Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Things that live at my house



Over the years, there have been a lot of interesting things living at my house: llamas, ponies, horses, goats, ducks, chickens, possums, tame rabbits, cats, dogs, and humans.  I find it interesting that there are actually critters who don't belong here but simply choose to live here.  I swear we have cats from way down in the valley who come here to eat.  We have the duck who has been visiting every year and has now decided to stay.  We have the neighbor's turkey who struts in every once and a while with his harem of hens following along behind.  There are deer almost every morning and at dusk.  A blue heron that has made his home in our creek ever since I can remember and who we scare away every time we walk down to the creek because we never remember he's there.  We've had visitors we've enjoyed seeing and some that we haven't including a Fischer, some snakes, fox, and a bear.  Years ago you could hear the bugle of elk from the elk farm on the next road down.  Our neighbors across the creek have horses, Jacob sheep, and a one-eyed emu named Smokey (among other things).

We've a diverse neighborhood and most everybody lives in harmony.  In a community which includes critters such as fox and chickens, harmony is a good thing.






Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sox, the bathroom cat.

This is Sox.  He is our orange tabby cat.  He is, I figure, approximately 104 years old.  Seriously - I can't even remember not having him.  He is a peculiar little cat.  First of all, he's not little - he's rather portly due to his appetite and his sloth-like level of activity.  


About six months ago, Sox decided to move downstairs.  He's spent the last few years living on the second floor with the kids.  Apparently he liked having a warm body to cuddle with that wasn't also attached to a dog.  But for whatever reason, Sox decided he wanted to hangout in the bathroom.  I don't mind having him there - he's safe from the dogs, I can easily see if he's a little low on his Kit & Kaboodle cat food (anything else makes him puke). I do have to admit that it's a bit disconcerting to make a midnight trip to the bathroom and have a large cat jump on my lap when I'm not expecting it.  

He likes to sit on the side of the tub.  He sleeps on the tub rim in between the shower curtain and the liner.  whenever anyone comes in to the bathroom, he jumps down, meows, and stares at his cat dish. It doesn't matter if both water and food are filled to the brim - you have to at least pretend you are filling them up or he won't leave you alone.  Our bathroom isn't that large and sometimes having to dance around the ginormous Sox if I'm in a hurry is a bit dangerous.  

Aside from having to step around Sox' girth from time to time, it isn't really too bad having a bathroom that does double duty as a cathouse. And for Sox, it is extremely convenient: he never has to worry about his cat food or water dipping below the half way mark.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Quilts.


My Alletaire quilt - a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt from 2015 (not done)
I-Spy Halloween quilt (nearly done)

I can remember when I first started quilting, I had no money. None.  So I would look at quilts and try to figure out how to make the pattern.  I actually made quite a few things this way.  When I was divorced, my two oldest kids would visit their dad quite often and he always liked them to look nice.  He would buy them cute outfits but they had to keep them at his house.  I can remember one outfit that he bought our son – it was blue and black, a pair of shorts and a matching shirt.  I just loved it but I didn’t have the money to buy Ryan an outfit like that so I designed and made him one.  It wasn’t nearly as polished as the store bought one but it was just as cute.  I did that for a lot of things that I would see at the store – I was buy the fabric and make something similar at home.  Pajamas were my favorite.  I think all 5 of my kids as well as me, had a pair of cow-spot pajamas.  

Windows lap quilt (half done)   
Quilting has changed so much.  When I first started quilting, I used mainly calicos and solids because that is all there was available. We didn’t have rotary cutters – I wouldn’t have been able to afford one if there were.  We used templates made from cereal boxes which sounds so quaint and depression-era, but really, the cardboard from cereal boxes was and still is the best cardboard for templates.  If one is so inclined to make them.  Traditional quilts were about the norm and there certainly was only a few quilt magazines – definitely not the plethora available today. 
So now I’m back at a point in my life where I don’t have much money and it is nice  that I have those penny-pitching skills that I developed years ago.  While I’m not nearly in dire straits as I was back then, I would like to save as much as possible in any way I can.  We still eat cereal so I have access to template material. But I’ve also a stockpile of rulers and a rotary cutter, so I’m good. If I am ever frustrated about trying to cut a certain design, I always fall back to cereal box template.

