Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 243 of 365

A week ago I made a list. A list of everything I was going to accomplish on my week off. Let's see how I did.

I was going to:
  • Quilt all my unfinished quilt tops. (Finished some on Day 236, Day 238, and today. But still working on them.)
  • Do a tutorial for Stockings for Soldiers. On how to make the stockings, of course. (Check. Day 237.)
  • Call to get roofing quotes. Yuck. (Still yuck. And still not done.)
  • Write up directions for the strip quilt for my school's Project Linus blankets. (Nope, not in writing yet.)
  • Put the electric blanket on the bed. (Decided to skip it. Hubby always turns it up too high anyway.)
  • Dust, dust, dust. (Uh, no.)
  • Put new curtains up in the bedroom. Finally. (Uh, another no. Will wait until I get a new quilt on the bed.)
  • Rake leaves. Rake leaves. Rake leaves. (Not even once. It's windy, so I'm hoping the wind will blow them away.)
  • Take the casino bus for the day. Free food, $50 in free play. Yay! (Yep. Yay!)
  • Make final payments on all the medical bills that have been dragging on for ages - physical therapy, MRI, and ultrasounds. (Yep, all clear for now.)
  • If the hard freeze comes this week as predicted - pull up the pepper plants and pick the remaining pumpkins and watermelon. (Yep. And did a couple pumpkins with my daughter on Day 240 and went watermelon bowling on Day 239.)

Could have been better, but not too bad. Still have some things to get done this week so they'll have to fit in on my non-work days.

Another quilt top done for Quilts for Kids today. Embarrassingly it's the one from quite some time ago. The Wizard of Oz one from Day 157 and 163 that I never got around to finishing until now.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 242 of 365

How do you get yourself out of bed when you feel horrible? How do you force yourself to sit at the computer and write? And find joy in sewing again? For 242 straight days I've made myself do it. But some days - like today - I wonder if I can continue.

There are good days, bad days, and even worse days. I'm running a long stretch of days bordering on pretty darn bad. I still can't shake this flu and it's wearing on me. I'm tired, I'm sick, and I'm dreading going back to work this week. It's not like I don't feel crappy enough every day as it is, but now I'm having to dig deeper than ever to find the strength to keep moving forward.

My day's horoscope read:
If you're thinking about making a change in your life, take it slowly -- whether it's a major change or a minor one. Gradual transitions are much more advantageous than abrupt changes right now -- you need to maintain balance in your life. If you swing from extreme to extreme, you'll spend so much energy trying to get back on an even keel that your speed will be wasted. Slow and steady beats fast and frantic right now.

So no changes. I'll just keep plugging along. Writing, picture taking, trying to get through the day.

Although the only picture I could scrape together is a grasshopper staring up at me. While quite unattractive, he (or she) is quite interesting to look at up close.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 241 of 365

I put my clothes in the bedroom closet for the first time today.

Here's the deal - my husband is a clothes hound. He likes dressing well. Doesn't own a pair of jeans. He wears a tie to work every day. Loves button down dress shirts. Likes his suits. Over a hundred ties, dozens and dozens of dress shirts in every possible color, and a whole bunch of dress pants equates to a full closet.

The house we live in was build in the 70's with regular sized closets. Ever since we moved into this house - going on 14 years now - I've kept all my clothes in the den closet so that he's had room for all his clothes. So every single morning to get dressed for work I've had to head down the hall to get my clothes. But being in that introspective/contemplative mood this week got me thinking.

Why can't we share the bedroom closet?

It's not like he wears everything in his closet and I certainly don't wear everything in mine. So today (and without much prodding, either) my husband cleaned out a portion of his closet. He found some things to add to the donation box and summer clothes he could store in the den closet. It left enough room for me to bring in the few work outfits I have and hang them up.

For the first time ever, I now will be able to choose my clothes and get dressed in the same room. I have no idea why I didn't think about making this move sooner. 

I also have no idea why I chose to take this picture today. Sitting outside our local grocery store while hubby was in picking up some steak so he could have fajitas for his dinner tonight, I snapped a shot of the crisscrossing power lines. Maybe it had something to do with the stormy clouds in the background or the crows that had just flown by. Kinda Halloween-y.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 240 of 365

Having this week off from work has made me more introspective. Or contemplative. Whichever term fits best.

Hubby and I were in town today, and on the way home we decided to come the back way. It was a gorgeous autumn day with trees in many different colors - greens, yellows, oranges, reds, and some that even appeared to be a deep purple. Just like when the trees are blooming in the spring, the fall trees signal a change in season and a change in thought.

As we drove that back way home it hit me that I don't get out much. We live so close to so many things we don't take advantage of.

On the back roads, less than 10 minutes from our house, we drove:
  • Across the dam of the lake. A lake that we never go to.
  • By the Wildlife Refuge. Not a bird watcher so we never stop.
  • Through the fruit orchards and by fruit stands. Yet we buy our fruit at the grocery store.
  • By the winery. Since I don't drink wine, I've only been there once. 
  • By the park by the river. The one with the paved walking path I used to walk on years ago. And the one with the stocked fishing pond. And we don't fish.

Why do we not go to the lake or to the Wildlife Refuge? Why do we not buy our fruit at the fruit stand? Or stop at the winery for my hubby to do some tasting? Why don't I walk at the park anymore and why doesn't one of us get a fishing license?
    Questions with no answers. Laziness, forgetfulness, or busyness?

    And why did we grow pumpkins when we don't carve them?

    Thank goodness for my daughter forcing me to do something with them. (Not really forcing me - it was good mom-daughter time.) No carving, no messy seeds and guts to deal with. Just a pattern printed off the internet, traced onto the pumpkin with a straight pin, and cut out with some tools.

