Sunday, November 30, 2008

Picture This...

It's been a strange weekend.

We got some work done (I qualify that, because it wasn't nearly everything I'd hoped to do), but spent more time sleeping and Picking Up Stuff than anything else. (We also went to Java Guru, a local coffeehouse, and listened to a bud, Sal Mancini, play guitar onstage.) After that, Dave finished up music duties and I did some computer work. Worked on Christmas cards. Did some package wrapping. Wandered around, in general. Didn't get to bed until 3:30 a.m.

Got up a little after 7 a.m. for Worship Team practice, with the outside all white -- snowing like crazy. It snowed all through church, both services. It was still snowing when I collapsed into bed for a 3-hour nap...

Everything is icy, slippery and downright wintry outside.

Do you enjoy urban legends, or wonder if the latest e-mail about whatever the heck Obama or Bush said...or this or that virus is really prevalent...or whether (the newest thing) certain businesses are really closing. Here's the place to go:

http://www.snopes.com

If you need a visual pick-me-up, check out Snopes' "fauxtography" section on natural phenomena. Most are hokey -- though striking -- but some are quite real:

http://www.snopes.com/photos/photos.asp

This is the best one, an incredible shot of deer fleeing fire in the back country:

http://www.snopes.com/photos/natural/deerfire.asp

Now I'm off to bed...talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

The first Pilgrims weren't a part of my family history...but close. A Cumings descendant, Isaac Cumings, came on the good ship Sally Ann not many more years later, and settled in New England. Family history holds that our ancestors include bondservants -- people who exchanged passage to the New Land for years of their effort, plus a little money and a suit of clothes.

Husband's family, black-haired Vikings all, emigrated from Denmark on the Petterson side. The Bricks, on the other hand, were some of the first visitors to the Colonies -- two brothers founded Bricktown, New Jersey, early on.

Our families have been here a long time. They bled and died in the American Revolution; struggled to survive in the wilderness, first in New York and then in Michigan. they moved west, to Oregon, California and Colorado. (The latter -- that's us!)

They didn't always have easy lives. But they persevered.

I am grateful for them...for their pigheaded stubbornness. Their insistence that people have to work for a living -- that respect and a name well-respected were worth far more than big bucks and a crooked heart. They insisted on patriotism, faith in their church (but far more in God), faith in the family.

As Husband is fond of saying to his daughters, we come from Good Stock. I'm grateful for that...and him. (Love you, Dave!) Our healthy, clever daughters. A warm home (with a good roof!). Our bills paid. A profession I enjoy. A faith in Gold that keeps us going, through the good and the hard times.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Less Clutter...More Content

I spent much of today carrying Stuff, with Daughter #1's help. Umpteen boxes of samples, kits, embellishments, fat quarters and assorted flotsam and jetsam were lugged downstairs to put back into inventory. I have lots of excuses why so much accumulated up in the living space -- you try doing multiple back-to-back gigs, I've had to deal with family issues, etc. -- but the truth is I'd become A Big Slob. (I didn't insist that the staffers bring Stuff back downstairs as consistently as I should have, either...big mistake. It adds up.)

This needs a bit of explanation. Brickworks, my company, sells books; kits; every kind of embellishment, from lace to trim to ribbon roses to brass charms...even matching Tibetan silver hand charms, holding hearts that say "Love" and "You!"
All these items, which are often made with a batch of other items, add up to a Lot of Stuff. Shelves and shelves of it. Add my teaching samples; paper patterns, postcards and other ephemera; other quilts and textiles in the Brickworks collection --

Whew.

So far, my office, plus the company's inventory has filled the bottom half of our house -- some 2500 feet. (Just the downstairs, that is.) This generally works because the downstairs has a separate entrance. We can spread things out, and work with minimum hassle. The main area has a cutting table, shelves that hold bolts of fabric and trims, stacks of kits, etc. All around the edge of the main area are shelves that hold all sorts of kits; jars of buttons, silk embroidery floss and other goodies; and misc. books, stacks of fat quarters and so on.

A huge schrunk (German armoire) fills one wall -- three large opening doors, and shelves and hanging racks behind for everything from a 1790s baby quilt, to the Depression repro wallhanging my mom finished last year. Nearby sets of drawers hold orphan blocks, vintage fabrics and samples for classes.