It's amazing how sewing has remained a constant in my life. The sound of the machine - whether it is my Bernina or my old treadle - is so calming to me.  Making useful things is also a way that I calm myself. These days I haven't sewn so many clothes mainly because, well, I don't know why.  I just prefer quilts, I guess. My mom's mission in life is to make sure that everyone is warm.  I guess I just take after her.



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Strong.




I’ve known many strong people in my lifetime but I have to say, that one of the strongest people I’ve met has to be my husband’s grandmother. I saw on Facebook the other day that she had had a stroke and was in a rehabilitation facility.  Now this woman has had a heck of year: she was scalded by a mug of hot tea and hospitalized, had a heart attack and was hospitalized, had a severe sinus infection and was hospitalized.  Now this – a stroke. Did I mention that she is 97 years old? That she lived alone until just about 8 months ago?

My daughter and I went to visit her yesterday after work.  We stopped and bought her a potted plant because she’s a gardener and loves all types of flowers.  Tonight I’m going to stop and buy her a Sudoko book and some pens.  Why? When she has had a stroke?  Well, I was trying to decide how best to prepare my daughter for the changes she would likely see in her grammy due to the stroke.  My daughter has never seen the aftermath of a brain injury.  But I decided that we would just go visit and then talk about it later.  I’m not lying when I say I was really nervous to see little grammy.  So we walked into the facility, found her room number, saw that it was near the nurses station – which didn’t bode well.  We walked into her room…….and there she was – eating her dinner. Herself.  Sitting in her chair at her little table eating dinner.  We talked for a good long while and we certainly couldn’t tell she had had a stroke.  She was still as sharp as a tack, didn’t seem to have any trouble with her spoon or fork or grabbing things.  I could see nothing wrong.  She did say that she was doing physical therapy to help her leg get stronger but that she was able to walk with her walker.  I did notice that she was a bit depressed which would be an obvious reaction to having your entire world changed in less than a year. 

So when we got ready to leave, I asked if there was anything she would like – crossword puzzles, word searches, etc.  And she said she likes numbers, she’s always done the Sudokos in the newspapers. So I will stop and pick up a Sudoko book. For a 97 year old woman who has just had a stroke.  They made them stronger back then for sure.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Home.

N
I know I write about the renegade ducks a lot.  I'm just fascinated by them I guess.  Two springs ago, Daisy and Donald Duck waddled into my life - escapees from their pen in the neighbor's yard.  Apparently the grass is greener on this side of the proverbial fence.  The ducks are fun to watch - I love seeing them waddle across the yard.  I love when they follow me when I am feeding the chickens or the cats and I love listening to their quacking conversations.  It was actually kind of a thrill having them around - kind of like being deemed duck-worthy.  Daisy and Donald stayed with us through that spring until one night after picking up my daughters from a sports practice, we saw a fox in the neighbor's yard.  And he had one of the ducks.  The four of us - my youngest son included - chased the fox away and rescued Daisy who was quite obviously stunned.  She went into the chicken coop where, I was sure, she would die.  Imagine my surprise when I came home from work the next day and Daisy was out and about.  Granted, she was missing feathers on her head and neck, but she was seemingly back to her old self.  And what about donald?  Well, he apparently decided the vacation was over and went back to less green pastures.
Daisy returned last spring, hatched ducklings, and took them all back home with her.
Daisy returned this spring, hatched ducklings, and then after the ducklings were nearly full-sized, left and went back home, leaving the ducks here.  But she's back now.  Back leading the pack of five 'babies' who are as large as she.  They make me laugh.  They become very talkative a couple of hours before sunset.  I don't know why but they do.  They walk around together as if they are attached with bungee cords.  If they run and fall, sometimes they have a hard time getting back on their ducky feet.  When they hear me open the back door to feed the cats, all six of the ducks come running.  They are as astute as my dogs.  They love cat food and hang out under the deck to catch any pieces that fall.

