Friday, December 29, 2017

a crazy, insane challenge

I guess I'm officially in. I recieved the first e-mail today, and the next one should arrive on January 1st. I'm a little giddy with excitement, a little horrified at the mere thought, and a tad bit relieved after reading posts from last year's quilters.

It's from Australia, and it's called the 365 challenge. For the entire year of 2018, there will be a pattern sent for either a 3" or 6" block. At the end of the year, the blocks are placed together to form a queen size quilt.

Insane.

And yet, I've put my name on the list.

http://www.365challenge.com.au

As long as I can keep up with downloading the patterns every day, then it's okay if I miss a day or two of quilting. Previous quilters cut out the fabric pieces each day and placed them with the pattern in a ziplock bag with the day's number on it so they could easily access it and keep up with what had been completed or not. And that seems somewhat manageable. So even if I don't have time to sew, what I need for that day's block will be ready to go.

Meanwhile, I've moved another tab from the "Piecing" pile of quilts in progress to the "Quilt" pile.  Another project nearing completion. Hopefully I'll be updating my quilt page with at least one finished project before the year is out.





Thursday, December 28, 2017

openings and closings


  • Tuesday night, December 19th - Jr Church Caroling Not the most promoted of our year's activities, but we pulled it off nonetheless. We narrowed our road map this year and attempted to sing to all the widows plus two other families in the church. One wasn't home; one was a little bittersweet as her husband was barely hanging on this time last year (and the kids clearly remembered she had made them cookies last year!), but the funniest was when we visited the home of a younger widow who has recently started attending our church. The sidewalk to her front door was a little narrow, and when the leader got beside her car and started walking, he jumped back in shock. There was a HUGE cat sitting on the trunk, and it was at the same level as his face! Once the initial shock was gone everyone was laughing.
  • Wednesday, Dec 20th - Packing Day Bobby got up early to take a friend to the hospital to have a pacemaker put in, and I headed out in the rain towards Washington, NC. There were plenty of men from the church helping load things into the truck, so I headed inside to help my sister. We pulled the remaining things from the attic, cleaned the bottom kitchen cabinets, cleaned out the laundry closet once the machines were loaded, and I swept floors while she mopped. Then we swapped out and I mopped a floor while she cleaned a bathroom. By that point the truck was back from loading up Todd's office, and it was time for me to head home and them to finish and freshen up for church.
  • Thursday, Dec 21st- heading to TN. Stopped at a quilt shop on the way and met a girl whose entire family had attended BJU. Checked into our hotel and rested a bit before meeting Susan and David at a neat restaurant for supper. Bobby gets sick once we returned to the hotel.
  • Friday, Dec 22 - TN & AL Bobby is still very sick on his stomach, but drops me off at the house Todd and Mindy are renting in Gallatin then heads to be with Susan's crowd in Hendersonville. Still raining. We get the truck unloaded, met some really neat people, including two young boys named Larry and Steve. After lunch at 2pm my brother dropped me off at Susan's before heading back to AL. We had Christmas with the Moffitts, then headed to AL as they finished packing to head to NC. Stopped to eat supper at Cracker Barrel so Bobby could hopefully settle his stomach and take meds. He ate 3 bites of his dumplings, but felt well enough to drive on in (that was being debated prior to stopping). Got him in bed and started washing clothes as soon as we made it to Mom & Dads. My sister-in-law has the flu. My Dad, brother, and nephew had rebuilt the ramp at the house, and I was SO thankful. I don't have to help Bobby in the house now!
  • Saturday, Dec 23 -my birthday Bobby was able to eat a little that day. My younger sister made lasagna for supper that was incredible. My older sister and her husband made it in from TN. A good evening with family, though we missed Amie who was still running a fever and the oldest nieces who spent this Christmas with their new spouse's families.
  • Sunday, Dec 24 - Christmas Eve. Church in the am, family time in the afternoon/evening.
  • Monday, Dec 25th - we didn't open presents until the evening, and our family really scaled things back this year, but it was a great time of laughter and memories.
  • Tuesday, Dec 26th - took Mom to the Jasper Pickers. It was her first time. It's an interesting mix of booths that vary from thrift store to antique to flea market type stuff. We got home to learn that they were predicting sleet through the night, so we decided to head home early and left AL at 7pm and drove through Atlanta.
  • Wednesday, Dec 27th - While the stomach bug is gone for Bobby, the lingering side effects/problems are still there. He had a long, rough drive home. Mom and Dad's 55th anniversary.
  • Thursday, Dec 28th - After another rough night we slept in this morning (or I did and Bobby was just stuck resting). Was able to get a lot of laundry done as well as some needed cleaning.

    And tomorrow the round of dr appointments and meetings that have been scheduled for a while start. I'm amazed at how quickly January is filling up before it even gets here. But we are blessed, and I'm thankful we had some great time with family, even if the health issues were unpleasant.


Friday, December 15, 2017

a fun day

We drove to meet up with one of Bobby's nieces today. It was amazing to see how much the littlest ones have grown. Natalie is actually talking and wasn't scared of Bobby today (actually set across from us at the table and laughed at his faces and told him he was silly). I think her favorite food is ketchup. She not only dipped her chicken pieces and french fries in it, she mostly dipped her finger in it and licked the ketchup off. At one point she even lifted the little cup holding the ketchup and attempted to drink it. I couldn't help but think about two people in my church who have t-shirts about ketchup, one which reads "I eat ketchup with my ketchup."
We had a small rocking horse for the youngest, who is not quite two. It has plastic runners on the bottom, and stuffed horse on the top. She was terrified of it. Natalie showed her how to ride it, but she was still having no part of it. We couldn't help but laugh.
The older siblings seemed excited by their cartoon character sheets, but the two oldest were most excited by the $5 McDonald's gift cards  - "credit cards" one of them called them. The parents took the cards to hold so they didn't get lost, but Charlie took the little cardboard cover and put his "wallet" in his pocket. He also wanted to know if it was Thursday. Evidently their McDonalds has a special on Thursdays where Happy Meals are $2, and that's when they get to go.
I don't think there's ever been a time when we've met with this family when we haven't left encouraged and uplifted. I pray we can be the same encouragement to them.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

the craziness countdown

Tuesday night we met with some friends and had a good time. They stayed later than I anticipated, but they helped clean up the kitchen and it felt a lot like being with family.

Tonight we made our yearly trip to Meadow Restaurant and Meadow Lights. A lot of memories; a lot of wishes. I'll leave it at that.

Tomorrow we'll visit with one of Bobby's nieces and her family. We don't get to see them often, but we've never had time with them that wasn't a joy.

Saturday morning is housework and some baking followed by a wedding Sunday evening.
Monday is hopefully our Star Wars day, followed by a night of more family time with Bobby's nephew.
Tuesday is packing and laundry day, followed by a night of caroling with kids from church.
Wednesday is loading/moving day for my sister.
Thursday we head to Gallatin and help unload the moving truck.
Friday is helping them unpack a little then heading to AL...and then it's crazy work/rest/play time. We'll cram my birthday, Christmas celebrations, and as many family visits in as we can before leaving to head back on my parents' anniversary.
and then the appointments start...

There are some days I have to remind myself that joy is an attitude and not a feeling. The Christmas holidays are an emotional roller coaster the older I get, and this year has been no exception.