That's not all of the Brickworks business, though. One room upstairs holds shipping materials, tape, etc. When Stuff is left upstairs, that means our already-decreasing living space fills up with stacked boxes and bins.

Now that those boxes and bins have been lugged downstairs, the dining room suddenly seems spacious. Lighter. Easier to move without bumping into things. Wow. What will it be like when I get everything vacuumed and dusted for tomorrow? Gracious living, here we come!

I can't let this Stuffing Up happen anymore. It's too easy to limp along and just add to it over the weeks. I MUST put things away right away from now on.

That's my Thanksgiving commitment. The Simple Dollar has their own take on this subject: they argue that Stuff doing nothing is Stuff that could be sold, or cleared away to make the space start working for itself. Earning its keep...

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/11/23/clutter-is-money/

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hand-Done for the Holidays

One of my favorite blogging buddies, Almost Frugal, has a mini-encyclopedia of handcrafts. Not only are they do-able for practically anybody, but they'll make wonderful gifts and decorations this season!

This one, for a 'ragamuffin' garland that uses up leftover strips and scraps. (I see it curved into wreath form, too.)

http://nestingplacenc.blogspot.com/2008/04/ragamuffin-memo-garland.html

And I like this ribbon wreath:

http://thelongthread.com/?p=1310

The version in the post has a Halloween twist to it, but I'm seeing it in plaid form for Christmas. Guess what project I think I'll be doing this weekend?

Check out more of Long Thread's posts, too...she doesn't always give instructions, but the pictures are often enough for you to figure them out.

Be sure to check out the other projects in Almost Frugal's section; they're lovely.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Saving $$ for Thanksgiving

The Internet's full of great food and entertainment ideas for Thanksgiving.

Try this one. (Tip Hero is brand new to me, but has terrific ideas for a wide range of subjects.)

http://www.tiphero.com/tips_516_how-do-you-save-money-on-thanksgiving-dinner.html

My all-time favorite site, MoneySavingMom, has a huge list of recipes and food ideas:

http://www.moneysavingmom.com/money_saving_mom/2008/11/thanksgiving-on-a-budget-share-your-ideas.html (And I could never ever drop the stuffing, as some readers suggest -- I loooove stuffing. I'd drop potatoes and gravy, but then the rest of the family would protest!)

Frugal Upstate has a very long list of recipes, separated by category similar to MSM:

http://frugalupstate.blogspot.com/2008/11/best-of-frugal-thanksgiving-mini-series.html

If your time's limited, try Frugal first...MSM has a LOT of postings.

CheapHealthyGood has consistently good ideas, though you often have to wade through a mass to get what you want. For what it's worth, here goes:

http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2008/11/only-thanksgiving-post-youll-ever-need.html

* * * * * * * * * * * *
and now my own tips...

Buy your family's must-have foods when they're on sale -- not at full price. I stock up on things like black olives and cheesecake all year round.

Take your primary menu items from the sale flyer. If ham's on sale, that's what we have, sliced and fried, for Thanksgiving breakfast. If it's pork chops or bacon, they get substituted, instead.

Home-grown...yours, or just in the area? Use it! Old-timers took great pride in featuring their own harvest on the Thanksgiving menu. (It's cheaper and fresher, too...)

Buy napkins, tablecloths, candles on sale AFTER Thanksgiving -- for next Thanksgiving! (Or use fall-themed items leftover this year from the Halloween clearance aisle.)

Share the meal with friends. You make some dishes -- they make some. You get a variety of food. And overall, you save on the grand total.

Only make what your family REALLY likes. Skip any 'traditional' foods that you've included, just because you had them on the table as a child.

Bake a pie (or two) -- but freeze half after the meal's over. Don't waste a scrap of anything! Put any food you can't use in the next few days away in the freezer -- or give to someone -- before it goes stale. (I don't personally care for turkey's taste if it's just bunged in the freezer -- but I do like turkey chunks frozen in gravy.)

Thaw your turkey in the refrigerator. I'd never done this before -- but the sale turkey I bought late last week just wouldn't fit in the freezer, even for a few days. The meat dept. guy said to turn up the fridge temp slightly, and put the turkey in a pan on the bottom shelf. He said it would be ready for roasting, come Thanksgiving morning. Lo and behold, based on what I'm seeing...he's right!

