Friday, November 30, 2012

To Do

  1. Finish decorating the tree and house (and back deck). Boxes and decorations are currently all over the living room. Why do I keep all that stuff year after year and never use it and have to sort through it each Christmas season? The tree is erect, but essentially bare. Of course, the most treasured ornaments are no where to be found. I'll have to make do with what I can find.
  2. Read a bit of "Flight Behavior" by Barbara Kingsolver. I love BK's writing -- any given sentence or paragraph or image she creates enthralls me. So far, the story, meh!
  3. Set the table for Monday's party. Gotta do this early so I can make sure the dishes, glasses, silverware, and linens pass inspection. Because the dining room usually functions as my sewing room, I had to clean up the litter of the last several sew storms.
  4. Fool around with Facebook and the internet. (x 3, like I'm doing right now)
  5. Dust mop and vacuum all floors - the tree isn't even decorated yet, and it's a fake tree, but still I'm sweeping up pine needles all over the house
  6. Nap - already tried once, but failed. I do like to get my nap out of the way early in the day to free up the afternoon!
  7. Clean the back deck. Replant the hanging planters, discarding pathetic mums and planting fake holly. Vacuum up all the chewed up foam that used to be one of the new cushions I made this summer.
  8. Coffee with Sharon who brings bounty from Trader Joe's in St. Louis
  9. Read a bit of "Consilience" by E. O. Wilson -- what an amazing mind (his, not mine).
  10. Figure out what to have for dinner and fix it. I'm getting pretty good at figuring out how to make parallel vegetarian and carnivore meals. Having tofu and a supply of frozen (homemade) veggie burgers on hand really helps. Tonight's meal is likely to feature beans, rice, and cheese with a bunch of veggies thrown in.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dinner? It's Quilting Time!

 Here's the tenth of twelve table runners. Only two more months and you won't have to see them again. Unless you come to my house, because I do intend to use them throughout the year on my kitchen table. I like the way the padding serves to protect the table top from hot dishes. And in all humility, I think they look nice.
This project has been thirteen months in the making as a block-a-month program from my local quilt shop (who needs bars, when I can get my fix with fabric?). When I first saw it, I knew I had to make it for Hollis, my adorable much-tatooed  Air Force Air Evac medic niece. I customized a few of the blocks to make it more appropriate.

 The Air Force emblem and the Caduceus speak to Hollis' passions as does the block below:
Sorry, this is such a lousy picture. In the quilt as it was designed, this block represented a quilt shop. I adapted it to be a tattoo parlor. The sign over the door says "INK" and the sign over the window says "H.B.'s Tattoo Parlor" The window has a picture of an eagle.

Now I have to clean house. I'm having a bunch of ladies over for lunch (my quilting club, of course) next week and I'm still moving very slowly and carefully, so I have to get started! The Christmas tree is up, that will serve to some degree as a distraction from the state of my house, but I must put away all that quilting gear and sanitize the kitchen and bathrooms!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving, pre and post

Logan, pre-Thanksgiving with early Christmas present.
Logan needed a new suit. Can you imagine a 15-year-old NEEDING a new suit?  His old suit is both worn out and too small. He wears his suit to all speech and debate events because he feels like he looks really cool and that the judges will be impressed. I'm not sure the judges were impressed, but Ashley was. 

And here's Ashley, looking SUITably impressed on the day after Thanksgiving. Ashley lives in a town about 25 miles away; she and Logan met at a Speech and Debate tournament a couple of months ago.  Yesterday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Logan and I drove to her town and joined her and her grandparents for a midday meal. Then Logan, Ashley, and I went to the movies to see Red Dawn -- they loved it, I thought it was OK. When we returned to her grandparents home, the kids hung out and I joined a pinocle game in progress. I sat in a few hands and played for the first time in probably more than 30 years. I do like the game and intend to teach the boys to play over the Christmas holidays.

While Logan and I pursued social sartorial activities, Ben remained sequestered in his room working on college and scholarship applications. He has been accepted at MSU in Springfield and awarded a governor's ("Bright Flight") scholarship for $5,000 per year. He is also eligible to apply for a President's scholarship for $12,500 per year.  And we're looking for others. Ben stresses so much over the application essays that it makes me crazy. I wish he could lighten up a bit, but he is such a perfectionist!

We celebrated Thanksgiving with all the fixings at Amanda and Ash's home, with Grandpa Steve, Grandma Julia, Krista, Jerry, Nick, and Adam. Alicia was also there with her 17 month old twins and a young man whose name escaped me. The twins seem to be doing well, both are walking and saying words, playing itsy bitsy spider and enjoying all kinds of food. Xavier continues to have trouble putting on weight, but Alicia is a good mother and watches closely. Christmas will be at Steve and Julia's. It is very hard for me to give up the reins, but it is time. I just don't feel up to doing it this year as I struggle with my feeble knee. Maybe I can do it again next year when I have a new knee and a new house.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Limping Along

My knee is still in very bad shape, even after a course of prednisone. I love that drug -- it makes every other joint feel really good, but I fear surgery is the only hope for the knee. I have an appointment for an evaluation with a surgeon on December 19, the earliest appointment I could get. In the meanwhile, I scoot around the house in my desk chair, limp along with a cane or walker, and bide my time.  So, it looks like I'm slowed down for the rest of the year.

