Monday, December 21, 2009

Okay . . .

I just had to share this picture of these two gorgeous grandchildren. Here is Weston - 4 and Walker almost 7 months. Christmas blessings around!"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."
-- Dr. Seuss

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rethinking things . . .

First - I want to thank everyone who has sent me notes here and privately after Dad died. It really means a lot.

I have been rethinking things and I feel very free - very confident - very sure of my path - quite unusual for me on all fronts. I am going to put this blog on the back burner for a while. I may return after Christmas with the New Year - or maybe not.

After a while, it seems kind of like drivel to me - I mean of course I have gorgeous grandchildren and I even make some nice stuff and buy some pretty things. I have a great Scotty dog and we take fun trips with friends. But if I am going to continue to blog, for me, it will have to be about something more - and I am not sure what that might be that would be worthy of my writing the words and of your time to read them. If I were to start a shop, then I would want to blog again. If I were to teach again, then I would want to blog again. If I were to create patterns or write books, then I would want to blog. If I could find the wisdom to solve the world problems, then I would blog again. So far, I have done none of those things. But, I thank you for stopping by as you have.

And - I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season - whatever season you celebrate. It is my plan to have a Merry Christmas with all that comes with that joy. And to everyone, blessings on you with a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

continuing . . .

Some people come into our lives
and leave footprints on our hearts
and we are never ever the same.
-- Flavia Weedn

Dad's funeral was Saturday in Missoula. Lots of family and friends gathered to share good memories and some tears. We got home Sunday and yesterday I was a vegetable. Today was only a bit better -

Weston and Walker were out here today. They are cute guys and make my heart sing. Weston is getting so grown up. I guess I don't realize it until they are here together.

Then I went into the mall and did my walking and some shopping. Macy's had a good sale on Fiestaware and I have always wanted red dishes - now I have them - a set of eight and a pitcher. I will add more later - or not. Red makes my heart happy and I will eat on them every day and remember Dad. He would have loved these red dishes so I have them in his honor.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Dad . . .

Dad passed on December 1 - at about 5 pm. He would have been 91 the day after Christmas.

He was born at home on a family Montana homestead in 1918 during the horrible flu epedemic. He was one of 8 children and his mother died when he was 16. He was then not able to finish high school, but went to work to help with the 2 younger children so they could finish. Education was important to him. He loved my mother with all of his heart - his face would light up when she entered the room. That never changed.

He taught me to draw as a child. We drew many pictures of horses together. He taught me geometry when it didn't make sense. He would give it meaning from his memory of the "postulates and theorems". He taught me the Gettysburg Address from his memory when we rode to town to take wheat to sell at the elevator. He taught me to love family and work hard. He always said, "never make decisions of the heart based on finances".

I love him and I will miss seeing him, but I know he will always be with me.

I love you, Dad.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not many words . . .

We were in Missoula today - it is Dad's last days. We did not take things with us so we could stay over. I will go back tomorrow morning early.

I will write again after.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving.

Have a wonderful day with family and friends.
Enjoy your blessings!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

New week -

First, there is nothing different with Dad in Missoula. He is sleeping more and more. And he asks for water or his favorite apple juice or hot chocolate. I wanted to go over today, but I woke with the room spinning and have thrown up everything I put down today. It is not a good day to try to the 3 hour drive to Missoula - and certainly not a good thing to take into a nursing home.

Our Helena friends came for the weekend. Laurena and I have known each other since we were freshman in college here at Montana State University. Bob and her husband, Ken, went to the football game and watched the cross-state rival (University of Montana) beat our own MSU. It was expected as they have a great team and will probably take the national championship at their level.

Laurena and I stayed home and sewed these crazy bibs for adults. You can use them for ribs and spaghetti or you can use them to eat in front of the TV. A good friend had given two to Bob and I a couple years ago and they got stuck away in a drawer and not used. We were laughing about how difficult it is to keep our clothes from spills when we eat in front of the TV. So - we made up 4 each after a quick trip to Joann fabrics.

It was a good weekend, but I knew by noon yesterday that I was not up to par. I hope this passes quickly. We are planning to have Thanksgiving here and with Stan, Rainy and the little boys and then all head to Missoula on Friday. My sister is in Missoula this week from Phoenix.

Friday, November 20, 2009

And the week continues . . .

There is no change with Dad in Missoula - he has good days where is is aware, eats something and talks and days where he sleeps all day. I will go back over on Sunday or Monday unless sooner if things change.

Weston came to visit yesterday afternoon (Thursday). He hadn't been out here alone for three weeks - since before his Colorado trip, our Billings doctor trip, and the Missoula Dad trip. He wanted to make gingerbread men. I have never done that so I had some new gingerbread cookie cutters and we gave it our "first try". He helped me roll the dough after it cooled and he cut some of the critters out. And, we had fun just frosting them - no decorating. It was our "first try". He loved them!

