Aloha!

I’m home!  I had a wonderful time and wished you were all there!

Linda LeiI arrived in Kona at about 5:30 p.m., looking a bit disheveled, as I had been sleeping on the plane!  Donna brought me this gorgeous lei.  It smelled like heaven.

We had dinner out on her lanai overlooking Kona.

KonaI know you will feel sorry for me (NOT!) that I ate most of my meals in this spot.  The weather was so beautiful and warm there, though it was frozen fog back home in Eugene.  Still, I’m the odd woman who goes to Hawaii and still wears my wool socks and sweatshirt because, as you know, I’m always cold!  At least my toes thawed out while I was there and there were some days when I managed to take the sweatshirt off because I warmed up enough.

We downloaded updates for the Intelliquilter the next morning and set to work learning the new tools included with the upgrade.  In the evening, we went to dinner at Sam Choy’s on Ali’i Drive.  The food was excellent, but the view was even better.

Sunset from Sam ChoysWe then went to walk around old town Kailua Kona, and the first thing I did was drop my camera and break the lens!  Well, the lens mount, so the pictures all came out blurry.  I investigated getting the lens fixed, but the price was twice what it cost to get a new lens, so I opted for that.  Unfortunately, it didn’t arrive till I got home, but I did have my Droid to take photos with.  I prefer my camera, as it has advanced anti-shake technology for my tremor, but the Droid did okay for the most part.

On Friday morning, the rep from Trans Pacific Textiles came to Donna’s house, and a whole bunch of people showed up for a fabric fest!  There were so many beautiful things to see — batiks, children’s prints, indigos, asian fabrics, etc.  All the folks who were buying would hold something up and say, “I like this and would like to get 10-15 yards.  Does anyone want some?”  And, then they’d all pile on and order a bunch.  I think the rep left with a hefty order and a big smile on her face!

Decisions decisions Fabric galore Viv Fabric fest 2 Fabric fest

 

In between learning things on the IQ, we went to the farmer’s market, the gym, to the Aloha Quilters Guild meeting, and to Catherine’s house (another APQS quilter).  She had the most beautiful poinsettia growing by her front walk.

Catherines poinsettias

 

And, she had this huge avocado tree with the most delicious, not to mention enormous, avocados on it.  We had one with lunch!

Catherines Avocado Tree

 

See on the left-hand side of the picture, in the bright sunshine?  That huge thing is a delicious avocado hanging from the tree.  Catherine has another lovely view of the Pacific from her house.

View from Catherines LR

 

On Sunday, Catherine came over to Donna’s for a demonstration of all the IQ can do, and then we headed downtown for lunch.  I can’t remember the name of this place, but I think it was Puka Bowl.  The food was great!  Here is Donna, me, and Catherine.

Donna Linda Catherine

 

Boy, do I need a haircut!  And, yes, I’m wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt and sweatshirt while everyone else is wearing tank tops!  OY.

We worked a lot on Monday, went to the gym, and then Tuesday, we got up and went to Volcano National Park.  We went around the island and stopped in Hilo at an orchid farm, where Donna and Viv put a very large dent in their purses by buying many of the gorgeous orchids.  I apparently have not formatted those photos yet, so they’ll have to wait for another post.

Anyway, I enjoyed staying with Donna, who was a very gracious hostess, has a lovely home, and is a whirlwind of energy.  She has a very productive sewing business, making quilts, children’s clothing, and doing alternations in addition to longarm quilting.  She had so many fun things planned for me that we didn’t get to go over so many IQ things, but I’ll send her my class handouts, so hopefully, that will help.  I had the best time!

 

 

 

 

I’m leavin’ on a jet plane!

Well, I’m all packed, I’ve got my boarding passes printed off, and I’m going to have to go to bed really soon so I can get up and get to the airport by 4:00 a.m.  GROAN!  I have a feeling I won’t sleep one little bit all the way there, but I did manage to change my seat to a window seat, so I can lean against the fuselage and go to sleep!  Long flights bore me and I get motion sick, so trying to read is not really an option for me.  I do well if I have a window seat and can just lean over and fall asleep.  Seeing as I have to get up so early, I’ll probably sleep like the dead.