As I slow down, the pace of life picks up. Frantic Friday is a case in point. The Ozark football team ended their run toward a state championship by losing the semi-final playoff. It was heartbreaking, but they had maybe the best season Ozark has ever had, at least the best in many years. The game was played in Independence, Missouri, but I didn't attend. Instead, I sat waiting up for the team bus to get home with its load of downhearted, tired, and smelly boys. They got in at 2:30 AM and Logan was in bed by 3. And up again at 5:30 so he could attend a speech and debate tournament. I guess he does well running on empty, because he finalled for the first time in Extemporaneous Speech. I think he's going to really grow into this event. He got home from the speech tournament around 8 PM after a long exhausting day.

Ben got out of bed early Saturday morning, around 1:30 AM, before Logan had arrived home from the football game. He had gone to bed around 7 on Friday evening to rest up before all the excitement of the Leonid meteor showers. I had sprung for an early Christmas present of a pair of binoculars. Equipped with them, a sleeping bag, and flashlight, Ben departed for his overnight backyard adventure. He returned to the warmth of his home (after being locked outside, oops) as Logan got ready to leave early Saturday morning for the speech tournament.  Ben finished up his Saturday events by marching in the Ozark Annual Christmas Parade just as Logan returned from the speech tournament. Busy night, busy day, dizzy grandma.

Sunday was a very welcome day of rest, except for the sewing storm I found myself in the middle of (nothing new about that!). The announcement of an expected baby set my fabric frenzy in motion, and I couldn't stop until I had finished a quilt top for a baby that isn't even expected until May.

And I keep making table runners.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hanging On, But Not Looking Good

 I watch the Dogwood tree in front of my house very closely. For several years now, I've taken pictures of it on November 8. Here's a link to those previous years, and here's what it looks like now. .
Most of the leaves are still on the tree, many are still green. It leafed out three weeks earlier than any previous year, and it seems to be hanging on to them much longer.

But, something is wrong with it. Leaves are curling and dying and buds are dropping. Maybe it is stressed from the long, dry, and hot season. I hope it will be all right.

I kind of feel the say way. My unoperated knee is causing me serious mobility problems and lots of pain. I fear I will have to have surgery in the very near future. I can't decide if I'd rather avoid it, or get it over with.

We are coming up on a big weekend for Ozark's football team. Saturday they play round 4 of the playoffs. If they prevail, they will play round 5 on November 16. Two round 5 winners play for the championship on November 23 in St. Louis. Saturday's came is at Lee's Summit West. Logan will go to a speech and debate tournament on Friday wearing a suit that is too small and just about worn out. Guess what's on his Christmas wish list!

Ben will attend a GLADE reunion at the Bull Shoals field station on Saturday. And me? Not much, just limping around the house, a bit of sewing, some reading, picking at house work.

I'm pretty pleased with the election results at a state and national level. Locally, I wish things could be a little different, but certain factions are deeply entrenched and change is nearly impossible. I find that the most difficult aspect of living in this part of the country. I take comfort in seeking out like-minded friends.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Catching Up

September's Table Topper


Three more to go and this series of table runners for each month will be complete (I started with March earlier this year). I'm pretty confident I'll get through them, but not so sure I'll remember to use them next year. Anyhow, I'll have a nice collection. I'm so wary of cutesy quilty things that I hesitate to make or use anything less than a full bed-sized quilt. But, I'm also getting to a point where it is difficult for me to manage the bulk of a large quilt. So, I see a future of wall hangings, table runners, baby and lap quilts. Be warned.

Football and marching season are extended this year because of an amazing winning season for the Ozark Tigers. Last night's first playoff game was another rout -- 42-7 with Ozark scoring all their goals in the first half. The JV got play time again and Logan was in on defense for the last two plays. The grandma in the stands has learned pretty well how to buffer the cold and scarcely minds sitting in her warm layered cocoon while the game unfolds and the band marches on. The band is performing well this year -- placing higher in competitions than in previous years and bettering their ranking with each performance. It's a really young band -- 50% freshmen -- so they should see lots of success in the coming years. The percussion section (including Ben) scored best overall percussion performance in the last competition -- the first time they have scored a first in Ben's high school band career -- nice way to finish.

The next playoff game is Monday evening. I have a wee bit of ambivalence about all of this -- it's fun to win, but I am ready for the season to end. I'd love to have all of us home at the same time so we can have dinner together in the evening. During the season, Logan has practices after school and doesn't get home till 7 -- Ben has practices in the evening and leaves the house at 6. So, I run a taxi service and a short order restaurant.

Because we weren't home for last night's trick or treaters,  I left a huge bag of candy on the porch with a note to take three pieces each. I estimate there were 500 pieces of candy, so that should have been enough for around 165 kids -- I think we typically get somewhere close to 100. When we got home, the bag was predictably empty, but I'd love to know how long it lasted and how honorable the kids were. I'm thinking about repeating the experiment next year, but staying at home and observing on a game camera.

A stomach flu virus swept through the house and our bodies last week. I am not a good nurse, nor a patient patient. Ben missed a day of school for only the second time in his high school career. Logan was also out one day -- his first high school absence. They were both back in full swing within 24 hours, attending school, practices, and scarfing down what ever they could find to eat because you can bet I wasn't leaving the comfort of my bed (and nearby bathroom) to fix for them. I lingered for three days before I felt human. I'm still dealing with dental woes and have had an eye virus. I'm sick of all this!

While I lay abed last Thursday, Ben was inducted into the National Honor Society, with Grandpa Steve attending the ceremony. I wish I could have been there, I'm so proud of him.