Monday, December 8, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I am taking a few weeks off from blogging and will pick up again in the new year.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of love.

And . . . here are some words to guide my next few weeks.
"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose." Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It is all about good friends . . . and being a bit eccentric!

I will start with friendship here. Several of my good "blogging reads" this week have shared the wonderful joy and comfort of good friendship. And sometimes good friendship can bring new adventure as well.

"Go through your phone book, call people and ask them to drive you to the airport. The ones who will drive you are your true friends. The rest aren't bad people, they're just acquaintances." Jay Leno

I seem to be working hard to become more and more eccentric. Well I am not really "working" at it intentionally, but it sure seems to be happening. Yesterday, some friends (fairly new friends) and I gathered for a "facial party". Two of them sell "NuSkin products" - and, yes, I bought. They do one side of the face with the device and gels and I could really see a difference on my face. Even still this morning, there is a difference. I am going to do my whole face today and even if there is no differece, I will think there is and that will be exciting.

You know, I have been doing Weight Watchers online for a year. I have done pretty darm good and have lost about 35 pounds. The best part is that I never feel I am "on a diet" anymore. I have been on a diet all of my life and most of the time it has not been successful until it "clicked" with me a year ago. But I have not lost anything more since July. I haven't gained any and I have stayed on my good eating program. I might gain a couple pounds on special days like Thanksgiving, but it drops right off when I go back to my normal eating. But, I am stuck right here and want to "ratchet it up a level".

One of the friends and I rode to the party together. On the way home, we decided we wanted to work together on our weight loss goals. She has been going to WW meetings, but finds it way to easy to not get there as she works full time at the university and is a single woman with a small horse boarding operation so always has lots to do. (She os already a bit more eccentric.) So we decided to both do WW online, meet once a week with printed food diaries, and do some kind of intentional exercise each day for 30 minutes (planning to build up to 45) that we will report as well. And, do our NuSkin treatments twice each week. I am going to walk for my exercise each day for this week. It is fun to meet new friends and I love heading toward being more eccentric. It will be a great journey.

This week I am heading to Missoula on Thursday and Friday. I will probably stay over both nights and come home early Saturday. I am hoping to see some of my Western Montana friends as well as do some Christmas shopping with Mom. Mom is doing so much better since they changed some meds for her after her heart "a-fib" scare. She has "wonderful" new friends now in her senior living place that she eats with - two different sets for different meals. And Dad is making friends and having better days as well in the nursing home. There really isn't much difference no matter where we live - it is all about staying positive, keeping active, loving family, and enjoying our friends . . .and enjoying being eccentric when it comes.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving . . .

We had a wonderful day. Our son, Stan, his wife, Rainy and the Weston spent the whole day here. It was the first time in years and years we have had such a simple, lovely, loving, restful Thanksgiving Day. It was one of the days that we will talk about for years. Of course we ate and then we ate again in the evening. The leftovers always taste better in the evening than the originals for dinner. The are going to add a new one to their family this spring and we are all very excited.

There is just so much of which to be thankful for us. The rest of the weekend will be spent quilting and enjoying a quiet weekend.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Finally . . .

I started this quilt a couple weeks ago and then took it off to await a "conference" with the owner about a change in what we had planned. I am delivering it today and I like it a lot. I want one like it in fact and I am not even a "cowgirl"

The next one up is the "sweatshirt" quilt shown below. I will have Hoke do it and post more pics when it is done. It is actually cute - done from original design sweatshirts from a group of guys who have been attending the same hunting camp together for years. I think Miss Daisy may need to use 4 wheel drive to get through some of the corners, but we will give it a try. It is nicely pieced but is just a bit like armor. The designs are really fun!

We are having folks in tomorrow for a the annual "Cat-Griz" football game. We are the Bobcats here at Montana State and the University of Montana are the Grizzlies. They historically win, but gathering with friends should make it less painful to watch. So I am off to get some groceries to fix some bread and soup - and a couple other things. Weston is going to shop with me. . . that will be a stich.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A different day . . .

I quilted this morning - finishing a fun quilt. Then I got ready to go to lunch with my good friends. As I started to walk out the door, I got the call.

Mom was in the hospital in MIssoula so I just headed west rather than to town. I got here in 3 hours. They changed some meds and will do some tests tomorrow. Hopefully they can get the rhythm back to normal. I then went to the nursing home to explain to Dad. His first words were, "Where is your mom?". He did okay in understanding and then at the end of our conversation, I said I would be back in the morning and he said he would be gone in the morning at an appeal hearing. Of course he won't be in an appeal hearing, but I think that was easier for him to say than that he was to worried about Mom.