God is with us.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December

Instead of rushing to the holiday season and then relaxing, as I thought we would, we've only seemed to pick up steam. But we are getting things done and enjoying a lot of activities as well.

Our Pastor turned 50 the first Sunday in December, and we've been planning for many weeks a surprise birthday party on Dec 3, his actual birthday. Except the night before, all of our plans got tossed out the window the week before when he e-mailed the deacons and informed them we were having a business meeting that night and as a prelude to it he was going to dedicate the entire service into sharing his heart about some decisions and changes. They encouraged him to wait a week and let people pray about it. He was concerned enough time had passed and there was no need to wait, and began to wonder if the deacons weren't really behind the decisions that had been made. After a lot of e-mails, they finally made the call to postpone the party a week and proceed with the business meeting as he planned. So the party was this past Sunday night, and I think it went well. One of the things we had planned didn't pan out, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. He was surprised with the activities and seemed pleased. I know his wife was.

Tonight we had some friends over for supper. And of course as I was planning to spend part of the day cleaning house we got a call that the last parts for Bobby's new chair was in, so I spent 3 hrs. driving to Raleigh and waiting for them to change out the back of the chair (it was the wrong height, causing balance issues) and drive back. It was done, and we are officially finished with replacing the chair and making sure the van is driveable from the new chair. It's taken nine months, but I was hoping it would all be over before Christmas, and it is!!

We have a few things we need finish taking care of before the holidays. We'll meet with family, help my sister empty the house into a moving truck and move to TN, then spend time with family in AL before heading back. I'm hoping the last week of the month to get caught up on some things and get things prepared for the next year.

I will hopefully post pictures before the week is out!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

back in the saddle

Bobby is back behind the wheel!!! :)
I am too tired to count up how long it's been, but as of today his 2nd new chair is adapted to drive the van. And that makes me a very happy person.

And this Friday is also our church's annual ladies ornament exchange...at my house. So each day I've been trying to tackle one area of the house. Tuesday evening a young girl from church came over to help with the Bethlehem scene. I'll have to write more about that Saturday. :)

I didn't totally finish cleaning the kitchen this afternoon, but I did put a huge dent in it. So hopefully that will be finished tomorrow and I can tackle the living room, which includes putting up my AL tree and my NC tree. :)

So I've not dropped off the face of the earth. I've just been dreadfully busy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

green tomatoes

Before our first freeze last week, Bobby reminded me that I need to empty everything out of the garden before the plants died. I knew I would have a handful of this and a handful of that, but I was NOT expecting a bucket and a half of green tomatoes. 

Now I like fried green tomatoes...once or twice a year. They're at treat, and anything beyond that is too much acid for my stomach. So here's two recipes I've tried, and liked, though it's not done a lot for emptying the buckets.

Baked Green Tomatoes
Heat oven to 375.
Slice thick slices of tomatoes and place on cookie sheet.
Top with pieces/cuts of uncooked bacon.
Bake until bacon is mostly cooked.
Add cheddar cheese.
Top with bread crumbs.
Heat until cheese is melted.

I would make this one again!

Green Tomato Soup
chopped onion
chopped potatoes
3 slices of sausage, rolled into small balls
5 medium/large green tomatoes
chicken broth
water
1 T salt

Bring to a boil. Lower to medium and simmer until potatoes are done.

It smelled better than it tasted! Still had the green tomato tang, but Bobby said he'd eat it again. Not bad, but not sure I'd serve it to guests.

Next up to try is green ketchup. The thought of that doesn't appeal to me, but it had very high star ratings on allrecipes.com   So we'll see.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

twirling with the leaves

More than once the last few weeks I've been amazed at the little whirlwind of leaves I've seen while walking or driving. And the visual aptly fits how I'm viewing life at the moment.

The municipal election has come and gone, and I'm no closer to a decision about what I need to do next year. Just when I think I'm going to keep going until I have a clear sign otherwise, things get a little crazy and I start thinking I might as well reconcile myself to the fact I'm in a new chapter in life.

Quadriplegics (and anyone with a spinal cord injury, I assume) do not sweat below their level of injury. And when they do sweat at the head, it's not the body cooling itself as we learned in school. It's a serious condition called autonomic dysreflexia (called AD in chat groups) where the blood pressure rises so the brain will know there's a problem somewhere. I guess it's the body's way of circumventing the broken nervous system. Since the nerve endings can't deliver pain warnings, the body tells the brain in other ways.

Bobby's AD kicked into high gear on Friday, and was intermittently giving warnings all weekend. We had already decided Friday night if things weren't better by Sunday night then we were calling the dr who did his colonoscopy to see if they could work him in and check a few things. He not only woke up with a fever Monday morning, but the earliest the dr's nurse could see him was in almost 2 weeks. I told them we couldn't wait that long. So I called his general practitioner, explained what was happening, and he saw us that afternoon. We're still not certain what the exact cause is, but he's on some fairly strong meds that will hopefully knock out the two possibilities we're thinking may be the cause. If by noon tomorrow we're not seeing any improvement, I'll call the urologist's office and see if we can get things rolling there as well. If nothing else, it will help us know what we are/aren't dealing with. I don't want to postpone things and then be stuck in the hospital over the holidays next week.

It was a bit of an emotional relief to listen to a soundtrack for our choir's Thanksgiving song while on hold with the dr's offices.

I come to your house, O Lord, in your presence to abide; to find true peace and quiet rest found only at your side. I come into your house, O Lord, to lift your name on high. I will give you all my worship, O Most High!
I found it neat and interesting how simply praising God for his attributes at a time when I felt like doing anything BUT being thankful made such a difference in my emotions. So my soul is still twirling in circles like the leaves, but it's mostly feeling playful and joyous now instead of turbulent. It is good to give thanks to the Lord!

Monday, November 6, 2017

November

The month of thankfulness and gratitude...and I'm struggling with it just a tad.

Today I picked stuff from the garden and had time to prep it but not put it up. My brain is screaming "It's November! Die, plants, die!!!" and my grandmother's inner voice is reprimanding me and saying I should be thankful when God provides. And my father-in-law would say in his deep southern voice, "Hard times are coming. You better be prepared." And I remind myself that he lived during the Great Depression and witnessed extremely hard times, so I should listen. But being the lazy, spoiled American that I am, a part of me wants to be irresponsible and just pull it all up and toss it in the compost bin. But then I see another large pile of rabbit poop, and realize that I'm still feeding the wildlife as well. That did NOT make me happy this spring when they demolished most of my garden, but now that my freezer is almost full and there's not as much for them to eat on, it doesn't bother me.

Maybe with the colder weather coming later this week the problem will resolve itself. Or else I might start taking vegetables to church and gifting people. That thought has crossed my mind more than once!!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Did that really happen?

