Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I will never forget you

All things must pass.
October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980

 February 25, 1943 - November 29, 2001

My Sweet George
 Never get over you.   I'll see you in my dreams.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Progress report: month 5 (November 2010)

 3.    Put up shelves etc. in sewing room. (11/2/10)
37.  Schedule overdue colonoscopy before end of 2010. (11/19/10)

48.   Watched movies: 29/125:
        Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Pt.1 (theatre)
        500 days of Summer
49.   Read 3 books (12/60; 8 owned, 3 library):
       George Carlin – Last words
       Jane Yolen – Twelve impossible things
       Edwards – Memory keeper’s daughter
99.  Updated blog with November progress: 5/5
101. Wrote one additional blog post in November: 5/5

6.    Worked in basement again.
7.    Continued to get "stuff" out of the house
9.    Packed and delivered 6 more boxes of books for book drive @ MC
14.   Fix plaster & paint my bedroom. (Plaster fixed 11/1/10)
44.   Attend “Family Weekend” at M.C. (each year). (2010 done – 1st of 3)
50.   Take D#1 and D#2 to Chick-Fil-A and movie at least once a year. (yr.1 of 3)
69.   Major progress on quilt for CB
74.   Started quilt for sponsored child from ChildFund
84.   Kept increase of $10 to church plus contribution to City Team Ministries.

December focus:
1.    Finish newspaper catch-up
27-31. Financial and legal paperwork
39.  Send pix of D#1 & D#2
40.  Write and mail update letter
66.  Finish and deliver quilt for Mr. S’s daughter
67.  Finish and deliver quilt for Mrs. M’s son

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sewing: quilting and more

Last weekend was our semi-annual quilting retreat.  As usual, the company was superb, the innkeepers were fabulous, and progress was made.   Worked on a quilt for my German daughter and got the center section completed!   Need to add some interesting border(s) and it will be ready to be quilted.  Started on the "I spy" for which I'd been collecting fabrics for the past couple of years.  I have a "sponsored" daughter on the Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux reservation (the poorest county in the U.S.).  When my sponsorship started, she was about 2 or 3 but now she's in 1st (I think) grade.  So I removed the "babyish" blocks and started making red lattice to put between the remaining ones.  Coming along nicely (though the photo of the layout didn't)

In non-quilty news, I finished a couple of pillowcases for a children's charity,  ConKerr Cancer. This organization's purpose is to coordinate the creation and distribution of a variety of hand-made pillowcases, so that every child who has a serious illness and is admitted to a hospital, can choose one to use and keep.  Members of our group had made pillowcases for ourselves for several years, ever since Helen introduced us to a great, no-exposed-seams method. 

In early October, my D#1 had invited me to participate in a women's retreat at the camp where she works in the summer.  That retreat had chosen this as an optional service project so I had prepared a number of "kits", with coordinated and pre-cut fabric, prior to the weekend.  I finished 2 that weekend.  The photo below shows the all 10 of those that were completed.  I made the two on the top left: pirate skull and crossbones, and a collage of balls used in sports.  I started two others but didn't get them finished.

I had suggested to the White Oak group, that, if we wanted an optional "service project" for the retreat, that we make more pillowcases, so I took along my UFP's (unfinished pillowcases) and completed them there.

By Sunday brunch, the end of the weekend, a total of 18 pillowcases was ready to be taken home to be washed and delivered to one of the drop-off points, a task which our penultimate member, Pat, offered to take on.

Lovely weather all weekend, my drive home was filled with sunshine and tunes. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Update for October 2010

Saturday, October 9th was Day 100 -- 10% of my 1001 days -- so the last day of October was my 123rd.

11. Clean out garage by 12/31/10 (10/23/10)
     [Still have some things to donate/discard, but #7 covers that.]
43. Attend last A.University "Family Weekend"
    [Substituted attendance at Rally for Sanity on 10/30/10]
68. Make baby quilt for A.M.'s granddaughter (finished 10/12; to A.M. on 10/22/10)
83. Have a house blessing ceremony (10/16/10)

48. Watched movies (27/125):
        In treatment (season 1)
        The Lakehouse
        The Laramie project
        Angels in America
49. Read books (9/60, 6 owned, 3 library)
     Anne Perry: Whitechapel conspiracy (owned)
     Susan Douglas: Enlightened sexism (library)
     Elisabeth Hyde: The Abortionist's daughter (owned)
     John Steinbeck: Of mice and men (library)
99. Updated blog with October progress.
101.Wrote one additional post in October.

6. Got back to working in basement.
7. Continued to get "stuff" out of house.  Church rummage sale helped.
8. Put together one Ikea media cabinet.
9. Packed multiple boxes of books for book drive at M College.
66. Quilt for Mr. S's daughter only needs label.
75. Working on cutting scraps.
84. Pledged added $10 per month to church; contribution to American Diabetes Association.
87. Started to be co-leader D-Circle.

Focus in November:
3. Shelves up in sewing room.
6. Basement organization.
25-31. Financial & legal paperwork.
44. Family weekend at M.C.
66. Finish baby quilt for Mrs. M's son.
69. Quilt for C.B.
...  all in addition to hosting Thanksgiving with the whole fan damily!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Psalm 121:8

"The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore."  (NRSV)

Psalm 121, verse 8 was the first of the scripture readings, done at my front door, during the house blessing that took place on Saturday afternoon, October 16th.  The service took us to each of the rooms of the house (some more than once!) and marked the activity performed there with a Bible verse or two and a short prayer, followed by all guests singing the Taize chant "Ubi caritas".   The procession through the house took us from "where visitors are welcomed" to "where pets sleep" and many places in between -- including the bathroom!  

