the quilting does not overpower the piecing. They were not in good balance and because the quilting stood out so, it really drew attention to what I am worst at; regimented lines. I'm much better with curving, circular and natural shapes than with regulated quilting that looks like interlocked weaving. I promise, I will show pictures of this runner as soon as I can. But, the receiver needs to see it first.
And, I finished hand quilting this little quilt and got it bound and washed and blocked. Not really sure how I feel about this one. The hand quilting is really nice, but it disappears in the piecing. And, the wool batting is "limp". It was a dream to hand quilt through. I split it into two layers and only used one layer, so it is very thin and the quilt has no body. Good thing the piecing is right on it. I'm looking forward to getting this one hung, and planned to hang it in the sewing room, but it might get a special place in the living room as Rob likes it, too.
I finished this doily that was supposed to take until we went on vacation. If I haven’t said it lately, I really enjoy thread crochet. It’s very portable. Not very practical. I don't know why I'm making thread stuff since I have a couple of small plastic tubs of it. But, it is very relaxing and easy on the hands. I'm learning that I am not up to hand quilting much anymore. My hands just ache after a short time. But, I can wield that crochet hook like a light saber.
And, I got one sashing strip hand sewn onto all my dresden plate blocks and selected a layout. Again, not sure how long my hands are going to let me hand piece, so I want to make at least one larger hand pieced and hand quilted quilt. Nothing about this quilt so far has been done with anything more mechanical than a rotary cutter. It is going to be pretty. I keep telling myself that. But, it is a long way from being completed.
And, I did some yard work. We did some shopping. Sydney got a haircut. Both dogs got new tags with phone numbers. I cooked. We ate out. I finished one book and almost another (I read multiple books at the same time) and I started one (audiobooks hardly count, even if they are 11 hours long and unabridged).
We went to see the Avengers and we PPV’ed The Woman in Black and Red Tails (a perfect Memorial Day movie!). There was lots of war movie on our TV this weekend as I'm sure it was for many. Some was better than others. Red Tails was the best.
All in all, it was a busy time and I think we spent the time well. Even if I didn't get much marked of my to-do list. I mean, a to-do list is really just to keep me on track. It's not like mine is ever going to get any shorter because as soon as I knock something off, there is something to take it's place; machine piecing project, hand piecing project, hand quilting project, hand piecing project, and a bit of crochet...oh, and I'm teaching myself to Tat. But, that's not an official project yet.
Kim of A Peach in Stitches won the book giveaway. Kim, email me your snail mail address please.
It’s election day here, so I’m off to try to vote. Memorial Day, Election Day, and the last school dance is tonight. We’re trying to chaperone.
No rest for the weary, I guess. I'll rest when my hands won't do anymore.
Take care and have a great Tuesday. Lane
Need a hint? Bohmeian Rhapsody, Freddie Mercury, Queen.
Heads turned to see where that sound came from. Perfectly on her note, no crack in her voice.
And, I wept.
I got there just in time to see the Queen medley. I missed her duet, but this high note was the thing she'd been talking about the most and I knew she was most anxious about it. And, when it happened, I held my breath and opened my throat and lungs as if I were singing the note.
Right...it's not the same note when you're a baritone.
These are the awards she won and her yearbook that she got yesterday.
Happiest moment for Dad? Getting to the concert. I drove just over the speed limit all the way. No need to do anything crazy. I am, after all, doing my best. Actually doing my best to get there. And, walking in just as they were setting up the combined choirs for the medley.
Saddest moment for Dad? I'd like to say that it was when they were singing "Wherever You Go", a beautiful song that they use at the end of each year to say goodbye to the graduating class. I wept. But, the saddest moment was after all my trying to get there and making it just in time and and weeping, when she came out of the crowd, hugged Rob and didn't even look me in the eye.
But, I'm learning that it is not her responsibility to meet my need for affection. That hurt. But, ya' know, I'm a big boy and I got over it. It did help that I'd been reading Yes, your teen is crazy! This is one of the first things he covers, so instead of being confused about what I was feeling, I had great clarity about it. So, I let those feelings go and smiled and walked behind them to our cars and offered to pick up tacos on the way home.
And, I think everyone should read it. I am not saying that you should change your life to what this Dr. says. I'm not going to change everything about how I parent based on one person's opinion, because right now, what we're doing is pretty successful and is reflective of the lessons I want to teach.
But, I was hurting. The therapist has tried to get me to believe it. Rob has even said it. Now, I have it as a third opinion and I am ready to relax into it...because what I'm hearing goes against every thing I thought about raising a child and how they should be a visible reflection of the parent. He says it with a lot of humor. And, several times I cried on the plane as I felt the pain of a parent in one of the real life stories he shared. I need to stop expecting her to be a reflection of her parents and to be sure that she is going to be a reflection of her parents...it just might not be in the things on the outside. But, it's what is inside that counts. It might not be in ways that I want it to be. But, it's going to happen. And, I need to model what I want her to be like. Because she's going to be like what I model, whether I want her to or not.
I have been fervently marking pages...I've marked so many pages, I may have to buy Rob his own copy because he actually started it before I did and I took it away to read on the planes.
