Saturday, December 19, 2009


Last week I got older. I had my 60th birthday and celebrated with friends. What is really incredible is, as usual, my friends. I have met with this same group of women for over 19 years. We met and started fund-raising at our kids preschool. One day we realized that what we really liked to do was be with each other so we started two groups: Bunko and Bookclub. We would meet once each month for each group.

We still meet. Bunko has turned into TOTT (time on the town) but Bookclub remains the same. And each December we all meet, as a combined group (not everyone is in both) and celebrate Christmas with a gift exchange, which, of course involves stealing! I am still the champ, though, for stealing back my own gift! But that's another story.

This year we met again, on the day after my birthday. I didn't know we would celebrate it, as it had already passed, but I got songs and a delicious cake home make by Carole. But the best gift was that they all contributed to Second Harvest of Santa Cruz and San Jose, in my name, and raised over $500 dollars! I am humbled. I am over-joyed. I am so grateful, as I really do not need anything, and there are so many here that do need the basics, like food on the table.

These women amaze me. Their generosity has provided over 2,800 meals! Unbelievable! Awesome! WOW!

Second Harvest is a group that I give to because I believe in their message. There is no religion attached to it. Corporate Honchos and field workers work side-by-side to distribute food. The community gathers and distributes food. And they do it humbly.

Last year I collected food at my shop, but without my shop I wondered how I could make up that difference...and my girlfriends did it!!!

My girlfriends: We've shared wonderful times; We've shared loses, cancer, chemo, children growing and leaving for college. No marriages yet, but that will be coming. We've laughed and sang together more than most people. I think that we truly love being together. We've traveled. We've just stayed put. We've read a huge amount of fabulous books, and a couple of stupid ones, who knew. But we've shared it with one another.

And now they have shared with me and my community this wonderful, generous gift.

Thank you Gretchen, Carole, Tracie, Lynn, Deb, Karen, Debbie, Alison, Carol Ann, Gail, Shari, Kim, Nora, Dana. You are the very, very best that anyone could ask for in friends. I look forward to many more years of our being together.

Cheeriest of Holidays to all of you. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.

 Let's make 2010 better than 2009.


Sunday, December 6, 2009


How did this happen? Where was I? What have I been doing? Where have I been?

I now have an AARP card! I get discounts at the movie theater. Sometimes I'm asked if I'm old enough for the Senior Discount at the craft store. Wow! I really do not understand how my 27 year old brain is trapped in this now 60 year old body!

I look around at my home. It doesn't look like the surroundings of someone that old. It is pretty much the same as it was in college except the "stuff" is better quality. There are still art projects in various stages. There are still prints and quilts upon the walls. The furniture is much better, much more comfortable, upgraded, but still kind of the same.

Is that what happens? We just upgrade? And then what???

What is the next step, the next adventure, the next problem and solution? I don't have a "bucket list", at least not yet. Guess that is on it's way, too. I have a dear friend, Alison, who made a list on her 50th birthday (which was just this year!!!!!) with 50 things she wants to do during the year. Knowing Ali, she will achieve them. But making a list with 60 items/things/places to see in one year? That scares the crap out of me. I don't think there is enough time, so I've been thinking of maybe a list of 30 things, done twice...but that freaks me out too. So maybe 6 things done ten times?!? That might work.

Maybe I am getting old. Oh no. But isn't 50 the new 30? So that makes 60 the new 40?!? Oh no. I was just having my kids then. As much as I LOVE my kids, I really do not want to go through young mother-hood again, especially at my age!

Yes, it comes back to age. Are we really only as old as we feel? If so, some days I am very young, and others, like when a storm is moving into town and my bones are aching, I feel as old as the hills. But those are times to sit down, reflect, sip some tea and rejoice that, despite it all, you are still going, still creating, still loving and being in love...

So, as I reflect, it is OK to be getting older. I still look ok, even though there is much more of me than there use to be. And I think I'm still fun to be with. And I do keep learning new things. Just ask me about the new pattern in the Quilting Arts Gifts magazine...

So, this too will pass, and it will be ok. In fact I think it will be pretty damn good. I'm not ready to be old. Don't think I ever will be. I will just keep on learning, loving, being, trying, going, until I understand it all. Maybe then I'll be OLD.


AARP....What the@?!K!

I did it. Last week. Fully aware of what I was doing. And being proud of it. What, you ask, did I do? I JOINED AARP! Good God. I can't believe I did it. I've always ignored their requests stating " I will never be old enough to join!!!" Into to trash went all the mailers. Who cares about some organization for old people. I'll never be THAT old.

