Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Human Relations: Two Models

photo from http://children.foreignpolicyblogs.com

Human Relations, Model One
Who’s right is most important (and I’m sure it’s me).
I deserve it.
He disrespected me!
I’m mad at her, and my family will side with me.

Radical Human Relations!
Turn the other cheek.
Be humble; getting even should not be a goal. Learning from each other is better.
In most cases it doesn’t matter who is right; people need to respect each other and learn to work together for good.
I can learn new ways of doing things; I may not deserve what I want. I may not even get what I want or anything at all, and that’s OK.
He disrespected me. I need to learn how to be assertive and take care of my needs without hurting him and disrespecting him back.
I’m mad at her; my family will encourage me to work it out with her and find a peaceful solution.

The first model seems all too common.

The second model is what I believe in. It’s harder to do. It’s harder to explain. It’s harder to internalize and live it by example. I believe when successful, it will make for a better world.

How does one go about modeling and/or teaching the New Model when the person one is dealing with believes in the first? That’s my daily challenge. Sometimes I have energy for the challenge, and sometimes I don’t.

Today I’m tired. It seems too hard. I hope tomorrow will bring me new energy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Sewing Weekend

a HeartStrings quilt

Except for Friday night, I stayed inside almost all weekend! It was rainy and not so pleasant, which made for perfect sewing weather. (Friday night we had a delicious dinner out with Charles' parents.)

I got a lot done but don't have many pictures to show my progress. The above picture is just a top, but I did get it quilted. All it needs now is the binding, which I might even get done tonight.

There has been a block lotto blog going for years, and I did not know about it. I just discovered it today. I put the button on my sidebar. I made blocks for the April lotto right away. They are doing Wonky Shoo Fly blocks for April. I love ShooFly, and I love wonky, so I was excited to find this group. I think they are working on wonky every month in 2010. Not sure, but I'm still new, so we'll see.

I also worked on some crumb blocks, started creating a new crumb blocks setting (I like to shake it up so they don't bore me to death), worked a bit more on my A-Z bean bags, and I also did a little knitting while I watched the movie "Heart of the Game."

Have you seen "Heart of the Game?" I loved it! You can get it from Netflix.

Monday is right around the corner! How can this be??

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Back From the Dumps (Because of Chocolate?)

Thank you for being nice when I'm feeling down, dear readers. I'm better again. Sometimes I think I should not even write a post when I feel down. But that is a normal part of the Ups and Downs of Life, so I go ahead, and you always respond gently. Thank you!

This is a picture of the 5-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake I made recently. I found the recipe here on the net, on someone's blog (unfortunatley, I can't remember whose). It really did take only about 5 minutes, start to finish!

Here's my review: I give it a B-. It was good, but something about it was lacking in sweet yumminess. I think next time I would use a little more than just a small splash of vanilla. I might even throw in a tiny pinch of salt. And, here's the important part, I would serve it with ice cream. Just about anything is yummy with ice cream.

I'll definitely try it again when I know I can serve it the proper way. In case you'd like to try, here's the recipe:

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake
4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
1 egg
3 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp oil
3 Tbsp chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract (don't skimp)
1 large coffee mug (microwave-safe)
Try a tiny dash of salt?? (an un-tried addition to the recipe)

Put dry ingredients into mug. Stir, combine well.
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil. Mix well.
Add choc. chips (if using) and vanilla extract. Mix well.
Put mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. (I did 4 min at a lower wattage, and it was perfect.)
The cake will rise over the top of the mug. Don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little. Tip onto a plate if desired.
Eat! (It can serve 2 if you feel generous.)

Hint: Serve with ice cream for optimum enjoyment.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


photo from: www.flickr.com/photos/feembrasil

Feeling kinda down tonight.

A co-worker asked me about my post-retirement plans, and for the first time I felt genuinely sad about it instead of happy.

I'm missing a friend.

I'm tired of my own tendency to put foot in mouth. (Why do I do that? It doesn't even taste good.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Summary

I've been sewing! I thought I was feeling burned out, but all I had to do was sit down and start, and I was right back into the groove. I had a blast sewing over the last several days!

I finished some placemats; this whole chunk of stuff will be going to a silent auction to benefit the Twin Cities Women's Choir. My DIL sings in this choir. I am looking forward to their next concert in early May, when items will be silent-auction-ized. This is a really good cookbook which I have used for years (this actual one is new, of course). There's a quilted pot holder, a knitted dish cloth, and the four quilted placemats. I'm curious.. would you bid on an item like this?

This is a quick and simple boy quilt I made. This white fabric with the soccer motif is veerrrryy soft. I hope some little boy will love the softness of his "blankie." It'll be going to Wrap a Smile.