I'm feeling so relieved that I want to share that with someone else and am going to give away a copy. I'll order it from Amazon and ship it to you. Straight up giveaway. If you or someone else needs to let yourself off the hook for what you see as your failures to raise the kid you wanted (you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find...you get what you need), leave a comment and I will draw one on Memorial Day. Please state specifically that you do want to be included in the drawing in addition to any other comments you have. Please don't forward this around. This is for my regular readers. Anybody else might think I'm a fruitcake for feeling this relieved, but you guys have read how I struggle with my expectations and the developing personality of a teen and know I am not a nutcase. Just the parent of a teen. Which makes me a nutcase.
Somehow, that was not supposed to end in a circle.
Have a great Friday. If you're in the US, happy Memorial Day. Please take a few minutes to talk to your kids about the contributions of the US armed services. How they are put in harm's way to protect us. Whether you believe in the cause or not should not interfere with your respect for those that fight the battles. Honor those fallen. Honor those that survive and respect the change it makes in them.
While we were all together at home office this week, they decided to do it as part of our conference.
Here's the dilemma they posed. Your brother in law is looking for a job. Your company has a job opening. You've heard your brother in law make gay and lesbian jokes at family gatherings. Do you refer him for the job?
Good grief, what a controversial topic that turned into.
Now, far as I know, there are only 3 gay people in this group of 100-ish, which seems odd. So, there was a clamoring of people and the topic got really hot in the discussion and even at dinner, I heard people talk about how upset they were with what other people had said.
There were plenty of people that said NO, you do not hire someone that would make gay and lesbian jokes.
There was also a contingent that said that you could tell the brother in law about the job, but not actually give him a reference or a referral because you don't think he'd fit in with the company's culture.
The people that stood up for what they saw as my right to not be discriminated against in the workplace made my heart swell.
Unfortunately, I was one of just a few voices in the room that disagreed with them all.
Equality and inclusion are not just the accepting of gay people. Equality and inclusion are the accepting of everyone. Whether their beliefs are the same as mine or not. If you can do the job, without offending or suppressing the rights of anyone, why shouldn't you be allowed to?
There are people, and I have heard them talking at work, who don't believe in my right to marry Rob. And, there are people I've heard talking who don't believe we have a right to our relationship because it is offensive to them.
But, does that mean they don't get to work? Earn money? Feed their families? Get the chance to excell in their chosen career?
It's one thing if someone comes to work and says something offensive about or to me. That person needs to be counseled about what it takes to have a good working relationship with everyone that they work with. To accept everyone for who they are.
But, that's not the same thing as changing what they believe in their hearts and minds.
Society. In a society, we all have to be treated equally. That's what I'm standing up for and that's what I will fight for. And, it's the environment that I have created around myself. And, I'll take you down if you try to deny me what is my due...which is the same thing that is everyone's due. It is the respect and rights due any person.
But, personally, I don't care what you believe. It's whether you can act in a way that fits in with society that counts.
I think we get all bogged down in the right to marry, when really, marriage is not what it's all about. It's the right to be who you are and to love who you love and to do what you want to do without having another person or group of people suppress that right.
And, one person or group or company suppressing the rights of others has to be stopped. But, stopping that behavior is not the same thing as judging people for what they think. It's about judging them based on what they do.
Oh, the argument went on and people began to ask why telling a gay joke was different than telling a lawyer joke, or a catholic joke or a sexist joke.
In the course of the conversation, I outed myself and shared that I am gay. I'd never done that to the larger group, tho many know Rob and know about my family. There were people in the room that were made uncomfortable by that. Even in the culture I work in that brags about diversity and inclusion. The lady sitting next to me, who I had been sitting next to all day had said some things during the training, before she knew I was gay, that were expressions of her opinion. That didn't make any difference to the fact that I think she's a nice person and it won't change how we work together. She's entitled to her beliefs and opinions, just like I am. And, so long as she doesn't use those beliefs or opinions to suppress my right to equality, she's perfectly in the right to feel that way. I don't think that it changed her opinion of me as a co-worker and I know it didn't change my opinion of her.
When I said that I tell gay jokes, another lady said that she did not think that was funny. And, she vehemently said that she would not laugh at a gay joke, even if told by a gay person.
We have the right to disagree.
And, we have the right to be equal. Everyone is never going to think just like me. That's why Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors and the country has a two or three party system (depending on who you ask). That's why Ford makes more than one model of vehicle and why more than just Ford manufactures cars. And, so long as you don't try to tell me that I have to drive a Chevy, we're gonna be just fine.
One lady pointed out that I am a vocal person who would stand up for my rights, but that the person sitting next to me might not have that comfort and that we needed to protect the person that would not stand up for themselves. She presented a good argument. She made a good point. I respect that, even though I don't agree.
But, that's what the discussion was all about. People sharing opinions. Diversity of thought. Those are good things. Where I think the company went wrong was in bringing it up for discussion. Knowing how other people feel about gays and lesbians is not appropriate knowledge to have. It can end the cohesiveness of a team that works well together and was a huge gamble.
