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. 


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


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.

 (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.



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. 
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. 


Life in the pandemic week 3...or is it 4?

It's week 4.  But, I had to look it up on a calendar.  That seems so long ago. 

It's been so rainy that there hasn't been any garden work, so I spent the weekend indoors, mostly sewing.  On Saturday morning, I was quilting the 30's repro quilt and thinking about how much I needed to get started on the arc quilt and how I don't know what to quilt in it and I suddenly realized I was letting the not knowing intimidate me, even though there's a ton of ditch work that needs to be done and that will probably help me figure out how to quilt the open spaces and I needed to man up and get that one pin basted.  That's done and I am ready to begin...even if "begin" is just make the final choice on thread.

But, yesterday, I had something else to do.  Rob is still going to work 4 days a week and I occasionally go to the grocery, and we needed masks.  I went to the grocery last Thursday, the day before the mask announcement and I was one of the very few people not wearing one, so I decided to make some out of fun fabrics because why shouldn't taking care of ourselves be fun?  There are some for Rob and some for his boss and one for me and Syd.  The fit great and they look great!  I took a pattern off the net and customized it to make it simpler and pumped 10 out yesterday. 

I took last Thursday off.  I'm finding that I both need and deserve some time away from work, although I spent a good chunk of Thursday answering emails from a frantic leader who has given me a task that's far above my pay grade.  Not sure if she's happy with my work and have decided that she's been happy with the work I've been doing and she will be happy with the work do and if she's not happy now, then I just need to wait it out.  I'm doing the absolute best I can to be both assertive (which she wants more of and I don't have more of it right now...and even if I did, I wouldn't be comfortable using it on people two or three levels above me) and fun.  I also know her to be a bit of a micro-manager and am doing a great job of responding to that by acknowledging her concerns and offering to be available anytime she wants to talk.  So far, she hasn't called.  And I haven't changed my fun and assertive tone.  Anyway, I have digressed.  I took part of Thursday to finish the chair.  It came out beautiful!  I did take the front apart and take out as much of that scalloped front edge as I could and it was three times as much effort to put it back together as it was the first time.  The dark spot in the upper right corner is a dent where it sat on a box while I was tacking the dust cover to the bottom.  It hasn't come out yet.  I might need to take my stiletto and poke around in there to fluff up the padding.  But, I'm gonna give it some more time before I go all pokey on the new fabric. 

Even though I couldn't work in the garden, I did get out there and walk around as much as I could.  Of course, I took pictures. 

There are more yellow bearded iris

And, this Cinco de Mayo rose is starting to bloom

And, these violets finally dried up enough to show their blooms

There were groceries on the shelves on Thursday, so I felt comfortable releasing enough rations to give the people a good Sunday dinner.  I made a roast with carrots and potatoes and a yummy gravy and a mixture of broccoli and cauliflower that Syd surprised me by asking how I made it...she hates cauliflower.  And, an angel food loaf with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.  We definitely all enjoyed it and when lunch was over, Rob and Syd did the dishes and they sent me back to make more masks.  I didn't get any of my chores done, so today, will be watering plants inside and in the greenhouse. 

Syd and I are having the same old issues about the same old things that we had when she lived here before.  And, quite frankly, I'm over it.  We get along so much better when we're not living together and I'm good with that.  My only goal is to get through this without ruining the good relationship that we built after she moved out.  Even if it kills her. 

Okay, maybe thinking of her demise is not appropriate.  But, I dare you to live with her and not feel the same. 

I keep watching my country stumble under unforgiveable ineptitude.  It's good to see some governors taking control and taking care of their citizens.  It would be so much better if they weren't having to deal with the orange toad in the white house standing in the way and making it obvious that he cares more for his money than us.  I cannot wait until he is gone...no matter how that happens. 

Everybody have a great week!  I'll be doing things that are above my pay grade and I will be smiling and I will be courageous and I will feel empathy and grief for the families losing loved ones.  The pandemic's got me feeling all kind of feelings all at the same time.  It's important to remember that this is not normal (yet) and not to let it get away from me.  Chin up.  Be kind.  And, remember to laugh whenever possible.