I am staying in Mom's "senior" apartment tonight here in Missoula - feeling every year of my own "senior-ness". My sister is acting "normal" today after months of being AWOL and she lives here in Missoula. She has not visited either parent, not called unless it was for money, not been able to converse without swearing and raging. I never know who is going to be there when she is on the scene - is it going to be my sister who is intelleigent and caring or is it going to be my sister who is raging, out of control, blaming and swearing. I am glad she was in the normal place today. I hope she can stay there tomorrow as well.

Mom will be in the hospital for a few days. I can handle the normal "aging issues". I can even understand that I often need to "drive the 200 miles over here". I can understand the working with the financial issues, the living arrangement decisions, the moving issues, the tears of aging, and the heartache. I just don't know how to handle the sister part. That is what I need to learn! That is what I need to learn!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Whew - way too much cheering . . .

We really did it big time yesterday! There is nothing like living in a university town for the last football home game of the season. It is no different here in Bozeman when the Montana State University Bobcats play. We go to every game - see friends, cheer ourselves to a hoarse whisper, and leave in a good mood when we win. Sometimes, of course, we don't win. We won yesterday and beat Portland State U. It was a great game - good weather for football - not too warm and not too cool. We left the game, did some errands and then headed to the first basketball game of the season. Not such a good outcome on this one, but not unexpected. We played Nevada (Reno) and lost, but the crowd was "into it" and the players came back from a large deficit to keep it exciting at the end.

I am finishing up a quilt that has been on my table too long and then I am going to do some "tailoring" to make a minor change in the sleeve of this suede jacket. The shoulders are too wide and it is a new favorite. I want to wear it to lunch tomorrow with my "lunch bunch". I am going to open a seam in the lining, readjust the shoulder pad and take the should seam in just a bit at the top - that is the plan anyway. I can I will share what I come up with later.

Friday afternoon, Weston came out to visit and then one of my good friends and neighbors came over for a cup. She has been a good friend since our days as freshman in college and bought the neighboring place when I moved back to Montana 15 years ago. She and her hubby run a B & B there now and spent the month of October in Australia so there is lots to catch up. Weston takes pictures and after she got over the shock of me letting him use my digital camera, he took this cute picture (double chins aside) of the two of us. I am amazed at his ability as he is only three. Of course, I am just a bit prejudice. LOL

Have a great Sunday!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Inspiration . . .

I went to Missoula on Wednesday to help Mom and Dad a bit with some financial stuff and to enjoy a good visit. The wind while driving was really something in places and it was hard to keep the LilyB on the road at times going over and again coming home yesterday. It has been a busy week with several new customers and I am so thrilled and thankful to have the work. It feels really good!

A wonderful, talented quilting friend shared this poem with me. It is by Marge Piercy and it has stayed in my head since she sent it to me yesterday so I wanted to share it here with you. I keep reading it over and over . . .

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Home again . . .

How did I ever manage living away most of last year when I was in Laramie? I love getting home. I got back from our week away at Lake Couer d'Alene last night. It was a good visit and we got in some shopping and lots of gabbing, but not much done on projects. Here is a beautiful picture of Lake Couer d'Alene from our resort area taken by one of "the girls". (Never mind that we haven't been "girls" for several decades. When we are together, we are still "girls".

I also hit on some cute clothes for Meagan at the Gymboree sale I ran into at a mall in Spokane. I was just walking by and saw all of the moms with strollers packed in and I just decided it must be too good to pass up. And, it was. I also got some things for Weston and I am thinking they will all be good Christmas gifts, but you know how that goes sometimes. They may end up being November gifts. It was fun to be in the store with all of the young "moms". It was kind of like a party.

We also spent some time at a great quilt shop in the town of Couer d'Alene. I will now be sure to stop for a "break" every time I head to Portland. It is Bear Paw Quilting and the store was packed with fun new projects, unlimited fabric choices and lots of inspiration plus very friendly shoppers and clerks. Sometimes I think those kinds of special experiences happen when you are with the right company and we were all thrilled so that may have been part of our excitement. But, it will be on my "must stop" list for sure the next trip through.

Yesterday as I came home, I stopped in Missoula to visit with my Dad. He is going to be 90 the day after Christmas and we had the best visit - one of those times that will stay with me for the rest of my years. It was a blessing. He is doing so much better now after we made some changes in his medication. I continue to be amazed that we have to be such agressive advocates for quality life when dealing with the distribution of medicine to our beloved elderly. I am heading back that way on Wednesday for a couple days for a longer visit with Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


It has been a long election. Last night after we knew who had won, my son called me from Portland. We were all quietly thankful. Then he said, "I want Meagan to understand just how monumental this is, but I don't want her to know it was not always possible". I cried as I did several times during the evening. I pray our country can come together and build on all of our differences. I am so proud to be a citizen of The United States of America. I am so proud - and thankful!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Heading out . . .

