a new toy, a quilting decision, and a Memorial Day pie

I've been looking at a new laptop. Nothing wrong with my old one, but we need to make sure we have one so I can work from home when I need to and that one was getting pretty old. I've shopped and found the specs that were important to me. And I've looked everywhere I could that had a discount. On Friday, I was shopping in office max and they had this one on sale that had everything I wanted and it was less than I could get, even with my employee perks discount. That store was out and could order one, but I don't wait well, so we called around, found one and picked it up on Saturday morning.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon loading software and pictures and music onto it. And, today, I've been putting it through it's paces to learn what I can about the new operating software. Sweet!
I also finally got this top laid out so I could stack it up in rows and get it out of the way. You can see the pattern pretty well, but it will look better when it's sewn together. I didn't like the way the pattern ended around the edges, so I turned some blocks around and formed the circles in the edges and put some unpieced squares in some other places and that stopped any hanging repeats that this pattern would normally have had around the edges.

And, every holiday needs something special. Today, it's apple pie. Yum. Smells so good. Baked it early before the day and the house got hot. While it baked, I did some yardwork and other junk. This afternoon, we're going to see Iron Man 2 at the theater. I think we've all just about said everything we have to say to one another after the weekend.

Oh, and we got Sydney's swimsuit. A two-piece, and the top is like a tank top and the bottom has a little skirt. Too cute and I know she's ready to take it for a test. But, the pools we usually go to are closed right now. So, she'll have to wait until summer camp starts. On Thursday. School's almost out. As usual, swim suit shopping had it's drama and trauma, but overall, this was definitely the best year we've had buying a suit. At least no one cried this year.
Rob ordered Sydney's purple shoes that I posted on Friday from the Converse website. They shipped them to us. They were about what we've been paying in the shoe store.
Take care and have a great Memorial Day holiday if you're in the U.S. and a great Monday to everyone else. Lane


The Greenhouse

Today, I want to show off the Greenhouse Rob built me a couple years back. This was our second try. The lower structure is from the original, but he redesigned the roof for me when we found that the previous slanting roof structure wasn't tall enough. So, when hail went right through that almost flat roof, I asked him to give me more slope and more space to hang things from the ceiling and give them the maximum light. In the winter, you can't get through because we pack it with all the outside potted plants that will fit. We put a heater out here and when the temp is going to drop below freezing, all the plants stay toasty warm. And, every spring, the detritus from that overwintering has to be cleaned out. That's what I did last weekend.



from the back. This is my little plant nursing station where I can put things that I've just potted up or plants that aren't doing very well for one reason or another. It's also where I'm going to store the lawn and leaf refuse bins and my composter, when I get it back into production.

This is what it looks like today inside the fence. Still some more cleaning up to do, but I'm getting there.

And, these are the shoes that Rob designed for Sydney. See, they have her name near the heel. He gave them to her at the dance the other night and she said the other kids thought they were "awesome".

Okay, so that's all that's going on for today. I'm making my list of things I need to pick up over the weekend and I got a really nice set of coupons for JoAnn's, so might have to drift through there for a few minutes. Other than that, I hope to rest and relax. Now that the greenhouse is cleaned up, I might even go out there and sit with coffee and fingerwork early one morning. That should p.o. the mosquitoes, who have gotten used to a regular meal every morning when I go out to water.
Take care and have a great Friday. Lane


More Garden pics and a quilt plan

Well, I didn't have everything together enough to do a VTT post for today. But, I did have some pics from walking through the yard this week. The daylilies are still in full bloom and every day I go out and dead head. I heard from another gardener through one of my posts that not deadheading could be causing some of my conversion to common oranges and yellows. So, every day, I head out with a pail and pull all the spent blooms and any seeds that get started. I also take that chance to pull a few weeds and just have a relaxing sit in the yard when I can.

This daylily is called Pirate's Patch (at least that's what the tag next to it says). Hopefully, my Mom can verify that from this picture. I can see why it would be called that so I hope that's the name.

I don't know the name of the next one. The tag had a sticker that has peeled off. Again, hoping Mom can id it.

And, this is a picture of one I've shown before. It is a Louisiana Green.

On the quilting front, I'm well into the border of the Fancy Quilting sampler. There should be a new pic of it soon. If I get a little stretch of time to just sit and quilt this weekend, I should be able to power through the rest. Then, it's just binding, washing and blocking. I'm ready to be through with that and work on something else.

Hmmm, something else...Becky? You ready?

Indian Orange Peel (you have to say it in a fast whisper, like "Jazz hands")

I found the box it was in, under a chair and have been looking at it, but not spreading it out. But, I think I'm in the mood to work on this long term WIP. I got some of the curves sewn onto the block centers last fall and then I lost my steam and started a Cmas quilt. And, just like I knew would happen, outta sight, outta mind. There's still a lot of work to do. Once the blocks are all assembled, then, I can piece the border sections together and assemble it all into a top. And, then I "get to", or more appropriately "have to" pull all the paper off the back. Not really looking forward to that part. Then, there's the quilting and I am looking forward to that part, especially after my recent success at FMQ.

Oh, well. No way to know how much work it will be until I've done it. And, no way to do it until I start it. "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" says Confucious.

Take care and have a great Thursday. Lane


First trip to NYC

The first time I went to NYC was to visit David. I was there for the weekend. Imagine me, Dallas about the biggest city I'd ever been to. I was on a business trip to Cleveland and the flight was cheaper if I went to the city first, spent the weekend and then flew to Cleve, so I was able to book the flight on the company. I flew in to JFK and then caught the bus to Port Authority. I remember the traffic trying to get through a toll booth. It came from everywhere, like a spider web and funnelled into that one set of booths.

When I got to Port Authority, I took a cab to the candy store where David worked. I thought he had a place for us to stay, but apparently that wasn't working out, so the first thing he did was hand me a phone book that was as big as my suitcase and a map and tell me to find a hotel in the midtown area. Easier to find a hotel than to find a hotel I could afford. From the candy shop, we took the subway to the hotel. I loved the subway. So much to see in just one spot. The whole world passes on the NYC subway.

The next morning, I sat down with the hotel tourist book and found the places I wanted to go, and used the subway map to figure out which trains I had to take to get there. Only once did I make a subway mistake and leave the station and have to use a second token to get back in. The native New Yorkers thought that was hilarious. I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I saw the Egyptian exhibit and then I had a nice lunch in a restaurant that I found along the way, a nice place with table cloths and great home cooking (I'd never be able to find it again) and then I made my way to the Museum of Natural History where I spent the rest of the day and saw Anne Bancroft taking a friend on a tour. Just before closing, saw the planetarium show and then took the subway back to the hotel to meet up with David.