Monday night of this week, we heard a crash, and then our power cut off. No flickers, no storm, just the noise as if a transformer had exploded or something. We wait a few minutes to see if it will return. It didn't. Bobby checked to see if anyone on our street had lights (school side did, but not anyone on our grid's side) and did briefly see some lights down the road. We waited, and the generator kicked in. After a few more minutes, I call the power company, and am told that 12 people in our area are without power and a crew has been dispatched to find and resolve the problem.  About ten minutes later there's a knock on the door. I tell Bobby to answer it, fully expecting it to be a crewman wanting to know how we have power when no one else on our grid does. (That's actually happened before.) It was a young man who said he had swerved to miss a deer and landed in the woods. His cell phone battery went dead as he tried to make a call, and he was wondering if he could use our phone to call someone. I give him my cell phone, and could hear his side of the conversation. I was a bit shocked. Usually when someone wrecks on our road, people want to know if they're okay, if they've called the police, how fast where they speeding, if they're in a safe location and is it okay if they stay at our place until family/police can get there. There was none of that. They asked if he could go to Chik-fil-A (a ten minute drive away, and it's about 45 degrees outside). He told them the air bag had deployed and the car was stuck in the woods. He didn't mention that he'd hit a light pole and not a tree. I don't remember all the details of what was said, but I got the impression he was left without help. When I went back to get the phone, I realized his nose was bleeding. I don't know if his chin was or if his nose had just been dripping down his face. I got him a warm wash cloth, asked if his family was coming. He said they only had one working car, which he had just crashed, and wanted to know if we could help him or knew someone who could get his car out. We didn't, so I asked him if we could take him anywhere. Since I had heard them mention Chik-fil-A I thought we might take him there to meet his family. He had mentioned earlier he had a relative down the road (where he had left from) and his home was about 25-30 minutes from us. Bobby looked shocked and gave me one of those looks. So they get in the van and off they go. About the time they should be arriving at the boy's house, I get call from the person he had tried to reach. They had no idea where our road was located, and were mostly concerned about the car and getting it. When I told them Bobby was taking him home and they should be there, they said they'd go back home. Fifteen  minutes later I get a text wanting to know where they are and asking if I could call and find out. Since Bobby can't use his phone while driving, I couldn't. I did try to call him, though, as well as start googling the number the boy had called to see what I could find out. I quit answering my phone's rings at that point as I had no answers for anyone. Bobby then called and informed me they were at the police station and he'd update me when he got home.

The young man went to sleep once he got in the van, and Bobby couldn't get him to wake up enough to give directions to his house. So he drove him to the police station, where they eventually searched him, arrested him, and then took him to the hospital. He had 10g of cocaine in his pocket, and I'm not sure what all else. I texted the person to let them know the police had taken him to the hospital. They wanted to know which one, but I had no other information to give them. I didn't mention the arrest or the drugs. We were both wondering the next day if he was okay, and if the injuries were sustained from the wreck or something else. He had to be going fast (which a lot of people do since our road is paved) to have landed that far off the road and taken out the power.

The police were kind of shocked and laughing about a handicapped person delivering a dealer to them. They asked him if he wanted a number. Bobby wants to know if I was trying to get him killed. I simply want to treat people the same way I want to be treated. Had I been hurt and alone after a wreck, I would have welcomed assistance. I hope the boy is okay physically, and I hope this is the wake-up call he needs. My prayer for him now is that someone will introduce him to Jesus, and that he can recover from the bad choices he's made so far in his life. It all still seems like a weird dream.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

whirlwind

Last Monday we leisurely traveled to Bristol, TN to visit one of my nieces. Leisure travel (stopping when you want to see whatever hits your fancy) is something I have always wanted to do. Usually we're on a timeline with a deadline and nod longingly at billboards or brochures and keep on rolling. We enjoyed our brief time with them. I don't remember the name of the restaurant where we ate, but it was very colorful with metallic flowers and designs and whimsical colors. My friend Sara would call it kindergarten art, or folk art. The food was good, but then we went to a bakery downtown that had live bluegrass music...and the BEST food. The hardest part was deciding what to go. I actually got a slice of chocolate cake with chocolate icing. And the craziest thing? I left 1/3 of it on the plate. YES... me, the chocoholic who does not believe in wasting food. I couldn't eat it all.

We didn't do the best job of choosing accommodations. The tiny motel we stayed in, while very clean, reeked of cigarette smoke. And the next morning we I pulled out one of the towels for Bobby, it was threadbare. I kid you not. We could see through several parts in the towel. White as all get all, not a spot or discoloration to be seen anywhere, just clearly very well worn (and bleached?). I don't think we'll stay there on the next visit. So when we left heading home I had a very bad headache (I assumed from the smokey room), and it eased and worsened as we headed home and stopped in various antique stores. It was a great trip.

Wednesday was catch up day, and as we headed to church, I began to feel very tired. Thursday morning I woke up to a very sore throat, congestion, and a fever. I alternated between sleeping and laundry. Friday I had no voice, and tried to get in to see the dr, knowing we had a crazy weekend ahead of us, but to no avail. So I continued using the over-the-counter stuff as much as a possible, hoping that I'd wake up Saturday and all would be well. That afternoon we got a call that they wanted us at the hospital by 2pm Sunday. (Bobby had a routine test scheduled for Monday) That was a bit earlier than we had anticipated. Saturday we slept late, and then ran errands. Sunday morning they actually called us at 9:15am and wanted to know when could we get there. I was thinking it was going to be a terrible time between not feeling well and never getting rest at the hospital. It actually turned out to be one of the most restful hospital stays we've ever had. And while I didn't feel well, I survived. I was thankful we pushed for a hospital stay for the prep. The nurses kept a close eye on Bobby's blood pressure, and while it was very high the whole duration of prep, he never exhibited the extreme problems we were anticipating. But seeing the nurses concern during some of the time made me thankful we and his dr's office had pushed the insurance company for an early admission.

And Sunday morning we found out Bobby's Mom was at the ER with a kidney stone, and my aunt was at the ER with a stroke. Bobby somewhat laughingly said it must be the weekend to be at the hospital. After everything was finished Monday and dismissal papers were readied, we stopped for a late lunch (2pm), as Bobby had not been able to eat anything since Saturday night. His choice of "soft food"?  A Hardee's hot dog. Not kidding. He said that was the softest thing he could think of.

I think I slept 10 hours last night, and if I allowed myself to, I think I could sleep the rest of the day. I can actually breath today and have almost no coughing, but I still have no voice and my temp is still around 97. Hoping I will be well tomorrow.

And we're down to one biddie. The momma hen squished the two youngest, and we think a hawk got the last three. I think it's Tuesday, but it feels an awful lot like Saturday morning.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

finally...

Last Friday I turned in my quilt to the state fair. Judging was this past Tuesday. The first time I entered into the fair, I didn't know they posted winners on line, and it was several days after opening before I could go, and one of my friends told me on Facebook. I was thrilled beyond measure to find out I had placed (that was a 4th place in first time entry/beginner category). I had not expected anything at all. And several years have passed and I've not managed to enter anything since. So I've been stalking the website waiting for an answer. Tonight only the fair opened from 3pm until midnight and tickets were $1.50 in honor of it being the 150th anniversary of the state fair. So we went tonight, hoping it wouldn't rain and wouldn't be overly crowded, as we really didn't want to pay full price nor go on a weekend day with all the crowd. Not all the exhibits were open, nor some of the competitions (great pumpkins and watermelons were still being weighed, and pumpkin carving hadn't started yet, nor were flowers open), but I was glad we went, especially since when we got home I found out winner competitions on the website have not been updated yet. So had we not gone I would not have known anything...at all.