The service was lovely and gave me an extra special feeling about the house, which has been our home for about six months.  Both daughters came from college so they could participate in the service.  Though neither one really knew what to expect (I don't think most of those present did!), both daughters told me afterwards that it was more meaningful than they'd thought it would be. 

Perhaps the best part of the weekend, though, was when I said something about "our new house" and my daughter replied that it didn't feel like a "new" house, just like "our" house.  I am truly blessed in many ways.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Progress report: month 3 (September 2010)

86. Donate extra fabric to ASHS (9/15)
98. Learn to upload photos and print out selections (9/20)  Received first order of prints!

Small steps this month:
29. Get divorced -- Finalizing legal property settlement; have papers to start DIY divorce
35. Purchase stationary bike & cheap television for basement -- Bought cheap TV at local thrift shop
52. Go to shore for at least a day each summer -- Went to AC for a few hours a couple of weekends ago
65. Catch up on birthday blocks and keep caught up -- Sent last 2 for 2010 out on 9/24
66. Make baby quilt for Mr. S's daughter -- Quilted and ready to sew binding on
68. Make baby quilt for A.M.'s granddaughter -- Quilted, binding on, needs label and photo
83. Have a house blessing ceremony -- Scheduled for 10/16; printed invitations
84. Sent contribution to Habitat for Humanity
101. Write and add at least one blog post a month -- Posted 3 plus update

48 Watched movies (23/125)
     Magdalene sisters
     Time-traveller's wife
     Fierce creatures
     Pushing daisies (TV -- season 1)
     In the bedroom
     Pretty in pink
     My cousin Vinny
     Pay it forward   (a badly edited TV version; reserved DVD at library)
49 Read 1 book (5/60, 4/30, 1/10)
     Nick & Nora's infinite playlist

In October, I should be able to finish the two baby quilts I've been working on and pick up some other quilting.  Have to get back to basement clearing/cleaning and keep going on financial/legal paperwork.

Friday, September 24, 2010

My personal Netflix

I have been toying with the idea of joining Netflix.    There are a lot of movies I missed over the years and would like to see.   There are also some more recent television shows that I've heard raves about but haven't seen -- either they are off the air already or several seasons in.   All good reasons to consider Netflix.

However, I have found a personal alternative.  True, the DVDs aren't delivered to my mailbox -- I have to pick them up a couple of blocks away.  I may also have to consider something that's not my number 1 choice at the time.  But, for one week anyway, I can have up to 5 titles at no cost.  

My "Netflix"?   My public library system.   Through my online account, I can create and keep lists of titles that I want to borrow.  I can check the availability and place a reserve on what I want to see next.   There are 4 local libraries within minutes of my home or office, and, if they are the owning library, I can pick them up that day.  Otherwise, I can request that they be shipped to my local library and I can get them the next.  So far, out of a list of several dozen titles I've amassed, there has been only one that is not owned somewhere in the county.  

I'm not ruling out the red envelope entirely.  But for now, I am satisfied to live with my $0 per month alternative.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


OK, so I guess it wasn't REALLY about cell phones.  In retrospect, I realize that the whole cell phone rant was about being unable to communicate whenever and wherever I am, being disconnected (from my daughters, especially), dealing with my budgetary issues, and, not least, still adjusting to doing everything myself.

And it was about loss.  About losing -- without warning -- the contents of an object that had been with me almost constantly for three years, since before my life, as I knew it then, was shattered.

Late August 2007: Just days before my older daughter went off to college, we (all four family members)  hopped into the car, heading for the nearby phone store so we could all acquire "real" cell phones.  This was how we were all going to stay connected with each other: family plan, no limitations on calling among ourselves.  Initially I got the "plain Jane" handset, while the other three got fancier phones.  When I got home, for the first (and, so far, only) time in my life, I got "technology-envy".  So back we went and I swapped my "plain Jane" black-no-camera model for a sharp-looking, shiny, fiery-red model with texting and camera (not that I was ever planning to use them, mind you). 

When my life imploded less a few weeks later, that little red device became my lifeline; in my unbearable pain, my talisman.  Though, of course it couldn't really avert evil or bring good luck, it was a critical tool for coping with the destruction of my life around me.  I remember, immediately after receiving the Rejection Speech, when I simply could not stay in that house for one more minute, when I knew I was incapable of driving safely, when all I could do was walk away....  Phone in hand, I got as far as the end of the block, where I collapsed on the ground and called my sister to break the incomprehensible news.  Weeks later, I sat on a swing at the local elementary school playground and, through my wracking sobs, just two clicks would "contact" a friend, so I could just let it out.  On late night/early morning walks when I couldn't sleep, I carried it with me, for comfort as much as for security.   When my younger daughter's therapist would call to touch base prior to an appointment, I would pull off the road and park to talk to her.

On that mere four ounces of electronics, I had photos my older daughter sent me from the National Mall on the frigid day of the President's inauguration, when she walked several miles because the Metro was overcrowded.  There were text messages from my daughters, saved from their victories, large and small, and from their reaching out to me for advice or simply to express their thanks or their love.  The texts were locked to prevent accidental deletion, and were there for me to read over and over whenever I needed to remind myself why I had to continue to do whatever had to be done.  Because they needed me to be there, for whatever reason.

