February Photos

Monday, April 24, 2017

Journal: Unfixed Truck, Purple Quilt, & Lychees

Last Tuesday was a lovely day, and I considered going out and working in my gardens – except there was a possibility that I would go with Larry to retrieve one of Walkers’ boom trucks in Omaha, and I didn’t want garden dirt all over me when (or if) I went.  Good excuse, right?  Instead, I worked on a quilt that I’m going to give Emma for Christmas. 
By 3:30, we were on our way to Omaha.
We went to the dealership where the truck had been worked on, found it sitting in the parking lot waiting for us, as expected (the company closes at 3:30 p.m. every day, and no one ever works overtime).  But what was supposed to be fixed – wasn’t. 
So we left the truck there.  We ate supper at Cracker Barrel, using a gift card from one of the children. 
Larry had chicken and dumplings, broccoli, lettuce salad, fried apples, cornbread, muffins, and raspberry tea.  I had grilled rainbow trout, broccoli, corn, and strawberries and fresh pineapple, and coffee.  We both had blackberry cobbler with ice cream for dessert.
It was a long way to drive just for supper, but at least it was a good (and almost free) supper!  It was a pretty drive.  Everything is turning green, and the blossoming trees are in bloom.
I like to look around Cracker Barrel’s gift shop; they have a lot of pretty things.  I rarely buy anything; it’s a bit pricey.  In the clothes section, there were some pretty skirts, around $40 or so.  Each skirt had several sections and was fully lined and had soft, wide elastic at the waist.  I really don’t know that I could buy the fabric much cheaper.  If I add the time it takes to make it, it would probably be better to buy the silly thing.  Ah, well; I don’t need more clothes.
There were some cute children’s items, but nothing very fancy.  Same as with adults’ clothes, not very often can you make something cheaper than you can buy it ready-made, unless you buy cheapo fabric and don’t add lots of ruffles.  But what’s the point of that?
I like to sew, and I always enjoyed sewing the children’s clothes.  Back then, it certainly was a lot cheaper to make clothes than to buy them – and people often gave me chunks of fabric.  I daresay that while a few gave me lovely pieces of satin, velvet, taffeta, shantung, and the like, others gave me stuff they didn’t like, and it wasn’t very good quality; but I coordinated and matched, and used pretty patterns, and did my best to turn sows’ ears into silk purses (not always successfully). 
About the time we got to Fremont, Larry started trying to nap and drive at the same time, so I drove the rest of the way home.  Once home, I went back to my sewing room and put the borders on Emma’s lavender and green quilt.
A gentle rain fell Wednesday morning, and the birds were singing like anything.  I headed to the sewing room to put together the backing for Emma’s quilt.  I started this quilt while I washed some pieces for the coffeepot cozy last week, and then it went so quickly, I couldn’t get stopped.  There’s still plenty of time for the cozy... and maybe my brain will figure out how to do a few tricky things on it, while I’m working on something else.  One can always hope!
The kit for this lavender-green quilt was missing the instructions, and there was only a very small diagram of the quilt on the front of the box.  I think it may have also been missing one of the fabrics, judging by the description.  Sooo... I looked at the diagram... counted squares... measured fabrics... and saw that if I cut squares as it showed, there would a bit of waste.  But if I cut rectangles, there would be practically no waste. 
Problem:  Now there wasn’t enough fabric for the strips between the rows, since the rows were longer.  So I pulled some coordinating fabric from my stash for those strips.  This turned the quilt into a girls’-size quilt, as opposed to a baby-sized quilt.  Just the ticket, since I’ve been wanting to make a quilt for Emma.
The pattern for the quilt is supposed to look ‘random’.  Instead, to my eye, it looks like the pattern got messed up!  :-\  Sigggghhhh...  I turned and twisted and flipped those blocks this way and that, settled on a configuration, and left it at that. 
Ah, well.  Emma won’t be judgmental.
After church that evening, I pressed the quilt backing and loaded it on the frame.  Then I shampooed a large section of carpet downstairs that some dumb cat decided would make a nice place to make a puddle, despite the fact that there was a fresh, clean litterbox not 25 feet away.  Grrrrrr!  This isn’t the first time it’s happened.  Thus, I only let the cats down there when I am down there, and I try to watch them closely.  They obviously watch me every bit as closely, and wait for that exact moment when my back is turned.  I even put half a dozen mouse traps in that area (hoping it wouldn’t be little Tabby that got caught) – but although the traps got sprung a couple of times, the cat, whichever one it is (I’m nearly certain it’s not Teensy) (“Of course not!  He’s a gentleman!” exclaimed Victoria, upon hearing this story) brazenly repeated the crime.  Aarrgghh.
A quilting friend was given an older, unwanted quilt – and discovered upon getting it home that it smelled.  She washed it, but it still smelled.  She asked for advice. 