Right now they live with Clover and the goats.  I will need to rig something for them in the winter.  But in return, they will keep the goats' and Clover's water from freeing (or so I've read) and for that, I'd do nearly anything for the ducks.  One of the things I hate most in winter is breaking up the ice in the animal water buckets.

So the inhabitants of my little place on earth seem to wax and wane.  It is always interesting to see who has decided to call this place home.  One year it was a friendly rabbit who provided months of entertainment - I would be happy for him to come back on a permanent basis.  But like people, you can't make them stay where they don't want to be.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Just fun.

Last night my two youngest daughters,  daughter B's boyfriend and I went to see my oldest daughter's final roller derby match of the season.  In addition to the girls and boyfriend, my grandson and granddaughter were there as well - obviously.  I can't say enough about how much fun we had!  Roller Derby completely was NOT as I had imagined!  Last night's match (or meet?) was only my second.  I had envisioned skaters whirling around the rink, shoving other skaters out of the way, punching, kicking - the winner being the team still standing!  I wasn't sure how I was going being able to deal with seeing my daughter in the midst of all this but I had faith.  She was in the Army, served in Iraq, can stand her own with nearly anyone (unless she is really mad and then she cries). So I knew she would be fine.  But I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised to see that Roller Derby is, well, civil!  There are 2 teams - adorned in short shorts, tanks with their team name, knee/elbow pads, and helmets.  Some of the skaters are super made up and have names plastered across their backs that I know their moms would not have named them!  My daughter is 'Lazer".

But it was civilized - reminded me of a tame, human pinball game.  Teams were in 1 or 2 clusters and prevented members of the other team from knocking down the person who was scoring the points.  This person (who I think is a called a jammer), skates around the rink.  I think they receive scores with each time they lap the other teams.  And teams don't block in an aggressive way - they simply team up and keep the other team from skating through.  Now last night's match was a little more wild - in fact, I thought at one point there may be a fistfight.  But it didn't happen.  At the end of the meet, it was obvious that the teams were very kind to each other.  
I loved it - totally not what I expected.  There were people of all ages, from all walks of life.  There were little kids racing around, the die-hard fans with their signs, cowbells, and horns sat in their seats the entire time fascinated by the game.  It was obvious that this is a family - they watch out for each other, for each other's kids.  Last night they showcased their special guests - Special Olympics participants.  There was using during intermission and everyone was dancing - the Olympians, the skaters, the kids -  it was fun and energizing and I can't wait for the next season to start.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Moon.

I love the idea of moons - onion moon, hunter's moon, blue moon, and tonight's harvest moon: the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox.  I love moon lore - having worked in the mental health field, I've seen the changes in human behavior during a full moon.  
Tonight was a perfect night and the moon was the finishing touch - the sky was beautiful, there was a slight breeze, I wasn't sweating......all was well in my world.  After a couple of weeks of feeling like I've been beat up, I'm starting to feel like myself again. Physically anyway.  

One of the students with whom I've worked died this week.  He was the second student in less than a week who has been killed in a car accident.  It doesn't really matter what lead to the accidents -  the fact is, we just don't know when our time is up.  My heart breaks for the families and friends of those students.  Sometimes, I don't know how any of us can bear the pain of this world.  But we do, for the most part.  We keep going.  Because we are resilient and because we have hope.  And maybe because we are just a bit stubborn and curious.  

Humans are funny.  Some of us think we are better (or worse) than anyone else.  Some of us worry so much about what we think other people may think, that we completely miss out on the joy of just being who we are.  We worry about being too old, too young, too fat, too thin, too rich, too poor, too, too, too, too. . . .  But really, we aren't too much of anything.  Really, we just are.

So tonight I will enjoy the most beautiful moon, the cool breeze, and know that my body is healing itself. I'll read a book - or maybe not - maybe I'll just listen to the sounds of the woods. I'll listen and enjoy just being.