Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bag Lady

So Lill wanted a bag that was not "fou-fou pink" but still had a bit of whimsy for carting her laptop back and forth to campus when she didn't want to use her "uber-pack"-that's what I privately call the Swiss gear pack all the kids have for their laptops and other stuff-it's like wearing a mini suitcase on your back. We have already picked out a pattern to make for a bag for her conferences that will look professional, so this bag had to fall in-between. I started with a basic messenger bag, but had to expand.

I made an inside pocket for just the laptop and doubled the padding in the pocket and the back of the bag. Then I put a shorter pocket on the inside front that will hold the mouse and power cord. I made an adjustable strap that may be too short, but that's not difficult to change. I thought the buckle I got for the slide was kind of tacky looking by itself, so I covered it with fabric. I also reinforced the sides and bottom with woven webbing between the outside fabric and the lining. The outside fabric was a real bargain-drapery material at $5.97/yard. The inside is quilting weight cotton in a mahjong tile print. So, it was a fun project and kept me off the streets on Sunday while I sewed.

Of course, I can't find the cord for the camera to download the pictures I took before I wrapped it for mailing, so either I'll find it soon, or Lill will have to take pictures and send them to me to post.....

There are definitely times I dislike technology.....why couldn't this camera use the same size cord as the gazillion other cameras we've had around here and still have the cords for? (and I know, I shouldn't end a comment with a preposition, but that will be a new post eventually)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Unhappy sounds

Today I moved enough stuff in the blue room to get close to my sewing machine. I'm not sure I'm happy though, Kenny is making a very bad sound when I sew. He started it when I was appliqueing the cutouts on Peg's quilt, but I did a real good cleaning and oiling and let him sit for while. However, today when I sat down to finish up some coasters that have been cut out for months (lots of months), he was fine until about the third one, then he started squeaking. It isn't pretty. So, on Thursday when I have a day off I will load him into the car and take him in to the shop and see if the guys there can get him to stop making noises he shouldn't be making. I have about half a dozen coaster sets cut out from holidays 2009-they were for the folks at work, but then Lou ended up in ICU in Ohio and that blew that holiday season to shreds. Since they were stacked on the table in the yellow room, and all the stuff in there was moved around over the past year, I completely forgot about them until early this month when they surfaced from hiding. The nice thing is that all the cutting is done, just need to do the sewing. Man, am I getting a jump on this year's holiday gifts!

Three of four walls are done so the painting moves along. It should be finished this week and furniture start to return. Lou will be rewiring an antique lamp from my mom's house (I call it antique because it's been around forever) and that will join the redecorating scheme.

I've drafted the pattern for Lill's sort-of messenger bag. It's a bag for her computer and stuff when she goes to meetings and conferences, but it's not a true messenger bag. She's trusting my judgement to pick the material, and I'm hoping to find something that is whimsical but still will pass for professional-tall order, but I'm up for it!

I finally found the perfect thank-you gift for Lill's friends Kayla and Andy who showed us such a wonderful day in Cambridge. It turns out Kayla is a goldfish cracker fanatic, and they are not available in England. So, when I was at Costco for the first time in ages, I found not only the large box that holds three bags, there was also a box of 24 individual bags for lunches. After dinner tonight I will write a note of thanks and package it up to send to the UK. I hope they enjoy it.

I had the nicest birthday yesterday with cards from my family, phone calls and dinner out at SushiKo. I got to do nothing all day while Lou and Sarah painted. I was really bad, too, as I clicked up Netflix and spent the afternoon watching episodes of season two of Torchwood, a spinoff of Dr. Who. If you are not aware of my liking for Dr. Who, than you really don't know me very well, do you? One of the highlights, among many, of my trip to London was shopping in the flagship store of Forbidden Planet, one of the absolutely best sources of Dr. Who merchandise. I think David Tennant is still my favorite doctor, but I will give "the new guy" a chance (not much of one, but I will give him one....)

So, building on my idea of setting goals rather than making resolutions, I have done a walking dvd today. 30 minutes, but covered two miles with interval work. It wasn't easy, which shows how far I have to go, but at least I started instead of putting it off. So, one goal, Start Moving, has been started. I won't say it's been met, because it needs to be more than one time, but I'm working on it!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Good weather

I am really glad we are having a mild winter with no snow, just wind and cold. I am especially glad of the sun and no snow as Sarah is shopping for furnishings for her room make over. For example, she has been scouring Craig's List for a secretary. The secretary we have, my grandmother's, does not have a large enough work surface for a laptop and books, nor does it have sliding reinforcements-hence the search.

She found a few worth looking at, one she especially liked with claw feet, circa late 1800s early 1900s. The "little" hitch was that it was in Mechanicsville, VA, a short 122 mile hop away. Since her friend was coming this weekend to visit with a van, sounded like it was worth a road trip down to look at it. Saturday morning we took off on a really nice drive, the scenery was beautiful and must look extraordinary in summer all green, or autumn when the leaves are changing. The GPS the kids gave me for my birthday worked perfectly, got us to the house of the seller. It was love at second sight-first sight was online. The secretary is in excellent condition, exactly what she wanted. So, rather than have to make a second trip to VA, we put down Miss Lucy's top, loaded the secretary in the back seat, covered it with towels and twine, and drove home. Thankfully we didn't have the predicted rain to contend with! We also made a lot of people smile as they passed us (even though I was driving the speed limit) and when we stopped for a hot drink, one lady looked at us and the car and said, "I bet you two are cold". We were, a little, but we had the heat blasting at 3 and were really warm enough.

