Friday, August 28, 2009

Share the (Bundle of) Love

I took my bundle to the post office today, and needed a little help with the customs form -- what goes where and all that. When the clerk saw I was sending fabric to Iraq, she was interested; I gave her the information, as she thought it was something she would like to do, as well.

Very cool.

I currently don't have too much appropriate fabric in my collection, as I gave the Joray girls 4 or 5 bags of fabric just a few months ago. I did find some fat quarters, a free yard from SMS, a nice puppy-print flannel and all the yarn downstairs, and I had a new pair of knitting needles in my library bag. I purchased 6 1/2 yards of the green at Jo-Ann's this week, and they had a nice set of scissors for $5.00. Thread, needles, pins and a tape measure round out my bundle.

Lucky doesn't look too happy in this picture. "You bellowed and woke me from my nap to take my picture by some box? Just because all the other kids were doing it?"

Let's face it. She is not an LOLCat. She's sort of a B -I-you-know-what-Cat.

Peace. May it come in bundles.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bits and Bobs

- Clay is on his way home! I think. His message this evening said he would be home "tomorrow afternoon" but that could mean Friday (my tomorrow afternoon) or Saturday (his tomorrow afternoon.) I will just be glad to see him when I see him, because I am sick and tired of making my own coffee in the morning. And, I miss him. I am hoping that the success of this trip doesn't mean that more trips are on the horizon, but I wouldn't be surprised.

- 13 at Knit Night this evening. One new knitter, two who we hadn't seen for awhile. Lots of fun, as always. I always say I am not crazy about Lion Brand Homespun, but it is very popular at Knit Night, especially with the Prayer Shawl knitting crown. And, five of my recent projects have been made from it -- blue shawl for Donna, purple shawl for Jodi, the Library Capelet, a Triangle shawl on the needles now and this:

This is the pinwheel pattern I like so much, and I just couldn't stop; I started with the leftovers from the purple shawl, but ended up buying 3 more skeins to finish. It measures about 5 feet across, counting the crocheted edge. I'm going to donate this one to an upcoming fundraiser.

- I broke the picture machine at CVS today. Temporarily. But it was embarrassing, nevertheless. Seems that the little stick that goes with my new camera is an MS Duo, and I put it into the the MS slot, where it got stuck. The photo lab girl and the assistant manager both worked to get it out, and had to take the machine apart to get to it. While I stood there. At noon. When everyone in Seymour was doing their drug store shopping.

I blame Wal-Mart. Because if they carried the cartridges for the nifty little photo printer that Clay bought for me at Wal-Mart, (and which you can still buy at Wal-Mart), then I would have been able to print out the photos at home. (I did ask the girl behind the counter why they didn't have the cartridges for the printer, but I got the famous WM Shrug, followed by the famous "I can call a manager." But considering my past failures with this process, I just let it go.)

I think my new goal in life will be to find a way to blame everything on Wal-Mart. Like six degrees of separation:

Bad thing A happened because of B because of C because of D because of E because of Wal-Mart.

It is good to have a goal. (But please, no one tell Barbara!)


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sad Days

Today was mom's birthday, the second most difficult day of the year, right behind Mother's Day.
I thought about mom first thing when I got up this morning -- it is easy to remember what day of the month it is when you count every day of the month every morning in kindergarten. I was in class for an hour, then Barb came to fill in while I went to play sweet Norma's funeral.

Sometimes I can make it through a whole funeral without crying. And today, I was fine for awhile, but then Father Scott started his lovely homily, based on the 23rd Psalm, and I turned into a weepy mess, as the 23rd Psalm was mom's favorite.

Sometime in her cancer treatment, she had to have an MRI. She was very claustrophobic, and told us that the only way she got through that was to recite the 23rd Psalm and the Lord's Prayer to herself. All I could think of was my sweet mom, scared of the MRI, scared of the cancer, saying the Psalm.

This picture is one of my favorites -- a snapshot from a boat trip with the Heckmans in 1960. This is how I would like to imagine them now in heaven -- mom not scared of the water, not scared of anything, and dad just happy to be with her. Before miscarriages and fires, losing farms and losing family, cancer and Alzheimer's. Happy and together.


Iraqi Bundles of Love

If you sew, you might want to think about sending some of your stash to Iraq. Much like the Afghans for Afghans movement, this project, organized by a soldier, targets the families of this war-torn region, who can't get the supplies they need. To read the whole story, and to contribute, click on the icon on the right.

Hope to have my bundle together by this weekend.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Hip, Hip, Horray!

The St. Ambrose team won the Church League Tournament Saturday night, defeating 1st Nazarene twice!
In the front row, Gus and Henry with Andy, Brock, Smitty with Grant and Evan, Keith and Scotty. The back row is Tom, Piet, Bob and Bailey, Brooks, Dick, Bill, Jeff, Terry and Jason.
They also won the regular season, losing only one game (the other big trophy).

