Thursday, 12 September 2013

Friends to the Finish

My friend Maria and I have so many unfinished projects, I suggested we help one another out. Her daughter Anna just had a baby, just over a month ago and Maria brought me this quilt center for finishing.

I think Maria expected some quilting and binding but I found myself adding a border and replicating some insect characters in thread art and applique.

Finally, I finished it off with a scalloped and scrappy binding. This week I finished the hand binding on the bus. The colours are sweet and I hope she likes it. I mimicked the ladybug, butterfly and bee with applique patches for body, but the heads and details are free form thread stitching. There is minimal quilting on the white border except to see some bug trails and bee spiral paths.

Modeled as usual by Babydoll.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Stroll through Wicklow County

Sunday was the day for us girls and a dollhouse the size of a garden shed. Actually, three little girls, as we had Cutiepie’s best friend from her former school; she hadn’t seen her in a few years. From Wexford to Wicklow, Cutiepie asked me three times if her face or any other part of her had changed. As I tried to reassure her she was the same beautiful girl from years earlier, she squirmed in her seat saying she had never felt so excited.

Powerscourt, home to Ireland’s largest dollhouse, really impresses. I didn’t remember my camera, you will just have to trust me when I say it was beautiful. The girls and I enjoyed the leisure stroll in awe of the dollhouse furnishings.

Afterward we headed up the Sugarloaf mountain, this time collecting a former classmate of Babydoll‘s. I had been creating a baby quilt for the past18 months and on this day we were delivering the finished quilt. The lime green and pink patchwork had become a particular favourite among me and my sewing friends on Saturday morning.

The new owner’s mom has since text me saying it’s symbolic (being her last little baby) and that it’s to hang on the stairway wall… that’s candy to a quilter. Years ago, I made a personalised interactive (pockets with hidden animals) quilt for her two older children (it still hangs on the downstairs wall!). She since added two children and with each birth, we applique the new babe’s name to the quilt. So the patchwork is a real labour of love and fun with this family. I feel honored to know the quilts hold such meaning.

After visiting several different members of this family, we left them with promises of a future overnight visit. Headed over the Sally Gap where we stopped for a shot at our favourite vista point. I think the g irls would climb for hours if the cold didn’t stop me.

On the east side of Wicklow, we found a sleepy granddad in front of the television with the house just as quiet as he. With night setting in, we finished our tour of Wicklow in Hollywood at Nanny’s grave. Cutiepie positioned a bouncing butterfly and Babydoll placed a colourful ceramic snail at Nanny’s grave. Both were so fitting of their personalities. The girls enjoy reading all the headstones while I reflect on my time with Nodie and my time now without her.

There are very few things in life I’m sure of right now. But two sure things are Babydoll and Cutiepie. We climbed back in the car and headed home to Wexford. I suspect her stomach was growling, cause Cutiepie suddenly announced that she plans to invent crackers that are already buttered. Not to be outdone, Babydoll chimed in that she intends to invent ice cream that never melts. Sure as that.

I may be feeling unsure of my life’s direction, but I’d like to think I’m preparing my daughters to aspire to the ultimate. If it’s cuisine of the future, well then, bon appetite!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Bet Against Someone Your Own Size

The other day I made a bet with Cutiepie.

I was certain I would win. Is the app Viber or Viper, made-up word vs. real word?

And yet, I did not win. Honestly, when will these techno companies stop making up names? Placing the bet, I offered up a million dollars, but she didn’t accept this as a real bet. Obviously she was certain she was going to win. Not sure where she gets such confidence.

Her price: an iPad.

The problem is, an iPad is entirely inappropriate for an 9yo, no matter how adorable. (And I’ve seen some cute iPads.)

The second problem is the 10yo sister who has been begging for an iPad for two years.

How do I make good on my word, without coughing up two iPads?

These girls are getting smarter than me by the minute. I’d nearly bet my two girls conspired this ruse.

Only, I’ve sworn myself off all bets.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Untold News

He left on Thursday morning.

We suggested that our daughters not to share the news with anyone outside the family just yet. We’re still trying to understand how this plan, his plan, ‘the’ plan—an ‘experiment’ we told them–was going to happen and what it means for our future. With Daddy gone, I wasn’t sure how to answer questions.

