Friday, January 26, 2018

Sammy, Sally and Caroline, Too

I have two - count them, 1-2, TWO, finishes for January!  And we were gone for ten days besides!  I am taking to heart the "finish one for every new one you start" idea, but then, don't hold my feet to the coals for that, either.  We'll see what February brings.
 This is for Sammy and it's on its way to him in the mail.  I like the fabric storybooks - I take them apart and use them as a quilt.  This is the Golden Book story of The Poky Little Puppy.   We've known Sammy's mommy since she was three years old. She was pretty much our daughter's first friend in life. Unless she reads this blog, she doesn't know this is coming.
 This is the back

 I don't over quilt these storybook quilts.  I want them cuddle soft.  I expect these to be used with a healthy dash of sippy cups and cheerios. 
 Remember Sally?   Well, I had enough batting, found something for the background and pinned it,  when I finished Sammy's quilt I took it out as a possible finish.  The evening I started it I found it stitched up very smoothly and quickly - lucky me - so when we came back from our trip I finished it.
Making up those scrappy bindings a few months ago has been very nice.  I've reached into the jar and pulled out finished bindings three times now.
 The stitching is also loose.  I just made a cross in each square with a variegated blue perle cotton.
 I'm excited that Sally is finished now, too.

Our friend Caroline in Phoenix is a quilter, too. 
 This is the wall hanging that greets you when you walk into her sewing room.  Me being in my bee mode right now I thought it was really fun and cheerful.
 This is behind her sewing machine so she can look at it all day long.
 When Caroline was in her bag mode she made these two.

 These are two unfinished projects. A little wonky log cabin, and
 and almost a quilt for the bed in the guest room.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Local Color

 While we drove from California to Arizona we passed through the Mojave (moe HAH vee) Desert. We noticed this place on our way TO California and commented on how someplace like this could be out in the middle of the desert and obviously thriving.  I suppose that goes without saying, if you're the only show in town you will have a monopoly.  It is technically in a town but again, it was a teeny pass through town, kind of like a place to water your horse and keep going.
 But it was really this sign that made PH want to stop.  Besides that we needed to get out of the car for a bit. We thought some oranges would be good for later.

 These are tangelos, a cross between tangerines and oranges. I took this picture because they were a beautiful display and I've never seen fruit for sale with the stems and leaves still attached.  Fresh? Yes.

We walked into the place and immediately started laughing.  It was a huge barn of a building and it held absolutely everything.  Every piece of chotchky you can think of, every fresh thing you can think of including huge urns filled with honeys and molasses.
And then, there were these nuggets of temptation.

 No, I didn't buy one.  I could only imagine what a deep fried pumpkin spice oreo would taste like and I didn't want to be out in the middle of the desert if my tummy decided it was yucky.
 There was every crazy thing you could think of.  PH and I spent an hour in this place just laughing at each new discovery.
 There was a room - a whole ROOM filled with every rootbeer made.  This is a problem.  I, of course, wanted one of each, but we were flying home and the airline would frown on a suitcase full of bottles.  That's the problem with travelling sometimes.  You find great new things but you can't bring them home.
 This place also did barbecue.  We opted for the brisket because I always order the brisket if it's on a menu.  Everything was home made. That means nothing came from a can. 
 PH and I shared this lunch.  The very friendly young man that took our order gave us two pieces of cornbread because, he said, it's so good.  He was right.  I love cornbread and am disappointed when it's dry and tasteless.  PH isn't a fan of potato salad but he ate most of this.  It was really, really good...what I got of it!  I settled for the cole slaw.
 Driving through the desert in January isn't what driving through in July would be, but it would be desolate no matter when. More than once we commented to each other what it would have been like doing this trip in a covered wagon, walking the whole way behind a couple of oxen.   I stared out the window for hours imagining cowboys and settlers riding this terrain and through these hills.  I thought about the natives sending smoke signals from the tops of these mountains.
And there it was, occasionally a cell tower.  Smoke signals indeed.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise

A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise : A True Story about Schizophrenia by Sandra Allen

    When I worked in an elementary school there were children who we now refer to as “on the spectrum.”  The spectrum is long and curved and so some of the children were very high functioning and some not so much.  There were other children who were just plain struggling emotionally and while they were often considered ‘the problem child’ I couldn’t help wonder what it was like to BE them, to be inside their heads trying to make sense of us and the world.
    I thought of this the whole time I read A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise.  What must it be like to be inside the head of someone with schizophrenia. Well, author Sandra Allen does her best to help us by introducing us to her uncle Bob.
    While she was growing up the author didn’t know much about her uncle but what she heard and that was that he’s crazy.  He came and went a lot because it’s hard to live with someone who can’t make sense of what’s in their head.
    No one knows really when Bob’s head turned on him. Studies are inconclusive and much of what we know about schizophrenia is old information, boys develop this condition more than girls and at a younger age, but late teen to early twenties during which traumatic experiences happen seem to be constants. In Bob’s case there was a divorce, custody consideration, bullying in school and getting in with a group who were into trouble with drugs and alcohol. The mind does strange things while trying to cope. By the time he was about 14, his father committed him to a horrible place to “get better.”
    One day out of the blue Bob sent his niece his autobiography, typed all in single spaced non punctuated caps.  There were sixty pages of what could be considered the ramblings of a crazy person.  But the author was intrigued about this family member who was only talked about occasionally and never in good terms. So she started to read it.  She talked to family members, she did her research on the condition and when Bob was doing the talking she reworked what Bob was saying so it would make sense to us (punctuation certainly helped.) It turns out Bob had a firm control over his thoughts and his chronology. In the end what we have is just what I had been wondering about all those years in school.  We get a look into what it’s like to be inside his head. And how it feels.