Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 219 of 365

My husband has his funeral all planned out. He knows who he wants officiating, where he wants it held. I would suspect it'll be a full place on that day.

He's a popular teacher, well known in the community, and is someone who never shies away from visiting with students who have long since graduated. He might not see someone for 20 years but still recognizes them right off the bat and is able to strike up a conversation. I made fun of him for years because no matter where we went - including out of state - he would see someone he knows. Now it's no longer funny. It's expected. And he never forgets a face.

Being I've never been a social person, that's a skill I don't possess. Even people I should recognize, I don't. I imagine it comes from being engrossed in work and not people. Getting good grades and being smart has been my claim to fame. But I always compare myself to other people. When I do that, someone is always smarter, nicer, friendlier, more patient, better dressed. The one that bugs me the most is when I say to myself, "She/he is a better person than I am."

I say it a lot. I look at the qualities in other people and I see so much that I lack. It's not so much about being a perfect person, but wanting to be a better version of myself.

Right now the one thing I can turn to as proof of becoming a better version of myself is my sewing for others. I'm not sure why, but kids and soldiers (and kids of soldiers) have been the focus of my sewing.

Today, Stockings for Soldiers. 30 more stockings done.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 218 of 365

The abrupt change in our weather has signaled an abrupt change in my thinking.

Weather wise, it was 90 earlier this week and here today it appears the temperature might not get out of the 40s. Just a few minutes ago the weatherman said with the wind we have we have windchills in the 20s right now. Quite a shock on the system.

Another shock on the system happened yesterday. Something at work made me realize I've been putting myself last.

One of the biggest draws to taking this job was that it was part time and I had some flexibility in my schedule. That it would leave me time to recuperate in between work days, give me some down time to regroup. For some reason when I started back working, I thought I'd focus on work the days I was there, and my days off would be clear-headed and not about work. It hasn't quite worked out that way, and part of that is my own fault. I've fallen into the work is more important than anything routine. But yesterday's incident gave me the wake up call I needed.

A change of attitude on my part was in store. And that change of attitude came in handy today.

Our big, huge shade tree that keeps our roses shaded in the mornings and our back patio cool in the evenings has slowly been dying off. Every summer while sitting on the patio we talk about how thankful we are for such a tree. How heartbroken we would be if anything ever happened to the tree. We love that tree.

So a few weeks back we had a tree company take a look at the problem and they decided it might be some type of stress. Fast forward to today when we had that same tree company come out and prune the dead stuff out. When trimming up in the trees, bad news was delivered. It appears a fungus has overtaken our tree. There is no cure. And within 4-5 years our tree will be dead. I remember a few years back when we had to remove our big, beautiful front yard shade tree. I loved that tree so much I almost cried the day it was cut down.

If it wasn't for my new attitude change today, I would probably upset at the thought of losing this backyard tree. I am upset, but it's something I can't influence so it's not worth my worrying about.

That's what I realized at work yesterday. I can't change anyone else, I can't change the situation, or the amount of work, or who should do what. My limited amount of energy doesn't need to be spent on any of those things.

My energy needs to be spent on being happy. It's in my hands. It's not dependent on anyone else. It's not dependent on good luck or bad luck. Not on money or things. Not on cold weather or warm weather. Not on a job or on a tree.

My happiness belongs to me.

But being happy when my husband wants me to eat some freshly picked-from-the-garden kale? I'm trying to be happy on that one, but I'm not sure I can get there.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 217 of 365

I've learned quite a bit in these last few days.

Did you know that:
  • If you grab the end of a shower curtain the wrong way you can get a big papercut?
  • If you sew Christmas stockings for hours and hours you'll be using your foot pedal a whole bunch, and then your foot will be cramped up for several days making it difficult to walk?
  • If you take off your wedding ring because your hands are achy and swollen, you'll never be able to get it back on again?
  • The one and only time you don't have your camera close by is the day a coyote runs out of a cornfield into the middle of the road, waits for you to stop the car, then just stands there, daring you to do something?
  • If you get overworked and can't keep your head on straight you could forget a friend's birthday? And that the only way you finally remember is because the friend tells you days later? (Sorry, Jan.)
  • When you take curtains down from the west-facing window behind the computer and don't get around to putting up new ones because you haven't bought a new drill, the sun will shine in your eyes in the late afternoon and evening? And that the best way to keep the sun out of your eyes so you can keep typing is to wear a baseball cap you found behind the door?
  • The white you see on the slice of bread in the morning isn't necessarily freezer burn? When lunchtime rolls around and you're eating that sandwich made from that bread it might taste a bit weird? And only after the sandwich is eaten does it occur to you it was not freezer burn but mold?
  • When you have a spiky haircut and your hair starts falling out because of the medication you are on, people can see right through to your scalp everywhere? And if you decide to grow your hair out so people don't see your scalp so much, you'll still keep losing hair just as much but now you'll be leaving it behind everywhere?
  • Cats are like teenagers? They wind up somewhere they have no business being and car keys are sometimes involved.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Fried Apple Hand Pies from Canned Biscuits - Day 216 of 365, Tutorial Tuesday

    My mother made me do it. To be honest though, I made her do it.

    On Day 183 I was celebrating my half-way mark. Half way to my journey of wherever it is I'm going.

    On that day, my mom and daughter were here and we did some food-related activities. Picked tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapenos. Made salsa. Baked zucchini bread, banana nut muffins, and fried some pies. Fried pies. A leftover from my childhood.

    When I was growing up, we lived right next door to my grandparents. I spent all my days afterschool at their house and my grandmother used to make fried pies. I remember her electric skillet sitting on the counter as she fried them up.

