February Photos

Monday, April 25, 2016

Photos: Tigger and the Daffodils

The big orange cat -- we're calling him 'Tigger' -- was happily rolling around on the warm sidewalk out front, but when he saw me taking his picture he had to come see me.  He has a low-pitched, raspy 'mrrrrow' -- as far to the other end of the tone spectrum from Tabby's high-pitched peeps as could possibly be.  He and Tabby are getting along fine; but Teensy is a bit afraid of him.  Teensy is big -- but Tigger is bigger.

Journal: Pecan Sandies, Lightboxes, and Orange Cats

It rained several days last week.  We needed it; we’d been receiving Fire Weather Warnings.  The grass is bright green now. 
Last Monday evening, Larry put a new bulb in Lawrence and Norma’s brake light.  We got the better end of the deal:  she sent home homemade pecan sandies.
I love pecan sandies, and Norma’s are absolutely scrumptious.  They beat those yummy Keebler ones all hollow, and that’s really going some! 
A friend was making her little granddaughter a baby quilt.  Somehow, it wound up a whole lot bigger than she’d expected.  She asked what I thought she should do with it.  So I wrote:  “Just look at it as being a step ahead.”
I had things like this happen when I was sewing clothes for the kids when they were young.  I had to start making Easter things immediately after Christmas and sew fast in order to get done with multiple outfits for each child, and it was something of an alarming situation if more than one dress, or vest and pants set, turned out too big.  I’d run plumb out of time, if that happened often!  The only thing worse than ‘too big’ was ‘too small with no younger sibling to grow into it’.
One year, I used a lovely vintage dress pattern.  The back of the pattern didn’t properly describe the sizes, and I wound up with both Hannah’s and Dorcas’ dresses at least two sizes too big, which was quite a surprise, as vintage patterns more likely wound up too small than too big.  These dresses were constructed with all sorts of gores, nooks, and crannies, and there was no way to make them two sizes smaller without ruining the design.
But ... they were made in dotted-Swiss ginghams that would also be just fine for our Fourth-of-July picnic, so... I put them into the closet and figured I was all done with Fourth-of-July dresses for Hannah and Dorcas, a year and a half in the future.  The dresses were still a smidge too big for Easter the next year, but four months later, on July the 4th, they were almost just right.  Sure was nice to have them all done ahead of time!
“It’s not work wasted or lost time,” I told my friend; “it’s just another project, already partially done.”
One time when I was about 9 or 10, Janice asked me if I liked purple (in clothing) (she knew purple was my favorite color), and I, evidently having read some high-ka-flutin’ article about proper colors for various skin tones, said no and announced pompously that purple wasn’t good for my skin color and made me look sallow, and blah blah blah blah blah.
Turned out she’d already made a purple gabardine cape for me for Easter.
You should’ve heard me backtracking, explaining that this particular color was the right color, and I of course had been talking about that other purple color (whatever that was).  haha
My computer decided to update that night, and I was off doing something else and didn’t get the opportunity to click ‘later, alligator’.  Because of the great amount of IST (Important Stuff and Things) on my laptop, this process takes a while.  So I went downstairs and ironed the traced templates onto another sheet of freezer paper and cut a few of them out before the computer finished its job and came back to life again, acting all innocent and righteous.
It bugs me when I must reboot my computer, because it never saves the touchpad scroll settings, including chiral scrolling.  So I have to pull up mouse properties and reset them.  Okay, it only takes 15-20 seconds, that’s true.  But this is a known Windows 10 glitch.  It’s been months since they rolled out this OS!  Why can’t they fix it?!
I just played a youtube video of cats screaming at each other and made Tabby and Teensy come rushing all bug-eyed to see what on earth was happening.  hee hee
When I was a wee little kiddo, and Daddy would be studying at the kitchen table, or taking care of correspondence, I’d run get my pencils and notebooks, and study and write, too.  I loved my Daddy, and I wanted to be by him, doing the things he did, as much as possible.  I wrote letters to Grandmas, Aunts and Uncles, and a couple of penpals.  And I wrote stories.  Lots of stories.  A year or two later, I’d start rereading them – and pitch the whole works into the trash. 
I loved writing from the time I learned to spell – well, truth be told, I liked writing before I learned to spell.  In my baby book, I found a page my mother had saved, that I ‘wrote’ when I was two:  a bunch of careful wiggles and squiggles on lined paper, one row after another, with a few recognizable letters now and then.  She must’ve been proud of me, or struck funny, one or the other, to save that paper! 
When the older children were young, we had a few penpals from all over the world – Philippines, Ireland, Germany, Turkey, Trinidad, Argentina, Canada...  For a time, I did the majority of the writing, as my kids were actually too young to participate in the program (I’ve forgotten what it was called).  A young man from Argentina even came to Keith’s wedding.  He lives in Ireland now.  Two sisters from Canada came to Hannah’s wedding... struck up a friendship with a cousin... and came to her wedding a few years later, and stayed at Bobby and Hannah’s house.  The first time they came, they drove a little car that was falling apart.  Literally.  As they crossed a big bridge in Chicago, a fender blew right off and whisked over the edge of the railing!  There were mechanical problems, too.
Well, during the week they stayed here, Larry found a car of the same make and model, but a few years newer and in better mechanical repair, at a salvage yard nearby.  It had been in an accident, and needed a rear quarter replaced.  Fortunately, there was another car in the same salvage yard just like it, but with no motor.  The owner, a friend, upon hearing what Larry was doing, sold the car and the rear quarter cheap.  Larry put the ‘new’ quarter on and painted that car – and the morning the girls were ready to leave for their home in Ontario, he told them he’d take their car off to fill it with gas, check the oil and the air in the tires...