I am leaving this morning for our week away at a resort on Lake Couer d'Alene. Every few years, a group of 6 to 8 women gather - from all over the Pacific Northwest - and we meet somewhere at a resort to gab, laugh, share memories, pictures of kids and grandkids, and some tears. We have been friends since we started college 45 years ago. It is a wonderful special treat. This year we are gathering at a resort near Harrison on the east side of Lake Couer d'Alene. I am heading through Helena to pick up one of our group so the drive will be something just as good as the rest of the week. It is a 6 hour drive from here and we go through Missoula so I will stop for a quick visit with Dad in the nursing home. I will catch Mom on the way back as she will be in church when we go through.

At first I hated to take the time away to go - you know how that is. There is always too much to do, but I couldn't sleep last night from the excitement of getting on the road. Last night I was tired from a long, good day. We went to the football game here - Montana State University played the University of Northern Colorado - and we won. It was about 70 degrees and we saw lots of friends and it was a great day.

I then had to wash and vacuum the car and go do the shopping for my part of our meals. There was lots of packing, organizing, and going over and over "the list". We each take a breakfast, a lunch and a supper. There are only 6 of us going this year so that should work out with some extras. A couple fly in and the rest of us drive. Those who fly in stop to shop before they get to the resort. I am taking my "world famous" 7-grain cereal with apples, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, and other "secret" ingredients for my breakfast. For a lunch I am making a chicken wild rice soup with some great garlic bread. And for supper, I am making smothered burritos with lettuce and cheese. (They are are pretty darn good considering I am a Dane.)

Of course we take a few extras to fill in here and there, but we are all eating pretty healthy as several of us fight the constant battle of being too fluffy. There will be some good desserts, but I know I can handle it! I have been on Weight Watchers Onlne for a year and it is part of me now. I don't worry any more about being on or off a diet. I just eat what I want - of course I may not eat as much of whatever as I used to want, but there is no more fear. It is a miracle! The pounds are going away - slowly - but I know I am healthy and I know how happy I am. I have lost 35 pounds in the past year. More came off at first and I only lose a couple pounds a month now which works for me. I weigh once a week and I feel "normal" for the first time in my life.

I am taking 4 projects I "might work on" - and might not. Two of us want to make some small gift cards. I am also taking a couple projects that I need to get together for a couple classes I am going to teach this winter at one of our local quilt shops and I always take my freeform crochet stuff. But, I know when I pack that none of it might even get out of the car so I never haul it in until I am so inspired to do it. It will be a wonderful week.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Well, what do you know . . .

I really like to look at shoes online. So this morning, in my email, is my daily ad from which has a lot of shoes and purses for everyone - at every price. And this morning. . . the ad tells me that "Purple Reigns". So, just click and here and you can go see it just like I did. They call it "fuchsia". Whatever the name, it fits into my love of purple. Now, for only a bit under $600 I can buy this little fuchsia purse. Would that qualify as part of the financial bailout to do you think? I love shopping at Endless and they have free overnight shipping. I think I will have to pass on the purse.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just a couple more days. . .

October is almost over. Here is a cute picture of my Meagan in Portland with her newly carved and painted pumpkins.

She also sent me this cute picture of her in a new Snow White dress. Darn it, sometimes Portland is just too far away and I miss too much! She will be all grown up too soon.

Weston is here this afternoon and we are meeting Bob at McDonald's for supper - his favorite place to eat so we have learned to like it - again!. His Mom and Dad are going to celebrate their wedding anniversary - 8 years. It was a beautiful day like this one and we were all in the mountains in western Colorado. Good memories!

And here is a cute quilt I loaded just before Weston came out today. It is kind of like a song. I love the purple, but it is not what would be expected. I guess when my customer took it in to buy the backing, another customer in the quilt shop told her that it was awful - the purple part. She then went on to say, "Why would you ruin a quilt with that color combination?". Maybe that is why I like it - I don't have time for people like that! My customer felt really badly as she had made it for a good friend of hers who is a veterinarian and horsewoman and whose favorite color is purple.

Sometime I wonder what has happened to kindness and manners.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A good day . . .

Have you ever had a "hospital day"? I had one today and now I am ready to get something done. Of course the day is almost over, but it sure has been a good day. The rules for having a "hospital day" are:
1. You have to wear your most comfortable pajamas and you have to wear them all day.
2. You can't leave the house or yard - so technically you could sit on the patio if the weather was nice or you wanted to bundle up in your jammies.
3. You can eat whatever and whenever you want.
4. You can do whatever you want - you can watch movies, read, sew - or you can just sit and do nothing.
5. You have to proclaim at the beginning of the day, "this is a hospital day" so there are no expectations to fix meals or go anywhere.

It has been a wonderful day.