Bake your own bread for stuffing. I used to buy a loaf or two of the cheapest bread -- but one year had a loaf of my own going stale. Epiphany: the stuffing made from this tasted amazing! You don't have to do much...and no fancy bread. (Plain white, wheat or a mix works best.) But it makes all the difference.

THE BEST STUFFING (heavy on the veggies!)

1 loaf bread
1 bunch celery, including green leaves, chopped
1-2 onions, chopped
1/4-1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
Any other vegetables your family likes -- carrots, peppers and so on
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage (from my herb garden -- substitute 3 tablespoons powdered)
2 tablespoons marjoram
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
7-10 grinds black pepper (or one teaspoon)
1 cube butter (don't substitute for this, anymore than the bread)
2 cups chicken broth

Melt the butter in a kettle or deep frying pan, dump in herbs and chopped veggies and saute. While this is going on, break up the bread with your hands. Add to the kettle, then gradually add broth until the mixture is moist. (You may or may not need all of the broth -- and yes, I use bouillon cubes, as well as homemade broth.)

For oyster stuffing, add 1 small can or 1 jar oysters, including juice, at the chicken broth stage. (You'll need 1 cup less broth.) A handful of chopped ham or bacon doesn't hurt.

Stuff your turkey -- or bake stuffing in a greased pan for 25-30 min. @ 350 degrees. Serves 4-6...with leftovers for a greedy writer/quilter later that night.

Update on Michigan...and Dad

Last week (and a bit of the week before), I spent with the folks, who live on a farm outside Sparta, a small town north of Grand Rapids. Daughter #1 came along for the ride, too.

The folks are doing surprisingly well, considering they were going to radiation every day, and chemo twice a week.

I saw Dad's brain scans. Not good. The bone is pretty much gone over his left eye, letting the tissue bulge out and push on his optical nerve. It's the cause of his seeing double...and why he couldn't get his left eye open. Radiation is helping, in that the eyelid (sort of) works now. But he's still seeing double.

The bone over the right eye has large chunks missing. The rest of his skull bone is still there, but considerably thinned.

Obviously, there is no way to replace this bone.

I'm grateful, nonetheless, that the cancer is not actually IN his brain -- just consuming the bone outside it. Dad's mind remains sharp.

He can walk some, with a cane -- but pride gets in his way. He refuses to use a walker or wheelchair. (Says his arms and legs just don't feel that strong.)

He said, just before we left, "You could stay here for a month -- then go home for a week -- then stay for another month." Husband would hate this...he'd be out of underwear, living on soup and frozen pizza and lonely... but my dad asks for so little. We live several states away. How can I take care of biz, be with Dave -- and still help my dad?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Starlighting, and a 'Peaceful' Weekend

Yow.

Slept in Saturday morning -- but that was about it for a serene, peaceful break. The house is full of piles...I dealt with a few of them, then went off for chili to the firehouse with friend Constance --

and the Starlighting. Castle Rock's namesake perches on top of a huge butte, and for decades has featured a large wire star on top. Every year, the star is lit on the last weekend in November, just before Thanksgiving. People in town wander around, admiring kids and dogs....high school and elementary groups perform...horse & carriage rides...and chili and nachos are available at the local firehouse. We all sit around and visit, have a slice of homemade pie to top things off, then count down.

One quick moment -- and the star shines out. Then we enjoy a batch of fireworks, and fight our way home through the traffic.

Our town is known for this. People taking the main north-south highway through Colorado (I-25) are surprised to see this huge star seemingly hanging in the darkness. Sometimes it's lit on other occasions -- when the Broncos make the Superbowl, for example. (Not this year!) When the hostages were being held overseas during Jimmy Carter's waning presidential days, the star shone, to encourage people to remember.

We love this star.

I went home, baked and prepped, then...

Sunday --
7:30 a.m. Worship Team practice
two services -- two sets of music to learn

12:00 p.m. Church is over -- set up for a recital!
12:30 p.m. Recital -- my piano students did a great job, though they were scared to death. Lunch afterward. Plus cleanup.
2:15 p.m. Get home. Collapse. Take an hour nap.
4:35 p.m. Church is having our annual Thanksgiving supper. Head for kitchen, tie an apron on. Pick up dishes. Wash more dishes. Keep it up until the crowd thins, and you can (finally) eat supper.
8:00 p.m. Get home. Collapse again, Daughter #1 in tow. (She's here through Thanksgiving -- lucky us!) Watch various silly programs on tv. Think about going to bed. (Body has no idea what time it is again.)