Here’s a recipe that almost always works:
1.                 White vinegar, no detergent, hot water
2.                 Wash again using Tide with Fabreze, hot water
3.                 Dry on hot
4.                 If there is any lingering odor, hanging outside in sunlight – sometimes for several days running – may finish the job
This works well on most odors.  Repeating the above a couple of times on really stubborn odors is sometimes necessary, but the first round works most of the time.
One last piece of advice:  if there is any chance the smell could be urine of any sort, don’t use ammonia, as urine actually breaks down into the same components.  It could very well make matters worse.
Some people have successfully removed odors by soaking their quilts in baking soda, then rinsing, and drying them.  That works well, too, unless the smell is persistent.  Then the vinegar/detergent/sunlight routine is usually the best answer.
In the case of an antique or vintage quilt, here is some good advice from the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln: 
Do you ever go to the store to buy a spool of thread – and wind up like this?
A few days ago, we had the last of last-year’s peaches.  I thought there was one more package of them in the freezer, but when I pulled it out, I came up with purรฉed pumpkin, instead.  And Larry said sorrowfully, “I haven’t had any pumpkin pie for a looong time.”
It sure was nice, having those peaches in the dead of winter.  Because I sliced and froze them right when they were perfectly ripe, they tasted like fresh-picked peaches as soon as they thawed.
About 7:00 Thursday morning, I discovered that one of the neighborhood stray tomcats had gotten in through the pet door and sprayed somewhere.  We blocked that pet door for several weeks because of this problem, and that of course turned me into our own cats’ valet, letting them in... out... in... out... in... out...  When they can’t go in and out freely, they want in and out frequently.  And since they can’t go out whenever they want, especially during the night, there is twice the work keeping their litterboxes clean.  We use good litter and large boxes, so it’s not all that difficult; but I usually clean them out at least once a day so they don’t offend my olfactory senses. 
When neither Larry nor I had seen hide nor hair of any stray cats for a few weeks, we unblocked the pet door.  Everything was fine for three or four days.  Thursday morning, it was no longer fine.
It’s practically impossible to find the precise location the beasts spray, as sometimes tomcats just put a fine mist in the air, and not much actually lands on any surface.  But it sure permeates the air throughout the entire area!  It’s really, really horrid. 
I grabbed the Pet Odor Surface Cleaner and used it throughout the main floor (thankfully, I keep doors shut to the upstairs, the basement, and our bedroom).  Then I found the exact spot:  a folded stack of Larry’s winter Carhartt overalls, in the back hallway near the pet door.  So into the washer went the overalls, with lots of detergent and the water on hot.  That helped immediately.  I opened a bunch of windows, too.  It was chilly and windy – but the house had to be aired out.
Since I was already going strong, I slung on a coat, headband, long socks, fleece leggings, and shoes, and headed outside to work on the flowerbeds.  It was only in the mid 40s out there.  I found the wheelbarrow under the back deck, trundled around to the front, and started extracting old growth from the gardens.  Let’s hope it doesn’t freeze now! – old growth provides protection.
Then I noticed the garbage cans out front.  It occurred to me that the garbage truck would soon be coming, and there was a bunch of junk in the garage that Larry never manages to get hauled out, as he’s always in a giant hurry to get to work in the mornings.  So I marched into the garage and got busy. 
I hauled box after box, old lamps, old space heaters, a huge old cassette player that used to play 99 cassettes in a row, one after the other (pretty nifty, in its time, and before lightning struck it – Larry kept thinking he’d fix it) (he thinks he’ll have time to fix everything – therefore, he never wants to throw anything out), an old stool, and a gazillion more boxes, big and little, out to the lane.
By now it was 8:30 a.m., and the wind was picking up, and it wasn’t getting any warmer, either.  Suddenly I thought, Uh, oh.  What if the garbage collectors don’t come today, on account of Easter last weekend?  Maybe they’re running a day late, as they sometimes do after a holiday!
It would be a fine thing if the neighbors found gazillions of boxes and their scattered contents strewn all over their yards!  I dashed into the house and called the office of the trash collectors.  The nice lady who answered checked the schedule and assured me that the truck was on the way, but she’d give the driver a call to let him know about the stuff awaiting him.  Whew.
I went on working in the gardens.  It was about 9:30 when the garbage truck came rumbling (in reverse) down the lane to our drive.  I escaped into the house; didn’t want to scare anyone with my cherry-red nose from the cold and my wild hairdo that had escaped the headband. Once inside, I stood well back and peeked out the window.  (My Mama taught me how to do that.)
The poor man had a big job, gathering up all that stuff.  He ran the compactor multiple times.  He tossed in several more boxes, including a big one that was chockful of Styrofoam packing peanuts.  He hit the button to restart the compactor... the hydraulically-powered packer blade began descending...
But that big box wasn’t quite far enough inside.  The blade hit it... began crushing it...
The side of the box blew out.  Styrofoam peanuts by the millions shot out in a torrential whirlwind about the size of a Volkswagen bus.
The garbage man had already turned his back to the truck to gather up more boxes.  But he sure whipped around for a doubletake, when that blast of peanuts came swirling madly around his head!  I tell you, it was a regular blizzard, and I don’t imagine he could see a thing for a few moments.
I watched to see if he was going to try picking those peanuts up, because if he had’ve, I would’ve run out and told him he didn’t need to do that; I could do it.  But by the time he’d tossed the next couple of boxes into the back of the truck, there weren’t very many Styrofoam peanuts left in the vicinity at all, so he didn’t even attempt to gather up any.  The wind was whipping through with gusts up to 25 mph, so the peanuts were blown far and wide, dispersing throughout a nearby cornfield, blending in with the old cornhusks and stalks.  They’ll never be noticed.
A couple of days ago, I saw a Cabbage White butterfly, and yesterday I saw a bright yellow Clouded Sulphur butterfly.  Then something went flashing past the window, and I thought, hummingbird! – but I don’t really know; I didn’t get a good enough look at it.  Later that day, I heard the house wrens warbling away, so perhaps that’s what I saw.  But I brought the hummingbird feeder upstairs, and am giving serious thought to filling it.  ๐Ÿ˜‰
By 10:00 a.m., all the front flowerbeds were cleared out, for the most part.  I took three heaping wheelbarrow loads down the hill to the back edge of our property, came in the house (it was down to 54° in here!), and took a piping hot bath.  Ahhhhh...
I then tossed the overalls into the dryer and started the next load of clothes.  I dried my hair... curled it... and went to the kitchen.  I was starving!  I decided on a sunny-side-up egg on toast.  Next order of business:  a trip to Hobby Lobby for batting.  Let the quilting begin.
For supper that night, we had bagel dogs, green beans, applesauce, and cranberry juice, with apple pie ร  la mode for dessert.
At 10:00 p.m., I rolled the lavender-green quilt forward in preparation to starting the next row.  I was using a pantograph called ‘Folk Irises’.  But the last load of clothes was ready to be put into the dryer... the dry clothes needed to be folded and put away... and I decided to quit quilting for the night.  It was high time to sit in the recliner and keep my heating pad company.
Victoria came visiting Friday afternoon, sonogram printout in hand.  We discussed the naming of babies in general, and this baby in particular.  I’d tell you more, but... it’s a secret!
Speaking of names... Caleb very sincerely informed several people when he was four that his nickname was ‘Club’.  That, because that’s how his six-month-old sister said it.
The first morning she said it, she was about five months old.  I was dressing her... Caleb came trotting in to see her, greeting her as usual, “Hi, Victoria!”  She, always delighted to see him, flung out a plump little arm, grinned, took a deep breath, and exclaimed, “Cwub!!!”
Caleb backed up, eyes wide, and then happily exclaimed, “Oh, Mama, she knows me now!”  ๐Ÿ˜†
I picked up five little Jackson kiddos at school that afternoon, and thereby comes this Thought for the Day:
You know a little boy loves you, when he gives you the rest of his Nerds.  ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
That was Josiah.  He’s a sweetie.  Well, they all are, of course.  ๐Ÿ˜Š
I got about half the quilt quilted, and then Larry got home from work.  We ate supper, and planned to take Jeremy his birthday gift.  He’s 30 years old!  Hard to believe; he certainly doesn’t look it.  The lantern we were going to give him – LED, with a dimmer switch, pretty nifty – was missing one of the springs in the battery compartment, and Larry needed to fix it.  He rummaged around in the garage, found a spring (“See why you shouldn’t throw out all the ‘garbage’?” he said, said he), put it into the lantern, and ... Voilรก!  It woiked, it woiked, it woiked! 
Friday was actually the day after his birthday.  Larry had gotten home late the night before... and then, would you believe, that husband of mine decided to try out his pickup after working on it a bit, and drove to Jeremy and Lydia’s house without telling me he was going? 
But a big truck had arrived at Jeremy’s house with a load of lumber for him, and he was helping unload it... so after a token grumble at my husband (wives have to do that periodically, whether necessary or not, just to keep them walking the line, ร  la Johnny Cash), I admitted quietly to myself that Friday night would be better.
Lydia gave us slices of the German chocolate cake she’d made; it’s Jeremy’s favorite kind of cake.
Home again, I went back to the quilting machine.  You know, quilting would go a whole lot faster if I’d stop embedding safety pins between top and batting.
Okay.  Stitches removed, check.  Pin extracted, check.  Design reworked, check.  Ready to roll quilt forward, check.  For’d, harch!