Three years later, I'm (mostly) used to doing everything by myself.   It's not like I have a choice, is it?   I'm even at the point where I find myself doing the most of the legwork toward finally divorcing.  Partially by my choice (goal of saving money since we've dealt with the property/financial stuff), but partially because of his inertia.  It's time.  I'm ready.  And, for my own reasons, I don't want to wait until he decides to make it a priority in his life and in his schedule.  I know how long that can take. 

But sometimes, in a moment of weakness or mental exhaustion, I'm hit with the memory that I used to have someone to share the responsibility: to take out the trash, to clean the litter box, to work with me to put the shelving unit together, to stop and get milk on the way home.   Someone to compliment and thank me, to make me coffee in the morning, to listen when I had a bad day, to tell me that it would be OK -- whatever "it" was -- that we would get through it together. 

Now, I have to be all about DIY.

Follow-up: Within 48 hours,  I'm supposed to have a refurbished "stupid" phone.  Don't really want much more right now, and it's all I can afford, especially since I have now taken over paying the bill for the girls and me.  The one bright side?  It will be purple.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cell phones and cows

WARNING : annoying, cranky, whiny post ahead

My cell phone is acting up.  Big deal, huh?  Not for me.  Not when it's my connection to both my daughters at college.  Anything that decreases my availability to my daughters shakes me to the core. A few years ago I joked that I wanted my mythical gravestone to read "She never had a cell phone."  Then my daughters became teenagers and one went away to college. Cell phone = lifeline = necessity.

This disastrous-for-me development comes when I am definitely not in a position to drop a couple hundred bucks on a new one and just when I thought I might get a little bit ahead.  (Hah!  Dream on!)

One of my health-related goals (#34) was to check out gyms/fitness centers, and, if I could find one with a location that wasn't round Robin Hood's barn from my house and didn't cost another mortgage payment, I would join and begin to get some structured physical activity into my life.  During the worst of the past few years, I was a member of a local fitness center and was -- for the first time in my lengthy life -- fairly regular in my attendance. Then it closed.  In addition to the physical exercise, I discovered it was an excellent way to deal with the abundance of anxiety I carried with me in that period.   For whatever reason, my anxiety level is, once again, ramping up, so it seemed that the time is right. Last week I visited a place not too far away that is promising, and I am giving serious consideration to membership.

In addition to the fee for the gym, I had hoped to acquire and load music on an MP3 player (#96) so I had music to listen to while exercising.    Yeah, I know I could get outside and walk. Walking is free, you say. Autumn weather generally lends itself to being outdoors, you observe. Unfortunately, it also heralds the following season, winter, with its ever earlier darkness, low temperatures, and ready-made excuses to withdraw into my home and myself.   But I know myself and walking is not something I can "force" myself to do on a regular schedule -- and, even if  I could, I'd need music for that too.  (Whine, whine, whine...)

I know that there are many people out there who lack the basics of food, shelter, medical care, employment -- all of which I have, at least for now.  I am very aware that there are people around me who have lost loved ones recently or who are in fresh pain from rejection.  I know that I am, relatively speaking, fortunate in many ways.  But the past several years have taken away so much of the life I expected to have that the little things can take on far more importance than they ever should.  Like that proverbial straw on the camel, some days it takes merely a small glitch to throw me off into the Land of OverWhelmed and Anxious.  Things that should be, and used to be easy to deal with, become obstacles that require more reserves of effort than I feel I have. 

So, today, I am a major C.O.W. (Thanks, Nancy)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Spreading the words: "Hope" and "Recovery"

"Conventional therapy holds that eating disorders are not about eating anyway, but about control.­" -- Harriet Brown, author of  Brave Girl Eating and mother of a daughter recovering from anorexia.

Daniel Le Grange, director of the Eating Disorders Program at the University of Chicago Medical Center, maintains that it [conventional therapy] accomplishes little. "There's no evidence that understanding what causes an eating disorder helps the adolescent recover," he says. "But we know that if you give the child medicine—in this case it's food—she has a much better chance of recovery."(Quoted in this article in "U.S. News & World Report.")

Why didn't I know about this three and a half years, 2 residential center stays of 3 weeks each, thousands of dollars (mostly unreimbursed by health insurance), hundreds of therapy hours ago?  Thankfully, a little over a year ago, I found someone familiar with "Maudsley" to validate the gut impulse I had in early 2007 -- when all I wanted to do was to feed my child.   Until then, I was cautioned not to be the "food police", that she had to "choose" to get better, and all manner of other bull**** by the "professionals" who claimed experience and knowledge.  I realize now that what they could not claim was success.   They poked and prodded mentally at her and at our family -- all but accusing us (primarily me) of causing this life-threatening illness. 

If a child had cancer, would medical personnel refuse to treat until they knew what had "caused" the cancer?  Would doctors tell the parents to keep their hands off, that the child had to "choose" recovery, that she had to be totally responsible for taking her medicine, even though she didn't want to and every part of her rejected it, and therefore, she most certainly would not??? 

Daily, I thank God for the therapist who helped us work together -- primarily my precious child and I -- to allow her to make sufficient progress that 3 weeks ago, she could go away to college!   We prepared in all the usual ways -- clothes, school supplies, dorm decorations, textbooks.  But, in addition, a support system involving several people had to be designed and put in place.  Now that she is physically stable, she is able to work with a therapist to deal with problems that co-existed with her eating disorder, but which were all too often treated as fused or causal -- problems that are not uncommon in adolescence, problems that are experienced by multitudes of children, most of whom (thankfully) are not in danger of falling into the clutches of an eating disorder.

I know she still struggles at times.  I know she still has "fear foods", but I have trust and faith in her that she has come too far and has too much to lose to go back there, and that she knows that too.   Perhaps someday we will be able to celebrate a full recovery -- victory over ED -- together.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Month 2 down (August 2010)

Not a big month for progress.  Probably had to do with all those daughters and preparing for college and all that.  Did read a couple of books and see some movies.

Completed only one thing:
5. Empty storage space by 9/1/10  (8/28/10) --but that one thing saves me some money each month

48. Watched movies (12/125):
       Inception (at theatre)
       Julie and Julia
       Away we go
       Royal Tenenbaums
       Vicky Cristina Barcelona
49. Read books (4/60, 3 owned, 1 library)
       Alice Hoffman: Practical magic
       Alice Sebold: Lucky
       Julia Scheeres: Jesus Land

Made progress (a little or a lot) on:
 7. De-clutter, discard project is on track.  I tend to hit a mother lode of stuff to get
    rid of and then have a day or two where I have to search for something.  Ahead
    by 27 items at end of August. 
31. Car and cell phone plans are now separated from H.  (Goodbye money saved
    by finishing #5!)
42. Help D#2 get her driver's license.  (8/14/10 -- took her to renew her permit)
68. Machine quilted baby quilt for A.M.'s granddaughter.
84. Additional donation to church for special music program.

And, of course,
  99. Updated blog with progress report on Day Zero Project
101. Wrote one additional blog post in August.

Looking ahead, I need/want to focus in September on:
6. Organization: basement
25, 27, 29: Financial/legal paper work
65-69: Hobbies: baby quilts & C.B.'s

Monday, August 30, 2010

Being my own [worst] critic

Papers piled high on every horizontal surface in the dining room, boxes in living room, baskets of dirty laundry in my bedroom, kitchen counters with dishes and food containers, recycling containers overflowing.  Welcome to my empty and messy "nest".

Each day I look over my Day Zero list and annotate a dated document containing notes about the progress I made the previous day.  In that way, I can collect what I need for my monthly update post.  But, right now, I'm obsessing about several goals that I planned to have finished by some date or another in July or August, noting that almost none of them were completed.  Some had no progress at all.     Naturally, because I'm my own worst critic, all I see is the failure to get anything done.   

Then my sane(r) self kicks in and reminds me that I've had Younger Daughter at home for the past month, German Daughter here for 3 weeks, and, more recently, Older Daughter at home for a brief post-surgical stay (emergency appendectomy).  Follow that with delivering her back to camp for a weekend and scheduling a post-op checkup that didn't require 2 hours of driving for a 5 minute appointment.  In the space of one week, there were exactly 2 days that I wasn't driving on the northeast extension of the Pennsylvania turnpike!

After all that fun (?), Older Daughter came home to get unpacked from camp and re-packed for her senior year at college, loading the car, and driving to Washington, DC to move her in -- all in less than 72 hours.  Then poor Younger Daughter got to haul the detritus from the living room to Older Daughter's room (I do have to go to work occasionally), so she could take over the space to pack for her freshman year.  That trip, this past Friday was in the other direction -- just one week after the DC trip.

Maybe all of this activity had something to do with why my self-imposed deadlines (set up in June) weren't met, d'ya think?

So I remind myself that I'm not super-woman or super-mom or super-anyone.   When my energy and time are going in one direction (children), they aren't available to spend on my task list.  (Even this post was begun much earlier in August, but took until the 30th of the month to finish.)  Simple and obvious as that  seems to other people, I need to make a conscious effort to remember it and put down the hammer that I am about to use to beat myself over the head.   

But at least I managed to add one blog post in August -- even if it was about why I feel like I didn't get anything done in August.   Success on item #101.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

101 in 1001: Month 1 progress report (July 2010)

1001 days equals approximately 33 months, so each month would be just over an inch on a yardstick.
 So I've probably reached about here:
I have completed a number of entries on my list!
  2.   Finish sorting and organizing sewing room (7/9/10)
  4.   Organize 3rd floor sufficiently for a bedroom (7/21/10)
19.   Have chimney flue relined (7/9/10)
32.   Monitor mortgage interest rates...  (Papers submitted 7/31/10)
65.   Catch up on birthday blocks  (7/10/10)
100. Learn to add photos to a blog; do it (7/14/10)

Really feels good to have SIX items completed -- all in one month. 

