Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm Home (Brrrr) Sweet Home!

There seems to be a COLD theme going in my life. When I was with my sister in NY we almost froze our derierres off. Today I came back to Minnesota, and it's raining and in the mid-30's. Brrrr! Worse than yesterday in NY!

Here's my picture of the place where we had lunch. Yesterday's post was a picture I found at Google; it obviously was taken on a nice, warm day. My picture shows the grayness and the waves (sort of), but it is hard to show how biting the wind was. My sister tried to sit in the chair, but what you see here is about as long as she stayed seated. It was just too cold to sit still.

I got to see my nephew in the lead role of "Kiss Me, Kate." His real-life GF played the female lead. They were both fabulous as were many of the other actors... a talented group!

My sister and I had one Play Day. We were deeply engrossed in very serious conversations the whole time:

We ate well, shopped, and just about solved all the world's problems, except that my visit wasn't quite long enough to accomplish it all.

Here's my sis showing me the house she is about to buy. I already know which bedroom I want the next time I visit!

I had a great time with "sis;" I'm glad I went. Next time, maybe it will be warmer, and we can take some time to hunt down a quilt shop!

Monday, March 30, 2009

I Heart NY

I am in the state of NY visiting my sister. Today we had lunch at this very spot in Canandaigua! But instead of clear blue waters and a warm day, we braved a brisk, freezing wind. The lake was quite wavy and gray due to the clouds. We stayed in this spot all of 45 seconds. I took a few pictures, and then we ran inside screaming because we were so cold. And you know it was cold, because I am from Minnesota, and I screamed, too.

Tomorrow I will be home and will share more pictures and stories with you! Brrrrr.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Quilt by S.

Isn't this pretty? A woman in my guild made this, then decided it wasn't what she wanted, so she made another one. She gave this "reject" to me, and I am donating it to Sunshine. Thank you, S! It's lovely, just like you! Some lucky child will love this quilt.

I'm on spring break now, and happy as a clam!
Ahhhhhhh.... that's the sound of me relaxing.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Super Giddy Friday Fives

1. It's Friday! Charles has a friend who calls all Fridays "giddy." Then, if it is a pay day and Friday, it's "double giddy." If it is Friday, pay day, and the beginning of a long weekend, it's "triple giddy." So this is my day: Friday, pay day, beginning of a week off (spring break)!! and I get to visit my sister in NY.

2. Sister-in-law, "Anita," is not healthy. She is in the hospital and needs 24-hour attention. I am praying for Anita and for my brother, "James."

3. It's fun making up fictitious names for my family members. hahaha!

4. Today at work, when it was almost time to go home, co-worker brought in her cutie pie little son. He wears a helmet to help his flat head get re-shaped. It's working very well. The picture above is so cute! He was trying to grab at my camera. Below I am posting a short movie of him. He loves to kick and flap and screech!

5. I am just so happy that we have a fabulous president, Mr. Obama. I love how smart he is, and responsive to problems, and totally unflappable. He's just who we need in the White House these days. I am going to send him a fan letter. I used to send angry letters to Mr. Bush. It feels so much better to be happy than to be angry!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I have not spoken much about the changes going on in my program at work. Tonight during dinner, for some odd reason, I started spewing to Charles (new, fictitious name for my hubby) about all the changes going on at work. There was nothing new today that spurred my volcanic discussion. It just erupted. One reason I have not said much about it is because it has been pretty confusing, and the changes are on-going. We really don't know how everything will look in the end. The bitter end. I don't think it'll be a happy ending... although I am proud to say we have been making the best of it so far.

This has been a difficult year, with overloaded case loads, and because our program is getting a major overhaul. It would be OK if we knew exactly what was going on, but we still don't have answers to many of our questions. One thing we do know: we get to stay in our current location at least for one more year. I am happy about that. It is very convenient to my home, and it is air-conditioned, unlike most of the school buildings!

Anyway, I am not going to bore my readers with all the details. It just started getting on my nerves tonight, and I spewed. This unrest is being felt all through the district. Many big changes are being made. Programs are being eliminated, others vastly re-organized, people are being moved around (mostly involuntarily). So we are not alone in feeling disgruntled. (Have you ever felt gruntled?)