Monday was the first day of school. Home from school, Babydoll broadcast her news that she stood in front of all her class and told the news. Watching my face at this announcement, Cutiepie, lowered in an uncertain tone, she said she too shared our summer news that Daddy had moved to New Zealand. I pushed the permanent knot further down my gut and managed a big grin and welcomed all the news of the new 5th class and 3rd classes.

It has now been six days and it has only felt worse each day. We hung three clocks: Dublin (home for us), San Francisco (home for extended family), and New Zealand (home for Dad). We set our Skype account to never log off. We go about our day, jumping at every electronic beep that might be Daddy skyping us.

Football and camogie games (one lost, one won), a sewage line unclogged, and walks with the dog filled our weekend. As I remind myself to check door locks at night, the notion of an all-girl family saddened me, but I’m committed to succeeding while inside I’m crumbling. On Sunday, between Uncle Ben and Pablo Picante I began sobbing when I couldn’t find taco shells in the Wexford Super Tesco. All I wanted was the commerical, pre-made, perserved 12 taco shell kit, one of only three Mexican dish food items they stock. The moment I saw the emptied shelf, my heart screamed for the simple corn tortillas found in San Francisco ready for frying and dishing up by scratch. Who exactly needs a kit to make a taco? What I want is a kit on how and where to be happy.

Knowing it would take more than guacamole and salsa to mend my broken heart, I covered my red rimmed eyes with sunglasses and headed home to get a hug from my girls.

The girls are giddy and curious with a nervous excitement for back to school and their dad’s move to New Zealand. I’m proud of them and really, it shows the naivety of children and their resilience. And yet, I still can’t stop thinking how decisions like these are defining their DNA.

It’s only been six days and I know when it’s 60 days gone by, it will be the girls who’ll come to me for hugs.

I’m willing to bet they won’t want to share the news with anyone then.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Blumbling Burritos

Today I had beefy barbacoa for lunch. Blame it on schedules, diets or whatever, iron must be missing from my diet. I’ve been feeling faint for days and thought a meaty burrito would be the cure. That, or a cabana in Turks and Caicos.

Dublin burritos, sadly, do not EVEN compare to burritos from home. Home is the taqueria at 34th and Balboa. Or pick any one of the other 92 taquerias in San Francisco.

Just maybe, what if it was San Francisco who did burritos wrong, and all of Dublin’s burritos are correct? I think not.

At a Dublin taqueria counter, a cold tortilla is filled with the usual fixings. It very nearly breaks. It then is wrapped in tin foil and tossed in a microwave or set on a grill to get hot.

For those non-foodies, in SF a burrito begins its life in the tortilla steamer—for a splash second and it becomes hot and pliable. Soft, hot and ready to go. In fact, once it’s in the tinfoil, it is very nearly in your hands.

Not in Dublin. ..first the order queue and then the wait-for-your-food queue.

A tortilla steamer would eliminate two or three steps. Not to mention lower my blood pressure.

I still enjoyed my beefy barbacoa. The name was catchy and just when I was thinking it would be cute for someone named Barbara to order a beef barbacoa, did I think to look up it on Wiki:

Beefy Barbacoa
In the US, barbacoa is often prepared with parts from the heads of cattle, such as the cheeks.
In northern Mexico, it is also sometimes made from beef head, but more often it is prepared from goat meat.

Maybe it’s not so bad that I’m eating a burrito from Dublin?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

No Wonder You Don't Bring Me Flowers

This weekend my husband said those four filthy words to me.  I'd like to think I'm an even-headed gal, but it will take some time for the mean sentiment to fade.  Before I share the offending statement, may I remind you?

I commute 4 hours a day to my full time job. I pre-prepare dinner at 5am on most days. I arrange a live-in au pair to mind the girls. I read to the girls every night. I cook, clean and bake on the weekends. I initiate date nights for us. And,
I sew on Saturday mornings. In the last nine months I have sewed 9-12pm on a handful of evenings, mostly finishing projects for the girls.

