Thursday, March 29, 2007

One Week Down

My Clivia is blooming. We are usually away visiting my friend in Georgia when this plant blooms but we are here to enjoy it this year. Isn't it gorgeous?

Reny is doing great, I think. But I don't know anything about dogs so I have no expectations. We got through the "honeymoon" or "nightmare" first week--depends on who I talk to about their experiences. Reny wasn't getting enough rest and getting hyper and aggressive. So now he gets a long nap a couple times a day in his crate. We're all happier. While he naps, we get to shower and change clothes, eat lunch or dinner, or actually prepare a meal, do laundry etc. Bedtime is 8:30 and he's asleep pretty quick. We have to wake him up to potty at 11 and 3 am and then it's breakfast and a new day by 7 am.

He Sits. Comes when we call. And learned Down today. Can Fetch a toy when he feels like it. He also goes to the door when he needs to go OUT. One or two tiny whimpers when he goes into the crate but he's asleep within minutes. We are having issues with the leash. He just sits when we use it. Won't budge. I've waited 5 to 10 minutes and he doesn't move. I unhook the leash and he may or may not move. He also likes to hold part of the leash in his mouth. If I let him do that--he'll walk.

He likes to look outside. And sit on the back porch in the sun and chase leaves around the yard. When will he catch sight of his first squirrel?

Had a Bone Density Test today and got weighed. I've lost 25 pounds in 13 weeks. Guess I need to buy a new pair of pants!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Exploring Our World

We are exhausted and the puppy is full of energy. Five full days of 100% full attention dog watching/training with none of the normal daily stuff takes it's toll. And I have a cold and feel terrible.

I have started to close the door on the crate when Reny goes in (voluntarily) to sleep. I did so today because I needed a shower and clean non-doggy clothes. I even remembered to brush my teeth. Reny had a "melt-down" this afternoon. When it began I should have just crated him--he is so laid back, doesn't even mind after a few little whimpers. But I didn't and proceeded to make soup for my husband and the dog got upset-- he was not the focus of my 100% attention and he began to bark. Then bite. Then hump. A spiral of frustration and over tired puppiness. Then he had a "clean-up on aisle five" over by the computer desk. First one in 4 days.

Live and learn. I have his morning figured out. Breakfast followed by chew the kitty toy followed by a few potty breaks and then he climbs into the crate to nap from 8 to 9:30. He did this same thing at the breeder's. But I may need to email her to see what went on there from 3pm on. He seems to think he needs to sleep in the crate as soon as it gets dark. We try to keep him awake so we won't have a wakeful night. G wakes him up at 3am for a potty break and he always has lots stored up. Breakfast is served at 6 or 6:30. They dished it up at 5:30 at the breeder.

I am not a morning person. Being on dog duty from 7 am is so not in my comfort zone. I am feeling like the walking dead by 6 pm. So goodnight.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Meet The Puppy!

At 9:30 am today we became the proud (and nervous) owners of an 11 week old black lab. He had no idea he was going home with us until the last moment and he wasn't all that thrilled. In fact he howled, barked, whined and cried for most of the 45 minute ride, settling for the last 10 or 15 minutes. Oh, that was hard on us.

But it was worth it. He's been outside, inside and all about. And he knows where his potty spot is already and has waited by the door for us to put on shoes to take him out--then he runs right to it. His bowels are a bit loose today but it could be nerves. And he has gone into his kennel and put himself to bed for a long nap. Did I mention how very smart he is????

Here he is napping on the big dog bed. My daughter came to visit while I ran off to the grocery store and she got this picture and the next. She really knows how to take a great picture, Huh?

I think we'll keep him. And just for perspective, we have had two "clean-up on aisle five" as we like to call it. One while I was writing this. If a dog drinks water........

By the way, the puppy's name is Renegade and we'll be calling him Reny. Or pup. That's what the breeder called him and he got used to it. The house smells like dog already. I've been smelling "dog" everywhere for the past week. Like my nose was getting ready or something. I wonder what Reny plans to do tonight from midnight to 5:30 am (his regular wake up time at the kennel). I'm on "dog duty" all alone tomorrow. G is going to work.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


A gardening friend asked if I would be interested in having one of the orchids that have multiplied in their greenhouse. I had to promise to take care of it properly. I said yes. She said pink or yellow. G loves yellow so I said yellow. Can you believe this. It is so beautiful. And easy to care for. I can even set it outside in partial sun for the summer. And it doesn't need fussy treatment.

The next surprise was six deer in the backyard. G snowblowered paths around the backyard for the puppy's enjoyment. Well, the deer are enjoying the uncovered grass. They are nibbling away and depositing "smells" all over the yard. This is going to be one happy puppy!!!