Silly thing is, I don’t even use safety pins with my quilts.  I really don’t know where it came from.  Maybe it was lying on the quilting frame, and stuck to the batting as I was taking it from the package?  No idea.  I’m surprised it didn’t put a burr on the needle, it hit it so hard.  But the needle is still straight and sharp.
I timed a pantograph row:  it takes 12 minutes for one row, and I can do two rows before rolling the quilt forward.  At 11:30 p.m., I was about to the halfway point.  And I was running low on steam.  A couple more rows, and I threw in the towel.  There were more rows left than I’d thought.  Or maybe the quilt was growing as I quilted.
A few days ago, Larry broke another tooth completely off.  He has had trouble with his teeth since he was a teenager – abscesses and root canals and broken teeth.  There’s nothing left on which to glue a crown.  He needs a lot of work done to his teeth – dentures, probably – and our insurance doesn’t pay for dental work.
Saturday, a friend sent me a video clip of a John Deere robotic Lawn mower.  I wrote back to tell her, “We knew a guy who came up with a self-mowing lawn mower when robotics were still a thing of the future: he tied a long rope to the handle of his push mower, the other end to a tree, and let ’er go. When the mower eventually ran into the tree, he’d untie it, take it to another tree, and repeat the process.  I might mention that his yard looked... uh, unique.”
That night, I finished Emma’s quilt.  The little quilt went together quickly.  It’s soft and cuddly, what with the chenille and flannel inserted here and there.  And it’ll be even more so, once it’s washed. 
I got a little more done on the coffeepot cozy before bedtime.
Last night after church, we had a late supper:  leftover chicken pot pie, mixed vegetables with bowtie pasta, lychee fruit, chocolate-chip/peanut butter cookies, and a Schwan’s ice cream cookie to top it off.  That was one cookie too many.
I have not yet found my moderation!
This was the first time we’d ever had lychees, and we like them.  These were canned; I’ll betcha the fresh-picked fruit is totally scrumptious.  I looked it up to see where that fruit was grown, and how, and if it has been exported anywhere, and what it looks like.  I learned that it comes from south China, but has been exported to various southern areas of the States, such as Florida, south Texas, and southern California.  It has a thick red prickly skin, and looks a little bit like a very large strawberry.  The fruit inside is shiny white and juicy, and there is a big burgundy-colored seed in the middle (the canned variety had been pitted).  Some people pronounce it ‘litchee’, though that’s actually the genus it comes from, and the fruit is more accurately called ‘lychee’.  Now I very badly want some fresh lychees! 
I don’t recall seeing the fruit in any of the grocery stores.  When the children were little, we would pick up some odd foods that we’d never tried before, just for the fun of it.  I remember the first time we found starfruit in the produce section.  First, they were intriguing because they were shaped like stars.  Second, they were scrumptious!  The children were highly impressed.
Our Schwan lady’s truck broke down a couple of months ago, and it fouled up her schedule.  She made plans to bring me my order in a few days, but we were going to be gone.  She made plans for the following week ­– but the company scrapped her plans and sent her elsewhere.  I never got that order for at least six weeks.  She finally came last Monday.  I should’ve just driven to the farm place north of Monroe where she’d broken down and picked up my stuff!  We were scraping the bottom of the freezer by the time she came. 
Yeah, I could’ve gone to the grocery store... but
1)    it’s way off in town,
2)    Schwan’s is better food, and
3)    it’s nice to have someone else carry bags and bags of heavy frozen stuff to my door.
We are having a wedding at our church next Sunday.  The young couple isn’t related to us, though the bride is a cousin of both Jeremy and Maria.  I wasn’t going to make anything, as I was busy with all sorts of other things.  And I do have a set of wooden bowls, wooden spoons, and chop sticks I could give them, along with various rice dinner packets and boxes.
But... I always sew something for wedding gifts!  (Don’t I?)  I finished Emma’s quilt... and the coffeepot cozy can wait... and the housecleaning is at a good ‘Pause’ point... and I have five days!  No time to do anything too complicated, but...
I pulled up EQ7... and here’s what I came up with for a table topper.  The pattern is called Tangled Stars:
When I start playing around with EQ7, or looking in my quilting books, or looking for patterns online, it reminds me of what my sister once said in regard to her cookbooks.  She said that she has so many wonderful cookbooks – some with stories about the recipe and the cook – that when she sits down with a handful of books to find dinner recipes, she winds up reading the whole book, and then she doesn’t have time to cook and has to order a pizza delivery for supper.  hee hee  (She’s kidding... she hardly ever orders anything or goes out to eat.)
Ow!  I finally got the last splinter from the rose bushes out of my hand.  There’s a tall pile of refuse from a couple more of my flower gardens out front.  I need to get the wheelbarrow and haul them down to the south side of the property.