I could tell my quilt had a ribbon while we were standing in line for the cake decorating exhibit (thanks to my crazy binding!!) And here it is hanging... 2nd place in Original Pattern Category. First place was machine appliqued owls which was wonderful.
The man showing the quilts didn't pause long between quilts nor move out of the way much so it was hard to get pics. There were many incredible quilts, but I was only able to capture two others of the many that I liked.
 This one was so bright and cheerful, and I love that they used traditional blocks in solid colors, and yet it looks so modern.  So many of these quilts used the flying geese blocks, and I could just hear Mary Booth saying "OHhhh! TRIANGLES!!! NOT for me!! I simply cannot do them!" Conquering the flying geese block (the triangles pointing in one direction) is on my list for 2018.

I don't know what category this is in (wall hanging section), but I absolutely loved it. I've never seen anything like this. It's a mixture of applique, piecing, art quilt, and I imagine it's an original pattern. Everyone loved it that was watching as the quilts were turned.

So we've been, ate all the foods we could stomach (frog legs, Amish donut, Thanksgiving dinner egg roll, collard bites which I don't recommend, and a deep fried candy bar. I'm tired, but glad we went.

Monday, October 9, 2017

nnnnnoooooo!

Friday afternoon I took photographs, then we drove to the educational buildings of the state fairgrounds where I turned in a quilt. Hooray!!! I've been waiting to upload pics and and information ever since then, and thought I'd be able to tomorrow afternoon/evening since the judging takes places tomorrow morning for the category I entered. Today I just "happened" to check the website, and it says competition results will not be posted until the fair starts Thursday afternoon. WHAT?!?! I am SO disappointed! I thought I would know something tomorrow night and would be able to show pictures then as well!!! So I guess you'll have to wait until Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, Bobby got a good report from the foot doctor today, and that's one less visit we'll now have to make.

We lost a young rooster (one a momma hen hatched earlier in the spring) last night.

Visited a 2nd woodwind shop this morning only to find it was closed on Mondays...one of these days I WILL get my clarinet checked out!!!

And that's all the exciting news in our household.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

change

 Stats:

 90 homes      Glenn Creek Subdivision
212 homes      Royal Oaks Subdivision
115 homes      Clifford Grove Subdivision

  41 homes      Unnamed Bryan Rd Subdivision

215 homes      Unnamed Ackerman/Hebron Church Rd Subdivision
112 townhomes

785 "new" families within 2 miles of our house within 2 years

And there's still part of a farm up for sale. (No, not my mother-in-law's).

Our world will not be the same.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

hopping

We came home from an appointment this morning to find a dead chicken in the turn lane. I imagine some parent was running late and flying either into or out of the school and the chicken was crossing the road. So we lost a bird, but then this afternoon Bobby came to get me. A hen that has been sitting had abandoned the nest, and with her was one chirping, black ball of fluff with a white spot on its backside. I left the remaining eggs the rest of the day, but the mother never returned to the nest. So this evening when I realized she had totally abandoned everything but the biddie, I pulled out the incubator and placed the remaining eggs inside. I'm hoping she'll adopt whatever hatches. I really don't want to prep the brooder box and go through all that again.  Of course, there's always the possibility that nothing else will hatch. I know 4 of the eggs are less than a week old (I marked the newer eggs about a week ago). So I'm putting Oct 10 on the calendar as disposal of any unhatched eggs and clean-up date of the incubator. Those marked last week may go out next week if unhatched.

Somehow the last week I've overlooked a piece of okra. Today when I found it, it was about 10" long. Probably to hard to eat, but if so, I might save it as seed for next year.

Green beans continue to put out in an amazing fashion. I think they're as excited about the cool weather as I am.

We replaced two blueberry bushes today (hoping they survive), and planted a fig tree and one ornamental crepe myrtle over the weekend. I can see my father-in-law shaking his head over the last one. He thought every plant should produce some type of food or it was a waste of time and energy.

I'm officially finished with making grape jelly. There's still a little bit of juice in the fridge, but not enough to fool with (plus I'm out of sugar).

Hopefully tomorrow I can actually work on my fair quilt. I did go to the longarmers for three hours last Thursday and have most of it quilted. I still have the borders, the poison ivy, and the turtle left to quilt, and I may do some handwork embellishing the fish eyes. Then there's the border. I'd really love to have this finished within the next week. Deadline is the 8th, so it's starting to loom over my head and not just in the back of my mind.

We have appointments every day this week, plus I need to prep for 1st-6th graders on Sunday morning. For some reason I was thinking it was in November that we had all of them, but it's this month instead.

And I'm hoping tomorrow to get an assessment on my clarinet. It's in desperate need of a "spa" treatment. If the price is too high to replace all the pads and some of the corks, I may look at some used student instruments. We'll see what the cost is.

Bobby's sister Brenda received very good news back on the biopsy they took from her tongue, and my friend Joni came home from the hospital today. They won't know until all her tests are back, but they think they got all the cancer.

And Dad's hand continues to heal from his surgery. Returns to the doctor in a month. So all is going well on the front. They went to vote in AL's primary today after the doctor visit, and the entrance door was jammed with a chair and wouldn't open.  They finally saw a note that said to use the side entrance, as there was a yellow jacket's nest in part of that door frame that had been sprayed twice and they still had not gotten all of the insects. Dad was more than happy to oblige once he saw the note.

And that is all I can update on now...Hope to have lots to share next week.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

the die is cast

Thursday night I went online and submitted a form and printed out a receipt. I am now officially registered to enter a quilt in the state fair, and it is due at the fairgrounds no later than 5pm Oct.9.

And as I finish typing that sentence, I feel like I am back in a dorm room at Free Will Baptist Bible College my freshman year, and Charity Van Winkle has walked in the door to see how I've finished my Ancient History timeline that is due the next day. She had been working on it for WEEKS, and I had no clue we even had such a project. She looked at me strangely, and informed me it was on the syllabus. I remembered getting one of those the first day of class, and it simply looked like a class outline. Silly me didn't realize that it actually listed assignments and due dates on it.  I stayed up almost all night working on that project, and I was quite pleased with my C, and no one other than Charity knew it was a last minute frenzied free-for-all. The next day after classes she drove me to Target (I didn't own a car) and helped me pick out something called a "planner". When we got back to campus, she stopped in my room and showed me hers, and how to list everything from every syllabus AND to backtrack several weeks and write in when to start working on it. At the time I thought it was just another bump in life, but four years later I was still using that method to keep up with things. And for the most part, it worked.

And unlike those days, I actually have STARTED this quilt. I've even scheduled an appointment at the shop that rents the long arm quilting machines. That appointment is this coming Thursday. I estimate I'm about 2/3 finished with the top, and I have a few hours tomorrow and half the day Monday and Tuesday reserved to work on it. So there's no turning back. No more thinking about patterns and colors and ideas. It's now do or die. Okay. So it's really not THAT severe. If I don't finish it'll just mean they'll have an extra spot reserved for a quilt that doesn't show up.

I will probably always be one of those people rushing to meet a deadline. It seems to be how I'm wired. I think the day I actually have a project complete more than a day ahead of its due date might very well be the day the earth stops spinning on its axis. Or else it will make my "do it immediately the second you know about it" husband have a heart attack.

