Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Row by Row

The last three years North Carolina quilt shops have participated in an event called Row By Row. During the summer months (between June 21 and the end of August), wherever you're traveling you stop at a participating quilt shop and get a free pattern that is 9"x36". Many quilt shops sell kits to go along with the pattern (from just the fabric to laser cuts pieces to accessories like buttons). Most shops have a fabric "license plate" with their store name and saying or name on it. Once you collect 8 patterns, you make a quilt using those patterns (it must be quilted, bound, and labeled) and return to one of the stores that you picked out a pattern from. If you're the first one to bring your quilt in to that store, you'll receive a fabric prize.

The last two years we've actually planned our vacation route around quilt shops so I could hit up certain stores for the pattern. I've completed some of the rows, but never enough of them to actually complete the quilt. So this year I said I was NOT going to participate. I need to tackle the projects I already have going. And then last month all these pictures of store's rows in NC started showing up on my Facebook feed. Let's just say that NC stores have a LOT of row patterns that I like. So yesterday I stopped and got two (actually four as both of these stores have 2 different patterns, but only one from each store will count in the row tally).  Thursday we'll stop at the Clayton store on the way back from Marilyn's funeral to get another one. I've plotted the store patterns on a NC map that I like, so we may take a short road trip in the next few days. I was planning to do 3-4 in a day and spread it out over the summer, but I think Bobby would rather do it all in one trip. He gets to see more back roads and small towns that way.

Maybe this year will be the year that I actually finish the quilt before the year is out. Maybe. Life has a way of interrupting hobbies.

Monday, June 20, 2016


This morning I opened Facebook and saw an unexpected announcement that Marilyn, owner of Bernina World of Sewing, a member of our local Quilts of Valor group, and someone I consider a friend, died Sunday. I know she's no longer suffering, and that these last few months have not been easy on her, her family, or her staff, but it's still hard to hear. Post after post mentioned her kindness, her ability to remember customer names. And all of that is SO true. But for me, I remember her pulling me aside during a non-busy quilt group meeting and asking me if she could ask some personal questions. She was tactful in everything she asked, but by some of her questions I could tell she had some experience with being a caregiver. She then opened up and talked about her first husband and his illness, and then her life with John and how she believed God truly brought him into her life. No matter how busy she was in the store, if I ever walked in, she always asked about Bobby. While I will enjoy my quilt groups and friends in the future, they won't be the same without her.

Meanwhile, two weeks ago my cousin who has MS, went to urgent care one night with extreme swelling in her feet. They told her she was 6 weeks pregnant and needed to see her doctor. So the following week she did and found out that while she was expecting, she was 34 weeks along with boy and one girl. Mom texted today that they're going to take the babies due to complications. I cannot imagine finding out that what you thought was impossible was happening and not having time to prepare for it. She owns a hair salon, so her whole life has just been thrown a curveball. I mean, really, other than an adoption/foster care scenario, who finds out that in 2-4 weeks your whole life is about to turn topsy-turvy with two children!

And this weekend we moved all 19 biddies outside to the little hen house. We're running the heat lamp to it at night. It's hot enough in the day time that they don't need it. They seem to be a lot happier, though they're a little bit timid about the whole situation.

So that's Monday in the Bryan household. Hopefully pictures of earlier events can come later this week.

Friday, June 17, 2016

fun but done

I'm not sure what year it started, but Hwy 301 in North Carolina started having an "endless yardsale" in June every year. The hope is that eventually it will spread to other states and be like others that are multi-state and very popular. We went to a few places last year, and when we saw the signs a few weeks ago thought we might try it again. Except this year we have so many places to be tomorrow that we will get up and and begin hustling and not stop until bedtime. So we went today. (It's a two day event.)

We didn't get an early start. I think it was about 9am when we arrived in Benson. (The sale starts at 7am.) By 10:15am I was starting to wonder how much longer I was going to last. And I know if I'm getting hot and sweating, Bobby is entering the danger zone. We stopped for lunch and took our time in the ac to cool off before hitting the road again. We finally stopped around 2:20 and began heading back towards home. It was fun, but we were also both more than a little glad to be done. I think the heat wore us both out.

I did have one unexpected find, but I'll wait until I get it cleaned up to photograph and post. Several places had advertised pedal cars and tractors and antique farm bells on Craigslist, and I was quite shocked and disappointed at their prices. Some of them were higher than antique stores/flea market prices!! So we didn't get any pedal cars for great-nieces or nephews. There was one row or two in Selma down a side street that I wouldn't have minded going down, but due to time and weather we didn't. But we certainly stopped at enough places!

So now this red-necked gal is off to clean some things and start getting ready for tomorrow's meeting a friend/family reunion and an engagement party in Washington, NC tomorrow. And somewhere in there is prep for Jr Church. It feels like a Saturday, even though it's not.

If you're in NC and free tomorrow and yard sales are your thing, check it out!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

life update

Monday at Bobby's 3 month follow-up, we were told that his at least one of his heart meds wasn't doing it's job (which we already knew). Because of various factors, there are many other drugs that are used for this that he simply can't take. One that his doctor was willing to try requires observation in a hospital setting for at least 6 doses. I thought we were about to head to the hospital then, but he said we could wait one or two days. So I went ahead and worked the election. Wednesday we got up and started trying to get things ready, waiting for the call to come.