So that was my wonderful day. Thankfully, the week is coming -- I can do biz stuff, and maybe get some REST!

* * * * * * * *
From the "I'm Not Sure I Wanted to Know This" Department: some of the strangest diseases and allergies you've ever winced to see. Hmmm...

http://news.aol.com/health/article/woman-allergic-to-cold-temperatures/256822

***
And I'm going to bed, to dream about turkeys dancing to a piano version of 'Beauty and the Beast.'

Friday, November 21, 2008

Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff

Ever wondered what Copernicus' face REALLY (or probably really) looked like?

http://news.aol.com/article/remains-identified-as-copernicus/255255

Basically, they compared hairs found in a book known to have been in Copernicus' library with a skull found in a cathedral in Poland. (A strong tradition holds that C. was buried in this particular church -- and a smashed skeleton was found under some floor tiles. Weird.)

I think I'd better go clean out my library books -- fast!

And this is one of the loveliest home dec projects, considering the cost and effort:

http://owcl.blogspot.com/2008/11/home-easy-painted-word-project-for-word.html

Maybe this is the time to paint on that motto on the dining room's north wall...

I collapsed into bed Wednesday night...and quite frankly, the 'ol bod still has no idea what time it is. I get tired at very strange times, and wide awake at others. Thursday was at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, checking up on my California Gold exhibit. Find out more here:

http://www.rmqm.org/current.htm

The gallery's warm yellow light really made the golden prints glow in these 1880s scrap and applique quilts. I was VERY pleased. (And yes, photos will be posted, as soon as the museum sends me their batch.)

This was one of the roughest exhibits ever, as far as setup. It was supposed to go up the Sunday before we left for New Hampshire. (Got a last-minute phone call that the gallery wasn't ready.) Instead, it couldn't happen until Wednesday -- but I left Tuesday! So Karen Roxburgh and two volunteers put up the quilts, plus signage. I hoped for the best.

Fortunately, it was. Karen is a champ. She made a few changes from what our floorplan...but they were great. If you live in Colorado, "California Gold" will be up at the museum through January 2009. Take a look; I think you'd enjoy it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Home. Again.

Home. Just beat. What can I say...at least all the flights worked out just fine.

Found a stuffed tiger in Michigan that's perfect for one of my piano students...dragged it home on the plane...comments trailing behind. ("Aren't all animals supposed to go in a carrier?" "Will it bite me?" and one person who got huffy that I'd brought two carryons PLUS something else.)

I'll be back in volume tomorrow...in the meantime, take a look at this development Google's been working on for some time:

http://www.money.co.uk/article/1001800-google-given-the-green-light-to-publish-copyrighted-books.htm

Google will be online publishing copyrighted books that are out of print, and paying a fee to the authors/artists. I 'guess' this is a good thing -- after all, it means more access to out-of-print works (which are notoriously hard to find). But HOW MUCH of a fee?

And as an author, I get very suspicious about this sort of thing...

A few years ago, as Daughter #2 was looking at schools, we stayed at a B&B near the University of Michigan.

Who was clearing away the out-of-print books on its library shelves, and having them all digitized, instead. The problem with this is first, what happens if the digitized version disappears? And secondly, did they get permission from the authors? (nope) And thirdly, I LIKE the smell and feel of an old book...and the U of M stacks were full of 'em. I loved going up there late at night and snuggling into a back area carrel, with a pile of delicious old books to pet and admire. Love in the Libray, complete with smarmy music and lots of panting.

I am not sure how I feel about this 'wonderful' new development.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Treasure!

A new discovery of a Celtic coin hoard found overseas... in a cornfield near Maastricht, Holland.

http://news.aol.com/article/ancient-celtic-coin-cache-discovered/247382

Wow.

Don't miss the slide show with the article -- it includes some incredible archeological discoveries, including the drainage tunnel thought to be the escape route for Jews fleeing Titus when he sacked Jerusalem. Also, a beautiful -- and ancient -- white stone earring found under a parking lot. (Wish I had a pair.)

