Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Winter then fall



Anyone who knows me knows that I love fall.  I love the colors of autumn, I love the cooler temperatures - fall is perfect for me as it is for a lot of people.  Yesterday we had snow. Not much snow  - just enough that you could see it falling.  This isn't early for snow - I remember several years ago, I think it was 2010 or 11, that on October 12th, we had enough snow that it covered the ground.  But yesterday the air smelled like snow - that styrofoamy scent that reminds me of the little church my uncle would put in the front yard of his funeral home/house every Christmas, but also of snow in general.  Yesterday was clearly winter.  This morning was chilly and I had to let the car warm up a bit before my daughter and I set off for campus.  But it was sunny and happy outside!  By late afternoon, it was warm enough that I unzipped my mid-weight coat.

So today was a special treat - I'm just simple like that.  I am choosing to be happy in hopes that it rubs off on someone else.  Maybe it will have a snowball effect - kind of like that old shampoo commercial - I'm nice to someone, and they are nice to someone and so on and so on and so on.  Maybe if we all did that, if we all looked beyond ourselves, maybe we could have an impact on this crazy old world because nothing else seems to be working.

Decide to have a happy day and share it with someone else.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday morning


Mondays have a bad reputation and to be honest when there is a chill in the air, I find it hard to crawl out from under the covers to start the day.  But I don't mind Mondays - in fact, I kind of like them. I'm not the most disciplined person in the world and having to get up and go somewhere works for me. I think if today was forecast to be rainy and cool, I would be a little less enthused to get up and at 'em. 

But it is 6 am, I've been up for an hour and a half, the chicken is waiting to be let out of her coop, the cats are waiting for 2nd breakfast, the goats are waiting for something - I don't know what - and the ducks are waiting for their morning snack of dog food.

It is going to be a beautiful, happy day!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Last of the tomatoes


 These are the last two tomatoes picked from my garden.  I'm hoping they turn red but if not, I will certainly enjoy them fried and green.  Tomatoes are one of those things you just can't cheat on.  The only good tomatoes are those picked out of yours or someone else's garden.  I love those days when I walk into the break room at all to find that someone has brought in their excess tomatoes or zucchinis or squash to share.  The tomatoes you get in the grocery store at every time other than tomato growing season, just don't come close to the real thing.  Which makes me enjoy them even more during the season.

This summer I've made tomato pie, fried green tomatoes, tomato sandwiches, and tomatoes whole - just out of my hand! That's one thing nice about seasons.  The lack of something - whether it is a fresh tomato or snow or colorful leaves - just makes us appreciate it even more. 

After many, many years of trying, my first good biscuits!
When I look out my kitchen window and see our little church, I think about the seasons of my kids.  I think about how much time they spent in that church with people who loved, people who taught them things that I never could.  I wish that my older kids could have grown up here - I think they really missed out by not growing up in a country church or really, any church at all.

I think about our congregation about how I'm one of the younger members and there aren't many people there younger than me.  About 80% of our congregation is in their 60s and above.  I really dread the day that I look out my kitchen window and don't see cars in the parking lot and beloved church members walking through those red doors. 


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Return to summer


 According to our weather person, we are in store for a short return to summer. Blah. I want fall to stay.  I can't express how nice it is to not sweat a river walking to work or not being a sticky mess by the end of the day simply from existing.  I love fall - not only because of the colors, the coolness, the return to soups, and the wearing of sweatshirts - but because to me, it signals the start of the new year. More so than January 1st.  I would imagine this is true of anyone who has ever had kids. But the falling of leaves, the freezing of the earth makes me think of a colossal cleanse that will set the stage for spring and flowers and sunshine and heat to start all over again.  This time of year is perfect for me.  I am tired.  I am always tired this time of year and I'm ready to rest.  It's a good thing that it is dark when I get home from work.  It's a signal that after the chickens and goats are tended to, it is time for me to go back into the house and just rest.  That time of day - the gloaming - is perfect for reading or for grabbing a quilt in the hoop and spending time handquilting which is something that it is simply too hot to do other times of the year.   
 So I don't want to return to summer just yet. Ask me again in about six months and I'm sure my answer will be different and I will be begging not to see winter again for a while. 

