Everybody loves a parade!!

Last night, we went to Austin's Gay Pride Parade.  At one time, I looked at Rob and said "I think we are the only people NOT in the parade." 

I have no idea how many spectators there were.  I'd say that I could see an easy ten thousand in the block we were in.  We had a spot right outside one of the nightclubs that had an announcer on a loudspeaker on the roof, so we heard all the groups announced as they passed by.  I fixed up the shirts Rob and I wore for us to wear to Boston pride about 13 years ago.  I don't think either of us had worn them since.

We had the honor of chaperoning Sydney and one of her high school friends who is identifying as lesbian to the parade.  We are playing role model to a future generation!!  It was great fun to watch them enjoy themselves.  There were a few things that were a little more adult oriented than I would have liked to expose them to, but it all went just fine. 

So, who marches in a gay pride parade?  Well, lots of gay people, including dancing half naked boys and drag queens and lesbians on motorcycles, the police and fire and emergency medical services departments, INCLUDING their chiefs and Health and Human Services and most of the city council.  And, the Travis County Clerk that cleared us to get married so quick was there, in a convertible like a pageant queen...wearing a wedding veil!  At least a dozen churches and temples, and when a church sends representatives to gay pride, they are NOT the young people, these were older adults, coming out to show support for our community and willing to walk a long parade route; and some were already so exhausted, but the energy kept them walking and cheering.  All the gay nightclubs were represented.  And, major employers, including Dell, AT&T, Google, and VMware, and THREE THOUSAND EMPLOYEES OF APPLE COMPUTERS!!!  Even the bank that Billy Graham's money got moved to had a huge motorhome in the lineup.  Bands, twirling groups, runners, gyms, and representatives from all the large cities in Texas; San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston.  The Veteran's Administration.  THE GIRL SCOUTS!!!  Groups that care for us like scholarship groups and psychotherapy groups and service organizations.  The Austin Independent School Board and three of the local schools, including the band from one of the high schools near our home.  There was even a city bus driver that was bouncing her bus down the street like a gangsta.  My employer had an entry, and I cheered as my co-workers went by.  And, gay couples and straight couples and children and babies and families of every shape, gender, color and combination.  There was even a group walking in memory of a friend and relative that couldn't be there.  And, love just poured all over the whole thing like fairy dust. 

I spent the whole damn parade cheering.  And wiping away tears.  And, remembering that just a few years ago, pride was just a couple blocks long, and most of the people in it were just gays celebrating a street party.  And, showing the world that we are here.  And, we aren't going to hide anymore.  It took courage to go back then and stand outside where anybody could walk past and see you...and know. 

It's been a lot of years since Rob and I did anything like this.  When Sydney asked why, I said that we gave up partying for parenting.  But, it really wasn't that.  We gave up the party lifestyle when we got together.  We needed to put together the life we wanted.  A life that is no less gay, but a different kind of gay lifestyle.  One that is centered on family.  And, now that we have it, we are getting more involved in the public lifestyle again.  Slowly.  One event at a time.  Coming out of our home and getting involved again.  And, I could not be prouder...of myself, my family, and my community.  We're not perfect.  But, nobody else is either. 

And, we are still here.  And, we are still Queer.  And, we are not going anywhere.

Have a great Sunday.  Lane


Let the village kick in...

Oh, raising a teenager is so much fun...

She had her first issue at work.  She can't work weekdays during school until she proves that she can keep up with her school work.  And, this week school started.  And, they scheduled her to work last night. 

We told her and told her she needed to take care of it.  But, it just wasn't happening.  And, we could have just kept on trying to get her to take care of business.  But, then I remembered that her manager hires high school kids all the time.  They know what they are getting into.  Let them take care of this part of raising the teenager.  Let that part of the village kick in.

And, Rob bought in.  So, that's what we did.  I can't even tell you how she resolved it.  I didn't ask, and she never told. 

More and more we need to do that; use the resources that are available.  We do not have to teach her everything.  We just have to teach her to learn.  And create an environment where she can make mistakes. 

I did lots of sewing this weekend.  There was the feathered star block with the gold band in it.  And, when I was cleaning the sewing room, I found this little UFO.  This is the last small quilt made from a set of fabrics I bought at a quilt show.  I decided to use up every scrap, making smaller and smaller quilts as I went.  And, this was the last little bits.  The squares finish at one inch. 

Rob took it to work to sit on his desk, and I swear, it is squarer than it looks.  Just maybe not quite flat...