Someday I'll bumble onto something wonderful like this.

Or see Bigfoot, peering over our fence. (Not as wacky as you would think -- he's been spotted within ten miles, near Sedalia: http://www.bfro.net/GDB/show_county_reports.asp?state=co&county=Douglas .)

Or a flying saucer, wobbling to say 'hi' at midnight.

Or discover Jimmy Hoffa's personal cement pylon. (Some people think he was hidden somewhere in Giants Stadium: http://urbanlegends.about.com/b/2003/11/08/is-jimmy-hoffa-buried-in-giants-stadium.htm )

Or figure out what the heck cats are really thinking when they're staring at you. (Jack, Daughter's dog, does it, too -- weird.)

Who knows!

It's Snowing

...or it was. About six inches, with the wind blowing it in swoops and swirls. The dogs, especially Jack (Daughter #1's), had a great time prancing around, and came in with their noses smeared white.

What a pleasure and comfort to watch it -- and know you're in a snug, roofed house!

Last night's lecture went great -- more than 180 people were there, learning about Crazies -- and giggling. (Guess I told some funny stories.) We had a great time, looking at pieces and talking about possibilities.

Driving home, milkshake in hand, I relaxed -- it was the last gig of the year.
I wish I could say that now the teaching is over for 2008, I'll sleep in, make cookies and practice Gracious Living.

Ha.

It just means I'll spend time cleaning up some big piles, catching up on ironing, working on the downstairs inventory (which also features some big piles), and starting on the California Gold book manuscript.

But first --

I leave tomorrow for Michigan, and a visit with the folks. Dad continues to get worse. The CAT scan is showing he has no bone in the front area of his forehead...and the rest of his skull has thinned. The radiation sessions every day are helping some; he can open his left eye slightly. But he still sees double. He spends a lot of time in bed. And he can barely walk from the house past the barn. Things seem increasingly clear; he is dying, slowly and surely.

I've said goodbye; I've told this wonderful man who has been my dad for nearly 50 years how I feel about him. But while he is still here, I want to spend as much time as possible with him. We're planning on going to Michigan for the holidays, but I am not sure he'll be around by then.

This has been a test. I say I believe in God; I say I trust Him. Do I, really? Can I believe that God knows this situation, that He loves us and is still caring for us through all this? Intellectually I can do it -- emotionally, I can...but only minute by minute, a day at a time.

It's hard. Those of you who have gone through this -- you understand.

I'll be back on Wednesday, with hopefully a chance to check in a few times. Sometimes I can use Little Brother's computer, sometimes not. (The folks' e-mail isn't currently working.)

I'll be around.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Home...and the phone's still working!

I'm finally back, after the Quilter's Gathering; a day in the White Mountains, where I used to work; and a few days with Husband's brother Jim and wife Marsha in Newport, RI. Four states in less than two weeks -- amazing! It takes 7 hours to go the width of the state...and we went from Conway, NH to Newport in 3 1/2 hours.

More about that coming --

I did a stupid thing and left my cellphone in the Boston rental car. (sigh) That meant the toll-free number -- and my cellphone -- had to be disabled temporarily. (The staffers at home couldn't access either number either. If they did, my cellphone would be usable by any yahoo who wanted to phone Timbuktu.) So no phone. And anyone who called it would be told the number was "disconnected."

Double sigh.

The toll-free number's back in use again -- you can reach the Brickworks offices 1-888-48-BRICK. (If the Denver area is local for you, try 303-519-8781, instead.) Hopefully, my personal phone will be back in business shortly.

In the meantime, take a look at this blog. If you're making do on a limited income...and you want to do it beautifully...you'll enjoy her take on things:

http://queenofmytrailer.wordpress.com/

She's got a long and detailed how-to report on tiling laminate kitchen counters. Hmmm. We need to replace our counters badly...and I LOVE this look. Hmmm.

And I am very happy to report --

Both roofs are DONE!! They're fully shingled -- and beautiful.

A pile of shingles and splintered woodplanks awaits for tidying. In the meantime, there's stuff to put away, plus a gig tonight at the Arapahoe Quilt Guild in Denver...

Talk to you soon.

Twinkle, Twinkle...