On Saturday he announced he was going to watch a match at 7pm, which translates to "Shot gun! I get the television!"

Earlier he and I discussed the ridiculous behavior of Irish lawmakers and he spoke of inappropriate alcohol consumption. Funny he should say that, to which I inferred that 'everyone' could do with a bit more prioritising over alcohol, albiet, we live in a culture nutured over generations.

The football match began while Babydoll and I baked cookies. Then I set to sewing. Cutiepie, forever the sportsgirl, joined him in watching the match. I could hear her peppering him with questions in between hoops and hollers.

And that's when he said what he said. Full of dislike for our earlier conversation and an impatience for  interruptions in the match, he marched into the kitchen and dished it out to me:

You. sew. too. much.

That was his mildest statement that I choose to share. I spare you the ridiculous argument that ensued, save to say he makes incredulous statements like, "there's a reason it's all old ladies who sew!"

In complete shock and upset, I bundled all my sewing and packed it in the attic. Bear with me as I muddle through this domestic squabble. As always, there are bigger things behind the lense.

It took me a few days to stop shaking long enough to photograph and post my project for class.

Maybe I should do what he does every night?  There'd be war over who gets the remote and he'd be ever more sorry he scolded me for sewing!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Projects in Tow

There may be one or two college buddies, who found in a study group with me, might call me a procastinator. But, in the end I always, do get the job done.

Much of my delay is due to always taking the the less traveled path. I lay it on steep when trying to do something different, something with a twist. I’ll admit, most of the time I have regrets. I know that had I followed the flock, my life would be easier.

In May we started the sample quilt and in June I was planning a unique border for it. The quilt is headed to San Francisco newlyweds, so now in July, I’ve decided on the border and hope to get quilted and gone soon.

Classes forge on at the Sewing Shed, so I’m back in school and behind the pack already!

We began this one with a centre applique that put my mind to wandering. The Lovin’ Log Cabin is appealing because, well it’s a log cabin pattern—the quickest assembly for many of us. This is the class assignment’s centre:

In considering my colour scheme, my attention fell to the flower arrangement. In my own dining room, my favourite arrangement is a heap of white blooms—nothing is fresher and beautiful than a burst of white flowers. So I decided to modify the floral arrangement with more flowers, less vase. This lack of colour would only work if set against black. So I’m setting it on black with lime green leaves and stems. The petals are done in embroidered pinks which eventually I hope to set off with beads and crystals. With colours that are not best for layperson photography, this has become my center arrangment:.

I’m looking forward to building the log cabins from pink and green scraps. The pink and green log cabins will be again set off by black corners. All hand stitching is being done during commute, so I'm delighted to have this project to work!

A nice lap quilt for our colder Irish months purposely named, Summer Blooms in Winter. Procastination or not, I’m certain I can gift this to myself for Christmas

Cool School Days

Friday was the last day of the school year for the girls which was the pinnacle for all the parties, lack of school work, early collection, and of course, more sweets. The parties and candy start early; I think my daughters have been without homework and mindful treats at school since the beginning of June. Though with no ending workload, the girls are managing well in studies..

They received their report cards and grades are up and holding. Babydoll had been struggling, but we reinforced some studying habits and it’s paid off. Both girls made their usual thank you Teacher tote bags. Cutiepie’s teachers were repeat from Babydoll, so we designed a cute wall hanging for the two job share teachers. At the last minute, Cutiepie said one of her teachers, who always uses her tote bag from Babydoll given a previous year, commented that she couldn’t wait to get another tote bag. So we kicked into gear and, these days Cutiepie does all the stitching, so it wasn’t too bad at the 11th hour.

Everyday in June it seemed like party time for these students.

What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall at the school in the weeks that lead up to breaks. I am astonished. It’s ridiculous that they get an entire month for a ‘wind down’. There’s the usual end of year events as sports day, but beyond that each school day should be a working, learning day. What kind of lesson is this for children? What society or lifestyle today builds in a month ‘winding down’ without obligations to do as expected?

