Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Good Day and A Not So Good Day

I woke up full of anticipation knowing that today I was going to quilt my first quilt in a year. I found a quilt top when I was unpacking. It was done in a Turning 20's pattern, made from a Moda's azalea fabric line from nearly 9 years ago. I thought that if I added some borders, it would be great queen-sized quilt
for my church's next auction. I thought it would look better quilted rather than just putting ties in it which is what the church uses for their charity quilts. I retired from longarm quilting in December 2013 and had not quilted anything bigger than a wall hanging since. Is it like riding a bicycle and you never forget how to do it? Hmmm. I googled "longarm quilter in Georgetown, tx" and got 2 or 3. I found a longarm quilting business that rents time on their 12 foot long quilting machines. I called and booked at appointment for four hours. Today was that day.

It had been raining for two days and the back yard was lake-like in places. It was a steady rain this morning. Before the taxi leaves for school, the dog, our 85 pound boxer named Axel, must go outside to do his business. He doesn't like his head to get wet. I tried to steer him to his favorite spot (away from the ankle deep puddles) because I didn't want him to wander around the yard, sniffing this and that, as is his habit, because he would be coming in the house dripping like a wet blanket. So I had taken him out and got my hair dripping wet and he refused to do his business. Grrr.

My longarm quilting appointment was for 9:00 AM for hire four hours. I was a little late getting there but the shop owner, Glenna, was okay with it. Glenna's machine is smaller than my old one so I had to adjust to that. I wanted to quilt free-motion feathers on the quilt. I learned this quilting pattern in a class and the books I bought from Suzanne Earnhardt - "Meandering Feathers". Great book and an easy way to fill up a quilt with big fluffy feathers. I had a king-size Quilter's Dream cotton batting and Glenna helped me choose a soft sage green thread by Glide for the top and bobbin. I got started and fell right back into the groove.

It felt great to be able to quilt after taking such a long time off. Everything went well. The back was pieced so we had to monitor it carefully to keep it lined up. I took several short breaks, mostly to chat. Glenna had been to Machine Quilter's Showcase in both Kansas City and Wichita. I had been to the MQS show several times in KC and we had taken some of the same classes like Linda Taylor, Deloa Jones and Claudia Pfeil. The time went quickly, my feet held out and I finished that queen size quilt in four hours. I was dancing on air. I had to race home to drop off the quilt before going to get the kids.

I put everything away and was just about to fly out the door when I heard Axel whimper. He was standing by the back door with that "let me out" face. He really had to go. I thought, "I'll wait til I get back." No, I wouldn't want to wait if it was me. So we went out to the back yard. The rain had slowed to a drizzle. I think we both spotted the open gate at the same time. We don't use that gate much so I was surprised to see it hanging wide open. So was Axel and he cruised right out. He took care of his business at 3 of the 5 houses in our cul-de-sac. Them he played the shy debutant every time I tried to get near him to grab his collar. Then he ran across the stre\et and around the corner. Nooooo!

I had to go pick up the kids. Holy crap, what was I going to tell the kids?

I drove around for a couple minutes but did not spot the big galoot. I broke off my search and raced to the first school to get the two youngest grand kids. It had started raining full out again by then. I herded them into the car and Gavin was holding the dog leash by the time I got in the car. "Why do you have Axel's leash?" I told them that Axel had gotten out and I tried to explain how it happened. It was so quiet in the car. Maddy, the 7 year old, had a quivering chin and big tears in her eyes. Gavin, the 9 year old, wouldn't look at me but I could see a tear rolling down his little cheek. I kept trying to talk myself out of it but they were in full grief mode by then.
The house is close so we were home in a flash. As we rounded the corner, I noticed the gate was closed. I had tried to close it when Axel got out. The gate latch was in good shape but it did not match up to the other side. Was the gate sagging? No time to check. But now it looked sort of closed. We came into the house. Standing outside the french door, looking in, was our Axel, dripping wet. Now I was crying. We opened the door and the kids covered him with hugs and kisses while I covered him in a towel. They toweled him off while I covered the new sectional before Axel jumped on it. Our boy found his way home.

I got a quilt done, the dog left and came home and it was a good day.

My son found a note under the door knocker on the front door. It read:

Your gate was open & a dog (boxer) roaming on the street. I am assuming he/she is yours. (if not be aware there is a dog in your backyard). Couldn't get close enough to read tags. Also put a piece of string to hopefully keep the gate closed.

A complete stranger cared enough to take the time to herd the family dog back into his yard and leave a note. It was a great day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Macy's Red Carpet Treatment

In our newly combined family, there are 6 of us plus one goofy boxer named Axel. When we gather to watch movies, it was a tight squeeze. We were all spread out on my butter yellow sofa, a hand-me-down Ethan Allen high back love seat (that I loved) and various chairs. And then Axel climbs up and wants to join us so we all shift.

