Saturday, November 26, 2005

Standing in Someone Else's Shoes


Rail Fence Quilt Posted by Picasa

In a million years, I never would have put these fabrics, this rail fence quilt pattern and these colors together.

But I did it anyway.

I took a friend, who's 7 months pregnant, to the fabric store last weekend. I make my closer friends quilts for their babies, and lately there've been a lot.

She had some ideas for the quilt -- that she wanted to do a "jungle theme", and wanted greens, browns, reds and blues in it. When we got to the fabric store, she picked out the fabrics and we headed out to lunch.

I asked her a couple of times if she REALLY wanted this pattern -- it's so simple I put it together in a matter of a few days. She fortunately is one of those people who know so little about quilting that anything looks complicated. :)

So, I went ahead and did it. As I was putting it together, I wasn't thrilled with it, but then it started to come together, and I started to like it.

Now that the top is done, I think it's great.

It always amazes me how my taste in fabric and patterns is so different from others. It always amazes me how if I don't fight someone else's taste and just do what they ask for, how I can see the beauty of their preferences after it's done and I can see the whole picture.

What a metaphor for life, huh?

Too often, I think what I do, and the way I do it is the right way -- or at least the best way. But oftentimes I shortchange myself by thinking so narrowly.

Live and learn, Gram always said.

Amen.

Forget the Catnip, Silly Cat Pictures


Cat In A Box Posted by Picasa

This morning I went into the spare room to find another box. The small Amazon.com box I had wasn't big enough to fit the small quilt I was mailing, so I decided to get another one. As I walked into the bedroom, there was The Kitten Hopper, my 20-lb. bohemoth cat sitting in the tiny box. I had to snap a picture of it, then realized that on this one disk of pictures, I have several of The Hopper in a box. He just loves those confined spaces.

I think he'd take an hour in a box over catnip.

What a freak.

Quote of the Day

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."

- Charles M. Schulz. American cartoonist, 1922-2000

All I can say is "Amen, Brutha."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving


Some of My Favorite People Posted by Picasa

My in-laws recently sent their collection of photos to us from our trip to Paris. This one is the last one they took that night we all went out to dinner together, and it has some of my most favorite people in it -- Mom, Aunt Kathy, my father-in-law Armin (one of the most fabulous people ever) and my husband Brian (also one of the most fabulous people I know).

When I think of all the things I'm thankful for, I find myself thinking of my family first, and the other people in my life.

I don't need "things" much. I drive a 10-year-old Subaru, have an old house in constant need of attention, and do without the usual suspects of technology like DSL and cell phones, in part because I love to have moments like this picture captured -- of trips to Paris and wherever else a plane might take me. If travel is a "thing" then I guess I need that, but otherwise I think my life is pretty simple.

I am so thankful today for my family. I have three brothers and a sister -- no two of us are alike, and yet we love each other to death, are great friends, and are fiercely protective of each other. I have a Mom who I can tell almost anything to -- who still says "I love you Pumpkinhead" when she says good-bye on the phone.

I am so thankful that I am married to the love of my life, Brian. When I think of all we've been through in the past 8 years, it amazes me that we can still be silly together, have fun together, and be each other's best friend.

I have a cat named Jack who comes and sleeps right between us all night -- and other pets in the house who all complete our little household.

I live in a great city, and have a job I like right in the heart of it. I love living in a vital, growing city at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.

I have a gift or two -- one of being able to be creative and make quilts. I love to give them away.

Yes, I have much to be thankful for, including my freedoms, my faith, and my many friends here and elsewhere.

Despite my previous post of not wanting to celebrate, I couldn't help but shut up, take stock, and realize that despite not getting EVERYTHING I want, I have much to be thankful for. So I went to the grocery store, bought a small turkey, and decided we're having a traditional meal even if it's just the two of us. I can smell the pumpkin pie baking as I type this, and I think Brian is happier knowing he's going to be eating cranberries and turkey today.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Monday, November 21, 2005

One of my favorite cartoons


Dilbert Is A Genius Posted by Picasa

Dilbert is one of my favorite cartoons. Maybe it's because I'm enough of an inner geek at heart that I get the engineering jokes. Maybe it's because like most people, we run into ineffectual middle management suckups in our daily life, and can't help but identify with his plight.

