Tuesday, December 30, 2008

First and always, the rose. This marks 7 Tuesdays - give or take a Tuesday or two - before my beloved & I are reunited.

It's been awhile since I last wrote. Why, I don't know. There were periods of intense longing for my beloved....there were periods of feeling so very much alone....and there were periods when I just wasn't feeling well.

I remember the self-advice of counting one's blessings. I find it amusing how we can offer such sage advice to others, but neglect to take one's own advice. My blessings which I have neglected to remember.....

* A husband who God gave me to be my soul mate, my friend, my lover, my husband....

* A mother-in-law who is more than a mom-in-law. Though she lost her husband just mere months ago, she has shown great fortitude, strength and love.

* Two visits from ladies whom I knew only through emails. Email is a wonderous invention.

* The gift of sewing - and seeing quilts emerge from pieces of fabric

*The ability to cry over movies that touch the heart

*Knowing my sister who struggles every day - yet, continues on and still loves no matter what and finds joy in the little things

*A brother who calls me frequently just to talk - even though Email is a wonderous invention!

* Two grown children whom we both are very proud - and their spouses - not to mention the wonderful grandchildren they provided to their parents

*A very strange winter in Ohio - with temperatures in the 40s

* Parents who are still with us....

I know if I sat here long enough, the list would continue to grow.

Counting one's blessings is a powerful tool to combat the blues. No doubt about it. Try it. It works.

I quilt


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Only 9 Days Until Christmas

Always first up - the 16th of December rose. This one fairly shouted Merry Christmas with springs of Christmas sprigs. Oh yes.... And my beloved - thank you.

Today was a fairly nice day - even if it did start off a little rocky. Fell asleep around 10:30pm & woke up promptly at 1:30am. No problem. I can handle those wake up calls with the best of them....unless I.cannot.get.back.to.sleep. Yes, indeed. I couldn't get back to sleep. After 30 minutes of tossing & turning (much to the delight of kitty cat Faith who thought it was a marvelous game of find-the-feet-and-attack), I gave up and actually did some sewing for 3 hours. By 5am, I was wonderfully tired. I slept until 8:30am. Alas, my body wasn't too cooperative at this interrupted sleep business and a headache attached itself until well after 10am.

I had pizza with our son at lunch. That's always nice even if he DID have 3 days of pizza prior to mom's invite. Now - that's the epitome of politeness. Dewey's pizza - in my book, easily in the top ten of favorite pizza places.

My next move was to take sis out for some shopping. Mind you, there's a weather alert going on. Freezing rains and some snow. I'm not one to believe much in weather forecast. However, when we ventured outside to go to the car and found the sidewalks to be one gigantic ice rink, I conceded that perhaps this time the weather forecast is correct.

So now I will happily reheat my 2 pieces of leftover pizza - turn on the DVD player to check out a movie from NetFlix and perhaps even do a little more sewing.

But in closing ...here's a marvelous YouTube video that says it all for me....Christmas with a capital C.....

In the meantime, I'm back to quilting.

Oh yes....I quilt.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Chess Tournament Reflections.....

...before reflecting, I've been remiss in not posting for awhile. Life's ups and downs perhaps....and there was the momentary oh-my-gosh-another-weekend-tournament-I-have-to-deal-with panic. The bright spot in my life is the weekly rose from Riley...and his wonderful messages that accompany the rose. This is the 9 December rose...and each message is a warm hug. Riley - how you manage to be so romantic thousands of miles away in Iraq is ...well, words cannot describe - other than, I love you.

Now - on to the reflections of a weekend chess tournament.

It was a small tournament - 14 in all. God provided an even number of players in the 2 small sections. At 10:15am, I was starting to have these doubts (sorry, God - but it's the truth) about the uneven number of players in the top rated section. And in walks a young man whose rating is quite high. What a gift!

I still have these doubts about running a chess tournament. I don't read the chess rule book like I should (I think I'd rather watch paint dry) .... and so I am unprepared for life's little challenges when two players come up to talk to the tournament director (which is ME - and I really do have to stop looking behind me to see who they're talking to). But! on the positive side....I am getting quite good at looking up the rule that applies to situations.

Riley stood by via Skype or telephone and helped me through the very last round in the top rated section...and with bated breath, I had the pairings ready early. No complaints...everyone was happy. I really need NOT to be surprised when all goes well. I should meet those situations with confidence and poise. I.should.do.that.soon.

What I find most interesting are the little stories that invariably happen during these tournaments.

One father & I talked for over 30 minutes on raising children....and found his child raising stories humorous and worthy of publishing. And this same man, I made a grave mistake in the last tournament which affected his son. The fact he returned with his son was a testimony to God only. Forgiveness is powerful.

Another story - his son drew with a master. For those of you who are unfamiliar with chess terms.... each chess player who plays in rated chess tournaments ends up with a chess rating. Please don't ask me how they get these ratings .... Lord knows I've tried to understand it, but it just doesn't seem to penetrate. At any rate, the afore mentioned young man who walked in at 10:15am on Saturday to play in the tournament has a rating of 2227. Oh yes, that is a very good rating (grin). The aforementioned son of the father - he's rated 1443. The son drew with the 2227 rated master.

Another story. Just when I think I have had enough with these weekend tournaments (and no, there is no sane reason why I get to this 'I've-had-enough-of-this mood), a parent of a chess player - or the chess player himself (or herself) will walk up to the counter and say with all sincerity "thank you for having this tournament". This happened not once this tournament - but from three separate individuals. God at work again.

Another story. Friday evening I discovered I was low on coffee cups. Horrors - chess players without their coffee. No time to run to Sam's Club - so I pondered aloud that a trip to the grocery store would have to take place early on Saturday before I opened the chess club. To the rescue - a chess player tells me not to worry and drops by a supply of coffee cups on Saturday morning.

So there is much to learn about chess. Not chess-the-game per se - but about the stories behind the chess. I never had the dream of becoming a chess tournament director - not by a long shot - it was born of necessity while dear husband is away in Iraq. Chess has been a powerful life enriching experience I never thought possible. When I think I've experienced it all, God says - oh no, you haven't even experienced my power yet....here's another experience for you.

I have learned so many things since Riley has been gone.....

...the power of admitting a mistake was made & the art of attempting to correct it

...finding out listening skills are vital

...there are people who really do want to see the Dayton Chess Club succeed

...chess players are some of the kindest, smartest and caring people you'd ever want to know

...trust God to work this all out....after all, He didn't lead us to buy the building in the first place if He didn't have a plan for us.

I know there are many more things ....but right now, God gives me what I need at the time when I need it. Can't ask for anything more, could I?

