An Interesting Place

By way of a little “touching base/checking in” type post, I find myself in an interesting place at the moment, both literally and figuratively:

Augusta is an interesting place. So far, we really like it here, high pollen counts and high temperatures notwithstanding. We’re not actually in Augusta, but in a smaller town just outside of it. It’s a nice area, and most things I need or want to do are within a few minutes from the house, and I very quickly embraced the idea that anything over ten miles away is “too far” and even five miles is pushing it. The Augusta area is big enough to have a nice mall with a Dillard’s and a Macy’s (which is almost “too far” it must be said), but not big enough for a Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus, and I’m okay with that. If it was that big, it would be too big like Atlanta, and I don’t think I’d like living there. Augusta seems just right.

Our house is an interesting place. For that matter, so is home ownership. You see, I’ve never owned a house before, and it still feels a bit…strange…somehow. It’s all ours, and we can do what we like with it, and we don’t have to put up with strange landlords or worry about what issues or faults might become evident as time goes on that perhaps weren’t apparent when we moved in or that the landlords didn’t want to tell us about. The house itself is wonderful, and I’m still amazed that I found it. I think I fall in love with it a little more as each week passes. We love the neighborhood, all three streets of it, and our neighbors are nice and quiet and nearly invisible, just the way we like to be. Every once in a while though, I still stop and think about how weird it is to have our own house, and maybe have a few roots starting to set themselves into the ground finally. Read More

Sneak peek at the latest Inchie quilt

Patchwork Times: Eating, Dressing, Shopping

There are a couple of things I’ve been meaning to share for forever and a day it seems, but life gets in the way sometimes. I hate it when it does that. Anyway, here goes, in order of age:

Sisterhood of the Traveling Panties--Ami Simms

Way back in March (I think), Ami Simms said she would hand dye some of my panties, and I could become a panty-wearing member of the Yo-Yo Sisterhood of the Traveling Panties, an exclusive club of women (and one man, it turns out) who would recognize each other at quilt shows by flashing the secret “Sisterhood” signal: an index finger to the hip. Okay, to be honest, Ami didn’t just issue this lovely offer to me, she blogged about it, and I decided I’d take her up on it!

Time was short, so I did what any good Angel-card-carrying VSC shopper would do. I ordered panties online and had them shipped to Ami direct! I’m told she got a total kick out of the whole VSC panties thing. Anyway, the picture above shows four of the ten pairs I got back, each one prettier than the last. I LOVE my hand dyed panties, thankyouverymuch, and if you’re a member too, be sure to give the secret signal when we meet up at quilt shows!

In April (or maybe it was May, come to think about it), the lovely Glennis@ShiboriGirl was on her way to Japan to participate in the Silk Experience tour (her trip report is still unfolding on her blog, with great pictures from Japan!). Lucky lady indeed! Before she left, she had a Sayonara Sale on her luscious silk shibori ribbon, and it was just the opportunity I’d been waiting for to try some. Here’s what I bought: Read More

Bright Lights

deer crossingMy parents live in a rural area in Southern Utah, about 40 miles from…well…anything. It’s a lovely area, mostly nice and quiet, with the expected wildlife like coyote, snakes, rabbits, squirrels, pheasant, elk and of course, the deer that wander all over and sometimes visit the yard. When we lived in Las Vegas (and when I’ve returned to the area on vacation since then), it was always imperative to plan arrival times at their house for the daylight hours, at least for me. See, if I headed for their house in the late afternoon, I was always sorry, because I’d be driving through the countryside on these twisty, curvy, two-lane roads at twilight or after dark, sharing road space with the deer.

If I didn’t time it right, I’d arrive at their house completely stressed out with aching knuckles from gripping the steering wheel so hard, just waiting for that deer to jump out in front of the car from the side of the road. What a great start to a vacation, huh? I never hit one, but I was always just sure that at some point I would, and I’d be facing those scared, shining eyes across the hood of my car as I came around a blind turn and the headlights landed on a family of deer standing in the road. My parents’ house is great, except for the getting there part!

