Saturday, October 16, 2010

It cannot be October already.....

Where has the time gone??? Seriously - one moment it was July and now it's October already. Summer heat and now leaves crunching underfeet (or is that underfoot???).

Riley & I drove up here to Oshkosh, WI on Wednesday. Actually, we spent the night at Merrillville, IL and drove the rest of the way on Thursday. My sis is with us....she is staying at mom & dad's while Riley & I stay at a hotel, barely over a mile away.

The 13th of October marked dad's 80th birthday. Today we will celebrate it with lunch, maybe a few presents and good wishes.

Dad isn't doing extraordinarily well. He's forgetful and has trouble lifting one leg to get the rest of the body into a car. Could be the beginning stages of Alzheimers - or dementia - or perhaps neither of the above. It may very well be time to put the house up for sale and move to a place that is senior-citizen friendly where everything needed is on one floor and it's easier to get in and out of a bathtub and/or shower. Maybe even a move to Dayton might be just never knows.

Since I began the journey on establishing a relationship with Jesus, I've come to realize many good things....

We were never promised life to be an easy trip - but He did promise us He would be there with us always
We were never promised happiness - but we are promised joy and contentment with Him

Contentment and joy - what blessings we have with our Saviour.

And now we see dad slowly losing zest for life - and my prayer is, he receives blessings from God that it's okay to be in the last stages of life as we know it. A far better life is waiting for us.

Pretty deep thoughts on a Saturday morning, just a little past 9:30am.

My thoughts in closing ... if you are blessed enough to still have your parents around, let them know you love them dearly and that God is so very good and will always be there for us - if we just accept His son as our Saviour. Grace isn't earned - it's simply given. Don't just tell your parents - tell the world!

Oh yes - the quilt. This is the quilt I made for our granddaughter, almost a big 5 years old. She's a cutie and it takes great self restraint not to take her home with me after our visits.

Quilts are love.

And in the meantime, I quilt.


Sunday, July 04, 2010

Bingo Mania

One of the best times I've had with my sister took place last Wednesday evening.

Memories of long ago Sunday afternoons with sis and mom playing bingo at the on-base club came to mind. I set off to find a bingo hall - on line.

Found one - not too far from where we live. We got there a good 30 minutes earlier than the time posted. Alas, someone didn't tell the owners we were coming. It was obvious this bingo hall had not been in use for some time. Maybe years. Darn.

But not all was lost. Joanns was close by and I had a need to buy some perle cotton. Out came the phone and the wonderful browser capability.....yes, there was another bingo hall not more than 15 minutes away.

We found the place easily enough; parking was another matter. Who were these people that took up all these parking spaces?!?!? Finally found a spot, pulled in and hoped the business next to the bingo hall was full of loving and kind people who would not tow my car while we were inside the bingo hall.

For those of you who have not entered a bingo hall ever, just think large spaces, long tables and lots of chairs. Lots of uncomfortable folding chairs.

This bingo hall benefited a local rescue organization - which I liked. Going in, I asked how much were the cards. $5 for a package. Well, heck - $5 is not bad at all. Give me two. Sis was smart. She took one package.

We found a place to sit and spread out our stuff. Oh good grief. Taking a closer look, I found NINE cards on each page .... and there were FIVE pages to each package. And I bought TWO. Okay, this is not going to be difficult. I could do this. I'm pretty quick. I read very quickly and while not completely absorbing an entire book, I get the main idea.

By the time I realized it wasn't going to be difficult, the 5th number was in the process of being called. Little TVs are suspended from the ceilings and one gets to see the number before it's actually called. My advice - don't look at the TV. The guy will be on the 20th number before you know it.

A slow headache was building...which could have been from the hot dogs or the chips and nacho cheese, but then I won't swear to it. I finally understood the blurs across the table...these were the champion bingo players. The blurs were that of their hands moving across the bingo cards, stamping out the called numbers on their cards. I was in awe...until I realized I had missed a couple more numbers.

The lady sitting across from us kept pointing out to sis the numbers she missed. After about 20 minutes, she was no longer amused. This was serious business.

How do these people do it? Sis and I were laughing over our inabilities to mark the cards quickly - not to anyone's amusement except for us.

There were older women there...there were younger women there...there were couples...there were guys with tattoos....there were women with tattoos....and lots and lots of bingo cards. Not a whole lot of food around them - which should have given us a clue to stay away from the hot dogs and nacho chips.

In between the games, several ladies were roaming around selling more bingo games of some sort. I was scared to ask....if I had to look at any more numbers, I envisioned my head exploding all over the table...and it would be very annoying for the avid players.

Finally, we get to the last game. All evening, neither one of us had a clue if we had a bingo or not. It was enough to try to keep up with marking the numbers off, let alone figure out if they added up to a bingo or not. I found it extremely funny as did sis. Those around us did not. At any rate, last game and one of the roaming ladies hands me a small piece of paper with three more cards on it. What's this? Oh, that's free and it's an additional chance to win the last game. Oh goody - I am so excited. I get to look for more numbers now on another 3 cards.