I spent Friday and Saturday in Missoula. Dad is doing a bit better in his new room in the nursing home. He was moved from the rehab wing and he had a very difficult time with that change. He really wants to "go home", but there is no way that is possible in Missoula and he doesn't want to be moved here. He wants to be close so he can see Mom when she comes to visit. This week, he was kind of "out of it" all week and very angry with everyone. I hope the change in meds and getting used to his new surroundings will help that. The nurses in that part of the nursing home seem to be very caring and tuned in so I am hoping that will help him not be so scared. It is part of the journey.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What is going on?

It was just Sunday - or that is what it seems like. I just put up a new post and what happened to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. You know what they say, "Time flies when you are having fun." So the good news is - I must be having a ton of fun.

Today is Thursday and I have a long list. I have been picking up some new customers for quilting and I am so excited about that. For the year I was gone, I put my quilting business on hold and then when I came back from Wyoming, things got very busy. I have taken little brochures around with a discount coupon, handed them out at the quilt shops and carried some with me to hand out when people say, "Are you guilting for others?" It has paid off and I am going to do it through November. And, the best part is, I have some nice new quilts to work on.

Remember this one - it is not one of the new ones. But it is what I am working on now. It is a vintage top that was not finished by the original maker from the 30's and needs to be squared up by moving a couple stars around. It is now a huge parallelogram. The nice part about having Hoke (my IQ) is that I have a fleese baby quilt loaded that I am having him drive Miss Daisy around to quilt while I sew. It was one of those projects that got put aside during my year away. The owner is not concerned as she had three to do and this is the last one. She has had them unfinished for several years. It is nice to have understanding customers. I will finish it completely with a remodel, quilting and binding.

Today I am going to vote as I am going to be gone on a "college girls" retreat starting the week of November 2. There are several of us who get together every couple years at a different place. We have been friends since we were freshman in college. In fact, the rest of the group all have been friends through junior high and high school all from the same small town in Montana. They "adopted" me. And - they even introduced me to my first husband. But, I have forgiven them for that and I suspect he has as well. We are heading to Lake Couer d'Alene for a wonderful, cool, quiet, retreat away. We will get in a shopping day to Spokane as well. There will not be much sewing, however, as only a couple of us are quilters.

I am heading to Missoula tomorrow and looking forward to the trip. I have been doing "day trips" - over and back in the same day and trying to go each week. It is such a thrash as it is a 3 hour drive each way. So, I am now going to go over every-other week or so and stay overnight. Mom has a second bedroom in her apartment that she uses as a computer/music room, but there is space to set up a roll away for a visit. It will be good to have time to visit and to "just be".

A good friend shared this with me this morning: "Days pass and years vanish while we walk sightless among miracles." It is all good!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The weeks fly by . . .

We went to the football game again yesterday and it was 68 degrees with lots of sunshine. Last week we were in a blizzard and this week lots of the fans wore shorts. Only in Montana!

Here are a couple pictures of a small wallhanging I quilted for a friend. She wanted to throw it out, but we decided to give it a shot to see what it would look like after it was quilted. It was her first effort at needle turn applique from a class she took in Hawaii. I think it is nice and the quilting really added a lot. It is for an area in her bathroom and it goes with the color scheme in the bedroom.

I will be more attentive to my blog this week I hope. I am working on lots of projects. Weston is coming to visit on Tuesday and I am heading for Missoula on Friday. I will meet with Dad's doctor to review the meds he is taking. Something has changed this past week and he is not recognizing anyone who visits. Dad is 90 and I want to make sure something has not changed with his meds. I can accept his aging, but not drugging him into a stupor just because he is aging. Nothing is simple in this whole story.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."
--Reinhold Niebuhr

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ah - winter is here in the Northern Rockies

The cold weather came in on Friday and the snow started Friday night. It has snowed off and on since. We went to the Homecoming football game yesterday and were fortunate to be inside in a sky box area for alums. It was a total whiteout at times with snow blowing so hard you could not see across the field. And of course we lost to Weber State from Utah. They were just a much better team and tough.

This morning we have about 6 inches with some drifting from the wind. The leaves are still on many of the trees so there will be some broken limbs. The picture is taken just opening the door to the back deck. The weather man is predicting it will all be gone in a few days, but sometimes these early snows never really leave until spring. I wonder if that will happen this time. The mountains just south of us have up to 30 inches and I am sure that will be there with more added for the next 6 months.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Finally -

After all the crises of this week - family, weather, work, financial - Meagan's quilt is finally headed to Portland. Here is a cute picture of her from yesterday - it is taken from a cell phone so it is a bit blurry, but she is so proud of her outfit for "school pictures". Below are a couple of pictures of her Halloween quilt with the purple minkee backing she loved. At some point "done" became better than "beautifully done". I hope she likes it and remembers the fun time we had picking out the fabric and cutting the first little squares

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Work break . . .

"Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up. What was is not and never again will be: what is is change." Edwin Way Teale

I just had to share a couple cute photos of Weston and Kassie from yesterday. We are getting some cold weather and I suspect the leaves will soon be all gone as is normal for Montana by mid-October. We will still have some warm days, but summer is certainly over here. Some days he just looks too grown up! Where has the time gone?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

One for the memory books . . .

Yesterday was quite a day. The only way to talk about it is through a list so here goes. . .
1. Leave home at 5 a.m. to take the neighbors to the airport for their month long trip to Australia.
2. Pick up Weston in his jammies at 6 a.m. for a day trip to Helena to visit one of my best friends for breakfast and drive on for a day in Missoula to visit great grand parents (214 mile drive with Helena about half way)
3. Flat tire on the LilyB about 50 miles from home off Interstate 90 in the middle of rural Montana. Call to OnStar for repair assistance
4. Three year old being very good - watching Toy Story 2 on the DVD in the LilyB - the one we didn't think we would ever use.
5. State trooper stops to assist, but OnStar repair also just pulls in.
6. Tire changed, but tire not repairable.
7. Drive on to Helena - 50 miles - thank goodness for cheese sticks and grapes.
8. Find a new tire - very difficult as the LilyB has the new large wheel, low profile tires.
9. Three year old being very good - changed from jammies to clothes in Starbucks across the street from the tire store.
1o. "We can make you a very good deal on the other 3 tires as your tread depth is quite different".
11. Buy three more new tires - wait another hour for those to be put on - more cheese sticks, grapes and fish crackers with chocolate milk
12. Thank goodness for a wonderful friend and a great neighborhood park as the three year old is still being very, very good.
13. Head for Missoula after a three hour delay - another 100 plus miles - more DVD time with "Little Einsteins and the Golden Pyramid"
14. Take Great Grandma Jean to a spectacular park in Missoula and we all ride the "second fastest carousel" and play in an amazing playground - I didn't go down the slides though.
15. Have a fun visit with Great Grandpa Roy in the nursing home.
16. Supper at MacDonald's with a Happy Meal that has a Batmobile. . . of course Grandma had to arrange a trade for the original "Madame Alexander" doll - now I know he is "pretty", but it is clear he is all "boy" when we bought the Happy Meal - hmmm?
17. Head for home - 3 plus more hours in the car. Three year old loving "Charlotte's Web" - watched it twice.
18. Arrive back home 16 plus hours later after we stopped to put the jammies back on about an hour from home and a couple more cheese sticks and a banana
19. Great Day!

Certainly one for the memory books.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday again . . .

I am not sure where the last 7 days went, but I know there was a lot going on. The weather has been gorgeous and my flowers are still blooming as we have not yet had a frost - that is good!

Here is a wonderful picture of Weston in his "Buzz Lightyear" costume that I brought him from the Disney Store in Portland. He put it on and it was tough to get it off him. I couldn't believe how quickly he became "Buzz" - right down to the "infinity and beyond" cry. I am always amazed at how much "three year olds" understand and love to become different characters.

And, along with some customer quilting, I also got this cute Halloween top pieced for Meagan. I am planning to have it quilted on Wednesday and in the mail. So, I made my deadline. When I was in Portland, she helped pick out the fabrics and we fussy cut all of the little scenes of Halloween characters. She then picked out purple minkee for the back so she can cuddle. It is a cute pattern in the current issue of "Quilts and More".

I am off to Missoula very early in the morning and Weston is going along with me. It is a good thing the LilyB has a DVD player built in so he will be entertained - or asleep. Of course we will stop at a couple of good playgrounds between here and there to run off some steam. I want to get a picture of him with my Dad. Dad is not participating in the world around him much, but he is doing okay and doing what he wants.

Have a great week!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Home again . . .

I am home again and looking forward to some wonderful fall days filled with lots of friends, gatherings, get-aways, tons of UFO's and other things. I unpacked the car this morning, got caught up with laundry and put stuff away and I am now heading off to my studio.

Things I love about autumn . . .
Here is a little list I did about fall . . . things I love about this time of year and want to make sure I include during these next few months.

A - Apples, tart and crisp
B - Berries - all kinds
C - Colors of the leaves
D - Drives - long and winding
E - Earrings - time to make some more
F - Football games and the friends who gather
G - Getting ready for winter
H - Harvest time for everything
I - "Indian Summer"
J - Jeans - my favorite ones
K - Kicking the leaves to hear them crunch
L - Leaves - all colors and shapes
M - Meagan - pictures and talks on the phone
N - Nails - paint 'em red
O - Oatmeal with apples, raisins, walnuts
P - Parties for just any reason
Q - Quilting - and lots of it!
R - Retreat - an annual get away with good friends
S - Soups of all kinds in the crock pot
T - Tomato salsa - fresh
U - UFO - lots of fiber projects to finish
V - Vote - absentee this year
W - Weston - all the visits
X - Xeriscape naturally - no more mowing
Y - Yummy - everything and everyone
Z - Zestfullness - filled to the brim with all there is to do, to see, and to enjoy.

