Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

Change is coming to Green Acres.  Since we moved here two-and-a-half years ago, I have been working part-time in the ouffice of a manufacturing company - answering phones and doing routine office chores.  It started out boring and kinda lonely and even a little demeaning at times because I knew how overqualified I was for the job, but my co-workers didn't, and they treated me accordingly.  But, over time, they got to know me better and attitudes changed and I was given additional responsibilities that decreased the boredom.  Now I have been asked to go full-time and train for some new HR-related duties.

Change has never been my favorite thing.  I am slow at adapting. I get comfortable in my routine and resist revising it.  But change happens in spite of my protests.  Children grow up, parents age, friends come and go . . . sometimes you just have to roll with it.  

I've worked at many different jobs in the last 35 years, including bank teller, day care provider, medical records clerk and, my favorite, librarian.  With the exception of the five years at the library, none of them have been my "dream" job.  When asked what they want to be when they grow up, does any child dream of being a bank teller?  But life rarely ends up as we dream at age 18.  The string of jobs provided me with some of my best friends, a wider view of the world, experience for the next job and, of course, helped provide some extras for our family.  I was blessed to get to stay home with my babies for many years, but time keeps moving on and now those babies are both college students, and our two grandsons live three states away and need airplane tickets to come visit. A little extra income is a good thing.  

But, every good thing comes with a trade off.  More time at work means less time for sewing and crafting . . . and blogging . . . and visiting blogs.  Some things will have to be cut down or eliminated completely, but I will eventually adapt and create a new routine. If, for a while, I am a little scarce on line, please be patient.  Times, they are a-changin'!

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don't criticize when you can't understand.
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command.
Your old road is rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand,
For the times, they are a-changin'.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Are You My Mother?

Remember this classic from 1960 about a baby bird in search of his mother?    We read it to our children so many times we had it memorized.  

Thursday evening Dave became a character in a real-life version.  He found this baby blue-jay in the tree-row beside our house.  It was hopping around, screeching loudly, "Are you my mother?"  

Dave replied, "I am not your mother.  I am a man. But I will feed you worms to keep you alive until your mother returns."  And he did.

Since we were preparing to leave town, we couldn't do much else to assist the chick except keep the dogs away and hope that his mother would hear his cries (they were hard to miss) and come to his aid.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Day at the Beach . . .

 . . . the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, that is.  

Amanda and I are planning a number of Mother/Daughter days over the summer and "Art Day" was our first adventure.  This was not our first visit to the Beach Museum, on the campus of Kansas State University, but of course the exhibits change so there's always something new to see.  The current exhibit - "Earthworks" - "explores the many facets of the Earth as seen through the eyes of artists in the permanent collection."  Two of my personal favorites were:
Autumn Storm by Robert Newton Sudlow
Regiones Botanicas de la Tierra: Antilles No. 2
by Susan Davidoff
 The highlight of our tour was the James McNeill Whistler (yes, THAT Whistler) exhibit:  An American in Venice. "This exhibition presents eleven of Whistler's Venice works [etchings] alongside prints by other artists who worked in Italy during the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries".
The Garden by James McNeill Whistler
The third exhibit was "Museum of Wonder" - "an eclectic mix of objects representing K-State's past, present, and future."  Amanda thought it was so named because it makes you "wonder" why they are on display.  Without a tour guide or signage to explain the exhibits, it did appear a bit random, but there were some interesting items, such as vintage clothing from the Textile Dept. 

 After the museum, we stopped by the Student Union for a joint lesson in art and pop culture - a display of clown paintings by actor/comedian Red Skelton - yes, clown paintings.  Mr. Skelton visited KSU in 1977 and, while there, signed and donated some of his paintings which have been on display since.  We have seen them in passing before.  We got a puzzled reaction when, after we couldn't locate the paintings, we asked a young man working there.  He had never heard of the paintings (or Red Skelton) and referred us to the Union Director, Bill Smriga, who solved the mystery of the missing paintings.  Seems they had Mr. Skelton's generous donation appraised recently and found out they have no value beyond the curiosity of being painted by a celebrity.  So, they have been moved to storage to make way for a display in honor of KSU's 150th anniversary. The intention is to create a new spot to display one or two of the clowns.   Mr. Smriga was pleased, if a bit surprised, that we remembered the paintings (or cared) and said it was a good reminder that he needs to get that project underway.