And in between being the chess queen, I quilt.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Story of the Hand Therapy

First things first....2 December 2008 rose from DH. 11 Tuesdays to go before we are together again. Oh yes!

Now - the story of the hand therapy. Let me tell you one thing to always keep in mind: Doctors do not have a clue as to what is done in their therapy clinic. In the event you have not kept up to date on my extremely fascinating life, I learned my sore arm was due to a case of tendonitis. I refused a cortisone shot in his office....something about extreme pain for all of ten seconds (make that agonizing pain) for relief of maybe a week or so just doesn't make sense to me. So he offers something called "sonic therapy" and to go across the hall and make an appointment to come back for treatment.

I make the appointment for the following Monday. I showed up at the clinic 5 minutes ahead of schedule...finally was ushered into the sacred hall of pain about 45 minutes later. Ironically, there's a sign next to the 'greeting window' that reads "If you arrive 15 minutes past your appointment time, we may have to reschedule your appointment". Gave me much to ponder. So... I meet Sheila, my hand therapist. Sweet lady. I let her measure my wrists - loves my bracelets - we chat. Then a nice warming towel for 10 minutes....ah, I'm beginning to feel like I'm at a spa. I look around, I read a little and then Sheila returns. Okay - so now it's hand exercises. Oh yeah - I can do these. Two minutes later, I'm in agony.

But wait - there's more. I ask Sheila about the "sonic therapy". She gets this puzzled look on her face (not a good sign) and then brightens. "Oh yes - we've found that it really isn't beneficial...so we're going the patch route".

Oh yes - the patch route. She walks away - returns with what looks like a butterfly shaped bandaid. A very large butterfly shaped bandaid. She then proceeds to tell me that the medicine I picked up @ the pharmacy has been applied to the bandaid .... good so far. And she pats that huge bandaid patch on my arm. So far, so good. Then attaches a tiny little oval shaped apparatus on top. "This will feel like little needle pricks - you'll hardly feel it. It'll stay on for 3 minutes ..and it has its own timer". Good so far. One minute into the 'therapy' and the intensity of the "little needle pricks" increases...and increases...and increases. Holy smokes - if these are "little" pricks", Lord help me if I have to have the big guns. By the time the 3 minutes were up, I was mentally kicking myself for refusing the cortisone shot. Finally, the little oval thing is removed....that's a good thing.

I'm told to remove the bandaid patch in about 2 hours. Okay - that's do-able. I make a quick stop at WalMart - and now I'm feeling a little under the weather. Stomach starts to roll & pitch and a nice little headache starts. Surely not connected to this bandaid patch. I manage to check out ..... thinking that if it really gets bad, I'll open up the bottle of wine I bought and chug it done - and to heck with the consequences of being stopped by the police. This is not good. I make it home.....and by now, I'm feeling terrible. Head is pounding - stomach has decided to to stop with the rolling & pitching - let's just kick it up a couple hundred notches - let's jump up and down and sideways. This.is.really.not.good. I look at my watch....ah, get this bandaid thing off NOW.

I tug slightly. Resistance. I tug a little more. Resistance. Okay - I can do this. I pull hard and it finally comes off - along with every bit of hair on my arm where the patch was. Super glue folks take note - you really need to get with this manufacturer of this patch. Your super glue has nothing on this adhesive on this patch.

So now it's been over 24 hours since therapy....have done the hand exercises twice so far .... 2nd time not as bad as the first. I return to the therapy clinic on Friday. Today is Wednesday.

I should have gone for the cortisone shot.

One of these days....I quilt.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Awesome Restaurant - Feedback Works!

This is the story of what customer service SHOULD be about....

Our chess club is a couple doors down from Spaghetti Warehouse - located at 36 W. 5th Street, Dayton OH. My sister helps me out frequently during the club's open hours (not to mention all the cleaning she does during the club's closed times) .... and of course, we tend to get hungry at odd moments (every 37 seconds in my estimation).

This evening sis walked down to the restaurant - and got her usual soup-and-salad. Now mind you - this is the same thing she always orders - carryout or dining in. Soup and salad has always been accompanied with a loaf of their wonderful sourdough bread. When she got the order, she looked inside the bag and commented "I'm sorry - but the bread wasn't included". Conversation went somewhat like this:

"It doesn't come with the bread".
"But I've always ordered soup and salad and there's always bread with it"
"You must have been mistaken - it never has come with bread"
"I know what I've ordered and the soup and salad always comes with the bread"
"You're mistaken - someone made a mistake and it never comes with the bread"

Needless to say, one unhappy sister comes back - minus the bread. She decides to walk back to the restaurant - and brings back the menu. Entrees include bread - so perhaps soup & salad isn't an entree....worth pondering. But still...dozens of time, bread was included.

Ah - there's a little line on the carryout menu..."Please tell us about your dining experience at www.meatballs.com".....

Perfect. However - probably a waste of time.

I did so - filling out the form - complete with home address & cell phone number.

Ten minutes later, Kevin from Spaghetti Warehouse calls - apologizing profusely. Sister returns to restaurant....and comes back with not one loaf of bread - but FOUR. Count them - FOUR loaves of bread.

Kevin - Spaghetti Warehouse - THUMBS UP on the absolute BEST customer service I have ever seen exhibited.

If there's a Spaghetti Warehouse close to you - try it out.... Can't guarantee you'll leave with four loaves of bread - but they sure do know what it takes to keep their customers here in Dayton Ohio.

Kudos - thumbs up - 4 stars to Spaghetti Warehouse.


Monday, November 17, 2008

More Blogs to Share

Having suffered through the past couple of days with a miserable head cold - you know that awful stuffy, I-am-so-miserable-I-could-just-sleep-forever-but-can't head colds.... No? Trust me - it's an ailment you can go through your whole life without experiencing. Where was I....

Oh yes - now that I'm at the tail end of this miserable head cold - or body cold is more like it - I decided to catch up on my blog readings. I have been reacquainted with a few more blogs I'd like to share:

http://www.lifeasachristianwoman.com/ I've only read a few of Ms Williams' posts...but I've not read a blog of her that didn't hit home. Her latest one was right on target....we cannot change reality. As my dear husband Riley loves to say "it is what it is". How true. How true.

http://blissfullydomestic.com/ Okay, so it's a little busy site. But gotta love how organized this writer is...or maybe writers are? Lots and lots of great ideas here.....but beware - you.must.have.time.to.read!

http://www.purlbee.com/but-what-is-the-purl-bee/ Oh yes - when I grow up, I want to be an accomplished knitter...something a little more ambitious than dishcloths (even though I'm extremely accomplished with dishcloths....)

