Saturday, June 30, 2012


Love is...

Compassion for people who are hurting.
The kindness shown by hurt people, despite their pain.
Laughter that helps heal sad emotions.
Clever e-mails written by my funny husband.
Families who enjoy laughter.
My son who tells me he loves me.
Feeling like what I do is important and can make a difference.
Not knowing what/who God really is, but still feeling supported and guided by God.
Beautiful flowers.
Old people still in love.
Beautiful Life!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Books: Wild

Did you know that Oprah started up her book club again? It is an online thing. It's called Oprah Book Club 2.0 or something like that. I stumbled across it recently, and found a video clip of her current book choice. It looked interesting, so I got the book for my Kindle. It's a special Oprah Book Club edition, so it even includes highlighted areas and footnotes at the end, written by Ms. O herself. Whoopie ding.

The book is Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. I really enjoyed this book. It's a true story about the author's 1100 mile hike along the PCT. She does this in order to help heal herself from grief and life's upheavals.

I found her tale to be very engaging and fascinating. I used to fantasize about doing a long hike like that. Even though I didn't ever do the hike, I found myself identifying with her for some reason.. I guess that's a sign of good writing. (The longest hike I ever did was one overnight back-packing trip in a national park.)

She did the hike alone, which would have scared the bejeebers out of me. She works through difficulties along the trail including exhaustion, heat, cold, and losing her hiking boots. She also works through memories, emotions, and decisions about her life. These things come sneaking into her consciousness despite herself and in a variety of ways. She sets out to think things through, but finds that she doesn't intentionally think about those things except occasionally. Her changes come gradually and more "naturally" as she lives in nature for an extended period.

It was a good page-turner and a well-told survival story. 5 of 5 stars!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Operation Wood Hollow

Check out this photo. It is what remains of the home of a city planner in Utah. He and his wife were out helping other evacuees, and they were not able to retrieve a single thing from their home. They have only the clothes on their back.

Julie of "Having Fun Quilting" Blog is collecting quilts to give to people such as this family who have lost everything. As of this writing, 29 families had lost their homes. If you want to help, check out her blog, here, and leave a message. Julie herself may be evacuated, so she might not be on her computer for a while. Let me know if you want her address. I'll give you another way to find it (or check for desertsky quilts in Julie's messages, and e-mail her for the address).

I have an unquilted top or two that I'll try to finish and will send along. Don't you have something extra, too? She says she'll take blocks, tops, and finished quilts.

Quilters are some of the most generous people I know! Thanks for your help and/or your prayers!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wild Wilderness Women

Last night I returned from my second vacation this month. This one was a Wild Wilderness Women excursion. That's a tongue-in-cheek name, because our "wilderness" was quite luxurious... not much "roughing it" involved.

I took six quilting/knitting/crafting friends to a cabin owned by one of my relatives. It's not a cabin in the usual sense of the word. It is a lovely home on a beautiful lake, surrounded by the beautiful north woods. I believe you have seen its level of rustic-ness in previous photos.

We sewed and read and ate and talked and laughed, swam, did some sight-seeing and shopping, and just had a great old time. It sounds like we crammed a lot into a few days, but we really took it easy and didn't push ourselves to meet any deadlines. After all, we were on vacation in the woods.

my sewing station - not too shabby!

the source of the Mighty Mississippi River

the lodge in a state park where we ate dinner

our table had a great view

large family room in the lodge

We had to have one meal of hot dogs and s'mores!

some of our projects

After this was all done, and we reluctantly turned toward home, I made a stop in my mom's town. We had a reunion lunch with several of us who had lived in the same small town 50 years ago. It was so much fun!! We represented two generations: my mom, her friend E., and their kids' generation which included two sets of sisters: my sister and me, and our friends L. and C. We talked and talked and had a great time. This, too, was cut short too early for our liking, but there were things on the calendar requiring our departure.

I laugh to think of what an elderly bunch we were. I, age 59, was the youngest at the table, and my mom at age 91 was the oldest. It feels like yesterday we were all young and running around back in that small town. Time is such a funny and fluid thing.

I'm home and back to business, back to work, and back to the usual daily grind. These days it isn't much of a grind, though. Life is good, and I feel blessed.

P.S. I did manage to finish one book, so look for my review in Friday Books which I will post this Friday, June 29.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Books: On Vacation

I'm having fun with my summer reading! However, my Friday book review is "on vacation," just until I finish the couple of books I'm currently reading. One is pretty long. I'll definitely finish one by next week, so come back next Friday for at least one book report... hopefully two.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Job: Wow, I'm Doing It!

I realize with some surprise that I have already been at my new job for nine months. This was a job I never thought I'd be able to do. You have to be good to do this job. I just didn't think I measured up. To my surprise and pleasure, I found out that I can do it, and I'm even good at it! (The trainer told me that I'm a "kick-ass interpreter.")

I don't know why I have struggled for so long with my inferiority complex. You would think after all these years I would have realized that I'm OK, and I don't need to constantly compare myself to others (usually building them up and me down). It's a life-long trait that I need to constantly work on. Just having an intellectual understanding of this isn't enough. It's deep-seated enough so that it is just part of my persona. It affects every part of me, no matter how hard I try to cure myself of it.

After nine months of learning and practicing and doing my job, I finally am at a point where I'm pretty much comfortable with it and confident that I can do it. I'll still have my bad days, like everyone does, but I finally feel like I belong there.