When he came back in a little while, it was in the newly painted car.  Those girls were so astonished!  One shrieked, the other cried. 
They spent a memorable time with us – the afternoon of Hannah’s wedding, the town sirens went off, because there was a big, bad tornado just northeast of town.  We all dashed out into the street to see if we could spot it. 
The girls were laughing...  “Wait ’til we tell our mother that when the sirens go off, you don’t go to the basement, you run out into the streets!” 
When the twister came nearer, we did go to the basement; but it never touched down in the city, thankfully.  After the girls left the next day, we drove out in the country to see the damage that had been done.  Some fields had been stripped right down to bare soil, trees were taken down to short, snowy-white trunks, and several farm places were demolished.  One lady got hurt, but no one was killed.  If I remember right, the tornado was an F4.  Good thing it mostly spent itself out in the open countryside!
I had a Turkish penpal who was born and grew up in Germany, then married a distant Turkish cousin, someone important in the Turkish military, and moved to Turkey.  She was a bit frightened to go there; she’d never been there, and she barely knew the language.  She wrote to me several times after getting an apartment in Istanbul.  Her last letter told of her sadness over a miscarriage.  And then there was that awful earthquake there, and in the news were stories and pictures of apartment buildings that had come crumbling to the ground, killing many people... and I never heard from her again.  I wrote to her parents back in Germany, but they didn’t speak English, and I never heard from them, either.  I have no idea what happened, but of course I imagined the worst.
She was so pretty – very dark brown hair, but light, vivid blue eyes.  We’ve used a phrase she wrote to me, ever since.  She wrote, “I don’t remember if before this I told you ever already, but oh well, twice holds better!”  So if we repeat ourselves, we say, “Twice holds better!”
Tuesday, I watered the house plants and threw a load of clothes into the washing machine before heading downstairs to work on the big appliqué block.  I have a five-leafed plant that used to be my mother’s.  It’s one of the hardiest things I’ve ever grown, and refuses to die even when I subject it to famine and flood.  When it was nearer the window, it was threatening to take over the living room and would have doubtless punched through the ceiling, had the branches not curved around and bent low.  Now it is back in a corner and not doing as well.  It badly needs to be repotted.
When I got it, I didn’t know what it was called.  Then I saw a small one in the Hy-Vee florist shop and thought, Oh, good, now I can find out what it is!  I turned the plant’s ID card over and read – ‘Green plant.’
Well, that was brilliant.
I decided to see what they called a beautiful blooming cyclamen.  I turned the card over.  It said, ‘Blooming plant.’
Isn’t that clever of them.
The five-leafed plant, since identified, is an umbrella plant or Schefflera.
I spent a good part of the afternoon and evening trimming itty bitty templates from double layers of freezer paper.  There were 269 itty bitty pieces to cut.  There would’ve been 303, but I decided to embroider some of the most itty bitty pieces, as opposed to making them of itty bitty pieces of fabric.  I got about ⅔ of those little templates cut.  I intended to finish that night, but my back was protesting, and I decided to listen to it. 
So I seated myself in my recliner, put a heating pad behind my back, and a nifty Arthro Gold Joint+ heatable/freezable gel pack from Loren on my neck, after warming it for 30 seconds in the microwave.  Ahhhh...  The pack is not heavy, like heatable rice bags are. 
Wednesday morning, a friend wrote to say they were ripping up their shower to get at a burst pipe in the wall.
Ugh, that’s a bummer.  We once had a pipe freeze and break right over my new sewing room, which fortunately I hadn’t yet moved my machines into.  There was just one more little detail Larry had to finish, or I’d have been all moved in.  I kept hearing an odd noise that night, but couldn’t figure out what it was.  Then I went into my sewing room just to admire it, never dreaming to find a spraying, spewing waterfall pouring from the ceiling!  Aarrgghh.
Fortunately, the carpet was a porous type that can work indoors or out, so it dried really fast, without any danger of mold setting in.
I headed downstairs to finish cutting out the freezer-paper templates.  A gentle rain was falling.  We got close to 2” of rain over a 24-hour period.  There was a pair of cardinals at the feeder, and the house finches and goldfinches were singing like anything.
It was Jeremy’s birthday that day, the 20th; he’s 29.  After church that evening, we gave him some money; he can use it on something in the construction of their new house, if he likes.
We found him in the Fellowship Hall.  We were looking at the beautiful crown molding in the ceiling, and then Larry told me that Jeremy had made it!  He did it with one of the machines in his shop.
After leaving the church, we stopped by Bobby and Hannah’s house.  The boys got out the guinea pigs to show us, so we petted them while they chirruped and purred (the guinea pigs, not the boys).  Levi and Joanna played a duet on the piano... then Joanna played a song.  Nathanael plays the piano, too.  Aaron is playing a French horn; he played with our band for Easter for the first time. 
We stopped for some nachos from Amigos after church.  Yummmm... we hadn’t had those in a long time. 
When we got home, I worked on the appliqué for a while, getting all 269 little freezer-paper templates ironed onto various pieces of fabric.
Thursday morning, a friend sent me a video called Abdul the Skateboarder (only really it was a hoverboard).  Funny... he whisks down the hill in his white robes... he loses his balance... he falls — he blows up:  Abdul the Hoverboarder 
On youtube I found the original version.  It turns out, ‘Abdul’ is in Dubai, and though he appears to have been injured, he did not explode upon ground impact.  So the blast was ‘overlaid’ – one video atop the other.  
​You know, suicide bombers must get a real surprise when they discover that the final blast on earth neither ends everything nor transports them immediately to their cobbled-up idea of ‘heaven’; contrariwise, they wind up in the ‘lake ​which burneth with fire and brimstone’.  And it will never end.
