August 29, 2007

Brave Cardinal

Due to the cat's diligence, I rarely see birds on my feeder. They flit around and land high up the trees, but the cat lifts her head from her napping position and meows a warning at them. Every time. She's a lazy, but very effective guard. And I can't convince her that its not her job.

I suspected the birds snuck in feedings when Nala was off hunting mice. (Which she has started regularly leaving me as gifts. Another job I can't convince her is unnecessary.) However, she sticks pretty close to me when I'm in the yard, so I never got to see any birds on the feeders. Even the mocking birds just sit in the palm tree and think about it, but decide they aren't brave enough.

Sunday we were in the car about to leave, when we saw this cardinal land in the Crape Myrtle and look around. He then flew to the grapefruit tree and checked out the other side. After one last look from the palm tree, he settled down on the feeder for some lunch. I was delighted. And it also confirmed that they have learned to look for the cat before landing.

I don't think that she could reach them on the feeder, but they are clearly unconvinced its a risk they should take. So, I'll be dragging out the ladder this weekend and hanging the feeder higher. And then I'll curse that decision every time I have to get the step stool out to fill it.

August 28, 2007

Of Snotty Noses and Sticky Fingers

Some times you just need a snotty nose. And sticky fingers. When they come with delighted cries of “Ca-wa” each time he discovers I'm still there and tugs on the hand to take me to his next adventure... well, the world doesn't get any better than that.

I spent my vacation with my best-friend, a woman who has been there for me in ways and at times I can't even begin to recount in the space I plan to spend here. She is indispensable. These days she comes with the bonus of a husband I enjoy and a munchkin who is the light of my life. And the 48 hours I spent with them were more revunating than any other vacation I could have come up with. In the last 20 months, the shock of the fact that my best-friend is a mom has worn off, but there is still a great pleasure in being folded in to her little family. I loved the conversations interrupted by “rock a rock, peas” as, I imagine, only the childless can. But, how could I resist this little bit of connection between me and him?

I had innocently set the munchkin in the rocking chair to allow myself easy access to his feet while I put on his shoes. How was I to know he had never sat in the chair alone before? He was so very proud of himself, and rocking the chair while sitting alone was clearly an adrenaline rush for him. For the rest of my visit, he would declare “rock a rock” at regular intervals and insist that we depart immediately for the rocking chair. He'd sit in it and rock with the greatest devil-may-care grin on his face. It was the kind of moment you live for.

So, I spent my vacation supervising a rocking chair, playing with shapes, reading book after book, passing stuffed animals back and forth for hugs, taking walks holding adult conversation while standing up, creating gin rummy tournaments after bedtime and a hundred other small and beautiful moments. It was perfect.

August 22, 2007

What I'm Not Going to Write About

For a week and a half, I've been thinking of posts I plan to write, taking the accompanying pictures and even starting one or two.

I was going to write about the birthday present I completed. This lovely picnic bag and three picnic placemats (identical to the one I posted about before).

And about how this was as far as I had gotten on the t-shirt quilt before running out of the interfacing, because I keep making dumb mistakes. And how it is sucking the life out of me and I. hate. it.

But when I went to the quilt store they were out of the interfacing, so I had an excuse to buy this beautiful fabric and Amy Butler's Cabo Halter pattern instead. And then I finished the Cabo Halter and worn it twice already. But I haven't gotten around to taking a photo yet.

And then I went to JoAnn's and found the interfacing, so all the t-shirt squares are done. Plus I found a gorgeous sashing fabric (flannel no less) that ties it all together, and I might even start liking this quilt again. Except we haven't had enough time apart yet, so I'm not actually working on it yet.

During lunch the other day, I was composing a post in my mind about the change of seasons in Florida. How we do have them, but they are more subtle. And how I love that. How much better my mood is this week because the heat has peaked and we're on the other side of that, and how I know that even though we are still reaching highs of 96 with no rain.

