Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Search for Intelligent Life or Unfog My Mind

Well, I must admit that this isn't me, but it sort of tells the story. I am shrinking since I am now only 5 foot 2 longer 5 foot 2 1/2" and as we all know when you are older than 60 (I am now 61), the "Doctor" is the big man in your life. Also, I really never wear a dress. It is black sweatpants for me during this frigid Iowa winter. (Aren't these art pictures wonderful?! I hope it is okay to include them in my blog.)
Meanwhile about "unfogging my mind"...I just realized today...I haven't read a book in the longest time. Perhaps my lack of accomplishment, my lethargic lifestyle, my hibernating sleeping habits--they are all because my mind is turning to mush. How unfortunate that just when I have the free time (due to retirement) to accomplish anything I would want to I seem to have lost all momentum. Perhaps I should just relax and recharge but this could go on until eternity....well, mine at least. Maybe this is where goal setting should come in.
Speaking of eternity I have also slipped out of the church-going mode. My late night ways have made getting up an unpleasant chore. Even the 11 a.m. Contemporary Service at the Clarinda United Methodist Church seem too early.
Guess it is time to give some thought to the "reshaping" of my life (trying to tie the picture to the text in this blog). Good luck on your goals and motivation and let's all look forward to alert minds and warmer temperatures and more peace in the world.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Keeping the Award Shows (and Toilet Paper) on Track

Well, I couldn't take it anymore. I saw that SAG Award commercial one too many times. They misspelled the word "its". Unfortunately, they spelled it, "it's". So, I emailed them and pointed out their error. Watch for their commercial and see if they fix it. It appears very quickly on the
screen, just after the pictures of the stars about half way through.

This reminds me of the "mistake" on the Quilted Northern Bathroom Tissue commercials which continued for MANY years. Do you remember the "quilters" who used a knitting needle in each hand pointed down into the quilt? Who were they kidding? When you quilt, you have one hand above and one under the quilt and you use one quilting needle, not a pair of knitting needles. There was a fuss about this in quilting magazines at the time, but the Northern Bathroom Tissue people never chose to accurately portray "quilting skills". This especially aggravates me because I am such a loyal customer of Quilted Northern. Ever since the "quilted" description came out, that is all I have purchased. Being a quilter for the last 27 years has become my identity inside and out.

I know I am fanatical about this. As a trained English teacher and quilter and as they sing in the famous song entitled "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" by Pete Seeger, I just have to ask "when will they ever learn?"

As accurately yours as possible,

Monday, January 7, 2008

Branching out and Pepso Bismol

Well, all good things must come to an end. We had two days way up in the 40's, but now the temperatures are going down. I used the "warm spell" today to lop pieces off the large branches lying in my yard after our ice storm. To help us clean up, city workers will pick up everything cut into 4-foot lengths. Perhaps I will have to get out my antique 6-foot-long "two-man" saw and find another "man" to help me work it. Or get a chain saw in here.

I selected "Pepto Bismol Beating Heart" as my quilt today.
I usually describe this as a rather ugly quilt, but I feel it looks quite nice in this photo. The center and border fabric features coleus plants. The solid green and pink fabrics are pieced in the delectable mountains setting.

Perhaps you noticed (above the quilt on the shelf) "Bud" and "Weiser", the frogs Jan Berkley created and gave me when she was my secret pal.

I watched the debates tonight and am anxiously awaiting the result of the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday. Thank goodness our country chooses the ballot box instead of assassination. I saw a trivia question the other day which asked "What is the most important right that citizens of the U.S. have?"
Freedom of Speech (I chose that one.)
Freedom of Press
The right to vote (This is the one they said is most important.)
And I have to agree that is is powerful. But I am glad we have all three.

Enjoy your freedoms this week. But use them wisely.

(My tower is going into the computer hospital. I'll blog again as soon as I can.)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chinese water torture and Jewel galoshes

Today instead of sharing a quilt, I want to introduce you to the sock monkey my niece Brittany sewed. What a character! Wonder if he has a name? Why, I think I'll call her and ask. Well, it seems Brittany had not yet named her little creation. When I suggested "Wonkie", she said that was perfect. So here is Wonkie Souza, Wild Monkey of Central Florida. Brittany, my almost daughter, is an artsy person and we are alike in many offbeat ways.

Fortunately for Iowa, things are warming up. The temperatures are to be in the 40's today and tomorrow. I am sure it has been above freezing since yesterday because there was a constant flow of water running from my gutters into the drainage system between my bedroom windows ALL NIGHT LONG. While not totally unpleasant, it was a distraction as I tried to sleep until 9:45 this morning.

