Friday, December 30, 2011


A Shout Out to Joni Quilts

If ever you read this, I want to say your blog posts are a fun read and I LOVE YOUR PROJECTS!!!!

Zomagosh! are you ever prolific! And your pups on the sidebar are adorable!

to the kittehs: mew mew mewwww meow

However I could find no way to email you or comment directly so I do it here, publicly.

Please don't hate me....... meeuwwwww

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What a Year it Was! What a Year Will it Be?

It's only hours away from being behind us and I will shut the door on 2011 by looking forward eagerly to 2012.

I hope it will be spectacular and not in a bad way!

I hope it will be one of completions. (Quilt-wise, to be more specific)(gotta completely finish more than 12 to get ahead of the closet)

I hope it will be fruitful. (Fruit-wise, that is)(and veg)

I hope it will be memorable. (as in I don't forget half of it by sleeping)

I hope it will be healthy. (as in I or no one I know gets injured or ill)

I hope it will be injury-free. (as in my feet make to the Finish Line in March.)( and beyond)

I hope a year from today I will look back and go YIPPEE!!!!!!!! WHAT A YEAR IT WAS!!!!!


Monday, December 26, 2011

And Now, For Something Completely Different

This is going to be an awkward post. I state that here at the beginning as a warning.

It's been a weird year. A bountiful year and yet, one of loss. I don't intend to dwell on either but it's there, and altogether, it leaves me sensing that we live this life spinning wheels and stressing and unmindful of blessings.

To say that the age of 52, I have 'everything' is not to brag but to be humbled into submission. There is not a single thing in the world I am of need. I have a warm bed, a pantry with food, my health to sustain me, a huge family I adore and friends I don't deserve. I am surrounded by things that I have accumulated and hauled around the world as we moved locations to this one and I love and cherish every one of them. My problem is now this:

I can't remember where some of them came from.

There was a time when I could tell you the moment I received something, who it came from and what year it was. I could probably even tell you what song was no. 1 that week on the radio and what I had for breakfast that morning.

That person is gone. I can't remember! And I find this upsetting. Now, you might take the position, "If you can't remember, it probably doesn't mean anything to you. Throw it or give it away!"

But you would be wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. My take is, 'Someone thought enough about me to give me this (I don't remember buying it myself so it had to come into the house somehow) and now I don't have the decency to remember who!' and it plagues me. It just eats at me!

So I keep all the mysteries around as reminders of that which I can't remember but it does clutter up both my living space and brain. Neither of these is a good thing and I started this year to undo some of this.

No, I didn't give or toss these things away. I put the breaks on receiving any more of them. I have told my friends and family that I will no longer receive or exchange gifts *unless 1.) it was consumable and, preferably, that we share it together or 2.) an experience. Surely, I can remember an experience!!!

I clearly didn't get the message out quickly enough to everyone (because there were a few things under the tree this year for me) but for the most part, this has been the most pleasant, stress-free Christmas since I was a child.

What made the difference? I was given time.

We are all allotted the same amount of time, right? to allocate to the things we think and believe are important. At this time of year especially, I usually spend a great deal of time shopping and making and baking and wrapping and mailing and worrying that what I gave is the right or appropriate or wanted thing because I think or thought that was important. And, it is important. I am not saying it is not! On the contrary, I approach gift-giving (and don't you just deplore that new term: gifting!?) very seriously and try to give the right thing. and to get it there ON TIME! This is very stressful!

This year, I did something completely different. I simplified Christmas down to size.

1. A few weeks ago, we anonymously adopted a family and helped them this Christmas.

2. I mailed my niece and nephew a small box because I think Christmas is special for kids. It certainly was for me. (We adults need very little that we don't already have and usually get what we want for ourselves during the year. Kids get what they need all year long but don't have the means to get what they want so easily. We adults bribe them by being good all year! So kids stay on my list)

3. Borgasmord was our annual blast and we got to see friends for an evening last week.

4. My girls were here together yesterday morning and we made Christmas dinner together as a family:

John smoked his turkey to perfection

We roasted rutabagas and carrots from the garden. What a blessing!!!!
and played a GardenScrabble board game (a gift) as we ate the goose* and argued over words. It's our job. It's what we do.

Somewhere in this magnificent world, two families were given chickens and lambs to enrich their lives as a gift in John's name from his mother. Isn't that AWESOME!!!!!???? And all the wrinkled wrappings fit in one small box to end up in a landfill while five cats snoozed in the background.

