I’m still alive

I’m still here… things have been busy around here. I’ve been preparing for Mom’s memorial, trying to play nice with my sister (for now), and doing my best to keep things together. It’s hard, though, you know?

So, either way, DH and I went for a jog today. My first since the half marathon. That was pretty tough even though it was only a minute of jogging at a time. Exercise helps with depression, and I need to start training for the next half marathon anyway, right?

Then my brother came over to cook for us. It was delicious. And I worked on the scrapbook for the memorial. And I bought new eyeglasses. And I finally put away the Christmas tree/decorations (yes, I know it’s February). I still have Christmas presents to give out too. And my car’s transmission is going, which makes me a bit sad and scared.

I just feel like I need a week off with nothing to do but quilt and center myself. I want to be alone in my quiet house so that I can just relax without anyone or anything needing attention. Maybe that’ll come sometime in March. A gal can hope, right?

I think I’ll feel better once I have the scrapbook done for the memorial because then I won’t have such a messy dining room table. I’ll be able to put all the scrapbooking stuff away and just focus on scanning all the old photos I came across on my nifty new scanner. Of course the photos are all being labelled and filed on my computer like any good librarian would do. 🙂

But for now my days are filled with scrapbooking, scanning and trying to keep a good balance. Wish me luck.

Update

Believe it or not, I have been quilting.  I’ve just been too lazy to post the pictures I took of the quilts and quilt tops.

The other day I finished my first 100% Minky quilt.  Man, was that a challenge.  It turned out cute, but I doubt I’ll ever make one again.

I also planned out a scrap quilt made up of over 4,000 2.5″ half square triangles.  Yep.  Insane, right?  Even crazier? I started it. 

My brother unearthed the 3rd and 4th quilt tops I ever finished.  One is a bento box pattern done entirely in John Deere colored solids.  I’d forgotten how bright that yellow and green were – whew!  I’d also forgotten how HUGE that top is.  I think it’ll fit a full-sized bed.  I worry that I won’t be able to quilt it properly on my little Singer machine.

The other is a Hawaiian sampler quilt.  My in-laws brought back some Hawaiian quilt patterns for me in the early 2000s.  I picked out my 9 favorite patterns and experimented with applique.  It’s another bright top, done with hot pink, teal blue, bright yellow and bright green. I’d originally planned on making it into a duvet cover, but now I think it’ll just end up being another quilt. 

I finished a top that I’m calling the “guy quilt”.  It’s all done in brown, blue, and gray stripes and plaids.  I found a guitar fabric on sale that I was able to buy with my gift card, so I’ll probably use that on the back and give it to my father in law.

I completed my first patriotic quilt top.  The sample had a white background, with blue and red 2.5″ strips.  I decided to go with a light gray background, since several of the strips had white in them already.  It turned out pretty cute.  I found more of one of the red fabrics from the top to use on the back, and the binding will be blue fabric with red stars.

One of my coworkers is getting a black, white and eggplant quilt.  She’s so excited – especially since her backing fabric came in.  She knows it won’t be too much longer before she has a quilt to snuggle under in this rainy weather.

Another coworker gave me some black, white and red fabric from another friend who was giving up quilting.  I used some of that to complete another top.  That’ll be backed in a red flannel – cozy!

I also have another wall quilt top almost completed.  It’s all done in Asian fabrics.  I just need to applique some flowers into the corners and then quilt it all together.

So…  that’s what I’ve been up to on the quilting front.  Sorry – no pictures.  I’m just not feeling motivated to deal with the photo uploader on wordpress right now.

We also started the house buying process.  We’re pre-approved for a loan and even made an offer on a house.  We were outbid by all cash offers and people who were waiving the appraisal contingency. 😦  It’s a hot market for sellers right now in our area.  There are tons of offers on every house – even the ones that say “cash only.”  Many are going for $50k or more over asking price.  Oh well.  We’ll just keep saving and keep looking, right?

That’s it for now…

Small Change

Remember how at the beginning of the year, I posted that one of my goals was to complete 1 quilting or sewing project each month? I’ve been doing really well with that, right? Well, I’m going to have to amend that goal.

I’d defined “complete” as being completely ready to use or gift… all the way down to the label and binding being attached. But here’s the thing: DH and I are planning to buy a house within the next few months. We know that whatever home we buy will need some kind of work, even if it’s just paint and floors. So, to afford these future costs, we’re cutting expenses now and putting that money aside.