We had dinner and then we went out. Now, the thing about going out to gay clubs, and I don't know if it's the same in other clubs, but everybody is looking for the people having the most fun. Everybody wants to be part of that fun. Well, me being from Texas, we had a lot to talk to people about, especially in the NYC version of a country/western bar. Ha! So, we were very popular and a crowd developed around us everywhere we went. Anyway, we went from club to club until 2 and then we headed back to the hotel. I'll never forget us playing chase in the empty subway stations. Running and laughing. There was no one else in the stations we were at, except I remember one guy standing on the overhead bridge going from one platform to the other. He watched us play. It was like two little kids, laughing hysterically and running everywhere. Like something you'd see in a movie. A young couple having fun. Of course, when we got on the train, there were other people there and we had to behave or we would have gotten kicked off, but while we were in the stations, we were just having fun.

When we got to the hotel, we were locked out of the building. Apparently, the hotel I'd picked was not in the best neighborhood and we had to show our key to get the doorman to let us in.

The rest of the trip was filled with other Museums, most notably the Guggenheim, and off broadway shows in the evenings. David had to work every day and I saw as much of the city as I could. I can remember that I couldn't see anything from the streets. The height of the buildings blocked my view. So, it was me and my map. I still have that map somewhere.

I only made it back to NYC one more time and at that point, David had a tiny apartment above a Chinese restaurant that always smelled like cooking cabbage. I'd love to take Rob to the city and show it to him and let him see it for the first time like I did. Of course, I'm sure it's different now. I went in the early 90's and by 9/11, David had moved to Alabama. I never found the people in the city to be stand off-ish the way that people described them. I tried an experiment and made eye contact with and smiled at everyone I passed and they all made eye contact and smiled back. I also bought my first backpack. Everybody in the city carried a bag full of stuff and there are cabinets in all the stores for you to store them while you shop. Still have that cheap naugahyde (sp?) backpack and still use it sometimes when I'm in the mood. I always get compliments on it and there is no wear at all. Don't know how I got that lucky.

So, that's it for today's Way Back Wednesday and that's it for my posts about David. Rob says we all needed some closure from these posts and I wanted to end on a happy memory. I don't think I was very fair to him on Monday. I only shared the bad stuff, but there was so much fun stuff to that I wanted to share it with you as well. And, this is one of the happiest memories of my life. A memory from the carefree days when I was young and invincible and nothing could hurt me.


I've left you guys hanging on Sydney's friday fest from last week. She had a blast at the waterpark and came back with sunburned cheeks and huge hair from it drying in the wind on the bus ride. We met the bus at the school to take her backpack. I brought fresh underwear in case she'd forgotten. And, Rob brought her a pair of converse shoes that he had designed and had made specially for her with her name on them. She dumped her stuff, changed her shoes and was headed to the dance without even a la-di-dah for us, until I made her come back and give a hug. She enjoyed the dance and when it was over, there we were again to pick her up. Exhausted. She did get to sleep late on Sunday and because I wanted time alone, she didn't have to do all those pesky chores I had planned for her.

This is what it's like to be a parent. Being there. Being inconvenienced. Being unthanked. This is what it's like to be part of a parenting team. This is what it's like to be in a good, strong relationship.

This is our life. Filled with our choices. The good ones, the bad ones and the rediculously funny ones.




I'm sure I am not the only one that has this memory. I'm very young and have just jumped into the water and am deep. I can't see around me, either because I'm afraid to open my eyes or because the water is dark. And, I can't figure out which way is up.

That's how I've been feeling about my conflicting feelings. If I let my sad feelings show, I feel disloyal to the great man that is in my life now. If I don't let my sad feelings show, I feel disloyal to the memories and love from the past.

Fortunately, I have the greatest man in the world now and he knows that I'm having feelings and he isn't in any way threatened by them and is ready for me to let them show. But still, like an itch under the skin, I feel like I'm going to be disloyal to somebody, no matter what I do. Even though that only exists in my head. And, I know it only exists in my head.

So, you wanna know how I survived the water? Well, I thrashed around for a minute and panicked and then I just relaxed and went still. The air in my lungs floated me up toward the surface and then I knew which way to go.

I think being relaxed and still is the best way to figure out which way to go today, too.
Thanks for all your kind words and wishes and thoughts yesterday. When the numbness wears off, I'm going to be sure and read them again.
Oh, and Sara emailed me that she is going to make a kosher version of the breadroll. Sara, I hope you'll share the recipe.
Everyone take care. Wish I was quilting! Lane


When someone dies, we make breadroll.

It's a tradition. It's my tradition.

When I was young, someone died. I'm not sure who. The ladies from the church brought about an acre of food. One of them brought a breadroll. I think it was Mrs. Stimac. Anyway, my Mom got the recipe and we would have breadroll a lot, not just when someone died. Nowadays, I only make it when someone dies, whether I'm taking food to the family or not. The great thing about breadroll is that it makes a ton of food, which is what made it perfect to bring a grieving family. And, breadroll is the perfect comfort food for grieving. That's why, when ever anyone dies, we make breadroll.

The recipe is:
2 loaves of frozen bread dough, thawed and risen
1.5 pound ground beef
1 pound breakfast sausage
.5 pound grated cheddar
assorted italian seasonings, organo, peppers, onions (these are my additions, so just add them in, however much you want to make it yummy.)
1 jar of pasta sauce (that's another of my additions and just leave it sit there until you're ready to eat)

Yesterday, a friend's sister called. Someone I hadn't talked to in about 18 years and left a message that she was calling about her brother, David. I haven't talked to David in about three years. I think we all know what that means. I bought the ingredients for breadroll. But, I contented myself that maybe he was in the hospital. As long as we kept playing phone tag, David could still be alive.

Denial. Yesterday, I waited and waited for the bread dough to rise. It sat on the counter for 7 hours and I had given up. This is never going to rise. I'm going to have to throw it all away. Guess I won't be making breadroll.

David was an addict. Mostly alcohol. His thing was drunk dialing at 1 am. Once he even passed out while we were on the phone. And, he never gave a phone number where I could reach him during the day. Always, he had to call me. But, that didn't work out too well when we had a kid in the house. Last thing I needed was the phone ringing in the middle of the night and waking everybody up. So, I told him he couldn't call our house in the middle of the night anymore. Perfectly reasonable requirement. But, if you've ever known an addict, then you know that any restriction is too much restriction. If I said he couldn't call in the middle of the night, he "heard" that I told him not to call us anymore. Never met an addict that didn't make that kind of a leap. Only they get to have conditions. No one else does.