When we were in the store before we started our baking, he saw a toy guitar and he really wanted it. I said, "I think you have one at home, don't you?" He agreed he did. But, you know how it is, I bought it for him anyway because he assured me "I need one for Grandma's House". So after the cookies and supper, it was time to go home. He wanted to take the new guitar home. I said again, "I think you have one at home, don't you?". This time he looked at me very seriously, "No, Grandma, it is a violin". He is 4! There seems to be no better time. Of course I thought that when he was 1 - and then 2 - and then 3 - and now it continues. We watched our first run of "The Polar Express" - we would pause it as we did more rolling and cutting.

I also had my hair colored and trimmed yesterday - the first time since my "boy cut" in August. I had wanted to let it go natural - again! But the gray is not pretty - and the natural part is too dark. So - it is bright with highlights again - lots of them! I like it for this time of year and my soul likes the extra light as well.

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death. -- Robert Fulghum

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nothing much has changed . . .

Yesterday and today - no change in Missoula with Dad. I am wanting to go back over for a couple days on Sunday, but I will go sooner if things change.

Tonight I had a great dinner with an old technology/professional development friend from Dallas who is in the state to meet with several school superintendents. It was fun to remember the "good old days" - and laugh about the fun we had doing workshops together for schools. We are so much alike - the good and the bad. It was a fun night on her expense account. . . ouch!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another day on the road . . .

Bob and I went to Missoula today. Mom called last evening and said that Dad was much worse and not expected to live so we hit the road early. It is 210 miles each way to Missoula from here. When we got there, we found that he was about the same as he has been, but the doctors finally decided that they should discontinue the cancer treatment for prostate cancer (he is almost 91) And they placed him in a hospice type program that the nursing home there uses rather than Hospice. That was very upsetting to Mom (she is almost 90) and she saw that as the end.

I suspect Dad will probably die within the next 6 months, but I don't believe it will be today. The nursing home and his doctor keep him pretty drugged up so they can "manage" his behavior. He doesn't like being there - who would? But, he will not leave Mom in Missoula and they will not move here - we tried that 4 years ago. They stayed for 6 months - hated every hour and let me know about it daily and then moved back on their own. One thing for sure - they are tough and independent. God bless them both.

I will go over for a couple days next week and each week thereafter. It might help Mom - she gets a bit confused from being so weary and she still insists on driving so I can help with that. Although, she really doesn't want anyone intervening in her life. She could have selected a senior apartment within walking distance of Dad, but it wasn't "fancy" enough. Did I say they are tough and independent? So she has to drive through the worst traffic in Missoula for several miles to get from her apartment to his nursing home. She could ask for transportation from where she lives or from her sister (much younger) or call a taxi (they can afford that), but she prefers to drive. She goes about every other day. Did I say they were tough and independent?

I loved seeing them both and enjoying Dad's sense of humor even though his speech is slurred from the drugs. I will probably be just like them. I just hope to live so long. Tough, independent, stubborn, long-living, land-loving Montanans - not bad at all.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Home again . . .

It is good to get home so I will share some pictures today. There were some pleasant surprises. Our good neighbors had plowed us out. As we drove west from Billings, I kept thinking, "no way, can there be 2 feet of snow at home." There was just a dusting in Billings and very little along the way although the roads showed the remains of many drivers in the ditch and some still there including a turned over semi-truck. But, once we came to Bozeman, the 2 feet of snow was a reality. And this is what it looked like this morning after a day to settle and melt some as the sun came out yesterday. This is the walk from the driveway to our back door into the kitchen.

I was also greeted by the new blooms of my Christmas cactus. It begins blooming every year at this time and it continues until about the first of April. The pot is one I made years ago and it is "hand built" from slab. I just like it beside the plant. The plant sits on an old piano stool. The plant came from clippings from my aunt who got them from my grandmother who passed away over 70 years ago. It is a family plant.

Of course - I did have to stop at Fiberworks in Billings before we left town. It is the most amazing quilt and fabric store I have ever been in. It is like walking into a visual symphony of beautiful quilt samples and fabric. It is owned by Laura Heine and she is a wonderful fabric artist and does amazing longarm quilting. Her focus is more on texture than pattern and the piecing or applique is always enhanced perfectly. You know how sometimes it is fun to see different quilt tops quilted differently? With her work, I can not imagine the quilting being anything other than what it is. I bought this pattern. I am not sure I will make it as I just love the pattern. The quilt itself is amazing, but I am not sure I want to replicate it - rather just enjoy looking at the picture. . . drooling on the picture may be more accurate.