I copied this off of a Dilbert calendar I had one year a long time ago. I laughed so hard then, I put it on my fridge.

I can still laugh at it now.

Over a cup of coffee.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Why I Hate Thanksgiving

It's such a harmless holiday, I mean really -- most days of the week I can easily name 5 things that I'm thankful for without really having to think very hard. I'm blessed with a loving husband, a warm home, a job, fun pets and the ability to bake a mean chocolate chip cookie.

But Thanksgiving just makes me mad. Not cuckoo mad, although maybe that will follow someday.

It is the due date of my first baby -- my first loss, my first promise of parenthood that has just turned into absolutely nothing.

This year, my baby should be turning 3.

So, I've had the blues this week. I decided in advance that Thanksgiving will be spent not trying to do more than cook a non-traditional meal, watch some football, and bake a pumpkin pie for my husband. To do more just seems that I'm forcing myself to celebrate a day that in all reality, I dread.

This whole holiday season feels wrong to me. Last Christmas and New Year's, I was pregnant for the third time, and still, I have no children to celebrate with because I lost that one too.

So pardon the pity party, but I won't be celebrating much this year. I'll try and keep myself busy, I'll even get a Christmas tree, but I'm in no mood to wish happy holidays in heaps on anyone.

It feels better just to have said it here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

We're Supposed to be the GOOD GUYS


World War II relic seen at Paris' Army Museum Posted by Picasa

Warning: Political post, little if anything funny about it.

I saw this picture when we were in Paris. After going to "Les Invalides" - the equivalent (but much nicer) of a Veteran's hospital and church where Napoleon is now buried, we headed on to the War Museum.

As Rick Steves says in a book "Democrats will enjoy about 2 hours there, Republicans 4 hours, Republican Men: All day." I lasted about an hour, so I don't know what that makes me. A little Pinko, perhaps? Nah.

I was an avid history student in college, and had a favorite professor whose Ph.D. was in German Military Warfare, so I took all his courses on World War I and II. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the different relics from the war in Paris and London this time, but this piece of paper struck me. If you click on it, you can read the text of it is a guarantee that any prisoner who surrenders to a U.S. troop member will be humanely treated, and that U.S. personnel is to bring that prisoner to their nearest commissioned officer.

It reminds me of times past when we were the good guys in a just war. Now, it sickens me that we could even be questioned about how we are fighting this war in Iraq, and how we are treating the prisoners -- whether it's within Iraq or not.

Given that GWB's rating is now at an all-time low, I figure I will now only be offending 37% of the population, most of whom I probably don't want to know anyway, and as of yesterday 60% of the people think GWB is doing a bad job. Meanwhile, the White House said "We don't set policy based on polls."

Yeah, we also don't listen to anybody -- no matter how bad the numbers get, or what accusations are thrown at us.

But, I digressed.

There can be no justification for mistreating prisoners. After watching some of a British Broadcasting journlist heading through Iraq early in the war, and seeing how the people are increasingly resentful of our occupation, this whole war just sickens me more each day.

It's just not right. No matter how loud and how often He says it is, I still think of that B.C. comic where the villager says "The King is a Fink."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

We Were ALL This Cute At One Point...


Me at 2 Years Old Posted by Picasa

A really greasy guy got on the bus yesterday. He thankfully sat near the front, reeking of whatever it is the street does to you when live there and don't have a chance to shower.

What was amazing to me is that despite his thoroughly weathered appearance, his spirits were up, and a woman got on the bus and sat next to him, and he began to talk.

The woman knew him -- she looked like she might know him from her volunteer work at a shelter or somewhere else he went, and was happy to chat with him.

It struck me at the moment the man said he was almost 50 (he looked much older) that "Wow, he was somebody's baby at one time."

Then it struck me how little we realize that we were all cute toddlers, precocious pre-schoolers and rambunctious kindergartners at one time. How quickly our lives change into so many different things.