Mama always said that it takes all kinds. And, if everyone at my company was the same, there would be no diversity and there would be no new ideas.
It's my responsibility to show people that I am not different than them, not less deserving than them. I've spent years working on that. When I first started at this company in the 80's, I had to hide my sexual preference. I lied. It was what was done. Being gay was still a fire-able offense. But, over the years, as I became honest, people changed. And, I'm going to take a large part of the credit for the changed that happened around me. I showed them that I was not a predator. I was not a molester. I was not after the innocent. I was not any of the myths that they believed. And, while I am not a recruiter for the gay lifestyle, I am an encourager. A cheerleader for those that want to be who they are.
But, being gay doesn't make me special. And, it doesn't qualify me for special treatment. The fact that I am a human being qualifies me for exactly the same things that everyone else has. Whether I think they are right or not.
Mis-use of power is what we have to watch out for, not diversity of thought. Think whatever you want. Just don't use those thoughts to impose your will on others.
Okay, so this has turned into a long post and I didn't mean for it to be. But, reverse inequality has come up twice this week for me. And, I guess I had a lot to say about it. More than I could fit into that 45 minute discussion this afternoon.
Hope you are all well. Today I get to go home. And, if I can get there fast enough, I might get to hear Sydney sing a solo at the choir concert tonight. If not, then Rob is going to tape it for me. She has the rift in Bohemian Rhapsody with the high note.
Middle school kids singing songs by Queen. Now, there's progress and diversity for ya'.
One day, not too long ago, I was working from home and making myself some lunch and someone knocked on the front door.
I answered and there was a lady that we see walking in the neighborhood all the time. Maybe a bit older than me, but not by much.
She had a sign in her hand and hemmed and hawed around, but I could tell what she wanted and I could read the sign. She explained that she’d had these signs made up and was asking people around the neighborhood to put them in their yards.
I broke into her musings and asked if she’d like to put one in our yard and she very happily smiled and said yes. So, we walked out and put it on the corner and we were one of the first houses in the neighborhood to have one. She said she was just “led” to ask us.
Now, they are everywhere.
Rob stopped and talked to her one day when he was walking the dog and she explained that she’d just had an inspiration and had the signs made and was putting them out. He asked if he could make a donation because signs are apparently much more expensive than we thought. And, he asked for a couple to share with his co-workers.
Good ideas go round and round.
Mable’s constant gazing at Rob seems to ask “What did you let happen?”
I’m flying today and am calmer than normal. Flying is one of those things that you need to do often to be comfortable. Not sure about the tradeoff there. Don’t like being away from the family. I like it here.
Okay, so that’s it for me today. I’ll be in the friendly skies. I’m reading Yes, your teen is crazy and wearing a plaid western shirt with sneakers, so if you see me, say hi! Actually, I’ll likely have the music turned up loud, so you’ll have to touch me on the shoulder. My head might even be bouncing to the beat. I embarrass that crazy teen like that sometimes.
Rob came through the house the other day with a package the earned me the name of Imelda W. because it was the second pair of shoes in as many days. And, in addition to the pair of the previous weekend. Oh, well. I've run out of space for fabric, so I guess I'll start hoarding really great shoes. And, all I have to do to make space for them is get rid of a few really horrid sale shoe mistakes from the past. You'll have to take my word that I'm buying great shoes because I don't have pictures. Because I was weeping over the return of the prodigal dog this morning.
I have several table runners in the planning stage right now. I'm working on one now that is a belated gift for a friend. It's really great and I'd love to show you pics of it, but it's going to be a while because I'm ripping all the quilting out of it and she reads my blog, so you can't see it until she does. No point in ruining a really cute table runner with a bunch of really awful quilting. I am proud of my skills, but I don't know what got into me when I started quilting this runner. I kept thinking that if I just did more quilting, you wouldn't see how bad it was. But, that just meant there was more bad quilting. So, I started quilting a different area, with a different motif, and it looks terrific! So, the first mess has to come out. It will take forever and my friend is worth it. The other runners I have planned are going to be simpler. I found a half dozen leftover block kits from last year's monthly quilt at the LQS. And, they still had the background fabric in stock. So, I bought the block kits and a small amount of a couple of the backgrounds and as soon as I get done ripping out quilting, I'm going to make them up for our dining table.
While cleaning around the sofa the other day, I found 4 seam rippers between the cushions. Now, I didn't even know I owned 4 seam rippers, in addition to the 2 that are at my sewing machines and the one that I cut myself with and don't use anymore (beautiful and expensive, so I can't throw it out...why didn't it get lost in the cushions?) But, there they were, each without a cap, and not a tear in the sofa fabric. What luck!
We spent a lot of Saturday working in the yard. Two weekends ago, Rob agreed that we could clean up the front flower bed. When the two weeks had passed, he was less excited about working in the front flower bed. But, he did it. Mind you, without his characteristic smile, but he did it anyway.
