June 30, 2008


My family has been keeping the cell towers busy this week, and yet my heart catches a little every time I see a call from Mom. Tonight's call brought the best news, though. Grandma is moving from the ICU to the regular nursing floor; the doctor "doesn't see any reason she shouldn't." Woo hoo!

Photo Monday

Waiting for Grammie

June 29, 2008

Owl Post

Look who came to live with me!
It's Murray the Owl. He came all the way from Washington to live with me. I was worried the relentless heat of Florida might be a bit much for him, but he says he's so well insulated that it doesn't matter to him whether its hot or cold. Besides, what is most important is the humidity to keep his feather's shiny and that we certainly have.

And he brought me happy post from the wonderful Britt. He arrived bearing these gifts just as I was leaving for the hospital yesterday, and it sure lifted my heart.

This morning Murray and I spent some time admiring what she sent - cheerful turtle fabric and a French Vanilla chocolate bar. (She enclosed a note that she would have sent Turtle Beer, but it might have gotten Murray in trouble with the postal service. That's okay with me; turtle fabric and chocolate are even better.) I was worried I might have to share the chocolate bar, but Murray says I can have it all. He really prefers voles anyway. But, he does want to help me design the projects for these fabrics. After hearing his ideas this morning, I'm sure it'll be a great collaboration and he's a very enthusiastic design partner.

Murray is a bit homesick for his friend, Sarah the Snail, though. (I wonder if she'd mind the nickname Sally the Snail, because I keep wanting to call her that.) I told him I'd put the word out that she's still looking for an adoptive home. You should go take a look. Britt's friends make great companions... And inspire a bit of silliness on a Sunday morning.

June 28, 2008


We live a very urban life, nearly the opposite of a commuter lifestyle. 10 minutes to work or10 the other direction to Church, 5 to the library and 2 to the grocery store. As often as not, we can walk to run our basic errands, go out for dinner or do some light shopping. So my hometown, 45 minutes away by interstate, has always felt close enough for an easy visit but far enough away to require some planning. And for the woman who usually travels less than four miles to get where she needs to go, it is definitely a trip.

Wednesday morning, when my mom called me at work to tell me my grandma would be having emergency surgery, it suddenly felt much, much farther away. I resented every minute of the drive as we tried to get there in time to see her before they took her back.

But in the three days since, the distance seems to have shrunk. Suddenly I am a commuter as I take my 'shifts' at the hospital to help with her care. The route that always felt a hassle is suddenly routine, and I am comfortable in the morning traffic, the afternoon rain or the dark of a Friday night. It now feels like no distance at all to travel to be where I need to be.

Today we got her out of bed for the first, to take a few steps to a chair and sit upright for awhile. Afterwards, I told my mom that I was thrilled I was there for it, that it felt like I'd been present for a child's first steps. At age 86, she is one tough cookie. (Don't tell her I said that, though. She frowns at me when I call her a tough cookie and when my aunt called her a tough broad she raised one eyebrow.) I'm so glad I can be there to hold her hand while she walks this rough path.
(The photo is her taking a break in my sister's old room between events on Christmas morning, checking out a book Mom had given her underneath a quilt I made. I am so glad there are plenty more scenes like this ahead of us.)

June 24, 2008

Its about the big stuff.

I believe in our system of justice absolutely and wholeheartedly.

"We must remember that a right lost to one is lost to all." -William Reece Smith, Jr.

I believe the State must prove its case, and the defense must insist it do so.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

I believe that our laws and procedures exist for a reason, and that they are right and good.

"It is better that ten guilty escape than one innocent suffer." - William Blackstone

I believe that protecting the liberties of the guilty is the only way to protect the liberties of us all.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

I believe our system gets it right most of the time.

But today, when common sense lost out to the rule of law and nothing worked as it should... Today, I feel a little sympathy with those who would convict first and ask questions later, I won't tomorrow. But, for today I do.

ETA: Sorry, guys, this wasn't a world event or even a news worthy event. Just a really bad day in court for me that needed to spill out. Thanks for the shoulder.

Photo Monday (the Tuesday edition)


(Sorry, S, I know you always check on Monday. But, I forgot yesterday was Monday!)
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June 22, 2008

Just Keeping Up

Whew, what a week! Its been one of those where the world seems to be spinning faster and you are running just to keep up. Fortunately, it seems I kept up since I didn't spin off in to space. I think it was a close one, though.

We've had alot going on over here. The good - a fun trip to the beach, two chances to hang out with my sister and her boyfriend, a visit from Alex's family, an evening out with friends we haven't seen in weeks. And the not so good - a sick day for Alex and work stuff we won't talk about. (Nothing drastic, mind you, just a month's worth of minor hassles that decided to pile themselves all in to a week.)

I've finally finished processing all the photos from the weekend away, and I'll tell you about that soon. But today, I'm going to try and just finish out this week. Church, a quick trip to a neighboring town to try and find a kid I need to talk to, and then my bible study seems enough on the schedule for a Sunday. Oh, and Alex has requested I make my special cabbage recipe, so a bit of pleasure cooking.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to finish the last four or five repeats on this scarf. The crazy week saw me knitting a good bit in stolen minutes, grounding myself with the simple rhythm of yarn and needles. And as a result, the shawl needs only a tiny bit more attention to be done. I love it and can't wait to see what happens to the linen after its washed and dried. I expect it to be so soft and lovely.

June 12, 2008

Happy to be Rained Out

The rain has finally come. My poor plants are so relieved. A few of them had almost given up, but now that their thirst has been quenched they are much happier. The timing could have been better for me, since it moved our dinner party off the patio and in to the dining room Tuesday night and forced me to re-schedule dropping off a car load of items for work not once but twice. Still, in Florida, you can't ever complain when the rain comes. No matter what.

