Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yes We Can...

Hey there...

I just got back from 2 glorious days on the Oregon was sunny and 70+ today, people, no wind!!! This is not my reason for posting. A nice new blog friend, Malagueta, visited and commented and then I read on HER blog about a cool Obama fundraiser done by Denyse Schmidt and her quilter posse. I like that every one seems to be getting involved in this election cycle. What about you friends??

I am vocal about who I am supporting, but that is just me. If you are liking someone else...that is cool, I can support that. I am just asking that people take a little time, inform themselves and then cast a ballot. It is time to take responsibility for your country. There is a little over a week left until election day, please let your voice be heard.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Late to the party??

Library day again...Everyone who is able should really give their kids the experience of the library. I met a woman the other day who had never gone, I just felt sad for her. Not really a pity sad, just sad, because going to the library has always been such a refuge and escape for me, but she made it seem like she felt that the library was a club that no one had ever invited her to. I can't get enough of all the great books so I can't imagine never going to a library. Go to the library, they have books and things for everyone!
I was playing with my camera and I found a cool setting. It is called color accent. You can select the color that you want to show through and then the other colors with not...just tones of black and white.
Just green.
Same courtyard, just orange.

Now that I know how to change the accent color, that involved something as complicated as getting back to the main screen and scrolling, what else can I do?? (just think of what I might learn if I read the manual??? thrilling...)

I am off to the coast for ANOTHER girls weekend. I am not sure how it all worked out this way, but I don't feel like I can say no, because when might the opportunity for a fun time come back around??


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday...welcome to you, 34!

The sands of time, ever shifting, are settling me in to year 34. I went for the less diva approach this year, I wasn't above cooking and vacuuming for my own party. This is maturity, I think, maybe. 6 months ago (give or take), Brenda Danye, of Cast On fame, had a bit about paraphrase is "Start as you mean to continue..." This thought has been swirling around in my head....swirl swirl swirl...and for me, a new beginning is a birthday.

This year I wanted, and I want, to be surrounded by friends and family, but in a casual way. We had a potluck and some pumpkin carving. I got out all of my mini swap quilts to show... maybe it was a bit squishy, maybe all of the food got et, maybe the pumpkins were not a big hit...nevertheless I felt so welcomed in to this next year. The laughter, the funny shirts, the wall the kids made out of bricks, piles of quilts... this is how I mean to continue this year. Here is my new friend Betty. I wasn't sure if my sweet husband would succumb to my practical desires...I think that she is going to replace the broken 11 year old hand mixer nicely!
To the new year!
A note on the first picture....It is not the best, but on the seat of my chair are a slew of Fat Quarters that my sister gave me. I am so thrilled. They were ones that I REALLY wanted to get the first time I went to "Piece By Piece", a new quilting store in town, but had resisted. The main color is acid green set off by a black....lovely stuff. My other sister made me a wonderful scarf, also in the green of my is so soft and cozy....
Boy, I am really blessed in the sister department!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mom's weekend away!

After leaving later than anticipated my meatball friend and I embarked on a weekend get-away to be rivaled only by last year's escape to Estonia. Although slightly less exotic, Portland was an excellent destination!
Our day began by sleeping in until 8:45!! Both of us are the mother's of perpetually early risers, we were pleasantly surprised at the late start and decided to be lazier by reading in bed until nearly 10 o'clock (UNHEARD OF!) We had brunch at Francis on NE Alberta. It was fantastic, mostly due to the fact that it was actually Friday and we had a wonderfully attentive server AND good coffee AND the HUGEST biscuits EVER! Everything here was homemade tasty, we were pleased!
I love the Alberta neighborhood. Coffee and Tea, cool shops, Bolt, Frock, Collage, friendly people, galleries and even a resale bike has it all. (I especially love this sign in front of Townshend's, and the guerrilla gardeners that were furiously planting in all of the empty spots on the street as we walked)
I found out what God's phone number is and I am just not sure if I am ready to make THAT call...
There are still homes on Alberta and their gardens make the street that much more charming.
On our way to dinner that evening, we saw the most wonderful Turkey dinner with all of the trimmings. We were very hungry and this felt looked almost good enough to eat. (it was a display at Knit Purl.)
Day 2 greeted me with the clock reading 9:20!!!! Elation! See how happy that made me? 2 full nights of sleep can really make a difference in attitude, let me tell you. I think the words most frequently said all weekend were...I hope that everyone is doing OK, but I SO don't want to go back yet!
See how sunny and beautiful Mt. Hood was in the distance from our hotel room. After solving all of the world's problems over muffins and coffee at the corner coffee shop...we really did, I swear. We decided that instead of "social-izing" our financial market, what we really need is for all people to have health care and better parental training/support, education that lifts everyone up to their ability (or beyond) AND more mom's weekends.