David's family enabled him. He was definitely the pet and his two sisters were pretty much left to make it on their own, and they were successful, both independent, very worldly. David was none of the above. I didn't see David often over the last 25 years. Sometimes when he was on the wagon and struggling with sobriety, we would get together. Twice when he lived in New York, once we took a vacation together in Atlanta. And, we talked on the phone a few times over the years. Always in the middle of the night. Until I wouldn't let him call then anymore.

Anger. Once the bread has risen, you have to roll it out on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin to as close as you can get to 18"x27"x 1/2", or as large as a good sized garden plot. Don't be disappointed if you can't do this step. It takes the equivalent of several stevedores to actually be able to roll this damn dough out. And, the freaking flour keeps it from sticking to anything... except the rolling pin...so it snaps back like a rubber band as soon as you stand up to rest your aching back. And, then you roll over that big air bubble at the end that pops and poofs a handful of flour in your eyes. Damnit, damnit damnit! Maybe I can use this pin to hammer the dough flat.

I actually found myself thinking that if David was still alive and just sick, maybe I could go and see him. Maybe for the last time. If he was in the hospital, I would do that. Maybe. I hadn't really made any effort to see him, especially in the last 10 years. When Rob and I got together, we each gave up our addicts, no mean task for a "caretaker" that was knee-deep in the needy. David went with that lot. I really didn't make any attempts to contact him after that. I remember that he called about 3 years ago...at midnight, 12:30 and 1. I finally answered because I realized he would just keep calling and told him not to call anymore that night and I'd call him the next day. He didn't call anymore that night. Of course, when I tried the number he gave me, it was "disconnected or no longer in service". Later, I found out that was the night his partner died. Of course, he never mentioned that in the call. I didn't find that out until a few days later.

Bargaining. Next, brown the ground beef and sausage. Add the peppers, onions and seasonings. Cook all that up together and let it drain on paper towels. You want to get all the grease out of this, or it's going to break through the bread dough and everything is going to leak out. When this has cooled, sprinkle it on the rolled out dough. Top with the grated cheese. Roll the whole thing into a log with the seam on the bottom and very gently lift it onto a metal baking pan. I use a round pizza pan and curve the loaf into a circular shape.

David and I only talked once or twice after that. That's when he passed out on the phone. That scared me so bad. The way he was talking that night, I thought he might have taken his life. But, he called a couple months later. That's the way it was with us. I wouldn't hear from him for a year or so, and I'd think he must be gone. Then, out of the blue, he'd call and everything would be okay again.

Depression. Bake the breadroll at 350* for about an hour. Don't use the instructions on the bread dough. I have made that mistake so many times and what you end up with is a hard shell and a stringy, doughy, mushy mess in the middle. If that happens, take a chunk, say half, and roll it in foil and bake at 350 for an unspecified time until the dough in the middle is baked. While this is baking, wash all the dishes in the house. Washing dishes is really good for uninterrupted thinking. Believe me, nobody in my house is coming close enough for me to hand them a dish towel and put them to work while I'm at this most dreaded chore.

David was the first gay person I ever met. Okay, maybe not the first, but the first person that was willing to admit it to others. We met in college. He and his "roommate" (a euphamism, but that's how I was introduced) were living in a garage apartment near the college campus. The roommate and I were taking classes together and he asked me to help him study for a test. Because their place was so near campus, I went there between classes most days after that. The roommate's parents came and got him and took him home because of his party schedule and dismal grades. Of course, I was terribly naive and didn't realize they were doing things my parents wouldn't approve of. They were my first "bohemians". David got me to smoke. He was my first crush, my first affair, my first boyfriend, my first love. Like a firecracker. Hot, but over in a flash, which is why it's such a surprise that we stayed in contact at all after that. We didn't last long. We weren't supposed to. I chose responsibility. He chose a life of running. In his obituary, his family described his life as a very romantic wandering adventure. I happen to know it was anything but that. Sure, he lived in New York, where he slept on other people's couches until they asked him to leave or he found someone else to take him in. Yes, he did travel with the Ringling Bros. circus, but not in one of the rings. He sold junk in the lobby and lived with the ringmaster. But, everywhere he went, responsibility eventually caught up with him and he'd have to move on. Never one place for long. And, then he settled in Alabama. (Who the hell settles in Alabama???) And, he met the love of his life, who he was with for two years and mourned for three.

I never talked to his sister, but I finally looked up his obituary on the internet this morning. He passed away last Monday and his service was last Friday. His sister must have been traveling back home when she called.

Acceptance. When the breadroll is done, slice it in chunks a couple inches thick. Serve the slices on their side, slathered liberally with warmed spaghetti sauce and a salad if you're eating with people. Or, if you prefer to do your grieving alone, just sit and eat slices of this most comforting of all comfort foods (except maybe for real, baked mac and cheese).

I spent all of yesterday trying not to think about what David's death meant to me which means I didn't think of anything else. Where did he fit into my life now. And, to tell the truth, he had his spot. His place was at the beginning. He was the one that showed me how to get from my sheltered life into the world. He introduced me to my first long term partner, who I moved to Austin with. And, even though we were in contact off and on all that time, and even though I'm a little misty eyed while I'm writing this, the reality is that he would not have been happy in the life I chose for myself. Just like all the other friends and lovers through the years. Each taught me something about myself and then moved on, fulfilling the universe's plan and then living their own lives. Each of those lessons made me able to somehow have the relationship I have now. Be the man and the partner and the parent I am now. I thank them all. And, today, I miss them all. And, later today, or tomorrow maybe, I'll find myself so focused on my own life again that those names and faces will recede back to their places in the past. But, just for a little while, I'll feel sad. Because once David was important to me and I was important to him. And, then something better happened. And, that's the way life is.



And then I went here...

Thanks everyone for your thoughts on my drunkard's path. I have been having fun playing with this one. Elizabeth at Such a Sew and Sew sent me here and I got even more ideas. I tried this

And, this
But then I did this
And, that led to this
And, I think I've decided on that. It made me feel excited again. But, you guys like that one with the bubbles so much, I should send it to the Moda Bakeshop.
The Drunkard's path block is sure a versatile one. Now, it's time to start hand piecing. Before the dog mixes up the pieces.


can't decide...







And, that's just what I've laid out this evening. I've moved them so much, I'm worried about stretching the bias.

Jeez, I need to get a life.



There comes a point...

...when you start to worry whether you've slipped over the edge. And, this little wallhanging is mine. The front doesn't show up as well. I used a yellow thread on an olive fabric and thought it would show up better, but really, it disappears and makes the feathers the focal point, which they should be. I may have to hang it under a light, tho. If the light is off to the side, then the feathers really show up. But, today, I'm just showing off how much quilting is really there and you see that best from the back. I am estimating 40-50 hours so far, including ripping out time, of which there has been a good bit.

