Triangles galore

Our guild (Emerald Valley Quilters) had a used book sale one night.  I bought a copy of Great American Quilts 1988 for just a dollar and fell in love with one of the quilts in the book.  I began to make myself one, even though it was all half-square triangles and I knew I was out of my mind and it would take me forever to make it.  Shortly after I began that quilt, my physical therapist asked me to make him a quilt.  I brought him a bunch of books so he could look for something he might like.  I left the books with him and, when I came back a few weeks later, he was very excited because he had found the perfect quilt.  Oy!  Yep, the same quilt, 1512 half-square triangles.  I’ve been working at this quilt for what seems like forever.  Retreat after retreat, sew day after sew day, people will look over and say, oh no!  She’s still making HSTs!  Yep.  Well, today I have finally assembled one quarter of the quilt.  378 half-square triangles.  Only 1134 more to go.  Ack!  Actually, I have a lot of the blocks together, and I have a ton of the HSTs made.  You can see the blocks are nine-patches made of the HSTs.  Then they are flipped this way and that to make an interesting pattern.  When the whole quilt is together, it will look pretty cool.  Not all four quarters are the same.


So – this is what has been keeping me busy, along with quilting and trying to make some jackets.  What are you all up to?

What follows two days of rain in Oregon?

Monday!  Well, or so the joke goes.  Or, we might say, what follows three days of deepest gloom in Oregon?  The Tuesday after a holiday weekend!  And, of course, we all awoke this morning to sunshine.  Yeah!  I don’t care that it’s not the weekend anymore.  Who am I kidding?  I’m retired, right?  I’ll take the sun any time I can get it.  Actually, I’ve been waiting anxiously for the sun to dry out a proliferation of weeds in my backyard so I can hit them with some Roundup and get them on their way out of here.  Once they’ve died, I can rake them out and start putting my flower beds back in.  When I had my spinal fusion in 2008, I was no longer able to tend the flowers, and hired a man to do the yard work for me.  He asked one day if I wanted him to spray Roundup on the weeds and I said yes, figuring that any yardman worth his salt would know the difference between weeds and flowers.  Well, he killed everything except, of course, the roses.  I still have a little difficulty getting up and down from the ground.  I can do it, but it’s not really easy.  I have a kneeler/bench which makes gardening a whole lot easier for me, so once the weeds are gone, I’ll restore the foxgloves, monkshood, cardinal flowers, lavender, columbine, delphinium, blue star creeper, bleeding hearts, etc., that used to fill the flower beds.  Of course, I think there is one area, which we now call the runway, that I will need to leave fairly bare.  It is the path that Ozzie charges through to catch his ball.  Those schnoodle paws can really dig up a garden!  So, I’m about to have my second cup of coffee, and it looks as though I’ll have enough sun coming through the clouds to keep my solar cells powered all day.  Wishing you all a productive week!

When the sun comes out in Oregon . . .

even if it’s only for one brief and semi-bright and almost shining hour, this is what happens.  The people come pouring out of their doors and head for the park.  If you’ve never been to Oregon, let me assure you, we live in a large slice of heaven.  Here in Eugene, we are in the Willamette (pronounced like dammit, not the French way) Valley, and we are an hour and a half away from the coast and an hour and a half away from the mountains.  Eugene is just slightly southwest of the confluence of the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers, and when the air is cool and clear, we generally get socked in with fog from the moisture of the two rivers in the mornings.  Sometimes it just forgets to burn off.  I really didn’t think I’d get to talk with you all about the sun this weekend.  We are coming up on my 33rd year here in Oregon, and I believe that in that span of time, we’ve had two sunny Memorial Day weekends.  Usually, it is our tradition to go camping in the rain, sit and drink beer or cocktails and eat barbeque under a canopy or tarp, and just make the most of it, pretending that summer has started, even though we know it’s a way off yet.  However, Ozzie and I seem to have timed our walk perfectly today.  We headed for Skinner Butte park, which is about a mile and a half north of our house.  I took the camera today, because I wanted to show my sister where there had been some major bank erosion and some trees had fallen into the Willamette.  We’ll start there.

We had just finished photographing this, and Ozzie took care of his business with the park, when I looked up to see this coming.

