We do it big!

Well, the Thanksgiving holiday is over.  And, today we go back to work.  We all had Wednesday off, so Syd and I cooked and Rob and I ran errands and did a tiny bit of Cmas shopping for one another.  Thursday, it was the heavy lifting cooking.  Slowly, over the years, I've learned to scale it back.  But there's a certain amount of volume that just comes from us all having our traditional favorites.  And, we are good about throwing away very little when it's over.  A little stuffing, a bit of dressing, both wasted because I wanted to make them both.  Sydney's poor pie that didn't quite get done...and wasn't sufficiently stirred so that her slice was bland and mine had all the nutmeg in it.  We ate the rest.  I even hid the rest of the turkey in something that we are going to eat this week.  Sneaky!

On Friday, Syd and I put up the tree.  Rob and I had dinner with a friend and then went out.  We had a wonderful time.  Laughed until our faces hurt.  Next time, we're going to try going out later so Rob can dance.  I could tell he really wanted to, but nobody else was dancing.  My friend doesn't cook, so dinner was quite different from all my cooking we'd been eating.  But, it was all good. 

Saturday, we took the day off from decorating.  I quilted.  Nearly finished the gift quilt I've been working on.  More about that later.  We had Mexican food because that is, like, the antithesis of Turkey and stuffing.  It was delicious!  Our local restaurant might have changed hands or management or something.  None of the old staff is there anymore.  But, the cook must still be there.  She'd been there for 20 years or more and definitely knows her stuff. 

Yesterday, we hung the swag in the living room.  And, I baked cookies and washed dish mountain after cleaning out the fridge.  We had pizza for lunch.  Can you tell how tired my peeps were getting of turkey?  That's why I had to hide it.  Rob and I had breakfast for supper last night...my grandparents always had breakfast for supper on Sunday night, so even that felt kind of traditional.

Parenting an 18 year old is different than parenting a 17 year old.  Very different.  Now, it's time to teach her to have an adult life.  Teach her that people aren't going to be behind her, taking up the slack.  Teach her that just because she doesn't have anything to do, doesn't mean we are going to stay home with her, or entertain her.  It's a bit of tough love.  She's gotten so used to going everywhere with us.  Leaving her home alone on Friday, letting her make her own dinner, and eat it without us, those were hard things to do.  But, they were good things to do, too.  She didn't mind, I don't think.  I think it was just Rob and me that had trouble with it.  I've modeled the things I want her to do.  And done my best to model that change is possible if you want it on things I don't want to do.  Now, it's time for me to model a different behavior; how to have friends and enjoy them, and how to go out and have fun responsibly. 

Those are things she needs to see.  Things she needs to learn.  Just as important as how to do dishes or keep a budget.  And, it's my responsibility to show her what it looks like. 

Now, I need to go walk about six miles... because I might have enjoyed my own cooking a little more than I should have.  Everybody have a good Monday!! 



It wouldn't sing

I bought this kit at a quilt show a couple years ago.  It was one of those "had to have it" purchases.  I knew that even if I never made the quilt, I'd enjoy having the fabrics.  It's also where I learned to open the package and see what you're getting.  But, that's neither here nor there.  I kept it as a kit, knowing one day...one day.

When Rob and I were looking for a project for a gift, this fell off the shelf and he liked it.  We replaced a couple fabrics that he didn't care for.  And, I ironed it and started cutting and making blocks. 

They were so flat.  So little movement.  And, the more blocks I made. the less I liked the quilt.  I even stopped and made some sashing to see if that helped.  But, it didn't.  The blocks are small, 6" finished, so we decided to make more of them.  And, we talked about sunflowers and whether sunflowers are all uniform...or if they have varying shades of gold.  I went to stash and pulled greenish golds and orangeish golds...and, the pattern adapted for me.  Instead of just laying there, it started to have movement.

Next, we bought a border fabric and replaced the greens again...  I know!  What if I just planned ahead??  Well, then it wouldn't be my kind of art... 

I'm really enjoying how it is coming together now...

The news just ran a reminder to take your turkey out.  I just ran and took the turkey out.  It takes one day of thawing for every 4 pounds of bird. 