So if you don't hear from me much the next two weeks, you'll know why. And with that, I'm off to applique a catfish.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

turning a corner



Back in August one my many cousins was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. To be honest, I didn't think too much about it when she was first admitted. I figured a day or two in ICU with breathing treatments and she'd be home within 3-5 days. But then the texts and calls and e-mails got progressively worse. One lung no longer contained infection but was severely damaged from the infection. They were concerned if she picked up a secondary infection it would kill her. All visitors outside of immediate family was banned. I cannot even begin to fathom what her husband, who is a pastor, was/is dealing with as he tries to see about the congregation as well as make the 45 minute drive to B'ham to see his wife.

Fast forward three weeks:
Earlier this week doctors informed the family that if she continued to progress, she might be home by the middle of October, though Thanksgiving might be more realistic. They ended the conversation with a comment along the lines of "We didn't expect her to make it." Today they removed the vent for the first time with the plan to leave it off as long as she could handle it, and as of supper time, it was still of. They also put in a piece that would allow her to speak...a first in three long weeks.

She's not out of the woods yet, but just that little ray of sunshine today was huge. My prayers go out to this dear family who has suffered SO much heartache the last several years. They've seen God work miracles; they've seen God say no. My prayer is that soon she'll be singing with her family again, and testifying yet again that God has sustained her through yet another trial.

May you run and not be weary, Angela!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Cambridge bound

My niece and her husband are moving to England today.

Zach has been accepted into Cambridge. He plans to spend 9 months getting his second master's degree, then apply for the doctorate program. I think this degree will focus on a comparison/contrast of the Hebrew writing and Greek translation of the book of Ruth (his first master's degree was the same thing but on the book of Amos). Then his doctorate program would involve learning Aramaic, Urdu, Sanskrit and either French or German as part of understanding the translations of the early Scriptures. I think his ultimate plan is to teach at a Christian college, but at the moment that is many years down the road.

We spent Saturday with them since this week is full (I'm teaching today and doctor's appts tomorrow). I'm sure their departure will not be forgotten, as their tickets had to be credited due to Irma impacting flights out of Atlanta. So last night they headed to Washington DC so they could fly out from there today. They'll arrive in Heathrow, England at 7:30am, then take a bus to Cambridge. Someone from a Baptist church there will meet them in a "people carrier" (we think that's a minivan, but aren't sure), and then will drive them to another member's house where they'll stay for 2 weeks until they can move into campus housing. They have to come early to sign paperwork, but the dorms don't open until October. Someone in authority wasn't thinking through those logistics very well if you ask me.

And 2017 is staying true to fashion, and we had another flat tire (but no blow out!) halfway home. We called AAA at 4:30. A little after 6 someone showed up, only to look at the van and all its modifications and tell us we needed a tow truck as there was no jack that could elevate our van enough to change a tire. And of course with it being 6pm on a Saturday night every tire place nearby was closing or closed, so there was nowhere we could be towed. And since Bobby isn't legally supposed to stay in a van while it's towed (shout out to all the common sense tow truck drivers who shrug and say "we can make that work") and I'm not able to lift him high up into a tow truck and stick the chair back in a loaded van and secure it, we were grasping at straws. When the AAA guy came back after spending about 40 minutes on the phone trying to find options, and the best thing he had involved the police, an ambulance medical transport AND a tow truck, I started making my own phone calls. No way I was going to pay $700 in transport fees and then have to pay for a new tire on top of that. Thankfully my sister knew someone who had an accessible van, and an hour later they were there, Highway Patrol helped us get Bobby's van to a location where he could load and unload, and then we sat for another hour and a half waiting on the AAA guy to get back with a tow truck. I was not the happiest camper to find out he was taking other calls while we were sitting on the side of the road waiting. He loaded up the van and took it to his shop, and delivered it to our mechanic in Garner Sunday morning. I felt really bad for my sister and brother-in-law, as their time with Em and Zach is very limited, AND they then had to turn around drive back home and return the van to their church member. So by the time I climbed into bed from tending to Bobby's medical stuff in the wee hours Sunday morning, they would have just been arriving home themselves. I think it will be a weekend none of us will forget, and my thoughts and prayers are with Em & Zach today as they start their new adventure.

Monday, September 11, 2017

fowl mornings

I've never actually seen the heron catch a fish, but I know it does as it leaves a pile of scales in the area where it perches.





And much closer to the window, one of our little hummingbirds. These three birds are on their third container of nectar this summer.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

class # 2

I feel like I sneezed and August was here and gone. My allergy med quit working, grapes began ripening, I hurt my back (and still struggling some), began training stuff with Board of Elections, and fall gardening. Oh, and the quilt class I signed up for back in January arrived! (I try to take one or two classes a year.) Jacqueline de Jonge, from the Netherlands, was teaching her methods of paper piecing at the state fairgrounds for 2 days (organized through Wish Upon A Quilt store in North Raleigh). Below are a few of the quilts she displayed during one of the breaks (called a "trunk show" when done during a quilt fair or show). Our teacher is the lady on the left and the one hiding her head on the right is Cathy, the owner of "Wish" (what many local quilters call it)



I think this was one of her earlier patterns, but I think it's just as fabulous as the newer ones.


One of her new patterns, which I'm almost tempted to purchase!!

Several of the more advanced students were working on this pattern, and it was amazing watching it come together.

The teacher with the Alabama crew
During a break on one of the first days, I heard Jane, in the beige sweater (the lady I shared a table with) talking to Ella (the girl in white next to us) about where they were from. I almost dropped my scissors when I heard Ella say "Forestdale, Alabama" and heard Jane reply "I know where that is! I lived in Alabama for 7 years" and then proceed to name a lot of small power plants located in small towns. On day two of the class we discovered one the girls working on the pattern above was an Auburn graduate!! I think there was one other lady who lived in AL for several years, but I don't think it was something she enjoyed or wanted to talk about. Ella grew up in NC and actually went to UNC but has lived her adult life in AL, which is where her husband grew up. Talk about a small world!!!

And hopefully by this time next year I'll have my quilt top finished and quilted. I think it's going to be gorgeous, though it is a lot of time consuming work. She may be coming back in 2019, so I'm seriously keeping that in the back of my mind as a class possibility!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

the new chair

Tuesday of last week we drove to North Raleigh to pick up Bobby's new wheelchair and receive instructions on how to operate both it and its accessories. It was more than a little overwhelming for both of us. I think the mechanic was surprised and disappointed/concerned that we weren't thrilled (these chairs are non-refundable). It's a lot to take in. This chair is not identical to what the sales rep brought to the house. Two inches here and two inches there make a world of difference.

The chair we received has a head rest, which presents a small challenge in our morning routine and trying to get him buckled in the van, but nothing I can't live with. We hope to meet with the van company today to start overcoming the biggest hurdle...whether or not this chair is too tall/too long for him to drive. Every time you get a new power chair the van and the chair have to be modified slightly, but this one is so drastically different there's a good possibility it will be equivalent to having a new van upfitted. If that's the case, then it would actually be cheaper to purchase a new wheelchair similar to what he had. If we go that route, then anytime that chair has issues, we pay out of pocket for every part and all labor. Insurance will only cover the chair they provided, which the physical therapist suggested.

There are other issues/concerns we have that I think can be overcome if we get the right people putting their heads together (and I have a few in mind). But for now we're taking every issue one at a time. As Bobby had to remind me last week, there's no point in immediately trying to correct everything as sometimes one adjustment can solve multiple problems. That's hard for me. I want him to like this chair and be happy and I want to just take care of everything all at once. But I know he's right and that we need to resolve the larger issues first.