So often when the world doesn't work out to be what we want, it's almost a joke how often people turn to blame their parents for messing them up.

But when do we thank our parents for what they did right?

I think of how my parents were so poor, and yet they loved us dearly, disciplined us, and expected much of us. I realize without that TLC that I could have easily ended up on the street or worse -- dead before my time.

Thanks to my Mom and Dad has been said in person -- but I have to say it here. Their love and example did much for me, even made me sensitive to others and the outside world. And it helped me today in recognizing that even smelly guys on the bus used to be somebody's baby too.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I'm a "pretty girl"

I used to be cute, maybe even considered pretty at some point. Now, I'm not sure what to think.

While I don't think I was ever the type of beauty who would win pageants (not that I'd ever try), I had a certain amount of confidence from college well into my thirties that I was at least not average or below average. Call it pride, call it vanity, we all have a little -- or at least I would hope we do.

Of course the decline first came when the youngest of adult men stopped looking at me with the same interest. There's always that first time in your late 20s when a teenager calls you "Ma'am" and it rips your guts out. But somewhere, sometime, enough crow's feet showed up in my smile that I get a look, but it's almost a telling registration on their face as they see I'm not some 20-something cutie pie, and I am dismissed.

I think up til now I've taken it with a fair amount of grace. I mean, I don't really need anybody chasing after me anyway since I'm happily married and all that. But you know, it's nice to be seen as attractive, especially in having the first right of refusal.

Well, today somebody made my day.

I was waiting for the bus, which came on time, but as I boarded it, the bus drive started a diatribe (and I mean, officially "going off") about how late he was.

Turns out he was the earlier bus, but had a breakdown and had to get a new bus. The lady who normally drives me to work was hot on his heals, and he was in a blind rush to get downtown and to the end of his route. I started to feel lucky that he even stopped for me, after he blew by a couple of people waiting for the bus under the assumption that they would catch the next one that was close behind.

Well, tonight I got on the bus again to go home, and one of the guys who was on the Morning Tirade Bus sat down near me and said he recognized me from this morning's ride. I said "Yeah, that guy was on fire, wasn't he? I felt lucky he stopped for me at all when I saw him blow by those people at Federal (Blvd.)"

The guy said "Well, I felt lucky he stopped for me, since it was pretty obvious he was only stopping for the pretty girls like you."

Awwwwwww. How sweet.

I'm a pretty girl to some stranger, and he doesn't even know he made my day.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I feel the urge to curtsy: Can I STOP reading Jane Austen now?

I just finished Jane Austen's book, "Pride & Prejudice".

This is my third English Lit book from the early-mid 19th Century, and I have pretty much had it.

I learned a lot about the language and social morays of the time, and for that I am thankful. But Jane Austen is probably the most insipid writer of any real fame that I've ever come across.

Ultimately, all her people find some reason to like each other after hating each other, and of course, the natural thing to do is to marry. No matter how independent of spirit her female characters are, the time dictated that she must fall in love and get married to end the book.

What's funny is that I thought at first that the "happily ever after" ending was one of those Victorian-era things, but then I realized that there isn't a Disney movie (or rarely any movie) that comes out that doesn't result in at least some sort of profession of commitment, if not marriage.

I'm not down on marriage, don't get me wrong. But the Inner Gloria Steinem in me says that it's not the end-all, be-all for many women. I relish the fact that marriage ages are going UP in this country -- particularly for women (men have always married later). It just tells me that they're starting to realize they can do something OTHER than get marriage to have some sense of worth.

In the meantime, the feminist in me just waits for the day equality will really mean something. I'm not talking about being able to bench-press as much as my DH, or expect him to sew as well as me. I mean in terms of basic respect in society, especially in the workplace.

I think that last Austen book obviously struck a nerve. The good news is, unless Jane Austen comes out of her coffin and writes a new book, I'm done. Thanks for the taste, Ms. Austen, but I've taken all the formality, chivalry and innuendo one girl can take from your books.

I'm on to something bright and cheery -- Russian Literature -- "The Brother's Karamozov" by Fyodor Dostoevsky. That oughta brighten up my day!

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