6/1/20

Where do we go from here?

Not much to talk about today.  My heart is heavy. 

I've been enjoying the beauty of flowers in my yard, along with a little quilting on the arc quilt and some more granny squares.  But, I've also been watching the news and working hard to keep my head up. 

Like the turtle racing the hare, I've been slowly and steadily quilting arcs.  There are only 2.5 left.  I've kept up with milestones like that, just to keep my sanity, counting off the sections as I knocked them out.  Soon enough, I hope to be on to the free motion part of the process.  That's where the fun begins for me, working outside the lines.  I have a better feel for what I plan to quilt in the open spaces.  A lot of it will be emphasizing the circular shape of the arcs with curves and circles and accents. 


I've spent as much time as possible in the garden, getting ready for the heat of summer and making some changes to the hard scape, like the pillars and pots that I feature along the front of the garden. 

I think this daylily may have come from my friend Lyn.  I don't recognize it.  She gave me several a few years ago that have taken time to grow and bloom.  This may be one of them. 


This one is Charlene's Patio, named for my Aunt.


This grouping includes the garden phlox, just starting to open and a pink daylily that looks familiar, but I don't know the name, and another "green" daylily. 



This beauty is Linda's Angelwing begonia.  I've never had much luck with begonias, but this one has certainly found a happy spot.  I love the yellow centers in the pink blossoms.


I've also been working on the afghan.  I've finished 144 squares and have started to assemble.  I moved blocks around the other day to try to give the afghan color interest.  mixing in the light and bright blocks to give the eye a chance to wander across the surface.  I hope.  This has gone so fast.  When the assembly is finished, I'll add a border and this will be another successful finish.  I'm still fighting with the pink baby afghan I made, so no pics of it yet.  The yarn is "slick" and I can't get the ends to stay buried.  That's likely because I didn't assemble the blocks correctly.  I looked on the internet and found out how I should be joining them before I started joining the squares in the afghan below and it's going much, much better.



Syd's been sick.  A bad case of tonsillitis.  She gets an infection about once a year, but refuses to have her tonsils removed.  I guess I should have insisted when she was younger, but we had so many other things to work on as parents that her tonsils never really made the priority list.  She's been texting us and after the first couple of days, when we realized she didn't likely have coronavirus, we started to relax.  But, we did take her supplies a couple times so she didn't have to get out or call in favors from her roommate.  Last night, she texted that she's feeling better and ate a solid dinner, so she's on the mend.  It's hard to parent and adult when they're sick, finding the right balance of taking care of and letting them be an adult, all while trying not to let her see how worried I was. 

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If you're a racist and you're afraid...good.

What is going on in our country right now can't be a surprise.  When we have a racist leading the government and his racist gang of thug congress people supporting him and all of them pouring salt in wounds, old and new while allowing white haters to walk around with guns and act like uncivilized freaks, we gotta expect that people are going to protest.  The video of the killings of Ahmaud Arbury and George Floyd cannot be tolerated and should not be condoned by anyone, regardless of color because if the haters can kill them, who is next?  And, just like everything else that's happened since the orange toad was elected, the worst of the worst haters are going to pour gasoline on it and try to burn our country down.  Because they hate what the U.S. stands for.  They hate freedom.  They only want superiority.  And, that is over.  It's done.  And, time will not move backward to a time it was true, ever again. 

So, let the orange tit in the white house hide in his bunker.  Let his fear show loud and clear so that all can see that the racist is afraid.  And, along with all the other racists in the world, he should be afraid.  My hope this week is that we can successfully move past these haters and into the future without an armed conflict. 

But, that's a hope and I'm afraid it is not how the rest of 2020 is going to play out.  We shall overcome.  Love will win in the end.  But the battle may be long.

Be well.  Keep your chin up.  Sometimes the struggle is just getting up in the morning and being the best person I can be, setting the best example I can set, and participating in life in my own way. 

Lane

5/25/20

May we remember

Happy Memorial Day!  Memorial Day is usually a day to remember war and heroes.  We've chosen World on Fire on PBS as our Memorial Day war viewing.  It's a very different view of the war, a drama depicting Poland and England in the war.  We're enjoying it very much.