Yesterday morning, I spent 45 minutes putting in a section and when I cut the thread and turned it over, I realized I must have slid my hand over the top tension adjustment and the bobbin thread just looked laid on the fabric. It didn't have any little dots where the stitches locked. No top tension. So, I spent two hours last night pulling all that out.

And, this morning, I was looking it over and found the spot I filled in first and the rows of echo stitching are way too far apart. The more I quilted, the faster my machine speed got and the faster it got, the more dense my bacground quilting got. And, that first spot really stands out now. I'm going to try to go in and fill in between the rows and will show before and after pics to show how much good this little practice piece has done me.

I've learned that machine speed is the key to all this. I watched Leah Day quilt and thought, she's running that machine too fast and her stitches are too small. And, I really thought that the slower machine speed increased my accuracy. Now, after all these hours of practice, I'm running my machine that fast too and my stitches are tiny. But, my curves are correct now and the density has increased and I can quilt an almost perfect circle. All those are good things.

I can hardly wait to get to the border. I know exactly what I'm going to do and picked up the last of the thread yesterday. At least I hope it's the last of it. It's the last the store had, so I hope it's the last I'll need.


...when you have to let go and let the kid stand or fall on her own. (did I lose you there?) Today, she's going on a field trip to a water park with the school choir. It's funny how worried Rob is. Me, not so much. Either she'll make it or they'll call us to come get her. If she gets in so much trouble that she has to do that, I wonder which one she'll pick to call. Hmmm. Rob is more worried about her having a good time, so he took care of a disposable camera and snacks and money for the dance tonight and making sure she had everything packed in her backpack that she needed. All I did was make sure she got a good breakfast and remind her to take a hair brush. I feel like such a slacker as a parent today. Oh, and I gave her WWDDD as a theme. What Would Dad and Dad Do? Lots of meanings there, one of which is what would we do to have fun. But, the other is what would we do to you if you get in trouble??? Yikes!

She's already planning to sleep late to make up for spending the whole day at the waterpark and then getting off the bus and going to a school dance. Whaaaa! I plan to have her in the yard helping me clean out the greenhouse. Double Whaaaa! We'll have to call the Whaaambulance!


...when you have to eat some crow. Remember I said I lost a follower and thought it was because of one of my posts? Well, she wrote to me this morning and it was an accident and she's back. I guess I shouldn't have thought the worst. I should have assumed it was something like that. And, not only did I get her back, but I got another follower yesterday. Ya'll keep reading and I'll keep telling you what it's like to be a dorky quilter with a kid and a good therapist.


...when you have to get back to work. The boss is on vacation and we'd all love to be slackers around here today, but I know it won't be. I have a ton of work to do and he's going to want to start new projects next week based on the meetings he was at this week. No rest for the weary quilter. Whaaa!



The garden

Remember that old hymn "I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses...and He walks with me and He talks with me..." I can't help but remember that when I'm doing my daily turn in the garden. I try to walk out here every morning, do any deadheading, pull a weed or two, maybe give a little water. It's a very peaceful transition from our quiet morning ritual to my hectic work day. I can't really do too much out there in the evening because the mosquitoes are so bad and I hate to lather myself up with repellant. So, I go out in the mornings when there's still a breeze and some coolness in the air. Apparently mosquitoes don't like that.

I always say that my beds take 10 minutes a day + 2 hours most weekends + 2 weekends a year. And, really, that's about all the time I put into them. So, it has taken a few years to get here. I'm going for an old Southern garden feel, like the old gardens I saw as a kid. Tucked back behind a crumbling mansion behind my grandparents house or that I saw on a country drive when I was a teen. (Did anybody else do that? Gas was cheap and my friends and I would just pick a direction and drive. Were we that desparate for entertainment? Or were our cars our only real private domains?) The kind of house where there was a lot of old broken brickwork and everything looked like it was tilting a little and the paths were not level. That overgrown, untended look. And, that as a goal means I don't have to spend a lot of time at it. I've also managed to create a garden where things poke out, do their thing and then shrink back so something else can take the spotlight. There is always something blooming. Somewhere. But there are only a few really big shows. One of thse shows is the daylily bed and it will continue to bloom like this for about a month and then that part of the show will be over and the purple cannas that are behind them will take over.

This is my "green" daylily. It's such a pale yellow that it looks green...greener than this photo shows anyway and the throat is green. I keep this one off to the side so I don't have to worry about the color changing.

And, John, a British smallholder whose blog I follow at Going Gently took some pictures of his garden from above (of course I can't find them now to link you right to that), so I climbed up on the furniture to take some shots of mine this morning. BTW, when you're picking furniture to climb on, don't pick a glider. I nearly fell and broke my neck!

This is the garden to the right. It hasn't really started yet. These plants are my shade loving late summer bloomers while all the sun-loving plants are sweltering in the heat and dying back. This area used to die back completely in winter, but Sydney and I put in some evergreen plants this year so that won't happen again. That is indeed a mailbox. I have it out there on a 4x4 post and keep a hand trowel, clippers, gloves and a knife in it so I don't have to tromp back to the shed for tools.

And, this is the garden to the left, where all the early spring action takes place. These are my sun-loving plants. The daylilies are in the background and in the foreground is a collection of perennials that will poke out, bloom and then fade behind something else. Each has to compete for its space and time in the spotlight.

Okay, so that's my Garden today.

And, I'm still humming "...and He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am his own...."

Nothing like an old hymn to start a day.

If you're interested in the witty antics of a movie critic and gentleman farmer, then you really should start following John's blog. You never know if he'll be talking about turkey sex or baby chicks or the vege plots. Oh, and he's a big Russell Crowe fan, so prepare to swoon with him.



The power of laughter

I remember the first time I found the power of laughter. I'm going to poke a little fun at my Mom, but I don't think she'll mind. This is something I said to her recently and she laughed when I told her.

Around our house, we've had a hard time with consequences. We weren't really prepared to be parents and we took in the kid with a quick decision. I remember when I called my sister to tell her about Sydney and her first question was "Do you know what you're getting into?" And we did not. We weren't ready to discipline a child in the modern world. Everything that we had learned about parenting was either not recommended for kid's with behavioral problems or it was forbidden to us as guardians (but would be okay if we were parents...what's up with that??? it should be one set of rules for everybody!)

I can look back over the last three years and smile now, but there were times when it just was not funny. But, I always knew one thing for sure. We could never give in or we would never get the compliance we needed in order to be able to build trust with a child who did not trust adults. A child with abandonment issues, who had learned to manipulate the adults around her to work them into a frenzy where they did something they would regret and go to the other extreme trying to make up for it. Oh, boy. Did she know that lesson well.