I even started a post on the hurricane hitting the Yucatan and how sick to my stomach it makes me feel. That one I actually halfway wrote before drafting it. I just couldn't get out of my mind how devastated the trailer parks are when a bad hurricane hits us, and how huge swaths of Mexico are shanties that won't stand up any better to the winds. Except most of those Mexicans can't shelter in a stable school, if they can get a ride. And like the trailer park residents they don't have any resources to start over after the storm. But its not a pocket community, it's half the countryside - and what are they going to do?!?

But it turns out I don't feel like blogging. I can compose half a post in my head - and sometimes even on the screen - but I don't feel like actually writing it all out. I'd rather go to the library or putter in the garden or just about anything. Actually writing apparently isn't on the list right now. So, I'm not going to write about any of those things.

Tomorrow I start a four day weekend, and I head off to spend some much needed time with my best-friend and my favorite little guy. I'll be delivering her birthday present, reading stories and spending unrushed time with them. I need this little break. And then I'll come home and still have the weekend with my husband. Maybe I'll even come home to write a post or two. Or maybe not.

August 15, 2007

Indoctrinating the Innocent

Last week a story about sightings of unidentified objects in the skies over England came on the radio, and the broadcaster announced that there were multiple reports of UFOs. Alex promptly turns to me and says "they have alot of quilts over there, huh?"

I gaped a moment before sputtering out "how do you know about that?" You see, for those other innocents in my life, in quilting and knitting parlance a UFO is an "unfinished object" - that project you begin but eventually abandon to the back of the closet or the cutting table. I had no idea he knew that term, certainly not well enough to immediately whip out a pun that hadn't even occurred to me, the creator of the UFOs currently cluttering our 'office'. (Lets be real here, I turned the 'office' in to my project room months and months ago.)

He said I told someone about it in his presence the week before, and with a little thought I remembered it. We were at lunch with one of his colleagues who told me about the sweater she started knitting and never finished, and I was reassuring her this was normal and we even had a term for it, UFOs. (I was basically recruiting her back in to the ranks of knitters, assuring her one abandoned project should not be the cause for all lost hope.)

I would say he was apparently listening much more closely than usual for that to have stuck in his mind. Only, I used it in terms of knitting, and he referenced quilting. And I am much, much worse at quilting UFOs than knitting. I think I may have indoctrinated him. He's learning the parlance of knitting and quilting without meaning to and without any conscious effort on my part. One direct, yet small conversation about knitting UFOs brought to the surface my many other references to UFOs. And there it all sat, ready to spill out in a quilter's pun at the slightest provocation.

You may shower him in pity now.

August 11, 2007

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

It's an August Saturday - 90 something degrees and 80 something percent humidity. I'm cramping. I should be wearing a loose sun dress, drinking a glass of iced tea and trying not to move.

I am dressed in slacks, a shell and a cardigan. (Well, I'm carrying the cardigan, but I will be wearing it when I hit the air conditioned class room.) In 8 minutes I have to leave for work, and I won't get home until close to 5:00. I will spend that time being charming and informative as we train new volunteers.

I am having trouble being gracious about this.

August 08, 2007

Fabric Therapy

Stressful weeks are apparently also very productive weeks these days.

Tonight's therapy was, predictably enough, another sample from Simple Sewing. This time the picnic placemat. This placemat's destiny is not yet determined, but I am very happy with it. The frogs are so happy.

This is working for me - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix playing on the IPod, a glass of wine I don't actually drink because my hands are full of fabric, and a couple of hours with my scissors and sewing machine.

August 06, 2007

Just Because

I came home tonight with the need to do something - something I could finish tonight, specifically. I decided to try this basic tote from Simple Sewing. A little linen, even less of a decorative fabric, under two hours in the sewing room (no tears), and I have a new bag. It'll be perfect for a knitting project, a book and my wallet or a small shopping trip. It's sweet and it gave me that feeling of having accomplished something that I was craving.

I've looked at Lotta's directions for this bag several times recently, and each time I couldn't figure out what she was doing. It is very different from the tote pattern I made up when I made my grandmother's bag. What she's doing, it turns out, is giving some strength to the bag - there's no bottom seam to be stressed (that's just the fold in the fabrics) and the bottom panel is sewn on to the main panel giving you double thickness where all the weight settles. Genius.
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