I’m still planning on finishing quilt tops. I have a lot of fabric that’s set aside for specific projects. I just don’t have enough fabric for backing so that I can actually complete the quilts.

So that’s it… just a little change to the terms of my goals… 🙂

My DMV Visit

I went to the DMV today.  I had to do an in person renewal of my driver’s license.  Don’t worry though – I made an appointment.  I wasn’t one of those poor people who didn’t know about this trick or simply forgot to make an appointment.

Even with an appointment, I spent almost 45 minutes in line.  That’s right.  The line for people with an appointment was 45 minutes.  People were kind enough to “hold a spot” for those who were also in line, but needed to use the restroom.  People really can be kind sometimes.

When I was about 5 people from the front of the line, a lady who obviously worked there went around telling everyone to be quiet and listen because she was going to make an announcement.  Apparently, people were angry because they thought that other people were somehow being moved to the front of the line, while they had to sit and wait.  The lady pointed to the line I was in and said “See all those people?  They were smart enough to make an appointment.  Their time in line has been saved.  We will help them as quickly as possible, kind of like a fast food drive thru.  You are all like the emergency room.  You didn’t make an appointment, so you have to sit and wait until we can get to you.  It will be at least an hour’s wait for most of you.  If you can’t wait, I suggest you go to window #3 and make an appointment for another day.  And maybe you’ll remember to make an appointment the next time you need to visit the DMV.”

I about died laughing.  Her attitude was hilarious to me.  I know I never would have had the guts to get up in front of all of those angry people and tell them that it’s their own damn fault that they’re sitting there for so long.

It turns out she’s also the lady who does the picture taking.  There was a super pushy guy near the front of the line who kept butting in and trying to ask questions.  She finally told him to get back in line and shut his mouth.  She goes “You’re like one of those nervous little dogs that yips and yaps at everything that moves.  You’re in line.  You’re not next.  I’m helping this guy right now.  It’s his time.  Be quiet.”  The guy just didn’t get it.  Everyone in line was laughing at him and her reaction.  Finally someone in line said “SHUT UP MAN!  You’re holding up the line!.  If you want her number, you can ask for it later.”  The poor guy turned bright red, laughed… but didn’t stop!

Oh well.  It was an entertaining visit at the DMV at least.  Nobody got “stabby”.  The DMV clerk I was working with didn’t cry from the stress of all the angry people she’d been helping that day (that happened on my last visit).  I got my renewal and went on with my day.

Quilting websites

I’m participating in an online shop hop called “Fab Shop Hop”.  With a regular shop hop, you get into your car and drive to a bunch of different participating shops.  Each shop will stamp your passport, you go shopping, and you can win prizes.  The online shop hop is a similar idea, except you do it from the comfort of your own home.

So far I’ve visited 49 of the 120 quilting shop websites that I have to visit.  I’ve seen a huge difference in the production value of many of the sites.  Some are visually cluttered with lots of photos, moving fonts, weird colors and a (really) long first page.  It’s hard to tell where to look, let alone where to click.  With those sites, I usually want to find the bunny for the shop hop and get the heck out.

Then there are others that are clean with pleasing colors and simple design.  Their search toolbar works well, there’s a FAQ… in short it all makes sense.  It tends to be easy to see where to go and where to look.  It’s nice.  Those are the ones I usually dive into and explore.  If their products tickle my fancy, I’ll even bookmark them to come back to later.

I wonder how many of these shops understand how important production value and simple design matter to potential online customers.  I wonder how many online shoppers understand why they like one site over another.  It would be interesting to see a study of some kind on how much online sales at quilting websites are affected by production value. 

Have we forgotten “stranger danger”?

I’m sure you’re all familiar with those stick people family stickers that people put on the back of their cars. You know the ones – they have a mom, dad, 3 smiling kids and sometimes a pet. Sometimes there’s even a last name attached. This lets everyone know that this car belongs to the “Garcia Family”.

Although these stickers annoy me for some reason (I’m not exactly sure why), the ones that actually concern me are the ones that include first names. Why? Because of stranger danger.

I work with the public so I think I have at least a basic understanding of how many weirdos are out there. And I know I sure as heck wouldn’t advertise my children’s names to them if I could help it.

Every time I see those little names, I’m reminded of that episode of “Dexter” where the villain successfully kidnaps a boy simply because he got the boy’s name from the little stick figure family on the family car. It’s like parents are so excited to advertise they have a family that they forget basic safety. It’s ridiculous and stupid.

So consider this your PSA about modern stranger danger. Don’t advertise your kids names or they could be used by icky people who want to do them harm.