We got home and Lou helped us unload the secretary from the car before I thought to take any pictures. Humphrey is home, waiting downstairs until the painting is finished. Of course, he may have a name change once he settles into his new home.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Amazing people

I have been blogging for a few years now. I started while I was recovering from cancer surgery and continued as I got involved in online groups of apronistas and quilters. I entered a few swaps and a few bees. These wonderful people have been so supportive through my recovery, through my husband's stroke, recovery and then his foot surgery.

Recently I asked my bee buddies to make me multicolored shapes rather than a block for my month. The plan was to make a lap quilt for my father-in-law's wife who had recently entered a care facility and was spending most of the time in a wheelchair. One of the important tasks caregivers do with dementia patients is repeatedly point out familiar things to keep their minds active. With the winter coming I wanted something warm for her. I planned to mount the shapes on black fleece to stand out, and backed it with a floral print flannel. Well, of course, the group came through in ways I had not ever expected! Eleven buddies sent 25 cutouts in rainbow colors. What wonderful people there are in the world, and I am glad they are in my corner of it.

I wanted to post this earlier, but life has a way of messing with my plans. I just want everyone to know that I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me create something that will bring warmth and color on a daily basis.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"I'm so glad"

a great song by Cream. If you don't know who Cream was, then either you didn't pay attention to rock-n-roll, or your parents didn't raise you right.....

What I am glad for tonight is that though it's REALLY cold here in Maryland, we do not have snow like my father-in-law is getting hammered with in Ohio.

I am glad that my daughters are home and can show me how to deal with the Mac. I'm not a computer savvy person to begin with, and I was really comfortable with the pc, but the next-in-line hand-me-down computer was the mac. If we get Sarah a new mac for her next set of classes, then maybe I can get her Lenovo which I can definitely deal with better than this mac. An example: I have no trouble downloading the pictures from the camera to the computer; I just can't find them on the computer after I download them. Then when I find them, I can't always figure out how to post them to my blog. So, the girls to the rescue. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to download the quilt I made for Peg with the Scrap Bee shapes everyone sent me.

I am glad there are still people in blogland who think of me. I treasure your friendships and support as my life takes all these weird twists and turns as we age.

I am glad I work with young people who are excited about what they do, and treat me not as an equal but an honorary mom. I get to be a part of their lives and offer advice whether they want it or not, and isn't that one of a mom's prime jobs?

I was going to write a last lofty thought for the day to end this, but then I said to myself, "whoa, you were an English and Phys. Ed. major. You have a tendency to take yourself too seriously, so lighten up!" So, instead, I'll leave you with this thought: "For every action , there is a reaction." This means if you are eating cake or chocolate, you need to take an equal number of bites so that each hip gets the same amount of stored energy (ha! I bet you thought I was going to write fat...).

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

This is definitely not an original title to a post, but I'm not concerned about it. I have not been in blogland for many months, the last few months of 2011 were not particularly healthy for us and blogland was just one more thing I had to think about.

So, to briefly summarize, the eldercare issues in Ohio continue; my father-in-law's wife was moved to a care center in September, and though she knows it is not "home" it is a much better environment for her. She receives much more stimulation on a daily basis, and is allowed to manage as much on her own as she can. This is tremendously difficult for my father-in-law, but he is coping. We have not been in Cleveland as often as previous months as Lou's health took a couple of hits in September and October with three trips to Emergency resulting in two hospitalizations. I was set to go to London to help Sarah start packing to come home, and to visit as I had never been there before. Lillian came in from AZ to stay with her father when he was released from the hospital, otherwise I wouldn't have gone.

England was amazing. I still can't easily talk about the impression the country made on me. All the years of studying England and literature bound up in places I thought I would never see. Seeing an original First Folio and Canterbury Tales were only the starting points! Seeing Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, London--we packed a lot of walking into two weeks.

The new year brings the usual thoughts about "what should I do differently?" This year I'm not making resolutions because they get broken so easily. I am making goals which gives me the opportunity to work on meeting them. Some of the goals I am setting have a lot to do with myself and finding "me time'-time to read, sew, crochet. I need to rededicate myself to self-improvement; like losing a few pounds and starting an exercise program. The kids got me a Fitbit and it's been a fabulous tool to watch the downloads track everything from steps to stairs to activity periods. It's definitely helped me move a little more-not enough, but more. I'm setting a goal to stay in better contact with my online friends. You don't know how much your support has meant to me over these last few years through my surgery, Lou's health concerns, the eldercare issues.... I wish I could gather you all in for a huge hug.

So, as I sit and smell wonderful aromas from the kitchen as Sarah and Lou prepare dinner, I can think again how lucky I am to have a family who likes to cook!

I'll try and post more often to remind myself that there are people "out there" who are interested in what I'm doing and thinking about!

I wish you all a happy new year, and may you enjoy good health and happiness.