The other night at dinner, we were talking about whether Rob and I were going out on a date.  Sydney finally piped up.  She said it was like we'd always been this old couple that had been together a long time.  But, now we were like newlyweds on a honeymoon.  And, it is cute...and a little bit creepy.  That seems appropriate for a teen, right? 

Rob keeps reminding me of a commercial from a while back where some kid comes home, thinking his poor parents are already in bed, asleep, on a Friday night...and boring.  But, really, the parents were out on the town... and the wise ass kid was home alone.  It's time for her to be home alone some.  She's a grown up.  It's time for her to get another job, too!

Everybody have a great Monday.  It's Thanksgiving week.  I'm feeling thankful.  Thankful for my little family and our home and the life we live.  For friends and extended family and a job I understand and am good at.  Thankful that I am me, always changing, but somehow, always the same. 




A little Linus love

Now that the studio is all back together and the big Bernina is back in place, I was able to show Linus some love.  I have several tops that I pieced over the summer that need to be quilted and turned in.  This was the first one. 

I really do love this pattern for Linus quilts.  It's easy and fast.  The whole thing is pieced from 2.5" strips and bricks.  It's got a lot of diagonal seams, so is a good one for that method I use to sew diagonal lines, using a post it...sorry, can't remember when I described that.  And, when it was time to quilt, I just did ditch work around the stars.  Simple, and it only took a few hours.  Everything for this quilt came from the "free" pile.  It's all scraps, leftovers, and things that people gave me to use in Linus quilts..   

I still need to bind it.  I want to do a foldover binding because it's easy, but I'm not sure yet.  There are some issues, like I think I didn't leave myself enough fabric on one side. 

The pattern is Barbed Wire from the book Twosey-foursey Quilts by Cathy Wierzbicki.

All is good here.  We laugh.  We laugh a lot.  And, we make mistakes.  Not sure I can say anything better than that. 

Yesterday was my new managers big annual review meeting.  It was the first time I got to sit in one.  Much ado.  But, now it's over.  He and I took a walk to the cafeteria, for a cup of coffee.  Of course, the cafeteria was closed, but we took the chance to just sit at a table, not in an office, and have a chat.  He works in Cleveland, so we won't see one another often and he wanted to make that personal contact.  It was really cool and, while I'm very independent, it made me feel important. 

Okay, that's it for me today.  Everybody have a great...whoa!  is it Wednesday already?



One thing and another

I know that I've been a bad blogger.  Honestly, it's not intentional.  But, so many things have changed.  And, it's taking me more time than I thought to adjust. 

If it's any compensation, I've become a much more fantastic-er husband.  Not that I was any slouch before, but our relationship lacked something that we've found in the last two months.  Something that got lost in the parenting and bill paying and drudging through workdays.  A certain excitement...that electric spark that lets you know your partner is in the room, even when you can't see them. 

Sydney is 18 now.  She doesn't need us the way she used to.  She may want that same attention, and she may go about trying to get it the same way she always has, a.k.a. not turning in her school work until it's very late.  We just aren't paying that much attention to it.  We get a notification about grades, we send it to her.  If it gets too bad, we lock her down like a maximum security prisoner.  If she don't like that, she can turn in her damn homework. 

No arguing.  Leaving Rob and I to focus on one another.  And, it's sappy gross, like an over the top hallmark movie.  And, I LOVE it!

The MIL's visit went swimmingly.  Of course.  She is the easiest houseguest ever.  The only thing we ever argue about is that she will use the same glass to drink water out of all day, emptying it, bringing it to the kitchen, and looking for it next time she is thirsty.  That ain't how water works in the south.  You keep your glass with you all the time.  So, every time she sits it down, I wash it.  "You don't have to go to all that trouble..."  So, I've made it a game.  She tries to hide it from me.  And, I try to find it. 

She was here two days after I left for Cleveland.  I think Rob was a little nervous about hosting without me.  But, they did fine.  Syd stayed on from school on Monday and they went on a driving tour around Austin.  And, Tuesday, I think they lay around and rested for her flight on Weds.  But, they had Mexican food for dinner.  She is a very adventurous eater. 