Last week was a blur of getting things done.  I ticked several things off a to-do list and ended up taking Friday off and spending it working around the house.  I love a list.  Sometimes I add things to my list after they're done, just so I can cross them off and get that feeling of accomplishment.  If I don't keep a list then the things I really want to do don't get done because I'm busy doing things that are more fun.  I did a lot of work outside and spent a good bit of time enjoying the garden. 

I love this view.  I round a curve in the path and this stretches out in front of me.  I'm so glad I put that stone path through the garden.  It splits the garden so I can use more medium height plants. 


We had a couple new daylilies bloom. 

The yellows are about done, but plenty of others are putting up scapes. 


My greenhouse is well constructed but it's aging and needs repairs.  We were thinking it would need a new roof because I couldn't see through it, but replacing that roof was not in my budget for this year.  I decided to give cleaning it a try so I bought a cheap mop in the grocery last week and on Friday, I pulled out a ladder and climbed up and started mopping my roof.  I'm sure all the neighbors got a good laugh about the old guy mopping a roof, but I'm pretty sure you'll see why it was worth it.  This is the before... 

And, this is the after...

I had to move plants around because some were going to be in spots that were too sunny under all that clean, including this very happy begonia.  This came from Linda's and I don't know very much about growing Begonias so we've struggled together.  But, I must be doing something right. 



I also did some fun cooking.  One night last week, Rob came home talking about cobbler.  I don't know why, but it was the subject of conversation at work.  That was all I needed and the next day, when I was in the grocery,  I bought enough blackberries to make a boy scout cobbler.  It was heavenly and I'm sure I ate way too much of it. 


And, speaking of unhealthy eating, everybody deserves a chili cheese dog once in a while, right?  I mean, isn't that what eating all those nuts and berries and salads is for?  A little splurge once in a while?


Y'all know we eat healthy most of the time, right?  If not, those are not typical things we eat.  But, we do love them once in a while.

Okay, last picture.  I'm up to 120 blocks completed and another 20 in progress.  I've pulled out several larger balls of yarn and am doing my best to keep up the variety, but there isn't much variety left in that bin of yarn scraps.  Anyway, I'm thinking I need 150 and I think I can manage that without it all looking green.  I also noticed that it doesn't look nearly as bright and cheerful in this picture as in real life.  That might have something to do with the green.  I can't help it.  Green is my favorite color...the more olive shaded the better.  Hopefully a little rearranging will help. 


And, just like that, the week was over.  On Saturday, we had a big shopping day and went to the garden center, Academy for walking shoes, and Michael's for yarn and sidewalk chalk.  It felt like a much bigger day than it probably was, but it was the first time I'd gone anywhere except the grocery or pharmacy since March 16.  Things that wouldn't have bothered me before, like people breaking long lines at the checkout made me very anxious because tempers are so on edge now and just asserting myself could end in who knows what conflict.  But, we got through it and most people were wearing masks.  Oh, and guess who was breaking line?  The ones that weren't wearing masks. 

And a special shout out...I had the best bag person at the grocery last week.  The trip before, I had to stand at the back of the car and re-bag all my groceries.  This time, I didn't have to move anything around.  And, when I was leaving, I thanked her for being so conscientious and made her blush.  She deserved it!

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Last week, I watched body cam footage of an older woman refusing to accept a motor vehicle ticket.  She decided to evade the police, then fight back when he tried to arrest her, and ended up on the ground being tasered.  (What the **** people!?!?)  And, I felt a little bit sorry for her. 

It's easy to see what's going on.  trump is treated as being above the law, so his supporters think they are too.  They get away with threats and intimidation and brandishing firearms in public and feigned outrage and belligerence, all in a death wail to their insistence that they are superior to everyone else based on color or language or money or just old fashioned bigotry. 

We're watching the end of a way of life, and they're not going down without a fight.  Based on what we know of history, they're doomed to eventually submit to the passage of time and the changing people around them.  In my lifetime, I've seen time march on, bringing inevitable change with it.  And, no amount of screaming and gun waving and embarrassment has ever been able to stop it. 