Unless of course, we’re assuming each of these kids land a job teaching at the school.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Knowing When to Believe Your Driver

The back road is a bumpy windy lane visited by pheasants and a scattering of other morning birds at this time of day. When rushing for the commuter bus, I avoid the back road and skim faster than usual on the main road.
Having only emerged from sleep one and a half minutes earlier, he continued on the back road in what seemed a slumber, cautiously as though he were in slow motion. Was it my imagination? He braked at every curve in the road and slowed for nature as the birds crossed our path over and over, flittering from one bush and back again.

Nonchalantly, I leaned far into his direction, my hands creating a distraction in the center console as my eyes sneaked a peek at the clock located on the driver's center panel. Until this car, we've never had a dashboard where the clock is obscured from everyone's view except the driver. You wouldn't think it mattered so. Yet logic prevails and it's Cutiepie's first comments as a passenger. “Where's the clock?” How do I know we'll be on time, Mam?” Like that, if you're not driving and you're not a back seat driver, you're a watch clocker. Trust me, I know. God help you if you're both.

Four minutes gone and we're still on the back road. I'd have the car on solid pavement in less than two minutes. If we don't cross the river by half six, we risk missing the bus. He read my mind; its twitching was obvious as I fidgeted in my seat like a school child waiting to be excused to the toilet. “We won't be late. The bus won't leave without you.” I don't believe him.

Earlier, the reminder of our cars--one at the house and the other left at the pub overnight--hung in our bedroom as I rang out the countdown. “I'm leaving in ten minutes.” He grumbles, “I'm getting up.” I don't believe him.

Soon, “I'm leaving in five minutes...with the ONLY car,” I added that for effect. The vehicle situation was his undoing and I'd be lying if I said I didn't take an ounce of pleasure in these awakening warnings. Whether or not he'd arise was anyone's guess.

He did and we left four minutes late for a nine-minute journey. I spent the entire ride wondering if he always drives this slowly in the morning or is he intentionally winding me up? In between clock checking, I try to distract myself by remarking on the dry sunny morning that it is and how Friday is just around the corner. I put worry aside and apply my make up. Eyes back on the road, a farmer's lorry has cut a front of us at the river's crossing. I groan. He sighs. We emerge on the national road, and my eyes scan the highway for the big white Wexford bus.

As we creep along the rock wall into Enniscorthy, I spy the waiting headlights at the bus stop and tell him the bus is there. “Already?” He follows along the one-way lane loop through the town's centre and assures me the bus can't leave yet. I don't believe him.

He pulls alongside the bus and in what appears as a heroic gesture, swings the car in front of the coach bus. At the final thirty second mark, I relish in the luxury of being driven to the bus. I thank him and tell him how much I enjoy his company. I say I hope he has a good morning and maybe he can go back to sleep before he has to go to work. I thank him for driving me in.

He says, “No problem. I'll be back home in just a few minutes.”

Now I believe him.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Quilts on the Line

Behind a few steps on the email quilt class,
but still progressing..

Block 9 and hearts coming soon!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Find it, Frame it

So, I misplaced my life. Actually, it’s just our family photos have been poorly cataloged and at times, swallowed whole by the former business’ photos.

It all began with a search for Babydoll’s communion. After breath-holding gasps and three external backup drives, I located a folder titled, Babydoll’s Communion. When I opened it, the folder was empty. Good Lord! I must have been distracted mid-task. Could it be? All I have is one photo from my camera.

Girlfriend was tired.  Now, Girlfriend is angry.

At her communion to years ago, we opted not to have professional photography despite the cheesy commmercial photographer who had set up at the end of the school hall. Making matters worse, over the last four years, I failed as a hover mother and lack of these communion photos prove it.

In true sibling annoyance, this year Cutiepie happily found herself in the queue for the commercial cheesy photographer who had smartly relocated to the center of the school hall. Knowing there’d be no order placed, Cutiepie was content to queue and pose with her pals, while older sister Babydoll seethed with jealousy and the mistaken belief that we might relent and order professional photos for Cutiepie.

Like at Babydoll’s communion, we took our own photos and unlike Babydoll’s photos, I carefully cataloged Cutiepie’s photos. Our photos for Cutiepie were lovely and we eventually discovered the lost communion photos for Babydoll. THANK GOODNESS.