To top off my disgruntled state, I made muffins for dinner, and they turned out crappy! Stupid muffins!
I'm ready for spring break!!!
P.S. My sister-in-law is in the hospital, and we're not sure what's wrong. My brother is probably beside himself (another odd expression). They live in another state; that's why it's hard to know exactly what is going on. We have to wait for sporadic news.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ampersand Families - an event

Hubby and I decided to sponsor a table at this event. Doesn't it sound fun? It is a fundraising event for Ampersand Families. Read about Ampersand and order tickets for this event here.

Please join us on May 7th for an evening of food, music and friends with all proceeds going towards helping find adoptive families for teenagers in foster care.


May 7th, 2009
6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Music and silent auction bidding begin at 6:00pm
Program and dinner begin at 7:00pm
Silent auction bidding ends at 8:30pm


Trocaderos Nightclub and Restaurant
107 3rd Avenue North
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401

Reservations Required
Your ticket buys a full dinner (cash bar) and an
evening of great reggae sounds with Dred I Dread

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Street Art and a Toy

Here is some fun street art at two different corners in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Below is the quilt I hung up at work. It was time to take down the Snow quilt and advertise spring! Isn't this one gorgeous? I bought it at a sample sale when Colorful Quilts was going out of business. I love it!

Yesterday my new toy came in the mail! I was so excited!

It came in this cool box that has a handle... I'll use this for quilty projects. It's great for carrying a project to a retreat, for example.

Here it is! Can you see what it is?

It's my new digital picture frame! I played with it a little, but I need more time to really figure out how to make great little movies on it. I'm excited!! Splurging on new toys is fun!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thoughts on a Sunday

Thought #1:
I have learned that it is impossible to see into another person's heart and mind just from looking at the person's face. Too many of us, me included, will see someone with what we perceive to be a grumpy face, and jump to conclusions about what that person is communicating. It happened again today, to someone who is the nicest person - smart, caring, and thoughtful - but has a natural scowly face. Another person thought Scowly was giving her the "evil eye." When I figured out who she meant, I just had to laugh. No way! This happens to my sister a lot, too. She is an intense person and "listens very hard" when people are speaking to her. It makes her appear angry, and people get the wrong impression. She gets tired of people asking her "what's wrong?" when she feels perfectly fine. Moral of the story: don't judge a book by its cover.

Thought #2:
It's so funny to me that I am still learning about myself. I mean, basic stuff that has been apparent since I was a little kid! I'm 56 now and just figuring it out. "Duh!" everyone else must be thinking. For example, recently I asked my mom something about what I was like as a kid. I remember being very shy and, of course, nearly perfect. She said "well you always needed to be with friends and doing something." Really?? Huh... that surprises me, but makes sense. Wow. I didn't remember myself as being that way, but come to think of it, YES!

It explains some of the friction my husband and I experienced early in our marriage. He is a home-body to the nth degree. I am somewhat, but really.. maybe I'm not!

Today I went to church, came home, and just felt trapped! I thought about my husband: mostly he goes to work, and he comes home. He's happy with that routine. He socializes with colleagues while at work, and with friends he knew and has made on the bus, and with me at home. For him, that is enough. Not for me! After church I felt like I needed MORE. I wanted to be with people, and not just come home to the quiet. So, after I finished some chores, I went out for "lunch" by myself. (Does lunch happen at 3:30 p.m.?) I thought about how over the years I have kept myself busy with friends, just going out for fun, joining groups like quilt guild and lots of involvement at church. I have been satisfying that need I have to GO and DO and be with people. Husband has been happy to let me go and not have to accompany me. We did get this figured out after a while, and it ceased to be a bump in our marriage.

So anyway, I went out for "lunch," ate a yummy meal, enjoyed watching people and listening in on some of the conversations, and then I did a tiny bit of shopping. That was enough for me to satisfy my need to be with people. Now I am home and satisfied.