Not sure what my internet connectivity will be like while I’m away, so I may have to wait till I get back to post pictures, but if I can do it while I’m there, I’ll let you all have a peek at what I’m up to.  Can you tell I’m excited?  I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii, and now I’m doing it!  Woooo hooooooo!

Starting to pack!

Number 1 item on the list?  The camera!  And extra batteries.  Did I tell you I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii?  I’m so excited.  Warmth, beauty, friends, quilting, volcanoes . . . what more could a girl want?  I will be so glad to get out of this cold.  There is hope for today though.  For some reason, the sun is out!  No fog has rolled up from the river in this direction (not yet, anyway), and I’m hoping we may actually get above freezing.  Putting off the dog walk for later, in hopes of a little heat in the day!

Nothing succeeds like excess

Have you ever had your nose to the grindstone, working away at something, being happy with what you’re doing, and when you finally come to the end, find out you’ve really messed up, but in a good way?  I don’t know what I was thinking or, perhaps I wasn’t thinking at all.  I finished up my nine-patch blocks for the QOV I started on New Year’s Day to find that I’d made 84 nine-patches instead of 42.  I guess I just got in the groove, was thinking that I had approximately 40 strips, but didn’t stop to think that I’d be making more than one block from each strip.  So!  It appears there will be a second quilt from this same fabric in the works sometime in the future.  All I need is the setting triangles, the plain blocks, and some borders.  I’ve got plenty of plain fabric for the first two, but will have to hunt up some border fabric.  Anyway, now I know why it was taking so long despite my continual sewing!  Who knew?

It has been horribly cold here lately, below freezing, which is not all that usual for us here in the Willamette Valley.  Now, I realize that 28 degrees as the high for the day isn’t really all that cold.  I used to live in Geneva, NY, so I know cold.  However, when it’s clear in the upper atmosphere here, the fog rolls up from the rivers and we get frozen fog.  It is not a nice thing.  You walk outside in it, and you are instantly coated with a layer of frost.  Brrr.  Dark, damp, cold to the bone.  Give me a nice dry +5° with bright sunshine any day over the frozen fog.  And, in two days, I’m off to Hawaii, so give me heat!  Have to get the house cleaned up for the house sitter, get the pooch ready to go to my sister’s, as the house sitter will be bringing her own dog, and I have to pack!  Best get off the computer.

Three steps forward, one step back

Geez.  I’ve been perking along since the new year (actually before), keeping the house clean, getting some sewing done, getting some quilting done, organizing, etc.  I have really been enjoying my little cottage since Tuesday, when they fixed my heating ducts.  It is so warm and toasty in here, I think I may actually like this little wreck of a house again!  Wednesday I ran errands, got a little shopping for the trip done (I really needed one of those tiny tubes of toothpaste), and Thursday, I started feeling twinges of sciatica in my left leg as I scurried around quilting, etc.  I’m thinking it may have been caused by the stress of sending my resume’ into the UO for part-time work so I can help pay for all these home repairs lately.  Anyway, by Thursday night, the searing pain down my left leg was so bad, I couldn’t sleep.  I could relieve the pain for about ten minutes at a time with an ice pack and the massage pad, but it got really bad.  I do have a standing prescription for pain medication – yes, a three-level spinal fusion means pain for the rest of your life – but the pain pills weren’t helping and I hate taking the darn things to begin with.  So, Friday morning, I called the doc.  Fortunately, I managed to get right in.  I ended up waiting about 45 minutes in the exam room — unusual for my doc’s office, but with the flu rampaging around, I wasn’t surprised.  I had to spend those minutes pacing the room, as I couldn’t sit down.  Luckily, when the doc finally came in, he had some remedies for me.  I got a shot of toradol (anti-inflammatory) right into my tush, which really helped to numb things, and a prescription for some muscle relaxers and some prednisone.  I came home, got the ice pack back out, took the muscle relaxers and a pain pill, and slept for about 18 hours.  I felt so much better when I got up!  I’ve put the prednisone aside in case the pain comes back with a vengeance, but I’m really hoping I won’t need to take it.