Yesterday, the professional photos arrived in a plastic bag for review and purchase. At first it would appear they gave us someone else’s photos. The child has red hair. On closer look, it is Cutiepie captured in cheesy commmercial style, complete with an incredulous overbite. Each of us took turns mocking the photo and Cutiepie was justified as she confirmed, “Yeah, we won’t be BUYING these. Doesn’t even look like me. With ginger hair. Ugh!” I’m guessing Babydoll was gracefully suppressing her delight, when she aired her shock at the flawed photo.
Needless to say, tonight we are setting up print shop in the kitchen. Each girl will have beautiful photos to fill her frames.

And, if that’s not enough and they still want professional photos, I can always tint the hair colour to red.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Sewing with Judy

The TV in the dining room has mysteriously stopped receiving signal.

Recent weeks have been busy and difficult resulting in weekends without my sewing buddies. No TV and no friends, that sucks.

When sewing buddies aren't around, I indulge in the drone of nonsense TV in the background. I like nothing better than the original founding matron of reality TV of America. Who doesn't laugh while Judge Judy tells some lame dude to get a life and stop mooching off the girlfriend resembling his mother?

First, I had to convince DH that he could fix the television reception. The cables run up the wall, on the attic floor and connect with the working television in the master bedroom. Once we realised it was not the master TV, he confirmed it was definitely the cable connection in the attic. Uh oh.

Surely it has nothing to do with the 53 or 92 totes of fabric up there?

I held my breath as DH entered the attic and hearing him breathe a disappointing sigh—first of many to come--I knew this disconnect was my fault. Or rather, it was my fabric stash schlepped, stirred and (re) stored with each project. The plight to my sewing enjoyment was, itself, my sewing.

Hearing more loud grunts drifting down from the attic, I spied the now-lit indicator light on the cable box. To my relief, Judge Judy was booming from the tube before I could get my sewing machine in place.

It was my turn to sigh aloud. With a cup of steaming tea in one hand and a tasty serving of homemade tiramisu in the other, I offered my thanks to DH and made it back to my sewing table before Judge Judy could announce her decision.

The narrator was introducing the next case as DH returned his now empty dishes to the kitchen. A chatty Mary was defending herself against the claims of a former friend before Judge Judy. Working on a charity quilt together, Barbara had loaned a sewing machine to her friend only to never see it again. The quilt had been finished, charity had been served, and now, one quilter was suing another.

DH looked to me. I looked to Judge Judy. We were both in disbelief. Apparently, I'm not the only one who needs Judge Judy to get her sewing groove on.

Pictured below are two new and one old block for my email lessons. Getting caught up with the Sewing Shed.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Save That Coupon, Or Not

Mothers’ Day was in early March in Ireland. Along with my annual breakfast in bed—which came at 6.a.m, and thankfully Daddy rainchecked til 7:30am—I received a love coupon from 8yo Cutiepie.
Designed and crafted in school, I was totally expecting a voucher for a foot massage or an over abundance of kisses. Boy, was I wrong.
This coupon entitles the holder to:

Come again?

A day free of homework for my kid? Where’s MY evening without dishes or cuddles of endless hugs? Instead, Cutiepie is excused from homework? Go figure. Or wait, hold that calulation—maybe your mom has the same coupon?

Really. Some days I fail to understand school decisions.

Like when they break for two weeks Christmas holidays, yet prior to, teachers stop assigning homework for an additional two weeks because "it’s almost the holidays". Grrr.

Or, when it’s ‘golden hour’ every Friday where the kids watch movies like Cars or Toy Story. Couldn’t, at least, be an age-appropriate documentary?

Reluctantly grateful, I put the coupon to one side. Until Cutiepie solemnly inquired, “Are you ever going to use your coupon?”

I guess I’m an anomaly. Recently, I read a blogger mom complaining of  homework and the expectations it put on her, the mom. Sounds like she has the same scholastic migrane, only mine's without the homework.

While at the inlaws this week, the aunts, homework helpers, were loaded down with cousins and homework at the dinner table.

I guess it’s a chore. A chore I would relish. As children of a full-time working mom who commutes, my girls get their help from someone else, usually the au pair, maybe their Dad. 