That is it. The world would be better, I swear, it would. These are simple things, right?
As we walked to MY FAVORITE quilting store, cool cottons, there was this house...another reason I LOVE Oregon. Balmy October sunshine and a yard full of Zinnias. I did buy some more fabric. I got this DELICIOUS birch bark/tree trunk fabric (I shoulda taken a picture...of course) it was so cool...I just love it.

Last, but not least CUPCAKES! We were driving through the Sellwood neighborhood and I saw this weird store that said "Piece of Cake Yum Yum Yum." On the outside it looked like an odd antique store...and inside it looked like an even odder antique store that sold the BEST cakes I have EVER eaten. I got the poppy seed with raspberries and cream cheese frosting and my meatball friend got the Double chocolate with the German chocolate cake topping. They were both great, I wanted to try the peanut butter and chocolate one, as well as the ....OK let's be real here...I wanted to try them all. Moist and tasty, these had to be the best cupcakes in the area, perhaps the state!

It was a great time, but like Dorothy going back to Kansas, our return to our families was inevitable. Ahhhhhh, there's no place like home. (that could be a sigh, or a scream, your pick!)


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Catch up time...

My guild meeting in September hosted a FANTASTIC quilter...Janet Fogg. I have seen her work in magazines and thought "oh, that is beautiful" but then seeing her pieces up close is enough to make you pass right out. I am not sure if she can make a small quilt each of the portions of quilts that you can see are draped over a table with a 6 foot diameter, some of them dragged on the floor all around.
She uses a wide color range, the technical difficulty of the piecing, not to mention the PHENOMENAL was all so awe-inspiring.
While she spoke and shared her pieces I was drawn in by her desire to inspire people to create their own masterpieces. She said that she has not yet made her best quilt and that while she has a plan when she starts the quilt, where she ends up is where it needs to be, but that is not necessarily where she thought she would end.
What I found most resonated with me as a quilter, I think that it is something that we all need to accept when designing our own quilts, she said, "Develop a belief in yourself that each decision will be a good one, not the perfect one, but a good one." She went on to say that, each choice you make along the way will open up the next choice. I have always believed this, but maybe not so succinctly. What a nice affirmation to my inability to follow a pattern...right?
I really enjoyed hearing her speak, very down to earth. She just started doing some workshops in her studio in Portland...I don't know when, but I think that I will be attending one in the futureI also made my first e-fabric shopping trip this September. I really like to touch the fabric as I shop so I have been holding off on web purchases....WELL, I think that getting a package that is so cute and filled with BEAUTIFUL things compensates me for the tactile shopping experience. I didn't read the return address when I first got the mail, so I thought that one of my swap partners had sent me a doll quilt with lead weights...but it was all of my beauties...hooray!
I am such a sucker for Halloween prints and this grouping also had the always needed dots!
I haven't been able to find anyone in town that stocks these mermaids (Heather Ross)I had to get them, they had orange, aqua, and the mustard yellow?? To be honest, I worked really hard to not buy more fabric. It is an illness, but I started to dream about the chasing mermaids (I think that they are kind of spooky) and after that I had to buy them. I am so glad that I did. I want to give a shout out to Fabricworm, whose etsy shop I perused...she got me with the packs of 1/2 yards, priced to sell...toot, toot (they also shipped really fast!)
Farewell to the well-tended garden...Late September and early October bring all kinds of crazy, yet I tend to forget (or forget to tend) EVERY YEAR! I am happy to report that, as of this week, our Chickadees have returned as well as some of our Oregon Juncos. I spied the Chickadees flitting from the destroyed sunflower heads (our squirrels, Nutty and Wacky have been working hard on their acrobatics). The Juncos surprised me this morning and are out hopping around in all the lush garden greenness. By surprised, I mean that I was surprised how happy I was to see them again. I guess it is almost time to find places for the feeders, now that the death-trap arbor has been torn down...
Look for birds and make something!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Cluck, cluck, cluck...

hi there...yeah I'm over here...a little bit dizzy from the height, but what blogger desires to do with my pictures, blogger gets.
It was a busy and fun filled weekend. My husband had the misfortune of missing the was opening weekend of hunting he and his compadres had to go to the woods to grow some stubble. The quilt will still be finished when he returns (tomorrow!!!!). On Thursday I am headed to Portland with a dear Meatball friend for some much needed GROWN-UP play time and R&R.

I am at a loss for words as I was up most of the night with a feverish little boy. Just so the husband gets some props...usually, the middle of the night wake-ups are his territory, because I am just delirious unless it is after 5am. Sweetie, you were dearly missed and we can't wait for your return, tag filled or not.
My friend Tonya is having a quilt together that looks to be A LOT of fun. Join us if you would like!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Love and kindness, my cup runs over...