What a great jumping-off blog to other sites....marvelous, marvelous, marvelous!

And more to come....

But in the meantime.....

How can you not laugh????

In the meantime....I quilt.


Friday, November 14, 2008

My Favorite Blogs....

Not that I suspect or expect anyone to be glued to "Angel45402's View of Life" (other than a curtsey to my DH), but the idea of changing templates every so often is sooo appealing. Are there rules to this blogging? I suppose only if you have followers....(big grin).

I have been an ardent follower of 20-30 blogs now...and I have to say, I'm in awe of most of them. Some I read just for the sheer joy of rolling on the floor in laughter - and disbelief. Some I read and marvel over the writing...marvelous, clear & concise.

Here are a few of my favorites.....

http://quiltdad.blogspot.com/ I love this post...a man who write as well as he quilts .....beautifully!

http://daharadreaming.com/blog/ Okay - so this one smacks of nepotism - Dahara Dreaming is my daughter - and very talented - some of the stuff she finds on other blogs are not quite my taste - but I enjoy reading her assessments.....

http://knittingbunny.blogspot.com/ ... oh my this woman can KNIT

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/ and then there's this wonderful cooking blog. If she can get me motivated to cook again, then she's top notch in my book!

Son also has a blog - that'll be on my NEXT favorite blog post since I cannot seem to locate it right this moment....

And when I'm not blogging, I quilt.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Another Wednesday.....

Today's picture is my Tuesday's rose from my beloved Riley. Beautiful, is it not?

And today is Wednesday. The morning started out wonderfully mundane. Woke up - did 2 loads of laundry - walked for 30 minutes while the laundry spun around merrily in the dryers (ah the joy of not owning a washer and dryer...NOT) - took a shower - planned out my day of errands and then promptly felt the most horrendous stomach cramps ever. Remember the 1979 movie "Alien" and the creature that popped out of the guy's stomach....? That movie should have never ever been released...it will haunt me to the end of my days. At any rate, I think you have a very graphic photo in your head by now....and I'm glad I could share it.

The rest of the day was spent in bed - errands be darned - and ate nothing but toast and drank tea. Whatever it was is almost gone - but it has drained the life out of this body and has left behind a low grade headache that would really like its body to be able to lay down again - but alas, it is Wednesday and it is Chess Club night and it is 6:20pm and so here I am...at the club with one chess club member dutifully studying chess moves in a book.

Ah - but before I left to open up the club, the rose reminded me of how much I am loved & treasured. That is a very very good thing.... and I am truly blessed.

And if you will note - I have said not one word about the results of the Presidential election....

And when I feel better....I quilt.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Passing It On...

How many times have you received a really neat email that allows you to post your likes, your dislikes, your favorite movie of all time....??? I love these little "glimpses" of one's life. And then comes the clincher....send this on to ten of your favorite people...

Ten people.

My mind boggles.

I don't really know ten people.

I have come to the realization that I know ten people ...maybe even thirty or forty or more. But ten people I could send this nifty little email on and ask them to post their preferences..... No, I honestly cannot think of even one person to pass on this really nifty 'tell all' listing.

I don't know if I should find this disturbing or reassuring. Disturbing because I don't have a list of ten people I can automatically pass on these emails to. Reassuring because I am comfortable with not knowing ten people I could pass it on to.

I may be disturbed about my reassurance state.

I like being alone. There. I said it. I love my husband Riley dearly and I miss him while he's away. I like being comfortable in our quietness together - he reading the latest news on his laptop, me sewing away on piecing a quilt. He is comfortable in a crowd of people. I'm comfortable watching him in a crowd of people. Two halves make a whole ... and God knew His stuff when he put us together.

So - when you receive one of these emails that ask you pass it on to ten other people, know that I am happy I'm one of your ten people That makes me smile. But know that I don't have the ability to do the same.....nor do I feel the compulsion to find ten people to pass it on to.

I quilt.

Life of a Cat....

No doubt about it....cats have it made. What other animal can wake you up at 3:30am and feel absolutely no shame about it. Food bowl is filled - plenty of water - kitty litter box clean .... Nope, it's just a matter of "hey, I was lonely and I think it's time you got your rear in gear and play with me".

Kitty gymnastics usually start around 3:30am - and then will escalate into gentle patting on the face with a paw or two.....and by 5:30am, there's the full scale, cat face in my face and purring as such that I swear could only come from a small lion. There is indeed nothing like waking up eyeball-to-eyeball with a cat. It'll take years off your life - trust me.

But I'll take this companion over a dog anytime. She greets me affectionately even if I'm gone for five minutes to throw a garbage bag down the chute in the hallway. Within seconds of moving from one place to another, she's right behind me....and settles in until I move on to another area in the apartment.

Nothing like a cat....they're definitely in charge of the world.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Story of the Rose

Everyone has a story. Some stories will make you weep. Some stories will make you sing with joy. Some stories are better left unwritten or unspoken. This story will probably only touch the heart if you're like me - the lady who cries over the old Hallmark card commercials.

This is simply....the story of the rose.

On 27 July 2008, my beloved Riley & I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. Yes, there is indeed an account written of our 37th. On the day before he was to leave to go back to Iraq, he disappeared for several hours. No explanation before or after other than "I have something to take care of". Sometimes it is better to just leave things as they are.

On the first Tuesday after his departure, there was a knock on the apartment door. I opened the door to find myself facing a middle aged gentleman who held out a single red rose in a vase and with my answer "Yes" to his question "Are you Sharon?", I found myself holding the vase - befuddled and confused. I read the note twice..... "24 Tuesdays left! This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Love, RileyD, nwJ". In the event you are wondering what "nwJ" means....simply nothing without Jesus. As to the scripture....this is the one we would say in unison as one of us would drop off the other at work. Every. Single. Day. Monday. thru. Friday. Until the day I retired.

On the second Tuesday after my beloved's departure, a single rose in a vase was once again delivered. The note read "23 Tuesdays left! You are my life mate, my wife, my love. Love RileyD, nwJ".

And every Tuesday, this has been going on...a single rose in a vase.

Now comes the TRUE story of the rose.