Speaking of moisture, I refilled my bird feeder which requires trekking through the snow in my backyard. Since I have no galoshes, I have made some--more or less. I use a "plastic grocery bag" which I have always called a "Jewel bag" because I got my groceries in them when I shopped at the Jewel stores in Illinois. I slip my socked foot into a bag and then slip this concoction into my "Croc" shoes. Since I have been tripped many times (I learn slowly), I have finally begun tying the two handles into a knot to keep them from flaring out and catching my toes as I tromp. Surely my neighbors wonder, but as long as I pay my taxes, what can they do?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Iowa Speaks and Hot Air

Well, I've now been part of the Iowa caucus. My candidate didn't win the state, but we had an amazing turnout of people who want a better America. So many Republicans and Democrats participated. I am glad we showed the country that we want change, and I am proud that we have so many excellent candidates running in each party.
I saw a special Windmill Blades Log Cabin crib quilt in Quilts from the Indiana Amish by David Pottinger. I chose to reproduce it as a wallhanging for my sister, Judi on the occasion of her 40th birthday on June 25, 1990. She had invited the entire family to her Iowa farm. The pineapple design commonly represents "hospitality." The visual windmills or fan blades represent the farm location during a VERY hot June. The solid-colored pastel fabrics say "summer Amish". The handquilting in the border is the Amish "pumpkin seed" and diamond quilting pattern.
Each hand quilted circle is dedicated to one attendee for his or her memories of the weekend and includes age and birthdate information handwritten on the back. Wedding dates are also noted in the overlapping areas between each husband and wife. This quilt is a fiber snapshot of our family at that time.
Written memories include "wet banana," balloons on the move, the "escaping" baby, Carl's grilled tenderloins, family camping in a pop-up tent at the farm and our family picnic.
The kids, Judi's husband Doug and I participated in "wet banana." As water streams along a yellow rubbery platform stretched out on the grass, you run and hit the "wet banana" and slide to the end. It is sort of like a water slide on hard ground. I hurt for a week, but it was fun.
We spent time inside in the air conditioning and the assisting fans kept the helium birthday balloons constantly circling the three main rooms. My sister Debra's toddler, Michael would get placed into the playpen, but when no one was watching, Judi's husband, Doug would casually drop his arm into the playpen and allow the baby to crawl on and lift him out and release him into the room. When Debra would find him loose, she was shocked and couldn't understand how he kept escaping. Remembering makes me laugh again.
May you laugh as you reminisce or experience something new today. We never laugh enough and it is so good for us.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ice and the Iowa Caucus

Although most of Iowa is covered by a layer of ice, things are heating up here. Iowa is "the place to be" because our caucus is tomorrow and I'll be participating for the very first time. Candidates have been speaking in every hamlet, town and city here. I have seen and heard (in person) six of the Democratic candidates--and most of them more than once. What a country! Whatever your leanings--participate in the process in your state and watch our democracy in action. I have always figured that if you don't vote (whether in the caucus, primary or actual election), you have no right to complain. I want that "right" and I participate to achieve it.

I have been missing my Illinois quilt friends. To fill in that gap, I gathered with five ladies today to begin a weekly bee. Of the six ladies in attendance, four are newer Clarinda residents. We decided to make new friends (while keeping the old). Fortunately we are all retired, so we are planning a daytime gathering for conversation and progress on our various projects. Embroidery, cross stitching, knitting and conversation were the focus topped off with a pumpkin dessert made by our hostess' son. Jerry, it was yummy! Thank you.

Happy New Year! I have decided to share the above quilt I titled, "Columbia River Gorge, December 31, 1948." Yes, I am that old.

That night we had just returned by train from Missouri after celebrating the Christmas holidays with family. "We" included my father, Carl, mother, Audrey, three-month-old sister, Jo Anne and "yours truly", two-year-old Carlene. (No, I don't remember this, but I've been told the story.) We were driving in a snowstorm towards our home in Washington around a narrow mountain pass when a drunk driver hit us head-on. The car behind us couldn't stop so we were hit again. In that era before seatbelts, my father suffered broken ribs and my mother went through the (old style) windshield. She had to have 200 stitches to repair her face which was filled with glass particles. My baby sister was thrown through the window into the snow and suffered from shock and exposure. Because my mother and father had thrown out their hands to protect me where I sat between them, I was unhurt. After many days in the hospital and at my mother's insistence, my father quit his job and hitched our silver house trailer behind our vehicle and moved us all back to Missouri.
You see, that is how my mind works when I quilt. I started with a memory and I chose the fabric for the center and border because the design looked "stormy" with swirls and chaos. The other fabrics were in colors found in that border fabric. I chose the "delectable mountains" pattern because it represented the narrow passes around the mountains. Candy Weir machine quilted it in a swirling design which represented the blowing snow and high winds.
Both my parents are gone now, but when I sleep under this quilt, I feel connected to them. I hope you are able to connect with something special to you. And again, Happy New Year!