Wow, I guess when you really need some kindness you need only to hold out your hand. I really appreciate all of your kind and gentle words. My heart is full.

I finished hand stitching the binding on two quilts today and was able to take a step back from the work, the tired fingers, and the myopic monotony and see their beauty. My chickens are finished and I look at them and think "Did I really make that?" "How far you have come friend...". They will get hung tomorrow at the show and I will be sure to get a picture of them, with them to share with you all.

I, again, can't help but liken my struggles with depression to my struggles with finishing my quilts....the minutiae at the end blurs the picture of the whole. Usually near the end of a project, I am so sick of looking at the it that I just put it in the corner and start on something new. Seeing it to the end is where the glory is. Wow, what a feeling, to put the finished quilt on the couch or the quilt rack instead of back in the craft room out of sight. To take stock of all the things I have learned with the project, things that initially seemed too hard and very daunting, that now seem second nature. It is good to have that chance of reflection and appreciation of a job well done.

Yesterday, my note to myself and to share, was a chance at reflection. I am heartened that it struck a chord. I feel a bit shy about being so open, but now I can go back and read it tomorrow, or next year. I can think about the growth that I have experienced or just feel buoyed by the kind words that I recorded for myself and the cheers of encouragement that you all were so kind to give.
Thank you

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Thinking about this...a note to the future me.

I am thinking that I just need to get something down on pretend paper, something that I can read again next year or next month, because I know that this is all going to happen again.
The creep of depression.

It has been washing over me, slowly for the last month. Every few days I would check in with myself and say "Yeah, I feel kind of bad today. Why are the kids driving me so nuts? Why is every answer murky and hard to figure? and why can't I remember anything?"

To Future JMB: This time it is both a seasonal light trigger and lots of change, good change, but your brain has a hard time dealing with change, in all of its forms.

To Present JMB: You are the mom of a school age boy now, he is moving out in to the world in larger and larger circles and that feels scary. He is making wonderful new friends and learning about the world in new ways. People like him and also want to include him in their lives and this feels scary too. He still needs to have his place at home, to be grounded and know that there is a safe and quiet place in his growing world.

You are moving outside in to the world too. Learning new things, trying things that you might actually really enjoy, this is scary too. What if you discover what you "want to be when you grow-up?" What if you had to choose to pursue a dream in ADDITION to being a mom? How is it all going to balance? What is going to have to give? Sometimes, the status quo is too warm and comfortable. Staying the same doesn't allow room for new things to come in, for growth.

I think that this last bit is what I am really having a hard time with. I like routine, I like to know what is going to happen...I can't help but think of the wake-up call of having a baby. Boy, did that really throw a wrench in to my desire for order-- because just when I thought that I had something figured out, he went changed on me. A baby learns to sit, to move, to speak, to run away, incrementally.....and I was just trying to anticipate the dangers and how I could protect against whatever COULD hurt my child. I had a hard time with that, but eventually I could see the other part... the beautiful part, where I saw the first smile and heard the first laugh. The part where I picked my son up after he had fallen from standing and he just tried again and again until he found success and stood alone.

I can see the balance here when I think of being a mom and helping my kids grow. Trying to translate it to myself is quite another story. I deny my fear and it buries itself inside of me and forms this nasty boil, eventually it makes me depressed. It festers and makes me uncomfortable....but I am unwilling to look at it and call it by name. I know it is there logically, but emotionally I keep it covered and hidden, because then it isn't "real".

My logical self has been doing things to grow, I am only seeing this now, because I feel right in the middle of it. Over the past few months I have, before I thought of how scary it was to that emotional self, entered a quilt in a juried show, entered 4 quilts in my guild's show, and signed myself up for a Pattern making class. Written out like this my logical self scoffs and makes light of the four years that I have been "dreaming" of taking this class. Showing my quilts is public??? who cares? Right?! Apparently the little queasy emotional self does....these are all scary things to her.

Right now, I am trying to look at this, to really SEE it, and make peace with myself.

I want to "High-5" my logical self for being so brave and also to hug my emotional self who is feeling so anxious about changing. I am trying to catch "us" up, to make my logical self and emotional self "get- along" better. The whole of us, of me, doesn't like to be depressed. I would like to embrace my fear in order to get on to the other "good stuff" that is out there for me.
I know that I am not the only person struggling with depression, or even the only person struggling with "what I am going to be when I grow up?"-- I know that I will be here again, because I haven't yet decided and the world is going to keep on changing.

So, here it is Future self, proof that you have been here before and you have made it through again...

with hope.