There have been a few times in my life where I’ve felt a strong kinship with those deer though. I remember the talent show in high school, where I stood there with my platter of cookies that I’d baked, because I didn’t sing or dance or act or twirl a baton, and baking was the only thing I could think of as a “talent.” Yep, I’m sure I looked just like those deer as I stood on that stage.

I remember standing on another stage, this time in Lyon, France at the Quilt Expo in 1996. There was a show and tell gathering, where you brought your quilts or wearable art to show to the audience gathered in this giant hall. Anyone could go up on stage and share what they’d brought, all you had to do was fill out a card and stand in line until it was your turn. Judy Murrah, of Jacket Jazz fame, was the emcee, and would read what you wrote on the card as you walked across the stage and showed your quilt.

I’m not sure what convinced me that I wanted to go up there since I’ve always had a major case of stage fright, but somehow I found myself up on that stage showing off my own Jacket Jazz jacket for all of the thousand people in the audience to see. My best friend Dawn was in the audience way in the back in the standing room only section, and even from there she could see that “deer in the headlights” look that I was wearing along with my jacket! I think I literally shook inside my shoes for a good hour after I clambered off the stage and made my escape.

And then there was last Friday. One of the things that happens when your book is published by AQS is that you are expected to teach at one of the AQS shows around the time the book is published, and I guess if all goes well, they’ll have you back for another round (or two, or more). I’ve been talking with the AQS show director about when this might happen, and she originally said that she had me on the schedule for the Paducah show in 2010, which sounded great since I didn’t have to panic about it quite yet. It was sort of “off in the distance”; in mind, but not right up front where I might start to get worried about it.

I mean, I’ve taught classes before obviously, but I think there’s a HUGE difference between teaching at the Gussy Goose in Stuttgart, or teaching for the local quilt guild, and teaching at one of the biggest quilt shows in the U.S! 😯 So yes, I knew I was headed for this major thing, and I’ve been working on developing workshops that are related to the subject material of my book, since that’s what I thought AQS wanted for the shows.

Friday night, I got an email from the AQS show director saying that I’d be teaching at Des Moines in October, 2009, instead of Paducah in April, 2010. Not only that, but instead of 3.5 days full of classes related to my book, the show director only wants 1.5 days of classes related to the book, and will look at other classes that I teach if I submit them. Eeeek! There it is again, that deer imitation that I do so well.

I sat here, staring at the email, truly wondering what the heck I was going to do. Could any of my current workshops be reworked to fit into a national show format? Is there anything else I have waiting in the wings that would be suitable? I want to teach the full 3.5 days, since it’s such a long way to go for me from here, so I needed to fill out my class offerings with other techniques. I tend to teach long classes with multiple sessions which is not what you get to do at a national quilt show. Three hour focused sessions is the mainstay. I’d been developing book related workshops, but now they didn’t want as many as I had, and oh, by the way, they need my class descriptions NOW, since the registration guide has to be ready by April!

Stuff for new classes

Since imitating a deer wasn’t going to fix it, I got to work. I spent the weekend pulling it together, and reminding myself that I really can do this! I worked on a couple of new workshops and reworked some current ones, so I’ll share some pics in the next few days. And of course, I’ll let you know how it all goes with the show director, but at the moment, I’m making plans to be in Des Moines in October! Want to join me? 🙂

Thank You to Friends (the New Year’s Post that wasn’t)

I’ve been meaning to write this post since yesterday, you know, one of those “here’s what was good and not so good about last year, and here’s what’s on the to-do list for next” kind of posts, but to be honest, I’m just not feeling all that introspective at the moment. Introspection requires hard thinking, and I’m still enjoying the (relative) leisure of the holiday for what it’s worth.