Thursday


I'm finally finishing up some projects hat have been sitting around.  The wallhanging above is one that I put off because I'm more of a quilter than I am a embroiderer.  I must say though, that I completely enjoyed embroidering this one.  I'm very happy with how it turned out.  I bought the pattern and fabric about 4 years ago because loving Halloween as much as I do, it really caught my eye. 
The wallhanging on the right "Falling Leaves', is a wallhanging pattern that I found in a magazine and loved.  It is somewhat of a rarity because I found the pattern, cut the fabric, and made it to completion. All within 6 weeks.

I have 1 quilt that has been 'in progress' for about 3 years and I will begin on that very soon.  It is a paper-pieced Storm at Sea and I honestly think I need my head examined for doing a pp'ed quilt of that size.  She doesn't know it yet but I think I will bribe my mom into helping me remove the papers one weekend. 
It's really a great feeling to finish up these projects. It makes me feel less guilty about starting a new project!  I also need to finish about 8 baby quilts.  I just found out that 1 of these babies for whom I was making an I Spy quilt just started kindergarten.  But even at that age, I think he will like an I Spy quilt.  Who wouldn't?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Hooked

My wicked witch weathervane

 I never could understand how someone could spend an entire day 'binge-watching' something on Netflix.  But then until a week ago our internet service was as slow as dial-up and it was impossible to watch anything on Netflix or Amazon or, well, anything!

Today I've been watching episodes of This is Us - a drama with one of my favorite actors Milo Ventimiglia. Unfortunately I've only managed to watch about 7 episodes because I have a hard time sitting still for so long and I have a tendency to nod off during television shows.

But I did manage to get a little handsewing done and I got the bobbin unit off of my little sewing machine that was given to me.  I'm hoping to get it cleaned up this week and then use it to work on my Gypsy Wife Quilt and hopefully finishing up my daughter's Storm at Sea quilt.  I will never again do a full-sized paperpieced quilt. Never. Ever.
My Alletaire is in the hoop and waiting for cold weather.
 I'm wondering how I will manage to get all of the episodes watched, the binding on my wallhanging, my pumpkin embroidered by Tuesday evening when the new season starts.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fall


This is my favorite time of year!  Even though today was super hot, it was absolutely gorgeous!  I am nearly finished with my fall wallhanging - I just need to handsew the binding.

A friend of mine gave me this little sewing machine - a Jolson - which seems to be from around 1949.  It is very similar to the Singers at that time.  I need to do a little research on it but it was amazing how much information the folks from my vintage sewing machine group could provide - almost as soon as I posted the picture!

It's amazing how different something looks from far away.  This wallhanging for instance, looks entirely different up close.  Looking at it from an arm's length, it seems to be a jumble of autumny fabric.  But from a distance, it looks exactly as I hoped it would.

I'm hoping to get the binding done tomorrow, my Halloween quilt blocks done, and get nearly finished with the Storm at Sea that I'm sewing for my daughter.

But tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warm again and our home has no air conditioning.  I may very well be sitting in front of a fan reading a book all day!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Years

I can remember a long, long time ago when my uncle was out of work. I can't remember whether it was that the business downsized or closed - something like that.  But I can remember him saying how recruiters would call him about jobs and he would tell them from the start that he was 63 years old.  They would politely thank him and say goodbye.  I can remember wondering how could that be? What difference does one's age make? Thinking about it made me angry then and it makes me angry now.

Sour grapes? Maybe. After years of being in the same position, I decided I would like to take on new challenges. So I applied for 3 positions and was called in for interviews for each of them.  In a University of this size, even being called for an interview is an honor.  However, each of the jobs went to someone else.  Granted, I knew I wasn't the perfect candidate but I do believe that my age likely had something to do with not being selected.

So why is discrimination on many grounds not tolerated but yet age is one of those things that are accepted as appropriate grounds for discrimination? It is hard to prove especially when there are so many variables in the hiring process.  But I see age discrimination in so many other ways - from not being included in activities that are more geared to a younger group to being asked how long until you retire to the comment from a cashier that 'wow, you've must have worked here a long time'. This doesn't even include the jokes that I hear on a daily basis - all alluding to the fact that my best years are behind me (they aren't) and that I am biding my time til that magical day on which I can retire. The real joke is that I absolutely love the work I do and I have no intention of retiring anytime soon if at all.
The Old Goat

I'm many other things than old.  I am white, a woman, a mother, a quilter, a reader, a baker, a Christian. If my job hung in the balance due to any one of these traits, I would have grounds for a complaint. But my age? Not so much. So maybe I'll just shut up and be happy with my current position - after all, I do love my job and my co-workers so much that it's not even a given that I would accept a different position if asked.