The deer look well fed. Some years they look so thin and even sick when they come into the yard in the spring. Our vegetable garden (behind them) is fenced so they can't go in there to eat. I'm sure they have already eaten all the flower buds off my rhodies. And all the buds off the witch hazel. And the crab tree. Well, I wanted to live in the woods.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Puppy Proofing

No pictures yet-- puppy comes to live with us on Thursday. I spent what was left of my evening getting every last thing off the floor in the room puppy will be playing/training/sleeping in for the next few weeks. G thinks (incorrectly) that he and puppy will watch tv together in the living room. Not happening! Puppy will be eating/playing/learning stuff in kitchen or outside smelling things/walking/going to the "spot" or in the kennel sleeping/chewing on toys/whining. No television.

In the event that G and puppy do go into to the living room (against my wishes), I have had to pack up and remove my Raggedy Ann collection, my stuffed bears, the Longaberger baskets, the basket of magazines, the quilts etc. All would be considered fair game as they look like toys and/or would be fun to chew. The foyer is PACKED with things to be taken up into the attic. Poor attic. It's already full of "stuff" and now more coming up. The ceiling will cave in! I will need to supervise as G carries it up and places everything just inside the doorway. I carry it all the way in and put it away. We still have the CD player, CD's, small decorative items and tons of pictures in frames to go upstairs. All these things are on the floor.

I also had to duct tape all the electrical cords up and out of the puppy's reach.

So tomorrow we carry everything up into the attic. Move the Target clearance table and chairs from the sunporch up into the attic so the puppy has a clear path from his kennel out into the garage and outside. I wrote several lines here that were not "positive" so have removed them and will now be thinking positive thoughts.

We have to discuss where the puppy's "spot" for elimination will be. As that will be the first thing to do when we drive into the driveway with the pup. Go to the "spot". I'll have the camera ready.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Everything Old Is New Again

Yesterday was a very depressing day for me. I had a "healthy" granola bar for lunch and everything went downhill from there. There must have been too much sugar in the thing even though it said it was a protein bar--and I crashed. Hard. Hungry. Depressed. Angry. Ready to Quit. I wanted french fries.

So we went to the BBQ restaurant (I was prepared to give up) and I had..... steamed carrots and zucchini with my BBQ. And two glasses of water. It was so very spicy and yummy and now everything is okay with my world except it's raining and I wanted to walk today.

I even tried on a shirtdress from the 90's and guess what--it fit! So I'm wearing it to work. Fitted waist. Denim. Like going back in time almost 20 years. I'll have to drag through the dresser drawer to find some pantyhose to wear with it. Yikes! Do I even have SHOES to wear with stockings?

G has gone to a kennel in Buxton to look at a six month old Lab puppy. He says he isn't bringing home a dog today. Don't they always say that? So I'm going to get busy clearing a spot in the kitchen for a dog bed just in case. Or for a dog crate.

And then I'm going to work. With a whole wheat and low fat cheese sandwich instead of a granola bar. Otherwise there may be a news flash of an incident at the public library. "Library worker goes over counter/Takes offense with Patron's Attitude" "Well, Where *Is* The Book?" Had one yesterday. She said "Where IS the book?" three or four times. Slow, slower, slowest. Like if she said it enough times (while making eye contact) all of a sudden I'd say "Oh!" That book.... it's right here!" NOT! My husband suggested I should have leaned toward her and said VERY, VERY slowly. The. Book. Is. Not. Here. Yet.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Steadily Going Downhill

I've just checked my Sitemeter stats and in a year's time my readership (lord, doesn't that sound pretentious?) has steadily gone down. I must not be as interesting as I was 12 months ago. I may even be boring myself.

Today I have been trying to do some alterations on my clothes. I took a very nice linen skirt in about 4 inches and re-did the hem. Now it's in the dryer and then it will get a nice press and hopefully look nice enough to wear. I also put waist tucks in a pair of cotton pants. My sewing machine doesn't know how to make clothes. Neither do I.

I have resorted to self-alteration of my clothes because I have just about gotten to the point where my clothes are too big to wear. I can still wash and dry in the dryer to make things shrink up a bit and get a few more weeks out of them--but then there is no turning back as I will have nothing to wear if I gain the weight back. I know, everyone would like to have such a problem. But I'm still only 20% into the needed weight loss. A scary time.

Self Alteration is happening in my artistic life also. It must be in the air. I've read other blogs where women are questioning their dedication to their art. I am questioning what I want to be making. Fabric art. Painting art. Mixed media art. Paper art. Everything is calling to me but I need to listen carefully. And I need to make the commitment to the work. I have been drifting for six months or so and not making anything. I have been thinking. Staring out into the air around me. Waiting for the art to speak to me. (no wonder my readers have left me!)

Perhaps I will have to resort to more workroom cleaning to get the spirit/art to speak. It could be calling to me from under the piles of stuff all over every surface in my work space. So a clean table top. Clean floor. Packed boxes. Clean and the art will come. But first I have to go to work at the library.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Future Of Quilting

Five young ladies arrived for class. Ages 7 to 10. They each had their very own "quilt mentor" to work with as I had 5 volunteers from my chapter come to help. I didn't get to work with any of the children one on one so that was disappointing. The girls were a bit nervous but quickly began sorting through the fabric wedges and trying out various designs. In the end, they all opted for a variation on red and black.

After the picking they folded their background fabrics into quarters and drew a circle in the center so the wedges lined up evenly. Then their mentor pressed the wedges down for them.

Next came the fabric "sandwich" and pinning that sandwich together with safety pins. Now they were ready to select thread for the quilting.

Donna gave them a demonstration of the quilting technique on her grandmother-in-law's Dresden Plate quilt. But we were going to be doing "utility" quilting with perle cotton #8 and a big needle. The girls got right to work. And they worked right up until 5:30. A whole peaceful hour and a half. For 7 to 10 year old children that is some kind of wonderful.

My volunteers had a fantastic time. The girls faces glowed with pride as they looked at the work in their hands and they were eager to show their block to Mom when she came to pick them up. I sent each home with extra thread for additional quilting and asked the three moms if they could help with knots and needle threading. Two said yes and one laughed and said that her mother would have to help her daughter. Won't grandma be pleased? I think so.

They asked if they could sign up for next week's session. Of course, I said yes. We are talking about the future of quilting and hand sewing. I need to do my part!

So the answer to yesterday's question-- why do I volunteer? Because it always turns out so darn wonderful. The look on those girl's faces? Priceless.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Still Slogging Away

Got all 500 plus Dresden Plate wedges, WU'd, traced and cut out. Have scissors, thread, needles, iron, ironing pads. 12.5 inch fabric squares cut and batting is cut.

I need to make a trip to Joann's for some insignificant safety pins. All my helpers (and myself) are hopelessly attached to our own safety pins and cannot bear to be parted from them for the length of the class or face the probability of the kid's taking them home. So new safety pins. While there I may look and see if they have any of the Fons and Porter utility quilting needles. If I had purchased enough before-- I would be able to give each child a needle to carry home so they can continue working. And I want one or two for myself.

Binding. To bind or not to bind. Do we have time? Is it doable? Do I take the sewing machine and try to sew binding on all the blocks?

The advertising for this activity is all wrong. They have it listed as "Children's Quilting" this week and "Beginning Quilting" next week. No way is this Beginning Quilting. This is just a fun activity that uses fabric and thread to make something cute.

Just got the news that someone at the library will carry 8 tables into the meeting room for me. I had no idea how I was going to do that by myself. I promise to take pictures.

Last night our quilt chapter had the annual UFO Auction. I was so pleased with myself as I had no UFO's to donate and did not bid on anything. I did go home with two large bags of scrap fabric though. Everyone knows I'm a sucker for free bags of fabric scraps. To get rid of scrap fabric, the auction person was bundling the "good" stuff with books, patterns and bags of scraps. The winning bidder would collect the UFO bundle and drop the scraps off at my chair on the way past. So thoughtful!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Why Do I Volunteer For These Things?

A long, long time ago someone at the library suggested a fun activity for children to go along with the Community Read of Grapes of Wrath. Now it seems to me that "fun" and Grapes of Wrath have very little to do with each other. But I was mistaken. Quilting. Yes, making a little Depression Era block. The little prototype is above. Ten wedges. Wonder Under.

I have been ironing 7 yards of WU onto various bits of colorful fabric and tracing my little cardboard wedge pattern onto the paper backing and cutting out each little wedge with my tiny scissors. I need a minimum of 500 wedges for a possible 30 children ages 7-12. I want them to be able to pick and choose.

I now have a cardboard box full of wedges and the next step is to line them up and count to see how many I have. Then remove the paper backing. My friend S volunteered to cut the 12.5 squares of backing, top and batting for the quilt sandwiches. Sixty each of those. Can I just say that I will do anything for S from this day forward?

The kids will get a short lecture on the Depression and the need to "make do" with what is on hand without money for shopping. I have canning jars full of rubber bands, string and buttons as examples of thrift and reuse. And a big scrap bag of fabric. Old newspaper for the center circle pattern for each kid and a wooden clothespin to crease the backing square into quarters for correct positioning of the wedges.

We are using WU just because handsewing the wedges together would be a multi hour task and we only have an hour or so. So the handsewing will be quilting around the Dresden Plate with a little running stitch and utility quilting needles with big eyes.

A mini quilting group has graciously volunteered to help me on the class days-- with help selecting wedges, creasing fabric, ironing the wedges down and threading needles and sewing. Yes, class days. Two Fridays. This Friday and next. So I can make more patches next week if I don't have enough.

I'm keeping things simple. And I have always been happy to see how kids take to quilting and handwork. We did a needle turn applique demo once and an 8 year old boy worked on his applique and chatted with us. That week he brought his finished work into the library to show to me. Very proud. And rightly so.

The rest of this week I will be making a handsewn set of "step ups" of the process for making a Dresden Plate and quilting it. And removing paper from the wedges and making more if I have fallen short of my number of wedges needed. I will not be blogging very much. But will have charming pictures to post of the kid's work on Saturday.