I think it’s horrible the way our world leaders won’t stop terrorist groups in their tracks.  They could, but they won’t!  They have the wherewithal – but not the want-to.  A whole lot of our leaders are namby-pamby, rank cowards.  They think they mustn’t offend anybody, not even the vilest of the vile.
That day, I trimmed fabric around templates.  I trimmed...  and I trimmed...  and I trimmed.  Finally, all the little pieces were trimmed and curves clipped, and I began starching and pressing the edges around the freezer paper.  I got all the little flower, leaf, and butterfly templates finished.
It was 66°, pretty and sunny.  And Victoria lost her wallet (again), and the battery was dead on her ‘new’ VW Touareg – maybe something to do with the misbehaving sunroof from the previous day.  Why do sunroofs invariably misbehave when it’s raining?
So everything was normal.
That evening, since everyone was late getting home, and no one was around to place an order, I ate what I wanted to eat for supper:  two easy-over eggs on a piece of 12-grain toast, 100% cranberry juice, and a little cup of rice pudding.  With a Fiber One strawberry streusel bar for dessert.  Larry got home around 9:30 or 10, and I fixed him a more ‘normal’ supper – meat, vegetables, etc.  Then, since I’m so sociable, I ate Schwan’s Black Cherry ice cream with him.  We sprinkled granola clusters and dried raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries on top.
Friday I went on working on the templates for the basket parts of my appliqué design. 
A friend had her eyes dilated that day, and then was all between and betwixt, because she’d wanted to quilt, but her eyes were too blurry.
I very much dislike having my eyes dilated.  It always gives me a bad headache, and my eyes are blurry for 2-3 days – almost like an allergic reaction, maybe?
Caleb had an eye exam when he was a little guy.  He came home with plastic/paper sunglasses and happily and proudly announced to his big sisters, “My eyes are dilapidated!” 
They of course screeched with laughter, so he tried again:  “My eyes are dynamited!”
That time, they laughed so hard they sat right down on the floor and cried.
The orange cat with the striped tail that has decided we are his best friends lately is trying to be all lovey-dovey with Tabby.  Tabby wasn’t impressed with him (let’s call him ‘Tigger’) when he rubbed against his side, so he made his high-pitched screech at him.  But shortly thereafter, Tigger blundered his way through the back door with Victoria and Tabby, and the two cats, the orange and the yellow, walked side by side through the back hallway, tails entwining.
I took Loren some supper that evening.  He gave me a new topical analgesic to try – Ultra-Strength ActivOn for arthritis.  It’s a gel in a roll-up tube, and the active ingredients are Histamine Dihydrochloride and menthol.  Good stuff! 
That night, I cut the rest of the background blocks for the Buoyant Blossoms BOM quilt, which will be about 55” x 73” – and, wonder of wonders, there’s enough fabric.  Just barely, but enough.  This is a relief, since the store has no more, nor can I find it online.
The templates for the central piece were all ready to apply.  The background blocks, sashings, and corner stones were all cut, and the central part was together as far as possible without pressing the seams.  There are still some pieced blocks and borders to cut, and four more appliqué blocks to draw.  I stalled out there.
When the next step seems too tall to surmount, it’s time to turn off sewing machine, lightbox, iron, mini iron, and lights, and head for the feathers.  That ‘next step’ can be as simple and uncomplicated as filling another bobbin... changing the top thread... or ironing a seam... but I sit and stare vacantly at my machine and wonder absently which foot I should put forward first in my quest to arise from my chair.
And then it occurs to me, Oh.  I’ve been sewing/quilting since noon, and it is now 2:30 a.m.  So I gather my wits and start shutting everything down, and the thought of flannel pajamas practically makes me purr.
Saturday morning found me back in gear, and ironing a seam (or two) sounded like fun instead of an insurmountable problem. 
I got some Orange Blossom Honey Body Butter in the mail; I found it online at an affordable price, and it smells just like (or better than) the Tarocco Blood Orange lotion samples we got at the Hilton Gardens Inn way down south.  An 8 oz. bottle of that Tarocco stuff costs $45! !!!  !!  So Orange Blossom Honey Body Butter it is.  It was $16 (free shipping), which is more than I usually spend already.  But...  I really, really like it.  That justifies it, right?  Right??
That afternoon, I spent half an hour searching for the best price for a gasket for the cap on my Rowenta Pressure Steamer Iron, and ordering it ($3.99, + $4.95 shipping, the common thieves) ------ only to discover that the thing quits losing steam if you just tighten up the lid. 
It wasn’t me who filled it last.  That cap has a mountain of threads on it; it takes more than 30 twists of the hand to get it tight.  I can well imagine Victoria in a gigantic rush right before work, spinning it down and quitting in exasperation before it was quite tight.
Ah, well.  Gaskets do need to be replaced now and then, and now I have spare.  (Of course I will put it in a safe place and then be unable to find it when I need it, you know that.)
Larry and I went to Menards that evening to get a new light for the lightbox he made me a couple of years ago.  This sure is an improvement over the old light!
I’ve been using an 18” fluorescent light with a single bulb.  I had to wiggle it this way and that, sing Dixie, and cross my middle toes to get it to come on.  It glared in the centers of the quilt blocks, and was dark around the edges.
I now have a 15” square LED light, one of those that is made to sit flush against the ceiling.  The top is soft white, so there is no glare.  Larry rewired it to a cord so I can plug it into an outlet.
This is so much better!  I really needed it, because the block I’m doing now – or at least the central section of the block, where the appliqué work is – measures 17.5”.
I got 56 appliqué pieces put in place that night.  Just 213 to go.
Yesterday, April 24th, was Aaron’s 15th birthday.  He’s our oldest grandson.  We gave him a tie tac shaped like the Pensacola Lighthouse in Florida, a book about Florida’s lighthouses, a Cabela’s cap, a medallion from the Pensacola Naval Base, and an LED flashlight.
Look what the lady for whom I made the Kody dog wall hanging, just wrote to the CyberQuilters group (and she’s teasing me with that ‘getting excited and squealing’ stuff; she knows perfectly well that’s not me, hee hee): 

