Making a little progress

Well, I’m feeling better.  For the approximately ten minutes after I awake and before I get out of bed, that is.  As soon as I stand up, the coughing begins anew.  Ick.  On the advice of my brother and most of my friends, I went to the doctor yesterday.  As I suspected, I have a cold.  I couldn’t see my internist, as he had no appointments available, so I saw another of the doctors in his practice.  He sent two prescriptions to the pharmacy without telling me what they were, but told me they were for cough and my congested lungs.  Well, the cough medicine is benzonatate (commonly called tussalon perles) and I’ve found them to be maybe slightly helpful.  The other med is sudafed, which I cannot take because, with my thryroid disease, it causes my heart to beat wildly.  I guess he missed the thyroid med on my list, but then I guess the pharmacy should have caught that.  Oh well, at least it wasn’t expensive.  Good thing I picked up the two-pack of Robitussin while I ran into Costco for some staples as I was waiting for the prescriptions to be filled.  I had no milk, eggs, dog treats, yogurt, and was almost out of coffee.  Not, mind you, that I’ve felt like eating anything, but I have managed to sip down a cup of coffee each morning.

Ozzie has been the best dog through this whole thing.  You all know how he loves to play ball and go for walks.  Well, I can’t manage either right now.  I nearly had to nap in the parking lot yesterday after I got out of the doctor’s office.  It was all too much for me.  Anyway, Ozzie has just been here next to me, napping, licking my face, being my little nurse.  I think that I will muster the strength to take him for at least a short walk today or out to the back yard to toss the ball.  He deserves some fun and, even though I feel like crap, I’m sick of the view from the couch or my bedroom.  Maybe cabin fever is a sign I’m finally getting well?

A bit quiet here

except for the constant hacking coughing going on.  I’m beginning to think I’m going to bust a gut.  Thankfully, I’ve managed to sleep most of the day, and I think I’m going to go and try and knock myself out again.  I’ve not been this ill in a long time.  I don’t even feel like eating.  Dang.  I have so many things I want to do.  I guess I’ll have to wait.  Just standing up takes about all the energy I have.  I’ll be back to write when I’m feeling better.

Honey I’m home!

Ah, what a wonderful time I had.  The quilts, the friends, the classes, the friends, the vendors, the friends . . . MQX was a blast.  I learned how to color quilts with dry pigments and fabric medium from Sherry Rogers-Harrison.  The class was so fun.  I knew several people in the class and we all had the best time.  I learned how to do new and cool things with my Intelliquilter, embroidery techniques, great borders without having to turn the quilt on the frame after having done the top and bottom borders.  I also learned how to do some new and groovy but not usual borders, that one might use for the newer Kaffe Fasset or Amy Butler-type quilts.  Could be really psychedelic, who knows?  Lots of playing with line and path patterns.  I bought myself the most comfortable pair of shoes – ruby slippers.  A marvelous pair of Dansko clogs in Marbelized Ruby Patent.  Woo hoo.  Stylin’ to be sure.  Wait till Ozzie and I hit the yellow brick road.

We then went to Connecticut to visit my aunts – my mother’s two remaining sisters.  It’s always lovely to see them, but this visit was a bit sad.  My Aunt Ethel’s health is beginning to decline.  She has diabetes and doesn’t much care about watching her diet, so she has some issues with her legs and doesn’t walk well.  She’s up at all hours of the night and she fell one morning while we were there.  My Aunt Irene lives downstairs and had a bad cold while we were there (my sister Ginny and I managed to bring that home with us) and she didn’t hear Aunt Ethel.  I ended up having to pick Aunt Ethel up off the floor.  I doubt my Aunt Irene would have managed to get Aunt Ethel up anyway.  I’m not sure what the solution is there.  Obviously, Aunt Ethel needs better care.  Aunt Irene is in pretty good shape, but not enough to be picking up another family member who may occasionally fall.  I think Aunt Ethel will resist assisted living but, she is a life of the party type gal, and she would get along well if she were to find a nice place.  I think my cousin Mike could find a decent place for her and she might actually be happy.  Aunt Irene might like to live with her daughters in California. They do have some first alert monitors, but I’m worried they are not as effective as they should be.

We then headed out to Cape Cod to my sister Barb’s house.  We had a nice time walking, sewing, coloring, cooking, sampling wines, walking on the beach, etc.  We finally got out to Chatham, where my sister’s friend Lorraine has some great linens in an antique shop.  I selected a few to use in some quilts ala Cindy Needham, if I get brave enough.  On our last day, we got up before the crack of dawn and drove to Boston to babysit for my great nephew Logan Benson.  What a cutie, and, I must say, this kid has great taste.  He absolutely loved me.  The just glommed onto me from the get-go and wanted me to pick him up and carry him around.  He was lots of fun.  He was fast asleep when we parted.