I also prepped all the pieces for another applique block from the Simply Delicious quilt.  This link includes a pic of the quilt.  I've been working on the quilt for several years.  It is very intensive applique. I have three blocks undone, including the one I just prepped.  It is the black currants block, which is the upper left block in the pictured quilt.  52 pieces.  And, I am putting on piece 7 now. 

So, more handwork.  Hand quilting.  Hand applique.  I love having hand work.

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  I finally have a boss.  The company was reorganized on Friday, and I still have a job.  And, my temporary boss called yesterday to reassure me that I am a top performer and my job is in no danger. 

Buddy, don't you believe it.  As far as I can tell, the only jobs that aren't in danger are crooked politicians.  Seems the more wrong they do, the more sure they are of getting to continue to do it.

Well, I managed to get a brag and a rant into the same post. Hmmm. My work here is done. 



That prize winning spirit

I am making a calendar quilt to commemorate this year.  The abbreviated version is that I was going places and collecting little bits of fabric without a plan.  But, I noticed that they usually went really well together, even though their only relationship was that they reflected my mood for the day.  So I decided to put them together as a memory of the month and then turn those memories into a quilt.  I picked the feathered star block because that has been a very prevalent block this year. 

Then, that plan adapted to me actually looking for fabrics that would go well together.  And, now, it's gone so far as I don't actually have to buy the fabrics in the month, as long as they have some relationship to something that happened in the month.  The beauty of making my own rules is that I can break them and nobody really cares.

So, the block I made was for July.  July was the month we got married... well, one of the times we got married.  Independence Day and marriage had to come together and I made a plan.  With just a bit of a color adjustment to the pattern, I thought I could put a gold wedding band into my feathered star block.

This is what the block looks like in just two colors, so I can show how I tried to get that gold circle. 

First, I cut the kite shape (the largest red piece in the blocks above) out of paper and drew on all the seam lines.  Then, I drew a line where I wanted to seam two pieces of fabric together. 


I measured the distance from that bisecting seam line to the points.  I cut a 5" strip of the red and two 1.25" strips of the gold and sewed them together.  I laid that template on the strip set and cut the kite shapes out of it.  I laid a ruler over the paper template, lining up the edges, then cut the piece using the ruler as a guide so I didn't cut my template.  (Thank you Sally Collins!)

One kite used one gold strip, then I turned the template so that the next kite used the other gold strip. 

It didn't come out quite as circular as I would have liked, but it's cool.  It's the thought that counts, right?  I accidentally used a stripe in the background fabric and spent a good bit of time getting all the stripes to run in pleasing ways. 

All the large background pieces run in the same direction, and all the pieces in the feathers are pieced in pleasing directions around that. 

That took a lot of planning, and there are some feathers in a box near the sewing machine that were made while I was figuring it out.  Oh, well.

Okay, that's it for me today.  Straighten up the studio, and then I want to work on some applique.  I need to prepare some pieces.  I need TV watching handwork.  I haven't had anything out in a couple weeks and I have spent entirely too much time on my phone... not watching cat videos.

Everybody have a great Sunday!  Lane


parenting pays off

I'm not going to pretend my feelings weren't hurt that Sydney would rather text than talk to me.  Enough of you commented on that to let me know that I'm not the only one that ever felt that way. 

Or worse...

But, it all paid off last night when she was sick. 

I saw it.  I jumped on an unprofessional diagnosis and started treating symptoms.  And, a little while later, after she'd had something to eat and was starting to get hydrated again, she was all over me (except when I was washing dishes, but that's okay).  She complimented how much I know and gave me full credit for her feeling better. 

That's the payoff.  That's when all the other crap stops being important.  And, I've learned to stop and enjoy those times.  Because I'm going to need all the good memories I can muster when school starts and homework is late and she's racking up tardies and whining about having to go to work.  I'm gonna need last night's memories so bad.  And, they will be there.  And, I can put myself back in that place and smile.  And mete out consequences. 

Because the ultimate goal is to raise somebody that will add something, small or large, to the human experience. 

I'm working on the July feathered star calendar block; the one that will commemorate our wedding.  So, it needs to be special.  And, I accidentally used a striped fabric as the background.  And, I've spent about as much time picking things apart and putting them back together as anything else.  I'm doing a lot of "selective cutting", otherwise known as fussy-cutting, to get the stripes to run in the right direction.  So, there's nothing really to show yet except some little pieces that don't make sense on their own.  But, they will by the end of the weekend.  (insert hope here) 

The quilt shop I wanted to go into in Cleveland was closed on my only free day, so I don't have the August fabrics yet.  And, the month is nearly over, so I need to get on that.  But, as things go, that seems so unimportant.  After all, I made the rule that the fabric needed to be bought in the month.  I can break it just as easy.