But that's not the point of my story. When I was a kid, I got in trouble. A lot. I know it's hard to believe, but it's true, so if you're having trouble with a son, remember that he will probably grow out of it...eventually. But I learned that if I could make my Mom laugh, I could get out of just about anything. If I could make her laugh, I could get out of a spanking, or grounding, or doing the dishes. And, I took full advantage of that.

Unfortunately, the fact that I could make her laugh and get myself out of trouble was why I got into so much trouble. I didn't believe in the consequences because I could affect them. With laughter.

Okay, so picture my Mom, sitting in a chair, holding my shoulder in a death grip while she tried to decide what to do with me, giving me a periodic shake to make sure she had my attention. And, I flashed her my most winning smile and kept it up, no matter how hard she tried to be severe until I wore her anger down and eventually made her smile too. I can remember her trying so hard to cover those smiles and keep her stern demeanor on, but eventually it would crack. She would look away and try to compose herself or cover he mouth with her hand. It was like watching the Carol Burnett Show when Tim Conway would do something hilarious and crack the rest of the cast up. I remember it like it was yesterday.

And, I made her miserable after I figured out how to do that. I was out of control. Well, out of control for a 10 year old in the early 70's, which is nothing compared to what we would consider out of control today.

It worked for years. And, I can remember just as clearly when I got to be a teen and it didn't work anymore. But, by then, my Mom had graduated to "I'm going to tell your father when he gets home". Now, my Dad is the most easygoing man in the world and rarely gets angry. (But, when you made him angry, he used to get really angry.) I don't remember ever having my Dad sit me down and discipline me for anything my Mom told him when he got home. I don't know whether she told him and he decided a day of suffering, waiting for him to get home was enough, or whether she decided not to tell him and he never knew about the torment I was putting her through. (again, I use the word torment loosely. I was a really good kid, just not always the kid my parents wanted me to be. compared to some of the stunts my own kid has pulled, I was an angel.)

Still, I grew up okay. Never any severe run-ins with the law. Didn't surrender my life to drugs like so many other kids my age did when they grew up. I had a good sound basis for how to get through life without much trouble. But, remembering how I could get my Mom to soften and knowing that meant I could get away with just about anything turned my resolve to steel. I never give in. If I say do something, you better get it done. If I set an expectation, you better meet it. If you tell me something, it better be the truth and you better mean it. All my parenting has been tinted with the memory that if I gave in, I'd never be able to trust Sydney again. And, whether she realizes it or not, Sydney is going to want me to trust her more and more as she gets older.

And, it has worked. Good grades. And, more importantly, the trouble she gets into is just stupid stuff and usually driven by hormones or failure to realize that she's a big girl and can hurt somebody without even trying. It's good that she learns that early.

So, I know that if I can get you to laugh, I can get away with most anything. But, I'm never going to share that secret with my kid. And, you better not either.

Especially you, Mom.

Take care and have a great Way Back Wednesday. I hope this little tale about the power of laughter reminds you of a time that laughter helped you get out of trouble. And, I hope it doesn't remind you of a time it got you into trouble. Lane


Intimate time

Therapy brings out all kinds of things. Some are easy. Some are funny. Some are hard. But, you learn about yourself. For me, most of therapy happens outside the therapists office; when I'm thinking about something that came up. Something I couldn't understand by myself, but after talking about it and sleeping on it, the answer usually comes to me. Might not be an answer I like, but it's usually clear, even when it takes hearing the same thing over and over for a year to finally sink in.
Everyone needs intimate time. Time with a partner. Time with a child. Time with a close friend. Time spent focused on just one other person.

For a long time, I've been of the opinion that just being together was enough and so I've spent intimate time quilting; focused on something other than the person I'm with. Not out of any meanness, but partly because I can't stay awake when I sit still, and partly because having a kid around meant that time to quilt became much more precious so I tried to squeeze in every second I could.

I remember my paternal grandparents. They were always so busy. Something to do all the time. Even when they sat at the end of the day and watched TV. It was quiet. He in his recliner and she sewing or crocheting in the other chair. Quiet. Peaceful.

I don't remember seeing my parents spend intimate time either. They were both busy as well and by the time my Mom got supper cooked and dishes washed and swept the kitchen floor (yes, there was a time when people swept the kitchen floor every day), got all of us bathed and dressed for bed, there wasn't much time for intimacy because they were both focused on us kids so much. I never really got to see them "together" and just focused on one another.

Now, our little girl is growing up and wanting to spend more and more time focused on her stuff. And, her behavior is getting better, and she's learning to study and read better, and she just doesn't need us as much. And, that leaves us more time for intimacy. But, after she came to live with us, I had to really multi-task to get everything done and I've gotten so good at occupying my time that now I have to re-learn how to have intimate time. Time spent focused on one other person. Time spent separate from my quilting time. Down time when the stresses of work and raising a child and homework aren't all we focus on. Call it date night. Which is going to mean giving up some quilting time. And, that's hard, too.
And, it's going to be hard to find intimate time in a house that focuses on television. Trying to find time that isn't about doing anything in particular. Maybe TV can be on in the background, but intimate time isn't just sitting and watching TV together, either.

So, this is life's next little curve ball. Remembering how to be intimate. I daresay that I will like this one better than some of the other curve balls we've been thrown lately. Having kids is hard work. It's a wonder anybody does it.

Here's a picture of the hand pieced Drunkard's Path quilt. Last night, I cut out another one to have ready for hand work.

But, the next one is going to take longer. I'm going to be doing something else with my evenings for a while. Like getting to know my partner again. And, you know? I'm looking forward to it. To remembering how to have intimate time. Just focused on one other person.

Take care and have a great Tuesday. Quilt as you go. Lane


Flowers and finishes

Oh, my. The weather in Texas is unpredictable. We went into the grocery yesterday morning with sunshine and plans for yard work and came out to dark clouds and spitting rain. And, it did that off and on all day. I'd see the sunshine and before I could get my shoes on, it was raining again. I finally gave up and dusted the sewing room.

But, I did get out to take pics of some of the daylilies. Our daylilies have mostly changed to the common orange and yellow, but the flowers often have unusual shapes left from the parent plants. This is from a couple years neglect in the daylily bed. Last year, I muscled up and dug and divided and this year, it's all paying off. Just look at all those scapes in the background.

These are some yellows and that wilty, curled up look is part of their natural bloom shape.

And, this yellow only has 5 petals on the flower. Every flower. Wierdest thing, but if you look at them, they all seem to have a gap in the petals and I had never counted them until today. but they all look like they have a pair of legs as the missing petal would be the one that faced down (sorry, I didn't turn the picture before I posted it.)