Riley had disappeared for that period of time on the day before he left to visit Ed Smith Florist....a florist we had used for many years. His quest was a simple one - how much to have a single rose delivered to his wife every Tuesday until he was reunited with his wife. The lady replied "30 dollars, sir". Riley, the ever conservative, said "is there a way I could have this done a little cheaper - maybe $20 per week? I have enough here to do that". Now "here" meant, his spending money I had put aside in an envelope since he left for Iraq. Yes, even at our mature age, we are on a budget and we allow each other $50 every two weeks for spending money. The woman said she would have to call her husband who was working at the base. After getting her husband on the phone, she held the phone out to Riley - he wanted to talk to Riley about his request. Riley then explained he was heading back to Iraq tomorrow and was there any way they could possibly deliver a rose to his wife every Tuesday for $20.00. That was the most he could afford with money in hand. This wonderful gentlemen then told Riley they would do this for him for $10 a week and God bless him for protecting our country. Now, I might not have gotten this entirely correct - but the essence was captured properly - of that I am sure.

The story of the rose.

And so it goes. Today is Tuesday...."16 Tuesdays left! Once again, love blooms new as we separate. Love, RileyD, nwJ".

Praise God for putting this man into my life - and putting me in his life.

We are truly blessed.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just Thoughts

Today at 6pm, I will be hugging my beloved once again before he flies back to Iraq.

This time - it's a little harder to say 'see you soon' than it was in July when he was home. Perhaps because his dad isn't with us any longer - or perhaps because we just enjoyed being together so much.

We saw a touching movie "Fireproof" yesterday. This is a movie that every married couple should see - or anyone thinking of getting married. Yes, it's a faith-based movie and it carries a beautiful message of what marriage is meant to be.

This movie gave me pause to think about love. Love transcends all - and if there's always love in thought, word & deed, how could we not succeed ? No one said it would ever be easy. You'll always face someone or something that demands more love than you think you could ever give....but if it's there, deeply cemented within, the more you give - the more you'll be filled with it. I see now that my beloved husband has a love that's firmly fixed within...no doubt about it. It's love that enables you to see things from a different perspective. Love enables you to see things a little clearer. It's acceptance - it's understanding - and it's patience. Love isn't just a feeling .... it's something much stronger.
Go see "Fireproof". See if it moves you as much as it did me.
And yes - the photo is of my beloved & me on our 37th wedding anniversary.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

On To a Better Life

On Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 6:30am, my cell phone rang. I knew in my heart this wasn't going to be an ordinary call. No "good" calls come early in the morning. Indeed, this call was not a good one. It was my mother-in-law. It's time to try to get Riley, my beloved husband, home from Iraq as soon as possible. The hospice nurse believed dad had less than 48 hours left.

Red Cross was contacted by 7am - information relayed as best I knew. A call was placed to Riley's unit - Riley was contacted and the cell phone was ringing off and on for the next five hours. Riley's stateside company was called .... phones were buzzing all over the world to get Riley on a plane home. I decided I would leave early Friday morning. That plan was quickly cancelled. At 4:30pm, the call came through from one of Riley's brothers. Dad was gone. By 5pm, our son & I were on our way to Wellington, with a quick stop in a suburb of Columbus to our daughter's & son-in-law's home. Daughter quickly packed up her things....jumped in the car with me, son-in-law followed with their daughter in their car.

The drive up there was somber - yet, we recalled a few humorous dad/grandpa incidents. Riley was on his way home - not knowing his dad had already passed. Sobering thought.

The night was spent with phone calls - lots of phone calls and people stopping by. Around noon, my cell phone rang - it was Riley. He had made it to the Chicago airport - next stop was Cleveland. All I could do was to say quietly, "Dad is gone". There aren't too many words that one can say that will have such an impact. The man who taught you so many things about how to work with others is gone. The man who you loved so very much is gone. The man who has been your father for your entire life is gone. The man who worried more about mom being taken care of more than his own pain - is gone.

And I am filled with emotion. My dearly beloved husband is home again - yet, not for the reason I ever thought would happen. Yes, our dad has been ill for quite some time. Emphysema is a taker of lives - just as bad as cancer devastates one's life. But I knew in my heart that dad wouldn't go as quickly as others believed. We had such a scare almost two years ago. We quickly gathered up and drove to see him in the hospital. And yet - a year later, he was with us. One year turned into 14 months - then 15 months....and finally, no more time.

Visitation times have been set for Sunday - 12 October 2008 from 2-5pm. The service is set for Monday, 13 October 2008 at 11am.

Yes, dad is gone. But the memory of him will never be gone. He has left behind a legacy not many can ever boast of. The friends he has left behind aren't just friends - they're family. I believe there's not a single soul who hasn't met Claude & Docie Louise Driver for the first time that didn't leave feeling they have become part of the Driver family. Yes, it will be very hard for mom to carry on without him. But her strength will pull her through this - along with the incredible group of people who are simply "family". What a legacy.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Traveling Around...

On the 30th of October, my sister & I went to the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Now there's a drive for you. Yahoo directions took us through scenic Ohio, then Indiana and then Kentucky...or was it Kentucky, Indiana and back through Kentucky? It seemed like a very, very long trip - a scenic one though.

It's a beautiful place - very clean, very well done. A little pricey ($23 for adults.... but children under 5 gain free access - but I imagine they have to be with their parents....!) And to the right of the building is the botanical garden.

We were there for perhaps three hours or more - saw everything that was to be seen - including the bookstore and a great 22 minute film entitled "Men In White". Film presented a good case for creation vs evolution. It was shown in a reality theater. Never having the pleasure of being in a reality theater before, I was quite startled when the seats moved when thunder on the screen rolled - and when it rained on screen, we were spritzed with water. Have to admit, that does wake up one a bit.

Bookstore prices - well, as with all museums - pricey. Very pricey. Sis bought 2 postcards....wise decision. I walked away with zero purchases.

I have more photos of the museum on my webshot page.....which were painstakingly put in chronological order .... until I uploaded them. Darn.

More photos of the museum.....

The drive home was challenging....winding our way back to Dayton through rush hour traffic and of course, the never ending road construction. Timing is everything.

Looking back, I enjoyed the museum. While there is no doubt in my mind that indeed God created this beautiful world, I wanted to see the efforts of this museum. I thought it to be a little overkill for believers ... but for those sitting on the fence, I couldn't imagine anyone walking away without falling a little to the believing side - if not all the way. Well done.

I haven't been sewing too much lately - so I need to get back to the sewing table and finish a lovely quilt I started about a month ago. A dear friend supplied the pattern and sent me a lovely quilt for Christmas last year from the same pattern.

I quilt!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Now a Quilting Knitter Potter?????

Today was my first day of pottery class. Seriously one of the most hilarious days of my life. There are five of us - four females and one male - who left early to cut up trees felled by the wrath of Ike. After checking out the beautiful pottery made by other students, I was given a bag of twenty-five pounds of clay and given my first assignment.

