Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Twisted Sort of Good Day

I got up this morning with a plan.  It’s my constant error to think things will work out the way I planned!  My plan was that I would:

1.     Take the dog for a walk   

2.    Go to a Dr. appointment

3.    Buy some paint

4.    Go to the farm market

5.    Go see my friend Joan

6.    Go to Costco and get that laundry sink that looks perfect! 

Not such a ridiculous idea right?  Except that when I got up, there were already 4 people working in my yard.  Two carpenters....pardon me....5 people....and three furnace people in the crawl space.  By the time I’d had my shower (always a little unnerving to shower with three men yelling at each other over their stereo right underneath you when you’re naked in the shower) and got ready to go, there were two more people in the yard....one running a backhoe. 

“So” thinks I....with all the gates open, trucks and backhoes all over the place, “the safest place for my dog is not to be left at home running unsupervised.”  So I took him with me.  We drove up towards Campbell River and the Dr. Appointment and the paint store, and I stopped on the side of the parkway at a pullout that has a delightful gravel path through the forest, with a bridge over a stream, where I can let him run loose.  We walk for about half an hour, turn around and walk back to the van. 

But, when we got close to the van, he decided he didn’t want his walk to be over so he ran past the van, right across the highway, and onto a path on the other side.  I called him and he sprinted a little further.  I yelled at him.  He went even faster.  I ran across the highway.  He spun around and wiggled his tail and acted like “Isn’t this fun Mum?”  Now I’m mad and I want to go back to the van, get in and drive away as if I’ve never met this little monster. 

Right about then a big delivery truck comes along the two lane section of the divided highway.....stops in the middle of his lane, and out gets a very tall, very BIG man with a shaved head, ZZ Top style beard, and a sleeveless undershirt with cut offs and work boots.  He squats down in the middle of the other lane like a gentle giant and coaxes my rotten dog over to him, scratches him and grabs his collar.  I’m thrilled, but embarrassed and feeling angry at my poorly behaved dog.  I get up to this man who I would guess is about his mid-30’s, and tell him how much I appreciate him catching Tuffy for me. 

But he is not to be deterred in his mission.  Right there in the middle of a two lane highway, with traffic passing us and staring (I’m now ready to crawl under the truck and hide)....he proceeds to give me a lesson in training my dog.  He says....and I quote.....”You need to pinch his ear like this, and then mount him.  You know .... in a sexual way (my comfort level is plummeting about now).....twist the ear and mount him so he knows who’s boss.”  I figure I’m not going to escape without doing what I’m told, and he is BIG, so I twisted Tuffy’s ear and squatted on him.  By now I’m wishing I had a bag over my head.  Tuffy yelps.  The big guy says “Good.  That yelp is what you want to hear.  Now put his leash on him.”  I replied that I didn’t have his leash....that was the problem!  And I picked Tuffy up under my arm rather like a sack of potatoes and thanked the guy again.  He said “Good luck with that.”,  got in his truck and drove away.  I’m left hiking along the side of the road back to my van which is sitting there with the door and the hatch open and there’s no denying I’m with this stupid dog!  I stuffed him in his dog crate, got in the van, started the engine and did a U turn onto the road to get to the Dr.’s appointment.  (and not an appointment serious enough to warrant all this embarrassment either!). 

I am now driving down the four lane highway that passes through to the center of Campbell River.  I’m angry, embarrassed and frustrated.  I’m drawn out of my reverie by flashing blue and red lights.  Yes.....he does the dreaded U turn and is after ME!  I put my signal on and pull over, wondering if I can pay my fine by giving him my purebred registered monster. 

He pulls up behind me and I wait and wait and wait.  Finally he gets out of his car, walks up behind the van staying behind my tail light (if I HAD a gun I’d have used it by now....on the dog).  The officer approaches my window and tells me that he clocked me at 95 kmh.  I tried not to be the stereotype that says “Really?  I find that hard to believe.”, and just tried to look ashamed....which I was!  He asked if I was in a hurry to get somewhere.  I replied that no, I actually was just shaken up because I’d just had to chase my dog down the highway and a delivery truck stopped and helped me catch him.  I was just distracted because I’m mad at my dog.  He very professionally points out that this is not a reason to be doing 95 in a 60 zone and looks into the van to see the dog.  I said “He’s in the crate at the back now.”  He takes my license and insurance and goes back to his car. 

I wait and wait yet again.  My cell phone rings.  I don’t know if I should answer it right now and think probably NOT is a good idea so I let it keep ringing in my purse.  My anxiety is mounting while I wait.  Now I’m mad at the dog AND worried about what this is going to cost. 

The officer comes back to the window with papers in hand and says “MRS. LOVE.....”  I did my best imitation of a contrite driver and he proceeds to tell me again how fast I was driving.  He explains that this offense is punishable by having my vehicle impounded for up to 30 days (I couldn’t help thinking that Tuffy would have starved to death in the compound by then so..... TAKE IT ! ).  Then he adds that I can also go to jail for up to 8 days and the fine is minimum $300.00.  I’m sure I went white right there in front of him.  Who am I going to call to come spring me from jail?  Certainly not my kids, who would never let me hear the end of it.  Not my husband who is in his own little world on his island. 
And then he adds.....and this is when I know I am blessed....”I’m going to give you a verbal warning today, but I note that you have lived in the area for long enough to know that this is not a place to be driving at 95 so you need to keep that in mind.”  I almost fainted!  He said goodbye and drive safely and I thanked him very much and took off. 