All that museum browsing left us hungry and thirsty so we ended the day by enjoying "Wine Wednesday" on the patio at Colbert Hills Golf Course, and enjoying a little of God's artwork (not to mention an incredible meal).

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Things I Like: Poems by Zerrik Harrington

Things I like:  Poems by Zerrik Harrington is a new release published by Vista Grande Elementary School.  

These charming poems cover a range of topics from video games to family pets to my personal favorite:

                Kansas State 
Kansas State has many people - 
Many football players -
I love Kansas State - 
My grandma and Grandpa lived there - 
I love them - 
I love Kansas State.
The original artwork that illustrates this volume of poetry shows great talent, creativity and bold use of Magic Markers, as can be seen in this impressionistic rendering of the flag of the state of Kansas:

The author, a handsome young man with a smile that melts his grandma's heart, lives in Albuquerque with his mother, brother and two dogs.  He hopes to visit Kansas State (and his grandparents) later this summer.  He is currently taking a break from writing to work on his soccer career.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Needlework Tuesday/UFO Challenge

Needlework Tuesday is a regular feature, hosted by Heather at Books and Quilts, in which participants share the sewing, stitching and quilting projects they made each week.  I'm considering starting my own version in which I share what I meant to do and what new fabric I purchased for the next project that I mean to do.  Oh, wait . . . that's what I usually do anyway. 

For instance, I meant to finish the "camper quilt" that is my UFO Challenge project for June.  I completed one more row - so at least that's progress.  I meant to finish Amanda's prayer quilt that's just waiting for binding - but it's still sitting in the same spot.  Why didn't I finish them?  Partially because we went out of town to visit our son for a couple days, but mostly because I got distracted by a new project.

The little sewing time I had this week was spent making a giant quilt block.  I had a few 10-inch squares left from a "layer cake" and no plan or idea what to do with them.  So when I ran across this simple project on Pinterest, I whipped it together.  The finished square is approximately a yard square, so I think I'll add a wide border of some sort to create a lap quilt.  At least, that's what I mean to do.

Last week I posted a picture of the kitchen curtains I made and the additional curtain I meant to make.  Ha! Fooled you.  I actually got that done.  Just ignore the dishes in the drainer - I can't do everything!

It was a totally successful week in the new fabric department.  I got this fabric to make pillows for our daughter's new apartment.

And this retro print and coordinates because . . . well, because it's retro.
Project suggestions?
And these novelty prints and coordinate because, uh . . . they're novel?

   No, seriously - could you have walked away without that sewing print?  I didn't think so.

If you have to ask why I bought these prints, you must be new here.  Welcome!  My name is Tami and I am a Charlie Brown Christmas addict.

That brings us to the interactive portion of Needlework Tuesday.  These three fat-quarters are a "test run" for my first full-size quilt . . . I think.  My idea is to use this block in shades of aqua.  Heather has been advising me on color and design choices.  She recommended a light aqua, a darker shade of the same tone, and a neutral with a small print containing both colors.  Am I close, Heather?  I love the light and neutral, but couldn't find a dark piece that I liked.  The batik was as close as I could come, but I don't like the mixture of batik and non-batik - in spite of the repeated attempts by the store clerk to convince me that it would be fine.  I also think it's a bit too dark.  But there's enough fabric to make a test block and get an idea of how it will look - and if I can make this block - before I invest in yardage.  All opinions and advice are welcome.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Blessings . . .