It really doesn't get much sweeter than this.

This year, I purposefully stepped off that streetcar, to be a human being instead of a human doing. Not completely. But mostly.

So from the deepest part of my heart, I want to thank most of you for (almost) nothing! It was the best gift you could've given me. And Meredith, if you are reading this, the game is FUN! Thank you! I filed it under "an experience".

*the goose. Well, I cooked it according to Jacques Pepin and while it was good, and not greasy at all, it was not as tender as John's smoked turkey. It's a fussy bird and now I know why it might have fallen out of favor with cooks over the years. That and it doesn't feed more than a small gathering for all that effort. I can see clearly that the turkey is a better option, regardless how it is cooked. Today, the goose remains go into a gumbo pot. We have guests coming to share experiences.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Yeah, I really do wish you all a Merry Christmas. A safe one as well. I hope you are curled up with people who love you and are still in the totally acceptance of this. Be still and breathe it in.

I hope the day brings you peace. I wrote "nothing but peace" and erased the first two words. That may be my wish but I realize many people need more than peace. That's okay!!

I hope you ring in the new year with optimism and health. That's a good wish.

I hope you close this year on a high note and walk in with purpose.

I hope to see you in 2012.

As for me, I will be asleep and looking forward, hopeful, hopefully peaceful, and dreaming of tomatoes.

And okra.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Incrementally Speaking, I'm Okay

When I started this plogging, running around the block was out of the question. I couldn't make it to the end of the block, much less around it. 30 minutes seemed quite an achievement. Then 5K was an accomplishment.

Then going at it 3 days a week and looking forward to it seemed ludicrous and yet I passed that test a month ago.

So the 6.5 mile a few weeks ago made a 'mile-stone' in my thinking. Up til that point, I sort of thought of this whole plan in a negative way. "If I can can make it to 3 miles, I'm not doing bad at all!"

"If I can just get to 5 miles, I won't be a slacker for not going out yesterday. Or the day before. Slacker."

"If my feet don't give out at the 4 mile mark, it'll be a miracle!"

And here we are with just over 2 months to go and I can't believe how differently I look at the whole adventure.

This is similar to what I experience in quilting. When I first started, the idea of making a full-sized quilt seemed ridiculous, but I did it. Slowly. Then I made another one. It's been 26 years. Now, when I see a pattern or project, I automatically look at in terms of blocks. I break it down into it's elements and it doesn't seem so daunting a prospect.

A friend showed me the Civil War Quilt at the beginning of this year. This is a Block of the Week that stared back in January and every Saturday morning a new block and instruction was posted. They are all 8" and I thought that was a good idea. I didn't know how long it would hold my interest but making one 8" block doesn't take a lot of time. An hour, tops. Who doesn't have that time?

So, being me, I started making two color schemes. This is the reproduction fabric BOW

Just nine blocks there. But now I have two stacks of 51 blocks each and the year is almost finished. If I had not taken that first step and then the next, one foot in front of the other, sure, the time would have passed but I wouldn't have much to show for it.

And now two months into the plog-cycle, I look a little different. I feel a lot better and I look forward to something I can hardly believe is true.

I'm going to put that sticker on the back of the car, if I cross the finish line.

And don't be surprised if I change the if to when!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

8 Miles, I Got It!

Today was the 8 mile plog and I did it with my daughter who is planning on joining us on this quest. It was much easier covering the required mileage with a partner to keep me company and make the miles pass more swiftly.

I worried, rightly, that my foot trouble would reappear and I was wasn't surprised when the tenderness started up in the 3rd mile. At 4+ miles, I thought perhaps it something to do with my running posture so I straightened up better. That helped but the damage was done......

At 5+ I asked if she would pull on my toes after I showered later and R asked why not try it right then and there so we stopped the clock and I plopped down on the asphalt. She was not gentle either as she grabbed the little piggies and squeezed. At least it sure didn't feel as though she was being gentle. It hurt like crazy but it worked!!!! Like a light switch, the pain was GONE.

And that lasted another couple of miles til it started up cramping again. So we repeated the procedure. With 1.5 miles left, we passed by the house to get a drink of water and felt good to do the last bit and took off.

I made it to 7.5 and the pain was back but I finished and stretched. It feels very good to do the 8 but the balls of my feet are very tender and achy. Only 3 miles on Tuesday, Thursday and I think 3.5 on Sunday (Christmas) but I will probably go for 4+ just because I can.