So even though it's been a week, we're now on day four of adjustments/appointments all chair related. I'm more than ready for us to find a new normal.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Monday, August 21

Last Monday we drove to Sumter, South Carolina so we could view the eclipse in "totality". (My uncle was laughing that he had never heard that word in all his life and in the span of a few days he'd heard it so many times he was tired of it.)  The public park there was having a special event, but the traffic to the park was quite long so we drove on down the road to Lowe's hardware store and parked. Evidently quite a few other people had the same idea. :)

Due to the heat, we headed inside, and would walk back to the garden center every 10-15 minutes to see how much it had changed. About 15 minutes before totality, Bobby came out and joined me. The lights in the parking lot that were on sensor came one, as did the ones in the garden area. A few workers slipped outside (despite the announcement not to abandon their posts) a few minutes before, and it was amazing. A worker who had glasses told those without when it was safe to look. A HUGE cheer went up from the parking lot. We were able to spot two stars, even with the night lights on around us. And the temp dropped at least ten degrees.




As the sun begin to be uncovered once again, we suddenly realized all the birds had gone silent. They began to chirp again. The lights slowly flickered back off, and we headed back inside to finish looking at a few things and check out somewhere between the 2nd crescent shape and bitten cookie shape.

It was a great day, and I'm thankful we were able to go where it was totally darkened. Bobby wants to know where we're going to visit in 7 years when it passes over the US again. :) It's not often he mentions wanting to go somewhere or do something, so I think this might be something we have to do!

Friday, August 18, 2017

97 and fall

Bobby laughed at me last night when I declared it was fall, reminding me that it was to be 97 degrees today. And yes, we are under a heat advisory here in NC today, BUT my surroundings are saying otherwise. The poplar tree has been shedding its leaves for over a week, and the grapes are ready for picking. I was too busy yesterday to take pictures, but I now have 3/4 gallon of muscadine juice in my refrigerator waiting to be made into jelly later today (and I only had time to pick 1 side of 1 row). Grapes are ripe in the fall.

And, as if that wasn't enough, school is starting back this week (or starts back next week for the last track of year rounders) in our area, and I had my dry run for fall elections training. (Trainers teach the class to elections staff to make sure we understand the process before classes begin.) So everything around me, except the temperature, is screaming fall.

So happy fall, y'all, sweat and all.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

twice in one day

Today I attended a presentation for Quilts of Valor for a Navy vet who served during the Vietnam War. He talked about his introduction to basic training, and how excited he was when he saw the line for food. He had never seen that much food, and thought if this was Navy life, it had to be good. No more hunger. He said that evening and the following days were tough, but having enough food to eat was always a good thing.

Tonight our church was full for a Wednesday night and buzzing with excitement as 25 people had just returned from serving at a camp in Haiti. Two people shared a testimony and some things that happened (the rest will share Sunday morning), and as they spoke about the bathing and bathroom conditions, as well as the food (good but they got tired of eating the same thing), I couldn't help but think about how spoiled many Americans are, and how deprived others are. I know these things will always be, but it made me think again of how the church should respond, and how do you assist without drowning yourself or enabling?

My Mom always said when God points something out to you more than once in a short period of time, you better take heed! It's given me a lot to think about.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

brushes

When I hear the word brush, I think of a hair brush.
When I hear the words brush in a motor, I think of this:


the brush found in a vacuum cleaner. So all these years when mechanics said "we need to replace the brushes" (in Bobby's wheelchair), that was the image that came to mind. So imagine my surprise last week when the mechanic came out with a piece smaller than my finger, and it looked almost like this:
This is a wheelchair motor brush. The bottom piece is the size of your thumbnail, and looks like a jump drive. The end of all the pieces are different, based on the model of chair. Bobby's had wires sticking out of it. The metal pieces near the bottom had snapped and burned, and we fear it may have caused the circuit board (the chair's brain) to short circuit. So even though we've found the parts (thank you Sean the sales rep guy!!!!), and are willing to pay out of pocket (insurance won't cover it since they're covering part of the cost for a new chair), there's a very good chance that this minute piece may not solve our problem for now. I'm so praying that it will. I'd love to photograph his hand and arm and other parts and send it to the insurance company along with my dr bill from last week to let them know the havoc and danger their delays and denials have created for us. But they really don't care. And it would simply be a waste of my time. But a chair is coming...I feel like a kid with Christmas two weeks away!!!!

Friday, August 4, 2017

a blur of a week

It's been a good but hard week. Sometime last week I did something to my back. Unlike muscle pain I've had in my neck and shoulder, this has been intermittent. One moment I'm fine; the next minute has me gasping in pain. Afternoons/evenings seem to be worse.

So I went to the dr today and was told I'd over-stretched a muscle between my ribs, and am to not do any major work in my garden for about a week. I guess that also means I won't be deep cleaning behind some of the furniture I didn't get to last week, either.

Meanwhile we found out Bobby's chair had NOT been ordered, so the ordering process began Tuesday evening - which means we're still 3 weeks out from having a chair he can use. I hate it for him even more than I hate it for me. I'm realizing more and more how difficult  it is to maneuver with manual chairs. We're still waiting to hear from the sale rep whether or not he can find us a "black market" part for the old chair or if we can get a loaner chair (meaning he can still get around on his own, but not drive) until the new chair arrives and goes through the modification process.

Tomorrow is Melba Lauver's funeral (the wife of one of Bobby's close friends). He wants us to stay and eat with the family after the funeral, and I have very mixed emotions about that.

I was also offered a unique temporary job this week. I have until next week to make a decision. It's an honor to be asked, but the hours are long (12 hr work days...on top of housework and caregiving...for 2 different 10 day stretches) and I'm not sure we're up to that right now. Praying for wisdom.

And that is Friday. Not quite ready to believe that it is August, nor that this week is almost over.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

week's recap

Monday - dr's appt; tech remembered Bobby from 2 yrs ago and laughed about unless he starts eating a lb of bacon a day and smoking then he shouldn't have problems; delivered Bobby's van to the auto body shop for repairs

Tuesday - drove an hour to pick up old farmstyle kitchen chairs (yeah, re-arranging and sorting is what I do best when I'm supposed to be cleaning house for company)

Wednesday - meeting with wheelchair company rep (last step before officially ordering the chair!!!). Order placed. Discussed his current chair issues. Confirmation parts cannot be obtained for this chair but found out a loaner may be a possibility as we wait the 3 weeks for the chair to be made and customized on our end.

Thursday - laundry and garden week (pulled up corn and tilled and fertilized with my shovel since my car is too small for the hardware's store rental tiller and ours won't be ready from repairs for another week)

Friday - wheelchair died...dead as a doornail will not move; Melba Lauver died; Hank, her husband, en route to dr with problems

Saturday - pulled out the manual chair; housewarming for a friend; still cleaning

and tomorrow...we have about 12 people coming to our house for our church's periodic "home gatherings". And it's our 18th anniversary. Not the week we had planned, but we're still feeling very blessed.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo - Raleigh

The quilt expo came back to Raleigh this year, and I had the opportunity to go yesterday with a friend. It was really cool running in to people from classes and stores, but we also enjoyed looking at the vendor booths, but mainly enjoyed the quilt shows/exhibits themselves. I didn't take many pictures this year, but here's the few I did capture:

 This one was in a modern quilt/ black& white challenge. I'm not a huge fan of most modern quilting, but this is one of the several that I liked. I love the background (strips merging into solid white strips), plus the subject matter.