Being flexible is fun!

Everybody have a great Friday!  Lane


Changing schedules

I finally did pull out some piecing to do on a machine this weekend.  It's the July feathered star block, and it's going to also signify the month we married. 

I haven't gotten far enough to show anything yet.  But, at least it's a start.

Life us changing again.  It does that to me every so often.

I'm trying to get to work earlier.  I got into a late start habit when I was taking Sydney to school last year.  And, I've been slowly working at leaving the house earlier.  Course, now the summer is over, but I don't plan to change my hours and keep dropping her at school.  But, leaving earlier means I don't have as much time to blog in the mornings as I used to.  So, I'm having to change my schedule to try to write blog posts in the evenings.  That, and the fact that I've been hand quilting, which is slow progress hasn't left me much time to blog or much of anything to talk about.

Sydney is working evenings.  So, that means staying up late to go pick her up.  And, no, I'm still not ready for her to drive.  But, I think Rob might be. 

She went to a concert on Saturday.  Just she and a friend.  She had a ball.  It was at a huge coliseum.  It was hard to let them go alone.  But, we did.  We dropped them off and the friend's dad picked them up and brought them home.  It worked out great, but we were up late.  Very late for us.  Like midnight in NYC late.  We don't even stay up that late on new year's.

And, work is different.  My job is not changing the way I asked for it to when my last boss left.  I asked for some reassignment and new challenges.  And, they could still happen, but not till next year at the earliest.  When my temporary boss, who is really several levels above me told me I was not being reassigned, we were at the meeting in Cleveland last week.  One of my peers and another guy from my office were standing there with us.  And, when he told me, I looked at him with a completely straight face and said "That's okay,  I'll go type up my resignation now and email it to you.". My peer took a step back and put his hand on his chest.  The guy from my office blanched and also took a step back.  And, then I cracked a huge smile and clapped my temporary boss on the shoulder and a couple second later, we all laughed.  It was a great moment.  It was also a great way to break the ice between me and the man I've been officially reporting to for the last few weeks.  His next news was that he is hiring a new person and that person will be my new manager.  So, a few weeks until that happens, too.  And, then I get to break another one in.  This one will not likely have any managerial experience.  mwahaha!  "No, my hours have always been 9 to 3, I swear." 

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print.  I can't think of anything else happening.  The air conditioning is repaired and Rob is taking advantage of having it.  We sure could use some rain.

I'll try to post again soon.  Lane


knitting needles + belt buckle + shaving kit + small scissors =

Apparently knife, according to the TSA xray machine. 

I got bag searched coming out of Cleveland the other day.  It was actually funny.  Soon as they moved me to the side and ran my bag through the machine again and the lady that had seen it pointed it out to the man that was going to search my bag, I knew what I had done.  I put all those things in my bag last, and they all got shoved into the same end of the bag so that all those little bits of metal were stacked on top of one another, at approximately the same level.  Rookie traveler mistake.  Always spread things out so they can be seen clearly in the machine.

Anyway, you guys know me.  I was all smiles and politeness, carefully observing every rule of the bag search, talking comfortably to the guy, letting him know that I had nothing to hide and was not nervous about anything he would find. 

In the end, he unpacked my knitting bag, pulling out everything and laying it out for the world to see.  Oh, well.  I'm way beyond being ashamed that I knit.  And, it really didn't seem to bother him one bit.  And, as Rob said, I'm sure he's pulled some embarrassing stuff out of luggage.  And, I'm sure that must be right.  I thanked him and we wished one another a good day, and it was over with a minimum of difficulty and stress for all concerned.  In the end, he confidentially whispered to me, "I don't know what she was looking at.  There's nothing suspicious here."  Another adventure survived, lol. 

The flight home was uneventful.  That's the best kind of flying.  And, when I got home, all was as it should be and the air conditioning was working again and my family was there.  And, even though Sydney didn't even say welcome home or how was your trip when I picked her up that night, preferring instead to text and complain about having to work, all the way home, I knew it was just her being a teenage girl.  Even though it did hurt just a little bit.

I took a couple new pictures of the Dresden Plate Quilt. 