I also finished the drunkard's path quilt and thought I had a pic here to show, but for some reason, it's not showing up, so I'll have to show that tomorrow. And, we made our first $1.76 on ebay. Woohoo! I'm on a roll now. And that was on something that I placed no value on to try as a trial run...hey no need to jump into this thing feet first and lose money. I really didn't expect it to sell at all. Hmmm. I'm looking at my stash now. Wondering if there's a chance to turn some cash there???? Nooooo! I'd rather sell my child!
Hey. There's an idea....
Take care and have a great Monday. Lane


I was very good

Yesterday was almost a bust. After the quilt show was called on account of rain, we sat around glumly. Did a little cleaning, did a good bit of quilting. Rob left in the rain to get Chinese for lunch and came back in the sunshine...what's up with that???
So, here's what I picked to work on. This was a little quilt I pieced a couple years ago. I was making quilts for a charity to sell in a booth and loved how this one was shaping up, so I pieced two. Yesterday, I got it quilted and sewed the last of the binding this morning. I quilted a pattern of overlapping leaves and did a rope and some echoed lines in the border. Cute. Finished. One more UFO bites the dust!

But, I was stir-crazy, so we got out. Went to the quilt store for thread and to enjoy the 3rd Saturday sale on a couple of neutrals and another light batik to add to Rob's collection (that he won't pick a pattern for) and I bought another of those Moda packs of 5" squares. This time in Christmas fabrics. I'm going to cut them for another drunkard's path for the holiday season. I know, I know. Probably not a good quilt pattern name for a holiday quilt, but that pattern is just so perfect for those packs of nickel squares and it shows off the prints very well and I like to keep a finger work project going.

Then, we went to half-price books and Sydney and I competed to see who could buy the most pages. Yes, I won by a mere half inch and yes, those oversize books are quilting books. I got a newer edition of Harriet Hargraves' Heirloom Machine Quilting, a book on 9-patch quilts by Cyndi Hershey, Amish Inspired Quilts with a Piece'o cake twist by Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins, and Sally Collins' book Mastering Precision Piecing. And, I got a book on mourning quilts...okay, I didn't know it was about mourning quilts. It is named Quilts to Soothe the Soul. I was thinking relaxing, not healing, but I'm fascinated by the presentation and intend to read it through.
The other books? Almost everything Emilie Richards ever wrote...hey if she can read my blog, I can read her books. And, everything Jane Austen wrote because I recently saw the movie "Jane Austen Book Club" and now I want to read her books. I know. All "chick" books. Fortunately, Sydney's books are all about magicians, and witches and fairies and ghouls and monsters, so I'll have some variety in my reading.
Today? Chores. Starting with working my ebay account to try to sell some of this junk! I posted my first item last week and got a bid on it. Not trying to get rich, but I have some stuff I don't love anymore that's too good to go to Goodwill. I'm hoping I can learn the secret and move it on to people that will love it again like I did when I got it.
And, life goes on.
Take care and have a great day. Lane


quilter's dliemma

Well, the weather has gone downhill. Rain. Thunder. Lightening. Flood. There's a man with a beard up the street who has laid out the keel of a boat.
So, the outdoor quilt show is cancelled. Even driving through the hill country antiquing is cancelled. Now, I have to pick a project for a plan B.
Do I pull out a top, pin baste it and quilt it up?
Do I keep working on my latest project?

Do I work on my other latest project that I'm taking a break from?

Do I pull out something I haven't worked on in a long time?

Or do I start something new????



This is not a toy.

No kidding. That's the first sentence of the owner's manual. This is not a toy.

And, having cleaned it, oiled it and set the tension, it really isn't. It' makes a great stitch. And, it can be run on AC or DC current. So, if I wanted to, I really could sew in the car. I'd have to solve an issue with the foot. It has a funny foot on it that would not give a good quarter inch seam, but other than that, if I had enough rechargeable batteries, I could do it.

But, alas, even after working on it and giving it a good oiling, it's a pretty loud little machine. So, I'm trying to come up with a baffle that I can put inside to absorb some of the sound. Like a thick potholder or something. You know me, always trying to solve some sewing problem. But, it's a really loud little bugger and I don't think my co-travelers would like not being able to hear the radio while I chain pieced 50 nine-patch units or something like that.
I'm having another problem, too. I know I'm not the only collector of vintage sewing machines. I need bobbins for those machines. I only have one right now. Well, actually, I have a lot of them, but they don't work in the bobbin winder. Some are too long and some are too short and I need them to be just a wee bit over one and one-eighth inch. Or, if any of you have heard of other solutions to the problem of how to wind these long bobbins without using the machine's bobbin winder, that would be welcome information, too. Well, unless your solution is to wind them by hand or something equally labor intensive. I don't think I'm willing to do that. At least I'm not that desparate yet.

And, tomorrow, we're off for a full day of quilt show and antique shopping. Rob said that if we shopped all day, we wouldn't be able to hit all the antique shops in the small town where the quilt show is. So, we're going to focus on the quilts there and take the back roads home so we can shop in some of our favorite small towns where the prices on antiques are lower. Maybe I'll even stumble up on some bobbins. Who knows.
Take care and have a great Friday. See ya round the web. Lane


My Singer handcrank 128

Good morning and welcome to Vintage Thingies Thursday sponsored by my friend Suzanne at Coloradolady.

Today, I'm featuring my Singer Model 128 Hand Crank. I love the bentwood case. The latch on the case is actually a lock, so I had to buy a key, which is hanging on that ribbon so that I don't lose it (my sewing room is notorious for eating small things and spitting them out at the oddest moments).

According to the serial number, she was made in 1913. And, she's been well loved. The decals on her bed are not in the best shape. But, I intend to love her some more, so that doesn't matter to me.

Here is her hand-crank. If she just wasn't so heavy, I could put her in my lap and sew on road trips.

The plate at the end and the back plate were both filthy, but a little 409 cleaner and a lot of elbow grease and I got them clean. But, it took me a while to realize they weren't supposed to be shiny and I'd gotten them as clean as I was going to. She was missing the front slide plate, so I ordered one. But it wouldn't fit with the needle plate, so I ordered one. But it wouldn't fit with the feed dog, so I ordered one. And, including shipping, I've spent as much money replacing parts as I did on the machine. You can see here where the decals on the bed are worn away.