 I think this one would make a good scrap quilt, as well as a great Quilt of Valor quilt. Here's a close up of the block:

 The basic block is two four patches with two half square triangles. The placement of the dark and white and the consistent use of the reds is what creates this pattern. This one may be added to my mental list of quilts to do one day!

And this one amazed me. I photographed the quilter's description beside it. She used the basic house pattern and then diamonds placed on point to create the landscape. I'd love to see the landscape in gradations of beige (for wheat) or green, and the houses in actual house colors. Guess that's the realism in me coming out. Can't venture too far outside the norm! ;)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

pics and more pics


What Bobby has dubbed "the annex"...peas, 4 tomatoes, 1 okra;
a rabbit ate most of my lettuce and spinach.

Zipper Cream Peas, growing in hay bales,
which a yellow biddie is picking at.
Main garden.
green beans
Geese are eating the bottom stems and leaves on my green beans,
to my chagrin and Bobby's delight.
Corn didn't produce much, and is mostly gone.
Momma hen outside the garden,
waiting on the biddies to come back out.

Momma hen pointing out a bug to the yellow biddie, with black biddies coming out of the garden fence.
Carrots, which the chickens keep trying to dig up.
Sweet potato

And where the geese are eating the sweet potato leaves...

The first time I've seen the hummingbird actually perch.
Usually he flies in and out over and over, never landing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

hodge podge of life

These last few weeks have been both pleasant and hard, fun and yet full of work. 

Insurance has agreed to pay for repairs caused by the tire blowout, so the week we had reserved in hopes of celebrating our anniversary is now dedicated to getting the van repaired and celebrating at home.  And while it wasn't exactly what we had in mind, it really does turn out to be the best of both worlds. Still no word on the new wheelchair and what insurance's refusal on a key component will do to the whole process.

The garden is still producing, and there is a small part of me that will be glad when it is over. I'm not to the "how much longer is this going to last?" stage yet, but the first inklings of that attitude began to creep in yesterday. Today is another day to work outside and then come inside and can tomatoes. It's also the first day this summer I've had to remind myself that in a few months I'll be thankful for my canned stash.

Jimmy Aldridge, a dear family friend, died a week ago yesterday. I'm thankful he's no longer suffering and that he never reached the point where hospice had to give him the heavy doses of medicine. My heart hurts for Janie and the adjustments she has to face right now. Other than that, it's simply too close and personal to write about right now.

A hawk has been hovering in the back yard, so we've been anticipating losing a few of our 4 biddies. We did have one scare one night where we thought they were gone, only to be shocked to suddenly see a head stick out of the momma hen's wing. The other two were still present, just in hiding. It was such a funny sight.

The former owner of the snake skin made an appearance in my garden this past week, prompting me to work in the heat of the day instead of early morning or evening.

Our humming bird at the nectar feeder has made us laugh on more than one occasion. Maybe one day I can get it on video.

And quilt expo is this week! I'm excited to be going with a friend. No classes this year (those are at local shops in August), but the exhibits and shows will be enough.

My first meeting with elections is the last day of the month. So I'm trying to get some projects and things done before then, as I know my schedule will quickly start filling up once that hits. 

And that's a brief summary of the last two weeks.

Friday, July 7, 2017

and it's now July

Since my last post, we got the van driveable, made it to AL where my brother and brother-in-law attached the side fender that kept folding back while driving, helped my parents with the garden, watched fireworks over Smith Lake (and all the boats and car horns started honking in appreciation when it was done...kind of cool) and drove back home. We "celebrated" the 4th by trying to catch up on some sleep, washing clothes, and going out to Five Guys for hamburgers. While we watched Garner's traditional July 3rd fireworks from home, someone nearby was shooting off some nice fireworks on the evening of the 4th, so we got to see a few minutes of live fireworks that night as well. Oh - we've also oohed and aahhed and cleaned up the small chicken house where we had 4 biddies hatch while we were gone. Big chickens are now happy to have one of their egg laying spots back.

The remainder of this week we've taken care of garden stuff (though I still need to weed), a doctor's appt (all is good), a long-arm rental day, and have tried to tackle some projects in my sewing room. I can't help but laugh sometimes at how different my husband and I are. He's one of those people that starts a project and finishes it. He may have 2 or 3 things going, but he'll be working on all of them until they are done. The very concept of having 30+ projects in various stages laying around in one room is enough to make his brain short circuit. So this week I moved 2 of those projects into the next phase, took care of 90% of the mending pile on the floor, and actually cleaned up a small bit. 

And since our lawnmower is still in the shop, we asked to borrow my mother-in-law's mower again. When my brother-in-law brought it to the house, he also CUT THE GRASS!!! So I canned tomatoes and rejoiced not to be out in the heat. :) I am blessed.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

another day delay

Tuesday we were not quite halfway between Garner, NC and Jasper, AL when the van started growing crazy on I 20.  Thankfully there was almost no traffic around us, and Bobby was able to get the van over to the side before the next wave traffic came. I was expecting a typical flat tire, and was more than shocked to get around and see a total blowout with parts of the van hanging out underneath.
We called AAA, and was thankful for the breeze and no rain while we waited. The Sheriff came by, and when he found out we were headed to visit my parents in AL there was some good natured ribbing about the Crimson Tide not quite being the best team in the US anymore, then when the Highway Patrol came he was teasing Bobby about getting reports about a man in a wheelchair racing cars up and down the side of the road. (He was sitting by his ramp so he could see when the tow truck came over the hill.)  The Sheriff went to get water so Bobby wouldn't get too hot, without us even asking. When the tow truck driver made it through the gridlock down the road from two tractor trailers wrecking and one overturning, he took us backroads to a different repair shop than AAA said because he said they would have the parts we needed plus we would have two hotels and fast food places in walking distances. Turns out his daughter in a senior at the University of Alabama. We were thankful he made the choice he did. The pipe hanging below in the picture is the severed fuel line that takes the gas from the area where you pump it to the fuel tank in the back of the van. So there's no way we could have made it to the next city anyway. We talked about renting a van and heading on while they did repairs, but the rental place in the next town wasn't willing to deliver and the cost was exhorbitant. So we've been in a hotel since Tuesday night. The mechanics at the first shop replaced the tire, sawed off the busted and twisted pipe, and capped off the gas tank so we wouldn't loose what gas we had. Everyone is basically telling us to "hang tight".  I've enjoyed the cable and rest and internet, but I've been almost chomping at the bit to get on to my family. My brother, who is a mechanic, was wanting to take off work and come find a way to get us either to Atlanta or home to AL, but since the part was on the way we told him to wait. We went to the dealer today, only to find out that Bobby's fears were confirmed, and this part they overnighted was for a regular van and not a modified van. So we're back in the hotel for another night. I wish I could say I was all nice and appreciative and cheerful, but I have to confess I flat out cried.  Our original plan was to leave AL Sat morning. Since we now (hopefully) won't get there until late Friday night, we'll head back Monday. That means I only have a day and a half (Sunday messes everything up) with my parents, but at this point I'll take what I can get.