I could go back and read last year’s New Year post (and I actually did read it yesterday), and think about the things that I wanted to do that went undone (and eventually got dropped altogether for various reasons), and try to figure out what all I want to accomplish this year, but I’m already down for that runaway train that is the quilt book publication and all the other projects that go along with that, and taking the time to list it all out task by task probably isn’t going to get me anywhere at the moment. That and all the rest of the more personal and family things will either get done or they won’t, as time allows.

I will say this: there’s sometimes a lot to be said for being too busy doing to think too much on what’s happening or not happening in life. Events often happen in a certain order and at a certain time because they’re meant to happen that way, despite the fervent massaging we often do trying to make things happen. And that’s about as far into deep introspection as I’m going to go right now.

More importantly, the point of this “New Year’s post that wasn’t” is that I want to tell you how much I appreciate you being here, reading, lurking, commenting, sharing. I enjoy knowing each of you through our conversations here and on your blogs. Thank you for inviting me to share your life at your blog; I’m glad I get to see the world through your eyes every now and again. Have a peaceful, prosperous and happy 2009, friends!

He Lives, He Purrs, He Plays

Warning: If you’re squeamish at all, you might want to skip this first bit, and come back in two or three paragraphs.

At one week post-op, Shadow looks as if he’ll survive the whole ordeal. It was not an easy week mind you. Aside from the “normal” recovery issues like meds three times daily, almost constant observation, and little sleep for either one of us, Thursday night he woke me up from a sound sleep and tried to jump off the bed. I barely caught him before he went, since I thought jumping off of my rather high bed might be pushing it a bit on only day three after surgery. His flying leap turned into a somewhat controlled tumble with my help, and then he proceeded to throw up blood all over the bedroom floor. And I do mean all over.

I think I must have lost two years of my life right there. Just barely awake, all I could think of was that he was just one step away from death since he was vomiting huge amounts of blood, so I called the vet in a panic at 3 a.m. It turned out to be old blood, really dark in color, probably left over from the surgery. If I’d been a little more alert, I might have realized at least that much on my own and not panicked so badly. The vet said not to worry too much, if he was otherwise acting okay and didn’t continue vomiting. Um, was he okay? Heck, I didn’t even know at that point. I looked around, and sure enough, he was acting pretty darn fine considering the state I was in. He probably felt a lot better after getting all of that out of his stomach. On the other hand, I needed a drink. Or a Prozac.

I let the vet go back to bed, and cleaned up the mess. I’ve never been sooo glad not to have carpet in my life. He also managed not to hit anything important, like upholstered antique chairs, bedskirts and the like, and the only thing I had to wash was a throw rug, so the only casualty was a good night’s rest and my peace of mind. Oh, and the two years of my life that are now gone from the fright.

Even though the vet said he was probably not going to die any time soon, I took him back to the clinic on Friday since he hadn’t started eating yet after the surgery, and his wound was still leaking a bit of fluid as it had been all week. I thought it would be best to let the vet look him over before the weekend, in case there was anything else we needed to do. He still wouldn’t eat, and was terribly thin though he was acting normal otherwise, and he even started purring that morning while he was in my lap. I came home from the clinic with even more meds for this cat than I did right after the surgery.

The vet was concerned that if he didn’t start eating soon his liver would shut down, and then he really would have big problems, so he gave us a liquid medicine to coat the stomach to cut down on irritation, as well as two different recovery diet type liquid food things, and instructions to force feed him those if he wouldn’t eat anything else. I was also to give him the anti-acid tablets again that he was on before the surgery.

He turned up his nose at both the liquid diets just like I knew he would, and still wouldn’t eat his regular canned food, though he might have eaten the normal dry food that he wasn’t allowed to have. I finally resorted to canned Albacore tuna mashed up with lots of water, which he ate pretty happily and then licked the bowl clean. The tuna was the turning point, though I did give him a couple of syringes full of each of the liquid diets since he was surely in need of the calories and nutrients at that point.