Right now, though, there are Alaska salmon steaks and ciabatta rolls in the oven, asparagus spears in the microwave, and cottage cheese, apple sauce, and black cherry frozen yogurt to go with it.
Loren came, bringing us a package of ‘Biscoff’ – ‘Europe’s favorite cookie with coffee’, a jar of Planters’ sunflower kernels (shelled), and a can of sliced mushrooms.
Larry got home... sat down to eat... and one of his coworkers called.  He’d hit a deer northwest of Madison, and the big pickup he was driving was leaking antifreeze and water.  Larry scarfed down his food, then went to get a truck with which he could tow the enclosed trailer home.  They called for a tow truck to get the pickup.
I just bought 24 large cones of 50# thread, 4,000 yards each, from someone who listed it on SewItsForSale – and got it for $26, including postage.  The lady doesn’t know what brand it is, as it’s unmarked.  She got it at a clothes-making store that was going out of business.  It’s a good deal, no matter what type of thread it is.
Here’s a close-up of the quilting on Emma’s quilt:
And now it’s ten ’til eleven, and Larry is just pulling back into the drive.
I should wash the dishes.  Really, I should!  But I’m sleeeepy.
As a friend of mine wrote this afternoon, “I’m off like a herd of turtles!”

P.S.:  If Teensy disappears lickety-split under the cedar tree for several long minutes, and then emerges calmly and sits down to daintily clean his whiskers and paws, what do you think just transpired?

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Photos: Springtime Trip to Omaha

This afternoon I went with Larry to Omaha to retrieve one of Walkers' boom trucks.  But what was supposed to be fixed, ... wasn't.  So we left it there, ate supper at Cracker Barrel, and came home.  Long way to go to eat out! -- but it was good, and we did have a gift card from one of the children.

Rogers, population 94

The trees are blooming in North Bend

The trees are turning green

Journal: ♫ ♪ Up From the Grave He Arose! ♪ ♫

Tuesday, I lugged a bunch of quilting books up from the basement and put them in the upstairs bookcase.  If other parts of the house would just stay static whilst I’m a-workin’ away at whatever project has my attention at the moment, I could certainly get said project done a lot faster!  But all sorts of other things demand attention.  Dust clouds rise up from fresh-plowed fields nearby, look around in gleeful anticipation, and then maliciously float their particles through my windows to settle on every surface in the house – even vertical ones.  Cats need in.  Cats need out.  People need clothes washed.  People need meals cooked.  Cats need in.  Cats need out.  There are winter clothes to get out of my bedroom and summer clothes to put in... furniture to move... and a gazillion flower gardens to tend to.  Cats need in.  Cats need out.  Why did I make a gazillion flowerbeds out there, anyway??!  Cats need in.  Cats need out.
Wednesday afternoon, I hemmed a couple pairs of pants for a friend, and then I searched through my fabrics to see what I could use for the coffeepot cozy I want to make for my great-nephew and his fiancรฉe.
Can you believe it?!  I was finally sewing again!  Or at least, gathering up the fabrics I needed... laces... beads... embroidery floss... Insul-Bright...
Does this look like a heap of potentiality, or just a bit of a mess, in your opinion?
I tried on the clothes I got for Easter.  We have three services that day, and I had a different outfit for each.  One is a beautiful hand-crocheted cream-colored sweater with crocheted dusty-pink roses around the V-neck and the bottom edge, with a lot of pearls.  It’s more beautiful on the hanger than it is on me.  ๐Ÿ˜
It would look better if it was a good 12” shorter and one size smaller.  Or maybe if I was 12” taller.  But... I matched it up with a darker cream, knit, full skirt, and then wrapped a long, ruffly ivory scarf around the waist, and ... well, I guessed I’d wear it. 
I looked like a mattress tied in the middle.
A fancy mattress, but a mattress, nonetheless.
Jeremy and Lydia and the little boys went to Minnesota last week, to get a pickup Jeremy bought and to have a mini vacation.  They went to Legoland in Mall of America, and then to the zoo; but Jonathan, who has asthma, started having trouble breathing about the time they got there.  They let him ride in the stroller, but cut things short because he was getting worse.  Albuterol nebulizer treatments weren’t helping (they have a machine, and they even have an outlet in their vehicle), so they took him to Urgent Care, but the help they received there didn’t last more than an hour.  So, while Lydia stayed at the motel that night with Jacob and Ian, Jeremy took Jonathan to the ER.
They got back to the motel about 4:30 a.m., and Jonathan, having had a steroid shot, was breathing much better.  Poor little guy!  And poor Jeremy and Lydia.  I know just how scary that is, when a child has an asthma attack and can’t breathe well at all.  Jonathan, though not quite 2 ½, is able to tell when it’s getting worse, and asks Lydia to help him.