This is what the final border quilting, with the straight line background in it, looks like against the quilted sashing and blocks.  I can only say that I am excessively happy with the results.  I know it's not been very exciting for you guys because progress is so slow and I'm usually working on a half dozen projects at a time.  But, this has been so peaceful this summer.  And, I'm really enjoying it.  But, this weekend, I might need some sewing machine time.  Just me, some fabric, and an electrical machine that does the hard work.  I'd like to try quilting a Linus quilt on the singer 401, now that is' repaired and working good.  But, who knows.  That sounds awful ambitious when it's over a hundred outside.

Everybody have a great Friday and a great Weekend.  I'm off to make a buck and a quarter.  At least it seems that way on payday.



The gift for the one month anniversary...

Must be things going wrong.

Our one month anniversary was August 4. 

That night, I got up in the middle of the night for a drink of water and when I got to the kitchen, I stepped into a puddle.  Oh, not a bad puddle.  Sydney had found it first and put a towel in the kitchen cabinet and another on the floor.  Both of which were soaked.  I don't know why she didn't wake me up.  She doesn't either apparently.  At least she can't verbalize it.  Anyway, the water filter had developed a leak.  So, the next day, I went to the hardware store and picked up a new one and installed it.

Just as I finished, Rob said, there's no ice.  The icemaker had stopped making ice.  Not fixed yet.  You'll know why in a minute.  We're buying bags of ice.

Then, Saturday night, when Rob and I got home from having dinner at the restaurant that Sydney is working at, we walked in and Rob said, it's warm in here.  And, the air conditioning was out.  And, it was 103* out. 


So, Rob called the a/c repairman that does all the work at his office and asked what we should do.  That guy came to our house on Saturday night to try to repair it.  Wasn't that nice?  This guy doesn't even do residential repair, only commercial.  It's nice to know nice people who are willing to help you out in a crisis.

He couldn't fix it, but he loaned us a portable air conditioner that is supposed to cool one room.  Thank GOODNESS!  It's a-freaking 103* out.  Did I mention that? 

It cools the living room, where Sydney is sleeping, and our bedroom.  Which is great!  More than you'd expect it to do . 

We all had to do water changes in our aquariums to take out the warm water and replace it with cooler water from the tap.  And, we've been drinking copious amounts of ice water.  And, we're taking lots of cold showers.  But without air conditioning, the showers are starting to mildew... small price to pay!

But, the portable is working so hard that it fried a breaker.  So, Rob had to go out and replace a breaker in our breaker box, with me standing there with a wood handled broom so I could knock him down if he got shocked (just like my Dad taught me to), repeatedly cautioning him to be careful.  And, when he accidentally removed the wrong breaker and put it back in again,  I said "wasn't that a hot wire?". And, he looked at the master switch and then looked at me and said very seriously "yes, it was" and we laughed.  He was very cautious and practiced the same level of caution when he replaced the right one, except this time we remembered to turn off the master.

So, tomorrow, I leave for Cleveland, leaving the family waiting for  the a/c repairman. 

Oh, well.

It will be repaired before I get back. 

I shudder to think of what this portable a/c is costing me to keep these rooms cool.

Sydney has had her first week of work.  She liked it, except she sure did whine and complain last night about having to go in.  But, that's the life of the career girl, right? 

And, something weird, when she gets off work, she's till in the spirit of being cheerful and happy and talkative at work.  So, for about three minutes, before the WiFi can kick in on her phone, she actually tells me about her day. 

It's like a Culver's miracle. 

My work is still crazy.  No boss yet.  The big boss told me the other day that it might be end of the month. 

That's a long time to float without direction.

Everybody have a great week.  Not sure when I'll get time to blog again.  I'm still just hand quilting, so in a week, I can barely finish enough to show off. 

See ya'



More Hand Quilting

The needle has been flying.  Thread snips everywhere.

If you've ever hand quilted, then you know it's not like that. 

It's slow and steady and you go and go and go until you think one of your pointer fingers is going to actually fall off from being poked with the needle.  And, then, when you've worked at it for a whole day, you sit back and admire the 17 inches of progress you've made.

But, then, at some point, you realize that that 17 inches and the next 17 inches and then 17 more, and you've got a quilt that's over half quilted. 

At some point of the day yesterday, I finished the sashing in this quarter section.  These four blocks and all their sashing are completed. 

Here is a closer up of one of the blocks with the sashing.

And, today, I did the straight line background quilting in one of the border sections. 

It's some pretty intense hand quilting.  A whole lotta stitches.

And, a whole lot more to go. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  Lane