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Day 239 of 365

    After hours upon hours riding the bus to and from the casino, the time at the casino where I talked to no one, and the day I spent with my daughter today, I know some things for sure.

    I know for sure:
    • I like gambling. I like the excitement, I like the distraction. I don't like the noise, the lights, the smoke. And I don't like losing. Having a set schedule where I knew I only had a limited amount of time to play made me become a more aggressive and panicky gambler. I didn't like that part either.
    • Last week's flu re-set my need for food. Since then I've still had an upset stomach so I've been holding to a limited diet. Now I like an empty stomach and don't want to be overstuffed again.  Even yesterday when I went to the casino, I didn't use my free meals. I had half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the ride down and the other half on the ride back.
    • I'll never eat a Hostess pie again. I love Hostess fruit pies. Grew up on them. The blackberry, the lemon - oh my! But last night when the bus stopped at the gas station for a restroom break, I picked up a lemon pie. (That peanut butter and jelly wound up not being all that filling after all.) After I ate the pie, I looked at the calorie count. I should have looked at it before eating it. 490 calories. I can't believe I ate those all the time as a kid. There are a lot of other things in a gas station at 10:00 at night to eat with fewer calories than that, so never again. 
    •  I should never buy lottery tickets. A gal at work has been buying these $20 Idaho lottery tickets and has been winning big. At that same gas station stop, with some cash from the casino burning a hole in my purse, I decided to buy one. Got on the bus, scratched it. Nothing. $20 gone just like that.
    • There are a lot of semis on the road late at night. And some of those truck drivers have interesting, bordering on dangerous, ways of keeping themselves awake/occupied. Like the drivers (yep, that's plural meaning we saw more than one of them) with a laptop in the front seat with a movie playing.

    But the thing I learned today was the best. Watermelon bowling can be fun on an autumn day. The several days of hard freezes have taken out the entire vegetable garden. My daughter and I spent the afternoon cleaning everything out of there. We picked a load of watermelon, but some were just too small and had to be thrown away. So we did what any logical mother and adult child would do. We took the smallest four and made a bowling game out of them. I don't know who taught my daughter how to bowl with watermelons, but she kicked my behind. It didn't last long though, because I ruined the game when I missed and my watermelon busted open when it went careening into the corner of the planter box.

    Today's picture is before the damage.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Day 238 of 365

    This isn't working anymore.

    I've been trying to use up some of my fabric scraps. I've been making block after block after block. As I was sewing a block the other night it occurred to me that it's not working anymore.

    It's not that the scraps aren't going together properly, it's not that I can't keep a quarter inch seam, and it's not that I don't like what I'm creating.

    It's that sewing isn't taking my mind off the pain like it used to. On Day 107 I had said, The only way I know to make it through each day is to try and keep myself busy with writing, taking pictures, and sewing and quilting for others. 

    It's absolutely true. I wouldn't have gotten where I am now without those things, but...

    It's getting harder. Harder to keep my mind off the pain. I don't know if the pain has become greater, making it harder to keep my mind focused or if it is something else. One of the reasons I enjoyed getting into the sewing so much is because it kept me from thinking about how bad I was feeling. It was a relaxing process, yet a process where I could focus on something else besides what I was feeling. But now, not so much. The temptation to take a pain pill is returning. A pain pill would provide relief, albeit temporary.

    I'm pursuing my own form of temporary relief today. I'm taking a break from sewing for the first time in a while and heading down on the casino bus. Maybe a little getaway for the day will make me feel better. (I doubt it, but you never know!)

    It does make me feel better having two more kids' quilts finished up before I head out, though.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Stockings for Soldiers Directions - Day 237 of 365, Tutorial Tuesday

    Homemade Christmas Stockings Sewing Project for Stockings for Soldiers

    I thought my work was done. The Stockings for Soldiers work, that is. I thought I was ending at 80 stockings. I made my contribution and that was plenty. I did my part.

    Yet on Day 225 I took material over to my mom's place to have her help with sewing some additional stockings. She sewed up eight more.
    But then another couple things happened.

    First - sometimes my husband is around when I'm taking my picture of the day. He's seen me taking pictures of kid quilts and turtle pillows and Christmas stockings, and usually never asks questions. The other day we were talking about the stockings - who they were for, where they went, and how I only sewed stockings. How the organization had a list of items they need donated so they can fill the stockings. Items that I wasn't collecting. Things like like gum, toothbrushes, fly swatters, trail mix. My husband wanted more details and even wanted a printed list. (You can find the complete list here.)

    My husband took that list with him to school. Shared it with some staff members, and now we have a high school club collecting items. I'll be picking them up here in a couple weeks. I'm not sure how much they're planning on collecting, but anything will be great!

    Looking for sewing and crafting projects? 

    Then, number two happened.

    I needed a tutorial for the week. I still had some Christmas fabric around, so it was natural for me to do a tutorial on how to make the stockings. (I wanted others to see how quick and easy they were to make.) I put the video up on YouTube and sent the link to the organization for them to use if they wanted. I got a very excited sounding e-mail back. Among other things, it read: Thank you very much for thinking of our Project and for creating such an excellent and perfect video that will help other volunteers to have a very clear understanding of what we do and what we need.

    Take a look, and hopefully you too will be able to whip some up. 

    Happy Sewing.

    Disclosure: Deb's Days is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to affiliated sites. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you new sewing and crafting content.

    You can find the step-by-step how to video for making the Christmas stockings sewing project for the Stockings for Soldiers organization right here: