Monday, February 15, 2010
Yesterday was Valentine's Day. The day of Valentine cards, poems, love songs, and chocolate. It was" a day that will live in infamy", to quote the wise sage Winston Churchill.
I am afraid it will also become known as a day that will live in infamy on my scale and measuring tape.
I was a guest speaker at a High Tea yesterday.
I got all dressed up, wore my heart necklace and earrings from a Valentine's day long ago, and to be honest, I looked good.
I had never been to the place where the Tea was being held, so I appropriately had my printed out map from Google AND had programmed my GPS.
The tank was full of gas.
I left plenty early enough "just in case".
Everything was going smoothly........until I got there.
I was greeted very warmly, with smiles and hugs from a lot of people I had never met, which was really very nice.
Then I was led into the room where the event was taking place.
The table decorations on the white cloths were really something! The Decoration Committee had really outdone themselves! Absolutely lovely. There were red roses, shiny red heart confetti, and those curly wire things that have red hearts on them. And there was a lot of chocolate candies sprinkled lavishly.
Then they led me to the buffet table. Another lovely presentation, with the tables laden with not only lots of food, and a whole lot of it, but also chocolate.
I mean CHOCOLATE. Chocolate candy in boxes, chocolate puddings, chocolate cookies, hot chocolate, chocolate lattes, chocolate cakes and chocolate cakes and chocolate cakes and .....................you get the drift by now, I am sure.
So we have our eating scheduled before the talk.
I am fourth in line at the buffet table. In front of me are three people who could use some SparkPeople.com. A dangerous position for me!
My three leaders begin ladeling food onto their plates. They are not shy about their portions.
I, on the other hand, decide to set an example, and begin with putting fruit on my plate and a quarter of a croissant turkey sandwich. I add a few raw veggies and some Dijonaisse for dipping. I am doing well.
Then I see the box of chocolates. OK. I will have one dark piece of chocolate. Add it to the plate.
Now I am staring at the biggest, tallest Death by Chocolate Cake you would ever see, and there is a piece cut, but no one has availed themselves to it.
Yep, you guessed it. To be "polite", I dump the huge piece onto my plate, where it overlapps the Dijonaisse. And the fruit, AND the raw veggies. When I say this piece was huge, I mean HUGE!!!
And so it begins.
Oh, another lovely box of chocolates, this one really gourmet chocolate. I will take that one pretty piece over there.
I daintily add it to my plate right next to the sandwich.
I am offered a chocolate latte. I am gracious enough to accept it, and am somehow too distracted to tell the server to leave off the chocolate whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Oh my. Well, can't be nasty and ask for a different one, what with all the work having gone into this latte!
I make it to my place and begin to eat the sandwich. Then I take a bite of the cake. Another bit of sandwich, followed by another bite of cake.
Remembering I have fruit on my plate, I take a grape. Then I take two grapes. They are really juicy and help wash down the chocolate.
sandwich-cake-fruit-oh now I can see a small carrot. I will just pop my carrot, which has been under the chocolate cake and now has chocolate on it too, in my mouth.
Have you ever tried a chocolate covered carrot? It works!!
Suddenly, or so it seems, there is only a few raw veggies and one piece of mango on my plate. They all have chocolate on them, too.
Waste not, want not. And after all, it is IMPORTANT to show appreciation for all the work done to present this lovely affair. The veggies and mango disappear, but not entirely. Only the parts that had chocolate on them go in my mouth.
The clean left over veggies are left on my plate when I give the plate up.
Now to relax and have that chocolate latte with the chocolate whipped cream and chocolate shavings on it. Yum Yum. I had eaten so fast that it didn't even get cold!
Oh, there is a prettily wrapped piece of candy, sitting there, just next to my latte. Well, ONE piece of chocolate isn't going to hurt, is it? I mean, it IS Dark Chocolate, after all.
Shovel it in. And that other pretty piece over there. Grab and shovel before someone else sees it.
