If You Can Make it There

A couple of weeks ago, I went back to a small town in Indiana where I grew up.  It was good to spend time with family.

I noticed a couple of things while back home.

  1.  The church that I went to in my childhood isn’t nearly as big inside as I remembered it.  We switched churches when I was in Jr. High school, and I hadn’t been back to that church for 30+ years.  My mom had to tell me where to turn….
  2. All the factories are gone.  Virtually everywhere I remember a factory, there is now a creepy-looking vacant building, or an empty lot  with signs of torn down buildings.
  3. There are medical practices and urgent care offices everywhere.  I can remember the 2 or 3 doctor’s offices in my small town.  There was a hospital next town over.  Now there’s a doc-in-a-box everywhere.  And yet, I would guess the population hasn’t increased much, if at all. People must be a lot sicker.
  4. Lots of places were hiring.  Of course, the type of places that have “We’re hiring” signs outside would be minimum wage jobs, though.  Which is not $15.00 an hour there.

Most people I know have left the area.  It’s hard to find employment there.  People are moving to cities.  In small towns you still find the elderly, disabled, self-employed, and a few people willing to commute for work.  And living in a small city, I can say, cities suck.  Neighbors are too close, you’re too regulated–I can’t even plant a tomato plant in my own yard, or water my lawn more than three times a week, park my car on the street, or have signs in my yard, or have more than 3 pets.

So thinking about my small-city life, I just kept wondering why I left.  I guess most leave because they can’t make it there.

Who’s in Control Here?

About 7 months ago I walked into a doctor’s office.  I was feeling very bad.  I was sick every day.  I couldn’t sleep.  I have a horrible doctor. She was very curt and blunt.  She told me (and this is nearly a direct quote): I was obese, old, and had an unhealthy lifestyle, and that she couldn’t help me.

That was not what I wanted or expected to hear.  So I asked her to recommend the best way to lose weight and she said that she went to Weight Watchers.   Two days later I was at a meeting.  I really wanted to be anywhere else.  I was embarrassed that I needed help.  Heck, I was embarrassed to ask the doctor for help and I didn’t get it.  Now I had to ask for help again.  And I didn’t get it again.  What I got, instead, was them showing me a plan, but they told me that it was up to me, and that I was in control.   So, I decided to be in control.

It was  a week before Thanksgiving–NOT a good time to go on a diet, so I’m told. And I was leaving town the next day on a trip.  I don’t really think there is a good time to go on a diet.  However, there is no BAD time to change your lifestyle.  And that is what I have done.  I eat mostly fruits and vegetables and some lean meats.  Almost never do I touch sweets or processed sugar, and very little bread.  I have found that those were the things that were making me feel bad.  I don’t want to feel bad anymore.

And, I started a Couch to 5K program and I have run 3 5Ks races so far this year. I know I am lucky to be able to run at my age and am thankful for that.  I feel great.

Yes, I’m still quilting, but not as much.  Yes, I’m still losing weight, but not as much.  I am nearly at the weight I was 20 years ago.   I hope to get there by the 4th of July.  But if I don’t, it doesn’t matter.  My lifestyle has changed, and I’m the one in control of that.  I could have changed my doctor, but it turns out that, although her bedside manner stunk, she was right.

Losing the Holiday Weight

This might seem to be a little early. But really it is a little late. I made a decision a few weeks ago to lose the Holiday Weight. I’m not talking about the holidays, but about my dog Holiday, who passed away in February.

I had been eating badly and didn’t have my best friend for my daily walks. So I’m off on a culinary adventure. The refrigerator is stocked with fruits and vegetables, the pantry with oatmeal and brown rice and multigrain this and that.

And I have a new walking companion. I fostered a few dogs this year, but the last one is now my dog. Pixie is 6 years old, and has not had a happy life. You can tell a dog that had been hit or kicked–they randomly cower in fear when their mind thinks the blow is coming. But generally, Pixie is a happy dog. She had to undergo heartworm treatment, but now is feeling much better and she shows the same pure, unadulterated joy as Holiday did when I get out the leash for a walk.

So hopefully, I will lose the Holiday weight by the end of the holidays. Wish me luck!

 

A Bequest

001Many times people will contact a quilt guild, not really knowing what they do.  Many times it’s to ask them to make a quilt for them.  Sometimes it’s to ask them to take quilting material (or just stuff) off their hands.  Last year, our guild was contacted by a family who had several unfinished quilt tops from their grandmother.  They wanted us to “find homes” for them.  Their ownly request was that they not be thrown away or sold, just that they be used for some charitable purpose.

Harder than it sounds.

Finding a charitable purpose is not too hard.  FInding one that wants an unfinished quilt top is a bit harder.  We took on the task, even though the cost of the batting, backing, and binding generally fell upon the person who volunteered to complete the quilt tops.  That would be me.

