Not a magnificent obsession

Just a note about Magnificent Obsession, it's one of my favorite classic movies.  Yes, it's cheesy and yes it's unrealistic and the acting is very far over the top, but it's one of the first classic movies I saw as an adult and responded to.  An Imitation of Life was the second.  The 1959 one.  With Lana Turner.  But, I've seen at least three versions.  Oh, the drama and personal conflict.

My obsession has become my red sweater.  I've been knitting in the morning.  I've been knitting at noon.  And, I've been knitting in the evening.  This weekend, it rained all weekend.  There was about an hour yesterday morning, when I could go out and walk around.  So, I knitted most ofboth days.  And, I still can't see the end.  I've lost count of my rows, but am not needing the count to keep up with the patterns anymore.  And, I've learned another new way to take mistakes out and re-knit them without taking the whole row out.  Yesterday, I saw the words bind off this row and thought I was nearing the finish line, then I saw "repeat these rows 7 times" in the paragraph before it.  

Right now, it's in it's ugly teenage years and I have to keep reminding myself that it is not blocked.  I remember the last wool sweater I made and how I felt the same way about it and then I blocked it and suddenly everything came together.  I even bought a real garment steamer to make the process easier on this one.  I think the weight of the wool causes the work to stretch down, which makes it look long and thin until it's blocked, but I don't know for sure.  I find myself getting frustrated with it and unable to put it down and I know that's not good.  It just leads to mistakes.  And I probably spent as much time correcting mistakes yesterday as I did knitting, but couldn't stop.  Work will force me to put it away today and that's a good thing.  

I haven't worked on anything quilt related since I finished the baby quilt.  I haven't even cut out the pieces for the next flower block.  But, I feel myself leaning toward working on the black quilt.  I spent so much time thinking on my drive last week and that was one of the things I thought about.  I have my plan for the next step, but I need to unfold the quilt and make it happen.  

Before my yard got so waterlogged that I couldn't walk around, I took a few garden pics.  When people ask me 'how does your garden grow', from now on, I'm going to show them this pic.  This is the most showy plant in my garden and right now, they're on full display, even tho the rain is not doing the flowers any good.  It's a purple/black Asiatic Lily.  I bought a bag of bulbs on half off sale at the hardware store last year.  I must have put them in just the right place.

Gerber daisies up and singing a song.  These should be in more sun, but then, that's true of most of my garden.  That is Turk's cap coming up behind them and it will bloom later in the year.  

And, I wanted to show this balloon flower.  It's another one that puts on a good show.  You can see where it gets its name.  It starts as a white balloon and slowly turns purple, then pops open.  These three are from the same flower, as it developed.  It takes them about 3 days to open.  If I remember right, it has a long bloom period.  

Okay, that's it for me today.  I'm afraid I might start to mold, it's so wet and humid and miserable out.  We're so spoiled to beautiful sunny days and I'm sure I'm not the only person in town that's ready for it to stop raining.  Everybody be good.  Become obsessed with something you love to do today.   Just not too obsessed.




If a picture is worth a thousand words...

Then this post will be worth two pictures.  I don't have many pictures today.

We got the baby quilt delivered last week.  And, we got to spend sometime visiting with the neighbors.  They're new and we haven't spent a lot of time with them. While they didn't know much about quilts, the mom-to-be recognized that it was homemade quickly, and she had an appreciation for that.  

My boss got a new job with the company and his move date will be in a few weeks, so I'll have a new boss soon enough.  A new person to get used to.  Someone else to learn to trust.  But, it's okay.  My 37th anniversary with the company was last Saturday and I can confidently say that in that time, I've probably worked for 40 or so managers.  Some good.  Some not so good.  Some dumb as a rock and some that were brilliant leaders.  It won't take me long to bend a new one to my will.  😆

Just kidding.  Sort of.

People I know at the company are retiring left and right and that's creating a lot of opportunities for younger folks with fresh ideas and thoughts...some good.  Some not so much.  

Fun times ahead.  

I just got back from visiting my family in north Louisiana.  It's unbelievable how different I am than them.  Nearly 40 years in a bigger city have made me more liberal and accepting of the flaws of others.  Most of the time, I kept my thoughts to myself.  But, there were a couple times when I had to stop a conversation because I found it objectionable.  No regrets.  

We ate and we visited and we ate and we visited and we did that over and over,  I heard new stories about my Dad's childhood and a few about my Mom's.  I love those stories and try to remember them.  I hope I can remember the story of my Grandfather bringing home a bicycle and how my Dad and his brother shared it.  How that could have caused trouble between them, but instead taught them a new lesson on sharing, with one peddling and one riding on the back.  This is them, with my Grandmother, I'm going to guess about 1942.  

My Mom sent home a box of new pictures, but I haven't had a chance to get through them all.  There are going to be some more gems like that one there.  So that he doesn't feel left out, this is my Dad with his Father, a few years earlier.  I can almost always pick my Dad out of a childhood pic.  I still see this little baby's face in his face, 86 years later.  

My Dad and Uncle are in the middle of this group, taken at Easter.   I don't know who the other boys are and forgot to ask.  