I'm sure that my age has nothing to do with it. That would be silly. No one discriminates on age any more. Never.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Dogs and cats.

Every once in a while I write about my orange cat Sox: Sox the upstairs cat, Sox the bathroom cat, and now, Sox the outdoors cat.  A few weeks ago Sox bolted out the back door when I was busy feeding the cats on the back porch.  Aside from his great adventure 10+ years ago when he stayed outside for 3 days, Sox has had absolutely no interest in the great outdoors.  Until just a month or so ago.

Sox is very, very, very old and I assumed that he ran outside (as cats do) to die.  I expected this and felt sad about it but that is what I've known cats to do when the time is right.  I was thinking about burning some sage in his honor and never got around to doing so.

So imagine my surprise one day when I was sewing, I looked outside and saw an orange cat drinking out of the goats' water bowl.  It was either Sox' ghost or Sox hadn't died.

Sox was alive.

It is odd. He wants to be fed out by the goats. He won't come to me, he won't come back in the house or even to back deck.  Odder still, he really likes Casper the boxer.  He sashays up to Casper and rubs and purrs and hangs all over him.  He always hated Casper. In fact, if it even sounded as if Casper was walking into the kitchen, Sox would retreat into the bathroom as quick as a wink.

Weird things these cats are. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Chill in the air.

Alletaire - designed by Bonnie Hunter
I love this weather - it is sunny, a bit breezy, and cool enough to wear a sweatshirt. I l-o-v-e sweatshirts.  I remember a tie-dyed white/blue sweatshirt I got for my birthday when I was 12 or 13, I think. It was so soft inside and I felt so warm and protected in it.  I wanted it to always be that fluffy and soft on the inside.  Of course after a while, it piled and flattened like all sweatshirts do, but I loved it still. After all, sweatshirts age just like everything else.  I had another sweatshirt - I can't remember if it was before or after - but it was fern green.  I remember it because I hand-embroidered my name on it. I don't know if I knew at that early age that I would never have a varsity jacket with my name stitched in gold on it or if I just wanted to make sure that my brothers didn't steal it but I loved that one nearly as much as my tie-dyed sweatshirt.  And they were sweatshirts - NOT hoodies.  And they zipped up the front, I didn't wear pullovers.  It is funny but I think of those sweatshirts often. They remind me of happier times and of fall and of campfires, hot dogs, leaves, pumpkins, and ghosts.  I always feel better when I'm wearing a sweatshirt but these days, my favorite is a grey pullover. It is huge and warm and thick. It feels like an armor for some reason and I always feel protected in it.

Odd, isn't it? How simple fabric can provide such comfort. I guess that is why I quilt.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Music and fairs and the end of summer.

This photo makes my back yard look like a fairy-land. Anyone who has ever met me knows that is definitely not the case. But still I love this photograph.

This week has been the county fair and I've been to it all but one day. I will be there tonight and tomorrow too.  I'm not ashamed at all.  I entered a wallhanging and a quilt and won 4th place for both! There were some very, very beautiful quilts entered.

I love the fair, some of my fondest, early memories are of the Crawford County fair.  I can still remember that my mom loved the egg rolls and the fudge. Just yesterday I was talking to her and we both could remember the locations of the pie stand even though neither of us had been there in years!  Well, to be honest, I was there only 5 years ago and it was just as I remembered. It was like stepping back in time.

I remember these clear balloons that had a pastel colored bunny balloon inside - I loved those.  I remember my dad taking me on a pony ride and the pony started bucking.  I remember cotton candy (which I hate), I remember the smell of the cow barns (which I love), I remember the 4-H milkshake stand and so many other things. 

So as I am listening to music from the 70's and thinking of my childhood in the 70's, I can't help but feel happy. I was so lucky to have the childhood I had. I can remember the end of August back when I was still in school - the bittersweetness of Labor Day which brought the beginning of my favorite season but also brought an end to the carefree summer days.  I do mean truly carefree - my mom didn't work during the summers so I never needed to go to daycare or have a babysitter.  I could sleep in a bit and didn't need to keep to a schedule.  We had a local summer playground program and all of the kids in town would go to the playground weekday afternoons and participate in games and activities and have snacks.  Our parents didn't drive us, we rode our bikes. It was a different time.


Winter then fall

Anyone who knows me knows that I love fall.  I love the colors of autumn, I love the cooler temperatures - fall is perfect for me as...