So, on this Memorial Day, while celebrating the heroes of the past, I'm going to also celebrate time and change and the unsung heroes, including healthcare and service industry workers that are keeping the country going right now. 

Everybody have a great week!! 

Lane




5/18/20

May we be true

Another roller-coaster week of working from home.  It's starting to become routine and I will likely have trouble returning to the office.  It's so nice to be able to stick something in the over for dinner or start a load of laundry or water a plant that looks droopy during the middle of the day. 

We had huge thunderstorms a few days ago where we got 4.5" of rain at our house.  It washed all the sidewalk chalk off but the next day, there were fresh inspiring messages for me to find and read. 


On Monday, I was asked to create a personalized mask for a senior for graduation.  On Tuesday morning, I designed the mask and started trying it out on a scrap.  On Wed/Thur mornings, I made the first one and on Thursday night, finished a second for the proud Mom.  Graduation is tomorrow, so I don't have a picture of the graduate in one yet, so I modeled.  It has her name, the year and her school logo.  I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.  I don't have an embroidery machine.  The T was zigzagged with a regular foot, but the other letters are a narrow zigzag using a free motion foot.  I drew with a white ceramic pencil, then embroidered over it using a sheet of white printer paper as the stabilizer. 

 
I haven't been baking sweets since Syd left so I wouldn't just sit around and stress eat sweets.  It worked, but a man can only have so much willpower.  So, on Saturday, I pulled out Linda's mixer and made chocolate chip-pecan cookies. 



They're very good and I have probably eaten more than I should, but not as many as I could.


Sydney was supposed to take her hibiscus(es) with her when she went back home, but she was in such a rush that she didn't, so I'm still babysitting them.  These came off the same plant.  There were multiple salmon colored ones, but only the one red. 

This daylily came from my Mom.  It's called Peaches and I'm going to get a couple bloom scapes off of it this year.  . 


I'm still doing ditch work on the arc quilt   Over the weekend, I finished one section and am about 2/3 through a second and quilted for about 5.5 hours.  Slow, tedious work it is.  But, I've only got a few sections left and then I can start doing some fun free motion work in the black background.  Still not altogether sure what it will be, but it will be something. 

It's hard not to get discouraged.  I made some serious technical errors on the quilt that resulted in some of the problems I had assembling it but didn't recognize at the time.  When quilting, I'm not looking at the forest that is this quilt.  I'm looking at the crooked trees, up close.  And, it's hard to face them, but at this point, there's nothing to be done.  I'm NOT taking it apart and doing it again.  I keep reminding myself that I learned a LOT about making a quilt from the mistakes I made here.  And, I have a new appreciation for well written instructions. 


I went from 25 to 71 granny squares.  I think they look very cheerful set in that black background.  And, I can say that I have made a considerable dent in my bin of small balls of yarn.  I've also gone through a skein of black.  I'll have to decide how I'm going to buy more...I've bought yarn from Amazon before, so that might be my solution.  But, is there a way to buy yarn and support a small struggling business?  I'm going to spend a little time trying to figure that out. 


All in all, it's been a good week of gardening, crafting and baking while still working.  We had thunderstorms the other night just around bedtime and I lay in bed, watching the lightening flashes and listening to the thunder that felt just above us.  It started to hail and I thought about my garden and how rain was good, but maybe we could do without the hail.  Eventually, it quieted down and I drifted off to sleep, only to be woken later in the night when a follow-up came through, but after the thunder, I was off to dreamland again.  And surprisingly, the hail didn't do any damage to the garden. 

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There's a culture war going on.  It's a battle between people that are angry and willing to do or say or intimidate or threaten or lie about anyone or anything to try to maintain what they see as their superiority over everyone that is not just like them and who believe they are empowered to hate by a god, I'm just not sure whether which god.  I've started to realize how the nazi party took over Germany and why Muslims kill non-believers.  Their leaders created hatred and superiority and told them to use threats and intimidation to force everyone in line.  And, end anyone that that refused. 

The power of good suffers setbacks and we're staring down the face of another setback and we can't let it happen. 

