Wednesday, May 31, 2006


"Never complain about how things are, because they are bond to change."

This was a line my grandmother tried to hand me many years ago, and of course I knew better and I knew of course things don't change. I always pray that somewhere she is chuckling as I wander thru time and learn hard the lessons she tired to teach me gently. In my quilting I am expirementing with techniques and color and styles I thought I'd never be remotely interested in. My tastes in music and TV are now those of an adult, somewhat conservative gramma type (but I stop myself from saying "this modern music is nothing but noise!") Clothing is still pretty wildly colored, but more sedately cut. And in my work environment I know never to count on anything staying the same for 5 minutes in a row, BUT THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!!
LOL -- I am referring to the fact that a rival dialysis clinic in our small town is going out of business, closing it's doors, and sending nearly all of their patients to us. We will go from 54 to 76 patients over the last 2 weeks in June, and the logistics of this meld are immense. Typically growth in our world is very slow but steady, 2 forward, 3 back type of thing. There have been periods that we have admitted 2 or 3 new patients in one week, and that always has everyone scrambling so figure the madness multiplied expotentially and couple it with rumors, misinformation and technical difficulties, and we're about to have a June to remember. In better news, MUCH better news, this Saturday I get to take an all day class with quilter Linda Ballard to make her famous Fractured Crystals quilt design. I am so looking forward to this! I've spent a long time auditioning fabrics and finally settled on a family of purples. Purple is cropping up a lot these days, maybe because it is granddaughter Madelines favorite color?
I've tried 4 times to attach a picture but blogit not cooperating, maybe tomorrow. Now I'm off to bed to prepare to fight another day!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

I did it!

At last! Today I moved 3 yards of a delicious topsoil mix from the trailer to my first bed. 3 yards is quite alot - your average pick-up truck holds about a yard and a half. My daughter Cory called this morning and asked if she could come up and play, and bring her daughter Madeline, who is 2 1/2. Like there is any other answer than YES YES YES! By 8 am I was out picking up the last of the hated rocks and running the rototiller over every inch of the old compacted soil. It was 9 am before I started hauling load after load in my wheelbarrow. I took a few detours to feed horses and chickens, but I really wanted to get it all done before Cory came so I could play. It takes her a little over an hour to drive here, and they hadn't yet done showers or breakfast, so I figured I had close to 3 hours. And, I almost did it -- I had about 3 loads left in the trailer when she drove up at 11 am...... and this evening I am a stove-up old lady. But boy, do I feel good! HUGE sense of accomplishment, and had a wonderful day with my girls. We went to a nursery new to us, and I bought a trunkful of interesting plants, including a peony and several alstromeria, had sodas at a little diner and came back. Madeline was a very busy little lady all day, she had her hands full helping Gramma and was feeling quite important. She told me shortly after she arrived that my kitty was happy to see her. I had to agree! Her language skills have really taken off the past few months; suddenly it's full sentences and many of them are hysterical. "Gramma, I will ride Paco in, umm, about 3 days" she told me in absolute seriousness. Paco is my little donkey, and while she adores him from afar, she refuses to get close enough to touch. At one point, apparently I was around the house getting soem large rocks to line the beds and Madeline called me repeatedly without reply. She leaned on her mothers knee and plaintivley told her, "Gramma is not taking to me" She is a joy.
When we returned from the nursery trip, Jerry and his son Jerry Lee were putting the finishing touches on the new 2 headed faucet I had requested. One for a timed drip system and one for a hose. Jerry Lee is 38, has 5 children ranging in age from 15 to 5, and lives next door to us. He is a successful contractor and a blessing to us both.
Tomorrow is our annual Bluegrass in the Hills day, held at the remote home of friends. every year we go and enjoy ourselves immensely, but this year I might not go. There is an annual quilt show at the same time in a town about an hour's drive in the oppisite direction, and I have never seen it so tomorrow might be the day. I do so want to go to both. You'll just have to tune again tomorrow to see which one won!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Evelene died very quietly at noon yesterday, with all of her family around her. In this line of work, we lose patients frequently, and some are harder than others. This time we are all grieving, and as several of the staff met in my office this morning talking quietly about her, I received a call from a doctor referring another new patient to us. It's a familiar cycle to us, and we depend on it as one of our coping mechanisms; that of continuations. In a breathtaking twist however, our new patient-to-be has the same last name. Literally breathtaking. When I told the assembled folks in my office, there was only stunned silence. Anyone who ever questions Gods presence or teachings, needs to hear this story and learn: life is a continuum, a circle of seasons, and will persist even when we don't want to.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I love collecting eggs, it's one of the best parts of my day. This morning I went to collect them and found this astounding sight in the nest. That tiny thing is in fact, an egg! It's pretty normal for new pullets, very young hens laying for the first time, to lay tiny eggs, but my hens are in their second year of production. There was one hen standing and loking at the nest, and I asked her if she was the proud one, or a disapproving old biddy. She merely clucked and walked away, so my guess is she's the latter.
Working in the yard today I felt, for the first time, like an old lady. I've always been quite strong, and capable of doing any heavy job around as well as the men and maybe better. Today shoveling endless piles of gravel to make way for planting beds, I ran out of steam quickly, had to take breaks and drink lots, and at the end of the day I am exhausted and my muscles are like limp noodles. For the first time I see myself as one of those ladies who hire yard help and stand to direct them - an image I do not care to see myself in. So, in my pride do I forge ahead and finish this heavy job myself and enjoy enormous satisfaction, or do I hire a young man and preserve my feeble unstable old joints?