No, I didn't succumb to my adding years each and every year. What happened is that AARP makes so much sense. They are organized. They fight for rights that could be taken away. And, most importantly to me right now, they support Universal Health Care. That's what did it for me!!!

What kind of a country are we? We have most of the wealth, well, at least we use to be wealthy. We are forward thinking. We say we are inclusive, and many of us are. We stand up for the rights of others. We work to help the down-trodden throughout the world. But offer the option of affordable health care to each citizen. Never. Not here. Not yet.

We must have some type of universal coverage which is affordable and available to all of us. I have spent too much time trying to get health care in the past. And it was never affordable health care. It was extremely expensive. And didn't cover much. All because my husband and I are self-employed. We work for ourselves, not some big corporation. We believe in the individual being able to provide an independent livelihood. And maybe, just maybe, it is better for us to be our own bosses rather than working for someone else. 

We have coverage right now, but only because my husband is a college professor. When that ends, then what? 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Day 2009

Giving Thanks. 

For all that has happened, good and bad, for without one, you will never know the other. 

On this Thanksgiving I do give thanks: I thank my wonderful family for putting up with me; I thank my friends for still being friends; I thank our government for not making it as bad as it has been and for offering us some hope; I thank my fortune for being able to live this life I have now; I thank all of those who have supported me through the years; and I thank those greater than myself to see that I am here to be thankful.

I hope that you will be spending quality time with your loved ones over this fall holiday. And for those who need to be out there, at the crack of dawn, on Friday, I wish for you that you get those things that you needed to get up before the crack of dawn to get.

Many, many years ago, before it became the norm to open at 4 am or 5 am or 6 am I did participate in the dawn rush. A couple of stores would open up early: Target and Macy's and a couple of others. But this was a 7 or 8 am opening. And not many people attended. It was fun. We'd get a little snack pack at one store and eat the goodies while we shopped. I've never experienced the crowds and rush that I've read about in the newspapers. I think if I saw that many people waiting to get in a store, I'd wait until they were in the store before I even left my car. I'm not a big fan of crowds. But back then it was fun for me. And a way to get away from the kids and do their Christmas shopping.

But the kids are now young adults. We all have more than we know what to do with. We have found that being together is really the best gift. My daughter is anxiously waiting for our first round of Monopoly and the Mario Cart races this Thanksgiving. We are waiting for our son to get home so we can start playing. A bit old fashioned, but really fun. We've been know to arrive late on Christmas Day because we were too involved in the Monopoly game. We'll try better this year.

And what makes it even better is that the game board with play with is the one I used as a kid on Thanksgiving and Christmas, playing with my sister, brother, and aunt. Those were some interesting times.

So, as the sometimes craziness of the Holidays drops upon us, remember that it is the little things that will be remembered. Being with loved ones. Sharing of yourself. Helping in the kitchen. Walking in the woods, or in our case, on the beach. Be there. For them. For you. It won't always be there for you to enjoy.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day 2009

This Veteran's Day is different. We've just had a horrible shooting at a major military base. Before these proud men and women could even leave our soil they were senselessly killed, by one of their own. What is going on? These are our people. They are US. We should be watching out for them on every level. We should strive to keep them from harm, as they are doing for us. Why was NO ONE paying attention.

This Veteran's Day comes prior to my nephew being deployed. He will be on the line, defending us. I pray that he will return. And even when he does return to us, he will be a different man. We will work to bring him back into the family fold. We will support him even more then.

This Veteran's Day I honor my Grandfather who fought in WWI. In kilts. He was a great man who left us too soon.

This Veteran's Day I honor my Father who fought in WWII. What a handsome young man he was. He is still handsome, in an old-man way. He is faltering in his movements, his speech, his thinking. But he is still here. And I am glad. I don't know how many more years we will have with him.

This Veteran's Day I honor my brother-in-law, the only person I am close to who fought in Vietnam. He is here, with us. Doesn't ever talk about the war. And is a wonderful man.

Six years ago I opened my fabric shop, Round Robin Fabrics, on Veteran's Day. I don't know what I was thinking other than I was really excited to be opening this business. I announced it at our quilt guild meeting the night before. They were excited too! It was a great opening.

But I was never open again on Veteran's Day, with the exception of two hours on the second year I was open. I'd received a phone call asking if I'd be open on Monday. I'd forgotten that Monday was Veteran's Day and said yes, I'd be open. But I didn't want to be. I don't think anyone should be making money on the backs of our Veterans. I hate Veteran's Day sales and never participate. But I'd told this person I'd be open, so there I was, in my shop, ready for business.