And of course, as soon as we got up, I heard chirping. Some of our eggs due to hatch next week hatched that very night. So in the midst of taking care of things on my list, I added a run to the hardware store for starter feed and cleaned out the brooder box. Current count is 9 biddies and two more currently hatching.

So while it's only day one of the waiting game at the hospital, it feels like forever. I'm home to get a shower and square away a few things, then heading back. So far, things are going well. If round two does as well as round one did this morning, he'll probably have another cardioversion tomorrow, and then the rest of the time will hopefully be just more waiting.

And I thought this was only going to be a semi-busy week. I was so wrong.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Election Day

This is pre-written.

Alarm time: 4:30am

On the road time: 6:00am (delivering supplies, helping troubleshoot with machines that won't work or bad phonelines, etc in my eight polling places before the polls open).

Polls open: 7:30am (Chief Judge assistance and checklist notes begin, visiting all 8 sites at least twice during the day).

Polls close: 7:30pm  For this election (a non-busy one), my phone should start ringing within the next 5-30 minutes as my precincts report in that they are closed and results are submitted. Should results not submit, then my night is about to get long. If there's a site with a long line or a new chief judge, I'll be there to assist with closing.

Paperwork: 8pm - until? Once paperwork is completed, head to my drop-off site to sign off on all the back-up supplies. This could be as early as 8:30pm. It's also been as late as 11pm.

Suppertime with my sweetie at Waffle House...though last year we met at Denny's because my drop off site was closer to there and IHOP was closed. 

And we go home and crash.

But it's worth it. Go VOTE!!!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Reading List

One of my blog friends posted a summer reading challenge. She listed 15 categories, asking participants to read at least seven of them. I'm not entering the official challenge, as I seriously doubt I'll read 7 books over the summer with the garden and baby chicks on the way, but I do think it would be a neat challenge to read these before the year is out. I went ahead and listed more than seven of the categories, just in case (haha!).

1. Professional development (can be loosely interpreted): Creating Web Pages for Dummies
I bought this book several years ago so the info may already be obsolete. It's not exactly thin, either, and has exercises included. But still, even if it takes several months to work through it, I think this might be well worth delving into...finally.

2. History: Scalia Dissents Bobby picked this book up at a book sale a few years ago and I've had it on the dresser since he read it thinking I would get to it soon. Since Justice Scalia died this year AND it's his disagreements with the majority on the Supreme Court, I think it will be an interesting, although quite tedious, read. Again, not the type of book I'd read in one or two settings but would take many months to go through.

3. Placed in a country you're not familiar with OR about a country you're not familiar with: Arabia Nights. I know. This one is kind of cheating. BUT I've never read it, it's already on my dresser, AND it IS folk tales from the Middle East. This one I expect to take a little while because of it's thickness, but should read it faster because it's fiction.

4. A YA Book...this one is still blank, though several people have suggested Divergent to me in the past.

5. A book recommended by a friend: Devil in the White City. A friend of mine had just posted this on Facebook two days before this challenge was posted. I may just have to borrow it.

6. A graphic novel...still blank.

7. A book you've been meaning to read: The Ghost Warriors. Another one that's on my shelf and talks about the Israeli soldiers who infiltrated parts of Palestine in the early 2000s during the riots in Israel.

8. A book published more than 100 years ago: Frankenstein. It's a classic this English major has yet to read. Never appealed to me, but figured now's a good time to pull something off my shelf and toss or re-shelf after I read it.

9. A book recommended by a teenager...still blank.

10. A biography - Thieves of Baghdad. Another one on my dresser from a book sell. Accounts from our Marines who tried to track thieves who were stealing and selling the country's antiques on the black market.

11. A play - A Midsummer Night's Dream. Yes, I took the Shakespeare course in college, but this was one of the many plays I read cliff notes for or tried to take enough notes during class that I didn't actually read the play. Yeah. I cheated myself in so many ways those days.

12. A memoir: Decision Points. George W. Bush's book. Another one on my dresser.

13. A book by someone you might not spiritually agree with. Apocrypha.  Yeah. I'm stretching the boundaries on this one. Maybe. But I've never read it, have always heard about it, and we were actually given a copy of it many, many years ago.

14. A book that won an award.  Wicked. Everyone I know who has seen the musical raves about it. I've seen the book it's based on (which I think actually has a different title) but have never purchased it or read it. YES. This is actually a book that I don't already have or do not know anyone who owns. If I choose this book as one to actually read, I'll either have to find it at the library or break the book moratorium we are under and buy it. GASP!!! Let's hope the library has it.

15. A book you read years ago and have meant to reread. Will Cather. I read it in middle school and other than thinking it was very boring remember absolutely nothing about it..well my high school teacher mentioned it quite a bit in some of his lectures. So perhaps it might be one of those books that actually means something now that I have a little maturity on me. That, or either the Great Gatsby. I read that in high school and hated it. A UAB professor told our class he quit requiring it because my generation didn't get it and sympathized with the wrong characters. Maybe now that I'm older it might make more sense. Maybe.

And that's my crazy list. I may not get them all read. But even if I only finish five of them, that will be five books that weren't high on my priority list that will not longer sit on the shelf/dresser collecting dust.