The culture war is going to have casualties.  It's going to split families and friendships.  We're all going to have to choose one side or the other and live our lives according to the beliefs that informed that choice.  Sitting on the sideline isn't going to be an option.  The best we can hope for is to keep relationship with our loved ones so that when this is over, we can join hands again and become one people; the citizens of the United Stated of America.  We have to get back to the good that built our country and remind ourselves (and one another) that hate and anger and greed don't get us anywhere except more hate and anger and greed.  And, nobody is stronger than the weakest among us. 

I listened to President Obama's speech to graduates from Saturday and I was reminded of what a real president sounds like.  Someone uplifting and inspiring who drew us close and helped us see the good things we could do.  We need more of that.  We need to end the culture war, then we'll need a time to heal as a nation.  Only then will we be able to move forward and embrace the good that we are capable of. 

I wait eagerly for that time. 

Til then, I crochet!

Lane



5/11/20

May we be strong...

Our neighbor has the right idea, but I'm afraid it might be a little premature. 


Almost there... but I'm afraid we may take some steps back because people got bored and decided to stop being safe.  My employer just let us know that we'd be working from home until at least September.  They've taken some big steps to keep the employees that need to be in the office safe and quite frankly, I'm okay staying home at least as long as the 25% capacity rule is in place.  There just aren't enough restrooms in the building to accommodate only allowing one person in at a time.

And, all this time at home has left me plenty of time to walk around and enjoy the garden...smell the roses, if you will.  Yesterday, I did a plant giveaway.  Rob took several plants to put in the front yard and I put the rest next to the street with a sign that gave the names and minimal growing information, like sun and propagation.  I even met a couple of the neighbors and took one into the back garden to show her the plant she had chosen in bloom. 

This is Jacobenia.  It's taken me a couple years to find the right amount of shade for this plant.  It doesn't tolerate much sun at all.  Its currently in the shadiest part of the greenhouse and blooming up a storm. 


This is this year's pride plant.  It's an Asiatic Lily that I bought in a markdown bag of bulbs at the end of the season last year.  I must have done something right because these have started to open, and just look at them.  Such a deep burgundy that they're almost purple.  And, lots more blooms to come. 


I planted Nasturtiums from seed this year in some empty spaces.  This is the first bloom.  Several of these are doing very well and I'm hoping for some good blooms to help fill in. 


The Echinacea is blooming.  I gave several of these away on Saturday.  And, seedlings just keep popping up. 


I planned this basket early this year, but when I explained it to Rob, he wanted more of a specimen plant in this vintage basket.  The basket sat empty and the plants I hand planted in 10 blue growers pots that fit perfectly in the basket continued to grow and fill in.  So, I put them in the basket and said I'd gladly take them out when we had a good enough specimen.  Til then, I think it's lovely.  There are four ferns, four Aztec grass and two variegated ivy. 


Yesterday, a neighbor hired a Mariachi band for Mother's Day to come over and sing for her Aunts and relatives.  The band was in Austin and it was live streamed to her family in West Texas. I only speak a little more Spanish than I did the last time they hired a band, but I was able to start picking out words that I knew and could follow along with many of the songs.  They all had great voices and were very talented with their instruments, but second from the right had a beautiful voice and sang a sad solo that mesmerized me.  It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and a great break from being at home for the neighbors that attended. 

 
 
I swear I really am a quilter, and I'm making slow and steady progress on the arc quilt.  But that kind of ditch work requires time to very slowly warm up and most days, by time I've done that, my quilting time is over for the day with hardly anything accomplished.  So, I only pick it up when I have the time to really work on it.  I think I spent three hours Saturday morning and another couple yesterday, but because it's all ditch work, the only thing you can see is the mistakes where I got out of the ditch, so nothing to show. 
 
In the evenings, while we watch TV, I'm crocheting.  I finished a pink baby afghan that has a problem and I'm going to have to do some re-work, so not ready to show it.   But, I also started some granny squares for me.  I have a small tub of small balls of leftover yarn.  Scraps from multiple projects.  And, I'm using them to make a replica of the afghan Amy Farrah Fowler had in her apartment on The Big Bang Theory.  I didn't know until I started studying it that it was also the afghan from Roseanne and The Conners.  25 blocks in and I haven't made a dent in the tub of yarn. 
 