A few are partially completed:
12.   Finish small things around house (About half are finished)
23.   Balanced & closed old checking account
            (Still need to enter data & balance new checking account)
79.   Bought "jelly roll" (Will make a quilt top later)

And a number are in progress:
1.   Catch up on newspapers (Less than 3 weeks behind now)
5.   Empty storage space (Made 3 trips in July)
6.   Organize basement.  (Missed just one week of 2-hr shifts)
7.   Get rid of one thing a day (Ahead on this!)
    Categories:   Fabric                             Food                        Clothing
                        Books                             Household               Craft-y stuff
A few things were given away to individuals or organizations, some was discarded, the majority was set aside for charity pick-up at the end of this week. 
  8.   Get Besta cabinets at Ikea (Bought, but not yet assembled)
29.   Get divorced... (Met with H and he reports he has started paperwork)
33.   Attend M. College "Family Weekend" every year
            (Made hotel reservations for fall 2010)
36.   Resume taking vitamins (Not yet daily but more frequently)
43.   Attend last A. University "Family Weekend" (Bought train ticket)
48.   Watched 6 movies (6/125):                Where the heart is     
                Ferris Bueller's day off
                The Player
                The Wedding planner
                Definitely, maybe
                While you were sleeping
                The Curious case of Benjamin Button
49. Finished 1 book (1/60):
            A Place of hiding -- Elizabeth George (owned)
66/67/68.  Worked on 3 baby quilts (All ready to be machine quilted)
69.   Started C.B.'s quilt (1 of 4 panels done)
84.   Increase monthly contributions
            July: Unicef        
86.    Donate no-longer-wanted fabric to ASHS
            (Cleaned out stash; emailed advisor at ASHS)
99.    Update blog with progress (Here it is!)
101.  Add at least one blog post a month (Posted 5 times in July)

I'm finding that the process of having the goals helps me to prioritize the use of my time.  The one category I see that I didn't address at all was  "RECREATION", but most of those require more planning and setting aside at least a day.   Considering there are 12 items and I'm only one month into this, I'm not concerned.  However, I've realized that my "goal dates" for a few of the items were too ambitious, so I've already missed some.  But I will get the storage space cleaned out on deadline because I don't want to lay out any more money for the rent!

The most perplexing is the daily "de-cluttering".  I can't really count every single thing or I'd have 6 months at a time when I put out several boxes and bags for charity pickup.  Not the purpose.  But I do have a count of "surplus" from the days when I have 8 totally different items -- figuring this will even out for days when nothing I do really lends itself to getting rid of anything.    I think it's working for me -- and that's all that really matters!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


My D#2 is home from Europe.  My German daughter is here for a few weeks.  Teenagers are swarming about most evenings.  There are a record number of soda cans in recycling

Life is good.

[Updated to add photo.  Yes, I know it's not a clear photo and it wasn't even taken in the US.  But that's on purpose, since I'm not sure how they would feel about being shown on my blog.  Anyone who knows my daughter will recognize her.]

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bonus Quilt Retreat -- Part 2

[Note to self -- write follow-ups to "To be continued" posts while you can still remember details.]

At the White Oak, I found three retreat-ers already there, including Bobbi, our first-timer.  Wine, cheese, crackers, and chatting ensued, then dinner with innkeepers extraordinaire, Rob and Carol.  With just 8 quilters in attendance, we could all gather at one table for the first time!   What a way to create a warm feeling of connection among us all!  We all enjoyed and complimented dinner and dessert, then tables were cleared, spaces claimed and arranged.

Ladies, start your machines! 

And sew we did. (Bad pun intended!)  I dug into clearing the backlog of small projects "owed" since the March retreat, the last time I'd even turned on my machine.  Traveling, packing, moving, and some unpacking accomplished in the interim, but not a stitch had been placed on any of my projects.

From Friday evening until after Sunday brunch, voices in speech or in song accompanied the drone of sewing machines.  I was thrilled at how well my projects came along!  Pillowcase for D#1 at camp (annual tradition): check.  Catch up on overdue birthday blocks: check.   Borders for two baby quilt tops that had been made in March: check!   (Each was a variation of the one pictured below -- 30's repro 9-patches and white with 4-patch cornerblocks.)   Backing for both cut and packed away waiting for white batting to ensure preservation of the snowy backgrounds.

Up-to-date on existing projects, I could finally turn my attention to the new one I'd been anticipating for months: a bordello bargello of aquas and browns picked out a year ago by my "German daughter" (best friend of D#2) just before she had to go home.  (BTW, D#2 returns from Germany tomorrow, bringing GerD for a visit!)  With the Queen of Bordellos Bargellos (Judy) in residence, I knew I'd have all the guidance I needed to undertake this impressive, but daunting, quilt pattern.   It turned out to be easier than I thought, but Judy's calming encouragement was much appreciated when I made those first cuts through so many layers of fabric! 

All around me quilts took shape, in all stages of creation: charm packs into tops, tops augmented by borders, blocks sashed and set.  NnP finished two drop-dead gorgeous tops over the weekend -- Indigo and caramel baskets & "Twelve Oaks".  The sophisticated subtle colors of one person could be found next to the bold and bright of another's -- testimony that one could say of quilts, as of people, "It takes all kinds...".

As usual, Ruth/Turbo pulled one project after another out of her magical bags, including striking tulip blocks that had been, shall we say... not her favorite, as all needed to be squared down to a consistent size.  Help was offered, accepted and, tulips were trimmed.  Pat (no longer the newbie) introduced us to Schnibbles.  Diane/Honna, the Queen of YBR, assembled a top, and added borders for a finished flimsy. Bobbi started with charm packs and ended up with cheerful, bold and I-never-would-have-thought-of-that-combination log cabin blocks.  Helen made "Cars" pillowcases for her grand-sons, and did something with indigo and caramel baskets, I think.  And Judy did stuff too, in addition to being my bordello bargello advisor.   [This is where my memory reaches its limit, so I must beg forgiveness of everyone else whose work I haven't acknowledged.]