She's been cleaned and scrubbed and has had a lubricating that would be the envy of any machine. She makes a great stitch. Now, it's time to get that quarter inch piecing foot on her and give her a quilt of her own to work on.
She doesn't have a name. Not because I can't think of one. But, because the one I've thought of isn't a very good tribute. Aline (pr. Aleene). That's my maternal grandmother's name and well, she was kind of "cranky"...and this machine is cranky...so, naturally, the mind wanders......
Okay, on to a more serious note. I haven't gotten the chance to do this often, but I want to show you a quilt that someone else made. I've included a link to the top before, but now Patricia has finished it and you just have to see it if you appreciate a beautiful quilt. Here's the link to Patricia's Cottage Garden quilt. She's submitting it for a show and I do so hope she wins!!!
Take care and have a great Vintage Thingies Thursday. Now that you've looked at Patricia's quilt (and I'm sure you have...haven't you?) head on over to Suzanne's and check out all the vintage items that are linked from her post. Lane



When we were kids and played "chase" or "hide-n-go-seek", there was always someone chasing us. If they caught us, then in the next round, we were the chaser. It was always bad to be the chaser. We always wanted to be the chased. Endless rounds of games.

I grew up in a neighborhood with lots of kids. We played and we fought and we turned into "us" and "them". Constant divisions and groupings. Arguments resolved, new arguments started. But, it seemed we spent most of our time chasing one another; on foot or on bikes. Boys against the girls, this side of the street against that one. Then, we'd all end up at one house eating them out of popsicles or Kool-Aid.

I remember playing one day where we were all crowded in the neighbors tool shed. I'm sure it was summer and we were all roasting in there, but it didn't matter. We were having fun (remember fun? that wanton doing of whatever you want to do without feeling guilty for doing that instead of dishes or dusting?) Don't remember the name of the game, but there was a hen and the rest of us were eggs. The eggs each got a color. The wolf stood outside and recited some rhyme that ended with a color and if you were the egg with that color, you had to run out of the shed and across the yard. If you got caught, you were the wolf. I always had a mental image of that game that involved and egg costume with just arms and legs sticking out, like the ham costume in To Kill a Mockingbird.

In all those games, there was always a "safe" spot. I can remember running full steam into the side of the house and hitting it with the flats of my hands and shouting "SAFE!". Or running full tilt for a door until someone's mother shouted "Stop hitting that screen door!" At some point, these games always dissolved into somthing like "No, I was safe! I'm not going to be the wolf. I swear I was safe." and then there would be a division. Sometimes one player would be drummed out of the game for being a bad sport. Sometimes we would divide into groups and a block feud would ensue. And, all over whether we were "safe".

Okay, didn't matter that we were in a neighborhood where everyone knew everyone else and everyone else's kids and their business. While parents didn't discipline one another's kids, I do remember being walked home by a few mothers so my mother could be told what I'd done. A whole time when we were all "safe" and didn't have to be watched over every second that we were outside. A neighborhood where you had to be home by dark and the first mother to call their kids home meant everyone else had may as well start for home because it wouldn't be but a minute until your own mother was calling. And, some of us got in trouble if we had to be called.

Now, as an adult, I often find myself looking for "safe". That place I can run full, head-on into and know that I won't have to do anything unpleasant. I usually think of my sewing room as my safe place where I can retreat and do whatever I need, be it cry or laugh or just sit and stare into the dark. But, lately, I've been trying to find "safe" within myself. Something inside me that I can take with me wherever I am. This must be part of getting older. I'm no longer the warrior threat to the universe that I was when I was in college. You know that invincible feeling of being in control of everything. Now it's much more important to hide than to fight. I've found many ways, some safer than others. But, I still look for ways to get to "safe" and I guess I always will.

In case you hadn't noticed, it's Way Back Wednesday. Take care and have a great one. I'm still working my little fingers to the bone. Take the N-E-Y out of New York and what do you have left? Lane


What's really important?

Yes, that's my beastie mugging for the camera. This was last night at her awards ceremony, where she got an award for A/B honor roll, including an award for maintaining that grade level all year. She's standing next to her best friend, who won the same award. Smart girls. This is important.

And, these are the orange roses she gave me on Sunday. I've been talking about orange roses blooming in our neighborhood and she saw these the other day and remembered me saying that. Funny, she can't always remember to tie her shoes, but she remembered that. This is important.

But she's grating on my last surviving nerve this week with all that hormonal attitude and backtalk. She's about to go on a school field trip to a local water park and we are worried about her ability to handle it. She's been to the pool with the summer camp group and we watched her last night with her friends. She's clumsy. And, she get's over-excited in a crowd of her peers and forgets how to behave. Knowing who she is and not pretending she's anything different is important.

Will we get the call that she's fallen and busted her head open? Will we get the call that she's drowned another kid? Will we get the call to come get her because she's out of control? Or will she go on shooting spree? We worry about her, and that's important.

At some point, we're going to have to let her go into the world and hope that she remembers all the things we taught her. That's important.

But, first we're going to drill her on pool safety and good behavior and not falling in with the wrong crowd and I don't really care how many times she rolls her eyes and storms off and says "I know all this already". We're going to do this for us. And, that's important too.

Because we're the parents and darn it, we get to worry when we want to. And, we get to lecture and frown and threaten and cajole and bribe whenever we want to, too. And, it's important to remember that. We have all the power. And, that's the most important thing of all.

Take care and have a great Tuesday. Lane


The Cinderella quilt and Mother's Day

First off, thanks to the home team for basically letting me do whatever I wanted to do this weekend. They took me out for Barbecue on Saturday night and then did the grocery shopping for me yesterday morning and made me a big breakfast and a big lunch and every time I asked what I needed to do, they sent me away. I also got a Norman Rockwell plate that I'll show one week for VTT and a card from Rob and a dozen roses and a handmade card from the kid. All was well for the man-mom.

That gave me the time to redo this little quilt. This is a Project Linus quilt that was started by someone else, either the girl scouts or a school group. They drew the Cinderella story and I thought it was so cute. But, there was a block that said Dad Died, which is true to the story, but Linus couldn't risk the quilt getting to a child whose Dad had died, so they were going to scrap it. I took it and after a year and a half, I finally got around to fixing it. It was tied and I took those out, took the sandwich apart, drew a dark cloud over the previous words and wrote "sad days" in the block that had little Cindy crying. Then I quilted the heck out of it and machine bound it (my first machine binding ever!) We washed it yesterday and now it's ready to add to the bag of projects to send back to Linus.

I also got time to work on my hand sewing project. All the squares are finished and this is the layout I picked. I have all the rows assembled and am about to start sewing them together. I decided to go with 36 instead of 42 squares and will use four of the remaining squares in the corners after I add the border. Now, I just have to find something for the border.

And, next weekend, Rob has planned an outing for us to an outdoor quilt show in Boerne (pronounced burney), TX. They have the show arranged around the town at all the little stores and on the square and we're going to see how much trouble we can get into.

Hope your Mother's Day or your Man-mom's day or however you celebrated anything special this weekend was as wonderful. Take care and we'll see ya round the www. Lane


This week in review...