During a separate but related conversation, it was mentioned that my cooking seems to have gone from executing great meals to throwing together whatever I can in a short amount of time. I took that feedback in. It is true. My family gets about one really good meal a week and the rest of the time, it's about quick and easy food that doesn't use a lot of pots and pans. Little did he know that this feedback would result in a very long trip to the grocers to restock on all those things I don't have anymore...with him in tow. And, it resulted in Fried Chicken and Jalapeno Scalloped potatoes and sauteed cabbage with bacon and onions. And, a loaf of bread, seasoned with parmesan and oregano. Then, I did dishes for an hour and a half and decided I wasn't as much interested in the opinions of others about my cooking anymore. While I will wash, I have a 14 year old put-away-er that went in after me and put everything back where it belonged and swept and mopped the kitchen floor. I really enjoy my little skilled laborer. If I can get her to wash, I might think more favorably about cooking more great meals.
After that, it was time to get clothes ready for this week's trip. I have a new bag...uh-oh, what famous person collected luggage that I can say I'm imitating...that will hold more than my old bag, but not as much as an official suitcase. The guys around here and I have a challenge to see who can take the smallest luggage on business trips. My old bag usually wins. But, this time, I'm traveling with the ladies and even my newer, bigger bag will disappear in their oversized rolling bags. And, again, I will win.
Not that there's a prize. But, to a man, a win is a win.
So, Mable was picked up last night by a lady that works in a veterinarian's office. She took her into the office this morning and they checked her micro chip and called Rob. I was so hoping it was my fabulous signs that had saved the day, but alas...whatever it takes. I had just left home and was perfectly willing to turn around and wait for them because they wanted to deliver her right away. I hugged the lady and told her she had no idea how much this meant to us. She seemed a bit uncomfortable, tho I don't know why she would be. Maybe she wasn't much on being thought of as superman. After we got inside the house and my sobbing had abated, I found Mable, sitting on the sofa, with a very guilty look as though she were asking how much trouble she would be in after I got done crying. Rob will be so excited to see her. I wish I was going to be there to hear their greeting. Mable bays and dances like a mad dog when Rob comes home and after a night apart, I expect the fun to be rollicking as they play and talk to one another.
Everybody have a great Monday! And, thanks for your well wishes! Lane
Update, Mable is found. But, if you want to know how silly Rob and I are, you only need to know that he cried when the lady called and said they had found her, so much that when the lady dropped her off, she said she could tell Mable had been missed.
I got in the door and fell all to pieces.
This is an advertisement for micro-chipping. That’s how they got her back to us, so fast.
I did not know what that word meant, really, until now. I’m sure that I’ve been distraught, but it’s hard to see in oneself. I’m sure that I’ve seen Rob distraught, but only when I was, too, so didn’t recognize it. We’ve been distraught when we’ve had to put animals down.
But, this is a new thing for us both.
Rob’s Beagle, Mable got out yesterday afternoon. No one is really sure how, but the gates in the back yard were firmly closed and the only time that the front door got opened was when Sydney took out the garbage.
Rob is distraught.
Because Sydney thinks she did it, she’s only about two steps from distraught.
I am wringing my hands, furtively looking from one to the other, to see who needs the most encouragement.
Tomorrow, I leave on a business trip and won’t be here to try to prop them up and keep them hopeful.
Rob and I walked and drove the neighborhood yesterday evening, in opposite directions, until dark. I walked on streets that I didn’t even know were in my neighborhood.
This morning, he walked for three quarters of an hour and I made signs and hung them on signposts. I’ve found the dog pound and it’s near where I work, so I’ll be going there at lunch today.
Unfortunately, that is all I can do.
It’s hard when a member of the family is missing and you don’t know where they have gone or whether they are okay.
Okay, maybe I’m a little more distraught than I thought.
Take care. Send your kind and strong thoughts this way, please.
Every family has something they get dysfunctional about. Maybe it’s grief, or maybe it’s money, or maybe it’s work or rage or alcoholism.
For my family, it’s a discomfort that comes from unknown situations. Unfortunately, with a teen, we get into a lot of unknown situations.
Last night was ‘parent’s get to visit night’ at the high school. Groups and clubs had set up booths. The vice principal was handing out schedules. There was a pep rally going on in the the quad.
As usual, I did not want to talk to anybody. That’s my way. Rob is my voice in public. He brings the people and then I can talk. But, Rob wasn’t talking to anybody. And, Sydney was sulking as far away from us as she could possibly stand. And, even though we asked for information a couple of times, we had a really hard time getting it.
This made me more frustrated than I already was made by my inability to open my mouth to strangers. We walked the perimeter. I tried to get Sydney to join in and participate, if for no other reason than to give me a reason to speak. Rob also tried. And, that made Sydney sulk even more.
I was ready to leave. I sat on a bench.
Rob tried to be funny and to laugh. And, I sulked. And, he wouldn’t leave.
And, the whole time, if you looked at us from the outside, you wouldn’t know anything was going on, other than a family waiting for something to happen and not knowing exactly what it will be, and therefore not knowing if it’s started or not.
Okay, so this is where the night changes. This is where I realize what makes our family function in the unknown, when we are uncomfortable. We needed a fourth. And, we found a fourth in one of Sydney’s friend’s Mother. L. is a different bird. She is also an aquarian, but without my shyness. But, still very reserved. She gave us the courage to walk the booths again the way they were supposed to be walked through.