Sunday brunch brought the get-away to an end, as one or two at a time, we packed up and headed home.  I had the first 8 strips of my bordello (WTH) quilt assembled and ready to sew together and had even cut the rest of the fabric strips for the top!   With sun and blue skies above (and heat and humidity outside...), I packed up Violet (my purple/plum/aubergine PT Cruiser), hugged everyone, started engine, AC, and CD player, and went full circle back home, singing along (bad harmony and all) to Glee.

Knowing that the following Saturday was semi-annual Quilt Day at church, I knew there was more sewing in the very-near future!   Sometimes the Rolling Stones are wrong and you can get satisfaction!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

59th Street Bridge Song: Retreat, Part I

Anybody remember it? Simon and Garfunkel. "Slow down, you move too fast. You've got to make the morning last. Just kicking down the cobblestones. Lookin' for fun and feeling groovy..." [Aside: "Groovy" -- now there's a word you don't hear much anymore!]

59SBS could have been my theme song last weekend. I had taken Friday off work since I needed to be home when the workmen arrived to reline my chimney (#19), but once they were settled in and my car was loaded, I hit the road. Listened to CDs (Glee) and sang along the entire way to the turnpike exit, car windows closed to the sticky, humid outside, and AC running. Stopped at Sauder's where I picked up my online order (sale + no shipping cost!) and replenished my bulk food supply of dried fruit, spices, and my traditional addition to the White Oak snack table: peanut butter filled pretzel bites. Yum.

Because it was still early, I headed down the back road leading directly to Intercourse, PA and had time to dawdle in my favorite shops there: Zooks (purchased only half a yard of a Civil War repro for a swap block), and Old Country Store, where I ran into Nancy and Honna while selecting a number of FQs for my stash and a charm pack to coordinate with the jelly roll previously acquired online. The charm packets were not the identical line, but I decided to "make do" as they were similar, and from the same designer. (Oddly, this was the first time I had ever planned to make a quilt using all fabrics from the same line!)  Hearing of my dilemma, Nancy informed me that the Log Cabin shop in Bird-in-Hand (formerly known as "The Green Ruler" place) carried a lot of charm packs. As I'd not been there since the name and management changed a couple of years ago, I decided to drop in on my way to White Oak. Made my happily obligatory Immergut pretzel stop, then on the road again, west on Old Philadelphia Pike.

Walked in the door of the shop, just ten minutes before closing, and right there, on a display up front, were the exact charm packs I'd been looking for! And for $1-2 less than at OCS!  Took a quick minute to check out the rest of the store, finding an entire cabinet with a variety of charm packs, all reasonably priced.  Filed that information away for the future.

Still singing, I headed on to White Oak, where I expected to be one of the earlier arrivals, in contrast to usually being one of the last.

[To Be Continued]

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bonus Quilt Retreat

On a Friday, twice a year, spring and fall, a number of us quilters head to the Quilting Mecca of Pennsylvania -- Lancaster County.  There we take over a B&B, called the White Oak, run by the unparallelled innkeepers Rob and Carol.  We update each other over wine & cheese and Amish-farm-prepared dinner on Friday evening.  After enjoying a choice of desserts, we clear the decks, i.e. the two huge dining tables, jockey for a space there for our Berninas, Pfaff, and Featherweights, help Rob set up the ironing boards and cutting tables...   and we SEW!

Fabric and projects abound! Quilts from inception to binding and all stages in-between.  A few years ago, someone taught the rest of the group how to make fantastic no-raw-seams pillowcases.  Many a child, teen, or adult now sleeps on one of these custom creations.   Music is added according to a specific routine.  (Yes, we've been doing this so long that we have "traditions"!)  Help is requested and offered; opinions are shared, solicited or not.  The downstairs hums with activity into the night, with pajama-clad women (mostly "of a certain age") leisurely cutting, pressing, sewing, as well as chatting, laughing, singing, and dancing.

Fortified by great food through Sunday brunch, our projects take shape and our souls are fed with fellowship.  Another place where there is company but also "kind".   Most carve out some time to support the economy of the local fabric stores. I try to visit several favorite shops in Intercourse, Pa, and treat myself to the best soft pretzel in the world -- warm and butter-brushed -- from Immergut. Saturday dinner is on our own and has progressed over the years from most of us going out to dinner somewhere in the area, to nearly all of us ordering sandwiches for pickup.

On our latest outing in March, Rob and Carol told us they had a free weekend in July and asked if we were interested.   Duh...  The group will be a little smaller than usual this time, but promises to be no less compatible.  Just gives us all a little more space to spread out!

I will be working on several of my list items in "HOBBIES", and plan to post again on my return.   Someday I'll tackle #100 and post some photos!   But don't hold your breath...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Stuff" goes out... "stuff" comes in (oops...)

One of my big goals (#7) is to de-clutter/de-junk my house, even it's one piece at a time, one day at a time.  What I didn't think about is stuff coming in!   Not talking consumables or needed household items here -- groceries, curtain rods, etc. -- but More Stuff.   

In the separation, I "lost" the pan used to hard-boil eggs and none of what I have left will work well, so (being frugal), I set off for the local thrift store to find an egg-boiling pan.  Found one quickly for the perfect sum of $3.  That's when the trouble began.  