It is a huge blessing to have a doctor who has some pain issues of his own.  He never thinks I’m in there whining for pain medication or that I’m lying.  Actually, yesterday, I told him I had plenty of pain pills, I just needed something to make this STOP!!  If I hadn’t driven myself to his office, which he was astounded that I had, he probably would have given me something to knock me out, but he knew I needed to drive home.  I’m kind of glad he didn’t give me any of that stuff, because it messes me up for days.

So, crisis averted for now.  I’ll take the prednisone to Hawaii with me in case I get desperate, but I’m hoping I will not need it this time around.  I’m back to sewing and Ozzie and I took a trip to the UO today to play ball.  It’s friggin’ freezin’ out there, Mr. Bigglesworth, but we had fun anyway.  He’s sleeping soundly after all his exercise.

Hawaii in a week!

Wow.  How did I not tell you all about this?  As you know, my life is full of calamities, but you should know that it is also full of blessings.  Things happen to me in the strangest of ways.  In early November I went out to brunch with my brother Ted and sister in law Becca.  The weather was gloomy, and somehow, Becca’s brother Dan came up in the conversation.  Dan and his wife have a place they bought from her mom’s estate over in Hawaii, and I asked Becca if he ever allowed folks to stay there, as I badly wanted to go to Hawaii (I’ve never been) and lodging always seemed to be the most horrible expense.  She said she’d ask, but there was no need.  Two days later, I got an email from a friend/acquaintance/colleague who invited me to the big island of Hawaii to teach her to use her Intelliquilter.  All expenses paid!  Sometimes being a quilting teacher pays off in the best of ways!  I am so excited to go.  Not only do I love my Intelliquilter and love to share what it can do, but I also have a fascination with volcanoes, and I’ll be able to see a lot of lava on this trip.

lavaAs I have not yet been to Hawaii, this photo is from the USGS website on Hawaii volcanic eruption.  I hope to have my own photos of lots of cool Hawaii stuff when I return home.  Of course, when I’m not out lava hunting, I’ll be quilting and teaching IQ!  What could be more fun?

Yes, I will miss my little dog, but he will spend the week with his cousin Kallie out in the country, so he’ll be very entertained.  My niece, who is currently living at home with a teenage brother, will come and house sit for me.  So . . . everyone gets a vacation!

 

Is it hot in here, or is it just me?

No, it’s not the hot flashes but, yes, it is WARM in my house again!  The heating company came this morning to replace the ducts under my house.  The old ducts were metal and they were all horribly rusted.

Rusty ductsLovely, right?  That tube with the rusty bottom that is mostly missing, is one of the former heating ducts under my house.  No wonder it felt like I had the air conditioning on when I turned the heat on!  I can hardly wait to get the bill – NOT!  But, I’m sure it will be worth every penny they charge me.  The poor kid who had to crawl under there and do all of that work should be given a medal.  Hopefully, my heating bill will go down a bit too.  We’ve got snow in the forecast for this weekend (a rarity in Eugene), so I’m glad to know I will be snug as a bug in a rug.

Now, to pay for this extraordinary expense, I’ve emailed the UO and let them know I’d like to come back to work part-time.  They emailed back asking me to send my resume’, but they are fairly certain they can find a number of spots from which I may choose. I’ll wait till I get back from Hawaii to work, and I expect I’ll only work part-time, but I’ll feel better about plopping a huge expense on to my line of credit at the credit union.  Thank goodness they stand at the ready to help me out!

 

So much to do

Well, I made a run to Costco today.  I needed vegetables and yogurt, and needed to pick up some Krill Oil for my sister and brother-in-law.  Got that done, although there was no kale at Costco, so I’ll have to go back in a few days.  I hate it when they’re out of kale, because I eat a lot of it.  I bought spinach instead, but it’s a poor substitute.

I got my setting triangles cut for my Quilt of Valor, so I can probably put the rest of that quilt together tomorrow.  I need to stay home for the day, because the heating company is coming to repair/replace the heating ducts under my house.  Since only two out of the six ducts are working properly, I think it’s a good idea to do the repair.  I’ve needed to use a space heater in the center of the house for the past month and a half because it’s been so cold.  I’m lucky that we’ve only have about one week of really cold weather during that time, and that more cold weather is coming this weekend, so the timing is good.  So, I will be downstairs sewing while the guys crawl under my decrepit little house.  I hope it’s a bit more snug when they get done!