My Dad talked about how they didn't have anything to speak of, but during the depression, they didn't go hungry and they always had shoes, and about how my Grandfather worked 7 days a week, five in construction and the weekend, at the family farm, working in the vegetable garden, raising food that was shared by many of my Great-Grandparent's children and families.  And, he talked about my two Uncles that were on Normandy beach in WWII and how it changed them for the rest of their lives and how one found a good wife who must have helped him deal with it because he went on to have a family and how one never recovered and had PTSD all the rest of his life.  I'd heard the stories before, but you know how family stories are...each time they're told, there are additional details and they're repeated from different perspectives, focusing on one person or another.  I hope that one day, Syd tells good stories about me and doesn't just focus on how restrictive I was as a parent.  

It was good to get to see them all.  My Sister's freezer went out and they invited all the family over to eat what had thawed, but hadn't gone bad yet.  I have no idea how much they cooked that night, I know that 9 adults and one child only ate part of it.  I'm sure they're going to be eating and sharing the rest of it for a few days.  

I'm just going to put this out there...7 hours in the car is not as easy as it used to be.  Thank goodness I had a good book to listen to.  But my back, knees and hips need two aleve today.  And, you can bet I'll be taking more than one walk around the neighborhood to get all those parts back to normal functioning.  When I got back to Austin, this is what I drove into.  Fortunately, I managed to skirt around it until a couple miles from the house, when it came down in buckets.  I went in the house and played with the dogs and left everything in the car until it had passed.  There was lightening all over in that storm as I got closer and closer.  

Of course, there are obligatory flower pictures.  It's spring and I hope you've come to expect that.  

This is the last Iris to bloom.  It's a little late, but welcome.  This is one I put in a pot to give away, but I kept it for Rob to use in the front beds and then it put up a bloom stalk.    

This is an Africanized Iris.  There will only be a few blooms this year.  Both these Iris froze to the ground in that late hard freeze we had and they've been slow to recover.  

Another green daylily that looks greener than the last bloom that I showed from this plant.  It turns out that my Dad doesn't have one of these anymore, but he was glad that we still had some.  My Mom sent home three new daylilies with me this time and a couple other plants that I'll be getting ready to put in the yard this weekend.  

That's it for me today.  Extended family and stories and flowers were what made up my last week.  There was happy and there was sad and there was silly and there was mad, and all of that is what family is made up of.  These are the people that have known me all my life.  They've nurtured me and influenced me and frustrated me.  But, even as we grow older, there's a bond that I don't want to break over things as silly as politics and religion, and so we keep being happy and sad and silly and mad together, just like we always have.  I remember family get togethers from when I was a child.  Listening to the old stories and the new day-to-day happenings of my Aunt's and Uncle's lives.  And, I recognize that when we all got together at my Sister's house, that's what we did too.  Laughing and talking over one another.  Hugging and sharing and loving one another.  History may not repeat itself exactly, but it does reflect itself from one generation to another.  

Everybody have a great week.  Hug someone you love.  Be careful and enjoy what you do.  



A baby quilt finish

 I got the baby quilt finished yesterday afternoon.  On Saturday, I picked out the border quilting and put something else in.  Those straight lines around the quilt were not very soft and comforting.  We also spent a lot of time in the yard (no surprise) and we just had a nice weekend.  I heard from Syd on Man-mom's day yesterday and while I missed my Mom the times I tried to call, I am going to see them this weekend, so that hopefully makes up for it.  

We saw the soon to be Dad yesterday, but it's been a few days since I saw Mom.  Last time Rob saw her, she confessed that the "new" had worn off pregnancy for her and she was ready to be done.  

After we took these pics, I had to pick a big thread knot out of the center back of the quilt that I can vaguely remember happening on the machine, but I didn't notice until we had it outside, taking pictures. Rob found another mistake in a corner after that, but hopefully, we got them all.  It takes two sometimes.

Usually, when I quilt a quilt with this wind pattern, I like to quilt the border in straight lines.  Usually, the border is nice and wide, and I can get several rows of quilting in.  That way, the border is as densely quilted as the center and will usually be enough to make the quilt lay flat.  Not so on this one.  I only got two lines of quiltng in and that meant the border was "larger" than the rest of the quilt and it was about as flat as a potato chip.  I picked that out and put in a round of little flowers.  They were nice.  

But, they weren't enough.  So, I started outlining them, and that's when they became perfect.  

The sweater continues to grow.  I took Friday as a mental health day and spent a lot of the day knitting.  It's very relaxing most of the time.  At one point, I took it outside and knitted on the deck, under my sun hat, listening to a book.  Taking multiple rows of knitting out at one time is not hard, but you do have a lot of yarn ends to keep up with and I took out three rows last week and wasn't paying attention to all that yarn and ended up making a really large knot that took about an hour to untangle.  Poop!  No new pics.  Nothing spectacular has happened since the last pic.  The shoulders continue to gently slope, but I can tell I'm nearing the top of the shoulders where I should be decreasing significantly as I narrow down the neck.  It's very cumbersome and I'm not sure I'm a fan of knitting a whole sweater as one piece.  It seems a lot easier to knit it in four pieces and then put them together, but don't quote me on that.  Let's wait til I finish this sweater to decide which method I like best.  