Meanwhile, our nesting hen hatched at least 4 of her 5 eggs the day after we left. So they'll still be cute when we get home, but not the total fluff balls. I can't wait to see them. Just hoping they're not more roosters!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

postponed...again

I had two quilt tops I hoped to finish in May. That got pushed back to June.  And since I'm with my parents for a few days and only one of them was completed before I left, I think that means #2 and the different top I started but not quite finished before leaving will now become July projects. (along with trimming up the grape vines and cleaning off the back porch and cleaning all the wasp nests out of our grill, and finished adding fill dirt to the edges of the driveway). But my mantra is to keep working at things, and be satisfied with what IS finished and completed, and keep working on the things that aren't. They may (or may not) be finished in my lifetime and that's okay.  I think I'm getting better at finishing some things...I think.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

cabbage

I removed the fencing from around the cabbage beds to do some weeding and didn't put it back up. Within 24 hrs, 2 of my 4 cabbages were devoured, courtesy of chickens and geese. It was clearly a fowl crime.


Monday, June 26, 2017

a crazy, but good, Monday

This morning I had several projects that I needed to finish. One of them was cleaning out a corner of the garage where some of the chickens have nested and been laying eggs. It was getting to be a very bad mess. I decided while I was at it, I would go ahead and dispose of some boards and sweep. Basic housecleaning. So I would move, sort, sweep, then repeat the process. As I neared the area where the chickens had been hanging out, I went to move an old garbage can and pick up a board behind it. As I tilted the can and reached down, I was startled to see a black snake (chicken snake) about 3" from my hand. Needless to say, I dropped the can and shrieked.

When a snake is in the hen house, if school is not in session and no one is nearby, I shoot it. But this was in the garage, not out in the open. After having a not so pleasant experience toward the end of last summer with a snake, I'm a little more fearful of removing them. Thankfully a young man from church was doing some yardwork at the house, so Bobby went and got him and asked him if he'd mind assisting. He took the hoe and I took the shovel. He stunned it and paused, so I smashed as hard as I could with the shovel and wouldn't let up. Since I had it pinned, he finished it off. Thankfully it was not resistant (I'm thinking it was full) in any way.

I moved on to the garden area to weed before it got any hotter. At one point I needed something out of the small shed, and I was putting the hoe up and reaching for a bag, I jumped back. There was a not so small snake skin wrapping up from the floor, across the pot of hay strings and onto the second shelf. After I got Bobby to come out and see it, we pulled it out with the shovel. He said it wasn't as big as I made it out to be. It was nowhere near as long as the snake Jake killed, but it was long enough to creep me out, especially with it stretched out over the shelves and my supplies like that. I know it was NOT there two weeks ago. I had never really examined a snake skin up close before. I was amazed to see that the skin even covered the eyes. My dogs, who are scared of snakes, even dead ones, where not so scared of the skin, and I'm not sure where Freckles carried it off to.

I got a lot, thought not all, of my outside stuff finished today. Put up one quart of tomatoes, cleaned most of one bathroom. Still working on the laundry, and the floors may wait until early tomorrow morning, but all in all, it's been a good but very crazy Monday.






Friday, June 23, 2017

Poof!

Tomorrow will be 6 months until Christmas Eve. Normally that statement would cue the holiday gift list making in the back of my brain (I inherited that gene - my Grandma White would already have presents WRAPPED and hidden by this point in the year). But this year, sigh, is different. I've finally concurred agreed to abide by my siblings wishes and only do presents for parents and children. SIGH. They have no idea how many times this year I've already pulled things off a store shelf with them in my mind, and then put it back. I LOVE to shop for other people. And this year, I almost can't. It's a bit sad, really. But a promise is a promise.

And that is not where I was headed with this post, but I guess the date has my brain whirring in all kinds of crazy directions.

Highlights from this crazy week:


  • Quilted a full size quilt top in 2 hrs at Thread Waggle Quilting (a long arm rental place in Raleigh)
  • Spent yesterday cutting grass on a borrowed zero-turn lawnmower (ours broke down and goes back to the shop Monday).
  • I stupidly did not apply sunscreen and am slightly pink.
  • Uncovered the cabbages to weed in their bed and left them uncovered for less than 24 hrs. We are now 2 heads less. One is totally devoured; the other halfway. Oh those dear, stupid chickens.
  • We're checking daily now for little heads to be poking out from Momma hen. Monday is the official day, and next Wednesday is don the gloves and throw out eggs if nothing has happened day.
  • E5 bp readings are becoming a trend in our household again.
  • Bought a LulaRoe shirt that I LOVE!!!
  • Finished some sewing/store samples for a friend/quilt shop owner.
  • Spent a lot of time browsing on CraigsList this week. 
  • Potential training slots for election schedules came out this week...so not ready for it to be that time of year again.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday, Monday

With all the rain we've had I've not been able to get my usual yardwork in, so my yard and garden look horrible. This morning I was able to put in a couple of hours before getting ready for a Quilt of Valor presentation. The recipient is 100 years old, served as an Army Nurse during WWII, and lives by herself. When we arrived, there was no one home. As we were about to leave, her neighbor pulled into his driveway. I let him know we had an appointment with her and that I had left my contact information  in the mailbox. He said an ambulance had picked her up around 11am. Our appt was for 2pm. So we're hoping that she'll make it home, and that even if she doesn't return home to live that we'll be able to give her the designated quilt soon.  I find that half of the requests we get go unfilled. Either the nominator doesn't give us correct contact information, or else the person simply refuses to return our phone calls or e-mails. It can be a bit frustrating. But on the flip side, it makes it even more rewarding when we are able to complete a request.

So now I'm alternating between housework and projects. All in all, it's been a good and semi-productive day.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

the same but different

I didn't attend the lecture, but BWOS recently had a lecture on color choices and layout. All the blocks in the quilt below are the same pattern, but the fabric choices make them totally different.

And because this has been on my mind a lot lately, this reminds me a lot of faith. People can have faith in only Jesus Christ, but that faith can be lived out in different ways and look totally different. It has always bothered me when people say someone can't really or truly be a Christian because of x, y, or z. It really boils down to what we believe about Jesus. It reminds me of the disciples going to Christ and telling him about another group of people who didn't hang out with them performing miracles in the name of Jesus. They wanted Christ to tell them to stop. And his response? "I have disciples you know nothing about."  Maybe I'll do a one block pattern quilt one day with different fabrics like the one above to help me remember that.  I can't wait to get to heaven and see how diverse the backgrounds and thoughts and former doctrines will be.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

stripping

There's a technique in quilting called stripping. It's where you take small strips of fabric and sew them together, as opposed to piecing, where you cut shapes and sew them into a pattern or design. For the last several months I've been eyeing a quilt hanging up at Bernina World of Sewing that is created using the piecing method. My scrap basket was overflowing, so I decided that would be a neat pattern to try and use up all my scraps. HA!!

I will say, I've thoroughly enjoyed the process. For this pattern, you start with either a 6.5" square of muslin or foundation paper, then sew a 1.5" strip of white or another solid color across it diagonally. From there, you simply add strips on either side. Once it's done, you trim to size, and a square is done!  I did a full size, and my scrap bin was STILL not depleted. So this week I've been working on eradicating some of that. I may actually get a 2nd quilt top out of the bin with only adding white fabric for visual interest. But that will have to be another post.

Here's my latest top:

My white strips don't line up on everything, but only someone
closely looking would realize that.
I can't wait to get this one quilted and finished!!