Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Our Christmas

We decided to do a different Christmas celebration this year. Instead of partying at home, we decided to stay at a hotel. We liked this alternate plan and might do it again next year.

Entrance to the hotel

Our kids had the adjoining room. This is our room.

Park lights from above:
my Christmas morning hot chocolate

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Book Review: a "Stupid" Book

Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin

A young woman who had been kidnapped and abused as a child is now free physically but not emotionally (yet). Then a young girl who looks a lot like the young woman is kidnapped, and the young woman becomes entangled in the search.

A quick read, not my usual genre. I am tired of books in which girls/women are victims. Writing them to emerge strong doesn't change the fact that they were victims of cruel men (not to say this character emerged strong). Let's change the model.

2.5 stars out of a possible five. I kept telling my husband "this is a stupid book" (not well written). I don't know why I kept reading it, except just to hurry so I could get on to other books.

Will I manage to finish another book while it is still 2019?? Let's see...……..

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Book Reviews

Under Ground by Megan Marsnik

I found this book at the library and was glad to get an interesting, Minnesota-related book I had not previously heard of.

A young woman from Slovenia emigrates to the USA, specifically to a small mining town in northern Minnesota. Mining is the main employment there. The company takes advantage of the miners, paying them badly, ignoring safety precautions, housing them in company-owned, ramshackle shacks, doing anything they can to make a profit at the expense of the workers. Finally the workers get fed up and go on strike.

The incidents described in this book are historically accurate. The town, Biwabik, is an actual mining town in Minnesota. The strike and the events described here are historically accurate. The story is fictionalized by combining events or making composite characters who experience what really happened. The history was well researched; the book was written by a woman who is a descendant of Slovenian immigrant miners. It was an interesting book; I enjoyed the glimpse into Minnesota history and especially enjoyed the perspective of women's role in supporting and advancing the union cause.

A thought about my previous post: thank you so much for the kind comments. I really appreciate your notes. You are all correct; depression is complicated and difficult to solve. I'm doing a little better and hope that I continue to improve. Friends and family are helping.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Turns Out I Was Right

[featuring random pictures of quilts made by me]

Once upon a time there was a woman named Carol who loved quilts and wished she could make some by herself. She didn't consider trying, because, she thought, "I'm not patient enough." With the encouragement of friends and her mother, Carol finally decided to try. Her first attempt was a pot holder (haha.. it turned into a quilt).

After that she was hooked and has been making quilts like crazy ever since. It has been 20 years and 4 months, and she is still going strong. Or is she?

That Carol is me, of course. Lately I have been feeling uninspired.

I know, slumps are normal. I go through them periodically and just wait.. eventually I once again get enthused.

In recent weeks I have been dealing with some major-ish depression. I'm getting help with it, but it is causing me to ponder and re-think everything about my life. This includes my quilting.

When I see all the gorgeous things other quilters create, I realize, "I will never make that. I'm not patient enough." So, while my quilts are pretty, and I enjoy making them, and people seem to appreciate them, I will never achieve that awesome level that so many have achieved and seem to maintain. It turns out I was right about myself. I'm just not patient enough.

I don't have what it takes to do the projects that require stick-to-it-ive-ness. Once in a while strange things happen, and I make a masterpiece. I have done that twice. Most of what I make, however, is "nice." I think I'm OK with that. I don't need to be famous; I don't need to be making top-of-the-line awesomeness every time I sit down at my machine.

my masterpiece

I get the most joy out of making charity quilts. I love to make them pretty. After all, poor and/or sick kids deserve some beauty in their lives, too. I have never uttered the words "it's just for charity" in the sense of making ugly stuff is OK because it's for charity.

Meanwhile I'm waiting for my enthusiasm to return. I have been sewing, but I can only manage the mindless stuff. Things that don't require careful 1/4-inch seams, for example. Scrappy stuff. Quick stuff. While the depression rages on, it's all I can manage.

And when I get back to being enthused, I will be happy with "nice" and accept the fact that I am not patient enough to achieve that certain level of art and beauty that I so admire in other people's work. To be honest, I'm even OK with not being patient enough to do that type of sewing.

Charity quilting is what makes me happiest. Meanwhile, I'm trying to remember how to feel happy. It's just one of those dips in life. While being not fine, I'm fine. Things will look up once again.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Friday, December 06, 2019

Giving Away Quilts

Recently I decided that I own way too many quilts. Most of what I make is for donation to charities, but occasionally I will keep a quilt for our household. I had not noticed that the number of "keeps" was getting quite high -- so many that we couldn't possibly use them all. Therefore I decided to give some away, and let me tell you, it was SUPER FUN!

I took some with me to our Thanksgiving gathering and offered them to my nieces and others. To be honest, I was surprised at how happy they were to choose a quilt from the pile. It was fun for me to watch.

Nieces and my first-cousin-once-removed

Next I sent this one to a former co-worker. I knew she would be blown away. She always has the nicest comments about my quilts, but never in a million years thought I would send her one. I sent her this artsy one that seemed to be her favorite style. This is what she said on Facebook:
When an old (as in, from long ago) friend makes and gifts you a *perfect,* GORGEOUS, exactly-you quilt just out of the blue (pun only partly intended) and for no particular reason other than she’s amazing...OMG, Carol! *T*H*A*N*K* *Y*O*U*!!!

Then she changed her Facebook profile picture to this one, with the following caption:
The amazing Carol Egan made this for my Human. I know. I can’t believe it, either.

Then I sent this one to an old (as in, from long ago) - [see how I borrowed the above person's wording?] - friend from high school days. She is also a quilter, so it's not that she needed a quilt from me. I just wanted to communicate my appreciation of her, and this more traditional pattern seemed right, in my mind, for her. There's even a block that says "I love quilting," appropriate for her.

And finally I sent these two quilts, along with some other gifts and supplies for Christmas, to Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.

This was surprisingly fun and satisfying for me. I recommend it! Do you have a pile of quilts not being used? Try surprising people with the gift of a quilt. They and you will have a blast.