I attended a family reunion last weekend and my great-niece Elaine and another girl her age (10) came up with an adorable idea.  They created works of art featuring family and inspirational sayings, then sold them to the reunion attendees.  The money, they claimed, would go to help tornado victims in Oklahoma.  This drew some laughs and a few scoffs, because we all knew they had no idea how to actually get this money to anyone affected by the tornadoes.   But I was first in line to buy one anyway because I applauded their idea.  Then the lightbulb came on - our daughter, Amanda, is traveling to OKC with a group from her church, to assist in cleanup.  The $30 these two young ladies raised has been passed on to Amanda with instructions to deliver it to a child who lost their home.  She's not exactly sure how she'll accomplish this, but somewhere in Moore, OK she will find a child and present them with a wad of dollar bills from two little girls in Kansas with giving hearts.

The family reunion was actually a stop on my way to Hays because our son, Mitch, was having knee surgery.  This was the twelfth time that I have set in a hospital room waiting for either Dave or one of the kids to come out of surgery.  And I have to say, this may have been the smoothest, easiest procedure in the history of surgery.  It took about an hour to clean up  some torn cartilage and he was on his feet - with the aid of crutches - a couple hours later . . . 

 . . . although still a little woozy.  He was home and fast asleep in his own bed eight hours after entering the hospital.

Thanking God for generous girls and skilled surgeons!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy Campers

 We finally found a free weekend to try out the "vacation home" we purchased this spring. We took it twelve miles to a beautiful pond owned by a friend.  The drive is gated so use is limited and the fishing is great.  There is a cabin on the premises, but our 80's-era pop-up camper is in much better shape.  There are no water or electrical hookups so this was a 24-hour stay - the maximum I can handle without at least a few luxuries - like a shower and a coffee pot.  

We got rained on a little, but found out the camper is water-tight; read; cooked over a campfire and then relaxed and watched the embers and the sunset.  We were up at 5:30 because when one person in a pop-up camper needs to use the facilities, everyone in the camper is awake - human and canine.  But the fishing is great at that hour and we caught more than fifty fish by 10:00.  

Here is our weekend in pictures:

The first trick was to back the pickup under that camper - definitely not a job for me.
Dave and our friend, Larry, attached everything . . .
Then we all held our breath that it would fit under the garage door.
We arrived and set up camp.
View from the water back up to camp
While it rained, we sat on the cabin porch and read.  
Dave prepared our fishing tackle.
The dogs were anxious to explore the water but neither is a strong swimmer.   Molly (small) liked retrieving the ball from the water, as long as she didn't get in over her head.  Gabby (large) wanted in the boat while we fished, but due to her propensity to chase fishing lures, she remained on shore.  After one desperate dog-paddling attempt to haul her 90 lbs. out to the boat, she remained tied up on shore.
Breakfast of bacon and eggs over the campfire is good.  Boiling water to make instant coffee - not so much.  I'm in the market for a campfire percolator - or an electrical hookup for a drip machine.

Gabby finally got her boat ride - and her own life jacket.
A successful first trip and we're excited to try out several other local camping spots. 

But this is hard to beat.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Needlework Tuesday/UFO Update

When last we met for Needlework Tuesday, I was doing the happy dance over a fabric swap package I had received that included some authentic (not reproduction) vintage kitchen-print fabric.  My kitchen has authentic vintage cabinets, counter-top and flooring - so I have been dreaming of decorating in 50's era red and aqua.  This fabric fit perfectly and added just the right touch.
Look quick  - the counters may never bee this clean again.
I wanted the window on the left covered because it looks out onto a "mud room" full of coats, hats, dog food, etc.  I intentionally left the bottom half of the window on the right uncovered so that I could see out, but now I'm reconsidering.  Although the lower curtains would most likely always be pushed open, I think the extra splash of color there would be nice.  I have enough vintage fabric left to trim two more panels, so the plan is to make them similar to the other window, but with the trim running vertically along the inside edges where it will show more when open.  But so far I'm loving the vintage feel.  Thanks again, Connie!