I posted another photo of a wall hanging of my sheltie, Kody. 

This quilt was made by Sarah Lynn.  I emailed her a photo of my dog and she created this little quilt.  It measures 18 x 24.  It is very detailed, appliquéd, an original creation by her. 
We had our local guild quilt show this weekend.  It is not a judged show, but visitors vote ”Viewer’s Choice”  in each category.  There were 4 categories with 1st and 2nd place prizes in each one.  
This piece of art earned 1st Place in the wall hanging category.  It is small town guild and small town prize money, but I will split the prize with her.  She’s just finding out right now and she gets so excited over things, so I’m sure I’ll hear her squeal all the way from Nebraska. 

I wrote back, “WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!”
And that’s as close to ‘squealing’ as I get.  If I won a Cadillac (or ten million dollars) on national TV, I’d crack a small smile and say sotta voce, “That’s nice.”
(And I might turn my head and wink at Larry.) 
Today I am doing laundry.  Four loads are folded and put away... another is in the dryer (sheets, etc.)... and the final one is in the washing machine.
I’m typing away, coffee mug at my elbow, pedometer in my pocket.  I often stand and exercise as I type.  The bird feeders are all full, and grackles, cardinals, and goldfinches are sampling the fare.  I have the north windows and door open, and am listening to the birds warbling.  Over on the hill north of the lane, the grackles are in full courtship and making quite a scene. 
Victoria’s strawberries and onions are coming up... and I have flowers galore.  I need to spend more time on my flowerbeds... but I’m having troubles doing two things at once!  

And now I’ve been to the bank to deposit Larry’s check, and stopped at the dentist’s office to pay Victoria’s bill.  The bed is made with fresh sheets.
The big old orange kitty seems to have pretty much decided he belongs here.  He’s such a nice cat.  Did someone dump him, I wonder?  He has gray around his muzzle; he’s not young.  He doesn’t seem to be the least big aggressive, and doesn’t mind Tabby and Teensy – but Teensy acts spooked of him, and slinks around him.  That’s not normal for Teensy.  Maybe Teensy tried to chase him off, and Tigger took exception and took Teensy down?  Teensy’s big, but the orange cat is bigger.  I’ll betcha he weighs 16-18 pounds.
Anyway, I’ve started feeding him.  He wants in the house.  Obviously, he’s been in houses before.  Siggghhhh... I didn’t want more cats!  But I like animals, and I feel so sorry for them, when it seems like they’ve lost their homes, somehow.  Even the silly little squirrels pretty well know I won’t hurt them (though I might fling a bit of water at them, when they’re gobbling down the bird food while the birds sit atop the hanger and chirp unhappily).
It’s the black cats, evidently, who beat up on Teensy.  There’s a long-haired one with white paws and white bib, and a shorted-haired all-black one.  The short-haired one sometimes sleeps on the back deck – and if he gets startled, he dives through the railing, scampers down some boards that sort of hang from the flooring – and jumps all the way to the ground, one story down!  :-O
Teensy’s all cuddled up on my lap, and he doesn’t want me typing, he wants me petting him.  He just wrapped soft paws around my arm, drug my hand off the keyboard, and then buried his face in the crook of my elbow.  :-D  Silly big ol’ cuddlefluff.
Right there on the coffee warmer sits a mug of steaming Hazelnut Crème coffee.  As my Daddy used to say eons and eons ago, “I could whup mah weight in wild pussycats!” 

And now, a quote from Thomas Watson, 1620-1686:
                                       The Art of Divine Contentment
“For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  Philippians 4:11
Contentment sweetens every condition.  It is a flower which does not grow in every garden.  Contentment teaches a man how to abound—in the midst of poverty!
Discontent sours every comfort; it puts vinegar into every mercy; it doubles every cross.  But the contented spirit takes sweetness from every flower of providence.  Contentment is full of consolation; it is an alleviation to all our burdens. 

,,,>^..^<,,,     Sarah Lynn     ,,,>^..^<,,,

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Photos: Turbine Columns, and New Fellowship Hall and School

On the way to church this morning, we saw a train sitting on the tracks -- many flatbed cars carrying column sections for wind turbines.  The line of cars seemed to go on forever.

After church, Larry and I went into the new Fellowship Hall and school and took some photos.  This is the Fellowship Hall.

Jeremy made all the crown molding for the ceiling with a machine in his shop.

They're starting the framing for the windows.

This is the kitchen.

Here is one of the staircases Larry has been helping work on.  He's doing the welding, sanding, and priming.


This is the gymnasium.

Each panel will be painted the color of the asterisk on it.

One of the atria.

Fellowship Hall from the other side.

The train with the wind turbine columns is still sitting here.  I've never seen them on train cars before.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Journal: The Butterflies Have Returned!