And then I realized I was speeding again!!!!  I couldn’t believe I was so silly!  I was over 60 before I got to 5th gear!  So the rest of my day I drove with cruise control on.....which took more concentration than was safe, but at least I wasn’t speeding!   So silly me and my stupid dog got home without further incident, and I feel like I should just stay right here and not go anywhere for a while. 

When I got back the electrician was here putting plugs and switches in the walls that are painted, and when I told him my excitement of the day he said I should go buy a lottery ticket!  The guy on the backhoe said I must have really dazzled (I loved that word) the policeman because the guy he knows that got pulled over for that got 8 days in jail, his car impounded and the fine was going to be “discussed”.  And then when Kurtis, the 23 year old kid that is the hardest worker around heard about it, he looked me right in the eye and squinted and said “It’s because you’re a girl!”  I laughed and said “No Kurtis.....I think it’s because I’m 63 and have gray hair instead of 23 with blonde hair!”  He laughed and said “You might be right.” 

Right or not, I’m just glad that I’m not in jail, don’t have a huge fine to pay, and that I must still have what it takes!  What a day! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What kind of Quilter am I?

The following contains excerpts of an excellent newsletter from Quilt University. www.QuiltUniversity.com    A great place for on-line classes if you haven't discovered them already.  I have put the parts from their newsletter in italics, and I do have their permission to repeat their thoughts here.  I thought it was a great thought-provoking and introspective article. 
If I asked what kind of quilter you are, how would you answer?  A dear friend of mine told me I couldn’t call myself a quilter until I had at least five unfinished projects under the cutting table.  If that is true, I think I qualify to be three quilters by now!   

Can you remember when you actually finished one project before starting another?  I don’t honestly think I ever did!  The fabrics and patterns became very insistent, shoving each other and jostling to the front of the line, screaming "me next!!"  That was pretty hard to resist.  Soon my sewing room had UFO’s everywhere.

At the same time, there were new books, each one showcasing beautiful projects and new techniques.  How could I keep quilting if I didn't learn it all?  I became a technique junkie, afraid I might miss the one magic trick that would change my quilting life forever. 

Pretty soon, I began designing my own quilt patterns.  This came as much from a personality flaw as from any great urge to be a designer.  It seems I am constitutionally incapable of following directions for any length of time. 

Have you recognized yourself yet?  Let's look at some other kinds of quilters.  First, there are those who are just stopping by, trying this as they have tried decoupage or knitting.  They usually move on after a quilt or two. This was not me.....I got into quilting because four friends that I made lace with challenged me to take it up.  I said I was not good with math, not good with color, and I couldn’t afford it......I was right on the I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) afford it!

Then there are those who see themselves as part of a great tradition.  They are interested in making a quilt for each member of their family because that's what grandma did.  They often stick with traditional patterns and methods.  A subset of these quilters are the ones who are driven to recreate quilts from the past.  They often search out vintage fabrics to work with.  If old fabrics are not available, they buy reproductions.  They want their quilts to look old.  They value the historical aspect of quilting above any new explorations.
This is most definitely NOT me! 

Some quilters just like to sew.  They enjoy handling the fabric and seeing the patterns.  Their real love is the process.  They like to keep their hands busy and making a quilt gives them an outlet and produces a useful product. This description is definitely a part of me!

For some, their favorite part is the quilting.  They lavish endless hours on marking and quilting, taking up to a year creating tiny little stitches.  They are creating heirlooms to be kept and treasured.

Then there are the explorers.  They want to learn it all, do it all and then change it all.  They use a bit of this and a dab of that, mix it with their own ideas of what a quilt should be and add new depth and richness to an old tradition.  They often become teachers because quilting has taken over their lives.  They need to support their habit, but they also feel driven to bring others into the fold.  I'm not sure if this is an urge to share or a variation on misery loves company, but nothing makes a teacher happier than watching a new student share her addiction.
Now we’re beginning to describe my quilting life! 

Finally, there are those who make art quilts.  Sometimes they are explorers who have moved in this direction.  For others, they were artists in another medium and have moved to fabric from painting or drawing.  Some even come from dimensional art like sculpture and they experiment with ways to make fabric dimensional.

So, who am I?  Like many, a combination of most of the above!  This summer we’ve been working on an addition to our house which is for my parents to live in, which you’ll know if you’ve read my earlier posts.  This week the electrician found a wire that was live in the crawl space, but not connected to anything.  In order to fix that, he needed to get at a plug in the back wall of my sewing room, behind my fabric storage unit.  He asked if I could move all that out of there while they had lunch so that he could access it!  I said a bad word!  But I did it!  And in these photos you can see the results of my obsessions.....it takes great organizational skills to keep all this stuff where you can find it when you need it......and I don’t have them!  Here's a little video to show you just how it looked!

However, the happy outcome of this rather frustrating day was that everything got tidied up and reorganized and I actually got some sewing done this week, as opposed to painting, staining, digging, sweeping and all the other construction related interruptions!