Each Thursday, the eve of spelling tests, we host our own Spelling Bee. I try hard to make it all fun and play, but for me, I know they’re learning. I would jump at every chance to help with homework. In fact, I’ll take THAT coupon.

On Wednesday, Cutiepie’s test results put her second in her class. Hearing that, I scrambled for the coupon and told her not to forget it the next morning. She said, “But, I’ve already done my homework.” I told her to turn it in for the next day’s homework.

At which time, she proceeded to school me on how to use this coupon. “Really”, she says, “it’s an excuse.” Apparently she is not meant to turn it in until Friday morning when Thursday’s homework is expected. She says, seriously and with an all-knowing-slightly-cheeky grin, “you don’t USE an excuse, until something is expected of you, Mom!”

So adds another annoyance for my school’s list. Teaching my children excuses, rather than planning? Grr.

So on Thursday evening, eager to enjoy my coupon vicariously, I asked her how it felt to not do her homework. She casually said, “Oh, I did my homework today. Mammy, today’s homework was super easy. I’ll keep the coupon for when I have loads of homework!”

Ah, she’s PLANNING on how she’s gonna use her excuse. I’d like to think she learned that from me.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Room, The Quilt

Two up, two down. A terrace home, two downstairs rooms and two upstairs rooms. The upstairs rooms are the main bedroom and a back room. The back room creates the memories for me. Then and still.

Then, we were newlyweds and visiting Ireland. My husband and I would travel from San Francisco to his home in Ireland. A welcome pint in a local pub and a full grill made by his mother Nodie awaited us, while, at the house, the back bedroom awaited our belongings and exhausted presence.

The years fell in and we were married and moved to Ireland, where full grills and pints would be standard occurrences. The room became a temporary home. During the night, we snuggled, though uncomfortably, as my 6'3" husband, my 1yo daughter, and me with a growing baby bump slept in the room's small double bed.

Over the years, the back room sat touched and untouched with a vacant bed, a lone nightstand and a cupboard overflowing with bedding and linen. On more than one curious occasion, I would thumb through the paper memories found inside the nightstand. Vintage photos, random notes, odd receipts and miscellaneous papers fill in my blanks of their family memory.

In 2006, as Nodie turned 70, I combined vintage photos with the present day and created a colourful memory quilt for her birthday. In the months and years to follow, I remarked quietly how the quilt sat folded safely and tidy in the back room linen cupboard. Time to time, I would steal a peak and finger the photos stitched in the quilt wishing the quilt were used and not stored.

Today, the bed is replaced with a hospital bed, the nightstand is overflowing with medication and Nodie, weak and frail, sleeps for long stretches under her memory quilt. As I sit with her one early morning, now thankful for the quilt’s defined and divine purpose, sadness fills the room. I struggle to reflect on the memories the back room holds, and in this moment, nothing can disguise her pain and our sorrow of what’s to come.

It is nearly certain that Nodie, who, for a lifetime, has made this house a home for so many of us, will die in this room. Here. In the back room belonging to us—where adult children returned, grandbabies napped, grandchildren played, and visitors like me, welcomed and comforted.
As she lay beneath her children and grandchildren, each a single deminsion stitched into the quilt, I again finger its patchwork and my mind understands. For years the quilt was kept safely stored away, while this room made memories.

Today, the quilt and its memories wrap Nodie resolutely, much like the room and its memories cloak me. For this room and this quilt memorialise a lifetime.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Colours of Love

I have an aunt who quilts the most charming projects. She says her trick is using cream and red shades. Everything looks lovely in a cream and red palette.

So when I signed up for the quilt by email, I was seeing red and cream. Colour choices can be the biggest hurdle for me. So much so, you'd think I was colour blind. I'm not.

The project quilt is adorned with hearts on the four corners of each block. It reminded me of a deck of cards in the biggest game of life: marriage. Sweet and stunning, this quilt would make a lovely gift for newlyweds. Red is perfect for lovers. Lucky for us, we have three couples needing wedding presents.