The butterflies are back, with platoons and regiments!  Tuesday, a sulphur; Wednesday, a couple of cabbage whites... and by Friday, there were a dozen or so having all sorts of fun flitting about the dandelions.  Good thing there are dandelions for them; there aren’t many other flowers in bloom yet.  Why did someone decide dandelions are bad, anyway??!  The idget.
Last Sunday, I got up with a stomachache.  Thinking it would go away, I set about getting ready for church.  But instead of going away, it got worse.  So I stayed home.  I thought I’d go to the evening service, but by afternoon a headache had joined the stomachache, sort of like Winnie-the-Pooh’s woozles that kept joining each other.  Remember that story?
Pooh and Piglet follow what they assume to be woozle footprints, intending to catch up with the animal.  When the footprints become more numerous, Pooh explains to Piglet that woozles often travel with wizzles.  They eventually come to the chagrined realization, however, that they had been walking in circles, following were their own footprints, which increased by two sets each time they retraced their circuit.
I’m standing in front of my laptop, which is on the kitchen table... wireless keyboard on a pillow to bring it to a good height... mouse on a little wooden hand-carved stool to the side, so it’s at the right height, too... pedometer around my neck, and as I type, I exercise – walking vigorously in place.  It’s early evening, I’ve been at it the last half of the afternoon, and I’m up to 4,819 steps.  It would be more, but I keep having to stop moving in order to get the mouse positioned on this or that.
I don’t get nearly enough exercise, according to that 10,000-step thing – less when I sew than when I work on journals and pictures.  Or at least that’s what the pedometer thinks.  ‘Course, it doesn’t start counting until I’ve taken 13 steps – and many times, scurrying around in my sewing room, I take less than 13 steps before I stop.  Often, I stop just before activating the thing, and then trot hither and yon again after it goes dormant – but again, not enough to activate it. 
So on an intense sewing day, the pedometer might record only 2,000 steps or practically nothing at all... but I probably have at least twice that.  I had to fiddle around with the stride length to get it to record my in-place steps along with my regular steps. 
In any case, standing is better than sitting.  Can’t sit for too long ... arthritis in the ol’ acetabulum, or, as Hester called it when she was about three years old, ‘karumpasetter’.  She was such a funny little fixin’s.
Some days I get a lot of steps by doing a bit of gardening... hanging clothes out on the line... carrying things up and down the stairs (my coffee mug, for instance, heh)... and walking to the mailbox.
I just got a notice from PayPal, heralded by the ‘ka-ching’ sound I have it set to play when it comes in.  Another pattern has sold.
I want to draw up some patterns for children – puppies... kittens... bunnies... teddy bears... there are lots and lots of cute animals in the world.  J  I’ll do some butterfly appliqués... some birds... and some pieced designs in EQ7.  Why didn’t I draw patterns I could keep, when I was making all those mug rugs a couple of years ago, for pity’s sake?!  I could’ve been selling patterns all this time.  Had no idea there was any money in it.
Dorcas sent me some pictures of her kitchen; Todd has just put in wall cabinets.  The cabinets are beautiful, very much like the ones I chose for the house we moved into just before Hannah was born. 
“I’m jealous of your dishwasher!” I told her.
She laughed and replied, “Well, you might not really like it so well; it’s old and the bottom piece inside it comes off at times.  It spews something on the dishes so they come out worse than going in.  I learned it helps to use baking soda and vinegar to clean the garbage disposal and it helped a lot.  It works most of the time.”
“So long as it doesn’t leak all over the floor like our old one in town did,” I reminded her.
Someone would walk into the kitchen and shout, “We need towels!!!” and others would come running with armloads of them.  Once, Teddy walked in after a particularly bad leak, and shouted, “WE NEED AN AIRBOAT!!!!!!!”
Dorcas said that most nights there are deer in the field across the road from their house, on the side of the hill.
That reminded me of the time there were a doe and fawn in our back yard early one morning.  I spotted them out the open bathroom window, and rushed silently off to get Larry.  He came scurrying in, still half asleep — and stepped on the edge of the cat’s bowl of water, sending it sloshing all up his bare foot and leg, whereupon he immediately yelped loudly. 
The deer and fawn were in Cherry County before we could blink.
Dorcas got a ‘baby wrap’ that lets her carry baby Trevor around, all snuggled against her, as she’s doing housework and suchlike.  The baby is content in his wrap.
“And some people think it ‘spoils’ babies,” she told me.
Bah, humbug!  This is the sort of thing that makes me rant and rave.  People’s ideas of ‘spoiling’ a baby are nuts.  Taking care of him the moment he needs taken care of, comforting him when he needs comforting, that’s not spoiling, at all, at all!  That’s loving him.  People who think taking proper care of a child is ‘spoiling’ them are idiots.  ‘Spoiling’ a child is letting him be a brat and doing nothing about it.  People need a good dose of the Bible!  Remember Isaiah: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?” then he answers himself in some amazement, “Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”  
Last Monday was grandson Ethan’s 12th birthday.  He was born on Easter Sunday, 2004.  We gave him some things from our trip to Florida:  a big book on Florida lighthouses, a Pensacola Lighthouse tie tac, a brass commemorative medallion or coin from the Pensacola Naval Museum, a squished, elongated penny from the Pensacola Lighthouse, a Cabela’s cap, a long red LED pen light, and a pair of suede bedroom slippers with Sherpa lining and cuff.
Teddy and Amy’s oldest is 12 years old!  How can this be??  He was just a toddler, a couple of years ago!
Speaking  of ‘growing up’, Caleb is now just past 6’ tall, and he seems to be continuing to grow!
Reckon this is because of that “Thanksgiving feast” he ate when he was 3?  There I was, sewing away in my bedroom... he was playing, trotting in and out... What I didn’t know was that he’d gotten into the groceries I’d just bought and into the boxes of fruit a friend had just brought: I later found three empty raisin boxes, half a loaf of bread gone, pits from plums, apricots, peaches, and nectarines, cores from apples and pears, many, many cheese wrappers, and only half a cluster of grapes left.  All et in one afternoon.  By evening, his hands and cheeks (to say nothing of his tummy!) looked plump.  (He don’t look plump no mo’, huh-uh, nosiree.)
I once found him with his entire short little arm – not just ‘hand’, ARM! – in the peanut butter jar, scooping out a huge fistful of the stuff.  hahaha  I exclaimed, “YUCK!!!  AAAUUUGGGHH!!!  That’s awful, and you’re all a mess, and it’s yucky to eat handfuls of peanut butter all by itself!” while I scrubbed him up. 
Later, I heard him say sadly to Lydia, “I thought it was really yummy.”  
Lydia was all cracked up, trying not to laugh in little brother’s face.