Over in my sidebar you will see a button for Craft Hope. Every few months Craft Hope comes up with a project in which we all participate as we are able. The current project is to make bean bags for LOEP (Liberian Orphans Education Project). The bean bags are to have the alphabet or numbers on them. Kids will use them to learn letters and numbers. I am having so much fun making these! They're turning into more putzy work than I had anticipated, but I'm loving it. I hope the kids have a blast with these! So far I have the green and the yellow "bags" done. I still have the red and the blue to finish. I can't wait to show you the final product when they're all done!

Today at church we celebrated creativity. People brought in items that show things they've made or how they express themselves creatively. What a show! People have made some beautiful things! I lovelovelove the blanket on the left, on the altar. It is gorgeous! It is "Swedish weaving" which I'd never heard of before. She does it all by hand. Wowzers!

The altar flowers are from one person's garden. There were photographs, books, geneaology reports, cards, jewelry, quilts, a rug, a trunk, and a home-made guitar! What fun! It's fun to realize all the talent that people at our church possess.

One other thing I finally accomplished was to finish reading my G book. I added it to my A-Z challenge list in my sidebar. It wasn't that (G)reat, so it took me a while to work through it. I'm ready to find a spell-binder.

As for work, I'll be right back with my nose to the grindstone too early tomorrow morning. But the good news is: I have 39 work days left! Wheee!

Carbon Neutral Again!

Wow, check this out. Another blogger, Amy, decided to plant a tree for every blog who joins the Carbon Neutral drive (see button in my sidebar). You can get "double your money" for joining in! Offset your blog-energy-use by having TWO trees planted for you.

To do so, visit Amy, and visit Carbon Neutral by clicking on my sidebar button. Get your own button and spread the good, clean, fresh air provided by trees!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Photo Hunt: Covered

When the Fahrenheit temperature is below zero, even the doll wants to be covered in layers.

To see other pictures of covered, go here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Ribbon 'Round the World

This is so cool. A friend of mine, Jody, sent this email post to a list I'm on. I hope she's OK with me posting her message verbatim. Check out her little tutorial video (it's her voice you will hear). It's very neat! I'm going to add an image to Planetfesto. You can, too! Read on to see how....

from Jody:

Earth Day is coming up next week, April 22nd.

This morning I was digging through some notes to myself about project ideas for work. (If you're not familiar with what I do "for a living," the short story is that I create tutorial movies for AtomicLearning.com about technology projects that teachers can do with their students.) I came across some scribblings about the PlanetFesto Web site and thought that it would be a great Earth Day project, but didn't know if I would be able to produce a tutorial and have it published on the AtomicLearning Web site in time for Earth Day next week. The guy who writes blog posts for Atomic Learning said that he could post it on the Atomic Learning blog more quickly than it could be published on the regular Web site. This was great news, because the blog is more public anyway -- you need to be a subscriber to view most of the tutorials on the Atomic Learning Web site -- so that meant that it could ultimately reach more people. Yippie!

So ... I made the little movie this morning and Clint had it posted to YouTube and the Atomic Learning blog by 1:30 this afternoon!

To view my little movie (it's about 3 minutes long), visit the Atomic Learning blog at:


PlanetFesto is an online collaborative project that anyone can take part in. Participants add an image to a virtual "ribbon" that is encircling the Earth, and write a few sentences about what they love about the Earth and what they will do to try to protect it. It is very easy to add your own image, which will add 6" of length to the ribbon.

The blog page also contains links to the PlanetFesto Web site and more information about the project.

Celebrate the Earth!


Thanks for the great Earth Day idea, Jody! Let's see how many times we can circle the planet!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Blog is Carbon Neutral

Well... I don't know if it truly is neutral, but there is a German outfit that will plant a tree for every blog that links to them and writes a post about it. That tree is supposed to offset the energy my server uses to run this blog.

I hope it really makes my blog "neutral," but I have my doubts. I'm also using electricity to run my computer, lights are on in my computer room, we use natural gas to heat our home so I can sit in warm or air-conditioned comfort while I play around at my blog and other sites. The keyboard and monitor used up some energy in the production of the plastic and other parts.

I like the idea, though, so I'm in. I am trying not to be cynical. Maybe I'll also plant a tree this spring (soon) so TWO trees can work to offset my energy use.

You, too? Want to make your blog or your life lean a little more toward being carbon neutral? Click on my button in the sidebar and go to the website.. have a tree planted in your blog's name!

