A few days ago, I posted that I was working feverishly on a new quilt as an end-of-the-year gift. I am happy to report that I got it finished on time, and it went out to its intended recipient. I actually had it finished a few days early, but I didn't publish the photo because my friend has this blog address. (I don't know whether she reads or not, but I wanted to keep it a secret, so I chose not to reveal a picture, thereby spoiling her surprise.) I chose those particular colors and fabrics because my friend's favorite color is blue, and I wanted to make something whimsical and fun-loving -- both of which are traits that she displays in abundance. The dimensions are 60 inches in length and 38 inches in width.
Now that I have almost a whole summer of free time, I'd like to get a few more done. I tend to make smaller quilts since it's still a fairly new hobby for me. I taught myself to quilt about 5 years ago, and have been doing progressively larger projects ever since. The size of the quilt above is termed "crib size" or "lap size" and is mainly used for children's quilts or wall hangings. I like that particular size since the projects seem to go together more quickly, and they're not quite so bulky and hard to maneuver. I do all of the actual block contruction (the sewing of the pieces that make up each individual block) with a sewing machine, but I will often hand-quilt the "quilt sandwich" (the three layers that make up a quilt.) Most of the quilts I make are gifts. I like making something that other people will actually use and love. I like the fact that I make quilts with a specific person in mind, and with an idea in my head of a design that matches a personality.
I hope to be quite busy over the summer, if I can afford it. It's pretty sad when you beggar yourself for quilt supplies. It's an expensive hobby.
My major in college was English. I had a professor, Dr. B., who was the most warm, funny, engaging man. Dr. B. was not only the professor that I would end up taking most of my classes from, he would also end up serving as my advisor. We would we discuss the Bible as literature; he would teach me to not only understand Middle English (to a certain degree), but to also recite The Canterbury Tales in Middle English; and we would read and discuss Beowulf and the Romantic poets.
A lecture featuring Dr. B. was always an adventure. He could alternately be loud and strident, or merely the facilitator of a gentle discussion. He had the habit of pacing the classroom during moments of spirited debate, all the while, polishing his glasses on his tie. He would often perch atop his desk during lectures, and would be so involved into whatever topic we were discussing that he would go to plunk down on the desk, and would completely miss the entire desk. He had frazzled hair that stuck out every which way from running his fingers through it in an absent minded haze. His clothes were perpetually rumpled, and his office was piled knee-high with books, ledgers, and journals.
Dr. B. helped me hold myself together after the rape. He counseled me like a father would, treating me gently, but also keeping in mind my best interests. He was kind, something I greatly needed at that point in time. He told me to take all the time I needed to get myself together, and to call on him for anything I needed, day or night. Dr. B. was a center of calm in my turbulent world then. I learned academics from him, but also so much more. He was a great man, and a great teacher. I'm not only proud to have been his student, but also just to have known him.
Dr. B. died a few years ago. I learned of his death long after the fact. I wished that I had known at the time so I could let his family know how much he touched me, and how pivotal a person he was for me. I still think of him often, and wish that I could somehow let him know how much he meant to me. A whole generation of students who weren't fortunate enough to have had him for classes will never know their loss. I hope all students can find their own Dr. B.
** Blogger would not let me upload the Monday Memories pic, so I'll try again later. :)
Where does all the time go? I've been a total slug this weekend -- All day Saturady, I worked on a new quilt (which has to be done in three days as it's an end-of-school-year present for a coworker) and having the mother of all migraines this morning. JF did all the work, including washing and waxing my car, doing a couple of loads of laundry, washing the dishes, folding four baskets of clothes, and spraying the house for bugs. I feel like a jerk for letting him do all the work while I slept off a headache.
At any rate, I'm working like a madwoman on that quilt. I'll post pics when it is finished. :) Until then, I need to go make nice with my hard-working husband.
Sorry to have been AWOL for a few days.... I have been spending the time on the phone with my lovely helpful staffers at Human Resources. Human Resources is under the assumption that I do not have the proper credentials to do my job, even though I've provided them with all of the necessary paperwork three times. How hard is it to make a file folder with my name on it?
I had to provide this information (and proof thereof) before I was ever hired, and I've been getting a paycheck all this time, so one would think that all was in order. One would also be erroneous in that assumption. I got a memo from the lovely folks in HR a few months ago, stating that I needed to provide all this information posthaste. I wrangled on the phone with back then about all this, but, in the end, had to pony up the paperwork again. I thought that settled the matter, and the emails flew fast and furious for a while, assuring me that all was in readiness.