At least, Lydia said, “Ian was thrilled with the crib they had in the motel.  ๐Ÿคฃ It squeaked!!  ๐Ÿ˜ฌ
They were finally home safe and sound Thursday night.  Lydia wrote, “We had hoped to do more things that would be fun for the kids, such as the zoo.  But we’re just thankful to be home in one piece now.  Jonathan can sleep in his bed where he has wanted to be, and Jacob can tell all his friends he got to go to Legoland.  ๐Ÿ˜‰  And Ian can crawl around to his heart’s content tomorrow.  We had driven past some places on the way where they were burning overgrowth in the ditches.  It seemed the wind was blowing the smoke away, but we were worried it would trigger an asthma attack.  And it did.  ๐Ÿ˜•  Poor boy. Makes you feel so helpless.”
Thursday I’d intended to work on the coffeepot cozy, but I couldn’t stand to leave the stacks of music books and old hymnbooks that I’d unearthed in Caleb’s and Victoria’s old rooms in tall piles in the living room a moment longer.  I wanted to put them into the bookcases in the music room, and that entailed taking some of the books in those bookcases out, and moving them elsewhere.  The bottom part of the biggest bookcase was completely full of photo albums, and I wanted those upstairs in bins.  So I spent the day carrying armloads of books and albums hither and yon, and arranging and rearranging books. 
I brought a small oak bookcase from the addition into my little office (which will become a large hallway to our new bedroom, with a bookcase, filing cabinets, and a dresser), and took a corner piece to the upper hallway corner.  The corner piece is special, because my late nephew David made it for us.  Then I started playing ‘musical books and albums’, which is quite a lot more tiring than ‘musical chairs’, especially if you are transporting those books and albums up and down one or more flights of stairs.
I have now emptied the bins of books, putting them back into bookcases, and taken all the albums out of the bottom of the big bookcase.  Most of my albums are now in bins, though there are quite a few in the hope chest on the main floor.  The books are sorted and in order, and I found a number that I will give back to the children.  I even found a cookbook that belonged to one of the teachers, given to her as a graduation gift in 1974.  I have no idea how or why we wound up with it.
I’m not done, as there is one more large bin full of books downstairs.  But I need Larry to retrieve it for me, as it’s big and heavy and too high for me to reach.  It will probably fill the rest of any bookcases that aren’t full yet.
Oh – I spotted another box of books out in the addition that still need to be put into a bookcase.  There’s a sliding rocker in the basement that will go into the little office, and maybe a child’s rocking bench, too, if the room isn’t too crowded.  I cleaned and dusted the rolltop desk; Larry will have to take it apart to get it out of that little room and into my new sewing room.
More pictures are here:  BooksIt’s too bad libraries run on such a low profit basis, or I could set up shop!  ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
After a steaming hot bath, I ensconced myself in the recliner with a heating pad behind my back.  Why didn’t I have my pedometer on that day?!  I probably broke any old records I’ve set, what with all the running up and down the stairs.
I was stiff and sore Friday from all that work, and glad to sit and sew.  First, I drew a pattern for multiple hourglass-shaped gores of the teapot, with a wider piece for the side with the spout.  Then... I began cutting and sewing.
I was glad to find that the foundation pieces fit.  I’ve sewn a couple of Grandmother’s Fans, one outlined in ruffled lace, onto the foundation, along with half of a Lemoyne Star.
It started raining that evening, and kept raining for several hours.  Late (very late) that night, I went upstairs, laptop in one hand, coffee mug in the other, and greeted the recliner again like a long-lost friend.  The cats, as is their custom, sit calmly and watch me seat myself, put my coffee mug on the warmer, turn it on, tuck the heating pad behind my back, turn it on, pull the fleece throw over my legs, adjust the laptop on my lap, plug in the earbuds, and insert them into my ears.

And then one of them goes to the door, wanting out, peering over his shoulder to make sure I notice.  I go let him out.  The other cats, as is their custom, sit calmly and watch me reseat myself, tuck the heating pad behind my back, pull the fleece back over my legs, and adjust the laptop.
The next cat, as is his custom, goes to the door and attempts to stare it open, ears peeled back in pique that it doesn’t open automatically for His Royal Highness the Cat.
I go let him out – and the process is repeated.  It doesn’t help to invite all out at the same time; I would have to bodily pitch them out, if I wanted all to go at once.  There does not seem to be rhyme nor reason as to the order they go in; but they obviously orchestrate it in advance, for it goes like clockwork.
So, with that background, I give you the events straight from my journal that night:
It’s raining.  The cats want out.  (Of course.)  There’s a lull; I let them out.
Rain, thunder, lightning approaching; I invite them back in.  Teensy and Tabby come in; Tiger is nowhere to be seen.  A few minutes later, I see him on the porch.  I start to let him in; Teensy tries to escape.  I order him back.  He persists.  I yell; he dodges under the table. 