P.S. Even if it doesn't make me completely carbon neutral, the tree will be planted in northern California by the Arbor Day partners of the German group (in an area that suffered a bad forest fire), and they can use all the trees they can get!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Shawl, and I'm Pooped

My daughter knitted this beautiful shawl. Isn't it amazing?? This is a lousy picture of it, but it's all I have for now.

I mentioned she is having a hard time; I am happy to report that she is doing much better. The Mom-Roller-Coaster is coasting comfortably for now.

I've been so busy, and haven't slept well the last couple of nights (due to allergies, maybe?), and I'm pooped. Today I was busy from 6:00 a.m. until I finally came home at 9:30 p.m. So... I'm climbing into bed and hope I toss and turn for 1/10 of a second before falling into a deep sleep.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend Report

And now for your weekend edition of Carol's news:
(are you excited yet?)

I did some reading, some sewing, and some hauling of logs. Just the usual stuff.

I made this top. It's my mish-mash boy quilt. I really wish I'd had more of a plan in mind. I just built it from the middle out without a real design in mind, as you can see. If I had the real desire, I would change a couple of things, but now that it's all put together, NEVER MIND!

My "should get done soon" projects are still waiting. As usual, I went with starting a random, new thing (the above) instead of the projects that are waiting with deadlines, some long past. Oh, the joys of ADD-quilting!

What is "hauling logs" all about? Well, just that. A couple years ago a tree in our back yard fell in a storm. We had a guy come out and cut it into logs, and then we did nothing. The logs have been sitting. And sitting. We do keep the back pretty wild, but this was looking ridiculous.

So, yesterday's aerobic exercise was to haul logs into a big pile in our side yard. Now we have a concentrated mess in the side. Did I accomplish anything? Not sure. But I got my heart pumping and used some muscles that were lying dormant.

Look! It's spring! (sneeze) Hand over the Claritan, please! (sniff, sniff) And some Kleenex while you're at it!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

my children

A party! This is exactly what I needed today. I just found this and am happy to join in. Follow the Ultimate Blog Party link in my sidebar, and you'll find hundreds of moms joining in the fun.

I'm here to tell you what it's like being a mom of "old" kids: motherhood never ends! I thought once they were adults I'd be "off the hook," but I'm not!

Mine are almost 30 and almost 24. My daughter, the older of the two, is a fireball, sensitive, friendly, very warm-hearted and keenly aware of morality [right/wrong]. She is a fabulous knitter. Right now she is going through a very rough time - the hardest she has ever experienced. It is hard to see her struggling. I grieve for her. The mom in me wants to fix it for her, but of course, I can't and shouldn't. She is doing a great job of working through it, but it's still hard to be a mom of a child in pain. You can say prayers for her if you want! She could use some courage, comfort, and discernment.

My son is newly married (9 months now). His wife is a real doll. They are so cute and make me happy. Son is mellow, very smart, caring, and funny. He and my DIL are vegan, and he has turned into a great cook. He loves to bake his own bread and create yummy vegan feasts. DIL is busy-as-a-bee and so hard-working. She sings in a community choir and they both have lots of friends. She is heading to graduate school this fall.

I am a quilter and a beginning knitter. I actually learned to knit about 40 years ago, but never got beyond beginner stage. I love to read, take walks, swim, spend time at lakes and in the woods. I am the grand-daughter and daughter and cousin and niece of United Methodist ministers. Yes, United Methodism is in my blood. I am currently the president of our local UMW (United Methodist Women).

I work in a public school with special ed young adults, 18-21. I'm a sign language interpreter and general assistant to all disabilities. I absolutely love my job, but I am retiring in June and absolutely love the thought of that as well.

Today I've been feeling a little sad and stressed about my daughter's current struggles, so having a Moms party is perfect. Later today I will sit back with a cold Diet Coke and start reading some of the blogs... I have a long way to go so will greet some of you over time.

Here's a toast to our children! May they be happy, healthy, and peace-loving all of their days.

my son and DIL

P.S. I decided, if I win, I would like these:
first the laptop (wheee!)
Then: 39, 11, 73, 52, 32

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Photo Hunt: Vertical

To see more pictures of vertical, go here.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

No New Taxes

This morning I was in a staff meeting at work. We were discussing some of the many challenges we have faced recently. They are not small challenges. For example, some of our students are homeless, and finding housing options for them has been a huge hurdle. Some are vulnerable adults who don't know how to handle certain sticky situations. Some are prone to poor behaviors that we need to help them redirect, or to find other community resources to help them.

Here are my thoughts about it all:

1) I am so proud to be a part of the program where I work and the fabulous team we are. Everyone is so caring and works so hard.

2) We can't work miracles, much as we would love to. We don't have enough staff, and we don't even have enough space in our building. We don't have enough time to address all the needs sufficiently.