Do I consider it gambling? Are you kidding me? I put this adventure in the category of that word game - you know the kind. A list of words are given and you have to find them on a page full of what seems random letters.

If anything, I feel good we donated money to the rescue organization....and that we didn't die from food poisoning...and that our car wasn't towed...and that I was safely home after 3 hours of eye pain.

I suppose we may try it again...just as soon as I can focus again properly and we both take bingo etiquette lessons. In a year or more.

Oh yes, the quilts. Actually one quilt. The hearts were sent to me by a very special group of ladies who belong to Quilters Who Care. I added a couple of heart blocks, joined them together, added the backing (don't you just love the randomness of the wide strips?) and quilted it. Mailed to a women who spent some time in the hospital recently - hopefully, she will not return any time soon. Learned a new binding technique - french binding - and so this was definitely one of my favorite quilts.

And in the meantime, I quilt.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

They're Not Just the "Little Things"

How many times have we heard "it's the little things that count..."?

You give a small token of your appreciation to a friend...and think to yourself that it didn't cost a lot, and it was just a little token and besides, it's the "little things that count".

You get a pat on the back for a job well done...and think to yourself - geez, that should have been worth a lot more than a pat on the back - and then think well, I guess the boss believes in the little things that count.

Okay - so the last one was a little weird. You get the idea.

It's the "little things" that should be observed, honored and revered. Here's what I believe. The little things are God's way of letting you know He's there - He cares - and He wants us to be His ambassador. He plants an idea in our heads to do something out of the ordinary. Send a gift for no reason. Send a card to someone to let them know you care. Enclose a note in your spouse's lunch that simply says "I Love You". Treat your friend to lunch. Take an extra sandwich to work and share with a coworker whom you know is having a rough time. Stick a post-it note on your boss's desk which you've written the words "Thank you for taking care of that problem".

The next time you heard "It's the little things that count" - let the person know that's partially correct. Everything counts. It has meaning, it has substance and it can bring joy to someone - YOU!

Oh yes - the photo. That's a block swap for my dearly beloved Yahoo Group "Quilters Who Care". I will admit that I am not a fan of block swaps - no indeed. The fear of "what if my blocks are crap???" enters my mind each time. Oh pooh. My blocks are mighty fine indeed.

And yes, I do quilt....!!!


Monday, March 22, 2010

Marvelous Mondays

I love Mondays. There is something magical about the 2nd day of the week (yes I count Sunday as the first day of the week - doesn't everyone??). Even before retiring, I liked going into work on Mondays.

Mondays can make or break you - your choice. You may hate the job you're doing right now - but it's your choice to either leave, endure or look at the positive aspects:
(A) you have a JOB - the unemployment rate is supposedly around 10% here in Dayton.
(B) you have a JOB.
(C) you have a JOB.
(D) you have a JOB but you can be looking for another one

Yes, I admit it - I have been retired from the job force now for over 2 years. I've worked since I was 19 with an 18 month break in there with child #2 came along. Did I love my jobs? Nope. Won't lie. Did I complain? Yup. Won't lie. Do I look back and regret my complaining? Yup. I believe now the gift of becoming a Christian makes all the difference in the world. So Pollyanna sunshine aside, I look back and think what a whiner I was - then.

Okay - so here I am on a Monday. I am in a coffee shop, using their wireless. What is it about coffee shops that draw me to update my blog? Oh yeah - it's the coffee and the fact laundry isn't calling my name 4 blocks away...nor do I hear the call of the vacuum cleaner or the dirty pots and pans in the sink. Try it sometime. Pack up that laptop. Don't have one? They're getting cheaper all the time and I would recommend putting away the pennies for one. Of course, that's just me. And yes, I can breathe just fine when I don't have my laptop with me. Of course, if I'm in a place that offers free wireless and I left my laptop at home - that's another story.

You should see the view from this coffee shop. It's on 5th street - and I can see a restaurant across the street (unremarkable though), people walking by (remarkable) and cars driving past (unremarkable). And across from me is my dear husband whom I spent the morning with (I think there's something about ending a sentence with the word "with" - but heck if I remember if it's a bad thing or just who cares). We walked to the bank and credit union this morning and now we are here.

Of course, I'm typing this and he's listening to various talk shows online on his computer while working on his online masters course in Christian Studies. You have to love it.

And the photo....a bag I finished last week. Isn't it lovely? And it's reversible.

And in the meantime, I quilt.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Balanced Life.....

It is almost 10:40am. I have walked from the apartment to the chess club - pulled in the little dumpster on wheels (Thursday is garbage pickup day) - walked from there to the bank (what is it about two tellers gabbing away about personal stuff and tell the other teller: "can you take care of HER?" Emphasis on the HER, yes indeed....) - and from the bank to the library.