In the beginning of the year, Macy's was running a New Year's Sale that looked interesting. We all went down to Macy's and tried out several sizes in Goldilocks style. We also needed an ottoman that opens so those blankets that everybody snuggles with and then leaves on the sofa would have a new home. We found the perfect sectional with an ottoman and it came in so many colors that we were able to choose the perfect match for our room. We all liked this one - it was meant to be.. The sales guy told us about Macy's Red Carpet delivery service from their San Antonio distribution warehouse. We would be notified when the sectional was built. That sounds good to me.

The long pole in the tent was that I had to get rid of the butter yellow sofa and love seat. So I listed it on Craigslist.

When the sectional was built, Macy's delivery called to arrange an appointment for delivery. Still no luck selling the sofa and love seat on Craigslist.

Macy's Red Carpet delivery service actually called the day before to confirm a 2-hour window when they would deliver.

Then they called on the next day when they were 30 minutes out.

The two delivery men were so courteous. They even asked if they should remove their shoes. Ha!

They shifted things around and assembled the sectional so it stays together. Depending on the light, it looks brown or gray but it is technically "mocha".

One of the delivery guys asked what about the yellow sofa. I told him about my luck on Craigslist and that I had decided to give it away - maybe Goodwill or Salvation Army. He got this look on his face. I asked him if he wanted it. He grinned. He just got divorced and moved into an apartment and has no furniture. They were headed back to San Antonio so they just loaded the yellow sofa and love seat into the truck. I'm so happy that somebody will use the old furniture.

See, another perfect match that was "meant to be".

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bribery goes to Gattiland

In the previous post, I rattled on and complained about going to a new podiatrist. It was a school holiday so I had to drag my grand children with me.
The office visit was longer than expected. Their reward for good behavior in the crowded waiting room was a trip to McDonald's. I would surprise them after McDonald's with a trip to Gattiland, an Austin arcade and pizza place, if I could find it. After we ate at McDonald's, I drove straight over to Gattiland. They were surprised and excited when they spotted the sign. They had been asking to go to the place for a while. This was a good time for a reward.

We arrived just before they opened and waited in the parking lot as more and more carloads of kids and mothers arrived. When we got inside, I was surprised to see that everybody who enters must buy a buffet ticket ($5.99 - $8.99) as well as buy tokens/tickets for games.

We had just eaten at McDonald's and were certainly not hungry. Plus they do not have gluten free pizza but I couldn't back down now. We got in the door for $42. They had a well-stocked though unimaginative salad bar and a buffet of many different pizzas. The kids got pizza and I got cottage cheese and fruit. There were plenty of seats and we could watch a movie, "Frozen" and eat. The kids didn't like the pizza sauce so we just left the dining room and went to play. Gattiland had a great selection of games - everything from bumper cars, stand-up and ride-in arcade games as well as carnival type things like the claw in the glass house diving for a stuffed animal.

Two hours later, when we left, the place was jam-packed with kids on school holiday and there wasn't a place to sit. Glad we got there early.

They enjoyed themselves. Any outing with my grands is always a good day for me.

Does Anybody Know a Good Podiatrist?

Feet - my weakness. They are narrow, long and flat. Women's size 12 AAAA shoes are generally not available in fun places like the mall. No, nor trendy boutique shoe shops. It's Zappos, Nordstroms, Amazon or special order for me. I got my flat feet from my father and the narrow bits from my mother. The length was just a bonus, I guess. Though my 5'4" mother wore a size 9 shoe. I used to kid my mother, "Just think of how tall you would be if you didn't have all that tucked up under you". My sons are so lucky to have inherited their father's arches and normal feet, size 12 and size 13. My mother insisted on buying good shoes for me even when we could not afford it. "Take care of your feet" was her slogan. I have always taken good care of my feet - always bought quality well-fitting shoes; aka ugly shoes.

Despite the care they have received, my feet have given me trouble for years. I've been in the Austin area for four months so I guess it is time to find a podiatrist. It's like a board game. Roll the dice and advance your tiny green plastic shoe token on the board. Oh, too bad, you landed on "The doctor is not taking new patients". Roll the dice again and advance to "Dr. Stinky Feet only sees diabetics" - not me. I am like Diogenes, in Athens, looking for an honest man. I think that he was really looking for an honest podiatrist. I have seen 6 or 8 podiatrists in the last 6 years. All but three of them have been charlatans wanting to sell me some $400 orthotics for my shoes, sell me diabetic shoe inserts even though I am not diabetic or try to "fix" my feet using surgery. I have two sets of orthotics that don't work with my diabetic shoe inserts so my surgically altered feet hurt all-the-time.