Sydney seems to be doing well.  She texted me yesterday to wish me a happy Man-Mom's Day.  I saw her one day last week when I took her some mail and she said they were currently cleaning up the store, but didn't have an expected re-open date.  I need them to re-open.  I need a new non-stick skillet and they always have the one I like at a good price. 

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I'm over politics.  That's my statement for the day.  It's every man person for himself themselves out there.  Please take the steps you feel are important for your personal safety, because we can't count on the government to even give us reliable information.  Stay strong, stay diligent. 

Lane





5/4/20

May the fourth be with you...

Yeah, I went there.  So did our neighbor with the cool yard signs. 


I guess I'm settling into the new normal under stay-at-home.  The days are starting to be meaningful and they're stopped blurring all together.  I was looking at my photos to post today and was able to easily remember which pictures I took since last Monday. 

Last Tuesday was Rob's birthday.  I planned to wait til he went to work, then bake a carrot cake for his birthday and make his favorite dinner for that night as a surprise.  I even got Syd to participate. Then, I was watching TV that night and plotting how and what time I was going to do all that and still work, when I remembered that he works from home on Tuesdays.  So, we had a good laugh about that and the next morning, I got up early and baked. 


The best description of that cake is "sinfully delicious".  Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  So sweet it made my jaws hurt when I ate it.  But, that didn't stop me eating it.  I think he had a nice birthday, even if it was during lockdown and we didn't get to go anywhere to celebrate.

Yesterday, I decided to make an apple cake, but bake it in two loaf pans instead of a tube.  When I peeled and sliced the last three apples that I'd bought before we went into shelter-in-place, I ended up with enough to make two cakes, so I made four loaves.  One goes to Rob's co-worker's family and two went in the freezer and we'll eat the last one.  And, we've gotten hooked on homemade bread.  Even if I'm only using it for a sandwich or morning toast, it's so much better than store bought.  And, the more I make bread, the easier it gets.  I read a news article from a baker last week that was admonishing everyone to stop baking bread.  Her reason?  She was baking bread before us and we were using all the flour so she couldn't bake her bread.  First come, first served was her premise.  It didn't stop me from making more bread.



I always spend time walking in the garden, but now that I'm home all the time, it's gotten even easier to get up for a stretch, take the dogs out in the yard and just walk around, looking.  I'll pull a few weeds or dead head spent flowers and take pictures, then it's back to my desk.

We believe this Iris came from a grower near my parents.  We went there with them and Rob got stung by a bee (he's really allergic) and the grower gave him a plant to make up for it.  We think it was this, but we don't remember for sure. 


These were found blooming last Tuesday; skyflower, the first daylily of the year, blue salvia, and plumbago.  I spent several hours in the yard over the weekend.  It's constantly a new adventure and there's always something to do. 

This is a green daylily.  When my parents were really into daylilies, my Dad was collecting green ones.  He had two and shared one.  There's now a stand in the front yard and one in the back. 


Every day at lunch, I walk the dogs as some exercise.  Here we are, all geared up, waiting to hit the pavement.  Everyone in the neighborhood is still social distancing and we walk past neighbors all the time that are talking from 6' apart.  Everyone speaks and is friendly.  That's always good and welcome. 


Someone is writing on the sidewalks and here are some drawings I saw last week.  This person writes at the intersections of streets, so as we cross, we get to see one on the corner we're leaving and one on the corner we're walking to.  I'm even thinking of buying some sidewalk chalk and getting in on the act.  Not sure what I'd say, but I'm sure I can think of at least three uplifting things to write on the sidewalk in front of the house. 


 We moved Sydney home on Saturday.  I think she was ready, but it still made Rob and me sad to see her go (less sad about her taking that dirty laundry smell home with her).  She will go back to work this week.  They'll need to clear the warehouse, clean the store and sort food to get rid of any that has expired.  I think even she was a bit sad to be going.  She's been lucky that her store has continued to pay its full time workers through all this.  We listened to her talk about work and it sounds like she's got a pretty good gig going there.  I was glad to see that she has an appreciation for that. 