One thing I find easier each passing week is spending the time it takes to do this without feeling as though I have other things more important to do. I never thought I would write something like that.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Goose of Christmas Repast

If you read this drivel of mine, you know that we celebrate Thanksgiving regularly in Texas and co-host a Borgasmord locally each Christmas. The Borgasmord usually takes place within a day or two of Christmas itself and is SO food-centric that we forgo a typical Christmas meal and make do with left-overs from the Borg.

(Christmas Eve is almost always tamales and beans cuz, well....., that's how we roll..... )

Now this year is going to be an exception because the Borg is being held a week early to accommodate a vital attendee's holiday schedule and really, it would NOT be a party without her. As such, that means the left-overs (if any. Last year, they were thin to say the most)(not a complaint! This only means we either didn't make enough or the guests were really tapping into their inner-Swede) will probably not last another 7 days in the fridge. What to do, what to do?

John hit on the idea of a Christmas Goose. How delightful! I've never had goose in my long(ish) life and have images of a Victorian groaning table. The roast goose surrounded by casseroles and brussell sprouts, jellies and aspics and the like. Holly and Ivy. Lots of velvet attire.... a lute lilting in the background..

So off we went in search of a goose. You don't find these languishing in the butcher's case down here in the South. I don't know what you find up north or out west. I think they may be more popular elsewhere.

Here, in the deep and sacred south of I-10, a Turducken is fairly well-eaten. The turkey is always welcomed, especially if it's been fried in peanut oil. Even duck is common and the remains tossed in a gumbo with andouille sausage. But not the goose. Which is strange, considering we have around a million of the blasted birds loitering around ponds and golf courses, making a nuisance of themselves.

John's first stab, last week, was at Rouse's: a local chain of groceries and very fine purveyor of gourmet items and all things Louisiana. To the meat counter he went and asked the fellow behind it if they had goose coming for Christmas. (Start early. Never leave this quests to the last minute).
"Yeah, .... we were thinking of roasting one for Christmas......"
"No. We don't carry goose."
"Really!? It's a traditional Christmas dinner..."
"Not since Dickens"

I thought that was pretty funny.... but, now the challenge was upon us and we met it with gusto. I imagine Whole Foods carries goose but the nearest one is either Baton Rouge or New Orleans and I don't see myself going to that length.

(Actually, the nearest geese are about 2 miles away, milling around a pond but I also don't see myself poaching a Canadian and plucking feathers anymore than I see myself wring a rooster's neck)

So Monday, we set off to The Fresh Market, a very up-scale market in Mandeville. So up-scale, they use dim lights and dark ceilings. It's like shopping in a cave. Everyone whispers when they speak. The baskets and carts are all small. But the selection is incredible. So are the prices. We learned.

The man behind the meat counter told us they expected a shipment of geese next week but they didn't have any at that moment. I asked if we could put our name on one as a reserve. No problem at all. He brings out a pad, makes the appropriate notations, gets my name and phone numbers and tells us he'll call when they arrive. Then he rips off the duplicate copy and emphasizes that we MUST bring this paper when we retrieve the bird. No tickie, no taco! OKAY!

On the ride home, John reminds me that this is all out of a Sherlock Holmes story and when we get back to the house, he gets the tome out for me to reread. I know I read it once and really don't remember the gist of the sitch so I tell him I'll read it again. Haven't yet. Haven't stopped moving long enough to read.

Then suddenly, yesterday, not 2 days after we placed the hold on the goose, we get a phone call from the Fresh Market informing us that the geese flew in! I asked if he could leave it tagged in the freezer for us til I get off work Thursday. No problem again, but "Don't forget to bring the receipt we gave you when you placed the order."

They really do take this seriously! John overheard the phone conversation and said, "Let's go!"

"But I can pick it up tomorrow after work. Save the gas..."
"Let's go!"

So we went. Fresh Market is about 18 miles from where we live and this gave us time to Google cooking tips in preparation of the roasting of said goose. Jaques Pepin, my go-to guy (read; chef extraordinaire) goes into good detail about lifting the skin away from the flesh and steaming the bird the day prior to roasting. All this is toward a less greasy meal. (remember this... more to come)

We discussed the various potential side dishes and as the sprouts are not ready in the garden, they are off the menu. We settled on sweet potatoes, wild rice and a salad. Simple.

When we got to the shop, we were bouncing with excitement and took a small cart over to the meat counter, flourished the recipe (they were serious. No bird without the receipt. Mind you, we had NOT PAID for it at this point but we still need the passport. So there we were and a lady sidled up and asked, "Did you say 'goose'?"