Right there, in the same place, was a covered plastic thermos-type bowl in Harvest Gold for only $2!   Since the kitchen in my new house is completely 60's colors: Avocado Green and Burnt Orange, I was missing only Harvest Gold to complete the triumvirate of cutting-edge colors of that decade.  Into the egg-boiling pan it went.  I'm still not sure what it is exactly, other than Harvest Gold.  Behind me, in that small room, was another shelf was a sugarbowl/creamer set in silver [plate, I presume] -- just the ticket to complement the butterdish and gravy boat I already have in this pseudo-silver -- $2 for the set.   Into the Harvest Gold thingy.

The fun was just beginning.   I found a lovely little paste-board box in an odd shape and pretty paisley-like pattern.  Apparently a jewelry box, it had a center divider for several rings and sections on each side for bracelets, necklaces, etc.   I'm a sucker for pretty boxes, and at just 50 cents, how could I go wrong?   My final error was to duck into the electronics room to price television sets for when I start working on # 35 and obtain an exercise bike and a TV to watch DVDs while I exercise in my basement. (I always think ahead, sometimes way ahead.) Thought that this might be a good place to start my shopping when the time comes.  Unfortunately, I walked past the DVDs on the way out.   Before I knew it, 4 DVDs (at $3 each) had found their way into my arms.  One is a replacement of a VHS tape that we watch repeatedly, one a classic musical, another a brand-new copy of an older rom-com/time travel film I've always wanted to see, and the last a "small" film with a well-known director and some actors I like a lot.  

Total cost: just over $20 -- could have bought a new egg-cooking pan for that!       

But now my dilemma is: how many more things do I need to get rid of to equalize the in/out equation?  Not counting the egg-boiling pan and the one DVD that will replace the VHS, since one was a needed household item and the other an even-up. So there's the box, and 3 DVDs but does the sugar bowl/creamer set count as one or two?   Guess I'll go for 6 in addition to the one daily divestment. 

Next decision will be what to do about the quilt fabric, the book and 2 CDs I bought online.  They aren't here yet, so, like Scarlett O'Hara, "I'll think about that tomorrow."        

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The LIST -- 101 in 1001

(143 weeks/33 months)
(Begin 7/1/10 – End 3/27/13)

1. Catch up on newspapers; Keep no more than 2 weeks (unless after vacation)
2. Finish sorting & organizing sewing room by 7/9/10.
3. Put up shelves etc. in sewing room.
4. Organize 3rd floor, sufficiently for a bedroom, by 7/21/10.
5. Empty storage space by 9/1/10.
6. Organize basement.  Spend minimum of 2 hrs. per week until complete.
7. Get rid of at least one thing daily (discard, sell, or donate).
8. Get Besta cabinets for DVDs from Ikea, preferably by 7/21/10.
9. Deal with books (discard, sell, or donate).
10. Deal with vintage clothes (sell or donate).
11. Clean out garage by 12/31/10.

12. Finish small things around house (towel racks, clocks, etc.) by 7/21/10.
13. Paint D#2’s room.
14. Fix plaster & paint my bedroom.
15. Re-paper bathroom.
16. Have lamps in bathroom replaced by electrician.
17. Plant shrubs around front porch & more perennials/shrubs in back yard.
18. Have deck power-washed and stained.
19. Have chimney flue for furnace relined.
20. Have electrical work done.
21. Purchase gas stove and have it installed.
22. Reopen door to powder room from kitchen.
23. Remove carpet from basement and basement steps.
24. Remove carpet from rest of house.

25. Sort and file all bills and papers by 9/1/10.
26. Keep up with filing monthly.
27. Enter checking account data, balance accounts, close old checking account. 
28. Keep up balancing checking account at least bi-monthly.
29. Get divorced before end of 2010, before mid-November 2010, if possible.
30. Make a will.
31. Get car & health insurance and cell phone plans separated from H..
32. Monitor mortgage interest rates; refi (15 yr?) when fixed rates drop.

33. Exercise at least 2 times weekly.  Increase to 3 times after 6 or fewer months.
34. Check out nearby fitness centers.  Join if OK location with reasonable fees.
35. Purchase stationary bike & cheap television for basement.
36. Resume taking vitamins daily.
37. Schedule overdue colonoscopy before end of 2010.
38. Stop at doctor’s office for cardiogram. 

39. Cut and mail senior pictures – both D#1’s and D#2’s.
40. Write catch-up letter to distant friends before Christmas 2010.
41. Help D#2 get her driver’s license.
42. Help D#1 get her driver’s license.
43. Attend last A.University “Family Weekend” (Fall 2010).
44. Attend “Family Weekend” at M.College(each year).
45. Attend D#1’s college graduation (2011).
46. Attend Godson’s high school graduation (2011).
47. Make photo collage of D#2 for Dr. S.

48. Watch 125 movies/DVDs.
49. Read 60 books, including at least 30 that I currently own and 10 from the library.
50. Take D#1 and D#2 to Chick-Fil-A and movie at least once a year.
51. Go to movies alone at least once a year.

52. Go to shore for at least a day each summer.
53. Go dancing with A.M.
54. Go to NYC for play or musical at least once a year.
55. Go to a concert other than C.A. at least once a year.
56. Go on one pleasure trip of at least 5 days by myself.
57. Take D#1 alone on trip to a new place for at least 3 days.
58. Take D#2 alone on trip to a new place for at least 3 days.
59. Take both on trip, maybe to new place for at least 3 days.
60. Eat at restaurants with 3 new ethnic cuisines: Moroccan, Ethiopian?, Turkish?
61. Go to Paducah, KY for big quilt show.
62. Attend a Phillies game.
63. Visit Mutter Museum.
64. Visit University of Pennsylvania Museum (Egyptian section at least).