I still have my little sampler box of chocolates to take home, for DH. I dutifully do not open that box, but I do open another prettily wrapped piece just sitting there on the table looking lonely and like a chocolate step-sister. My heart goes out to it, and I show mercy by jamming that into my mouth too.
Finally, all the plates are cleared away and it is time to begin the program.
I have a hard time focusing on what the MC is saying because there are chocolate spots in front of my eyes.
Then I realize I have just been introduced and have to get up.
Woosh! What a RUSH! The chocolate kicks in, and I have enough energy to roller skate up Mr. Rushmore.
My mouth opens, and words flow like warm chocolate.
I have no idea what I am taking about, but when I shut up after 20 minutes, I get a standing ovation.
I must have extolled on the virtues of eating chocolate, because they are all smiling and clapping and have tears running down their faces.
I sit down next to my table mate and ask if I made any sense at all.
She replies "That was the BEST talk about LOVE I have ever heard!"
What the heck did I say? I smile and say thank you to all who come to hug me or shake my hand.
I am positive now that I did indeed talk about the wonders of chocolate. Otherwise, what could have possible moved them so much??
Who knows. I was on a chocolate rush!
This week has got to be a real active week for me to prevent me being asked to be next year's Blimp.
Because that is where I was headed yesterday. I do not want to be a Blimp in Training, so I better get my butt off this computer and outside walking the tonnage off.
Oh. One more thing. I DID manage to not taste, sample or shovel any chocolate pie in!
See how WELL I did??
Friday, February 12, 2010
I was making the Red Roses quilt for my friend, Margaret. Let me tell you about her.
Margaret is a vivacious, 40-50ish lovely woman who is director and founder of "Sherry's House" in Massachusetts. she heads up the "Why Me?" program.
Sherry's House is a wonderful, God inspired place where families with children who have cancer stay and get loved on when the kids have medical appointments back to back days, but don't have to be in hospital.
Margaret loves "her" kids. She plays with them, holds them, sings to them, rocks them and feeds them. She has been completely devoted to these kids and the cause.
Margaret has been a huge venue for Ally Cat Quilts by Krackers. She has faithfully given out the quilts to the kids, and has always let me know when she is running short of them.
I love Margaret.
Margaret is one of the friends you get whom you just know will live forever, because she is always "there" for all of us. With her bright attitude, sunny disposition, laughter and humor, Margaret will always be there. Right? I mean, she has touched so very many lives, and made scary things disappear for a whole lot of people.
Margaret is very much loved and respected. Margaret is always right THERE for all of us in more ways than can be counted. We know we will always have Margaret to lean on.
It doesn't look like that is going to happen.
Margaret has cancer. She has stage 4 cancer in her liver, and has cancer in her pancreas. Margaret is going Home.
I wanted to make her a big bed quilt of roses, but I just learned that her liver has gone into stage 4. No time to make such a quilt and get it to her before she goes.
Plans change, and so do the quilts I work on. I wish you could see "Rainbows for Queen Margaret" in person. It is really much more beautiful that the photos show.
I will be mailing it out this evening. I am sure I will cry when I drop it in the box, and my heart will be very heavy and sad.
Yes, Margaret will leave a huge gap when she leaves. None whom she has touched will ever forget her. Margaret will live in our hearts, in that special place we keep just for people like her.
We are all richer for having had Margaret in this world. I think of Margaret suffering with cancer, and I ask "Why Margaret?" I am sure Margaret has asked "Why Me?" as well.
But knowing this wonderful woman, I am sure her answer is "Why NOT me?"
If you want more information about Sherry's house, you can find it on the internet. Also you can find information about Why Me.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Yesterday I went to my scrap fabric basket. I rarely go there to take stuff OUT; usually it is to stuff more scraps and then quickly jam the top on and shove it back under the shelf so it will stay (somewhat) closed.
Not today. Today is a day I decided to do a withdrawal and see what I can come up with.
My idea of original design can be rather far fetched. Most people I know, when they decide to make an original quilt, get out the drafting paper, pencils, rulers and colored pencils. Not me.
I get out the scraps. No pencils, paper or colored pencils for me! That isn't because I dont think all that work is a waste of time; it is because I have never learned HOW to draft on paper.