This is the site of the problem, at least a part of the site. The large stumpage on the left has been removed, and the gravel shoveling goes on - it's very deep. The grassy area in the background is just weeds growing thru the gravel - it extends all the way to the fance. I want to call the former owners and scream -- "what were you thinking?" So much of this yard is gravelled......

I have plants ready, and so many more I want to put in. I love the feelings, sights and smells of working in the garden, fresh dirt, fresh herbs and veggies. And I have always had large gardens that develope like Topsy - they just bloom, so to speak, without an ordered plan to them. I look forward to that, and I guess any means to an end, right? So tomorrow I'll speak to my stepson about hiring on of his crew to come clear this out for me.

Rats --- something tells me I won't be entering my old-lady-hood quietly.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Saying Goodbye

Sometimes a person comes into your life for a short time and makes a bigger impact than anyone else. Such a person I have in Evelene. She came into my life as my dialysis patient 4 years ago, and has been a major influence ranking up there with my grandmother and mother. Evelene is quiet, dignified, ladylike and made of tempered steel. She has a wicked sense of humor, and rapier wit. She has a radiant million watt smile, and black eyes that flash with fire and ice and leave no doubt where you stand. At the same time, she keeps herself to herself; there is no need to broadcast your burdens or make unnecessary chatter talk, just for the sake of filling air. She helped me over the years understand just what it means to honor, and who should be worthy of that honor. She carries pride as an integral part of her soul, not as a flaming banner that she needs to wave in anyones' face, and her dignity is quiet, determined and belongs only to her... It is not studied or learned, it is as much hers as skin and bone. Evelene understands her place in this world and understands that the travelers who surround her are not hers, they are with her and although she can cherish them and hold them she can not have them, nor they her. Her course is set, and her sails about to fill. Evelene has recognized that her time to leave us is here, and she has done her best to prepare us for her departure - she knows how we will grieve and she knows how much she will be missed. In her preparations she teaches us ways to deal with the inevitable ending to all life, endings we prefer to not talk about. As much as we proclaim our desire to 'wrap things up' and 'say our goodbyes' it's so much easier not to actually do it. Evelene in her quiet loving way has directed her own goodbyes and shows us how to do it with rare dignity and grace and strength. It has been a privledge and an honor to know Evelene and I don't expect to ever know her like again. Thru my tears, my own selfishness at losing her, I can feel the gifts she leaves me and for the rest of my time here, her presence will walk with me.
Goodbye, Evelene.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The end of a week

These two gorgeous babies came to me today via DH - who went to an antiques show and sale 4 hours away, hoping to find slot machines. There were none, but he spied these, and thought maybe he knew someone who would appreciate them. Indeed!
The rest of the story with the little basket challange quilt is that I ended tying for first place! Both of us won $25 -- and what a shock. The other was clearly the better, I thought -- an original design and very striking. The vote was blind, by the guild membership, and I'm very pleased.......
My friend Leslie came over today and we encouraged each other into quilting - which was a lot of fun! Sewing with a friend is always fun, and especially when it's a rather onerous job. I had 3 big tables set up to make one immense space for supporting my large quilt and her smaller one. We made good progress, and had a wonderful, relaxing, "pieceful" healing day. Thus should every week end! Tomorrow the new week starts well also, with a trip south 70 miles to my DS &DDIL home, for a Mothers day with all my kids and DDIL's parents as well -- I'm very much looking forward to that! Barbara, the other Mom, is a brand new quilter, and she's begged (imagine!) me to bring some of mine to show. I agreed, but she has to bring hers too! I'll take the bricks and Stones, even tho the quilting is not all done on it. Right now I'm off to lay my old bones down - I've been fighting this huge and heavy quilt all day, and I'm sore!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Basket full 'o challenge