With her, we found out about the programs designed to help students prepare for college. With her, we met the coaches for basketball and volleyball. With her, Rob began to speak and I pointed things out because I have the quick and attentive eyes and Rob talked to the people and we shared information with L. and Sydney had someone to show off her maturity to. We bought T-shirts and Sydney signed up for thespians and photojournalism. We found out the gym is open all summer with coach supervised group workouts.
But, we couldn’t do it alone. We just didn’t know what to do in that situation.
No family is a vacuum. Every family has things that make it not work…that turn it into a hot mess. Ours just happens to be the unknown. And, maybe it’s more about me than it is about them. Whatever. Don’t know if I can change this. Don’t know if I want to try. I like us being a bit naive and surprised. It’s been this way for at least the 5 years we’ve had Sydney.
Kids change things.
Everybody have a great Thursday. Lane
Sydney has been working on the school play. We really didn’t know how much. She’s so vague about what happens at school and we would have expected a school play to have after school rehearsals and she was never at those. We just didn’t expect much.
The play was The Mild, Mild West. Silly story about indians and white people, forced to exchange living arrangements by the federal government. The indians occupying the town, except the Teacup Saloon, where the dancing girls serve Earl Grey and chamomile.
Anyway, Sydney was the assistant director. In the last two days, she’d done more talking about the play than she had in the preceeding month. She was faced with all the difficulties that any assistant director, faced with too many responsibilities and a shortage of underlings would face.
We went to the play, but not with too many expectations.
Imagine our surprise when the first character on the stage was our little Sydney.
Dressed as the town sheriff. Carrying a clipboard with all her lines on it because she didn’t expect to be in the play.
With a goatee and side burns.
And, maybe enjoying it, just a little bit too much.
The play was cute, made cuter by the fact that our little girl was on stage. But, we still jokingly asked one another to please, just shoot me…because after all, it was a middle school production.
Some of the more outgoing actors, like Sydney, did great. The bad guys were really funny…Rusty, Dusty, and Cedric Bucket. And, the indians were hilarious and the townsfolk more reserved. The saloon girls were too modest and quiet.
But, we laughed and we did not go to sleep, so the whole thing was a success for all.
I asked her this morning if she realized that dressing as a man was drag. She did. And, she was proud of it.
Our multi-cultural girl.
And, some not yellow, because I’m that kind of guy.
The yellow and orange bloom season is passing and the more varied color daylilies and sending up scapes and blooms. Even within the yellows and oranges, there are slightly different kinds. These are different, one with the ruffly leaves and one without, but both probably sharing a yellow gene that came from one of our other daylilies. There’s a third one that descended from a spider daylily and it is the exact same shade of yellow, but with a third variation in petal shape.
And, the same exists in the oranges. Same shade, but at least two different varieties within that.
So, with yellow on the brain, here are the 16 Dresden Plate blocks that I’ve been remaking.
Now, these 16 are back together, not looking a whole lot different than before in pictures, but looking a whole lot different in real life. They’re mounted to their yellow print backgrounds with a yellow solid center. I’m going to finishe piecing the quilt by hand, with sashing strips and cornerstones. The borders will be long strips of the background fabric and in the center of each strip, a half plate made from leftover wedges; and in the corners, squares, each with a quarter plate. I have plenty of leftover wedges. I started with 20 plates. But, in the others, there aren’t enough like prints for a whole plate.
After taking this photo, I will not be using this fabric as the cornerstones.
Talk about looking better in my head.
Anyway, now things that aren’t yellow.
I hope my Mom is reading and can tell me what this daylily is.
My grandmother grew Dahlias. I have tried and tried and tried and never gotten more than the most sickly single bloom. But, not this year. I finally found the right spot!
And, with that much color, you need a neutral, so how about a white flower. This was my Man-mom’s day gift from Sydney.
She does know what I like.
Everybody have a great Tuesday. Lane
When Rob asked me what I wanted for Man-mom’s day, I just blurted out, 20 bags of mulch. And, the mulch isn’t the gift, it’s the hauling it that’s the real gift. And, it came to pass that 20 bags of mulch were brought to my back yard. And, I spent most of the rest of the weekend, happily puttering in my flowerbeds, watching out for snakes (only one) and spreading the good cheer that comes from a good mulching.
That’s okay, I don’t think my family got it either.
The weather has been so beautiful. It rained all week long last week. Welcome relief. The temps were cool, partly cloudy skies and a nice breeze. Friday afternoon, I spent hours sitting in the sun room, listening to a book on tape and hand quilting.
I also got this block finished. This is block 18 of 36 for the Jubilee Quilt.
And, I finished my greek key doily.
I also made myself a man-mom’s day cake.
This is a Mardi Gras cake and I don’t think my family was as impressed as I was. It’s actually a bit too rich, a fact I’d forgotten in the 20 years, I guess it’s been, since I made one. It’s just like a german chocolate cake, except made with butterscotch morsels instead of chocolate. Ummmmmmm
I gave myself a sugar shock and sat up crocheting for a while. My hands hurt too bad to quilt.