Sponsored by Tonya at
The Crafty Mummy
Project #2 for this week was to make progress on my June UFO challenge.  I accepted the challenge to complete a UFO each month for the rest of the year and, for June, chose to work on a throw-size quilt I'm making for the camper.  

I have two rows completed - and there are only four rows - but time is ticking so I plan to make major progress on this later today.  

And speaking of quilting, last weekend I attended a family reunion and among the pictures spread on a table, I found this shot of my Great-Grandmother.

Grandma Hattie quilted - totally by hand - for many years, and I am blessed to have two of her finished quilts. One of them was made especially for my mother with scraps from Mom's (clothing) sewing projects.  Great-Grandma finished it on her 80th birthday.  My mom is now nearing 80 and I see a lot of resemblance to her grandma.  I snitched this photo and it now sits next to my sewing machine for inspiration.

And one totally random thought:  Does anyone but me love the name Hattie?  Technically, it's short for Harriet, but the abbreviated form just sounds so feminine and old-fashioned and lovely.  I often regret that we didn't name our daughter Hattie.  Daughter doesn't regret it at all! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sometimes You Wanna Go . . .

Can you finish the line?  If so, you were either watching NBC in the 80's or you're a fan of late-night reruns.  
...where everybody knows your name.And they're always glad you came.You wanna go where people know, people are all the same.You wanna go where everybody knows your name.
Cheers was one of our favorite shows and our conversation is still full of Cheers references, although the show ended twenty years ago.  George Wendt - better known as Norm Peterson - wrote a book aptly titled "Drinking With George" which Dave read as soon as it came out in 2010.

Recently, Dave and Amanda attended the Omaha Beer Fest where Mr. Wendt was signing his book.  Of course, Dave took along his copy to have it autographed and snapped a couple pictures.

Wonder if he ever gets tired of people yelling, "Noooorm!!" 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dog Days

Sackett and the kids - Christmas 1992
We love dogs at our house.  In the past 30 years, we have owned four: 

  • Sackett - an orange/white Springer Spaniel mix who lived to be 16.  She was my gift to Dave on our first anniversary. I got her free from the owner of a pure-bred Springer Spaniel after a "traveling salesman" jumped the fence.  And yes, she was named for the Sackett family in the Louis L'Amour series.

  • Josie - a Husky mix who was also given to us free when my sister's dog went wandering and came home with a surprise.  Named for Eskimo Joe's restaurant in Stillwater, OK (Husky - Eskimo - get it?) - but femanized.  Josie only made it to age 10.

  • Molly - a Springer Spaniel who is nine and going strong.  We fell in love with her when she was up for sale at a charity auction.

  • Molly

    • Gabby - a Mastiff mix, age 3, that we got from a rescue shelter in Iowa that had saved her from being put down at the pound in Kansas City.  
    They have all been loyal, loving friends and each time we lost one, I swore there would be no more - but a house without a dog just doesn't feel right.
    Debby at Just Breathe shared this cute post a couple days ago and I loved it.  So, with her permission, I am passing it along.  

    A Dog's Purpose

    Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker.  The Dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker and were hoping for a miracle.  

    I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer.  I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker and offered to perform the euthanasia rocedure in their home.  Rone and Lisa thought it would be good for six-year-old shane to observe the procedure.

    The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him.  Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.  Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.  The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.  We sat together for awhile after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

    Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."  Startled, we all turned to him.  What came out of his mouth next stunned me.  I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.  It has changed the way I try and live.  He said, "People are born so that they can learn how t live a good life -- like loving everybody and being nice, right?"  The boy continued, ''Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''

    Josie and Grandson #1 - You can read Josie's story here
    Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
    • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

    Or at least wake them in the morning.

    • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

    • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
    • Take naps.
    • Stretch before rising.
    • Run, romp, and play daily.

    • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
    • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
    • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree

    • When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
    • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
    • Be loyal.
    • Never pretend to be something you're not.
    • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. 
    • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
    • Enjoy every moment of every day!