Moral of the story (if there is one): don't let silly problems cause undue friction in your marriage... they can be worked out and solved and understood if you have patience and if you work at it, and if you are willing to take a look inside yourself for better understanding.

Thought #3:
Parenting is hard work!!! It ain't for sissies. I'm thinking I might be of the sissy variety. Hubby and I are mulling over our decision to go for foster/adoption training. My honest gut feeling is, I don't think we are the right types for this kind of commitment. I want to be that kind of person, but I know I'm really not. So I'm fessing up that it may not happen as I announced a while back. I am hoping we/I can figure out a meaningful way to be involved without taking that enormous step. We see the need and want to respond, but how we respond is still up in the air. Stay tuned for the developing story. If you are a parent of any kind (bio, foster, adoptive, unofficial) stop what you are doing and give yourself a big hug and pat on the back for your hard work, love, and commitment you have poured into your child/children.

Thought #4:
I'm doing the Humble Dance over the blocks I made today - pictures above. ("I rock, I rule, I'm really really cool") I love how they turned out.

Thought #5:
Are you still here, still reading? Thank you for visiting my blog and letting me jabber at you!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bawling My Eyes Out

Wow! I watched a Netflix movie tonight: "Dear Zachary." It's a documentary. True story, and very, very sad. I bawled my eyes out. But I recommend it, even though it is sad. It's the story of a man who is murdered by his ex-girlfriend. His friend made the movie, "Dear Zachary," for the man's son, so he would know as much as he could about his wonderfuly daddy. Watch it!

Then, by following blog links to links to links, I found a FUNNY letter written to Oprah. It's kind of what I have been thinking, but I couldn't have written such a great letter. Wish I had, though! Here's the link. Scroll down to page two and read "Letter."


two burial blankets made from Found Squares; the second one still needs a star attached

an I Spy quilt made from Found Squares of mysterious origin
I have been doing a little sewing, but nothing very exciting. I'm still making burial blankets to take to Crow Creek Reservation when I go this summer. Everything I have made lately is made from squares I have found while cleaning my sewing room. Who knew cleaning could be so beneficial?! Some of the squares I have found are complete mysteries. I have no memory of where they came from. I know some of them were not ever my own fabrics, so someone must have sent them to me. I wonder who? Anyway, it has been nice to make a bunch of "free quilts" from Found Objects.

Look at this last picture! What do you think it is? Well, I was sprawled out on the stairs, looking toward upstairs, and liked the view from underneath this quilt. Just don't notice how wobbly it is! Some would say it's a "friendly" quilt.. it's waving at you!

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Friday Five

1. A gentle, afternoon rain sounded so pleasing on my car top - reminded me of cuddling inside a tent, warm and snug, during a soft rain.
2. Good books - love 'em!! I'm finishing a good one that I can hardly put down, and I bought several more today that I can hardly wait to pick up*... why I bought more is a good question as I already have a gigantic pile of books to read. I hope I can continue to read and sew in Heaven, because I'll surely never finish all I have in mind during this lifetime.
3. Son and future DIL left on a service trip today which happens during their spring break. I'm proud of them for giving up their leisure time to help others.
4. Hubby is too smart about computers and programming and software! He works hard on stuff that I don't understand, and when he talks excitedly about it, I have a hard time paying attention. Since it's gobbledy-gook to me, my eyes glaze over, and then it's hard to fake that I'm interested. (I don't have him fooled for a minute.)
5. Today I met a Gentle Giant: very tall, very strong, very soft-spoken, gentle, young but determined, and very goal-oriented. Made my day!!
*the books:
sleep toward heaven by Amanda Eyre Ward (almost done- hard to put it down)
Wesley the Owl by Stacey O'Brien (I read this previously and just bought this one for a gift)
True Love, a Practice for Awakening the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh
90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper
Here if You Need Me by Kate Braestrup
A Day in the Life of the American Woman, How We See Ourselves (a coffee table book of photographs, marked down to only $2.99!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Crow Creek!