We ate like kings. My family does know how to take me out. Good Sandwiches, Fish house, and then Asian fusion. And, everybody got a new pair of shoes.
Does it really get any better than that? No fussing, no arguing, everybody doing what they want to do. That’s how I like to celebrate Man-mom’s day.
Hey, how’s this for new. I found out I can’t count. What I thought were blocks 15 and 16 were really 16 and 17, so the block I’m working on now is block 18, and that’s half way there.
Block 18 is made up of 24 paper pieced sections. That’s new. Up to now, the most has been 8. Now, I have to get all those 24 into just one. I do love a challenge.
This is new. I needed a new iron for paper piecing. Two reasons. The big iron heats up the whole room, which was welcome in winter, but not so much, now. And, the big iron would not fit in just the space of the piece I was adding when paper piecing. I couldn't even maneuver the tip into the little spaces. That meant I was stretching and pulling threads from my bias seal allowances when I would peel them off the freezer paper to add the next piece of fabric. So, I decided to get a smaller iron that would do that.
I bought the petite press. The ironing surface is so tiny. And, at it’s highest setting, it gets hot enough to melt fabric to freezer paper. If it got hotter, I would like it more, but in the battle to reduce heat, it’s da’ bomb.
In summer, we do everything we can to reduce in-house heat. It takes the air conditioning forever to recover. No big oven, no big iron (anymore). You would not believe the creative uses I’ve found for a toaster oven, which will roast a chicken, if you don’t mind roasting half at a time. It will also bake cakes and pies and breads.
But, I wanted to try convection, so this is new.
I got a much bigger oven than I realized. I like the clear bowl because I can reassure myself that the food is cooking. I’ve made pork roast with potatoes and carrots, breaded pork chops, pizza (did not work, won’t try that again), chopped steaks and two cakes in it. Other than the pizza and the carrots from the pork roast, everything worked great. The carrots were a bit “al dente” for us. The pizza didn’t get crisp on the crust. We like a crisp crust. The cakes haven’t been all the pretty. Both have stuck to the pan. but, they’ve tasted delish and were very moist and fluffy!
This is not new. I refuse to look back and see when I started this. I don’t need to know. It is all hand pieced and by the time I got to quilting it, I was tired. Later, I picked it up and did a bunch of quilting. Then, I set it down again. I did almost all of the rest of the quilting. And, I set it down again. This is about the time I started shopping for a thimble because hand quilting was making my fingers hurt because of the old one. Last week, I finished the quilting that I had planned for the quilt and thought…that’s done. And, I looked at it and I looked at it and it was too plain. Way too plain. So, now, I’m adding quilting. I’m showing it to you because I want you to shame me if I have not finished it soon. I do not want to let this sit again. Remember, I’m trying to finish projects. FINISH.
First, they took away the rights of the Jews and the Gays and the Gypsies. They took away their right to own property, live where they wanted. They made them lesser than other Germans.
As soon as they became lesser citizens, with fewer rights, it became much easier to move them, just like the whites of the racist south confined the blacks, to shacks in slums of poverty.
Once you make one group lesser, then it’s easy to move them to slums and then camps and then ovens or lynchings.
Don’t scoff. Who knows what the future holds. A Dick Santorum could actually be elected president and then who knows what could have happened. Who knows.
First, they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Yesterday, NC became the 31st state to ban gay marriage. And, if that wasn’t slap in the face enough, to also make civil union illegal.
Okay, that’s all I have to say except one last thought. If gays will screw up marriage for straight people, why is divorce legal??? And, how long will it stay that way?
Luv ‘ya. You know I do. Be sure to vote when it’s your time.
Are you boring?
Me, I get bored with myself, even when I’m not bored. Usually, when I use the phrase bored with myself, I mean I’m bored with not doing something I want to do or bored with thinking a certain way or bored with doing the same thing over and over again in precisely the same way and expecting that something different is going to happen.
This usually signals a time of change. Change is uncomfortable and when my reserves are low, I put change off. Until I get bored with the way things are. And, then I get off my duff and do whatever I’ve been putting off.
When I started the green feathered star, I was getting tired of starting new things. I was feeling the weight of needing to finish. I think we all talked about that early in the year…this year and as many years as I’ve been blogging. I needed to make finishes, and instead, I was having to make starts.
So, I put it down and let it sit. And, when I picked it up, all the fun stuff was done. All that was left were six borders with mitered corners. Hard work, not fun and exciting work.
And, now is when I confess something. I put off finishes. I put them off because I like things better before they are done. Oh, I rush toward “done” just like any other quilter, but once something is done, that excitement of “doing” and “accomplishing” is over.
For me, enjoying “done” is not as exciting as enjoying doing. Doing things like advanced quilting and difficult piecing like a feathered star is so exciting and I’m just a bit of an excitement junkie about some things. Not about everything, but about some things. So, I did the fun work of the feathered star quilt and then let it sit, because that meant it wasn’t done and I could hopefully still hopefully enjoy the excitement rush of the feathered star while not actually finishing it.
When it comes to quilting and sewing, or anything else I enjoy like cooking or gardening or crochet, doing is best. And, that’s why I sometimes put finishes off. At least part of the reason.