So I use my floor. And Winsten helps, too, as you will see further on down.
I don't put up my big design wall because the cats always pull fabrics off it and then try to climb it. The floor is much easier!
I begin with a general idea in my head as to what colors I feel like using. Then I grab all those colors out of the scrap basket and put them aside.
If I find blocks or stips that were sewn but never used, I put them off to the side too. It doesn't really matter what colors these are, because I have no idea where I am going at this point.
Then I start pulling the OPPOSITE of my "feature" color out and make a pile of those. Example, starting with red, I now haul out greens.
Now it is time to get SERIOUS! I grab a piece of my feature fabric, head for the cutting table, and cut one square. This is the beginning of a new quilt.
I frame that square, then the fun begins. I start placing other fabrics around the square, making little piles all around it.
This is where my "what if" brain starts checking in.
"What if I put this one THERE, then put these OVER HERE?"
Slice, stitch, place, rearrange, and grab the next one.
I piece together small sections, then decide where they should go, or where they will fit, and stitch them together.
I like what I am seeing, and continue to add "rows" to each other, enjoying the process very much.
And so it goes.
With this last photo, I will leave you curious as to the outcome of the quilt. this is because this is how far I have gotten so far.
This is to be a very special quilt for a very special lady. When I finish the quilt, I will tell you all about this lady, and how she has impacted so very many lives. It will be a story you will never forget, I guarantee it!
So that's what is going on in my world these days.
I sneak in my walks when my back and knees begin to protest about too much time crouching and crawling all over the floor. My DH reminds me to eat. Winsten lets me know when we have been working long enough, and now it is time to play a little.
The catty girls? They fall asleep among the scraps.
Time to get off the computer and back on the floor.
Just remember, Dear Friends, that all quilts are made one block or strip at a time, and if we take it slow and steady, a true work of love will emerge!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Isn't she SOMETHING! This is my beautiful granddaughter, Chrisine. As you can see from the photo, she is jumping into a pool of water. Not just ANY pool of water; this one is cold, Cold, COLD!
Christine is doing the Polar Plunge to raise money for Camp Sunshine, a camp for children who are fighting for their lives by battling life threatening diseases.
Chrisine lives in Massachusetts, and the Polar Plunge was held on Mt. Wachusetts. You can see from the on-lookers that it is VERY cold outside.
But my brave little darling Christini (called that by ONLY family members), has about the biggest, bravest heart you'd ever want to get to know.
Camp Sunshine is very important to our family. While Ally fought for her life against Leukemia, that Camp kept the family together many times.
It is a wonderful place where kids, no matter how ill, can be kids. No one stares at them, or points fingers at them, or laughs at them. No one avoids the kids because they are sick and look "different".
These children are loved and encouraged to challenge themselves far beyond what the parents think their kid can do. The kids come there sick. They leave there with much more confidence, wonderful memories and new friends.
It is a place where God has laid His hands, and it is blessed.
Over $10K was raised for this wonderful place.
How blessed we are that our family knows that to be "complete", we must all serve a Higher Cause than ourselves.
Christine did just that, and I am so very proud of her!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Today I was looking forward to meeting my local Spark Team members for a walk. Then I got the email that our fearless leader, Darcey, spent some time in hospital last night due to pain, and the walk was called off.
I was disappointed that we would not get together and give hugs, but then I got to thinking "Well, if the walk is called off because Darcey is in pain, I can walk for HER!"
Grab Winsten and out the door we go. A brisk 3.125 miles in 36 minutes, then I hit my "energy wall". I still have my cold, and I am sure that is what is zapping my energy.
But you know what? That's okay. I feel good about walking what I could, and the weather is so beautiful outside that I had fun. Now it is time to do a bit of low key stuff for the day, drink lots of water, eat right, take a nap, and all that has to fit in with MAKE A QUILT FOR ANOTHER KID!
I need to get busy!
Wishing you all a great Saturday, which will include some exercise, too.
Thanks for the inspiration, Darcey.....THIS walk was for YOU!
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