The Quilting Community and the MQX Experience

The life of a professional longarm quilter can be fairly solitary.  Most of us work from our homes, by ourselves, and we don’t get out much.  For those of us who live alone, the on-line quilting groups are where we build relationships.  Sometimes we think, ‘wow, that person is really cool.’  Sometimes we think, ‘whoa, that person is really weird!’  We never really know, do we?  As most of us discover, it can be difficult to read hidden meaning in a person’s words on the internet and, depending on our own mood for the day, we can easily misunderstand what we read.  Anyway, I bought my longarm machine in 2004.  I went to Innovations (a small longarm show that used to be held in Tacoma) that fall, and it was okay, but I took too many classes, all of which were lecture, and I didn’t end up learning that much.  The following spring, I flew east and attended MQX, the Machine Quilters Exposition, which was, until 2010, held in Manchester, NH.  I went by myself.  I had the roommate coordinator find me someone to share a room with, as I didn’t really know anyone well enough to make plans, but from the moment I arrived, I felt welcomed and comfortable.  I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t one of the real popular kids in school.  I was chubby, shy (can you believe that?), a little nerdy, and my folks died when I was twelve, which sort of turned me into an alien as far as the rest of the kids were concerned.  I think because they didn’t know what to say to me, they just avoided me.  Anyway, when you go to a quilting conference, you’re among people who, for the most part, think like you do.  They appreciate art.  They pet fabric.  They get excited by thread.  They’re interested in learning the newest tips and tricks of the trade, finding out how to use the newest tools.  They’re interested in the quilts they’ve seen you make, not the brand of shoes you wear or whether you hang with the jocks or the hoods.  For me, MQX has always been about going to a giant reunion with the best friends I’ve never met in person before.  Well, most of them, anyway.  There are friends I see year after year, and those women have become good friends, with whom I chat weekly and email regularly.  We share pictures of quilts, family, friends, pets, etc.  Each year, we meet more people, and we make more good friends. Oh – and some of those people we thought we weird?  They end up being so nice.  And the ones we thought were so cool?  Well, they are, but they’re just like the rest of us too.

Today, quilting brought another nice person into my circle.  A woman from a town in southern Oregon was in Eugene visiting her son, and was interested in having some quilts made from tshirts.  Not the typical tshirt quilts, but something different . . a bit more asymmetrical and artful.  She had seen something she liked on my website, so we got together to talk about the possibilities.  I figured we’d spend about a half hour having coffee.  It ended up being almost two hours, but you know, it really didn’t seem like it.  She was a very nice and interesting person, and I feel as though I’ve made another friend through quilting.  She’s not a quilter, but maybe we can turn her to the dark side . . . who knows?

So it’s off to MQX.  Got the dog sitter lined up.  The cat sitter lined up, and I think my niece will stay here so she can have a nice quiet place to get her school work done while keeping my house safe and sound.  I know when I was in college, a house to myself to study in would have been heaven.  To my longarming buddies who will be in Providence, I cannot wait to see you all!

Catching my breath

Phew!  More business (or is that busy-ness?) with the mundane for the past week.  We have decided that the tablet for my Intelliquilter is fried.  Apparently, the company that turns tablet PCs into IQs, Tablet Kiosk, got a bad batch in last summer.  This resulted in a small number of said tablets being made into IQs.  I got one of them.  These tablets not only have a problem in the circuitry that causes a failure between the touchscreen and the software, but they overheat and it fries the internal parts which breaks down interaction with the software.  And here I thought I was just going crazy!  Anyway, in my rush to finish up some customer quilts and quilt my MQX challenge quilt, I really fried this puppy.  In their usual manner of outstanding customer service, IQ will be replacing my tablet with one of the same model but, hopefully, one whose guts will not fry.  It should be here tomorrow.  I am so grateful.  I have six quilts to push out the door before heading off to MQX East, but four of them are baby quilts, and I should be able to get them done.  Today I just need to archive my designs and settings and send my error logs to Intelliquilter, so they can see the glorious record of disaster as I tried to quilt the piece that will be hanging at MQX.  Thankfully, it will not be judged, and I hope those of you who will be there will not look too closely.  I couldn’t get my changes and realignments to save soon enough and the tablet would freeze and I’d have to start over, so I’ve got gaps and non-aligned starts (generally not something that happens with IQ), so it’s a bit funky.  Here are a few pics.  For those un-initiated in the quilt world, the picture of the back will look very odd because it has a hanging sleeve at the top and a label at the bottom right.




This is not a very exciting quilt.  It is for a challenge called Neutrals Fusion.  We were all sent eight fat quarters of neutral fabric and had to make a quilt which consisted of six nine patches and six snowballs, surrounded by a one-inch border of contrasting fabric of our choice and a 5″ border of neutral fabric.  We were allowed to add one neutral of our own.  The quilt had to be quilted with neutral thread except for inside the 1″ colored border and could have no bling except in that colored border.  It was to be all about the quilting.  So, mine is — it was supposed to be about how well I could line up all those fancy designs, but oh well.  It’s still an okay little quilt with a few problems.  I’ll let it hang anyway.

Now I need to do my taxes before they throw me in the clink when I get home!