I let Trepidacious Tiger in (Is she yelling at me?!), shut the door.  Teensy has vanished.  Tiger purrs around my ankles.  Surely the bitterness of death hath ceased.
I pet Tiger, tell him what a good kitty he is, and look for Teensy.  The box in front of the pet door is pushed aside.  Did that feline scamp go out into the garage?  I look; don’t see him.  (One could look for something for months out there and not see it, though.)  I sit back down, get back to what I was doing. 
I keep checking for Teensy.  Think I hear something – and Tiger and Tabby, sleeping on the loveseat, look around, too.  I go hunting for Teensy.  No Teensy.  He must be in the garage, and doesn’t want me to see him.  I reseat myself.
Rinse, repeat.
And again.
Maybe if I hadn’t’ve had earbuds in, I’d have figured out sooner...
... that he had evidently leaped forward just after Tiger entered the house, intent on rushing out, and I must’ve pulled the screen shut and turned to look for him just as he dashed toward the door -------- and then I closed the main door.
Well, he wound up stuck between screen door and main door.  There was room for him, so he didn’t get hurt.  But…  Good grief!  Why didn’t he even meow???!  Guilt kept him silent, perhaps?
Yeah, yeah, I know; cats have no guilt.  Maybe he was just afraid I’d yell again.  ๐Ÿ˜†
He came out purring and rubbing on my ankles, non-repentant and nonjudgmental.  One needn’t repent when one has done nothing wrong, after all.  And he certainly didn’t think he’d done anything wrong.
He was all appreciative and cuddly.  He had no thoughts of, You shut me in! – but only considered me to be his kind and compassionate liberator.  You saved me!  I love you!  Feed me!
Five minutes after being given access to the House Proper, he wanted outside again.
It rained hard for several hours.  The cats requested numerous times that I kindly turn the rain off.  Teensy vents his spleen by popping the other cats on their respective rumps anytime they pass him.  I surprised him the last time he aimed at poor little Tabby by swatting him with a dusting cloth.  He resided in chagrin, and Tabby came purring to show his gratitude.  Tiger looked on with regal dignity and disdain.
Oh!  There was another lull in the rain.  In the interest of feline happiness and mental well-being, I let them all out for a few minutes, before the rain started up again.
Saturday morning, April the Giraffe, from Animal Adventure Park, Harpursville, New York, had her baby!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4bU1i-XAxE
By the time he was just a few hours old, he was already showing what a spunky little thing he was.  His Mama kept trying to wash his face, and he (or she?) kept jerking his (or her) head back and shaking it until his (or her) ears flapped. 
“So therefore it’s a boy,” I told Larry.  And it was.
I continued working on the coffeepot cozy, but found I needed to wash some of the fabric and lace I wanted to use.  I washed it by hand, then hung it outside to dry.  While it dried, I pulled out a baby quilt kit my sister-in-law Annette gave me a few years ago.
There were no instructions in the package, though there were supposed to be; only a small picture on the side.  I looked at it... counted squares... measured the fabric in the kit... and then decided I didn’t want to cut squares of the fabrics provided, since that would leave a few small, almost-unusable scraps.  So I cut rectangles in order to use it all up and, as a bonus, make a bigger quilt, into the bargain.  In fact, it will be big enough, after adding some borders from my own stash, to give to Emma for Christmas.  Emma’s favorite color is purple, so it’s just right.
Here’s a close-up of a couple of blocks; the lime green is a fuzzy chenille-type fleece:
Determining and calculating quilt designs is mathematic.  I love math.  However, story problems in Accelerated Algebra (there were generally a couple at the end of each lesson, purportedly to show us just how useful algebra really is) used to boggle my brain, though I usually... somehow... came up with the right answer.  I got an A+ in that class, boggled brain notwithstanding.
I once told my teacher, “Every right answer I get to those story problems is entirely out of my control, and I have no explanation as to why they’re right.”
He laughed and remarked, “You evidently have some sort of innate understanding of it, and don’t even realize you do!”
I’m more inclined to think I had a troupe of benevolent (but algebraically-inclined) Shoemakers’ Elves following me around, and they systematically erased my wrong answers and scribbled in the right answers to those story problems, each night after I went to sleep.
Those story problems always seemed something like this, to my discombobulated gray matter:  If I have 10 ice cubes and you have 11 apples, how many pancakes will fit on the roof?  Answer:  Purple, because aliens don’t wear hats.
And now I quilt – and my calculations sound a lot like that story problem and answer. 
The lace and fabric for the coffeepot cozy dried in the afternoon sun, but I was going great guns on the lavender and green quilt, and hated to quit.  Maybe just one more seam... and another...
When I lay the blocks on the floor to decide on a layout plan, along come the cats.  Tiger does it too, now.  They just must get on the quilt, whether it’s whole, or in pieces.  And they always absolutely love any quilt I am making or have made.  Silly little cats.  If I order them to stay off it, they obey, but ever so reproachfully.