Last week, I got a negative comment on my post.  A reader told me off for getting upset and complaining that a hero grocery bagger that is exposing herself to danger for me, while I sit here in my lovely safe home didn't bag my groceries right.  She said she'd lost all respect for me and that my white privilege was showing.  White privilege is not something I'm proud of, but as I mused on it, I realized that no matter what I do, I have it easier because I'm white and male.  After I got over the way she said it, I was chastised and wanted to thank her for pointing it out because her very snarky comments hurt.  Also, if that's all it took to lose all respect for me, then she must not have had much respect to begin with.  Then, I realized she was a no-reply blogger.  I put myself out there every week, exposing my thoughts to the world and receiving feedback. And, she wouldn't even back her comments up with an email address.  I'm not saying that no reply readers shouldn't comment.  Several of my regular commenters are no reply readers.  But, no reply or not, don't come after me with snarky comments if you're not brave enough to have an actual conversation about it. 

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I am appalled and angry about the sick people that the joke-president is firing up showing up at these protests with their guns.  Talk about white privilege.  I know they want to make us afraid that they'll kill us all with those big guns.  But, honestly, I'm not afraid of them.  If they want to show just exactly how stupid they are and take betsy devos' money to tromp around and shout like banshees, that's their problem.  I hope (okay, not much) that they don't get sick from being in such close quarters.  Because threatening governors and other officials, screaming in the face authority, that ain't what makes America great.  That's what makes America look stupid and disorganized and fragile to the rest of the world.  Showing division like that in a time of what even the orange toad in the white house calls a war is exactly what some dictator is looking for to come try to take us over.  Because if we can't stay focused now, then we won't be focused in a defense against invaders.

So I hope that anyone getting up in a cop's face and endangering them with their hate spittle gets arrested and serves time.  Because from what I hear, there's not much white privilege in prison. 
  
Everyone be well.  This will all get better when we take crazy toad out of power and show people that it doesn't have to be about their hate and anger.  Til then, maybe they'll find some spontaneous combustion.

Lane










4/27/20

I'll have mine with a side of Lysol please

What a crazy week it was...

I'm not even sure what all happened.  I know I thought I was going to have all this extra time during lockdown and that I'd be getting lots of extra things done.  But, it's not working out that way for me.  I took Friday off work, to get a break and spent it at the garden center and the grocery store and then I scrubbed all the hard floors in the house.  I mean really down on my hands and knees scrubbing.  It's amazing how relaxing scrubbing a floor can be. 

I also spent some time with a cookbook, trying to come up with fresh ideas.  I don't normally worry about having something original for dinner, but lately, that's about the only time we come together and I need it to be over a good and interesting meal.  As I looked at the cookbook, I added ingredients to the list...then when I got home, I realized I didn't know which recipes I'd noted that I purchased ingredients for.  But, the feel of a real paper cookbook in my hands was wonderful and comforting and I'm sure I'll enjoy flipping through the cookbook to find them again.  Yesterday, we had Goulash.  I haven't made that in so long!  Everyone enjoyed it and it made a nice change from the complex Sunday lunches I'd been making.  And, it let me spend the morning in the garden, getting things done out there while it was cool.  And, it was nice for Rob and Syd to do the dishes.  (Oh, and to the young woman that bagged my groceries, go find a job you're good at.  I nearly came across that check stand when she shoved my asparagus in the bottom of a bag and dropped a can of beans on top of it.  Less talking, more working!) 

I didn't get nearly as much quilting done last week as I should have, but yesterday afternoon, I finished a pair of socks.  I'm loving these.  Of course, the balls of yarn didn't begin at the same place, so I had to ball up a few yards to get to the right starting place on the second sock.  But, they match!!


This was the weekend I took down the portable greenhouse, which had sat empty since early March and I put all the plants I've potted to share in the "plant hospital" area where I normally put plants to recover from whatever injustice I've done to them.  While I don't need any plants, I went to the garden center on Friday.  I was very good and resisted several plants that needed more sun than my garden offers, but I couldn't find anything I really wanted to add, so I bought plant food and enough coleus to put these two pots together.  I keep these pots in a very sheltered and shady place and coleus works perfect there. 