Of course, it's spring, so there are garden pics.  

Yellow daylily.  I love these.  I have some in the back, but Rob has them on the front corner of the house, where they get a LOT more sun and they're covered with scapes and will be blooming soon.  

This is a "green" daylily.  My dad liked these and collected some and shared with me.  Not sure if he and my Mom have any of them left.  

These are a very plain orange, but with a nice throat.  These didn't like being dug up and divided so they didn't bloom for me last year, but they're back with gusto this year.  

And, a few other flowers.  The first Shasta daisy, the first Nasturtium, the echinacea getting ready to explode and a close up of that orange daylily.  

The garden is so thick and lush.  I wanted it to be full of flowers and interest and I've got that now.  Each bit of interest fades and something new comes up.  This weekend, I pinched back the oxalis because it has gotten too hot for it, but it doesn't fade into the background.  It's one of the few plants that I pinch back when it starts to fade so the ground covers behind it can shine through.  I also had to thin the violets.  I think I'm going to have to be more careful where I let the violets grow because they're everywhere, and planted so thick it's hard to get them out by the roots and they will smother a perennial trying to come up.  I did a plant giveaway this weekend.  Things I had pulled out of the yard like weeds and stuck in pots.  I heard several people walking by while Rob was out front, telling him they'd picked up something to take home.  

Everybody have a great week.  I probably won't blog next Monday.  Look for me on Tuesday, tho.  

Do the things you want to do and be the change you want to be.  



Still moving forward.

Sometimes, moving forward is all there is.  It can't all be about fame, fortune and glory.  Sometimes, there's gotta be a workday or a nap day when there's no excitement.  Otherwise, life would be exhausting.

I did a little work on a lot of things last week.  I worked on the appliqué flower block, but all I got was the freezer paper templates cut out and ironed to the fabric and then traced around.  I only got one piece of fabric actually cut out.  I spent most of my time trying to move the sweater forward.  It's been a case of do a little, take out a little.  I finally figured out that I can take out more than one row at a time while loading it back on the needle.  That's a real timesaver.  It's not that I'm a bad knitter, but the instructions are very complicated and and there are a lot of individual patterns to keep up with as well as the overall weater pattern. I lose track, or think I'm doing the right thing and it takes a couple of rows to discover that I'm not.  Anyway, the sleeves are attached and I'm decreasing for the neck and shoulders.  

I also took a few hours on Saturday and Sunday to quilt the baby quilt.  I still need to go back and fill in some largish spaces that I created as I went and tie the knots, but then it will be ready to bind and wash and give away.   They're due the end of May and I'm going to finish just in time.  I quilted it with the wind pattern.  I've done that enough now.  It's time to come up with something different.  I love that pattern for all over quilting, but I don't want it to become my signature.  

We had a lot of rain last week.  April showers didn't happen until the last few days of the month.   On Saturday afternoon, it rained buckets.  But, I still managed to walk around and keep the dead flowers plucked and pull a few weeds.  This Siberian iris bloomed.  I didn't even know I had any Siberians left, but apparently, that little clump that hasn't bloomed...maybe ever has put up one bloom this year.  May this be the first of many years.  I love purple iris.  There's one last yellow in bloom and this purple and that should be it for the iris this year.  April is Iris month, May is for daylilies and they're putting out scapes all over.  

The blue salvia is also in bloom. This is the. most aggressive plant I know. It reproduces by both root and seed and containing it is my biggest chore.  I pull it up by the roots any place I don't want it to grow or it would take over the whole garden and the yard.  What I pull, I put in a pot of dirt to give away.  In two days, it recovers and is ready to share.  I have quite a little collection in back to put out for the neighbors.  When I give plants away, I always write up a description and for these, I always tell how aggressive they are.  Beware of anyone giving away a lot of any one plant.  That means something about plant hardiness.   (sorry, took a short break.  Rob opened the front door and a bird that was on the wreath flew in.  That'll wake you up quick!). 

In other news, last Wednesday was Rob's birthday.  Syd and her bf came over and we had Rob's favorite meal and a lot of laughs.  I tried to go all out, matching the tablecloth to the dishes and putting food in actual serving bowls instead of 'serve yourself from the pot on the stove'.   We had a good time, right up until I cut the birthday cake.  It was sooooo dry.  Even the cream cheese frosting couldn't make it right.  It was pretty, tho.  It's the second cake I made from my cooking for two cookbook.  It's the second bad cake I've made in a really long time.  I don't think I'll be using that cookbook for their cake recipes.  

I needed a cake win, so I baked a cake mix that I had in the pantry.  I baked it in three 6" pans.  Two were regular cake pans and the third was a deep springform pan.  I put about twice as much batter in the deep pan and baked them all.  The deep one is thick enough to cut in half and make another two layer cake.  I think I've hit on the solution to cake leftovers.  I stopped backing cakes because I end up eating cake for a week.  A 6" cake is gone in three days.  Yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  Simple and very tasty.