Bob is off to the football game - the MSU Bobcats are playing Sacramento State from California. It is cold out - maybe 31 degrees for the high today - so one of his good friends is using my ticket. They will both enjoy that and I can stay home to quilt. It works for me! I am so thankful Bob is not recovering from surgery - and we will work on the recovering part.

I also came home to some overripe bananas and decided to make whole wheat banana muffins. I need to get with the baking and cooking and try some low fat recipes. This one has little oil and I replaced part of it with applesauce. It is my part in helping him get to a better place with the health issues - and it sure won't hurt me either.

So, the coffee if fresh and the muffins are hot - I wish you were here to share a visit, a cuppa and a bite or two. It is good to be home . . .

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lots of snow and no surgery now. . .

We are still in Billings. Bob had another test this morning and the final decision by the team of doctors is to try some drugs and check it again in 3 months. So we are enjoying the idea no surgery now and we will do this again in early February.

And - we talked with our neighbors at home and we have over 24 inches of snow and the power was out for 6 or 7 hours. So, we decided to wait and go home tomorrow.

We had a nice supper out tonight with some long time friends. It has been a good day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some good news . . .

We got here to Billings and Bob had the ultra sound done here again at the cardiovascular clinic here. They did not believe the blockage was as bad as we had been told in Bozeman. They said they would place it at between 50 and 69% on each side and they follow the guideline that unless it is over 70% and there are symptoms of mini-stroke that the surgery has more possibility of stroke than that blockage level. He does have some symptoms, however, so they are going to do a CT scan with dye in the morning to verify the readings here as there has been discrepency in the various tests. But, it sounds better to us. If they see a need for surgery, it would not be considered an emergency and we can schedule it for next week or the week after. There could be a kink or severe turn in the arteries that are reading as heavy blockage and that will show up tomorrow.

But for now, we are feeling better. We have just returned to the hotel after a wonderful dinner out at a favorite restaurant. Our hotel is right in the parking lot of this large medical complex and it is a wonderful hotel. We go out the front door of the hotel and walk into the entry to the cardiovascular clinic.

Veteran's Day . . .

I remember a story of my Uncle Paul when he was in Korea - one that has guided my life for all these past decades. He wrote a letter home to Mom and she was reading it in the car to Dad as we drove home to the farm from town. I was in the back seat and I can see the back of that seat, their heads and hear her reading just as if it happened a moment ago. He wrote how they were on the front lines in a trench and shells were being lofted from friendly fire behind them and the enemy in front of them. His buddy next to him was hit. It was dark and cold and they were without any protection. He remembered Psalms 23 from memory and repeated it over and over until morning came. That visual and these words have guided my life and held me strong for all of my life . . .

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I watched the memorial service yesterday for the fallen soldiers from Fort Hood. I watched every minute and some parts many times. I could not stop the tears. These words in particular, from President Obama, stay with me today:

"Tomorrow is Veterans Day. It is a chance to pause, and to pay tribute – for students to learn of the struggles that preceded them; for families to honor the service of parents and grandparents; for citizens to reflect upon the sacrifices that have been made in pursuit of a more perfect union.

For history is filled with heroes. You may remember the stories of a grandfather who marched across Europe; an uncle who fought in Vietnam; a sister who served in the Gulf. But as we honor the many generations who have served, I think all of us – every single American – must acknowledge that this generation has more than proved itself the equal of those who have come before.

We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes."

Thank you!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sometimes . . .

For the past few months, I have been trying to stay out of the spider web. I had an epiphany one night in a hotel in Missoula in early August. I realized that I get in trouble when I think I can "right the world". This usually manifests itself in my thinking that if I just talk with certain folks, they will come to "understand", "see the light", and then all will be well - or at least "well" as I see it.

In the middle of the night, awake and trying to figure out a better way, I realized that it is like a spider's web for me. I need to not go there. Stay out of the web . Let people think their thoughts and say their words, but don't enter that web. I can only "do" me.

This morning, and I know it is because I am very tense about Bob's coming surgery, I found a couple things that are potential webs to me. Why would someone post on a public quilting discussion board about another person's business practices - of course no names, but lots of hints - but why do that? If you have an issue with someone's business practices, take it up directly with that person and resolve it there. Can one event deemed "unprofessional" be resolved by another unprofessional act? Now I am reminding myself to stay out of that web.

And, why is it okay, even meritorious, to openly criticize a huge section of our world who follow a different religion? I can understand that as the world works to become one in peace, we have a lot of work to do. There are changes that are difficult for everyone, lives lost that shouldn't be, wounds that never heal - but it is the journey we are on and one for which we have to find our way as humans. As soon as we post our side being best, in song or deed or event or token, we ostracize the other. That is one huge web that has no place on a quilting discussion board. So, why go there?