This Cinco de Mayo rose is a gift that keeps on giving, so I'm going to keep on showing.


And, the oakleaf hydrangea blooms are opening more every day.


I've stopped having any expectations of Sydney and that is helping.  When I want her to do something, instead of waiting for her to volunteer, I just ask her to do it and ignore whatever nonsense objection she tosses out.  And, after I walk away, she gets whatever I asked her to do done.  It's working, but I'm still so ready for her to be back at my own house.  She clearly doesn't want to be here and it shows.  And, I can't change that right now.  So, I'm adapting to it. 

Two weeks ago, work was very stressful.  But, when that commercial came on that advertised my insurance company was giving back to customers, I cried a little.  I did part of the work that made that possible in TX and it made me feel like I was part of something bigger than me and I guess I needed a little of that during these uncertain times.  It was a good feeling. 

Saturday night, we had a socially distanced happy hour with the neighbors.  It was fun to sit out in the driveway and watch people go by and wave and speak.  Next time, they're going to plan ahead and invite more neighbors.  It will be nice to be around more people. 

Everybody have a great week!!!!  Like so many others, I'll be working away and not complaining, because I have work when so many others don't.  Be safe and be well. 

Lane

p.s., you thought I was going to make a political comment, didn't you.  But, we all see the TV news.  You know what's going on and you know the huge lies being told and I don't need to really speak to that.  It's obvious.  L

4/20/20

Still sheltered in place

The days are starting to run together a little.  I find I am less able to tell the days apart.  Last week was one long running crisis...well, the company thought it was a crisis.  I thought it was an opportunity to shine, so I did. 

I'm glad to say that I'm seeing more and more encouraging signs and symbols in the neighborhood.  Below is one of my favorites, but other people are taking advantage of their sidewalk chalk to extend a lot of uplifting messages to the walking neighbors.  When we walked yesterday, we saw lots of neighbors outside, playing with kids, washing cars, visiting and they all spoke and waved and we spoke and waved.  I guess not getting to see many people makes you long to make a connection, no matter how brief, with anybody that we're not living with. 


Rob found this and I enjoyed it so much that I keep sharing it.  It's so me! 


One day last week, I was really feeling stressed, so I took my lunch out to the garden and sat in Linda's chair and enjoyed a bit of sun.  While I was sitting there, this friend came and landed on my leg, then fluttered to the ground, then wafted off on the breeze in search of a flower.  All my stress melted away as I took a couple minutes to watch and enjoy. 


If you're thinking about making home baked bread, I'll warn you, it's easy to get spoiled.  I'm making two loaves every ~10 days and Rob and I are loving it.  It's a lot of work, but the rich creamy taste and texture is very pleasant as toast or a sandwich or just sliced and brought to the table for a meal. 


And, of course, I strolled through the garden, pausing to pull a weed or take a picture every so often.  In Austin, we have a short season when it rains every weekend.  The weekdays are beautiful, but the weekends are damp and chilly.  It's been that way since the 80's and while I know that Mother Nature doesn't do days of week, it's still uncanny that it happens.  (I had a friend with a boat when I was younger and we would get so frustrated when we'd make plans for an outing during the sunny week, then have those plans dashed by weekend rain, several weekends in a row.)

These are pictures of the garden path, as the plants fill in and grow beside it.  It's filling in very nicely back there. 



I've been quilting on the arc quilt.  I'm still playing with thread and learning what works best on the actual quilt. 



I know it doesn't look like much, but that's about three hours quilting, to ditch around the section, then between all the points, and then add the echo.  That echo will be filled with a row of pearls, then more echoing existing lines to fill in some of the blank space.  I suspected that as I worked on the actual quilt, it would tell me what it wanted to be...and sure enough, it has.  I start with just a bit of a plan, and then let my mind wander as I work.  It helps to look at pictures of other beautiful quilts for inspiration, so I joined instagram as a looker, not a poster...yet.

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 (8 hours later and I realized that I went too far and said things in anger that I did not mean, so this has been edited.)

I am appalled at a few of my fellow Americans.  The ignorance and hate and rage that we are seeing on TV is not representative of all of us.  It's a small number that are too stupid to save their own lives.  Of course, the orange toad is egging them on because the last thing he cares about is people. 