First, did you notice that Emilie Richards commented on my blog yesterday? WOW!! Ms Richards, I hope you're checking again today because I wanna say a huge THANKS for taking the time to write to a single reader. But, more than that, Thanks for teaching Noah to quilt. I meant to bring my book so I could quote you exactly, but this part made my heart sing so I'm going to summarize:
Noah said to his father "I thought you said quilting was for sissies."
And, his father replied "Haven't you figured out I'm usually wrong?"

Way to GO!!!

And, I'd love to read a book called Drunkard's Path that cleared things up between Leon and his Dad. I can see your editor's objections to the name, but I think that would be a great way to deal with how they eventually resolve their issues.


And, back to our week, currently in progress.

Yes, the family was glad to see me and the house was clean and the dishes were washed. In fact, after I fixed a quick post flight sandwich last night, I felt free to leave my plate in the sink. I was a tired puppy and the adrenaline burned off pretty quick and I slept like a log.

The $100 poker chips weren't real. If they had been, I'd have cashed that in really quick. They were handed out by the gambling table group during dinner and could only be used to play that night. I'm betting that the person with the most chips at the end of the night won some kind of a prize, but I didn't think to ask anyone that stayed.

The drunkard's path quilt I showed yesterday is only going to be 42 x 4" blocks. That's all that came in the pack of 5" squares. That should finish at 24x28" plus a border, which is a nice size for a quilt that's completely made by hand. I think I'm going to try to get to the shop that offered the pre-cut pack at the quilt show. Maybe they have yardage. And, if not, it will be nice to visit a closer quilt shop than the one in N. Austin. If they don't have it, there's always the internet. It's a Moda fabric after all and those are easier to get than 100wt thread.

I had the courage to get on the scale this morning. It seemed very dangerous, considering that the food, while not very tasty, had plenty of grease (plenty!). No, you don't understand...it was really greasy. Everything. Well, except the powdered egg casserole they served every morning for breakfast (for pete's sake, at least use a spoon and break it up so it looks like real scrambled eggs). There was a lady at the conference this year who was a mere wisp of her former self. She works in our HR department and is getting married and decided to take the pounds off. She's lost 90 so far and wants to lose another 30. I'm so glad I asked her about the weight loss. I have gotten leary of doing that as a loss might be from an illness and a sudden gain, well, once I congratulated a tiny woman on her pregnancy and it was really a life threatening tumor and she couldn't afford treatment. So, I've found it best to steer away unless I know a weight change is intentional. But S.S. was proud to tell me how hard she'd worked and I was inspired. If she can do that, I can lose these last 5 pounds. And, I'm glad to say that despite the access to chocolate and foofy desserts, I didn't gain a bit of weight. My weight has plateau'ed for a while, but I've upped my workout again and that always means I stop losing weight for a while because I'm building the muscle to handle the extra workout. And, I can see that muscle in all the right places, so it's all good.

And, finally, I bid a fond farewell to the follower I lost the day I posted the most romantic story never filmed. I was hoping it was a mistake and that you'd be back, but it's been over a week and I can only assume you're gone for good. I hope it was because you objected to the story and not because you died or something. That would suck. And for everybody else? Thanks for hanging in there with me. It takes a lot for me to tell such a personal story on the blog because I have faced a good amount of criticism in my life about being gay and your comments and encouragement led to a greater confidence in myself. It's true. Quilters care. And, we ROCK!

Take care and have a great Friday. We'll see ya' round the www. Lane


That sense of foreboding...

You know what I mean. A suitcase that was tight as a tick on the way up now has extra room in it. Have I forgotten anything? I've wandered the room three times trying to make sure there's nothing missing.

Yes, today is back to Texas day for me. I mean, I like the people I work with and all. And, for a nice change, the weather in Cleveland has been beautiful. Even the "severe" thunderstorm late last night that was all show and no water was nice. And, the king size bed was big and there were enough pillows. But, it's not the same thing as home. It's not the same thing as my own bed. And, pillows are no substitute for cuddling. I don't know how people that travel all the time do it.

It's the arguing and the teen angst and the colors we picked and the familiar cooking that really make home, right?

Ugh. Speaking of the food, this hotel needs a new cook. It's a nice and expensive hotel built in the middle of nowhere. Like a good idea that was expected to generate development that never came. We drove through about 3 suburbs of Cleveland to get here. One side of the road had the big houses but no yards, the other side of the road was tiny old cracker boxes with huge lots. And, despite the fact that it's spring up here, there's really nothing in bloom. I saw one sad forsythia that is dropping it's flowers and nothing else is up. It's May for cryin' out loud. Can we order some crayons and fix this place up? Please?

But, I've been working on my own bit of color. This is the drunkard's path I've been hand piecing. I don't know what layout I'll eventually use, but this was just kind of tossing them out and I really like the way the upper left is looking. I'm sure the final result will be some kind of overlapping like that. Unfortunately, when I paired the fabrics for blocks, I started with the dark centers, so that's about all I've got pieced. Until I laid it out, I had no idea I'd made so many. And, I also learned that I didn't know how to hand sew, so that's taken some time to learn and to get my stitches to be small enough, and which finger the thimble goes on.

The meetings have been pretty good. Of course, my team didn't win the competition. Apparently where two or more employees of this company are gathered together, there must be a competition. I HATE that. For Pete's sake, isn't there enough competition? We're in a competitive industry, we compete over jobs, we compete for recognition. Why isn't there time to just sit and enjoy one another without someone having to win all the time. Maybe it's a result of being in a competitive industry. No one knows how to just be still, without competing.

I started Emilie Richards' Touching Stars on this trip. Fun book. I'm really liking the characters, but I can already see where the plot is headed. And, it's going to make me uncomfortable. So, there's that tension that I'm predicting as I read every page. But, I'm only about a third of the way through, so I'm sure the tension bubble won't pop until the very end. (Personal note to Emilie...hun, can we get some more books about Helen Henry? She's your best character by far. Although I have to admit that every time I treadle, I think of Eliza Kinkaid.)

Okay, so that's my week in review. No way back Wednesday this week. No VTT this week. I didn't prepare well enough before I left home to have those things ready. But, I have gotten some time to catch up on blogs last night. I gotta tell ya'. We all live exciting lives and don't let anybody tell you different. I'm just glad we found other people who recognize that we're exciting because I'm not so sure the general population would agree. At least the folks I left at the exciting casino night last night didn't think sewing sounded more fun than gambling with a free hundred dollar chip. Me? I'm not hung over. So, today I'll celebrate having enjoyed my own kind of excitement. TV and hand piecing. Heaven.

Take care and have a great Thursday. Lane