65. Catch up on birthday blocks and stay caught up.
66. Finish baby quilt for Mr. S’s daughter.
67. Finish baby quilt for Mrs. M’s son.
68. Make baby quilt for A.M.’s granddaughter.
69. Make quilt for C.B.
70. Make 3rd curtain for my room & for D#2’s room.
71. Finish t-shirt quilt for D#1.
72. Make quilt for D#2’s new room.
73. Make t-shirt quilt for D#2.
74. Make quilt for sponsored child from ChildFund.
75. Cut scrap fabric into usable units (strips, blocks, etc.).
76. Make new quilt and curtains for my bedroom.
77. Set 1 set of swap blocks into quilt top.
78. Make 1 quilt top from scraps.
79. Buy a “jelly roll” and make a quilt top from it.
80. Bring quilt photo albums up-to-date and keep them current.
81. Make quilt for Godson for graduation (2011).
82. Give all the Uvulati a small gift.

83. Have a house blessing ceremony
84. Increase monthly charitable donations by minimum of $10 per year.
85. Donate minimum of $500 to church in honor of C.M. on or before 4/12/11.
86. Donate extra fabric to ASHS.
87. Co-lead D-Circle (Fall 2010-Spring 2012).
88. Do something pro-active for eating disorders awareness.
89. Give blood at least once a year.
90. Read the Bible daily during Lent.
91. Take Stephen Minister training.
92. Write letters to all 4 sponsored children (PLANUSA/ChildFund).
93. Find a place to volunteer and do it weekly for at least 6 months.

94. Take some type of music lessons (voice, guitar, or harmonica) for minimum of 6 months.
95. Take a yoga or dance class.
96. Learn to load music on my MP3 player.
97. Learn to ride a bike.
98. Learn to upload photos and print out selections.
99. Post this “Day Zero” list in a blog & update list at least monthly.
100. Learn how to add photos to a blog; do it.
101. Write and add at least one blog post a month.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What "101 in 1001" is

The name of the original is the "Day Zero" project.  Because of my life situation right now, it seemed to be a good way to help me focus on the future, both big and small things.  I took my time in deciding to commit to it, turning it around in my mind, viewing from all angles, figuring excuses,  and, finally, finding inspiration in the idea. Here's the description from the original website:

The Challenge:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple challenges such as New Year's resolutions or a 'Bucket List'. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities. 

My plan is to use it as more than a "to-do" list but to add challenges -- all achievable, though some may take more effort than others -- and self-improvement goals.  Because of my focus on the next of my multiple "lifetimes", I decided to call the blog "new future ahead".   

Tomorrow [drumroll, please....]:The List

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Women's Table

Had dinner tonight with four other women from the MLC Forum, and a friend of one of them -- an incredible group, all accomplished, intelligent, well-spoken, and funny.   We forum members traded "war stories", demonstrating that all of our stories are the same, and all of them are also different.  There is something so comforting and empowering about finding others who really get it (whatever your personal "it" may be).

A line from Marilyn French's book "The Women's Room" has stayed with me for decades: "Loneliness is a longing, not for company, but for kind."    In the face of all the change that has been forced on me in the past 3 years, I was fortunate to find the MLC forum and the people who were my "kind".  I truly do not know how I would have survived these times emotionally without the wisdom and shared experience of the members!    Though my priority is to look ahead, my past will always be a part of me and must sometimes be acknowledged.

One of my favorite quotes is from Dixie Carter: "It takes a mighty good man to be better than no man at all."   I had one once, but he's gone now and someone else (who I don't know and have no desire to know) occupies his form.   

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Step 0 -- Finish list

Have my 101 in 1001 list ready to go, but will wait to post it until June 30.   D#2 left for a month in Europe -- her flight takes off in about an hour.  Starting tomorrow morning, I will be out of town for 4 days for work.  Looking forward to having dinner on Sunday with others from  MLC Forum that saved my sanity when the world as I knew it blew up in my face in mid-September 2007. 

On my return, an empty house awaits me, where I will "try out" empty-nesting for several weeks until it comes around for real in late August.   On the bright side, I already have plans for all but one weekend day when D#2 is gone.  If I can just focus, there are lots of things around the house that need attention where progress can be made in an evening or two. In many ways, I'm looking forward to the solitude and to the lack of demands on me. 

During that time, I will also need to meet with their father to get finances straight and talk about where we go legally, when, and how.   I am ready to have everything done and separated so the only thing we have to do together is pay for their college.   Oops... started to give away a couple of things on my list. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How did I get here?

"Here" is multiple places!  This place in my life, my current mental/emotional/legal state, this blog -- especially because I never planned to become a blogger.  No matter.  For right now, this place is just for me, for my musings, lists, and projects, since no one knows about it.  Maybe in the future, but not yet.

A major inspiration was the blog of a friend of one of my daughters, who posted a list of "101 in 1001", 101 things to do in the next 1001 days.  I still lack a couple dozen for my list, but hope to finish writing it and begin the project on July 1, 2010.  I have a new life to forge -- at my age -- and this seems to be one way to put some structure on moving forward.