Shadow was much improved even by Saturday evening. He actually brought his favorite toy to me and wanted me to play fetch with him just like a normal day. I didn’t throw it very far, though he looked rather put out about that, like I wasn’t putting enough effort into the game. He looked pretty funny with his cone around his head and his toy in his mouth:

Shadow playing fetch

At this point, he’s eating normally and putting some weight back on already, and acting like his usual self mostly, except that he still has the collar around his neck and it’s driving him nuts not to be able to wash and scratch normally. The collar comes off on Monday when the stitches come out. I truly didn’t expect him to be so well recovered by now, and I don’t think the vet did either, since he told me it would be a week or two after the stitches were removed before he would be running around and jumping on furniture, but here he is, doing just that. He’s obviously not ready for the Kitty 500 just yet, but I doubt his convalescence will save my Christmas tree from harm this year.

Shadow: 5 of 9 left to go

Poor Shadow is really not the lucky cat, I tell you. Or I’m not the lucky owner, or something. Or maybe it’s that we both really ARE lucky, since he may have survived yet another life-threatening crisis. It seems we’re doing this far to often though, and he’s burning up those nine lives faster than the norm, considering he is only three years old.

He’d been vomiting since Saturday evening, and I took him in to the emergency vet on Sunday for meds. We’d been through this back in September, and the symptoms looked rather the same, so I really thought that it was time to do some more serious testing in the way of bloodwork and x-rays to try to figure out what is really wrong, instead of just calling it gastritis and moving on.

The vet didn’t want to do bloodwork and x-rays on a Sunday because she said it was so expensive, and that since he looked in very good health despite the vomiting, we should try medication first anyway. So after far too many hours in the clinic, an antibiotic shot and a shot to stop the vomiting, we head home with anti-acid tablets as well. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much improvement, if any at all, and he was still vomiting Monday morning.

Back we went to the vet clinic. This time, bloodwork and x-rays commenced right away, and the results weren’t pretty. The bloodwork was just fine, but the x-ray showed that he’d swallowed a needle, of all things, and it was somewhere in his digestive system, but the vet couldn’t really pinpoint where. Surgery was the only option at that point.

He had the surgery very late Monday afternoon, and was home Monday night. It seemed to take forever for the anesthesia to wear off, and I was really worried that he’d take a tumble down the stairs on top of everything else, so we were all on cat watch by turns while we tried to get dinner. He did finally settle down a bit, but after a while I figured that what he really wanted was his heater, so I took him upstairs and he crashed for about three hours, soaking up the heat.

Shadow post op

His incision is 4-8″ long; I haven’t really had the heart to look too closely, but they did have to just go in and look around until they found the needle, so it’s got to be pretty big. They also found that the thread was still attached to the needle, and the thread was actually wrapped around the back of his tongue! Considering all that, it’s amazing that he’s lived over it.

I’m sure that the thread was the major part of the attraction for him, as he just has this “thing” for threads and strings and things like curling ribbon, and we’re always very careful to keep these things away from him, but obviously not careful enough this time. I know where he got the needle and thread; the needle was a beading needle with nylon bead thread attached so it had to come from my beading table in the back room. So I’m feeling the guilt about all this, that I wasn’t diligent enough, though ITMan was kind enough to say that if it hadn’t been a needle, it most assuredly would have been something else at some point, because that’s just how this cat is.

His recovery is likely to be long and demanding. Trying to sleep last night was no picnic for either of us, and he actually looks worse today than he did last night. I’m beginning to think that I should just plan on sleeping when he does really, so that I’m awake when he’s moving about, or trying to anyway. It will probably be quiet on the blog for a bit. He’s really not out of danger yet either, I suspect; after a major surgery like this, I know that there are so many things that could still go wrong, but I’m hoping for the best. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you to be diligent, and keep track of your needles and threads, right? Wish us luck, and keep us in your thoughts.