Guilty Pleasure


When I was young I spent 3 weeks each summer with my grandparents in rural Kentucky just west of the Appalachian Mountains. Mamaw and Papaw raised 5 children with meager means, discipline and lots of love. Their dinner table always included someone extra from the neighborhood or extended family.Today their family has grown to include 14 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren. Papaw passed away this past December at the age of 94 and Mamaw turns 91 this weekend and is far from that age in her mind or abilities. She makes ME feel tired.

Mamaw is here visiting with my mom, her daughter, for about a month. I wanted her to spend some time at our house and also wanted her to teach me to piece a quilt. So, this past weekend, we spent cutting over 400 strips of fabric and piecing together a quilt to fit our king size bed.

Quilting is her passion. While she spent years raising children and working for others, she has always found time to quilt. Even today she continues to quilt, free of charge, for anyone she cares for. Scratch that, just anyone who wants her to. She said of the hundreds of quilts she’s made over the years she’s kept only 3 which are worn out from wear and undoubtedly love.

On one of those summer stays Mamaw taught me to do quilting stitches when I was about 10 or 11 on a throw pillow. Like many things I’ve learned along the way, once I got the hang of it I was done and on to the next thing. However, Mamaw made me finish that pillow and that is the last thing I’ve quilted. My problem wasn’t that it was hard it’s that it wasn’t perfect.

You see, I like my lines in order. Everything in its place and balanced on the page. The pictures straight and the lines consistent. I don’t admit it, but I had to stop scrapbooking because I couldn’t get it perfect enough. I love to create and get inspired by the free flowing-ness of nature, however my process-excellence side…okay the OCD side, says that it all needs to be neat and orderly and tidy and well, perfect.

Quilting with your 91 year old grandmother who can only see with one eye and has a shaky hand can only be imperfect. The pieces aren’t uniform and the seams aren’t straight. The blocks must be trimmed and the rows aren’t level. I fought that perfectionist voice inside and I won.

When we finished and laid the whole thing out it was beautiful. It’s colorful and crooked, but it’s something that we made. Something I’ll cherish forever and more so because she taught me to press on and not worry about the order. Not care if it was perfect because in getting it done it is perfect just how it ends up to be.

quilting

In the effort of sharing what I’ve learned, I will post the instructions on how to piece the quilt we made here this week.

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I received my envirosax’s about 2 weeks ago and have used them on several shopping trips so far. I have to say, hands down, they are awesome! Yes, they really do deserve the explanation point. Definitely worth the wait for the backorder to come in.

I can fit all of a weeks shopping trip into the 5 sacs and can even carry more than I’m able to in the plastic sacs. They are easy to carry on your shoulder even when heavy and they are quick easy to fold down for storing.

I have notmartha to thank for turning me on to them – thanks Megan.

WE GOT TOMATOES

I have wanted to grow tomatoes for several years now. Living on the coast in the bay area was a less than ideal place for them to thrive. The fog and the constant mild temperatures were perfect for strawberries, but not tomatoes.

As spring was approaching this year I knew it was time to try my hand at growing some tomatoes. Since our raised bed plot is not ready this year, I got some containers and set to it. I have 3 different heirloom tomato plants, one purple pepper plant and a pot of strawberries. They are all doing great and growing right in front of my eyes. I swear one of the tomato plants grew 12 inches in a week. Dave was super awesome and built me wood trellises and covered them in netting so that the critters and birds can’t get to them.

Yesterday I was outside giving them a quick drink and noticed that there are 5 small green tomatoes on one of the plants. I’m super psyched that they are actually producing fruit.

Just a few more weeks until we can sit down and eat one of the first fruits from the vine. Yummy!

I have vivid memories of my sister and me going to the bank drive-thru with my grandmother when we stayed with her. I don’t remember how frequently we went there, but what I remember was the lollipops they gave us and the dog biscuit for my grandmother’s dog Cookie. The anticipation of what color they would give us. The hope it would be either red or purple since those were our favorites! Cookie hardly ever came along, but she was happy when we returned with a treat for her. These days, it’s hard to find a bank with a drive-thru with a human being teller. Thinking about it, I can only think of one I’ve seen since moving here.I think most any drive-thru today involves paying out money instead of receiving it. Being a vegetarian I personally am quite limited on the places I can drive-thru with one exception – Starbucks. I enjoy and loath Starbucks – much like my fascination with Martha Stewart. I admire how SB has branded their beverages to make you feel cool carrying the cup around. I love, love, love the fact that there is a drive thru for my convenience no more than 1 mile from my doorstep. And I can not STAND that I am unable to order any drink there in the proper fashion for the baristas not to make me feel like a moron. Most often it goes something like this:

Me: Um, yes, I’d like a café latte iced…Venti café latte. Oh, with an extra shot.
Barista: You want a VENTI, ICED, café latte with an extra shot.
Me: Um…yes. [thinking to myself yes, that IS what I SAID]

It’s like you need to know the code in order to get your drink. And if you get it wrong they’re going to tell you you’re wrong. I even began ordering iced tea since I thought I couldn’t mess that up. I mess that up.

I keep going back though. I suppose deep down I need to feel cool walking around with my SB cup. This weekend, on a trip to the drive-thru, I noticed something new. Cookie would have been happy. And maybe, if he’s good, the new pup will too.

starbuckspup.jpg

The kiddo really likes to see her own picture taken these days – even more than posing for one. It’s sometimes a challenge to get her to stay still or far enough from the camera to take a good shot since she anxious to see the results of the picture. After a few tries of getting her to say cheese, I switched to video and caught this wonderful rendition of the ABC’s

7:15am – TuesdayReston, VA
Starbucks…yuppie strip mall
In line with many people who are probably on their way to work at Oracle.

Barista: Can I take the order of the next person in line?
Me: Yes, I’d like a Venti black iced tea with a shot of raspberry
Barista: What kind of tea?
Me: Black tea
Barista: Original or classic?
Me: Um…plain black tea
Barista: With lemonade?
Me: No, a shot of raspberry
Barista: But no lemonade?
Me: No
Barista: Okay…I’ve had 3 iced teas with lemonade this morning.
Me: Oh
Barista: I’m totally not awake this morning…what size?
Me: Venti
Barista: Okay

Again I feel I’m Starbucks ordering deficient

I once listened to this morning radio show that pulled a huge April Fools Day prank that totally devastated me. Not because it was mean hearted or hurtful, but it made me realize how obsessed I was. The prank itself built up over a week culminating in the DJs walking off the show and 2 new DJs taking their place that following Monday (April Fools Day). The thoughts that went through my head were of “Oh my god! When will I see them again? How do I get in touch with them? What am I going to do without them?” It was as if a close friend had moved away without telling me. The prank was short lived but it really made me think about how unrealistic my “relationship” was with people I had never met yet held so close to myself. I stopped listening that day in part because I was hurt by such a scare, but also because I knew how crazy my perception of them had become and I needed to distance myself.I think this has happened to me again. This time with a blog I read every day or even multiple times a day. It’s not the only blog I read daily, but somehow I identify with this person I’ve never met. We are both mothers of Aquarius kiddos and the thoughts she shares resonate with me so much so I think we’d really be great friends. That statement sounds so weird because again, I have never met her.

I guess these “obsessions” have given or give me joy in parts of my life. The morning show gave me a lot of laughter when I was heading to a job I hated. The blog gives me things too…she has gotten me to think about the love of writing I once had and how I can incorporate it into my life again, she inspires some of the creativity shoved down deep, and she makes me step back and look at how life flows both full and empty, but to try and keep things in perspective.