Not saying that well, but my thoughts about it are confused and so is my writing about it. Me. Always fumbling about, trying to find the way.
But, while I’ve been doing, I made blocks 15 and 16 for the Jubilee quilt. Two more and I’ll be half way there.
Lots of background in these two blocks. Very unlike the next one, which looks extremely difficult. Can’t wait to start enjoying the doing of that one.
Everybody have a great Tuesday. Lane
Like everyone, I have my projects that need to be finished. And, I plod along, working on them enough that I don’t have to feel guilty and letting them sit enough that I have time to start new things.
Since I’ve been cleaning, I’ve been finishing things. One day last week, I painted the lawn furniture. And, cleaned the cabinets. And, cleaned closets. And, on Saturday, we had a pickup bed full of Goodwill donations.
Of course, while we were there, we went in and brought a few things home with us, but we brought home much less than we dropped off.
Between all that, I quilted as much as I possibly could. I got this quilt top finished. Now, it’s hanging in the closet, one of 7 tops that needs to be finished off.
At some point, I stopped being in love with this top. It’s nice and I like it and look forward to having it finished. But, I don’t love it. I can remember the excitement I felt when I started it. And, I didn’t finish it with that same excitement.
Rob loves to see the quilts backlit, with the seam allowances looking like stained glass. One day, I might have to make him a stained glass quilt.
When I pulled it back out on Saturday and started planning things, I realized I had to take the first two borders off and re-cut them and change them from straight line to mitered corners because the third border is a stripe.
I sewed the borders on and then mitered all three at the same time. That made it much easier and so I did the same thing when I put on the last three borders. Mitering one border that has three seam allowances is much easier than mitering three borders and getting them all to match just exactly.
In Saturday’s mail, I got a squishy from my friend Tammy. Look at all the goodies!
A shopping bag with my name and a knitted dish cloth and a pair of thread snips and an extra name label. Whoohoo! Thanks, Tammy!
Our weekend was very quiet, except for some serious thunderstorms on Saturday night. Again, we were huddled in our beds, covers to our noses, waiting for the roof to come crashing down from all the thunder and lightening. Not fair. That was not in the forecast and I wasn’t ready. I lost a few blooms, but there’s nothing to be done about it.
Everyone have a great Monday! Lane
Early still here. I haven’t even started the day yet. But, I wanted to share a few thoughts in response to Elizabeth’s comment from yesterday. Elizabeth and I have become good blog friends, and I was going to send her an email, but then I thought that maybe other people would be interested in the answer, so here goes.
Here is a lighter picture of my practice piece on the greek keys. Part of the problem I’m having with this border is that things don’t stand out with the red thread on the red fabric. I want my quilting in this border to be as distinctive as the rest of the quilt.
And, here it is from the back. Easier to see the patterns. I used this white on the back of my practice piece so I could get a feel for the amount of thread buildup I’d get using these different fillers. The bobbin thread on the red silk quilt is a cotton all purpose coats and clark, which is working terrific, but I don’t want huge lines of it on my back in this border because the rest of the quilt doesn’t have that.
I’ve tried several things. In the upper left, some feathers and then I got into some of Leah Day’s background fillers. There are flowing leaves, then some flowing feathers, then in the key on the upper right, tree roots. In the straight lines, I played more with feathers and leaves and tree roots, just practice. I have a three quarter inch space to fill, which I thought would be easy, but to get something small enough to fit and allow some echo work, the original shape gets so distorted and lost that those dense fillers are not making me happy.
Lower left is the feathers I’m likely going to use in the silk quilt (I think). Instead of continuing the feather all the way to the end of the key, I’m going to put about 4 feathers in to fill the key. And, on the lower right, more flowing leaves.
I have one more piece of the wine fabric and am going to try some more practice. Hopefully, I’ll get the answer if I try enough things. But, I’m glad for opinions. If you see anything you like, say so.
About the pumpkin seed border. Elizabeth is going to use that, but her template doesn’t fit her space. I don’t think I would make my adjustments in the corners, Elizabeth. Here are some thoughts.
I trace my pumpkin seeds from a template. This is a tracing.
Conventional wisdom when the template doesn’t fit the space is to shift your template a little bit each time you draw it so that the seeds are slightly bunched together. This is what I did in the silk quilt. Below, I traced over my template in orange ink, shifting the template to the left just a bit with each tracing (left hander)to show how easily I adjusted a half inch out of my repeat. If you’re doing something for show, I’d be more exact. I’d measure the length of the space I wanted to fill and divide that into a measurement very close to the length of the tilted seed. I’d mark that distance in the space and trace a seed between every mark, shifting the template to make each one fit in the space it is allowed to fill.
BUT, I think it would be more interesting to use a spacer. Here are two ideas for that. A spacer would go in the center of the space you’re filling and would allow your template to fit the space without shifting the template. Trace from both ends, always tracing the same number of seeds from each end so that the last empty space is in the center. Then, put something fun in that empty space. How about a circle.
Or, if your last empty space is wider than that, what about a seed turned sideways?