Ah this looks so easy. First piece of art - make a "pinch pot" - which is, roll the clay - stick your thumb in and gently round it out until it comes a nice little bowl. Uh huh. That certainly is easy enough. After building a pot that collapsed on itself three time & thereby smooshing it back into a ball three times, I found it takes PATIENCE to slowly round it out. Finally, I got it. I was so pleased with myself. Never mind the lady on the other side of me just finished a BUST of Frank Lloyd Wright and the lady across the room is working on a bas relief of some Greek goddesss and the other one is making a free form serving dish with leaf inprints - I made a honest to goodness bowl. It sat up pretty - it wasn't going to collapse anytime soon - and frankly, I thought it to be a pretty hot stuff bowl. Until the instructor strolls over over and says - now next week you can add some really cool stuff to it. ADD STUFF TO IT? Is he out of this mind? I have a perfectly good bowl here. It's a work of art. It screams elegance. My right thumb has never been so sore and it took 20 minutes to dig out the clay from my engagement ring - never mind what was under my nails. Is that what they call 'suffering artists'????

Next I get to do a coil pot - once I find something to add to my perfect bowl so it will make the instructor happy. I'm thinking I can roll a piece of the clay, call it a snake and slap it on the bowl or something.

Will I go back next week? You bet I will. I have to find a way to use up twenty-five pounds of this stuff... I need to whip up some elegant coffee cups, a few leaf embossed serving trays and maybe a bust or two of Teddy Roosevelt.

Maybe one day I can write "I am a Potter" ..... not to be confused with Harry.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Not Goodbye - See you Later.....


Yesterday I drove to Columbus, all of 85 miles away from Dayton, to pick up daughter, son-in-law and grand daughter. From there, son #2 drove us to Wellington, another 92 miles away. It is there we saw my father-in-law, daughter's grandfather, grand daughter's great grandfather.

My father-in-law is simply 'dad'. I've been blessed to have three fathers - my heavenly Father, my dad and my husband's dad.

And now my dad will soon be leaving us to move to a much better place. He's been in pain for awhile now as a result of a medication he's been on for years that has rendered his bones very brittle. He bent over one day and ended up with multiple fractures in his back.

I didn't see this frail man lying in the hospital bed in the living room. Instead, I saw the man my husband referrred to privately as "the little stallion" - a name his dad's coworkers called him many times. This is the man who worked hard all his life in construction - mostly bridges. My husband once told me his dad was laid off once and one of the kids got sick and he bartered with the doctor: carpentry for medical care. Money was very tight. He vowed he would never be laid off again - and he kept that promise.

Every time we would take a drive and see a bridge in construction, my dear husband would comment "Dad would love to see this bridge". He passed on to his oldest son the skill of working with people. This skill has served my husband well in his current job in Iraq.

The day before we left, I decided it was time to make dad a prayer quilt. There's a wonderful story behind this quilt. I belong to an online quilting club called "Quilters Who Care" ....and indeed, they do. One of the ladies came up with a database - one can sign up to make a 6 1/2" square with a heart (appliqued or paper pieced), heart on cream-on-cream. I immediately signed up. Anyone can offer up the name of one of the ladies who was having a hard time - whether it be a family problem, loss of a friend - or in my case, my husband leaving for Iraq. Within a month of Riley leaving, 6 1/2" square blocks came in - thirteen of them. Twelve of them made it into dad's small prayer quilt.

I posted to the group a thanks to the ladies who sent in a heart ....and the replies were heart warming. Indeed, these are quilters who very much care.

I'll be driving up once a week to see dad and mom...for as long as dad is with us. He's ready to go anytime - and I have the faith he'll be dancing with the angels soon. It won't be goodbye - but see you later, dad....where we can have lots of laughs when we meet again.

I quilt.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Journey to another Quilt....

There are times when a quilt comes together quicker than anticipated. No stutters or stops or what-if-I-do-that pondering. The young man's preferences were simple...His mom wrote "blue and green, trucks, bull dozers, tractors, trains and loves dirt"....ah the stuff 3 year olds are made of.

Three themed fabrics and a sky blue blender and I was all set to go.

Pieces cut....

and then the blocks start to grow.....

And the quilt somehow magically comes together.....

The backing & the label (alas, not easy to pick up digitally)

And finally the pocket prayer quilt....2 brass frogs attached...
This has to be the journey of miracles. Just enough fabric to complete it and finished it in three days. God's hand was on this quilt....and I felt His presence with me the entire time.

I quilt.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Cat Stuff

Meet once again, Faith.
This is her "I wasn't on the table, honest, and I sure didn't eat your cornflakes" look. But then, it could be mistaken for her "You think I would actually knock YOUR African Violet off the window ledge???" look. Then again, it could be the "oh for pete's sake - I didn't touch your tv remote" look.

You got to hand it to cats. They're typically aloof - independent - will let you know if they want to be touched - and pretty much fuss free....

Until....this cat.

Aloof? Living with me just about a week now, I could only wish. Independent? I think not.. not when she bounces up and down on my chest while I'm trying to read and won't stop until I get up to fill her food dish. How much can one tiny cat eat, anyway???? Fuss free? Try not cleaning out the litter box for 6 hours. And forget about that touching thing. She'll relentlessly bat me with her paws until I rub, scratch or pick her up. Pet her once and you might as well cancel all your appointments for the next three hours.

I leave the room - Faith is right behind me. I go in one room and shut the door - and she's on the other side, sticking one paw under the door just as far as she can possibly stretch it. I go to bed and within seconds, she's up on the bed with that look. You know the look.... It's the "what, it's only 11pm - throw me a ball or something" look.

I am convinced Faith is really a dog in a cat suit. One of these days I'll catch her putting it on or taking it off. It's only a matter of time.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Knitting Almost Daily....

What is it about knitting that soothes the soul? I can have the most miserable of days and after ten minutes of knitting, all seems right with the world. I love the feel of the needle in each hand - wooden or bamboo only please (those metal needles are like scratching one's fingernails on a chalkboard) - and seeing the rows grow and grow.

My endeavors have been limited - a few hats and tons of wash/dish cloths.
Speaking of knitted clothes... this one is my absolute favorite!

This one has caused quite a few double takes.....and temporarily raised my cool factor with the younger set. No, it's not what you think. It's a Canadian Maple motif cloth. However....it still remains my favorite. And no, you can't bake it & smoke the residue.

And the "Five of Hearts".....a very pale one at that.....

A very pink butterfly....

A large heart - which goes to show that using varigated yarn is not a very good idea for most motifs.
Oh yes - I will be quilting shortly - but for now, knitting is good therapy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ms Faith is Home....