Last night’s thematic dreams

I’ve been having a lot of weird dreams lately.  And of course, this means that I wake up in the night a lot.  Last night was no exception.

I don’t remember all of my dreams, but I remember different parts of each dream:

  • My mom stopped breathing in one dream.  She was on her knees with her forehead on the ground.  The attendant next to her said “Just make sure her airway is clear. She’ll start breathing again.”  She started back up again but didn’t wake up.  Afterwards I was shaking and crying in the dream and freaking out about the DNR on file for her.
  • I had another where there were bad people in the library and I was trying to protect the public from them.  I set up some kind of an obstacle course that ended with them falling into a pit.  But I had to stop little kids from falling into the pit too.
  • There was another where I was at my mom’s house, pre-remodel.  Someone had a baby, but they died and nobody knew what to do.  I took the baby and decided that I would take care of it.  I wrapped it in a blanket and searched through the fridge for something to feed it.  I found mashed potatoes and decided that the baby could suck them off my finger until I could find some formula.  People kept trying to take the baby away but I just held it tighter.  I said “He’s beautiful and he’s mine.”
  • In another dream I was at a friend’s house.  They had a few cats.  I somehow ended up on my back on the floor with a pregnant cat laying on my stomach.  She started giving birth.  I was grossed out but excited too.  I remember thinking that I was glad my jeans hadn’t just come out of the wash because then I’d be really upset that they were so dirty.  My friend wanted to move the cat but I told her not to because it might hurt the mama and the babies.  I said that she’d move when she was ready.
  • In the last dream my old dog Duncan was there, but he was a lot younger.  Not quite a puppy, but not quite an adult.  He rolled onto his back and I scratched his belly.  I was so glad to see him.  I don’t know what we talked about, but I remember talking to him and he answered.

OK…  So what am I really dreaming about here?  Family, the life cycle, creation, innocence, protection, responsibility, and love.  DH says they’re all maternal/caregiving dreams.  I thought they were all just weird, but at least there’s a theme to the dreams.

This blog is me whining

I made my new recipe for the week last night… and I forgot to take a picture again.  *sigh*  I remember the photos when it’s time for my brother to cook because they’re one of the most important elements of his blog, but when it’s mine I forget.  Oh well.  Dinner was tasty: Lemon-Tarragon Pork Chops with Quinoa (cooked in chicken broth) and some strawberries for dessert.  I forgot to make veggies too.  Oh well.

I haven’t really been doing anything towards my other goals.  I think I’m in a funk.  I want to jog, but I’m scared of hurting myself.  It’s not hurting to do most things now, but I can feel it when I lift anything heavier than a pound (I wonder how long that’ll last).  I know the longer I go without jogging, the harder it’ll be to start up again.  Maybe I can talk DH into setting up the treadmill for me tonight.  I’d do it, but that thing is definitely heavier than a pound!

I’m also out of clean clothes.  Well… not completely out.  I can make it for another 4 or 5 days, but I can’t get the laundry done because the stupid baskets are heavier than a pound, and I never think to ask DH for help.  Something about my need to be “in control” of everything all the time.  It’s funny, I need to be in control, I refuse to ask for help, but then I get mad/annoyed when people don’t offer.  That’s not just funny, it’s stupid and pointless.  It’s something I need to work on.

We’re still saving for a down payment and closing costs on a house.  I keep looking at the listings and dreaming of what our house will be.  There were a few that I wanted to buy late last year that aren’t on the market any more.  They needed work to be sure, but what do you expect for cheap in the SF bay area?  All I can really do is keep saving and hope that DH will give me the green light to go to the bank and get started.  I just don’t want it to be another 16 years before we buy, ya know?

Blah, I’m definitely in a funk.  Time to get up, eat breakfast, go for a walk outside and cheer myself up.

 

Jeans

I went shopping for jeans today.  My jeans all have holes where the thighs rub together or where the back pocket attaches to the pants.  Originally I was planning on just going to the mall by my house, but DH suggested we have an adventure and go to the Tracy Outlets.  Man, that place was desolate.  About half the storefronts were empty, and those that were occupied didn’t seem to have outlet prices on much.  I sucked it up and went into the Levi’s store.