Shortly after 10 am a couple came in. I recognized them from having been in before, but really didn't know them. As they were going through the shop, selecting fabric, I thought that maybe these were the people who had called, and asked them. They said they were. I told them that I only came in for them and would be closing after they left. They didn't understand but I told them I really didn't want to be open on Veteran's Day. They were shocked that I came in and opened for them. I told them that I couldn't go back on my word, but that I was really glad that they came in early! That day I found a new friend in Becky Poisson. She and her wonderful husband, Michael, remain two very special people to me. They have since moved and retired to New Mexico and I no longer see them, but do remember them in my heart.

Just as I remember our Vets. Remember and honor those who you may know who have fought to keep our country free. This holiday was enacted to honor, remember, and enjoy our Peace, not to see what kind of deal one can get at the local Mall. I do not like all the hype of shop, shop, shop on Veteran's Day. But no one has asked me. If they had they would get an earful...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fall on the Coast

This time of year in our area is always beautiful. Not in the same way as it is back East where there is so much fall color in the leaves. Our fall is filled with warm days, cool nights, the occasional big surf, and just a feeling in the air that change is coming. I love it!

What I don't love is this: our incessant desire to be "plugged in" at all times! I was in the shower this morning when it hit me. My husband was doing his morning exercises on the bike and listening to his iPod. He was laughing at some comedy routine and it got to me. He is experiencing something funny and unable to share it because he is "plugged in". He is alone in his merriment.

It also hits me at my book club gatherings when many of the ladies are "plugged in" to their iPhones or Blackberries while we are suppose to be discussing the book or our lives or politics, whatever. But they are on their little carry-along computers, doing something obviously more important than what is going on right in front of them. Who is that important? And why do they think that it isn't rude to exclude all who are there to attend to something else that is not an emergency? Are the rest of us really that boring? Do we all need to know, at every step of the way, who is winning the game, the next American Idol, what the score is???

Don't you see the drones walking through the parking lot, ear-pods in, unaware of where they are and what they are doing which should be paying attention to the moving cars? Or walking down the street unaware of any sound around them because their iPod volumn is turned up too high? Or hiking through the woods, unable to hear the sounds of nature? Will they even miss them when they are gone?

Yes, power up your iPods. Upload nature sounds and comedy acts and all the music in the world. This is why Facebook and Twitter came about. We are lacking in communication. We are too plugged in. So then let's go on-line and post brief quips about our lives so the whole world can see. Doesn't that make it better?

And, you say, what are you doing blogging then...

Well, I really don't know if anyone reads this blog anyway. It seems to be more for me to vent or share. I don't have an iPod. I'm not plugged in all the time. I do listen to nature. And, more importantly, I listen to those around me. I do practice the mantra "be here now". Yes, I am an old hippie. I believe. I live. I tune in to what is going on around me. Won't you join me?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pacific International Quilt Festival

or PIQF to those who frequent these quilt shows! What a show!!! I am truly inspired by much that I saw there. There were quite a few quilts that really belonged in an Art Gallery rather than a quilt show...they were that fabulous. Quite a few quilts of friends. Congratulations!!! Maybe some day I'll remember to enter a quilt!

I was also impressed by the number of copy-quilts that I saw. Several years ago my sister's small quilt group, the Off Kilter Quilters, came up with a great quilt challenge. We each were given a piece of a panoramic photo of the Capitola Wharf (Capitola is a town here on the West Coast). We were also given a photo of the entire wharf for reference, but it was a small photo and each of our sections was to be 1 foot by 4 feet. And we couldn't collaborate on our panels.

The final result was ten panels, hung together, and a truly fabulous wall quilt. It has traveled to the Paducca Quilt show, the International Quilt show in Houston, hung in my quilt shop for many months, and has been published in American Quilt magazine.

What I saw at PIQF was at least three other groups doing the same type of thing. Kind of flattering...

The only thing that bothers me year after year with PIQF is it seems that there are fewer quilts and more vendors. I do understand about people wanting to make money from this captive audience, but I also know of groups of quilts that were turned away due to "lack of hanging space".

Beyond my gripes, this is a wonderful quilt show. If you get a chance to ever see it, I hope you take the time to view all of the creative quilters from around the world. And before I forget, a special Congratulations to my friend Meri Vahl, who was awarded the prestigious award of Best Quilt in the World competition!!!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Julie, Julia and Wicked!

Boy, I really haven't been getting out much, except to take my husband to PT and grocery shopping. However, since all is going well, I am starting to get back to my real life!