Maybe I should stay away from quilting discussion boards. That might be the real web. Hmmm, I will have to think about that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tote is finished. . .

And I am very happy with it. I made one first and now have two others to make for gifts from the same fabric. This one is for me! It is the "Open City Tote" from Quilts Illustrated and is designed by Penny Sturges. I first saw it made up on LAChat by a member there (if you are a member you can see it at that link) and that is where I got my first inspiration. I used home dec fabric from Joann's that was on sale for the outside and quilt fabric for the inside. I love the shape and all of the little pockets inside. I like it even better than I thought I would and that is always a great surprise.

Taking a nap . . .

This big guy was taking a nap right outside the door of our bedroom. I took this picture through the door so it is not very crisp. Then I walked to the back patio door to take another picture from further away. I quietly opened the door, he woke up, but sat still while I took his picture. He did not even seem wary. His entire harem of 9 or so other deer (females and older babies) are in the backyard sleeping and eating with him. He is just watching and snoozing as they go about their business.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What we know . . .

We are set to go to Billings next week for consultation and surgery. We have been advised to plan to stay for several days and I know everything will be okay. Bob will have carotid artery surgery to remove blockage. It is amazing that he has over 70% blockage on one side and almost 70% blockage on the other side. He is not overweight, does not have high cholesterol, never smoked, has always been atheletic and exercised all his life. The other arteries in his body are clear. His doctor was shocked as well. I think the "not knowing what the solution would be" is worse than the coming events. We feel confident that we are now on the right path and recovery will be good. They will do the worse side and then make a decision on the other one for later.

I also had a couple more facial moles removed today. One of them was very difficult and was quite a little surgery and very painful. (I feel silly even saying that considering what Bob is going to go through - but it did hurt a bunch) I figured I might as well go ahead as with this as planned because it does not matter to me with everything else going on whether or not I have stitches and bandages on my face. I really like this dermatologist. She is a pretty straight forward doctor and I like that. But she did tell me that she knew the last one was going to be a lot more painful and more of a procedure so she saved it until last. She said she thought I would probably not have the others removed if she had done it first. She was right.

I did get the stitches out from the removals on Monday and the doctor was amazed that they had healed so well. I didn't tell her I used my secret "potion" once I could. I use emu oil - great stuff. It helps things heal quickly, minimizes wrinkles, and helps arthritis when rubbed into sore areas.

So - after a nervous day of waiting for Bob's surgery schedule, eating all of the ice cream in the freezer (well, almost anyway) and getting through my "recovery" - tomorrow will be a better day to get some stuff done here so we are ready for next week and for a couple weeks of recovery for Bob after that.

Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts - we appreciate both so much!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A bit more . . .

Only a bit of sewing today - it was a busy day. We started out at the hospital and ended up the day at the hospital. Bob will need surgery as soon as it can be scheduled. They can't do it here, so the doc is sending us to a specialist in Billings (about 150 miles east of here) if they can do it in the next few days or else we will travel further. It has to be done soon.

I delivered a couple quilts today and begged off taking any more. I am officially retired again from doing quilts for customers - this time for good I hope! I have only a two here from good friends to finish and one QOV which I enjoy doing. I love quilting and have some other ways to make my Miss Daisy and Hoke worth their keep.

I am saying prayers and sending love to the families of all of the soldiers at Fort Hood. That was such a terrible tragedy today. About 15 years ago, I did quite of bit of education consulting in Killeen, TX near Fort Hood and am familiar with that area. It just breaks my heart to know there is so much pain tonight in so many homes. God bless them all and God Bless America!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not much news . . .

I worked on the purses this morning and we spent most of the afternoon at the doctor's office with Bob. We won't know anything for sure until we go back tomorrow for a couple more scans.

I started the purse and realized I had enough fabric for three so I cut out three and got started. I had to quit in the middle to go to town, but here are the pictures of where I stopped. I loaded them on Miss Daisy with some fleece and have done some quilting. I will get two quilted and have to get some more fleece for the third one - who knew I would end up making three purses. I am going to love this purse and I will use the other two for Christmas gifts.

Here is a cute picture of my older son Stan when he went fishing a couple days ago. This is the brown he caught on the Madison - one of our many "blue ribbon trout streams" in southwest Montana. He is a "catch and release" guy and he caught this fly fishing. Look at that smile - you would think he was eight again. We stopped at his office after the doc visit to hear the whole story as Rainy and the boys are in Colorado so he really needed to tell and retell it several times.

More tomorrow. . .

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Change of plans. . .