Until this last Monday, when I recieve the joyful message from HR once again that I need to provide the documentation. Yet again. Apparently, their idea of "readiness" and mine are quite different. So, once again, I've spent the most part of this week frantically checking my email, and sending yet another copy of all my paperwork to HR.
I saw this meme at Ladybug Crossing (I got there via Purple Kangaroo) and just knew I had to chime in on it. I give you -- the Cat Meme, starring the irrepressible Lotus. (Also known by the pseudonym "She Who Aggravates.")
Okay, Lotus -- it is up to you to answer these questions. -------------------------------------------------------
wnetilsk dbnt ...ooops. Um...hello. My name is Lotus, and I'm a napaholic. Whoa -- wrong meeting. Okay, here we go!
Q: What is your favorite food? My favorite food is Fancy Feast canned Gourmet Chicken Dinner. That stuff makes me yowl in ecstacy! (Plus, that really annoys the humans.) Too bad they don't let me have it more often. Just so you know, humans -- your breath could use a TicTac or three yourselves.
Q: What is your favorite toy? It is beneath my regal nature as a cat to deign to play with toys. They are to be viewed from afar with disdain. However, if you happen to drop a Q-tip or a plastic drinking straw on the floor, that is *totally different.* It is clearly prey that is trying to escape from you, the human, and I am trying to help you out by tearing it to shreds in an attempt to subdue it.
Q: What is your best trick? What am I, a trained seal? I don't do tricks. Again, beneath me. But, my humans marvel at how quick I am able to get out of throwing (or squirt-bottle) range when I decide to howl or claw the bed at four in the morning. Except for that lady -- she hardly ever moves. If I want an audience, the dude is the one to go for. Plus, it's hilarious when he tries to throw things at me and misses because I've knocked his glasses off of the table.
Q: What is your favorite human trick? You mean we can get *them* to do the tricks?! Why doesn't anyone tell me these things? I suppose that I like their ability to keep producing the food out of that cabinet. It just keeps coming and coming.....
Q: What human rule do you break most often? Hm. I guess the one where I'm not supposed to puke on their stuff. And they say I don't give them anything! That lady one also doesn't like me sharpening my claws on the couches, or her quilts. She's kinda fussbudget-y that way. I need to keep those claws sharp! I'm a killing machine!
Q: What do you wish your human knew about you? Just stop with the baths already! You always say they'll make me more comfortable in the end, but THEY NEVER DO!!!
Q: What are you glad that your human doesn't know about you? I'm glad they're not yet aware of my plan to take over the world. Or, at least this house. Wait -- did I type that? Ooops! Nothing to see here, move along......
I saw Purple Kangaroo's lovely post about Baby E's birth, and the thoughts of Baby E being brought into this world reminded me of the joy our children bring. That, in turn, reminded me of the time that I almost lost Offspring. I still have nightmares about that day.
Offspring was about four years old, and we had gone out to the beach, where my parents live, to visit for the day, and go for a boat ride, and some time on the beach. We had gone out in my stepdad's large cabin cruiser, and were all wearing the requisite life preservers. (Stepdad is a ferry captain, and a stickler for observing the proprieties, and certainly was not going to let his beloved Granddaughter anywhere NEAR the water without the top-of-the-line life jacket.)
We'd had a lovely day, and were all hot and languid after a day in the sun. Stepdad tempted JF with a run on the JetSki, so he was off, tooling around on one of those high-end water toys. I decided to cool off by taking a dip in the river, so I was about 20 feet out, swimming and holding onto one of the lines from the boat to keep from washing away in the strong current. Stepdad was tying off the boat, and taking the coolers and other assorted things off of the boat. Mom was helping little Offspring off of the boat. Offspring was complaining that she was warm in her life jacket, so Mom took it off of her, intending to cool her off with water from the hose. In the split second that Mom's eyes were off of her to pick up the hose, Offspring fell between the dock and the boat. Offspring was only four, and did not know how to swim. She sank like a stone in the murky, silty water.
I don't think I've ever seen the entire family move that fast before. I swam 20 feet in seconds, Stepdad leapt from the opposite end of the dock, and immediately thrust his hand in the water, seeking something, anything, of Offspring to grab hold of. We all had tears streaming down our faces, and my Mom stood there, in shock, wailing her name. My heart beat stopped -- my baby was down there!