Whew - finished in the nick of time! which means, 9 o'clock last night. It would have been sooner, but I spent an hour on the phone. It's not too screwed up, just a bit, and while it won't have any chances in any voting, I did it, and that's MY vote.
Now I have to run like blazes to get the quiche done for the potluck meeting. More later!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Stupid is as Stupid does

Sometimes you just are stupid. No other word for it - well, you could be nice and say careless, or hasty. But in the end it's just stupid. While doing the quilting on my challange project, I snipped some threads and caught a bit of the sashing in the tips of the scissors; left one of those bird-shaped holes in it. AArrrgghhh!!!! Most of the quilting was done at that point -- what are you gonna do? Well, I peeled a bit of fusible from it's paper and used a pin to slip it under the sahing fabric where the hole is. After I got it all patted flat, I fused it, and marked the spot so I'll know to quilt right across it, and hopefully it will be OK. It's a wall hanging, so no wear and tear, and probably no washing, but GADS! I can be so stupid!!!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

This is Bricks and Stones - my project from last week. This pic doesn't show the borders on, but I'll post one of the completed quilt after it's quilted. It's a super simple scrappy pattern, and for this one I used 120 different scraps for the bricks, and it's an eclectic mix to say the least. Black and purple barbed wire next to Victorian roses - where else will you ever see that other than in a quilt?

This morning I start what promises to be a looong 7 day work week. I won't be here all 7 days, mind you , but for the next weeks worth of work days I have to work with a male nurse who makes me crazy. He's a very good nurse, and some of the patients like him, but he is arrogant and immature, and hysterically happy. The manic kind of happy, not the easy cheerful kind of happy you want to be around. The manic type is so hard to be around, impossible to concentrate around and generally a pain in the ass. His our nurses are on a week on/week off rotation, and his weeks are the ones when I schedule my own doctor/dentist appts, errands, days off, whatever. Anything to get me out of here.
Went to our local guild meeting last night and had a pretty good time. I used to be president of that guild and really burned out. If you're one of only 8 people in a group that want to get anything going, it gets old fast. I'm more excited about another guild I've joined, 40 miles away, that is a ton more productive and fun. Everyone there gets involved, and they have a myriad of project, ideas, classes etc that just gets my juices going. The first challenge I joined was 5 fat quarters in a bundle that we paid $5.00 for. There was a wild, riotous melange of bright colors with hearts and rainbow design; a purple, a bright red, a lime green and for some inexplicable reason, a drab brown Debbie Mumm type. AACK??? How to use those? Well -- I'll post a picture as soon as it's quilted, probably tomorrow night. It's due Saturday morning, and they will be judged. I'm still a bit worried about that, because those ladies are talented! They make incredible quilts, and I'm a real novice compared to them. But what the heck - a challenge is a challenge, right? So I have to stretch myself as well.
Back to work now ---

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ohh, the first one

Well, why not? Everyone else is -- and like my mama always said, "Do you have to do what everyone else is doing?" Ummmm, that's still a YES, Mom.
So, about me. I am 51 and a half years old this week, and shocked every day that I'm that age. I am married to my 4th husband Jerry, quite contentedly I have to say, for the past 12 years or so. I am also his 4th wife, and we took alot of flack about that. Between us we have 6 adult children, 5 here with us and one in Heaven. Tim asyphixiated himself accidently 2 years ago playing that horrid "Pass-Out" game. More about that later. His death has changed Jerry and I profoundly, and colors every part of every day. We also have 8 grandchildren whom we adore. Five live right next door to us in our rural area in Northern California wine country. I work as an administrator of a dialysis unit, and Jerry has recently retired from his lifelong career as a cop in one form or another. I quilt, garden and work hard to be the best Grandma I can be, and Jerry putters with his budding antique slot machine business and enjoys being the benevolent Grandpa. Life is good. We have horses, chickens, an adorable donkey named Paco, dog Nippy and King cat, Cuervo (yes, like the tequila).
I'm off now to go to guild......... we'll carry on again tomorrow!
Su Bee