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage." ~ Lao Tzu

Today everything was so uneasy - you know the kind of feeling. Things are just "not quite right", but you are not sure what it is. Finally it hit me - I need to change my travel plans and go with Bob to his doctor's appointment tomorrow. He has some rather serious health concerns that have come to light and he kept saying he would be fine, but once I decided I would not be "fine" unless I went with him, things evened out and the jitters left. I know if it were me going under the same circumstances, I would want him with me. And, so it shall be.

I am going to have a purse sewing private retreat tomorrow morning and plan to make the purse shown here. It is what I was going to work on with my friend at our sewing day. I posted this pic a couple days ago and tonight I stopped and got some iron-on fleece to use for batting as suggested by the pattern. I will post progress pics as I work tomorrow. I want to get an early start as the doctor's appointment isn't until 3.

Also I have two quilts ready for delivery and will get another one loaded. This one is a QOV from a local quilter so I am going to "let Hoke do it".

Monday, November 2, 2009

Interesting Day . . .

I had the courage today to go to a dematologist and have two facial moles removed. I have not liked them for years, but just didn't feel like I wanted to go have them removed as I knew it would take a couple stitches on each. So I went for a consult and the doctor said she could do two of them right then and there - and it wasn't bad at all. I will go back on Friday and have two more removed and then next Monday have stitches out from these todays. I am feeling pretty good about it and so glad I am getting them done. My mother had them in the same place and she used stuff you buy to remove corns years ago to remove hers - I didn't have that kind of need to have them gone.

Just a little more work on the Breakfast Club quilt this evening. I try to work on it for at least 30 minutes each day and it is getting done. It is a bit over half done as I finished a couple more blocks tonight that are not in this picture. It will be a nice little lap quilt for Mom for Christmas - maybe I will put flannel on the back.

The weather here is going to be gorgeous all week. I am planning to head to Helena on Wednesday for a sew day and then on to Missoula Thursday for a friend and parent visit if all goes well here. Tomorrow is another interview for the possible education consulting that I might consider again. It will be interesting.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November . . .

This is one of my favorite months and I love Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays. I love Christmas as well, but Thanksgiving is such a peaceful time of giving thanks with family and friends. It is a holiday of good character without so much of the commercialism that we have now with Christmas.

We went to the football game yesterday and the MSU Bobcats won! That is a good thing as about a third of the team as H1N1. I read that if you were born before 1950 (also heard befoe 1954) you are less likely to get this virus. Another reason to be thankful, huh?

Then we went to Stan and Rainy's house to have fun "trick or treating" with the kids. Weston enjoyed giving out the candy more than he liked going around the neighborhood. It was a really, really good day.

"I will waste not even a precious second today in anger or hate or jealousy or selfishness. I know that the seeds I sow I will harvest, because every action, good or bad, is always followed by an equal reaction. I will plant only good seeds this day." -- Og Mandino, Author

Friday, October 30, 2009

Project ideas and kid pics . . .

Here are some pics I didn't get put in the previous post for today so I will just put them here. This is the next installment of the quilt from the "Breakfast Club". I am going to love this one - may have to keep it myself. It is the Astor Manor jelly roll from Moda.

And here is my project for next Wednesday's sewing day with my friend in Helena. We are going to meet once a month to make bags and this is going to be my first one. I saw this pattern on one of the discussions all done up and loved it. Yesterday I was in Joann's and they had their home dec fabric on sale so I got these two pieces. I will dig the lining fabric out of my stash - these are my colors so I have lots that will work. I will go early (it is about 100 miles) and then stay over night and go on from there to Missoula (another 100+ miles) for a visit with Mom and Dad.

Rainy brought the boys out this morning so we could we could do a little repair on Weston's Halloween costume. He is going to be "Mr. Incredible" which also is one of my favorite movies. He has had the costume for a couple weeks and worn it a little and the mask came apart - like it was made to last 30 seconds. So it needed some special "Grandma attention". I love that part. Walker is just smiling all the time and he is such a cute little button. I will ad more pics of them after the trick or treating tomorrow night when they have their costumes on. We have decided both boys look like a mixture of their Mom and Dad. We are brilliant, huh?

October 30th

So, I put on my costume in the avatar to wish you a Happy Halloween tomorrow. That is as close as I get to putting on a costume. I suspect trick or treating will be less this year with all of the flu sickness going around.

So - where did October go? It was just a couple hours ago that we were starting fall and the trees were just starting to turn a bit and then the snow fell, the winds howled, it dropped below zero and winter was here - and that was 3 weeks ago. I keep thinking we will have that beautiful fall, but guess not now. November can be nice, but autumn, as I love it, will have to wait for another year.

Another one of my Dad's sayings is sticking in my brain today . . . "Don't make decisions of the heart based on finance."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All days are good days . . .