I was ambushed from the time I stepped in the doors.  Christina (she told me her name three times) followed me as I tried to shop for jeans.  She tried to tell me about their new sizing system, she wanted to know who I was shopping for, and couldn’t wait to tell me about the sales.  I tried to be gentle and say “I’ll know what I want when I see it” but she just didn’t get the hint.  Maybe I need to be more direct and say “Leave me alone. I like to shop in peace.”  To be fair, I remember having my first retail job and wanting to help.  And maybe she worked on commission, so she wanted to make sure she got the sale.  But OMG, I was beyond annoyed and I hadn’t even really looked at the options on the shelves!

I found two pair.  Neither fit right.  One was too small, and one was too long.  I slipped out of the fitting room unnoticed (hurray!) and tried to find a different length in the one I liked.  No luck.  I didn’t even want to try to shop for anything else.  I tried to slip out of the store but couldn’t escape without a goodbye.  The other stores were all too expensive, and had weird decorations on them.

We finally stopped in at West Valley Mall.  I tried on two pair of jeans at JCPenney.  Again with no luck.  You see, my hips and thighs are huge, and my waist is small.  Plus I’m short.  It makes things a little difficult.  Their petite section was literally three racks smushed in between the misses and plus sizes… and there weren’t any jeans to be found there.

I wanted to cry.  At that point I truly hated my body.  I hated that my body shape didn’t work for the clothes I was trying on.  I hated that the clothing manufacturers make things for stick figures and for people with big stomachs, but nothing for people with big hips and thighs but small waists.  Even the things that are supposedly made to fit my body type don’t work.  But I realized that if I freaked out and gave up, I’d never find anything that fit.

I tried to find a petites section at the Macy’s too.  This one was slightly larger, but again there weren’t any jeans to be found.  Luckily they had selection in “short” lengths, which are still just a bit too long but I can make them work.  This time I tried on four pair.  Two fit right and one pair was only available in regular length. DH bought the two and I took a picture of the ones that were too long so I could hunt for them online.

Success!  DH suggested we shop for a couple of tops to go with the jeans, but I didn’t want to tempt the shopping gods into making me get teary eyed again, so we went home.

So that’s what I did today.

Dress = Morals?

Today was rough.  Started out with itchy, watery eyes and progressed to a random stranger implying I was immoral because of the way I was dressed.  *sigh*

Allergies suck.

Room capacity limits suck, especially during a very popular children’s program.  Sorry people, I can’t let you in no matter how much I’d like to.  The Fire Marshal set these limits for a reason and there is literally no place for you to fit.  You can beg, cry, threaten, stomp your feet like a 2-year-old, but I’m not letting you in.  What’s that?  Your child is in there?  Well, you’re welcomed to go in and remove him from the program, but I cannot let you stay inside the room.

Then, soon after the program ended, there were a million people in the library (only a slight exaggeration).  One asked if I was in charge.  I said that I was one of the managers and asked how I could help.  She then proceeded to tell me that I was dressed inappropriately for working with children, and that it might give young boys ideas that they were far too young to understand.  Then she said that she wouldn’t expect someone of my morals to understand the importance of wearing a bra or not showing cleavage.

I thanked her for her input, turned around and walked away.  What I really wanted to do was show her my (very pretty, very supportive) bra, and then point out how hideous she looked.  I mean, seriously?  A man haircut that looks like it’s turning into a ‘fro, bad teeth, buttoned up shirt tucked into belted mom jeans, not a lick of makeup, socks with sandals and a bad attitude to match.  But I didn’t.  I went back to helping the rest of the patrons, reminding children to walk, tracking down parents of crying children, and working my ass off to keep the library running smoothly.

One of the staff wanted to know what the lady said because she could see that I was upset.  I told her what happened, and the staff member said “She told you she was worried about children seeing cleavage?  She told me that someone needed to tell you to cover up, because her husband had been staring at you the whole time you were out here.” Sounds like good old fashioned jealousy and insecurity to me.

So I feel mildly better about the situation.  Especially since regular patrons have been complimenting me all day about my dress, and encouraging me to dress up more often.  And especially since the lady called my boss who said that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my outfit, that it was appropriate for library work, and that she would not be telling me that I shouldn’t wear it again.

It still just bothers me that she – a complete stranger, whom I had never seen before – would have the nerve to come up to me and question my morals based on a dress that was considered appropriate attire.  DH asked me if she was part of some weird religion.  I couldn’t tell you whether or not she was, but it might explain why she felt it was OK to be so mean to me.  Otherwise, I’d have to fall back on the jealous, ugly and crazy explanation.

After the beer, pizza and relaxing on the patio with my husband I’m definitely feeling better.  It’s amazing how the simple things can make everything better.

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