Going to the games was a highlight of our summer, and Clay (second oldest guy on the team!) had a great time, despite the pulled hamstring, achilles tendon and general achiness he felt after every game. I was so sad that he had to miss the tournament because of his Japan trip -- I know he was, too.
Looking forward to next summer . . .

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Dash

I attend a lot of funerals. Some to mourn, some to play. Some to do both. I am fairly certain I have played more funerals than weddings (243); sometimes I can go a month without a funeral, but I have, on the other hand, played 5 services in a single week.

A few weeks ago, the daughter of the 106-year-old woman who died read the poem "The Dash" at Mass. Do you know it? You can read it here.* To sum it up, what happened in the years between your birth and death -- the dash on your headstone?

Norma, a sweet woman in our church died last week; her funeral is on Tuesday. I got to know her in the past few years, as we served funeral dinners together, and she and her sister, Evelyn, helped out so much with Father Sheets' 50th Anniversary party. I sat next to her at D of I meetings, and we would talk and laugh. She always complemented my playing, and I complemented her pie baking. It was a sweet friendship.

But when I read her obituary, I realized how much I didn't know about her. I had assumed she was a widow, but she had never married. I assumed the man with Down Syndrome that she cared for until he died was her son, but he was her brother.

Norma's life was long -- 82 years. A lot went on in the world and in her life in those 82 years. The dash isn't how long and detailed your obituary is, listing your degrees, jobs, clubs. It's about what you have done for others.
Her simple obituary, besides listing her relatives and church membership, stated only that she was a "caregiver for her family."

I think maybe that is the very best thing to be.

May she rest in peace.

*This is the kind of poem I need to write -- the author, Linda Ellis, has developed a little industry from this poem -- books, prints, DVD's. Wonder if I could do that with my skunk poem?

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Bunch of Randomness

- On the front porch:

Love that autumn-blooming clematis -- one of the few things I can grow really well, besides crabgrass and lamb's ear. Here's a close-up:

- I have always said you can never have too many friends or too many books. I still believe the friends part, but after cleaning out Will's old bedroom to make way for my office/studio*, I think maybe you can have too many children's books. We belonged to three or four monthly books clubs when the kids were little and we probably got a Little Golden Book every time we went to the grocery store. Then along came book orders at school and book fairs -- why couldn't we let one pass without buying a new book? Especially those of the Berenstain Bears variety, not ever my favorites, and too long for bedtime reading (when we read them 3 or 4 books every night). There were 32 of them on the shelf! But could I get rid of them? Could I put them into the two shopping bags of books I took into school?

No, I could not. The Berenstain Bears are destined to remain part of our family artifacts.
*doesn't studio sound classier than craft room? I thought so, too.

- Visited with my new car on Sunday. I don't think she wanted me to leave without her.

- Things are going well in Japan -- Clay's smoothing ruffled feathers, and it looks like he will be able to come home next Friday! The only bad part of this is that if he had to extend his stay, he was hoping to climb Mt. Fuji. Hopefully that will work out someday, and he can add that to the list of things he has done without me -- walking the Great Wall, climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge, hiking around a sheep farm in England, drinking vodka with Siberians. Not bitter, really, just envious.

- Our first full week of school is complete!

- Patriotic Quilt of Doom

Love the quilt, love the people I made it for, love all the lovely little sentiments people wrote on the top at their wedding reception. Hated the finishing process. But it's done, and on its way. Peace, little quilt.

- So, I need a new sewing machine. Mine (mom's) was on its last legs even before the little flooding incident. I want to step up from a Singer -- I've been looking at the Bernina's at the quilt shop here in town; they are great, and sew like a dream, but $$$. Then, just yesterday, I saw an ad in our paper for a shop in North Vernon, and today, when I had a little free time I wasn't expecting (isn't that always nice?) I drove over there. Although their fabric selection was a little limited, the women in the shop were warm, helpful and inviting -- they took over an hour with me, explaining the differences in the Janome machines they sell there. They sew like a dream, too, and closer to a price I can afford. I think I found just the right one, but I'm going to wait until I get the room done to get it -- good incentive for me to get busy.

- On the needles -- I finished a purplish rectangular shawl for my friend, Jodi, and started another one (a pinwheel) with the leftovers. So far, I've had to buy 2 more skeins, and need to get one more to finish. But that's my fault, because I wanted it to be big enough. Big enough for what? I'm not sure yet. I'll let you know.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Paul and Corn

There are a lot of things bothering me today -- Gardisil, dumb drivers, my messy house. But instead of talking about those, I'll just share this picture, and get busy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Off to Valpo

for some official stuff/fun stuff this weekend. But I'll be back next week with some tales of the first day of school, and some cute pictures.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Where Did My Summer Go?