Ahhh the public library. It never fails me. The moment I walk in (regardless of the fact this public library has a metal detector....a fine statement of downtown Dayton, don't you think???), I feel that momentary sense of excitement. What book will capture my interest this time. Okay, so maybe not ALL books capture my fancy. Sadly, science fiction does not capture my interest (sorry my dearest daughter and beloved husband) nor do biographies (apologies to those who love them) or historical romances (more sex in those novels than imaginable...pick one up and tell me I'm wrong). That still leaves many venues to choose. I enjoy a good mystery - especially those centered around cooking (who doesn't???), knitting or quilting. Also romance novels with substance - but sadly, very few make the grade nowadays.

So today I have worked on the business checking accounts, took apart one pieced quilt top, took care of my daily exercise, and am now at a local coffee shop taking advantage of their free wireless while drinking a non-fat latte (the non-fat part is to added to simply impress you...did it?) and have 3 library books tucked away in my backpack (two mysteries and one book on crocheting).

A balanced life - reading, crocheting, knitting, quilting, week day breakfasts with Riley (that also includes making a lunch for him to take with....boy, am I spreading it on thick or what???) and just loving life.

And the photo? My first attempt at a "completely" appliqued block quilt. I am not a flowery person but I do know who will greet this quilt with much reverence and gratitude - so it will soon be finished and tucked away for Christmas.

And in the meantime, I quilt!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why Quilting????

There are days when I wonder why quilting. Of all the hobbies there are to choose from, why this particular one.....

Taking perfectly good fabric (you've heard this one before), cutting it up and resewing the pieces back together....and this is a hobby?

No, not for most of us who quilt. It's a passion.

The possibilities of what can be done with fabric are endless. Squares, triangles, appliques, portraits, landscapes, strips, circles...and the list goes on and on.

It evokes memories. It brings comfort and warmth to the recipients. It brings smiles to those who need a smile. It doesn't matter if it took you two hours to put it together - or two years. It's a labor of love. Oh, to be able to see the smiles and tears when the package is opened and there lays the quilt - just for them. And it's okay if you can't see the smiles and tears if the quilt is mailed off. You see the smiles and tears through the email or letter of thanks.

I mailed a quilt to Riley when he was in Iraq. Many photos were taken of him wrapped up in the quilt. Never had I dreamed it would mean that much to him. The quilt now is on our bed and Riley has been safely home for quite awhile. Whenever I look at the quilt, I see not the quilt - but a photo of Riley standing in the middle of a hanger, wrapped up in that quilt.

So why quilt? Because nothing else comes close to bringing me such comfort, joy and accomplishment. It doesn't matter if the points don't meet or the block is a little skewed. I made it - it comes from my heart, my mind and my soul.

Thank you, God for everything You have given me....and that includes the love of quilting.

Oh yes - my latest project. The photo is of 2 inch squares put together into a 9 patch and then framed in black. The block is then cut down to 6 1/2". Many more to come - but this is a start. I love how they look. How about you?

Oh yes - I quilt.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

and the Love Story Continues.....

Today marks the end of our trip to Shreveport, Louisiana. We fly out tomorrow and will soon settle in to a routine in Dayton late at night.

It's been a roller coaster ride, coming back.

Some disappointments- the greasy spoon where we ate on most Saturdays is no more - the Polynesian restaurant where Riley worked as a waiter is now a Mexican restaurant - and now there are cloverleaf interchanges along I-20.

Some delights - the first house we lived in is still standing - the first "real" home we had, a garage apartment, is still standing - and has been improved tremendously with siding - Pancho's Mexican restaurant is still Pancho's and Marshall Texas courthouse is still standing.

The biggest delight was driving to Marshall .... finding the courthouse .... and then actually seeing our names in "the book".

A s soon as we went through the metal detector, we made our way to the records department. We asked a young lady if it was possible for her to look up the record of our marriage as we were not really sure if this was THE courthouse. She asked for the date of the marriage and seconds later hauled this huge ole book from a shelf and plunked it on the counter.

She looks through the pages and viola - there were our names. Riley Daniel Driver and Miss Sharon Lea Anderson. Oh yes - ALL the women had to put down "Miss" in front of their name. I do remember that strange oddity. Kind of an oxymoron if one is getting married. I felt such wonder, seeing those two names there. Noting the posting site of the license, she retrieved the book where our recorded marriage license resided. For the sum of one whole dollar, we got another copy of the license.

We were allowed to take a photo of the page where our names were annotated. I have no idea if we wrote our name ourselves or if someone wrote it. No doubt, 38 years ago I was probably shaking like a leaf and wondering what in the world was I doing.

But there they were - our names clearly written and the life we've had as one started. Riley's later comment was heart felt ... our names we'll see later will be in the Book of Life.

Now 38 years ago, I praise God. He knew all along what would happen 38 years later - and He knows what lies in wait for us in the years to come.

Yes, this has been a wonderful experience. I know now, had given the opportunity - I would never change a bit of my life. This is what life is to be - forever linked with the other half of me forever.

The photo? Riley & I across the street from the Marshall, Texas courthouse. This is where it began as the adventure of the lifetime.

Tomorrow we go home - and soon, I will quilt.