And with that I will be busy, busy enjoying the next few months.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Today was just like dessert . . .

This whole week was wonderful. I could have lived without having the horrible cold I had, but it is much better and I am on the road home in the morning.
I loved my shopping trip to E.E. Schenck this morning. I got everything on my list - thread, batting, backing options - plus some things I just plain had to have.

This afternoon we (Roy took the day off) walked to a nearby park and played for a couple hours. This evening we went to a favorite restuarant, "San Felipe Taqueria", which is a tiny little place that makes the best pollo verde gordita. I can't begin to eat it all, but it is always just like I remembered it. We then watched a wonderful movie together and are now turning in for the night.

The pictures are of the time in the park with Meagan and Roy playing. And the last one if of her watching the movie tonight.

It has been a very special trip and I have loved every minute. It is okay now to go home. They are going to be fine.

"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today." ~Stacia Tauscher

Friday morning . . .

One more day and I have to head for home. It has been a wonderful time with Roy and Meagan.

Today I am heading off to E. E. Schenck for a batting/thread purchasing trip while Meagan is in school. Roy has taken the day off and we will have more time for good talks and some fun stuff. This afternoon, we are going to enjoy a special movie, paint our "puppy heads" that we made yesterday from paper mache, bake those cookies we have been saving for today, and cut out more "eye spy" squares from the Halloween fabric. It is going to be a busy day.

Tomorrow it is time to head for home. I will stay in Missoula tomorrow night with Mom in her new apartment in the senior center there. And then head on for home on Sunday. At first I thought I would stay in Spokane because of this cruddy cold I have had all week and not feeling very good. It is a long drive so I thought I would break it up, but I am feeling so much better - back to normal!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

And it is Wednesday . . .

What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice, and everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.
You may know that Wednesday is my favorite day of the week and today was right up there with the best of 'em. I picked Meagan up from her school at noon and then we went shopping.

She was a perfect helper at Fabric Depot where we picked out the fabric for her Halloween quilt that I am working on tomorrow and Friday and then finishing once I get home. I brought some quilting stuff with me and my little Janome. My goal is to have it back here quilted and all done by October 1. We decided to follow a pattern from the new issue of "Quilts and More" and make it a bit smaller. (There are some fun quilts in the magazine.) We will fussy cut the little squares from the Halloween fabric. She wants purple minky type fabric for the back so it will be a real cuddly quilt for her. She is already planning on the one I am going to make her for Christmas so she can have "cuddly quilts" here at her Dad's house. I guess I had better start getting up earlier.

We then moved on to Target for a lot of shopping for the perfect "little toy". She said we must have walked up and down the toy aisles at least 23 times. I think it was way more than that. We were also looking for just the right shirt which we didn't find. She wanted one without any decoration so we could put an iron-on sparkly cupcake on it that we bought yesterday. She loves to play with her princess dolls and I even get to be one sometimes if I stay with the story. The wonderful world of a 4 year old is pure magic.

Yesterday, we did the Disney Store at one of the malls here and that was another memorable experience. I love the kids' clothing store, "Pumpkin Patch" as well and always want to spend some time there. She is not as excited about shopping for clothes - but that will come I am sure.

Tonight we went to Pastini's for supper and had some good pasta and Meagan tried her first tiramisu which she loved. We all shared one piece so it wasn't too decadent for anyone. She also tried her first balsamic vinegar and pepper with olive oil for bread and liked that as well. It is so much fun to share time with this very special little person. And - it is twice is nice that her Dad just happens to be my "baby boy" - of course I wouldn't dare say that to him - the "baby boy" part - but he always will be so precious! He is also a great guy and a great Dad!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good times . . .

Well, no matter what is happening on Wall Street - and it is awful. . . we are having good times in Portland. Here are some photos. We ate lunch out yesterday at "Rock Bottom" and today we visited the Portland Zoo. We saw the new baby elephant, but did not get a good picture.

I hope we have enough money to get home, but if not, I could certainly be in a worse place.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A little trip . . .

I remember 9/11 and still find it hard to talk about the feelings of grief for all who lost loved ones. My heart and prayers are with us all as we remember today. The tears still come at the moment of the memory and I hope that never changes.

"There are moments in life, when the heart is so full of emotion
That if by chance it be shaken. or into its depths like a pebble
Drops some careless word, it overflows and its secret,
Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gathered together"
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tomorrow we are heading toward Portland with a stop first in Missoula and then on to arrive on Saturday. It will be a fun few days. Bob is going to fly back early and I will stay on for a few more days and drive back. My son and his wife who live there have separated and it has been a difficult many months for them so it will be a very different visit than in the past, but that is our life path and we all walk it with courage and dignity.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Progress . . .