A break in the clouds!  Real blue sky!  Maybe I really wasn’t going to need those Little Hotties Hand Warmers that I had shoved into the pockets of my sweatshirt jacket, but for now, they were doing a good job of keeping my fingers from freezing.

We began to approach the Owens Rose Garden, and you could actually begin to see shadows on the ground.  This was very encouraging.

Ah yes!  As we came to this flowering tree (don’t know the name of this one) on our way into the garden, we could definitely see sun and shadow on the grass.  What more could you ask for on a Sunday in Eugene?

Some of the beautiful roses in the Rose Garden.

A rudbeckia with a bee!

California poppies and a tree near the center of the garden.

Lupines and real poppies (not Sears poppies).

The color purple.  I can’t think of the name of these flowers at the moment, but it made me think . . . “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.”  There was a lot to notice today.

Foxglove – along with some more poppy.  Intoxicating color and a whole lotta lethal medicine there to boot.

We wandered back out of the garden and headed back up the river trail.  Soon we came to the place where the ducks and geese congregate.  If you look carefully into the grass in front of those Geese, you’ll see some goslings blending into the grass.

Continuing up the path

Kids coming out into the playground.  Did you ever try, when you were little, to see if you could swing hard enough to go up and over the bar?  We tried all the time!

Then you come to the community gardens.  This is a great place in Eugene (actually, we have several), where people who have small yards or who live in apartments can get a plot of land to plant some crops and grow fresh veggies.  Not only do they get good stuff for themselves, but gardeners share between the plots and excess is often given to the community food bank.  A great use of the land all around, if you ask me.

More gardeners gardening.

Here’s a shot of the map of the Riverbank Trail System at the foot of the Greenway Bridge.  We are so lucky to have this wonderful trail.  As you might be able to see, it goes on both sides of the river, and there are many bridges that span the river so you can cross in various locations.  It makes for a wonderful walk, even on a very hot summer day.

If you’re into working out and keeping track of your mileage (as many folks are in Eugene) you’ll find mileage on the map

and mileposts to let you know where you are!

Actually, Eugene is track town USA and the track and field trials for the Olympic team will be held here next month.  I probably could have taken a few photos of the athletes who are here to train for that already, but they were a little too fast for me.

More lovely green trail

People out biking on the trail

The Willamette from the Greenway Bridge looking east

Kids in the Skinner’s Butte playground (Eugene Skinner, by the way, is the man for whom Eugene is named).  Shadows not so distinguishable now, the sun is fading.

And, as we’re leaving the park, the Eugene War Memorial with some visitors

It’s this side of the memorial that makes me saddest of all.  I wish I lived in a world where it were not necessary to have all that blank space for the names of those who will perish to defend our freedom in the future.  It would be lovely if the dying were to stop now, but of course, that will not happen.

Thanks for taking our walk in the park with us.

The holiday weekend

Remember this little guy?

Well, in just a few months, he’s going to be three years old.  In doggie years, that will be 21!  He’s growing up so fast.  We went for a really long walk yesterday with his cousin Kali, whom he adores.  It was misty and wet all morning, but that was okay, because it was also Towel Day, and we didn’t panic.  We just walked and had a great time.  We did discover, however, after we got home, that Ozzie had ventured off and rolled in something that smelled like dead fish while I was busy chatting with my fellow walkers.  He needed a bath last night.  No problem.  It was a lovely evening.  The sun had come out in the afternoon, so we played ball and he took a dunk in his swimming pool in the back yard.  This morning, he’s pooped out on the couch, looking depressed because it’s grey and cloudy out.  Little does he realize that those are just morning clouds, and we are in for another sunny day.  I’m going to finish up a few chores and quietly sneak into my sock and shoes.  Then we’ll go for a nice walk in the park and probably play some ball.  Ozzie knows that when I go through the trouble of putting on socks and shoes, it means we’re going somewhere.  Otherwise, I putter around barefoot or with slippers on.  Socks and shoes is serious business.

Then it’s home for more sewing, more quilting, some yard work, more laundry, and sorting through some old clothes.  Time to take a batch of stuff I never wear to Goodwill or St. Vinnie’s.  I’ve also discovered that our St. Vinnie’s takes styrofoam for recycling.  Good thing too, because I’ve got a bunch of it stacked up in the garage.  I just couldn’t bear to throw that stuff into the landfill.  Have you ever seen styrofoam being made?  I remember in 5th grade, Mrs. Wishnesky’s class, Nancy Ceretta brought in a cardboard box and two jars of liquid her father had given her.  When she poured them both into the box, it filled with styrofoam.  Good grief – I wonder what fumes we were all exposed to in the process?  Ah, but I digress.  I want to get that stuff out of my garage!  I think this will be a good spring cleaning weekend with my faithful buddy by my side.  You do realize I didn’t want a dog, don’t you?  I got talked into it.  I nearly gave him away when he was a small pup because he drove me to distraction.  Now I can’t stand it when he’s not there.  It’s really nice to have a loving companion.

I’m baaack!

Well, semi-sorta-kinda.  I’m home from my quilting retreat at Silver Falls, which would have been wonderful, but I sat next to a newbie with no sense of humor, and she not only thought I was on drugs or drunk all the time, but she complained that I was coughing all over her, which I took great pains not to do, so I was sorta bummed.  I got prescription cough syrup almost a week before leaving for retreat and, even though I wasn’t feeling 100%, and would cough in the mornings, I had no other symptoms — no fever, no mucus, no sneezing, etc., so I thought if I went and took my meds and stayed in my little corner, I could still enjoy the trip and everything would be okay.  Remind me not to do that again, okay?  Or, remind me that no matter what, I need to sit near my friend Joyce, as she was aptly named and brings out the joy in each and every day.  She was across the room from me this time and I missed not being near her.  I’m so much better than I was for all those weeks.  I no longer feel as though my ribs are broken, but I admit that I’m not 100% — I just can’t seem to get all my air and I swear I could sleep as soon as I sit down in a chair.  I am, however, doing my best to keep moving.  The pup and I are about to head out for our daily walk, and when I return I will take up where I left off on the 1512 half-square triangles for Mike’s quilt.  I think I have at least 756 of them made and I’ve begun to sew most of them together.  I have stacked up the blocks for the first quarter of the quilt and have enough (I think) for the second quarter.  We’ll keep going.  Who knows?  Maybe this can go into MQX in the daily bed category before going to Mike?

In the meanwhile, here is a pic of the crew at Silver Falls, out in our idyllic setting, on Saturday evening before dinner:

That’s me over on the right, aiming the remote shutter release at the camera.  I’ve got to find ways to be more discrete!

P.S.  I forgot to mention that most of the gals in the group assured our newbie that I was not drunk or on drugs.  I’m just (as you all know) one of those people who opens their mouth and then is responsible (or irresponsible) for whatever comes out.  I generally just go with the stream of consciousness, and I think she couldn’t handle it.  Oh well!  Watch where you sit!


Well, I think I may have waited too long to call the doctor back.  I had that horrible pain in my chest and lungs last week and it started to go away, so I figured I was on the mend.  The sinus stuff has all but cleared up and I figured I was in the clear.  Yesterday when I got up, I could barely move.  Every twist and turn or just getting up and down from a chair was really bad.  Preparing to blow my nose and then doing it created enough pressure to make me feel like my right lung would explode.  😦  I finally gave in and called the doctor’s office.  I now have prescription cough syrup, cough pills, and an inhaler, but I’m still not moving all that fast today.  I’m still battling through this damn thing though.  Ozzie and I decided to go out for a walk on the power canal and Walterville Pond yesterday.  Much more scenic than the streets of Eugene.  I didn’t do too badly in the car, but within the first half mile of the walk, I so wanted to turn back.  I couldn’t walk without wincing.  I decided I had to do it though, and we made it.  Probably a total of about 4.5 miles, as we parked at the power canal instead of my sister’s.  She has out-of-town company, so we didn’t want to interfere.

The pain is still pretty sharp today.  I have, however, managed laundry, cleaning the kitchen, another walk with the dog (probably only 3 miles today), and a nice nap in the adirondack chair in the shade in the backyard.  The weather here is just gorgeous.  I did want to go right back to sleep when I woke up, but I’m getting my second wind (a little difficult through squeaky lungs), and I think I’ll do some sewing.