A strange swirl of Northern-Lights-style aurora is hanging out at the top of Saturn right now...

http://news.aol.com/article/mysterious-light-show-seen-on-saturn/247048?icid=100214839x1213203267x1200857561

For more unusual space photos, take a look at this batch:

http://news.aol.com/article/mysterious-light-show-seen-on-saturn/247048?icid=100214839x1213203267x1200857561

Cool!

Friday, November 7, 2008

In Defense of Sarah Palin

I admire the heck out of this woman.

She's already accomplished a great deal in her life -- and done it while raising a family. She tells it straight -- no ruffles, no fooling around. She is straightforward, and unafraid to advocate issues (pro-life, for example) that she might be criticized for.

Her critics have been shrill, cruel and picky, picky, picky. I have rarely seen the level of criticism Palin has been forced to endure, everything from daring to bear a child who is mentally retarded (why didn't she abort the kid? How could she be so stupid/unfeeling, etc.), working while having a family (nasty shots on this), enjoying the outdoors, having a husband who's a dog musher (some of the environmental organizations hopped onto this bandwagon), etc. etc.

I am amazed that national women's groups would be leading this charge. Here is a woman who has a national leadership position -- and was chosen for the possibility of even more. But by committing the crime of being a Conservative -- and, horror or horrors, a Christian!! -- she is Not Worthy.

Shame on them.

Shame on them for equating a Liberal stance with the feminine view. And accusing Palin of not being loyal to her sex, as a result.

Could you have taken the rudeness and snide remarks as graciously as she has? Could you have appeared on national television shows, knowing that you'd be picked at and made fun of...and STILL take it graciously? Head for home, with your former boss's lackeys taking potshots at you and accusing you of losing the election for him?

And STILL hang in there...

I think a future in the public glare is not over for Sarah Palin. Thank God. We need her.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Dad started radiation today, instead of yesterday, as planned...came through it ok. No real change, of course -- too soon. His last protein count was a little better. Platelets production way down.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Rained/fogged all day here...

but it was warm inside, and the Quilts of the Pioneers students were having a GREAT time, chatting and whipping fabric around! (I swear...I think we have the messiest classroom ever. And the threads on my black jeans are multiplying by the hour.)

Tomorrow: Discussing what makes up the American style. Then night class: How to Date (and an extremely quick look at repair methods) Old Quilts. (The other teachers have done a night class. Now it's my turn.)

I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Exhausted

It rained here in New Hampshire...but honestly, I didn't notice. I was too busy teaching. Twenty-five people in your class means that you are constantly hustling around, checking and trying to help whenever you can.

I give out a lot of freebies during class, as well. It's an easy way to get the students to relax...while I'm checking on their work!

That's done. Went well. On to "Quilts of the Pioneers" tomorrow.

It's supposed to rain all day again...but I won't see it until night-time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New Hampshire

(pronounced "New Hamp-sha," or so I'm hearing)

We flew into Boston last night -- got here about 10:30 p.m.

Trudged through the airport. (Motto: "You're in Boston - welcome. Now get the heck outa heah.") Twenty-eight miles out of Boston, rental car starts going "putt -- putt -- puuutttttt." The failing engine let us get off just in time to coast into a gas station. The Alamo people said it would take 1 1/2 - 2 hours to get a new car to us. (Thank you, Lynnette, for trying to do something for us, even if you couldn't much...)

By the time we limped back to Boston...got another car...and drove to Nashua...well, we couldn't find the Radisson. A Mobil station in town said there was no conference center in Nashua -- shoot, there wasn't a Radisson, either. Go to Merrimack, instead.

So we did. No Radisson here. The one hotel with a conference center was obviously not in business. A hotelkeeper finally told us to go back to Nashua -- there was a Radisson there, after all.

Found it, and checked in. At 3:00 in the morning.

Slept in -- did some work this afternoon -- a lecture on politics -- and quilts -- tonight. It went well...but boy, I am zonked.

At least the fall colors are still pretty here! Crazy quilting all day tomorrow...stuff everywhere, and boy will it be fun.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A strange waiting silence all day yesterday while we were flying here. People not sure whether to talk about it -- or not. Almost a palpable relief when Obama's victory was quick. (I'm not so sure about decisive -- the USA Today map made it clear that McCain took an awful lot of states -- but Obama took the big cities.)

The one opinion we heard expressed was the Jamaican bus driver, jumping up and down and yelling "Obama prez, Obama prez" into his cellphone, a huge grin on his face.