I have been able to work on quilting for a couple hours a day for the past couple days. Here is a picture of the quilt - almost finished - just a couple more borders to go like this one. Hoke (remember him? he is my IQ) did the inner pantograph and the one run of the panto on the outer border. I did the beadboard by hand. I like the look and am very excited about what I have learned. It is just the start for me and beyond what I had thought possible.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Catching up . . .

Yesterday was a long day - I left home at 5 a.m. and drove 200 miles to Missoula. We helped movers move Mom to a very nice apartment in a senior living community. We got her all set up and then I drove home last night. It was a long day, but the progress is worth the trips.

Her house is for sale and things are moving along. Dad is still in the nursing home and when I stopped to visit him he was laughing and telling me how he fell when trying to get from the toilet to his wheel chair. He said, "the toilet went one way and the chair the other". Then he smiled my favorite smile and said, "well maybe the toilet didn't move". His progress to get stronger is slow, but he is okay and his spirits are good.

We had a busy week before that trip as well. Weston was here for a couple days while his folks were busy getting finishing touches added to a couple homes that Rainy is decorating for the annual "Parade of Homes" event starting today. Everything always has to wait until the last minute and in one of them the carpeting was just being put down hours before they moved the furniture in for the staging.

Here is a cute picture of Weston watching "Toy Story" with Bob while he visited. I saw that movie three times in one day this week. He is like that - loves every detail over and over of one movie for several times and then he is "over that one". Last week it was "Toy Story 2".

He then was learning to take pictures and here is one of the ceiling in the kitchen. I am not sure just how he did it, but it is interesting to be sure. He loves to take pictures with my digital camera. I am not sure it is his gift.

And just in case you thought I was not going to ever quilt again - here is a photo of one I am going to work on tomorrow. It is from a client and I am going to have Hoke do a pantograph in the center and we will work together on the borders. Of course this should have been done last weekend, but that is life!

Things just might be back on track . . . whatever that is!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Time is flying . . .

And - fall is in the air. I love this coming season.

My "blogging" is taking a backseat to life right now for sure. I am off to Missoula again this morning for a couple days.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nothing creative . . .

is coming from me in my quilting or fiber world. But I am learning a lot. One thing is "life is what happens to you on your way to do what you planned". I thought I had a weekend to be in my studio, but it didn't work out that way.

I am back in Missoula to help Mom decide on her next living place. My Dad will not be leaving the nursing home for a while and Mom needs to sell the house as it is too big with too much care and worry for her alone. She is exhausted. We did the final work on listing it today. It is a very hard time for them both.

Dad fell the first time about 5 years ago and had very extensive injuries to his ribs and lungs. She has been the main caregiver since through another more serious fall with brain injuries, brain surgery and lengthy recovery - mostly at home until the end of May of this year. He will be 90 in a couple months. It has been a long tough road for them both.

It is all part of the fabric of a family.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Time flies . . .

My studio has some new light thanks to a visit from our favorite electrician this morning. I am going on a very private quilting retreat starting tonight - just me - until Sunday evening. I am not totally sure what I am going to work on, but I am not coming out except for bed and a quick trip to town tomorrow to take a few quilts in for our "first annual indoor/outdoor quilt show". The show is next weekend and I borrowed three antique quilts from Mom when I was there this week to hang inside and plus I have a couple that can hang outside. I had two good days in Missoula on Tuesday and Wednesday with family and will go back again this coming week for a couple more days.

Yesterday, Weston came to visit. He went to Colorado a couple weeks ago as a 2 year old toddler to visit his grandparents there and came back in just 2 weeks as a 3 year old little boy. What is that all about? His birthday is in a couple weeks, but it seems he just grew up overnight.

And here is also a picture of Meagan taken in Oregon a couple days ago. She is 4 and a half now and will start preschool in a week or so - full days. I don't know where the time has gone since they were just infants. But every year, it just gets better and better. They are so much fun! How did I get so blessed?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Home again . . .

We are home and it is all good!

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." Robert Frost

Billings was fun - did a little shopping, lots of looking around and had a great salad lunch at a place where you go through a line and they build it as you select things. I woke up yesterday morning with a quilt in my mind - in color. It was a total shock as I have heard others say they do that, but have never done it. So I bought the fabric that I saw in the quilt and it was a good way to really enjoy the three quilt shop stops. I decided that quilt shops need a design area that has natural lighting to lay out fabrics and get a good color check as I was "a woman on a mission" for specific colors from my mind and they had to be just the right ones. I have never been sure I even dreamed in color so now I know that as well.

I also went to one of the coffee suppliers (Mountain Mudd) and bought a tub of sugar free white chocolate powder for my afternoon coffee. I like coffee black in the morning, but this stuff is great for in the afternoon. It is the best I have found and it is the only place I can find it. Using a tablespoon at a time, this will last me for well over a year, but it is worth every sip.