    I've never made them myself. I didn't even know how they were made - I just remember some type of fruit was involved and that they were delicious. So when my mom moved back to Idaho and I knew she was coming over, I wanted her to teach me to make fried pies. So on Day 183 I got a taste of how they were done.

    If she only knew what she was in for.

    Since I started these tutorials, I've been looking for things I've made or baked to show off. Except I'm not a fried pie expert. So I sent my mom on a mission. In between the time she made them at my house a while back and this week, her task was to find the best combination of crust and filling. She used small canned biscuits, jumbo canned biscuits, and pie crusts. She fried some, she baked some. She tried a dried peach filling, a dried apricot filling, and a canned apple pie filling.

    She's researched and taste tested and is ready to unveil her recipe. It uses a bit of oil, a can of jumbo biscuits and a can of apple pie filling.

    So today's tutorial is my mom showing us all how to make fried apple pies, just like her mom did.
      Click on the video for directions:

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Day 215 of 365

    I've heard you are either an Elvis person or a Beatles person. You can like them both, but you always like one more than another.

    I'm a Beatles person. When I first discovered music in the 70s I was listening to Paul McCartney and Wings and John Lennon so I became interested in the Beatles. My memories of Elvis were not positive back then. By the time I started paying attention he had let himself go and was not very attractive. It wasn't appealing to watch him perform.

    But years later I'd heard so much about Graceland that it went onto my bucket list. When we did our cross country trip a few years back it was one of our must-see places to visit. Stepping into the mansion was like stepping back in time. Same carpet, counter tops, and furniture, all in 1970s color scheme.

    Only then did I appreciate Elvis more for what he had done than for what he had become. I started to like Elvis more. Over the past couple years I've even bought some Elvis fabric. Until yesterday I had no idea of how I was going to use it.

    As I was cutting up all those stockings for Stockings for Soldiers, it occurred to me I might use some Elvis fabric. I was second guessing whether it would be a good choice. But Casey Kasem helped me decide. Last night I was listening to a repeat of his show from 1977. A year I remember well. How can someone forget when Leif Garrett and Shaun Cassidy had hits in the top 40? This repeat show mentioned several times about Elvis' death. (He had died just a few weeks earlier.) As I heard them talking about him again and again, I remembered the importance he played in music and sewed up those Elvis stockings.

    11 more down.

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Day 214 of 365

    I don't know what it is about sewing that makes me enjoy it so much.

    In my lifetime I've tried cross-stitch and counted cross-stitch. Candlewicking and crewel work. I've tried tole painting and scrapbooking. I've made wall hangings, pillows, padded picture frames, and Christmas ornaments. I've painted a garden scene on the side of our shed and I have scrapbooks full of pictures.

    But I always come back to sewing.

    Somehow attaching pieces of fabric to make some type of creation is relaxing. I love visiting fabric stores, I love buying fabric, and I love sewing the fabric. And these past few months the best type of sewing for me has been sewing for others. Sewing for those I don't know has given me a purpose.

    If it wasn't for sewing for others, I couldn't throw numbers around like these. Since March 5th I have made:
    • 17 kids quilts sent to either Quilts for Kids (for sick kiddos) or Operation Kid Comfort (for kids of deployed soldiers), and one to another organization
    • 14 presentation cases for Quilts of Valor (for veterans)
    • 2 quilt tops - one for a soldier, one for a diabetes auction
    • 24 turtle pillows for The Painted Turtle Hole-in-the-Wall Camp (very sick kiddos)

    57 items.

    Now I get to throw some new numbers around:
    • 4 more kids quilts to be done for Quilts for Kids. Two need to be quilted, two more kits are on the way.
    • 5 more sets of pictures (which will equal 5 more quilts) for Operation Kid Comfort are headed my direction.

    And a new project.

    Stocking for Soldiers kicks off October 10. Stocking for Soldiers sews Christmas stockings, fills them with goodies, and sends them to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. While I may not have the goodies to fill the stockings, thanks to my fabric stash I have plenty of Christmas fabrics. They provide the pattern, I make the stockings. At least 80 stockings worth. (I still have more fabric, but stopped cutting at 80.)

    5 down and 75 to go.

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Day 213 of 365

    Today was a biggie. Two biggies. They might not seem biggies to most people, but they are to me.

    First one - my husband sent a text message. He's made very few calls on the cell phone before (maybe a total of 4 or 5), but has never texted. Ever. He's not big into technology. While I have a certificate in teaching technology, he thinks computers are more trouble than they're worth.

    But as we sat waiting for the next biggie to start, he asked me to teach him how to text. He didn't have a clue about what buttons to push or even how to find where to write a text message. He now knows how to read a text and reply to a text. He was quite proud (extremely proud) of himself. He texted me all afternoon even though we were sitting right next to each other, and he even fired off a couple to our daughter.

    The second biggie was about us, and especially me. Over the past couple years, I have been pretty much home-bound. But I've gone to the movies with friends, with my husband, and even by myself during these last couple months. I made it to a concert just this past week. I feel like maybe I'm starting to be part of the outside world again, and today nudged me a bit closer.

    Last Saturday on Day 206 we had gone out to eat, and when leaving the particular establishment (Buffalo Wild Wings), lots of Boise State football fans were pouring in to watch the game. We've never gone anywhere to watch the game but our own house. Never went to a bar or tailgate party. Nowhere. We've always watched the game alone. But when we saw all the fans last week and saw all the TVs in this particular place, we told ourselves we'd visit during the next afternoon BSU game. (When I made that commitment I didn't know it was going to be so soon.) But late this morning we went in and left about 4 hours later. Had some appetizers and later a lunch/dinner combo. We (even me) had a great time watching the BSU football game with a place full of Bronco fans.

    2 biggies. And 63 TVs full of Boise State football.