Well - the long awaited kitty....Took over an hour to get her from the rescue shelter - but well worth it. She took very well to the cardboard carrier - but didn't seem too unhappy to get out once I got her inside the apartment. Already, plants have moved to higher grounds...and wow - can she ever jump. She's already managed the daring back of the couch to dining room table leap. What an athlete.....
She's a mover, ok - took me 15 minutes to capture her on film. Got lots of shots of her backside, tail, and several very nice surreal blurs.
More shots later....
In the meantime.....
I quilt! (once the excitement of Ms Faith being home subsides...)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Knitting Is Addictive.....

There is no doubt about it - knitting is not just a past time - nor a way to kill time - nor a passing fancy. Once you're hooked (apologies to those who crochet - that would have been a great pun though) you're hooked. One skein of yarn will lead to another...and another ..... Next thing you know, the yarn is fighting the quilting fabric for space.
My knitting is not elaborate. No fancy capes, elegant sweaters or jazzy socks - yet. Just functional down-to-earth knitting - washcloths. Yes, functional knitted cloths that can be used as washcloths or dishcloths. These are not your Auntie Em's dishcloths.....no sir. Suitable for framing, lol.

Oh yes, it's a flamingo. You gotta love the way this one knits
up ....from the bottom up, the legs just go on & on & on.......

And oh yes, the heart one here is lopsided. It will serve as constant reminder that two glasses of wine and knitting do not mix. However, it did have an element of humor to it.
Have a couple more to add to this collection but they're currently with daughter. You'll love the maple leaf that appears to be more of a....well, let's just say that I was rather surprised at the results.
Yes- I quilt - but I do love to knit.....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sewing Machines DO Talk....

Last night after traipsing sis down to the bike shop to get her wheel fixed (drat those nails on the sidewalks), then being forced to eat at the nearby Chinese buffet and then with full bellies, waddling back to the car and coming home....I heard this pitiful voice from the 2nd bedroom - AKA sewing room/den - that kept calling to me "please, please - I need to sew...I must sew".

Well, not one to ignore voices as pitiful as this, I spent the next hour or more sewing a purse for granddaughter. I know she will adore it. I'll be driving to Columbus to spend a day or two - maybe three - and I'll be hand delivering the purse. I just love this pattern. It can be made from squares of all sizes - and a snap to put together! Oh yes - it's also reversible!

I really do need to learn to take better photos - or at least learn how to post them correctly. Just take my word for it - it's very pretty!
By the time I was done and a 2nd one is in the making, I no longer heard the pitiful voice of my Brothers sewing machine.
Scary thing - I also have a serger, a Singer sewing machine and a lightweight offbrand sewing machine too... If they all start talking to me, please do rescue me from the room.
I quilt!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quilt Journey

This is the story of a quilt that grew until done......
This quilt is for a young girl who loves pink with a little purple thrown in - Hannah Montana - playing "cheer leader" - and likes daises - and she's 5.
Going through the ever infamous stash, I found pinks - a couple of purples .... however, no large pieces. Ah ha - perhaps 2" strips to make up a block.... After trimming, it measured 10". Nope - looked too much like a pot holder....

Out comes the seam ripper - grab more fabric - sew more strips together - and the 6 1/2" squares are birthed....

I got so carried away with sewing them together, I neglected to photograph the remaining process!

So - imagine these squares put together, alternating vertical with horizontal. Got it? Okay - now imagine a deranged woman looking for "Hannah Montana" fabric. Not a pretty picture. Ahhh - yes! The ever saving WalMart had a purple Hannah Montana fabric.... Now the cheerleading thing. Found 4" squares for sale on eBay - yesssss! The hunt has almost come to an end. Won the squares...and then quilt grew strip by strip until at last - enough.
And so - the journey came to an end.

This will be the quilt I'll always think of as the "potholder" that grew and grew until it was a quilt.....

Love the colors! Love those 4" cute cheerleader blocks in the corner! As to the Hannah Montana purple border...well, I can't love everything....

And the final addition - the pocket prayer quilt...

I quilt .... what a lovely statement.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Another story.....

This story is a little harder to write about. "Life Settling Down" was hard enough. Missing my soul mate, my best friend and husband hurts the heart a little - but I know we'll be together again soon.

This story is about family. Perhaps members of my family will not be happy about this post - perhaps it will go unnoticed - perhaps I am making more of it than should be.

I discovered about two months ago I have a half-sister. Her name is Jill - she lives in England - and her 3 week visit with my parents will be coming to a close next week. Riley and I did visit my folks - and Jill - while Riley was home for 20 days. She's interesting, funny, out spoken - and I like her. It was not the best of visits. It was a short visit and my attention was focused on being back with my husband. I had so little time to get to know my second sister. I now have two sisters. That's an amazing statement in itself.

Everyone's life is composed of short stories. Some stories never have an ending - they go on and on. These are the stories that affect us the most and they are the unhappy stories. Those are the stories that beg for a happy ending. We all have the power to affect the end of each of these stories. We can turn unhappiness into forgiveness and look forward to a new short story. No, it's not easy - and yes, it's darn right uncomfortable.

I do know God's biggest commandment - love. When love takes over the heart, there isn't room for anything else. Plant it - nurture it - and it will grow.


Life Settling Down

Riley is now back in Iraq....and it's been more difficult than I had bargained for.

Twenty days we spent together - which seemed like a long time, but in reality - it's a blimp on the clock. Little things like eating breakfast at home, driving around and holding hands in the car, sitting next to each other at church, watching the series "Monk" on borrowed DVDs from the library.... normal every day stuff seemed brighter, more joyful and yet peaceful to the soul.

Why is it we take things for granted every single day...until the day those things are temporarily gone and then the heart breaks just a little.

On the day we drove to the airport to see him off, I thought to myself - this was good - this was a great vacation together. Until it was time to really say "see you later", the tears welled up and then l I walked into the apartment and discovered the quiet. Even if your spouse doesn't utter a single word in a couple of hours, you're still with someone....Quiet can be awfully loud at times.

So - life is settling down somewhat. I'm working on completing another quilt - another design as I go - and stayed up until 2:30am this morning. When the sewing urge hits, I go with it. The story of this quilt will be posted later. I am very pleased with it so far - and it makes me smile when I look at it. I hope the person it will be mailed to will bring a smile to her face....

Tomorrow, I'll be kitty hunting - a companion that will make the apartment a little less quiet.

Life is settling down somewhat - but I sure do miss Riley's smile - and holding my hand while we drive.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Back tracking....and moving forward

Oh boy, slap on the forehead with one hand. I had thought I had written a very moving account of Riley & I renewing our vows on the 27th of July - our 37th wedding anniversary. Must have been one heck of a great dream since I couldn't find word one on the event.