Congratulations, President Obama. Now let's see what you can do!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jest Dancin'

Matt Harding has a new "Where's Matt?" video...

or maybe it's just new to me.

But here he is -- I can use some cheerfulness. Hope you can, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNF_P281Uu4

Update

...mostly on my dad.

He starts radiation Thursday -- 13 sessions of it. Hopefully this will slow the cancer down some, though I am not very hopeful. The latest tests show the bone in the front of his head (the area behind the eyebrows) is all but gone.... eaten away. The rest of the bone in his skull is considerably thinned.

How in the world can you live with no bone in the front of your head?

The tissue is pressing on the optic nerve, no doubt causing the double vision, headaches and other struggles he's been having lately.

I really appreciate your prayers for him. It is really difficult to trust that God knows and is control of this situation. I know intellectually that He is...but my heart still cries out:

Help, Lord...he's my dad, and I love him.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Nine more bundles of shingles...some work on the flashing around the chimney...and the roof is done.

Now, back to packing.

Road Trip!

Ballot gets turned in this afternoon...

Carlos will finish up the roof tomorrow morning (Great Relief! Excitement! Joy!)...

Packing finishes up tonight...

And tomorrow Husband and I head for Nashua, New Hampshire, and the Quilter's Gathering conference!

http://www.aquiltersgathering.com

I've still got a few openings in classes, if you're in the neighborhood...would love to meet you.

Then we'll take a few days off -- spend a little time in the White Mountains (where I taught backpacking and rockclimbing for a few summers). We'll also go see Dave's brother and wife in Rhode Island.

Home for a few days...another gig, this time for the Columbine Quilt Guild in Denver...

Then to Michigan to see the folks. I got the phone call I'd been dreading last Friday -- my dad, who's been experiencing double vision and headaches for the past few weeks, woke up and couldn't open his left eyelid. A CAT scan confirmed the worst:

the bone cancer has spread to his brain.

Not long now. I am hoping very, very much he can hang in there until I can get to Michigan. A number of my classes and lectures have sold out in New Hampshire...I've got to go there first, and do my job.

I'll check in now and then, and let you know how we're doing.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

You Say Potay-ta, I Say Po-tata

This blogger says McCain is doomed, because nobody from the current-party-in-power wins when there's also a recession going on...or so she quotes.

http://onefrugalgirl.blogspot.com/2008/11/history-predicts-mccain-may-be-doomed.html

"Here is the list from previous years: Hayes (1876), Cleveland (1884), McKinley (1896), Harding (1920), Roosevelt (1932), Kennedy (1960), and Reagan (1980). If history is any predictor McCain may very well be doomed."

Right. Uh-huh. Apparently we haven't had any other recessions (or the old-fashioned term, 'panics') any of the other election years? Well, oops... because we have. I also find it interesting that the list stops at 1876, leaving out a century of election years...and financial panics.

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And this blogger is equally convinced that Obama is unrealistic, unprepared and overoptimistic:

http://wastrelshow.blogspot.com/2008/10/dear-mr-obama.html

This lady can be nasty and pompous in equal doses, assumes that her word is all-knowing, and she is well-aware of everything nationally. (The sad truth -- she's an East Coast snob who doesn't seem to have a clue of anything further west than the New York state line.)

* * * * * * * * ** * * *

I could say who I am voting for. I could try to persuade you to vote the same way with all sorts of insults and demeaning statements. (After all, isn't that how political commercials seem to think we operate?) The thing is -- my chosen candidate is not perfect. He has made statements I don't always agree with...and I am not sure he honestly will go through with all of the promises he's made.

On the other hand, I've admired some statements he's made, especially the ones that are not popular. I've admired his courage and willingness to take an individual stand.

There. Can you tell? Of course not. Both Obama and McCain have done this.

The thing is: at least in my home state (Colorado), many, many people have already voted! Absentee ballots and early voting made it easy. Which makes the advertising (and rudeness) we have to endure through Nov. 3 both irritating and unnecessary.

The other is: you need to vote, based on your convictions. But the most important thing is:

You need to vote.

A New Book's In The Future!

Just got the news -- this winter, I'll be working on a book for Arcadia Press!  It comes out in Fall 2018. It's a great opportun...