My last podiatrist was great but he works in San Diego and that doesn't help me now that I live in Austin. So I went looking for a new podiatrist. I found a podiatrist on Monday. It was Martin Luther King Jr holiday so I had to drag my grand kids with me to the appointment. I would pay for their good behavior with a trip to McDonald's after the appointment. It was a small crowded office with a small waiting room with lots of doors and only the doc and her receptionist/nurse working. Hmm. This was the "getting to know you" visit where the doctor asks lots of questions but doesn't do anything but wants me to come back in two weeks. So my feet still hurt.

It wasn't until we got to McDonald's that my grands told me that they could hear everything I said in the doctor's exam room. So much for privacy.

Charlatan or no, I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's been a while

Yeah, a long while. My life has changed a lot since my last post. I lost my husband of 38 years to lung cancer. I hid for a year. I retired from long-arm quilting in December 2013. This is the story about starting over.

My eldest son, Jake, and his wife, Dana, wanted to buy a house. Housing in southern California is sky high - $400k for a 3-bedroom cracker box is the norm. So they decided to look into the Austin, Texas area. They reconnoitered Austin in April checking neighborhood, schools, work, shopping and the good people of Texas themselves. They came back and told me they wanted to go to Texas. And they wanted me to come along with them. I was raised in Texas so I was happy to return. I wrangled my other son, Ben, into a commitment to help me with the driving. I put my house on the market and we had a buyer within 45 days. Jake and Dana flew back to Austin for a serious home-buying trip. They found a 5 bedroom, 4 bath, 3200 sq ft house on a double lot in a culdesac. And now we had a closing date for the house in Texas. We're off to the races.

So I sold my house, packed up my stuff and left So-Cal as part of a 2 car, 1 truck and trailer caravan. The trip was not perfect. Circuses are better organized than we were. The trailer wobbled before we got 5 miles - fixed it. The truck's super turbo blew up 20 miles from home and had to be left with a mechanic. With no truck to pull the trailer, we decided to rent a U-Haul to carry the contents of the trailer and leave the trailer behind for friends to sell for us. We had already packed up our 2 homes using 1-800-PACKRAT. If you have never heard of them, they are endorsed by Lowe's and are really quite reliable. We needed four 16-ft Packrat vans for our stuff.

Once we got on the road, it took us about four days to get here. We got a late start on Day 1 so we only made it to Gila Bend, AZ and stayed at the Space Age Motel - clean rooms and reasonable prices plus it is the best you can get in Gila Bend. Great restaurant, too. Day 2: We made it to my brother's house in El Paso, TX. It was like a port in a storm. We left early on Day 3 and drove what seemed like forever (9 hours) and made it to tiny place named Sonara, TX. On Day 4, we made it to the Austin area.

There was a paperwork glitch (isn't there always?) and we ended up staying in the Springhill Suites in Round Rock, TX longer than we expected. That was a nice place, clean, pool, breakfast and right off the freeway I-35. One of the first days we stayed at Springhills, there was a bad wreck on I-35 and it was backed up for about 10 hours. That was our introduction to Austin traffic. The freeways are so different and better in Austin, in my opinion, than California. In California, exits are plentiful so if there is a wreck, you just take the next exit. In Austin, the freeways are surrounded by an extensive frontage road system that provides access to the freeway via on and off ramps that a spaced out. With fewer on and off ramps, traffic moves faster on the freeway itself. But when there is an accident, the next exit may be way down the road.

We had to do a walk-through of the house before closing so I finally got a chance to see the house. It's big and on a culdesac. I liked it immediately. We closed on the house a couple days later and now it is ours.

The kids each get a big bedroom plus there is a bonus room (family room), a full bathroom as well as I big master suite upstairs. Downstairs is a big living room with a gas fireplace, eat-in kitchen, office/sewing room, dining room, laundry room, a mother-in-laws bedroom, and another full bath. My room is quite a bit smaller than I am used to and it is a continuing struggle to downsize. But after many trips to church and Goodwill, I am trimming down to the necessities.

We've had some bumps. It is a change of lifestyle for me, for sure. In August, it was just me. And now, there are six of us. Many of my friends thought I was crazy; some actually tried to talk me out of moving to Texas. It's a new beginning and it has taken some adjusting. But I am a part of my grand children's lives. I can't wait to see what happens next.

My life has changed in the last couple of years - some bumps, I retired from quilting, and then I moved to Texas. I'm anxious to see what new adventures await me in the next phase of my life.

About Me

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Ramona, California, United States
I started quilting when a quilt shop opened in our little town in January 2004. I have been hooked ever since.

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Books I"ve read lately

  • The Help (Kindle)
  • The Appeal by John Grisham
  • Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (again) by Harper Lee
  • Bleachers by John Grisham

This is called Fruit Cocktail

This is called Fruit Cocktail
It is all batiks