So to backtrack....

On July 27th, Riley & I renewed our vows in our church after the service. Friends & family witnessed the renewal - and many photos were taken. It was quite an event. After our pastor read several passages from the bible (please don't quiz me - I haven't a clue what was said by the pastor - sorry, pastor....nervousness does that to me), Riley read a beautiful piece he wrote - and I read mine. Riley's words.....

From the time you gave me a note in a matchbox with the single word “chance”

Which led to a kiss under a tree

To 6 weeks later when you thought I was going to ask you to go steady. Instead I asked, "Do you want to get married in 1 week or 2 weeks?"

Until now

We have done "in sickness and in health" - We have done "for richer or for poorer" – We have done “for better and for worse”

And now we gone through our longest separation with a longer separation in front of us - still God keeps us together.

12 years ago on our 25th anniversary we had a full wedding where we dedicated our marriage to Christ.

Today our marriage still belongs to the Father, who put you in my heart the very first time I laid eyes on you.

Today our marriage belongs to the Son - Jesus - whose wonderful grace we enjoy and bring to each other in our marriage.

Today our marriage belongs to the Holy Spirit who somehow keeps us close though we are half a world apart.

I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without you nor do I wish to imagine it.

Through God's good graces, you are my wife - my life mate - I would not have it any other way.

And my response....

When I first joined hands with you 37 years ago, little did I know what our lives would be like.

You promised then to love, honor and cherish me though life.

While we had difficult times, God always was there for us – early on we just didn’t know His presence.

We realized together God had to be first in our marriage and our life was so much better.

You have made my life complete and full.

Not only have you kept your promise to love, honor and cherish me, you’ve made our lives together an adventure.

You’ve been there for me when I needed comfort, you’ve listened to my fears and you’ve held my hand throughout it all.

We made a commitment to each other.

Some days it wasn’t easy for we both let pride get in the way of love.

God’s greatest commandment is LOVE.

And I do so love you and pray we can renew our vows every year.
You are my husband, my soul mate and my best friend


And so shortly, Riley will be leaving to go back to Iraq until February 2009. Somehow, our renewal of vows will make it easier when he leaves. Life moves forward - God's grace covers us all just for the asking - and God is so very good.


Life's Little Surprises....

Surprise: to come upon or discover suddenly and unexpectedly.

That about sums it up. Life is full of surprises - most of which we do not expect. Hence - the definition of surprise. Suddenly and unexpectedly.

Through a series of emails back & forth from my dad, I learned I have a half-sister. Riley & I met her just two days ago when we flew up to visit my parents. Jill arrived almost two weeks earlier from England and is spending three weeks with my folks.

This was her first meeting with her father, my dad - correction: our dad - and mom. It was also her first visit to the U.S. - first visit with any of her siblings (one brother and two sisters). Being an only child, I can imagine her delight (okay I am assuming much here) in finding she has two sisters and a brother.

I found her to be friendly, charming and pretty gutsy. I admire the fact she came here to the states to meet the family - not knowing how she would be greeted. I admire the fact she has met life head on. Okay - so this may be all conjecture at this point - but it's what I feel. I later thought of so many things that I wanted to ask her but didn't. There will always be emails (sadly, who writes letters anymore?!?!) and that's how we'll probably keep in touch. There have been so many times I wish I could have said the things I meant to say right then in the moment. Alas, the mark of one who procrastinates ... at times.

I've often heard that we can choose our friends but we cannot chose our family. I would not choose any other family than the one I have. And now I have two sisters. Life's little surprises can be truly..... surprising and so very good.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another Quilt and More Thoughts...

Another quilt finished. Of all the quilts I've made, this had to be the most challenging. The young man likes dogs, horses and baseball. Good Heavens....how does one combine all these into one quilt... Now that I look back, I know an easiest was to back the quilt with baseball fabric. Ha - too obvious to overlook!

The horse panel - no problem. Simply frame it. A little on the skimpy side. Then I added the dogs - having to fussy cut each dog, using a modified Amish block. A little on the difficult side - lost a few noses a couple of times. Completed those..and that left baseball. Hmmmm...okay, only thing left was to add strips of the fabric...and thus born....
Caleb's Quilt....

Definitely a sew-as -I go quilt. Amazing how everything just fit together.

And of course - the pocket prayer quilt to go with

When making this quilt, I thought of God's plan for each of us. Putting this quilt together made me realize how everyday we do the little things that keep adding to the "plan".... the plan that takes time, heart ache, love, happiness, joy and finally, peace when everything comes together and you just know - this is it. This is what God has intended for me - to live this life, right now, right here and this way.
And I think - thank you, Lord, for giving me this gift of quilting. What a marvelous thing to say ....
I quilt.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Reflections On a Finished Quilt.....

"Project Unicorn" wasn't completed quite yet... Label on the back had to sewn on...and now it is
done & waiting for name & address to mail the quilt.

While sewing the label to the back of the quilt, I thought about what it takes to make a marriage. I suppose there's a connection there somewhere - but I don't question any more what the Holy Spirit lays on my heart. It's easy to go with the flow than to argue. And who can argue successfully with the Holy Spirit!

On the 27th of July, Riley & I will celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary. We eloped on the 27th of July to Marshall, Texas - just over the Louisiana border - and told my parents that evening. Twenty-five years later, we renewed our vows in church. Bridesmaids, groomsmen, dad walking me down the aisle - the whole nine yards. And now on our 37th anniversary, we hope to renew our vows in our church. Riley emailed me the question I was not anticipating ... "what will you say?". I had assumed the pastor would do the talking - hopefully very briefly - and our response would be "uh huh" or words to that effect. Ah, not so. For days I have thought about what I would say...hopefully very briefly. And so I wrote from my heart.....

When I first joined hands with you 37 years ago, little did I know what our lives would be like. You promised then to love, honor and cherish me though life. While we had difficult times, God always was there for us – early on we just didn’t know His presence. We realized together God had to be first in our marriage and our life was so much better. You have made my life complete and full. Not only have you kept your promise to love, honor and cherish me, you’ve made our lives together an adventure. You’ve been there for me when I needed comfort, you’ve listened to my fears and you’ve held my hand throughout it all. We made a commitment to each other. Some days it wasn’t easy for we both let pride get in the way of love. God’s greatest commandment is LOVE. And I do so love you and pray we can renew our vows every year. You are my husband, my soul mate and my best friend.