Last year I went on a work/mission trip to Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. This year we are going again, but to Crow Creek Reservation, also in South Dakota. Volunteers at both sites are coordinated through Tree of Life. This is the Tree of Life logo that you see above.

Last night our work team had its first planning meeting. So now I'm feeling excited about the trip! There is nothing quite like a group of people working together to form friendship bonds, and to get something good accomplished as well. Last year's trip was a blessing to my life, so I am hoping it will be another great experience this year.... for everyone concerned. Can't wait to go again!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Shoulda Been Me

Thanks for the photo. Betty!

Look at this! I was just thinking that with such an Irish last name, my relatives and I should make a banner and march in the St Paul parade. Someone else beat us to it. I don't know who they are! Shirttail relies, perhaps?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sew Much Fun

This is some of the sewing I did while trying to clean my sewing room. These little squares were in baggies, apparently cut by hand. That's why they don't match perfectly. But I liked leaving them wonky (too lazy to square them up). And the pink/pastel theme continues on the others.

These are two more burial blankies... a sad need, but I hope they comfort the mommies.

two more Lotto blocks for April

Monday, March 16, 2009

Watching TV

another picture from the Old Days... we were newlyweds - 1976

Since yesterday I have been working on organizing my sewing room. I think this is going to be a very long-term project. First, it's a mess. Second, when I re-discover fabrics and projects I had forgotten about, I can barely keep from sitting right down and sewing on them! In fact, I have not been so successful at resisting that temptation. It is so inspiring to find projects I had forgotten about!

Tonight, though, I'm having a lazy evening. There are a couple of reality TV shows I like. One is Amazing Race on Sunday nights (I'm rooting for Luke, the Deaf guy!), and another is Dancing With the Stars which I'm watching tonight. My younger, skinny self would like to prance around in some of those outfits they dance in. I can almost remember what it would feel like to be that moveable, and those swishy skirts - fun! (I'd have to put a sweatshirt on top, though, to hide my modest self.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pink Saturday

Today was a quilters' mini-retreat day at my church. At first there were only two of us, then three, then four. The four of us had plenty of room to spread out and got a lot done. We also enjoyed our chatter and eating some chocolate, of course. Chocolate is a required component of any quilters' retreat.

Here is some of the progress I made today. I worked in pink all day long! First is a top made from blocks I won in a block lotto.

Second is a small kid quilt I made using a bunch of pinks I had sitting around. The border fabric
depicts the cutest little kids doing aerobics! Their cute expressions and outfits just make me giggle.

These are blocks I made for Sunshine. These aren't due until April! April colors are pastels, so today's pink theme was perfect. Some of these are orphan blocks made by various other people. I enlarged them to the correct size. Others I made from scratch.

I got up at 6:00 A.M. today (a Saturday!) so I'm heading to bed right now, 9:00 P.M. I'm worn out!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Vendredi: Les Cinq Choses (My Friday Five)

Hubby et moi while dating in college.

1. I used to be somewhat comfortable with the French language (OK, I'll admit I majored in French in college), but I've lost almost all my knowledge of it. Quel dommage!

2. I love that my hubby happily goes along what makes me happy. I tell him "I'm busy helping the children," and then I vanish into the sewing room. He's happy, too. He vanishes into his computer room and putzes around with work stuff and solves computer-related puzzles. We're happy doing our parallel play. Sometimes I watch a Netflix movie while sewing. Double the pleasure (even though it slows my sewing progress way down)!

3. It's Friday evening, I'm home, and we are looking ahead to a weekend of lovely weather. Hooray!

4. I just finished reading two good books: Sarah's Key by Tatiana DeRosnay and Up High in the Trees by Kiara Brinkman. I am currently reading Moon Over Lake Elmo by Steve Thayer who happens to be the brother of my lovely friend, Beth! I am really enjoying the book so far.