And then there is the matter of the quilt top itself.  How it was made, how it has been stored, etc.  There were 8 or 9 tops to complete.  This is the 3rd.  The maker used very large blocks, and a lot of gingham.  This one was stored badly and had some fabric that was eaten away by….something.  I had to replace and repair before starting.  And this one was seriously out of whack.  Not just because of bad workmanship.  On older quilts they tend to be less accurate.   They didn’t have the cutting and measuring tools we have nowadays.  And then as fabric has been stored it may get dry or moist and draw up or get stretched out of shape.  The maker of these quilts stay stitched the edges on many of her tops to help keep the shape. This one was not stay stitched.

This one varied in length by 6 inches.  In width by about 2 1/2 inches.  Careful mounting on the frame–easing the edges and center, and finding a good quilting pattern resulted in only a couple of puckers.  And after quilting, trimming, and then serging the edges, I think the final result is pretty good.  I have learned a few tricks over the years on how to make “less than square” quilts square.

We have found a charitable organization that wants twin bed size quilts, and after binding, this quilt will be given to them.  This quilt maker left a bequest that will be used and valued.

Somewhere in North Carolina

021I am still here.  To be honest, I haven’t been quilting much.  I did quilt a couple of quilts for Quilts of Valor.  I have even made a few blocks. Like this silhouette of Holiday.  I know, I know.  And they eyes don’t look orange up close.  They are just dark brown.

I also made this bowl from clothesline.  Yes it is completely made from two different batik fabrics.  It was a bit of challenge to figure out how to do it, but I did.  I took photos to do a tutorial, but then thought no one would be interested.  Would that be of interest to anyone?

I also took a class with my local quilt guild.  I learned how to make a couple of blocks.  But I still haven’t finished them. It was just something cute that I thought was interesting.  But something else happened that day to upset my apple cart and I was out of sorts again.  It doesn’t seem to take much to throw me off my stride.

Over mother’s day we went to visit my oldest in his new city & state.  We met his girlfriend, her parents, and even got a tour of his office.  It was so nice to see him again and to meet her.  She is very pretty, and her family was very gracious.

021

I have been working more hours lately, and more than I would like.  I am now fostering TWO (yes, two dogs).  The first was to try to help Carter to have a friend and to heal.  The second was because the poor fella was just an old guy that needed a place to go.  He is 10, when boxers seldom live past 10.  So now I have 3 dogs that fill my days, but do not fill my heart.  I have a job that fills my time, but not my imagination.

And the path in the back yard has filled in.  What I once thought would be healing” just feels like something is missing.  Don’t worry, I’m not nearly this maudlin all the time.  That’s what blogs are for.

 

The Healing Path

the pathI’m not sure if you’ll be able to see it in this photo, but there is a path in my backyard.  I drew a red small line along it.  Over the 5 years I’ve lived here, the path was made by my dog, Holiday.  She would run down the steps of the deck and over to the west side of the house where she could watch the comings and goings of….everyone.  Always alert and curious, she wore the grass and the dirt down.  In the summer, it is usually a dirt path, but we seeded it in the fall and although there is grass there, it’s only half the height of the grass on either side of the path.  The seedling grass was not full height before the winter.

The path is starting to heal now.  As spring comes, I know this path is going to fill in.  And my heart with it.  You see, the reason I haven’t written in so long is that late in January, my sweet girl became ill suddenly.

Holiday
My sweet Holiday. Came to us from Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue in 10/14/2007, left us on 2/3/2015.

After a couple of days and trips to the vet, we knew it was both futile and painful to hold her here.  And so I made the decision to let her go.

I’ve lost other pets before.  People equate it to losing a child.  Children grow up and leave you.  Dogs only grow closer.  And during this last 5 years when I worked from home, this dog was never more than a few feet away from me.  My constant companion.  My friend.  My heart.  I grieve for her still.  And  when I see the path healing outside, I know that my heart is healing too. And as the path returns to full luster, I will too—at least as much as people can see.

A Touch of the Macabre- Bear Parts

001002Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.On Thanksgiving day I did some bear assembly, but for a while, the sight was a bit macabre.  Looks arms, legs, bodies, heads, hears, and a pile of baby bears.  The small bears are fleece bears for the NICU unit (See “Charli’es Unstuffed Bears” on Facebook).  The bigger ones are for Victory Junction.  I have written about them before.  I completed the two striped bears and about 20 of the little bears, which are all bagged and ready to be delivered.

I am also starting Bonnie Hunter’s latest mystery Grand Illusion.  I decided to depart from her colors.  Completely.  Oh, I’m leaving the neutrals, although mine will be no darker than cream.  I am leaving the blacks, because you just don’t get enough contrast with every color.  But for her pink, I have substituted red.  For her teal, have substitued blue.  For her green, taupe.  And the constant I was on the fence about.  I love this lovely brown fabric with the teal dots.  But on the very first clue, it seemed too dark.  And then I had this lime green.  But it seems to bright.  Or i have to go buy something.  Think I’ll go think about it some more.