I work in short shifts, 8-10 hours per week. Nothing too taxing, but just enough to keep my toes in the field, keep my skills up, and have a little pocket change. I'm in a great stage of life and loving it!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival Results

You may remember that I begged for votes when my quilt was entered in the Bloggers Festival and then made it into the finals. I so appreciate all your votes! Thanks so much!

I did not win, but as a result of the Festival, someone nominated me to be a Featured Quilter at Amy's Creative Side blog. Amy runs the Bloggers Quilt Festival. Being nominated is even better than winning, because it means someone wanted to see more of my quilts and get to know a little about me. I'm flattered!

I don't know when I'll be featured at Amy's blog, but I'll be sure to let you know and will provide a link so you can read all about fascinating me.

I've been working on odds and ends.. right now I'm making blocks for men, so they're not all bright and pretty like I usually prefer. They're fun, though. It always surprises me when I work with older, civil war repro fabrics and then like the results. It's not fabric I ever choose unless I have to for certain projects. (I just had to sneak in a bright, red batik in that bottom right hand corner block.)

Here is something more typical of my work of choice: bright blocks made for kids. Tammy at Sunshine Quilt Guild will put these together with other donations and make beautiful quilts for kids. I'm a big fan of Tammy's work.

A few times I sent Tammy some paper-pieced blocks. This week she has made quilt tops featuring one of my paper pieced blocks in the center. See what beautiful work she does? The center blocks are mine, everything else is by Tammy.

I have also made a few more blocks for the color challenge that Victoria is running over at 15 Minutes Play. I had to catch up, and now I'm behind one block again. She posts a new color assignment every Wednesday.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Books: Still Trying to Learn

so humbling when they welcome us into their world

The Massacre at Sand Creek by Bruce Cutler

This is an excellent and a terrible book. Sand Creek Massacre is one of the many incidents in which atrocities were perpetrated against people who believed they were being protected and were living in peace under a recent treaty. Double-crossed once again, the Indians were slaughtered by the white soldiers who had promised to protect them (while the elder in charge waved a white flag of peace). The maniacal colonel in charge was a former and future Methodist minister (ouch).

This book portrays diary and narrative accounts of the times leading up to Sand Creek, the attack itself, and the aftermath. In some ways it's nothing new. We have a terrible history of genocide that is at the root of our nation's history. For years I have been trying to understand it and to understand what was lost. In some ways there are tiny glimmers of goodness. One captain, Si Soule, refused to order his men to participate in the Sand Creek slaughter. He did the right thing -- the glimmer of goodness -- but prevailing thought did not applaud him for his actions.

I know that the thought of the time was "manifest destiny" in which white Europeans felt it was their God-given right to rid the world of "wickedness" (Indians) and to take dominion of the earth for the "true believers" (white Christians). I have tried hard to wrap my mind around this mindset and cannot.

In reading narratives of the various tribes and their cultures, I have an equally difficult time wrapping my mind around their way of thinking. I so wish I could see the world in the way their legends portray. My white, WASPish, science-based, western-based educated self struggles to be "of the earth" as I would like to be to truly grasp the Indians' mindset. The two world views were polar opposites, and I want to try to get a good understanding of both.

I'm stuck trying to understand how one group of people can take over another people's pre-existing world, thinking of the native people as animals, savages, beings without souls. And I'm stuck trying to imagine and grasp the strength the native people embodied by their close ties to the earth and their understandings of brotherhood with animals and the spirit world. I'm stuck trying to comprehend what happened when these two cultures clashed and wondering if it could have happened any other way. Then I come full circle to that dreaded "manifest destiny" idea, and I cringe. I can't believe it. My mind goes round and round and round. So I'm still trying to learn.

quote from The Massacre at Sand Creek, p. 173:

The toll of the Indian Wars is not the count of bodies only. It is invisible. It attacks the mind and heart. It puts the soul to trial by asking, "This nation under God? How shall it grow from roots so deeply set in wrong?..."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lucky Find: A Quilt Show!

While we were on vacation in South Dakota, I happened to see a notice about a quilt show that opened in Rapid City on the very day we were to drive through that city. It was the Black Hills Quilt Guild show at the Rapid City Civic Center. Husband encouraged me to go! He's a keeper!

While I walked through the quilt show, Hubby walked around the park outside. Our timing was perfect, both ending at about the same time. Wasn't it great that I got to include some quilt gazing while on vacation?? Here are some photos -- enjoy!

made by Julie Lingscheit

made by Joyce Ketterling

made by Elaine Anderson

made by Pat Kehoe

made by Julie Lingscheit

story about next two photos

made by Lois Massa

made by Rebecca Smith

made by Carol Posthumus

made by Jean Stenberg

made by Lynn Sudbeck

made by Bobbie Christenson

made by Martha Kistler

made by Rebecca Smith

made by Joyce McClanahan... I was going to vote for this one for Viewers' Choice, but I forgot to fill out my ballot. I even came home with their pencil, which they had asked us to return. Oops.

Hope you enjoyed this lovely quilt show. In addition to these on display, I bought two quilts. Both of these quilts have such cute backing fabrics, I'm showing you those pictures, too. I will donate both of these quilts. The sales support the charity work the Black Hills Quilt Guild does. These are my purchases:

I plan to donate this to Margarets's Hope Chest

This one has already been donated to Bundles of Love.