My preference would be to have all four corners match and make the adjustments however you need to in the space between the corners. It will be lots less noticeable that way.
Okay, I am going to sew for a little while and then I have so many chores…ughhhh. I’m cleaning out and making a goodwill pile. And, that is not fun work. You don’t get the reward until it’s all done and out of the house. Without bringing any back in.
It hasn’t come to that quite yet.
But, I do have to pick something to finish the red silk quilt with.
I’ve been practicing and testing things for the final border, this greek key, which needs a background filler in half of it.. There are about 6 different background filler patterns in this little sample. And, I still haven’t decided. Right now, I am leaning toward the upper right (it should expand if you click the picture) because it’s fast and won’t use up a ton of expensive silk thread. I have one more piece of that wine colored cotton fabric. I’m going to draw out the border again and make the practice sandwich and stitch it out and then I’m going to have to decide. Once and for all. No more dilly-dallying about it. I'm ready to get that quilt finished.
Wanted to show this picture of the first daylily in the yard that is not common yellow or orange. What a beauty. The garden is full and blooming with hot colors right now. Soon, as the weather gets warmer, the colors will get cooler…or at least that’s how it was planned.
The biggest lemon on the tree.
This weekend, I want to work on my feathered star quilt (still can't get that link thing down). Anyway, that and I need to do some weeding and some sorting and I'm hoping for a huge goodwill run with all the stuff I've been piling in the garage to get rid of...need to get it gone before I start bringing it back in. And, I found some boxes in the garage while looking for something else that I think should have gone to goodwill a long time ago...oops! I need to go through that again and sort it out. Quilting, sorting, donating, oh, and I need to go to the quilt store and pick up my check for the class. What's up with me not being able to go get money???
And, I finally turned in my answers to the editor of the magazine that is doing the story on men who quilt. I needed a good picture of me, which meant being in the right frame of mind for some reason. Anyway, done is done and I'm looking forward to seeing my name in print.
Everybody have a great Friday! Lane
Not sure how this is going to work, it’s all new. But, this is supposed to be the video to Rob’s birthday last Saturday.
Hope you enjoy it. We’re clearly nuts.
Get a load of the beagle at minute 8. That dog gets that excited every time he comes in the door, even if he’s only been outside 5 seconds.
Have a good one. Lane
After I heard all that, my first thoughts were, I'm going to work my rear end off, just trying to keep grades up. I'm going to have to argue and threaten and give consequences. And, Rob's going to be right there with me and we are not going to like it. And, it will make our lives harder.
I thought about it some more and I realized that a lot of that could be avoided if we reduced the challenge. If we accepted that our student is not going to be a doctor of nuclear physics with a secondary degree in applied spacecraft mathematics, working as the sole designer of the new NASA "take us to Pluto" space vehicle. Or even probably a lawyer. I want her to do better than me. I want her to have a fun job. I want her to like what she does and if she doesn't like it, to have the opportunity to change to whatever she would like. And, I'd like her to enjoy high school. Oh, not too much. Not smokin' in the girls room fun. Not even a cheerleader or the rockin' party girl. But, having time to work on the homecoming float, not being restricted from spring dance, being able to play sports, kind of fun. With good grades and a happy homelife.
And, that likely means dropping some of the advanced placement classes.
I say that without one word of regret for how hard we have pushed her up to this point. We gave her challenges and she has met them. And, she has struggled against her own proclivity to play too much and she has borne with our pushing and challenging and trying to get her to "want to" do better in school. To "want to" make better grades. To "want to" not be on restriction. To "want to" get her ipod back.
So what if she excels in regular classes. Isn't that better than stumbling and fighting along in advanced classes?
Isn't it better to accept who she is and let her exceed her own expectations?
I know, going into this, that she does not have the organization or study skills yet. Last night, she watched me take notes at the event and I asked her if she know how to do that. And, she doesn't. And, that's not really my fault. I mean, I have a life, too, and I can't know everything she needs because she will not tell me because if she tells me, I'll do something about it and that means more work for her and she just doesn't..."want to"...
Are ya' gettin' me here?
I know some of you are. I've read it on your own blogs. You've watched kids stumble and you've adjusted your expectations. And, having been with us for 5 years, what we're looking at now, is the kid we raised. It's not the kid we got 5 years ago who couldn't read and was far behind and had no concept of consistency and expectations. We changed all that and now, she's the kid we'd want to have, even when she's a pain in the arse. I wouldn't change her personality, just to get her to study.
We've challenged her up til now and maybe it's time to let our instincts play instead of our expectations. We've seen that she is an average student in advanced classes. Imagine how much she should be able to excel in regular classes. So long as we keep up the pressure and give her as many reasons to "want to" as we can. Because if she ever thinks that we'll let her be average in regular classes, we're sunk.
So, there is some danger in reducing the expectations. I guess we'll just have to see. I asked her what classes she'd rather have as regular and she said math and history. That means she'd keep science and english. I think I can live with that.
And, Rob and I are talking about it. Neither of us wants to let go of the comfy retirement that our nuclear physicist could give us. But, I think we're both tired of the constant battle for higher grades.
Have a great Tuesday.