Which launched another memorable conversation in a grocery store with a total stranger! She was from Germany, though she sounded from Chalmette, and lived on the other side fof the Pearl River. She told us how she made roast goose with seasoning she "brought back from Germany" and that's how we found out from where she hailed. I swear, when she said "New Orleans" it came out, "NuAwlens" so I was completely baffled until we learned a little more of her life history.

Anyway, she said they prepared their goose the same as Pepin except she stuffed hers with apples and that mysterious German spice (which she didn't know the name in English) and used that broth to baste to the skin during the final 20 minutes of roasting.

And now she was curious how much it cost, this goose of ours. I blanched when I saw the sticker, told her, and she replied, "Oh, I saw one here lsat year that was $110.00. But it was a French Goose....."like that explained something inexplicable.

At least it made this one look cheap.

About 15 minutes into the ride home, I said," At this price, we better NOT mess it up!"

John, " I was just thinking the same thing!"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New Sample for the Shop

I have a large stash of fruit and veg fabric that I have been steadily plowing my way through....

Here is the latest sample made with a pattern in the book, Strip Six by Cozy Quilt Designs.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm Only Braggin' Coz It's True

I slept til 5:30am.

Went to bed around 10 ish and woke up at 5:30

8 hours of straight sleep feels amazing. I feel 20 yrs old

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I've Been Committed

Ahahahahah it's not what you might think!

I have committed MYSELF to the half-marathon officially.

I have my receipt to hang on the wall to taunt me and my schedule of training to invigorate me. What is really weird and slightly amazing to me is my desire to do this overwhelming me.

I am worried that my feet will be my trouble and hopeful that the problem will simply go away. I look forward to each day I "get" to plog and am frustrated that occasionally the weather or life in general (LIG) gets in the way.

In the meantime, whoo-hoo indeed

Sunday, December 4, 2011

6.5 Done and Done!

That is the goal today and I will be starting in another hour or so. The temperature is warmer than it has been lately and I think more muggy as well so I wonder how that will play into my stamina.

I wore the Asics the other day wandering around and they feel very nice on the feet but the proof will be in the plog, right?

So I have my route all mapped out in the the local area. I sould do just over the 6.5 miles if I make it all the way.

Update: So That's done. All was going well til around 3.75 miles and the right foot began to throb. Once that started, I did the ususal shifting in the footfall trying to ease the pain but nothing really stopped it.

My body felt fine so that's a good thing.... I'll keep going and see what happens. Next Sunday is 3 miles and then 8 miles after that.

Yippee. Still, I get 2 weeks to heal the sole.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I Am Not Obsessed. Really. I'm Not

Remember the issue with the painful feet at mile 2.5? Well, I plogged several more times at 30+ minutes or so with no problem and then Tuesday it happened again at mile 1.75. What to do, what to do?

It apparently has something to do with the tiny bones that glide just at the point where the ball of the foot ends and the toes begin. Tiny little bones but oh so crucial to walking. I read that it can happen that the get banged up but I have never never ever had this pain... exxxxxxcept this one time when I wore heeled boots and worked from 9 am to midnight on my feet..... retail and when I sat down in the car to get home, I could not stand on the ground. I was literally helped up the steps, in tears. I had no pain until I got off my feet and tried to stand. It was amazing in the intensity and I have forgotten this til now. That was some 37 years ago.

So, back to the present. I read that a small insert of gel might help cushion the area and we headed back to Academy where I was helped by a running elf. I was also told that Nike shoes, well this one perhaps most specifically, are not really designed for distance but rather for workouts and fashion. And on softer surfaces. The soles are cushy on the heel but made lightweight for speed, not support and distance. Well, that would have been useful information three weeks ago, before I plonked $70 down!.

Not to worry..... I bought small insert for the front of the foot and will do my short distances (under 3 miles) in them and bought a pair or Asics for distance. And another insert (whole shoe) for them because I bought a pair bigger than my foot to accommodate the thick socks and better toe wiggle room. The 10s were tight already.

I also learned something interesting.... in the Nike, there is a small symbol on the sole. It is the Nike Sensor symbol and I knew that because that is the device I was given for my birthday. Under the insert on the left shoe, there is a hole to slip the device into instead of in a key pouch that rides on the laces. Pretty slick! If I buy another sensor I won't have to move the pouch back and forth between shoes.....

I guess, while I am NOT obsesses, I am devoted to this mission. I shall complete a HM in March.