Tuesday afternoon, I hung another load of clothes outside – and the wind was gusting at 30 mph.  “They should get dry quickly,” I remarked, “but they might be wrapped around the church steeple when they are!”
An hour later, I heard an odd noise on the back deck, went to see what it was – and discovered the clothesline had broken.  The plastic bracket that held the line to the wall had cracked right in half. 
“Could you kindly nab Daddy’s shirts out of the sky as they go whistling past?” I asked one of the girls, with whom I happened to be talking at the time.
Several people have asked me to offer possible designs, along with background fabric requirements, for the various quilt sizes of the Buoyant Blossoms BOM.  I hadn’t figured it out yet, since I’ve just been using leftover scraps and pieces from other projects.  So...  here’s what I came up with that afternoon:  Buoyant Blossoms BOM Quilt Designs
I used Electric Quilt 7 for these designs, importing my own photos into the program for the first time.  I was pleased with how nifty it worked.  Here’s a possible finished design in the wall-hanging size.
When Larry got home that evening, he took his chain saw out back and made short work of the pile of trunks and branches from the trees he cut down last Saturday, and then hauled the wood to Loren’s house and stacked them with his firewood. 
Loren’s lawn is already green and pretty, and he has flowers coming up all over the place.  He really keeps everything nice, inside as well as outside.  He worries that he’s not keeping it as nice as Janice did... but I assure him he is. 
In the early evening, I smelled something burning.  It seemed to be some distance away, as the odor was somewhat indistinct – that is, I couldn’t make out exactly what it was.  Sometimes it smelled really, really bad... sometimes it sort of faded out.  Later that night, it was baaad... and I am extremely sensitive to smells like that.  I checked around the house and in the garage to make sure nothing was burning.  It smelled sort of like bleach, or that new diesel they’re burning in tractors and big trucks around here ... but when I stepped outside, I got whiffs of something like rubber burning.  Ugh, it was awful. 
Odors like that make my throat swell a bit, until it’s a little hard to swallow.  My eyes and nose were burning, and I had a headache.  I closed the house all up – but that didn’t help; in fact, it seemed to make it worse, pinning in the smell.  So I opened it all up again – windows, front door, patio doors – and turned on the ceiling fan.  It was only 53°, so I cranked up the furnace and the infrared space heater.  Then I put on fleece socks... flannel nightgown... fleece sweater... crocheted tam... and a silk scarf before ensconcing myself in my recliner with a microfleece blanket.  Sarah Lynn, ze haute couture fashionista!
I made myself some hot tea; that would help my throat. 
Three minutes later, I was turning off the space heater, cranking the ceiling fan up to high, and peeling off tam and fleece socks.  I never was known for moderation. 
Wednesday morning, a friend in Washington State reported seeing the first hummingbird of the season.  Hummers already?!  That means I’d better get out my feeders and fill and hang them!  Ours come around about the same time hers do, generally.
That day, I machine-embroidered a label for the old quilt (the 1936 3D Dahlia) my mother gave me, and sewed it onto the back of the quilt.  Then I started on the next flower appliqué block for the Buoyant Blossoms BOM, getting it drawn and all the templates cut from freezer paper before church time.
Thursday, I continued working on the flower appliqué block.  This one is a poppy.  Hopefully, I can get this quilt done in time for Mother’s Day for Norma.  If not, well, I’ll get her something else, and just give the quilt to her when it gets done.  Meanwhile, I’m taking photos and getting the pdf pattern ready so I can post it at my Craftsy and Etsy stores at the end of each month.  The patterns are selling well – and I only have 7 available so far.
Noticing that the peach tree was in blossom, I grabbed my camera, put on the 90mm Tamron macro lens, and trotted out to get a few shots.
I shooed a fat squirrel off the bird feeders, and frightened a plump, dark-eyed junco.  The squirrels are so well-fed from the black oil sunflower seeds, it’s a wonder the birds don’t look skinny!  Within minutes, the shooed squirrel’s brother was hanging upside down on the suet cake holder, the cheeky rodent.
That afternoon, I learned that I wasn’t just imagining things; the air was unhealthy, and it had descended upon Omaha:
Subject: Breaking News from Omaha.com: Air quality in Douglas County in unhealthy category due to Kansas fires.
By the time I got the notice, however, the air was clear and fresh, over here in Platte County.  It was a relief to have good air to breathe.  I forwarded the email to Larry, who has a penchant for acting like I either don’t smell what I know I’m smelling, or have misidentified the stench.
Larry, who is almost never troubled by the odors that bother me immensely (especially gas or diesel fumes, mildew, or smoke from anything other than a simple wood fire), and often argues with me over just what is producing the smells that cause me the most distress, even though my olfactory detection sensors have proven to be nearly infallible, answered my email:  “Yes, smoke isn’t healthy no matter where it comes from; that is carbon monoxide poison.”
I promptly replied, “Who are you, and what have you done with Larry?!”
Some years back, a friend of mine who had a penchant for lengthy shopping at Wal-Mart was greeted by one of the workers who asked her, “What department do you work in?  I see you in so many different places, I haven’t yet figured out which department is yours.”  :-D
One of the reasons the workers thought she was an employee:  she was a fussbudget who couldn’t bear it if towels, clothes, etc., were messed up, so she was forever refolding, rehanging, and straightening things.  She often spent a good part of her days wandering aisles of stores here, there, everywhere.  My all-day wanderings are more happily spent out in the woods, or in the mountains or hills, or alongside rivers or lakes.
I like shopping online at Wal-Mart.  If the order is over $50, shipping is free.  It’s really nice to have the UPS/FedEx/USPS people carry heavy things right to my front door, as opposed to me putting those things in a cart, trundling them about that large store, bagging them, carting them out to my vehicle, and then reversing the procedure when I get home. 
Now, if they’d just bring back the milkman.
Stubby is back!  The little squirrel with the frostbitten ears, that is:
Meanwhile, I wasn’t too awfully happy with the flower block I was making.  The pattern was good – the fabric I chose for the flower petals wasn’t quite right.  But I kept at it.
By midnight, I was sewing the leaves down.  It was growing on me... 
By 2:30, it was done, and I liked it.  The reason I was originally unhappy with it is because I fussy cut the petals from poppy-printed fabric, and various designs in the print wound up in odd places, making it look like a couple of small bouquets of flowers, many of which had been whacked and cut into strange shapes.  So ... I took my Letraset Promarkers to them (the ink dye markers I use on silk ribbon) and colored in some of the fabric so the print didn’t show up so much.  I’m happy with it now, but if I had it to do over again, I’d just use some mottled fabric or batiks rather than the poppy print.