My husband and I had a date the other afternoon and took in Julie and Julia. What a GREAT film. Inspires. Makes me want to cook and experiment. Reminds me to blog. Reminds me to be alive and connected! If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. I remember watching Julia as a child, and laughing at her antics and enjoying her obvious enthusiasm for life.

When Saturday Night Live did a spoof on her, it just brought back all those wonderful old feelings. Reminded me of her zest for life.

But this movie takes you further. You get a glimpse into that life. Not sure how true the whole thing is, but that doesn't matter. What does matter is that Julie Powell took on a challenge, met it, grew from it, and the outcome is spectacular.

Now, Wicked on the other hand...Even better!!!! My daughter turned 20 on Aug. 28th and has wanted to see Wicked for a long time. She spent her birthday at Disneyland so what could be better than to end the birthday fete with this theater experience. We had a blast!!!

Great acting, singing, dancing, props, theater, people...nothing was out of place. And the story line. Well, I couldn't ever get through the book, but now it is next on my to read list. Loved the whole premise of the story. So, if you ever get the opportunity to see this production, GO. It is so worth it!

Now, back to stitching...I just have too many projects going on at the same time. I must finish the group piece for my sister's small quilt group challenge. Finally I know what and how I'm doing the quilt. Just need to finish it!

And the three others sitting as blocks in my sewing room? Well, they are next. Don't you sometimes just like making the blocks and forget that the next few steps need to be done too? Just don't have enough time some days.

So, I shall close and get back to my stitching.

Keep quilting and sewing and creating.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sewing, Quilting, Sewing

Last week, after years of debate with myself, I ordered and had delivered a new sewing machine. And I am in LOVE!

I've always sewn on Kenmore machines. I still have my grandmother's machine, in the cabinet, and it still works great. I have old Kenmores and fairly new Kenmores. They just work and work. But I wanted more and I wanted FAST and I wanted a deeper throat to help with quilting. So...

The Janome 6500P was the winner. And am I happy! No, I'm not making any money saying that I love this machine. It's just, with so many choices out there, and so many price ranges, I feel this was an excellent choice. It's fast, quiet, and has millions of features (not really) that I'll never use, but I am HAPPY.

I've been working on a new quilt. This one evolved because I couldn't toss out the left over fabric from a back of a wall quilt that I just finished. So I thought, huh, why not just make a bunch of half square triangles and see what happens. So, I made a bunch of half square triangles, and while they look nice, they were BORING.

So now what. Well, when in doubt I go back to my old stand by: slice and dice! I slice the blocks, add strips, slice and strip again, and, VIOLA, now I love my blocks. I'm almost done with the slicing and dicing and will be putting them up on the design wall. I'll send out a photo when I'm done...I am really excited about this one!

So keep on sewing, quilting, and sewing. And, yes, I am still the Nurse to my dear husband. In a few months I should be able to put this behind me too!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Taking Life as it Comes

Who would have known that the day following my last post my life would change? It comes that fast and without warning!

I was up in my sewing room, taking a break from cleaning house for our Father's Day Dinner, listening to my husband singing at the top of his lungs as he mopped the kitchen floor when his singing stopped and all I could hear were what sounded like the whimperings of an injured animal. I ran downstairs (well, run isn't exactly what I did, but I was fast) and found my husband sprawled out on the back steps, trying to catch his breath. He had missed a step and wrenched his knee.

After a trip to the local Urgent Care medical facility, he was put in a leg brace, followed two weeks later by major surgery to his knee. So now I am nurse, care provider, entertainer, cook, driver, and handywoman, most of which I do willingly. But my term of employment in these tasks will last up to 6 months!!! Golly. Will I survive?

I did buy a new sewing machine, to compensate for my home-bound life, and am really enjoying it. Well, it only got here yesterday so I haven't had much time on it, but so far all is great! I do get sewing and quilting done in-between my chores. We shall see what this life changing event brings.

I know that I am never given more than I can handle, and that this all happened for some reason. I keep an open mind. But boy oh boy. Life can give us challenges. This is minor compared to those challenges that many of you have had.

And I will keep an open mind.

And keep stitching up a storm!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wow, it doesn't seem like a month since I last posted, but obviously it is!

This weekend is Father's Day. I approach this one with a bit of sadness. Not that my dad isn't here, because he is. It's just that he isn't here like he use to be.

Hey, he's 86 years old so what do I expect? Well, I really wish he were as aware of us all as he was a few years ago. It's not at all his problem. It's mine. It's me facing the fact that we all age, some more gracefully than others.