I joined a "Breakfast Club" for quilters at a local quilt shop and I missed part of it last Saturday. It is always the 4th Saturday of each month. I got there late so I started on my project last night. I am using a Moda jelly roll. Each month we have a new project and they will get progressively more difficult through the year. It is so much fun and so relaxing as they are easy projects. This one will be a small lap quilt for Mom for Christmas. I think it will go with her new living room chairs she ordered for her senior apartment. She is really beginning to like living there.

I also worked today on a quilt that has had be stumped. I used Hoke for the plain blocks using one of the "Megan's blocks" from One Song. But, the customer wants quilted images of their Great Danes in the center blocks - along with a frog and an airplane. They had the simple drawings so I was kind of stumped as to how to get them to the quilt top without taking the time to make a stencil or digitizing them. So, I just cut out the silhouette and then drew the center lines in with the wonderful Marvy pen. I think it is going to work and I will be so glad to get this one done. It was so quick. Isn't it funny how the smallest things seem to be the stumbling blocks? You might have to click on the picture to enlarge it to see the quilted dog.

I was nervous today about the interview for the education consulting work possibility. It was a phone interview and I have another one set up for next week so I guess that is a good sign. We are wanting to do some traveling in "Gus the Bus" so I have wondered how this could work. But, it seems it is possible to do the work from anywhere. If I am to be onsite, I can fly in from anywhere for the two day onsite and about half of the work of coaching teachers in schools is online. It is not fulltime and you can do a couple gigs a month or more as you want. You know, it just might work. It would be a great way to pay for our diesel fuel. . . and there could be a lot of that. We took Gus out this afternoon to add #2 diesel to the tank to keep it from jelling in the cold. It is a 100 gallon tank - guess we really better hope for that work, huh?

"We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails. - Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some thinking . . .

I have been thinking about how to encourage and support changing how I do things. In the shower this morning, I remembered one of Dad's favorite sayings. "There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then and now some of those bridges are out." I always thought it only meant that he couldn't always remember events from the past.

But now, I am thinking it probably fits the method of travel as well. If something has always worked, we are hesitant to change the process or method we are accustom to using. But what if something external causes a change, do we just say, "I can't get there from here" - or do we look at other ways to accomplish the journey.

Does Dad's quote fit for other things? What do you think?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Reliving the fun of the past few days . . .

I had a very quiet day today working on some odds and ends of projects and organizing - and reliving the fun and good times of the past few days. This first picture shows the heavy snow we had a couple weeks ago. Everything was still green and blooming and then it hit. Of course the flowers are now long gone as are the green leaves. And tonight the wind is howling and it is supposed to storm again.

But in that two weeks we have had many visits from Weston. Here he is leaving after a fun visit. He had his H1N1 vaccine and he had a little down time so his eyes are a bit weary here and it reflects how he felt for sure. This was the day before we left to pick up the motorhome.

And then the good memories of our time shared with our good friends. We stopped on the top of Lookout Pass (between Montana and Idaho on I-90) to change drivers in the LilyB and there was something very fun and funny. It was such a great time traveling with them and laughing at things that were probably not even funny - but we thought everything was right with the world. Here is a nice picture of the mountains at the top of Lookout that same day - low clouds and a damp road, but no ice or snow. I would not want to be going over that pass tonight or tomorrow as they are predicting a foot of snow.

And the last picture is of a wonderful pillow pattern with felted wool that I had to buy at the quilt shop in Coeur d'Alene. It is Bear Paw Quilting and is well worth your stopping time when you are in that area for sure.

Lots of great memories. I also had a long phone call from a friend in California this afternoon. We did a lot of consulting in schools together a few years ago and we had not talked for a couple years. She is now working for a company that provides professional development to schools all over the US. She wanted to know if I would be interested in doing some contract work once again. I am not sure so I am thinking about it.

And - in closing for the day . . .
"Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these"
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What a night!

Sometimes you just finish a wonderful evening saying, "It just doesn't get any better than this." That is the kind of day we had. We had plans for friends to come and help us officially welcome "Gus the Bus" into the fleet. We had drinks and hors d'oeuvres in Gus and then we came in to the house for supper which was wonderful salad, cheesey garlic bread, great taco soup and a wonderful french silk pie. The guys have all known each other for over 40 years so it was a great evening of good memories. One couple is leaving on Wednesday for their annual trip south for the next few months and the rest of us are just getting into that phase of our lives.

We laughed about memories of college, of children, of grandchildren and even a tear escaped a time or two as we remembered past choices good and bad. It was the best of times.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Finally . . .