While I was waiting for my prescriptions last night, I sort of browsed around the store, and was going to buy some more chicken soup to help my situation, as I finished all the stuff I made at the outset of this plague, including all the containers I froze.  I cannot believe all the chemicals in chicken soup at the store!  I just couldn’t buy it.  No way I’m putting that stuff in my body.  I recommend you all really read the labels on the things you eat.  Try your best not to eat anything that comes in a package.  Natural food is much better.  Okay, off my soap box.  I’m off to get a little more done today!

Coming or going?

Well, I think I may be getting better at last.  The mucus is down to a minimum, but I think I may have cracked a rib from all the coughing.  I awoke yesterday in extreme pain every time I tried to move.  After morning coffee it seemed to get a little better.  I couldn’t reach my sister to see if we were going to do our Friday walk, so I decided to take Ozzie back to the UO to play ball on the quad.  Much drier than most of the dog parks there, and I didn’t want to end up having to give him a bath.  Once we got in the car, I realized I couldn’t really turn the steering wheel in the normal manner.  I had to shuffle it along, as my arms couldn’t make the big arcs without a lot of pain.  Of course, when you’re sick, the brain doesn’t quite make the connection that this means you’re going to have a lot of trouble throwing the ball for the dog!  geez.  Anyway, I managed to toss the ball using the chucker and by stifling my desires to scream.  I got Ozzie exhausted and came back home.  I guess it’s here I’ll stay till my ribs ease up.  I haven’t managed much but napping on the couch, a little computer work, some dishes, and a bit of piecing some already cut quilt blocks. I feel like I need a binder for my chest so I don’t disturb the ribs.  Just getting up and down out of a chair is not fun.  But, the coughing is now much less frequent (after three bottles of Robitussin, about six boxes of tissues, and a substantial supply of Mucinex), and I think I must be on the mend.  If not, and the pain is just the start of something new, I hope it takes me quickly.  I’m much too tired to put up with this much longer!  Thankfully, Ms. Drama Queen, I really do think I’ll live.  I’m off to sit in the sun, which has luckily showed up today, and I’ll anxiously wait for tonight’s Super Moon.  Very nice of Ma Nature to bring me some get well presents!

May already?

Wow – this year seems to be zipping by at an alarming rate of speed.  I’m still the mucus woman from planet slime.  I can’t seem to shake this awful cold.  At least I’ve been up and off the couch.  Out for walks with the dog, up to Portland for a visit to the wholesaler yesterday, and, after today’s dog walk, I think I may get some quilting in.  At some point, you just have to burn all the nasty disease tissues and try to get on with life.  I just hope this manages to get out of my life soon.  I’m sick of being sick!  At any rate, playing with fabric and notions does a bit to cheer a girl up, so today I’m going to do a bit of playing.  Plus, there’s a new update to the IQ – magnets and shape shifting – that I’m dying to play with, so I think I’ll put my practice piece on and give it a go.  I’ve got a few small quilts here to do for others and I need to call a client about a double wedding ring I need to pick up.  I called her last week and she said she was in no hurry.  I guess by the sound of my voice, she wasn’t anxious to catch the plague by having me come and pick the quilt up.  Can’t say as I blame her.  Perhaps by the end of the week, I’ll sound healthy enough to go and get it from her?  Let’s hope.

Looks like the weather will be typical spring for the next few days – showers with sun breaks.  Keeps life interesting, that’s for sure.  I have to do some clean-up in the back yard.  My sweet nurse Ozzie did get a bit frustrated with my illness over the past week and a half, and I noticed a whole box of Swiffer floor cleaning pads that was in the laundry room (on the way from the kitchen to the back yard) has been shredded over the back yard.  Also, the few herb plants I bought the day I got back from MQX, while I was still jet lagged and didn’t realize just how ill I was, have been thoroughly chewed and distributed over the yard.  I may find thyme, oregano, and parsley sprouting all over the place in the next few weeks.  Oh well, can’t say as I blame the little guy for trying to have a little fun.  He’s much happier now that we’re back to doggie Facebook!