I didn’t think I’d like the tediousness of appliqué, before I tried it.  But the method I use is the one that was in the book, Graceful Garden, that I used on the quilt I made Hester 3 or 4 years ago.  I really liked the fabric I got for that quilt... and then as it went together, as I’d glue down all the pieces and watch it, well, blossom, I was just so delighted with how it looked.  The next year, when I made all those mug rugs, I used that same method.  While making all the pieces can be tedious (and I make it more so, by making them too small and too many, heh), the way it turns out is well worth the effort.
My needle turn method looks sloppy, in comparison.  It’s the starched edges, folded so neatly around the freezer paper, that gives it that tightly-tailored look.  I can use a contrasting blanket stitch... wide or narrow... or invisible thread (the new stuff is so much better than what they used to have, as it’s soft and pliable)...  Actually, I could even stitch it down by hand, and still have those sharp edges, once they’re starched and ironed.
Maybe the next flower appliqué will be pansies.  Pansies were my mother’s favorite flower.  She called them ‘the face in the flower’.  I love snapdragons, too, ever since Mama showed me how to pinch them and make them ‘talk’. 
Just another thing I love in the Rockies – way up in the High Country, they have wild yellow snapdragons – and they are called ‘Butter and Eggs’.  (They’re also called ‘yellow toadflax’, but that sounds dreadful.  Let’s call them ‘Butter and Eggs’!)
I’m not going to run out of types of flowers to appliqué any time soon, am I? 
Victoria has been promoted to a full-time supervisor position at Super Saver.  She still has her part-time job at Earl May Gardening Center, but there just weren’t enough hours for her.  When one is looking for a house, one needs hours!  Working, paid hours, that is.
Kurt worked with his grandfather’s excavating company last week, driving trucks and large equipment, instead of working at Walker Foundations, where his job is a whole lot more physically demanding.  But he has now returned to Walkers, a bit sooner than his doctors would have liked.  It’s hard to hold Kurt down. 
Look at this email I just got:
My Dear Beneficiary,
Greetings, could you tell me the main reason why you have not receive your funds up till now, thanks and God bless.
Yours Faithfully, Rev. Victor Brown
Shall I write back, “Cuz ya doodn’t senate to me, ya big oaf!” ?
That evening, I took some supper to Loren, and then stopped at the UPS Store to send a box full of photo albums, songbooks, etc., to Dorcas.  Problem:  it was too heavy for me to carry.  I hoped someone else could lug it to the post office, but no one ever had the time.  Larry took it out to the Jeep for me Thursday.  At the UPS Store, I went in and begged for help.  If you cry pathetically, someone is bound to feel sorry for you.  :-D  The lady came right out and got it.  I mailed it media-mail, so it wasn’t too awfully expensive.  That same lady adamantly assured me that they often open media-mail packages to inspect them, and if there is anything else in the box other than books, I will be tarred and feathered, put in stocks and publicly flogged, and then strung up by my toenails and shot at daybreak.
Yipe.  {I wonder what’s in the bottom of that box?!}  I do hope my next return address won’t be Sing Sing.
First wasp sighting that evening!  I dislike wasps (they turn their heads and look at me, and not with benevolence, either!) ... but I’m forever taking photos of them.  Larry laughs at me because, while peering through my lens, I get closer... closer... closer... then I look around the side of the camera to size things up --- and yelp and leap backwards because I’ve gotten practically right on top of the critter.
Remember the scrumptious meal we had a Paul’s Steakhouse in Helen, Georgia, sitting at a table right over the Chattahoochee River?  Larry had a steak meal, with a perfectly done, melt-in-your-mouth steak that was about an inch thick.  A bowl of green beans came with it – and they were the best green beans I’d ever tasted, with some sort of delicious flavoring.  Someone told me that it is common in that part of the country for them to throw a piece of salt pork into the beans as they are cooking.  Gotta try that.
I had a humongous garden salad, served on a plate that looked to be the size of a meat platter.  They gave me a Styrofoam box to take part of that salad with me.  The un-et portion (scientific term meaning, ‘dat wut ah didn’t et’) filled the Styrofoam box completely.  That was one biiiig salad!
Friday and Saturday were spent working on a large center section for the Buoyant Blossoms BOM.  This block will be 17 ½”, finished size.  Finally, early Saturday evening, I had it all drawn and was ready to number the pieces.  There are so many, I couldn’t possibly get them right the first time around; so I penciled them in first.  Doesn’t it bug you, those of you who appliqué, when you are following a pattern, and the numbers are wrong, and you have to pull up a piece you’ve already glued (or even sewed) down in order to insert another piece underneath it?  Sometimes, granted, there is no choice, as a piece weaves its way over and under others.
I’ve been working on the borders for the various sizes of quilts, using EQ7.  You know, when I’m drawing up my own things in EQ7, I just make whatever I think is pretty... and if the size of a parallelogram winds up with some odd fraction of, oh, say, 5/16” or something, I just cut a hair’s width more than a quarter of an inch and don’t sweat it.  But I don’t suppose I should make patterns for other people with those goofy measurements, eh?  So I have to play around with it a little more.
I really like the Electric Quilt program, but I imagine I’m only skimming the surface of all it can do.  I keep my book handy, big, fat manual that it is, and I look things up now and then – but a good deal of the time, I can’t find in the index what I’m wanting to know.  Sometimes looking for it online produces a long page of people debating over what the program might or might not be able to do. 
EQ7 is certainly not as intuitive as Publisher, or Excel, for instance.  Or maybe it’s just because I don’t use it often enough.  One of the things I wish it could do is to clone colors from an imported photo.