Memo to school boards all over: Kids who started school after Labor Day ended up walking on the moon, inventing Viagra and developing the Internet. Will starting in August make them smarter, more creative or better citizens? No, just a lot sweatier after lunch recess.

But regardless of my feelings, we start on Thursday. This THURSDAY.
Thursday? Why Thursday? Can't we start on a Monday? (Preferably a Monday in September?)
I am just crabby, because I still have a lot of summer things to do before school starts, and they're not going to get done. Like working in yard and gardens, fixing up the back porch, finishing my office/craft room, doing some general fun stuff and just lying on the couch. (I know, I don't do that. I want a hammock on the back porch, but I probably wouldn't lie in that, either. But it sounds nice, doesn't it?)
Last night was Kindergarten Open House. It went very well, I am already in love with the kids and am excited to get started. Here's the first installment of Sharon's Awesome Bulletin Boards:
What you can't see is that all the little popcorns are springing off the board on curly pipecleaners. Once again, words cut out with the amazing Cricut.
Yesterday afternoon was pre-school open house, as well, so the Andersons came down for that and stayed for supper and horseshoes with Grandma Clay.

Maggie and Paul came, too, and we ate lots of corn, green beans and tomatoes.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Instead of cleaning the basement, I'm blogging

Wanna make something of it?

Speaking of blogging, two books I am currently reading evolved from blogs -- Julie and Julia and Mason-Dixon 2. (Perhaps a publisher will want to make a book out of my blog. The book will be called Sweet Songs: A Messy Crafty Mimi. It is sure to be a best seller to people who like to look at pictures of our grandsons.) I have yet to knit anything from this MD, but it is a great read -- Kay and Ann just crack me up (need proof? Watch the video below). I want them to be my friends. Maybe I need to stalk them on Facebook.*

Speaking of competitive knitting (which they do on page 102), the big purple rosette winner at our fair this year was an intricate lace shawl, made by one of our Knit Nighters, Kathy. (I think it was a pattern from Meg Swansen's A Gathering of Lace.) She brought her shawl to Knit Night for 2 years, and if anyone deserves the big purple ribbon, it's Kathy. Way to go, chica.

Speaking of shawls, look at this:
I pretended to take a picture of the bride and groom at the wedding we attended Saturday night, but I was really sneaking a picture of this shawl. It's a crocheted triangle -- I think I could re-create this, don't you? It's sparkly, and I count about 9 different colors, plus the black that joins the motifs. I don't much care for sparkly yarns, as they are usually rough and fiddly, but I think I could make a sacrifice for this shawl. And, since it is so airy, I am guessing that you could probably get 2 or 3 shawls out of one yarn purchase. I will keep you posted as to my progress, but if anyone has any great ideas about yarn, patterns, etc., please pass them on.

Speaking of the wedding, I ought to include a picture:

Kammi and Nathaniel. Their reception was at a vintage car/WW II museum -- definitely the most educational reception we have ever been to. Kammi's mom said, "What do you expect from a homeschooling family?" And -- news flash -- Clay danced. And there wasn't any beer at the reception. I know. He even attempted the ChaCha Slide. No beer. Really.

Speaking of beer, I think I will have one after I work in the basement for a few hours. A Rolling Rock, not that other swill that is in the refrigerator. Word to the wise: be very wary Sports Illustrated articles that tout "Beer of the Month" as a great Father's Day gift.


*And speaking of Facebook, I think I love it, and I didn't think I would. I just have to set the timer on my stove so I don't hang out there all day!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Someone call Noah, quicklike

Our basement is flooded. For the first time in 17 years of living in this house.

Why? Because we have had a beaucoup mess o' rain today -- I am guessing close to 6 inches. The creek is as high as I have ever seen it, and I have lived on this creek for the best part of my life.

Better question: why am I blogging, now of all times?
1) Because wacky stuff is happening in the basement -- my sewing machine was running by itself, full force.
See, I took a movie of it, taken from the stairs:

Mom always said I sewed way too fast -- this is probably cracking her up. I did flip the circuit breaker to the basement, but I am still wary of going down there, and am going to wait until Clay gets home.

2) Because this is just another one of those things.
You know.
THOSE things.
Those things that happen to us.
Weird little adversities, set backs, snafus. Why does it seem we have so many of those? Skunks, power windows, wells, slippy frozen refuge roads -- the list goes on and on.
But this too, like all those, will soon pass. After a few days of drying, pitching out wet junk and cleaning, it will be as if it never happened, and we'll have something to laugh about, blog about and maybe even write a poem about.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Fair wrap-up

Just a few photos from the fair:

Restoring antique tractors is a big hobby around here. This is one of the best renovations, ever:

Our church booth:
I don't know what that wing on the roof is, either.

The baby sweater I entered. At our fair, the category is "Baby sweater, hat and booties," so I had to whip up the accessories pretty quick. I don't know how many were in this category, but it is nice to get a ribbon.