What was in my heart was simply one word: commitment. No matter how difficult life was, our difference in opinions, our different viewpoints .... God kept us together despite every trial, every tribulation. There were times when I felt life was so unfair - my life was unfair - my world was unfair. As to what constitutes "unfair", I haven't a clue now -but I know I felt it. We as women do not have it easy. We bear the children, we keep house, we cook, and if conditions warrant, we do all this plus work outside the home. I came to the realization years ago, men have a much harder job. No matter how difficult the job, no matter how painful it is to go into that job day after day, they go. Imagine being in a position where there seems to be no way out, day after day. We have it easy? I believe not. Are we appreciated for efforts? In some instances, maybe not heard .... but demonstrated? Oh yes, day after day. And it took years for me to say "thank you".... and it took awhile for Riley to learn the art of "listening" without attempting to fix whatever was bothering me. He will never be my "bestest girlfriend" - but he is my best friend.

It's amazing how all this can come about by sewing a quilt label to the back of a quilt.

In the meantime, quilt ideas are floating around in my head once again. Time to start a new quilt.

And, oh yes, I quilt.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Project Unicorn Quilt Finished.....

It is now 1:50am on the 5th of July - and "Project Unicorn Quilt" is finished. When one loses track of time when working on something really enjoyable, it satisfies deep within.

The lighting in the sewing room/den/2nd bedroom is marvelous! Small wonder I spent the last 3 hours happily sewing away. I would love to write that the next quilt is already in the planning stages, but at 1:50 in the morning - ha!

I love the bright colors...and what cannot be seen is a unicorn block on each corner..

And the pocket prayer quilt.... In the left hand corner is a tiny frog charm.... "Fully Rely on God": FROG.

I think now it's time to make a sandwich, reflect on today - and tomorrow, I know I'll be thinking of the next quilt. Yes!
I quilt.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Another Quilt....

I'm quietly pleased - only a couple of days have passed since I mailed off the dinosaur quilt and I've started another.

The young lady whom this quilt is for loves unicorns....Cinderella....Snow White. Unicorns was a little difficult to nail down but Cinderella and Snow White? Elusive beyond belief.... Searching through a couple online quilting stores is fun. Searching through hundreds of online quilting stores is not. It's downright painful, frustrating and the worst - an exercise in sheer will power not to order yards and yards of "oh I just have to have THAT now" fabric. I did find one Cinderella print but she looked downright scary. Whatever happened to that lovely Cinderella of my youth....

Okay - fabric arrives. Now - what do I do with it? I know this young lady also loves aqua .... but alas, no aqua in the fabric stash. So..... I come up with a few colors that might go well with the fabric.....

Great - looks pretty good. Hmmm - 6 1/2" squares might capture the unicorn well.....

6 1/2" squares? Only because I bought this nifty square template and it measures 6 1/2" square. Found out that it's great for 'framing' what I'd like to cut - but to cut around it is painful. But cut, I did - and managed to keep all fingers intact. I think - great, I'll do a 9 patch with the unicorn in the center.

Idea lasts for about an hour....but when I draw it out, it lacks substance. See, I'm beginning to think like a quilter. Who the heck knows what substance is anyway - but I like how that word looks when written and when I say it, it sounds so "quilty.
I've also discovered that my math skills really need some beefing up. I pulled out my fat quarters (to you non-quilters, a fat quarter is one forth of a yard - get it? "Fat" quarters.... gotta love it) which are photographed next to the uncut unicorn fabric above. I cut out 6 1/2 squares out of each fat quarter - and somehow believed I cut EIGHT 6 1/2" squares per fat quarter. How I thought I got EIGHT out of each fat quarter is beyond me. But somehow I had it in my head I cut out 8. Now, framing each unicorn would require EIGHT squares to form a "Nine Patch". Do the math - only SIX squares could be cut out of each fat quarter. No way am I going fabric hunting to find extra fat quarters to match what I already cut....
....so new idea.
Quick - find some more "blenders". Blenders - another quilty word - which simply means solid colors with a little more 'oomph' to it - Moda makes wonderful blenders called "Moda Marbles" - and the best thing is - I won these beauties playing bingo online via the online quilting club I belong to - but that's another story. So out comes more blenders - but alas no photograph before I cut 'em up and started sewing. That's something else I learned - to heck with photographing every detail - let that machine fly! Out comes the rotary cutter - a bunch of 6 1/2" squares are cut....

And thus was born.....

I really need to improve my photographing skills.
Now - border. I think I'll do a multicolored border, piecing together the leftovers from the fat quarters. Yes - that should do nicely.
In the meantime, today I bought THREE lamps. After weeks of sewing on the dining room table, I realized I needed LIGHT in the 2nd bedroom we use as a den/study/sewing/craft room - which is why I hesitated to move the sewing machine back to "the room". Okay - right now it's simply the sewing room until Riley comes home. When moving things around last night, I broke my treasured Ott lamp. If you don't have an Ott lamp, you are missing one of the world's greatest inventions. Gives off a light that's better than natural lighting - or so I believe. Natural light is always interrupted with nasty things like clouds and sunsets. I found a Ott floor lamp at a very good price - and also bought 2 more lamps - touchiere lamps to be precise. Oh the light that is now in that room is a sight to behold. Now I can move the sewing machine off of the dining room table and into the room where it belongs.
Putting the lamps together led to cleaning out a closet. Trust me, there is a connection in there somewhere. One trip to Goodwill and four trips to the dumpster in the back of the apartment building and I feel like I have accomplished much.
In the meantime, Riley's brother called - mom was admitted to the hospital. Her blood pressure had skyrocketed - and her feet were swollen beyond normal swelling. Echogram and cat scan were ordered today but no test results yet. I think somehow news of mom spurned me on to do something that required tossing/cleaning/organizing - why, I have no idea. Someday I'll analyze why and when I do the things I do - but for now, it felt good.
Mom is in good hands with the medical staff at the hospital. Dad is still in the hospital - but alas, they're not in the same hospital. Each is aware of what's going on with the other. I think of them both and think - there is no greater love I have ever witnessed. Those vows "through sickness and in health" have held up well for them. Many of us are never put to the test. Many of us don't wait around until the 'through sickness' part happens. It's too easy to walk away. It's harder to stay in a marriage -no doubt about it. That's not to say that there are very good reasons why a marriage doesn't work and a parting of the ways in inevitable...but I digress. Prayer requests have gone out for both parents...and God's taking care of them.
Tomorrow - I cut the backing & the batting - and then the tying and then the binding....
Life is so very good. Yes, I miss Riley more each day - if that's possible. Yes, he's coming home in twenty-three days for a 2+ week "vacation". Yes, I do spend some time with our kids. Yes, I do like this stage in my life called "retirement". Yes, I quilt.