I can remember as a child that throughout the long summers, you'd have a monsoon every afternoon at 3:00. You could almost set your watch by it. Or at least we said you could. At five till three the dark clouds would suddenly move over and within minutes the skies would just open up. And for fifteen minutes or so it would feel like God had upended buckets over you as the rain just poured down. Hail might very well fall. And then it would be over. The day would be a few degrees cooler, and the humidity would certainly be lower. The plants would be revived and the world would go back to what it was doing. My sister and I would go out in to the front street, a low lying street, to jump in the puddles. If we weren't already out there dancing in the rain, that is. (Some days, the days with lightning and hail, that wasn't allowed, of course. But on the days when the storm wasn't quite so fierce it was a warm rain, and a relief from the sticky heat of the afternoon, that we reveled in.)

We still get monosoons, of course, but its been several years since we've had a summer with the regular afternoon rains. I'm sure if I look someone, somewhere has an opinion of why. And I'm sure it relates to human activities. But, right now, I'm just pleased to be waking up every morning to a weather report that tells me there's a 50 to 60% chance of afternoon rains. They aren't the afternoon rains of the summer season, really, because they are much gentler (comparatively) and lasting in to the evening. It doesn't matter. Every afternoon, as the storm blows in, I sigh a little breath of relief and think hopefully of the afternoon rains of my memory. Maybe this summer will be the year they return?
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June 08, 2008

Puzzling It Out

All of the blocks are done, and now I have to choose the right arrangement. This I am not willing to leave up to the brown bag trick. I need to have a good balance of colors and contrasts or the whole thing will fall apart. This quilt has been too much fun to end up with a result I don't like. That and its intended as a gift. So, I have been arranging, re-arranging and then re-arranging yet again. I'm not at the point where I'm just getting fiddly and its time to take a deep breath and just go for it.

The first time I thought I might have it:

Oops, there's a decidedly light spot up there to the top right.

Second Try:

Isn't it too dark over there at the top left?

Third Try:

Uhm. Is this getting better or worse?

Okay, I'm giving myself five more minutes and then I'm labeling them and living with it.

June 05, 2008

Wandering Flamingos

This is the very beginning of the new quilt I keep hinting at. It's actually a kit, and while that's not my normal style the wonderful fabrics seduced me. The ladies at Quilt Shop of DeLand have a great eye. The pattern is Yellow Brick Road.

I've been trying not to over think the color combinations of the actual blocks. For large parts of this quilt, I've used the 'brown bag method,' dropping the pieces in a bag and pulling them out randomly. I laid out these first nine squares to make sure I could live with the random color collections and in keeping with the theme I didn't allow myself to fuss with the order of the blocks, though I did rotate them as necessary. I wasn't sure I liked it until I took the photo to see it in better perspective. I'm very happy with how it is coming out.

I'm also addicted. These 9 blocks have grown to 24 very quickly, with 'just one more block' before work. Or walking the dog. Or bed. You get the idea.

June 04, 2008

Creature Comfort

On my way to bed, I turn on the bedside light and find this very comfortable creature. She was so blatantly ignoring my bed preparations that I decided to go downstairs and get the camera. When I got back she was still there, so I tried to take the picture. But after an abortive flash, my camera told me it was out of battery. I went downstairs, changed the battery and came back up. She was still there. (This from the creature that wouldn't let me take five steps without her an hour ago.) So, I took the photo. Then I told her to move - a command she knows perfectly well, incidentally.
Except tonight. Tonight, apparently, she thinks it means "look at me out of the corner of your eye."

Neighborhood Powerhouse

Across the street from our house, in the lights of the tennis court, is the nesting grounds for a flock* of ospreys. Every evening you can see them wheeling in the sky and hear them calling, impressive vocalizations of interest and power. Though they are a common bird here in central Florida, its always a bit amazing to see them (and the owls, and the occasional hawk) in my very urban neighborhood. They like to stay very high, but they are so distinguishable that you never have any trouble knowing what it is you're looking at. And if you have a young puppy or kitten in the neighborhood, you need to stick close to it!
Especially at this time of year, when they're visibility (and the noise level) suddenly skyrockets. I think it has just a little something to do with those smaller heads peeking out of the nest. I also suspect the fact that I walked in to the backyard last night in to a shower of soft, downy feathers from a songbird may be connected. But, we won't think too much about that reality of the natural world playing out in my neighborhood.

*There has got to be a better word to use when describing a large group of birds of prey. Flock just feels so...well, sissy. It's the word for the cardinals or the mockingbirds, not these creatures with powerful beaks and huge talons.

June 03, 2008

Looking to the Future

Been kind of quiet around here, hasn't it? I took a little vacation last week. After several weeks of non-stop activity, I decided just to stop. Nothing dramatic - I went to work, did the dishes, and all that. But, I kept it basic. I feel like staying home tonight? Fine, that's what I'm going to do. There was one night where I way lying on the couch, watching TV, startled to realize I didn't even want to sew or knit. So, that's what I did. And after a week of slowing the pace down and a weekend of sleeping wonderfully ridiculous amounts, I'm feeling much better and ready to jump back in to life. Starting with a little catch up blogging.

One of the things we did in the exhausting week before my mini-vacation was attend a meet and greet with this guy.
Yep, the junior senator from Illinois. The event was perhaps not as well organized as it could have been, but it was still amazing. I am really inspired by him and expect great things out of him, so having the chance to be in a setting small enough to allow me to take this picture was pretty incredible.
And I'm downright thrilled, no matter what happens, to have a viable presidential candidate with dark skin. I watched this little guy, clambering up to get a good view and I thought "How about you? Will you run for president some day?"

It's a great time to be alive.

June 02, 2008

Photo Monday

Seating for Two

Shedding a Little Light on the Situation