Mine aren’t the only cats that love quilts; it’s quite common.  I suppose it’s because our kitties like us, and our scent is on the quilt – and because we’ve paid all that attention to the quilt, so therefore they want it, ... and ... whatever else makes kitties tick.  ๐Ÿ˜‰
I looked out the basement patio doors that afternoon and discovered that the yellow tulips were in bloom, so I grabbed my camera and headed outside.  The cats, of course, had to come, too.  See more pictures here:  April Flowers
Larry removed the old shelf and rod in the closet in Victoria’s old room, and got part of the framing done around that open former closet area upstairs in my new sewing room before Teddy arrived for a haircut that night.  Progress is always encouraging.
Our Sunrise Easter Service began at 7:00 a.m.  We sang the beautiful Easter songs, and then began our text that my nephew, our Pastor Robert, preached from throughout the day, in the 20th chapter of John, about our Lord’s resurrection.  A little after 8:00 a.m., we went to the Fellowship Hall for breakfast:  ham, sausage, hard-boiled eggs, scrambled cheesy eggs, buns with butter and jelly, donuts, milk, juice, coffee, tea...
Then we went home to prepare for the main morning service.  Larry took a short nap while I did a few things on my computer.  I had a bit of trouble thinking about what I was typing, because over on the other side of my screen, April the Giraffe’s new baby was galloping madly around the stall, round and round his mother – and he was barely 24 hours old!  So funny and adorable he is.
The keepers coaxed April out of the stall... quickly shut the door behind her so she was in the next room... and then did some quick checks of the calf – weighing him, measuring him.  April, upon downing her treat, realized she was separated from her baby, and went to pacing rapidly back and forth on the other side of the enclosure.
They took a couple of pictures... and hurriedly let mother return to baby.  She rushed in, sniffed him all over... licked him... and he decided it was time for brunch.
At the beginning of our 11:00 a.m. service, our band played.  Bobby arranges the songs, practices with the band members, and directs them when they play.  It just keeps getting better and better.  I particularly like the low-pitched bass runs.  The choir sang later.

 Neither Larry nor I were very hungry when we got home, so we ate some fruit, had a short nap, and got ready for the evening service at 6:30 p.m.  The orchestra played before the service began, and the men’s choir sang after the congregational song service.  There was a luncheon afterwards.
I have laundry to do today, and some housecleaning.  My flower gardens need a lot of work; maybe I’ll get some cleared out tomorrow.
A quilting friend thought she’d found mulch at a bargain, ordered a truckload – and wound up with ugly stuff in huge chunks of wood and sticks.  We used to get free ‘mulch’ like that from our local transfer station (it was called ‘the dump’, before everyone got all genteel and proper-like).  Larry said if we saved the larger pieces, we’d have enough lumber to build onto our house.  ha!
Now they have a newer and better mulcher, and the mulch is much finer – and still free.  The big drawback to this free mulch:  the transfer station’s hours are 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Larry’s hours are 6:00 a.m. to who-knows-when, often 7:30-8:00 p.m., when the weather is good.  They have to make hay (and poured concrete walls) while the sun shines!
Larry has been trying to sell some of his equipment and machinery, such as a scissor lift, a loader, a four-wheeler...  The only bites he’s gotten are from some blokes from Thailand who, sight unseen, want to send a big check over the amount, take cash back for the excess, and send someone to pick up the item in two weeks.
I once texted one of those sorts back, “Did you know I can see the IP address on your computer?  And I now have your exact GPS coordinates.”
Wow, he signed off so fast, he doubtless left his keyboard smoking, dumped his desk chair over, and went through his door without the benefit of opening it first.
It’s beautiful outside, sunshiny and 61° --- but I’m listening to the weather on the radio, and storms are predicted for several days this week.  A tornado touched down in the south part of the state last night, though no damage has been reported; and a funnel cloud was spotted elsewhere.  Several areas had large hail. 
But at the moment, the birds are singing like anything, the goldfinches are turning bright yellow and their little black caps are filling in, and the birds have finally accepted the new bird feeder. 
Oh!  I just saw a cabbage white butterfly go flitting through the front yard!
I once took a spectacular close-up of an interesting beetle on our back deck ------- downloaded the photo, hunted for the insect online ......... and discovered that it was the pine sawyer beetle.  Yes, that very beetle that, along with its Friends and Relations (ร  la Rabbit, of Winnie-the-Pooh fame), destroyed our grove of Austrian pines.
I should have stepped on it instead of taking its portrait, for crying out loud! 
... considering ...
Well, it was a good shot.
I should have stepped on it after I took its portrait. 
The peach tree is in bloom!  Gotta grab the camera...  Can you see why the little birds scatter when the grackles land near the feeders?

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