It's a challenge planning a quilt as a wedding present. There again, it's choosing the  right colour. The reason being, I like to give practical gifts, gifts that might be used. What if the wrong colours land in the wrong home? I'd like to think there's always a spare bed to be covered, but we all know that colouring is uber personal. Let's just hope their dog's already got bedding.

So I started thinking again. The words 'aunt' and 'charming' should have no part in selecting a wedding gift. Unless you're a rich aunt gifting a charming cottage to the lucky couple.  Safe and comfortable might just be boring and old to hip honeymooners in modern times. This quilt has a lot of background, and at that quantity, I plan to keep cream in the mix. It is plentiful in my stash, and if I'm going to break out the purse, I'd rather buy feature fat quarters to spice up the blocks.

So this morning auditions were held. Ol' safe standby reds and greens were pushed aside. It did not take long before a teal and grey pairing stole the show. The strong hue grey was contemporary yet, tone-on tone teal roses sweetened the combo. Immediately, I knew the grey would be a great sashing framework with teal and turquoise highlights in the blocks. My stash is low, if not empty, of quantities of these colours, but what's a few pennies for the lovebirds?
The first block was completed in good time. (Below  The block is on point. There are mock cream corners-this is where the hearts will appear.)
There is some time before I decide which newly married couple recieves this quilt. Logic would be chronological, first wed, first gifted. It may take a few more blocks before christening to the deserving couple. Ironically, we are on the the groom's side in each marriage, so grey is really appropriate.

Afterall, isn't red nothing more than a cliche for love?

Friday, 18 January 2013

Breathe, Body and Mind

She pressed one finger on the buzzer affixed to the wall. The room filled with an expectant pause as we waited for the muffled clang of the entrance door closing behind someone entering.

My mind reverts to San Francisco and to the door buzzers of our older Victorian apartments. The buzzer was never located in eyesight of the entrance and on the ‘morning after’s, no one wanted to vacate the couch. It became a listening chore; roomies closest to the front windows, hollered, “he’s or she’s in!” Faulty buzzers or slow visitors were our biggest enemies warranting numerous unwanted trips from the couch to the hallway.

On this night I was on South William Street in Dublin attending my first pilates class and impatiently awaiting the buzz of one latecomer after another.

Over the last four years I have become crusty, grouchy and dissatisfied. I know breathing is the key to any tenuous and stressful situation. Deep breaths. Now I’m in the City five days a week and there is a plethora of activities to breathe in. My choice had to be physical. As a returning member of Weight Watchers, I am a true resolution cliché. Literally, I chose to be physical and breathe and that led me to pilates.

Unfortunately my grouchiness didn’t evaporate at sign up. The first class was due to start at 6:15, yet we didn’t begin instruction till after 6:30.

To my dismay, the instructor was over accommodating to late comers—there were many—in an almost dismissive manner to those of us who arrived on time and sat waiting.

The gal to my right was a back injury who couldn’t move without medical intervention and the full attention of our instructor.

Needless to say, my inner grouch was in full crustiness. It only served me and no one else. Ill-served, I might add. I wanted to learn and do, yet too many interruptions held my attention hostage. The instructor would say “Inhale…” She’d go on to help someone and I was stuck inhaling, unsure what to do next. Do I hold? Do I exhale? It was frustrating.

I let it get the best and worst of me, and it quickly became a bad memory of 6th grade calisthenics.

“Inhale…raise the knee… flex the foot…lower the knee… point the foot…” Meanwhile I’m still inhaling???

“Oh, you should exhale,” she chuckles.

The whole process was timing. Was I to hold my breath between movements? If not, how do I know when to release my breath? It was torment. I stopped, and like the pained gal on my right with her limited mobility, I seized the instructor’s attention with my questions. The instructor concurred that it was confusing and after a few classes my mind and body would be in sync.

Meanwhile, my body is making much better progress with an already 4.5lb loss on Weight Watchers. I know I’m grouchy and judgemental. I spend the rest of the evening role playing in my head for a healthy distraction.

What if I was running late and needed forgiveness for interrupting class?

What if I had a bad back but was determined to do an exercise class?

How well would I serve as the pilates instructor juggling the mixed needs and levels of nine students and one annoying grouch?