5. My dad died in 2002. It hardly seems possible it was over seven years ago. I still dream about him now and then. I just did again last night. Usually after I dream about my dad, I feel at peace, like I've just spent some happy time with him or gotten a hug from him. Isn't that a nice gift?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sneaky Fat

Boy, getting fat just sneaks up on a person. I'm shocked when I see pictures of myself. I was THIN for the first part of my life. After my 2nd baby I didn't lose as much as I wanted, but still wasn't huge (though I thought I was). After age 40 it started sneaking up, more, more, more... then a hysterectomy, thyroid problems, age 50... more, more... UFFDA! Here I am. Twice the size I used to be. I now would have to work hard and lose a lot of weight to get down to what I weighed when I was 9 months pregnant with my second child. Never thought I'd be able to say that! And it isn't making me happy!

On the other hand, I am happy. I have a great life! I just don't like being part of the American Epidemic that everyone writes about.

This morning it was 4 below zero F when I went to work. If it ever warms up around here, I might start walking again. This has nothing to do with losing weight. I don't want to think about working on that. Every time I try, I end up gaining weight in the long run. So forget it!

By the way, I'm not looking for advice. Thanks, though. I know a lot of people would have sensible advice for me. I don't want it! I can give it to myself. I'm just talking about how surprising it is to find oneself "suddenly" in this fat life. It feels rather sudden to me.
Anyone else feel like a thin person trapped in a fat body? It stinks!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Not Feeling Talkative

I have been playing along with Quilt Pixie and others at the Friday Block Party (link in my sidebar). QP randomly draws a pattern from her "hat," and we all make the same pattern. Every week! I don't even like to do Block of the Month projects, and here I am doing a block each week. Don't ask me why I'm able to do this when BOM projects make me feel stressed out. I can't tell you why. Here are the first nine blocks I have made. Some I like better than others. One I don't like at all, but most of them are cool.

Here is my Week 10 block.

And here is burial blankie #4 ... I described what these are for a few days ago. This one isn't quite done. I have to sew it shut and do a bit of sewing around the edge, or whatever I decide to do.

I am pretty much devoid of any real news, so that's why I'm showing you these random quilty pictures. Now I'm going to climb into bed and read until I fall asleep.

An Award!

I'm such a forgetful old fart that I already forgot who awarded this to me, but I do appreciate it! Thank you a bunch! The English Language Snob in me doesn't like the misspelling of creative, but the Open-Minded Softie part of me loves that I got a nice award.
I'm not going to tag anyone else with this award. Please feel free to take it if you fit the following criteria:
1) You can read
2) You have a blog
3) You have done something nice
4) You can live with the spelling k-r-e-a-t-i-v and even enjoy its innate celebration of "kreativity."

Oops. Carol strikes again. I should have known! "Kreativ" is the correct spelling... just not in English. It's spelled correctly in German! I wasn't thinking about other languages, but it should have occurred to me. Hope I didn't offend anyone!

Monday, March 09, 2009

My Mom and Staff Development

On Sunday we went to sister's house to share in a birthday lunch for our mom. It was a fun day with great food and good company! Mom is 88 and has four children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. What a wonderful, motley crew! Here is Mom with her three great-grands.

Today I have staff development all day. I'm at home right now on my lunch break. Soon I'll trot merrily back to an afternoon of more enlightenment. This morning a couple co-workers presented some stuff. This afternoon it will be an outside expert with more stuff. Tra la la!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Quilt Tops

a quilty Saturday... I finished these two quilt tops

This will go to a sale benefitting St Paul Public Schools.

This one is the last of the red/white blocks that Sunshine members sent to me. It'll go to Wrap Them in Love.

Friday, March 06, 2009

My Friday Five

Knothole, 2007 by Carol Egan

Things on my mind:

1) My mom is now 88 years old and still doing high kicks. I come from good longevity genes.

2) Thank you for the supportive and nice comments in response to my previous post. It will be, at the very least, an interesting journey on the possible fostering/adoption plan.

3) We haven't had much of a chance to talk with our two children about our plan. It makes me a little sad to think of how this might make them feel. On the other hand, they might love it!

4) Gorgeous day today! I can feel and smell spring in the air! Snow is melting fast! Yippee!

5) 28 days to the start of Spring Break, but who is counting?! (Oops, I counted wrong. I meant 21 days. Even better!)