It has been a long month since we bought the motorhome. It has been quite a learning experience, but we are finally here to pick it up today. Our good friends from Helena came with us yesterday and we are so enjoying the trip and the company.

We have a 3 to 4 hour class this morning and then we are going back to Missoula for the night before heading home tomorrow. The picture is from the day we bought it a month ago as I didn't bring my cable to download pics to my computer - what is up with that?

We named it "Gus". When we got to Helena to pick up our friends, they had a wonderful "goodie basket" ready for us with some things we would need. They are experienced RVers. And, Ken had written a poem to welcome us to the RV world. The last line was "so, get on the bus, Gus". That is one of my favorite songs so we just had to name the coach "Gus". We are now thinking of acronyms for that - could be "grandparents under stress" - but we will keep having fun with it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Too good not to repeat here . . .

"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky." Rabindranath Tagore (Indian Poet, Philosopher)

Wednesday morning . . .

I wanted to share some pictures from an adventure I took last night. A few months ago, Judy Laquidara shared a tutorial on how she sews the binding down on both sides with the sewing machine. There is a link to it in the right hand column of her blog under "General Info". I loved it then and last night I tried it on a practice piece as I have a bunch of placemats to bind. I don't mind doing binding by hand, but I am working a few minutes here and there on a customer quilt binding so one hand binding at a time is enough for me.

The first picture is just of the pile of placemats and the second one is of the practice piece - I quilted one lone block that was leftover. You can see it from the front and the last picture is a close up of the back. I am so impressed. If you haven't tried her guidelines for doing it this way, you really should. It is perfect!

I woke this morning at almost 9 - not sure why as I never and I mean NEVER sleep that late. I was deep in a dream about the motorhome when the phone rang. It should be done this week and the weather is looking good so we are hoping to go get it on Sunday and Monday. In the dream, it ended up at a car dealer's and everyone was going through it. You had to climb up a ladder to get in and once in, it was a disaster. There was blue stuff running down the walls in the bathroom and the bed was on a pedastal that you had to climb up stairs to get on. It is a good thing the phone rang, huh? I hope it is not prophetic of what is to come. We are so looking forward to getting it, but had no idea it would take this long and we have had to solve a few problems along the way already. I think that will be the norm from what we hear with a motorhome.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sicky weekend . . .

Feeling better today, but I was down with the achy, runny nose crud all weekend. And - I missed the Homecoming activities for Montana State University here in Bozeman. Not so good! We always enjoy seeing lots of old friends - so it will have to wait for another year.

I did get some work done - between naps, nose blowing, and feeling sorry for myself. I quilted the placemats using Debra Geissler's "Swirls" on Hoke. I like the way they turned out. I also got the binding on the quilt I took off and now need to hand turn it to the back. I will do some of that tonight when I watch "Dancing with the Stars" - hope it is good.

The centers of the placemats are made by cutting squares on the bias from strips sewn together. I took the scraps left over and just sewed them together randomly as it was mindless work and I didn't have much for a mind that was working. This is what I ended up with. I will quilt it with the last couple placemats later today.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Things to sell . . . things to consider . . .

I am starting to get interested in selling some stuff on eBay. It is time to thin out! I ordered a couple books from Amazon that will arrive by Saturday and I heading off to become an eBay seller. Any readers out there selling stuff this way? Any advice? Most of my personal stuff is sewing and quilting related - patterns, books, fabric, sewing machines and not Miss Daisy or Hoke - yet anyway. We also have tons of clothes, collectibles, art, decorator items, dishes, etc. Bob has lots of tools and sh*& in the garage that he is interested in moving out as well. I would rather do a few things at a time than drag it all out for a garage sale. And we live in the country so traffic at a garage sale is not always so good. So - stay tuned in for my next adventure. LOL!

Our "Spokane and Back" trip was good - the weather there was wonderful. We are having snow and very cold temps here (highs in the 20's and lows near 0). This is supposed to last through the next 3 or 4 days and then we will be back to more normal temps. The problem with this is - no fall colors this year and they are my favorite. The leaves will just be brown and hang on the trees until a good wind hits. Not what you might call "autumn eye candy".

So - I said - "let's move to Spokane". It is half way between Portland and Bozeman where the grands are and they have a bit less winter. It is also closer to Seattle which I love and we have so many good friends there and it is actually a bit closer to Missoula than we are now. But, I really need to get high behind and thin out. We will do the motorhome thing this year - travel a bit into warmer weather through the winter time. But, we will focus on getting things thinned out and then make a moving decision next summer. We feel like kids again and the whole world is our "oyster". Isn't life grand?

Monday, October 5, 2009

More for today . . .

The snow has ended - at least until Wednesday and then more is on the way with unusually cold temps for this time of year by weekend. And - it is Homecoming at our Montana State U here - brrrr - may have to watch that game on TV.