3) We are full of ideas for change, but none of them can happen because of the almighty dollar. When the governor of one's state promises "no new taxes" and he is the governor for way too many years, huge cuts are the result, and no positive changes can be made.

4) Our schools have suffered so many cuts already; staff cut when we couldn't spare them, teachers cut, programs cut. Programs are crammed into too-small or inefficient spaces. People have to make do with poor spaces and poor funding. Next year's numbers are worse, and more cuts everywhere will follow. I know how this makes staff feel. I wonder what this does to the morale of the students who see their services being cut and teachers going away, and spaces too cramped.

5) This is the result of "no new taxes." I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the governor and his lack of foresight. He wants to run for president and brag about never raising taxes. He wants to forget to mention that schools and other public entities have suffered greatly.

6) I will retire in June, so I can leave the problems behind and enjoy my good memories, as well as enjoy free time. When I retire in June, I will feel sad walking away from the problems and the work I see that needs to be done, and I'll miss the collaboration that happens in my program. It's bittersweet.

Monday, April 05, 2010


photo is from orkutluv(dot)com

I'm susceptible to worry when it comes to friendships. For example.. if I don't get any comments at Facebook in several days, I start to wonder if I still have any friends.

I know it's silly. I learned recently from the book Fearless by Max Lucado that one of my inner fears is being abandoned (friendless). I'm working on reducing my fear. I'm currently reading Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris, and it is excellent. It is addressing some of my insecurities. I can't wait 'til we get to discuss it at book group tomorrow.

Meanwhile my friend, Beth, at Walk a Mile has asked people to help celebrate her upcoming 50th birthday by performing Random Acts of Kindness. I love that idea and have asked my co-workers to do the same in honor of my retirement. And I plan to do some kindnesses in honor of Beth's 50th.

Maybe performing some Acts of Kindness will help reduce my silly fears and worries.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Spring Break: The End

Here is a wall hanging, made from leftovers, that I finally finished. Actually, it was done quite a while ago; I may have posted a photo, but I can't remember. I finally finished tacking down the hanging sleeve, so now it's 100% done. This will soon be winging its way to a veterans' home in New England. It matches my own living room pretty well, but it was already promised to the other, so off it goes.

I bought a copy of "Knitting for Peace" and am having fun reading through it and finding easy patterns as well as places to donate knitted stuff. I also ordered a copy of "Quilting for Peace" which should arrive in my mailbox any day now. Can't wait to see it!

daughter is knitting socks; she is a much better knitter than I will ever be

Spring break was restful, busy, fun, a little hard (something I haven't talked about publicly), mostly good, and I am very sad to see it come to an end. Monday morning I'll be back with my nose to the grindstone.

Making a Swift, Swiftly

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Photo Hunt: Sweet

Looking at a book with Great-Grandma

To see other Sweet pictures, click here.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Spring Break: Almost Done!

"Queen of the World" - or the best I could do on finding a picture of her, whoever she is. This is from mediaoutrage(dot)com

The days have rolled along quickly, and I have not completed as much sewing as I had hoped. I have done more knitting than sewing in the last couple of days: dish cloths, and I started a hat.

I have also run errands, gone to doctor appointments, got my hair cut, grocery shopped, tried a couple new recipes, completed a little house-cleaning (didn't want to get carried away, of course), enjoyed the great outdoors and lovely weather, and, I'll admit, taken it easy and behaved rather lazily.

Today I watched another movie. I have watched three during my break:
1) Hachi - loved it and cried (although if this were a serious review, I would say the only amazing actor was the dog)
2) Miss Congeniality - silly and fun; cuter story than I expected
3) Hurt Locker - very intense and well-done. I was glad the bloodshed was not overwhelming in this war story. Why is it called Hurt Locker?

I forgot where I left my D book, so I started on my G book. Now my reading is like my quilting: lots of starts and not many completions. Did you notice that I talked about my Q book a few days ago and got a comment from the author himself? What a fun surprise!

Now it's down to the weekend, which I intend to thoroughly enjoy. It's my last two days of spring break. When I become queen of the world, I am going to make sure that every profession gets a spring break of some sort. It's a wonderful thing!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Spring Break: Day Five

Morning: did some sewing.
Late morning: went to an appointment; the other person didn't show up (which I half expected).
Afternoon: shopped - found some clothes that fit and were on sale by an extra amount for one day only. Yippee!
Evening: more sewing. Chatted with Daughter. Started day-dreaming about doing some travel in the relatively near future.

End of evening: I don't like how the yellow is too over-powering in this quilt, but it's too late now!

This post is my 800th! Amazing!