It was absolutely clear that she does not support gay marriage.  And, she managed to go all week without ever saying even one thing about it, even when Rob told her the story of our two marriages.  WE have her support.  As long as WE are happy. 

I can respect that.  We don't push our position on her.  She doesn't push her position on us.  We all politely keep our damn mouths shut because no discussion of the topic would change anyone's mind about it.  And, we get along famously.  She'd make a great diplomat. 

Work has really picked up.  This conference in Cleveland was the annual meeting for all the people at my job level.  It's always nice to catch up with people.  Familiar faces.  Dinners.  And a little of adults acting like children.  Working with my new boss is going well.  We have very compatible senses of humor.  He is incredibly busy right now, and hasn't really had much time to spend with me, and I keep assuring him, it's okay.  I'm pretty self sufficient anyway, and if I run out of work, I'll be sure to let him know. 

I ran into my previous manager in Cleveland.  She was very happy about how things worked out for me.  She believes this will be a good match for me and will provide some nice challenges.  She shared something with me that most people probably never get to hear about themselves.  She told me my reputation.  As it was passed to her, and as she passed it to my new manager. 

I can be very direct, and that intimidates some people.  But, nobody refuses to work with me, which she seemed to think was kind of remarkable.  It's just the opposite.  People ask to have me on their teams, or to do research for them. 

And, give me the most basic framework of an idea and send me off to create it.  You don't have to give me specific instructions, just answer my questions as I go.  And, what you will get back will be exactly what you wanted...or better.  I think that's the quilter in me; working from a basic idea and fleshing it out into a finished piece.

She said that was her favorite thing about working with me.

Hey, people have worse reputations, right? 

I came out to one of my friends yesterday.  Not as gay, but as a quilter.  But, I didn't call myself a quilter.  I called myself a fiber artist, specializing in quilted art.  And, I showed him pictures of my work, and ribbons.  I get a variety of responses when I talk to non-quilters about quilting and while he clearly has no appreciation for the medium, he loved the art. 

So, now I'm a fiber artist with a studio in my home.  Well ain't that la-dee-da. 

But, I'm still me.  That man quilts!

See ya!  Lane


Too good to use

Who else.  Go ahead and admit it.  Who else has things that are too good to use?  When my Grandmother passed away, they found all these beautiful things.  Because they were too good to use.  Somewhere, there is a satin baby comforter that I received at birth.  I still have it.  And, the lace is still perfect around it.  Because it was too good to use. 

Unfortunately, I tend to do the same.  We were re-doing the dining room and I decided to make some things.  I wanted to end up with a new tablecloth.  But, now that I've got it, we're all afraid to sit at the table for fear we will drip something on it. 

First, we got new curtains. 

Then, we hung a new quilt and put different dishes in the cabinet. 

Then, I made a tablecloth...and placemats.

Isn't that lovely? 

I used the Pfaff 7550 to do the embroidery around the edge.  It took nearly 900 yards of thread.  The table cloth is 60x80.  I used a water soluble embroidery interfacing, and I also used a small, thin hoop to help keep the fabric from folding inward from the tension of the thread.  I washed it and let it partially dry, then hung it.  The embroidery did shrink a bit, but the iron took care of that and brought it back to size and shape.  The base of the tablecloth is a new blue twin sheet.  I searched and searched for something we wanted for a tablecloth and never found it.  Then I stumbled up on the sheet in the perfect color. 

The placemats use fabrics from the quilt.  I used the same templates to draw shapes on the mats and quilted that in, then did a quick foldover binding.  Wash and block and we're ready to go. 

Robs Mom comes this week.  And Syd has her birthday.  18.  Big week for us.  She got a new phone on Saturday.  And, she wants to bake her own cake.  So, that's not going to get easier. 

We spent the weekend cleaning.  Life is good.  Everybody is getting along.  The family working together.  Rob and I getting closer and closer, talking about more and more.  sharing and getting to know one another. 

Life is real good. 

And, having a little color in our formerly brown and yellow dining room is GREAT!

Everybody have a good Monday.