I'm hoping that I will be in the "more graceful" group. I don't know how you get there but I'm working on it. I have older women and men who I look up to because, no matter their age, they keep trying new things. They keep learning. They keep the "gray matter" working.

I was talking to my friend Jean, who is at least 82 if not older, has had a number of strokes, and stopped by to show me her photos from her digital photography class that she is taking at UC Santa Cruz! WOW! When I asked her why she was taking this class, she just said that she had an interest! She is a role model for me. She just keeps trying out new things.

But back to Father's Day. I know for most men, including my husband, Father's Day is no big deal. My husband thinks of it as any other Sunday. He doesn't want to be fussed over. We won't. We will just love him a little more often that day. I'm just really glad that he is still here, still growing, still learning, still experimenting, still in love with me. That makes it all so good. And he can still mess around with the kids, and they still try to get him. It is all good.

So, Happy Father's Day Dad. I love you, who you are now and who you use to be. You helped make me who I am and I am eternally grateful. Cheers!

And Happy Father's Day Jeff. If is wasn't for you, we wouldn't be parents and we would have missed out on this extremely fabulous trip we have had parenting. You convinced me to have a child. You were happy we had two. Thank you.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Coiled Basket Class

Tomorrow I head off from the cool coast along the Monterey Bay to the heated Central Valley, and specifically Los Baños, to teach a coiled bowl class to a group of lovely ladies! I made the connection with this Los Baños group via my shop and a great lady, Darla. She use to have a yarn shop in Los Baños and tried for years to get me to open up a fabric shop there. Well, times change, she closed her shop and I just closed mine. So we are both off on different adventures.

The origin of this bowl class came after I won a coiled bowl from my local guild, The Pajaro Valley Quilt Association. It was the prize for having the fabric post-card that the most people liked. It was a Valentine card that I gave my husband. What is funny is that I didn't even know there was a contest! Winning it made it that much more special!

The bowl came filled with salt water taffy, which I placed on the counter of my shop. I got so many compliments and questions about the bowl that one weekend I decided, with the prodding of my friend Cam, to come up with directions and a pattern. Cam always reminded me that I should never have anything on display for which I did not have a pattern. Good marketing sense from her!

Coming up with the technique was easy for me, as I have a college degree in ceramics and the bowl is pretty much the same as a coil pot. What I didn't know is that I would love making these as much as I do. That weekend I found all the rope and sashing I could find in our house and made three bowls. I was hooked, and continue to be so.

I did produce a pattern and kit for my shop, which sold quite well. It does come with the warning that you can become addicted! I'm hoping that some of these ladies tomorrow become addicted...look for the pattern later on my etsy shop.

So, on to wrapping rope with fabric, stitching away, and having a blast!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Peaceful Mother's Day

I have mixed feelings about Mother's Day. I really do not like the "Hallmarking" of days in our country. Mother's Day actually has a long history, dating back to the ancient Greeks who celebrated the mother Rhea, the maternal goddess. 

In the United States it wasn't until 1872  when Julia Ward Howe suggested that the day be made as a day honoring Peace and urged women to rise against war in her famous Mothers Day Proclamation. 

On this Mother's Day, as in my past, I think of those women, and sometimes men, who, dressed in black, stand on over-crossings or main streets, urging us to be Peaceful. I deeply believe in Peace. I also support our troops, but do not support irrelevant wars. 

Please join with me on this Mother's Day to ask, hope, pray, for Peace in our world.
And keep your Peace by stitching, creating, is what will keep us all Peaceful!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A New World for Me!

Well, the shop is closed but not empty. There is still some fabric and some display boxes and a few patterns, and just a bit of other things. The closing sale really cleaned me out, in more ways than one. If you have ever had to close a business you know what I mean. It takes time to get over it, to close it, to mourn it, to wonder what is next. And I am still in process.
The wonderful words from all of you have been saved in my heart. Thank you again so much for all your support over the years.
Now, on to the next adventure. As I told many of you, the first thing I was going to do after closing, besides getting my paperwork in order and doing the taxes, was to open an etsy shop. What is an etsy shop you may ask! Well, it is a wonderful way to sell and shop online! Around the World! With many talented artisans!
So, my etsy shop is now open and I am stocking it on a daily basis. I'd love it if you would stop by. You can get there by going to Visit often. It is often very intriguing.
Also, I've added some options for this blog. You can subscribe and follow. And once I figure out how to do the same with my website, I will add a blog feature.
Keep stitching my friends. 
And celebrate today.
For all that it is, besides Obama's 100th day in office...ok. No more politics!
And in case you don't know, I do miss seeing, being with you at the shop. It was always a pleasure!