I'm not too worried about them.  They are the vocal minority, and I think being the minority is about to backfire on them.  They're going to be the ones that society leaves behind. 

Be well everyone.  Support the mayors and governors that are out there keeping us safe in the face of the orange menace.  They're about to become our warriors and they deserve all the support we can give them.

Lane




4/13/20

Mask maker, mask maker, make me a mask...

When some quilters started making masks for hospitals, I didn't.  I didn't feel like I could make a difference and I didn't feel like a mask I made would be very protective for someone on the front lines of the pandemic.  But, when Rob took his mask to work last Monday, the staff at his office, a Mental Health facility where a small number of clients still have to come to the office and where a small number of staff still need to be there to support them and to mail them their medication, the staff there loved them.  And, expressed that they wish they had one for jobs that were not particularly client facing.  And, while what I could do was just a drop in the bucket for a hospital staff, it was enough to fill a need for a smaller, but still vital medical staff.  So, last Tuesday, I got to work and by last night, I had made 20.  These include the remaking the masks I had made for us because a single layer of fabric wasn't what was recommended.  They'll go with Rob to work today to be handed out to any who want them, less a couple for me and 5 for Rob so he has one for every work day. 

 
I went to the grocery last Thursday, expecting to see everyone in masks.  But, there were fewer people with masks that day than there were the previous Thursday.  And, still a lot of young people buying just one or two day's supplies, meaning they're still going to the store multiple times a week.  Not sure I'm understanding what part of stay at home they're not getting.  Every day, I celebrate my parents and grandparents who taught me to be resourceful and planful in times where those skills are needed. 
 
I also got the baking bug.  I keep reading about people who are filling their time with baking, and while I didn't plan on it, I guess I followed suit.  On Thursday, I baked bread and cookies. 
 

 
And, yesterday, I made sure we had a proper Easter, with eggs and all, including an apple pie.  Here are the before and after of our eggs. 
 

 
And, I spent a lot of time wandering around in the garden, where nature is continuing her work, even while the rest of us are quarantined at home. 
 
The Mr. Lincoln rose put out a bunch of flowers at once. 
 

The Cinco de Mayo rose is still putting out these orange/pink blooms. 


This Gerber Daisy that nearly died last year sent up a flower in the green house. 


This bi-color Iris sent up it's first flower of the year.  I almost said first flower, but I know it bloomed one flower a couple years ago.  It's not been in the right place and this year, it's being moved to a better place.
 

And, the Oakleaf Hydrangea is starting its show.

 
And, like every year, there's more yard work than I can do.  On Saturday, I focused on weeding and pruning.  Most of the weeds aren't really weeds...they're things I'm successfully growing in other parts of the garden and don't want to grow where they've spread to.  So, I pull them up by the roots and plant them in pots to give away.  I have so many pots of things to share that I really need to put them out on the street to give away.  Soon as Rob picks what he wants, the rest can go to the neighbors. 
 
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I lost a follower last week.  Someone I offended with my political rhetoric.  She said I was ugly and sad.  And, while I was polite in my response, I really don't care.  I think every trump supporter should be offended.  They should be offended by his lack of anything approaching intelligence.  They should be offended by his enablers.  They should  be offended by his narcissism.  They should be offended by his nepotism.  But, since they aren't, I'm glad to offend as many as I can.  donald trump is an offense.  He's an offense against the U.S.  He's an offense to all decent human beings.  And anyone that supports him should be first shoved out of the way, and second left to the dustbin of history like the obscure confederate politicians that tried to divide this nation once before. 
 
Until then, their words should be ignored.  Their hate should be ignored.  Their attacks should be ignored.  Until they are silenced by time and decency and love and a desire to help others. 
 
And, that's what I feel and what my blog is going to continue to reflect, whenever I feel the urge.  My only concession will be a line, like the one above.  If you want to read my words, but not my politics, you should stop at the line going forward. 
 
Everybody have a great week.  I can attest that chocolate chip cookies are good for what ails the soul in these lonely times.  Be well.  Stay home if you can.  Wear a mask when you do have to be around people. 
 
Lane