Anyway - I like the way this turned out so I wanted to share. I am also doing the binding. I tried "tucking" a little curved crosshatching in behind the feathers at the corners and I like it okay. Click on it for a closer look - it is all freehand - needed to let Hoke (my IQ) have a vacation and keep my freehand sharp. I am going to let Hoke do the driving on the next one.

We are off to Coeur d'Alene tomorrow and Wednesday - need to do some "motorhome" stuff. We had a repair list and they are having trouble getting the necessary parts. It is nothing major, but we need to go visit it and try to get some alternative options in place - or else decide to just park it in northern Idaho and use it as a condo as we pass through. Hmmm - with all this snow, that may not be too bad an idea for this year. We also want to get some things changed on the suspension that is our choice. The roads are okay once out of the mountains here.

Snow - and it keeps coming . . .

This is what we woke to this morning . . .

The electricity was on and off all night and the snow is supposed to keep falling all day. The leaves are still on the trees and most of them are still green so I guess we will not enjoy any beautiful fall colors here this year. Also, the flowers are covered with the snow - maybe you can see a bright pink one peaking out from under the snow cover in the hanging basket to the right. And - it was 80 degrees just last week. It is a "hunker down" day with warm bread and warm soup. . . and lots of sewing.

Ah - the fun of living in the northern Rockies - but for those of you to the east - it is coming your way.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Busy days

"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." -- Eric Hoffer

Family . . . . Walker came for a "by himself" visit on Wednesday morning for a couple hours. Here are a couple pics of him. He is so cute and so peaceful. He eats. He burps. He sleeps. He smiles. He jabbers. He is 4 months old and he is the sweetest thing. We thought he might be going to be blond and blue eyed like his Dad was, but his eyes are the prettiest tweed color - more like his Mom's. Sometimes they are green and sometimes gray. And always there are specks of blue and gold in them. He is going to have light brown hair I think - not as dark as Weston's.

And his big brother, Weston, was here all day yesterday. It was rainy and snowy so we didn't get to go outside much and we had to put up a tent here in the house for "somethin' to do". He is coming back this afternoon after his school and will stay over night. I will get some new pics of him then to add later.

Fiber . . . . Quilting? Well - I am getting one finally finished. It is a good thing my few, well chosen, customers are understanding. I will get it off the table this morning and then get the binding on so I can sew on it as I watch the last episode tonight on PBS on The National Parks. I have enjoyed the series so much - learned a lot about our parks and made an even stronger commitment to visit more of them. I am so impressed with the dedication from those individuals who gave their lives and great sums of money that we could have these places set aside. Growing up in Montana, we think we have the corner on the market with Glacier and parts of Yellowstone in our state. Heck, we really think all of Yellowstone is in Montana, but I know most of it is in Wyoming.

Fun . . . .Motorhome news? We are waiting for a couple things that had to be ordered to arrive and be installed at the dealer in the Spokane area and then we will make arrangements to go back to get it. Everyone is asking, "where are you going first with it?" Hmmmm - we are thinking of just getting used to driving it around large parking lots in the early morning hours before traffic hits - and then maybe an overnight at our local KOA - three miles away. Or, I told Bob, we could just park it out in the north field for an overnight. LOL. The anticipation is so much fun!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cooler weather coming . . .

It feels like fall is officially heading this way. Our summer was unusually cool through July and then we had a marvelous August and September, but it feels like fall is heading this way quickly - wind and cooler temps.

I went to a "Breakfast Club" at one of our local quilt shops on Saturday and really enjoyed it. I love the classroom - it is the second story of an old barn, but is all redone and is so bright and quilter friendly. You go in the morning and they serve breakfast, demo the project (all strip friendly) and you can either use the strips prepared to align with the sample or go shopping for your own. I went shopping for my own. And then you get to sew as long as you want. I made these placemats - well I finished them here at home last night and have to quilt them after I get done with some customer quilts. Yes, I am doing a few customer quilts again and enjoying it. I am even surprised at that.

I also wanted to share these pics of my "new to me" dishes. Mom had this set for 12 and she wanted me to have them. I have tons of dishes - everyday dishes and 2 sets of good dishes. So, these stayed boxed until last week when I decided I needed to look at them and either pass them on or use them. I think I will pass on some of my other dishes - I really like these. They look like quilting.

We haven't set a definite date yet to head back toward Spokane to pick up our motorhome. It won't be this week for sure. Bob will be working at the business for Stan on Thursday and Friday while he is at meetings for an architecture conference here and I will be enjoying being "Granny Nanny" with Weston while Rainy and Walker are heading out of state for a wedding. It will be a fun couple days.