I am off to Missoula today to enjoy some time with Mom and Dad. More on that later.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back in Montana. . .

After a few days in North Dakota, we are back in Montana this evening - in Billings. We drove a little longer tonight so we could spend the whole day tomorrow in the "big city". There are a couple quilt shops I want to visit tomorrow and Bob wants to visit the Billings Builders Exchange - a similar business to his.

We had a great time in Kulm, North Dakota. Kulm may have 300 people if they call in the neighbors. It is beautiful farm country. I was not expecting it to be so green everywhere this time of year. It was a reunion for cousins and there were lots of them there and they came from Ohio, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Florida, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Minnesota. It was fun to meet everyone and hear all of the stories about what a stinker my Bob was when he was a little guy. That is hard to believe!

We went out to the farm where Bob's grandparents homesteaded (they came over from Sweden). He remembered lots of good times from his childhood. The farm is no longer in the family and the original house burned many years ago, but these buildings were there when Bob would visit as a child.

Here is a cute picture of Bob with some of his cousins while visiting the farm. As you can see he is doing very well with his new hip - it has been a month since the surgery. You can also see his two new knees from the bilateral knee replacement from a little over a year ago.

This is the wedding dress of Bob's grandmother, Tilda Malm Ogren. She was 19 when she got married in 1899 and her husband, John Ogren, was 33. She then went on to have 15 children with 12 of them living to adulthood. Three children died either at child birth or shortly after with one of those being a twin. She was pregnant 14 times in 17 years with her last child born when she was 36. They told the story that had been passed down through the years about how wonderful her husband (their grandfather) was to her. He would bring her coffee in bed every morning. Hmmm - I think I would have given up coffee. The wedding dress was handmade by her mother with every detail beautifully done and it was very tiny.

We will get home tomorrow evening and I will share some pictures from shopping!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Family . . .

We are off to North Dakota for a few days. My Bob's family is having a reunion in Kulm - a little town south of Jamestown. His dad grew up there on a farm as the oldest of 12 children and Bob has memories of spending time each summer there. This is a reunion of the "cousins". Their grandparents came from Sweden and started out life there in the late 1890's. It is a road trip of about 700 miles - thanks goodness for XM radio and lots to talk about. Flying out of Montana to North Dakota would be crazy - you would have to fly south to Denver and then back north - or east to Minneapolis right over North Dakota and then back west to North Dakota. In either case you would then rent a car and drive again for a couple hours. So it is easier to just load up the car and head out.

I was in Missoula on Wednesday and I am going to go back each week to spend time with Mom and Dad. It is a difficult time for all of us and we need to have lots of family hugs especially now. Dad will need to stay in the nursing home a while longer and Mom wants to sell her house and get into something smaller and more manageable. My brother, sister and I will gather there each week for a day or two to help. All part of the life path.

"One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest." Maya Angelou

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tuning in . . .

It has been a month since "Hoke", my IQ arrived. Hoke drives my Miss Daisy, my A1. With Bob's surgery and a few other bumps in the road of life, I haven't had as much time as I had hoped to really get going, but I have played some each day. Here is a bit of progress.

First and foremost, I love it! It is easy to use and designed to be very intuitive. The onscreen help files answer each question and there are wonderful videos done by Helen Baczynski and Linda Lawson at So, the learning is fun!

I bought the digital pantograph "Waterworld" from Willow Leaf Studio and first played with it in different sizes. Here is a picture of my practice with it very large and very small. I can see where buying the digital patterns could become very addictive as it is so easy. There are also lots of free patterns already on the IQ.

Here is a picture of the QOV quilt that Hoke and I finished quilting yesterday. I have to do the binding and I am going to embroider the label on Madison - that is the name I have given my new Pfaff. (It is a strong, sturdy machine with unlimited potential so that name seems to fit.) I have taken to naming everything - a sure sign of senility.

And - some things I have learned . . .
1. Don't make a quilt that you are not "in love with" some part of - every moment spent working on it is too long.
2. Sometimes the answers are right in front of your nose - like "restart" means just what it says and everything you need is programmed in for a perfect "restart" no matter what.
3. When you play around with design sizes, be careful of the size you select.
4. Close your windows when there is a storm coming - backings ready to be loaded can get wet if folded on the table nearby and sometimes that is not pretty.
5. Just keep "plugging away" no matter how many interruptions or how many tears.

July was a special month with lots of learning. Bob is almost back to normal from the hip replacement surgery. My Dad is doing okay in the rehab facility and working to get stonger. My brother is recovering well from his knee replacement. My son and his wife in Portland have decided to separate and we will survive the pain of that. The refrigerator is still running although she has had a couple little fits - I won't share with you the name I bestowed upon her.

"Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into." Wayne Dyer