Friday morning, Larry’s average speed on his 29.9-mile bike ride was 18.5 mph.  Now, that’s really pumping right along!  He’s staying right up with the younger guys he’s riding with.  He’s doing good, and he feels better, too!
And me?  I’m up to almost 2,500 steps on my pedometer at the moment (mid-afternoon).  Good grief, I’ve gotta get moving!  Well, I did forget to put it on, this morning.  I regularly forget to put it on.  So this begs the question, Do pedometers cause senility? 
I went to Wal-Mart to see if they’d gotten in the fabric I’m using for background for the Buoyant Blossoms BOMs, but they haven’t.  Maybe they never will.  I looked for some at Hobby Lobby... nothing even comes close.  Our two LQSs (Local Quilt Shops) were closed, so I came home and looked online.  Nothing.
Maybe I have enough of the fabric left... maybe I don’t.  I need to measure and cut the rest of the blocks I need for the appliqué flowers for the personal-throw size ... and if there isn’t enough for the in-between blocks, I’ll use other fabric (after first checking the LQSs).  If the new fabric is in every other block, it will be an ‘on purpose’ instead of an ‘oops, I ran out!’
This fabric shortage happened because when I started with the appliqué blocks, I had no idea where it was going to go.  I made that first one, the iris, for the ladies of the quilt group here in town who invited me to come give a ‘show and tell’ on the recommendation of my former home-ec teacher, who belongs to the group.  Then people started clamoring for more... and all of a sudden, quite without warning, I was doing a BOM!  At about month 3 or 4, it occurred to me, I don’t have a whole lot of this fabric left.  Since it came from a huge bolt of 108”-wide fabric at Wal-Mart, I didn’t think there was anything to worry about, so I didn’t go for more right away.  Mistake.  It’s a small floral white-on-cream print; you can see it on the poppy block.
By the time I quit Saturday night, the big center block for the Buoyant Blossoms BOM was drawn, numbered, scanned, and made into a four-page pdf file.  I then traced the templates onto freezer paper.  There are 303 templates, although some could conceivably be combined, if one prefers.  A new box of freezer paper and a jug of liquid starch arrived recently via UPS, so I’m all set. 
The crabapple tree is in blossom:
I like candied crabapples.  And crabapple jelly, mmmm-mmm.  This is a little tree; the children gave it to me for Mother’s Day a couple of years ago.  I think last year it may have had two little apples?  But it’s putting out a lot more blooms this spring than it did a year ago.  Maybe there’ll be a bigger crop!
It rained off and on Sunday.  Kurt, Victoria, and Robin went out for a walk after dinner – and promptly got rained on and came rushing back in. 
A friend just got a Fitbit –something on the order of a glorified pedometer.  She writes about trying to avoid a neighbor lady who sees her coming (as they just put up new surveillance cameras), when she’s trying to go for a walk.  The neighbor lady, who is unconcerned with such things as Walking for One’s Health, runs out, hops on her golf cart, and comes racing to intercept her and chatter away.  My friend wants, needs, to walk for her health, and doesn’t want to get stymied every single day.
I used to know a grocery store clerk like that.  Now, I like friendly clerks, and all that, and I always try to be friendly, too.  But when they start waylaying me in aisles beyond the register, when they can’t get my groceries bagged for gabbing (and I’m always in a hurry), when they start prying some distance beyond name, rank, and serial number, and I find myself peeping around the bread rack to ascertain they have a line of customers before I gallop headlong into another checkout row before they see me, and keep my head averted so they don’t recognize me... when I feel I must don wig, fake moustache and nose, and speak in a foreign accent... that’s too much.
I rerouted myself.  All the way to another grocery store, I did.  :-D
Hannah just sent me this picture:  “Misty crashed the party.  The sign says, ‘Stuffed Animal Party Do Not disturb.’  Levi (he’s 5 ½), set this up this morning, and wanted it left so he and Nathanael can play after school.”
What’s really funny is when they have their three guinea pigs out, playing with them... and they tell Misty to ‘bring the piggies back’.  She goes into sheepdog mode, head low, eyes intent, and dashes to the far side of the room in order to start ‘herding’ them back toward the cage, rushing from one to the other in order to bring them together and ‘push’ them in the right direction.
One of the guinea pigs is more territorial than the others, and if Hannah tries holding two at once, the “Me! Me!” pig will scramble higher and higher until he’s practically under her chin, turning sideways in order to ward the other piggy off and keep him from getting closer.  They purr and chir-chir and make all kinds of funny noises.  Their names are Henry, Alexander, and Pigling Bland. 
The guinea pig they named Pigling Bland (after the little pig in the Beatrix Potter books – as was his brother, Alexander) ------ is the blandest piggy of them all. 
There’s a pair of grackles marching about in the front yard.  The female is in front, jerking along in that funny way they have, peering about, bug-hunting, ignoring the male behind her, who is alternating jerk-walking and puffing his feathers, wings, and tail out hugely whilst simultaneously uttering long-drawn-out, unmelodious squawks.  The female, beak pointed high, stalks on, haughtily ignoring him.  The male, having been stalled out by such a majestic feather-puff it evidently paralyzed his legs, hurries pell-mell after her in ignominious abashment.  Or at least it should have been ignominious abashment, were birds capable of embarrassment.
Okay, I need a couple of slices of dried, sweetened mango.  Mmmmm, I like that stuff.
((chew chew chew))  ((slup slup slup))  (That was the coffee.) 
“Why can’t I get a drink of coffee without winding up with a big droplet of coffee smack-dab in the middle of my right lens?” I inquired of Larry.
He didn’t tell me why, but he did give me a solution:  “Put smaller tadpoles in there.”

Daily note:
Filled to the brimDid you know that, once coffee has made a bubble at the top of your cup from trying to fill it as full as possible, one more drop makes it run over – and it doesn’t just run over one drop?

,,,>^..^<,,,     Sarah Lynn     ,,,>^..^<,,,