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, but was in reality only a few seconds, Stepdad saw fingers. He yanked her up, hard, by her arm, pulling her from the depths of the water with amazing swiftness. Offspring burst into tears for a second, and then said "[Stepdad] saved me!" We all fell to the deck, blubbering and hugging each other. We all prayed, thanking God for saving our precious baby. JF arrived back to the dock on the JetSki, unaware, to find us all collapsed in a heap , clutching Offspring for all we were worth.
After we all calmed down, we decided that we didn't want Offspring to be traumatized by water, so we took her right from Mom's house to a friend's pool. We let her play in the water, all the while watching with eagle eyes. Offspring no longer seemed to be too shaken up, so we gently tell her that we live around water, and we need to be aware of not only its glories, but also its dangers. We tell her that there's nothing to worry over, and she calmly says, "My [Stepdad] will save me." And to this day, she still loves the water.
I still haven't recovered. I still have nightmares of her drowning.
The wonderful CCW/MFBA family welcomed their new son, Nonami! He was born at 5:15pm on May 3rd, 2006. He weighed 5 pounds, and 9.6 ounces. Mother and baby are doing fine. Congrats, CCW, Mr. MFBA, Kid L, Not-so-Baby H, and little Nonami!
We can't wait to see pictures!
(thanks to http://www.school-clip-art.com/baby_clipart.shtml for the cute baby graphic!)
As parents, it is our job to try and not only cushion our children against the more brutal of life's punches, but at the same time, give them enough independence that they can function well independently of us. It's a fine line we walk -- do we let them take the hard knocks life has to dole out, or do we shelter them? Sometimes, it comes down to picking and choosing your battles.
Do you intercede when, for instance, there's a bully taunting your kid? If you do, you run the risk that your child gets further humiliation heaped upon him because Mommy fights his battles. Or, do you let some knuckle-dragging, Cro-Magnon throwback torture your child all for the sake of "toughening" him up? There's no real answer that you can point to as the definitive. It seems like, no matter what you do, this whole parenting thing sets you up for nuggets of pure pain nestled among the times of joy. I wouldn't trade my child, or the experience of having her, for anything, but it might be nice if kids came equipped with a manual. I mean, some of the people that I've seen interacting with their kids -- I wouldn't put ANYONE with some of these people, but you gotta be specially liscensed to catch fish? Who made up those rules?
Offspring is my pride and joy. I'm so proud of her -- how can I not be? She's a wonderful, compassionate, loving, intelligent girl. How can you NOT love a child like that? Oh, right....you all are going to say I'm biased. Well, you're right. I am biased, but there are plenty of other adults in her life that attest to the fact that she's a pretty neat kid, and very few of them are related to her. She's never a problem at school. She's been in the Gifted classes since kindergarten, and brings home award after award for excellence in her schoolwork. She's got a very kind heart -- often comes home distraught over the problems of others. She always thinks about what other kids her age have, or don't have. She loves animals, and has said for years that she wants to be a vet when she grows up. She's always quick with a hug to anyone who's feeling down, and she's the first one to tell you you did a great job when she thinks you're not very confident. She will often hole up in her room for hours to make cards for her family, or to draw us a picture.
That's why it hurts so much when she feels she's been slighted. I shouldn't really complain, though, because I'm the same way. I take negative comments to heart, and I worry myself crazy, trying to think of ways to make myself better. Offspring came home today, in tears because she wasn't chosen for her school's Quiz Bowl team. I tried to explain to her that not everyone could be chosen, and that it was no reflection on her that she wasn't picked. It was just the luck of the draw. She explained that there were eleven students eligible, and only four slots. I consoled her, and tried to explain that that this means that everyone can't participate, of course, and I'm sure her teacher wasn't trying to make her feel unworthy by not choosing her. Offspring feels that she's now "not smart enough", and no matter how much I try to explain to her that this is simply not true, she equates not being chosen with "not good enough."
I hug her and console her, and tell her that she's the same, smart, wonderful person that she always has been. I try to let her know how hard it is for the teacher who has eleven bright, wonderful students -- how does she choose? I soothed her, but part of me wanted to rail at the teacher. How can she NOT choose my obviously brilliant child? I know this is the Mama Bear aspect of me, just wanting to lash out and hurt the person who hurt my child, but I know this is only the reaction to my baby's distress. I want to insulate her from life's hurts, and it's so hard to let her experience the pain that comes from living life. And, I somehow think the idea of wrapping them in Bubble Wrap won't even protect them.