Once they’re gone, I need to get some quilting done upstairs.  I need to finish a few quilts I must bind, and design the quilting for a batik labyrinth quilt I have to do for a client.  I need to move all these out before I leave for Hawaii, get a list of tasks ready for my house sitter, do a little more cleaning, laundry, pack . . . yep!  Sounds like things are moving as usual around here.

Oooph!

Well, the tree is down and has been wheeled out into the garden shed.  Now I need an ice pack for my back and I really think I need a nap!  All was well until I tried to pry the middle section of the tree out of the bottom section.  I’m allergic to most trees and, while I manage to navigate in a world in which so many exist, I can’t have real ones in the house, so I have an artificial tree.  The whole thing must weigh over 200 pounds.  The top is easy to deal with, and the bottom really isn’t all that bulky, but that middle section is probably more than 50% of the tree.  I finally had to tip the whole thing over to dislodge that middle piece.  I put way too much pressure on my back.  No pain, but I feel the strain, and ice will do the job.

I think I’ll read and hope I don’t fall asleep, or I’ll never sleep tonight.  I hate that!

Busy, busy!

I’m still here, just haven’t had much time to sit down at the computer lately.  On Friday, I went to the coast with my sister-in-law and good friend, Becca.  We were assisting a friend who was attempting to evict a former boyfriend from her property.  A situation with which, as you know, I have experience.  Unfortunately, we needed to wait for the Sheriff to arrive with the summons before we could go in and change locks, etc., so all we ended up doing was offering a little moral support and, possibly, comic relief.  We ended up needing to come home before the sheriff arrived, but it was a good day nonetheless.  The sheriff did eventually show up and my friend got the door locks changed before dark.  Sometimes just having possession of your property back is very comforting.

We got back to town in time to meet my brother, and his daughter and her new boyfriend for dinner.  That was very enjoyable except that the restaurant had some plumbing trouble, and they decided to open the doors to air the place out, despite the temperature outside hovering near 40°F.  My nose is generally very sensitive, and I couldn’t smell anything bad, but they insisted.  I cannot bear cold very well and, despite zipping my parka all the way up and wearing my sister-in-law’s jacket over my legs, I was freezing.  So, I got a martini to warm me up.  It did help quite a bit, but proved disastrous once I got home.  I sat down on the couch and rejoiced in being warm at last, and the next thing I knew, it was about 11 p.m.  I had planned to quilt all evening, and had, instead, to settle for quilting between 11:30 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.  Some kids just have to learn the hard way!

Yesterday, I spent most of the day sewing with friends at Our Sewing Room in Springfield.  I made good progress on my Quilt of Valor, got to chat and laugh a lot, and then came home to add my blocks to the pile of sewing and embroidery on the kitchen table. Busy JanuaryI think I only need to make about five more 9 patch blocks, cut my setting triangles, and then I can piece the whole top together.  I already have the border strips cut, so as soon as I’ve got the top together and can measure, I’ll cut their length and slap them on!  I may have the quilt done before I leave for Hawaii.

Today I’ll take down the Christmas tree at long last.  All I can say is, getting old is a lot tougher than I ever planned.  I keep the storage containers for the tree ornaments in the garden shed.  Somehow, between putting the tree up and now, I lost the key to the garden shed.  Now, I always know where that key is, because I need to get into that shed much more often than I would like. There are tools for fixing the decrepit house out there, and I always seem to need something.  I keep the key in the right front pocket of my jeans.  Every time I change my jeans, I just transfer the key.  But, for some reason, the key was now gone and I was so upset with myself.  Not wanting to leave the tree up till next Christmas, I had my brother come up and cut the lock off.  This was on Friday right before dinner.  So, what did I find on Saturday morning?  Yes, the key to the shed!  While my sister and brother in law were here for Christmas, I had them use my room, and I opted for the twin bed in the spare room.  I came home from the dog park with Ozzie one day fairly well covered in mud, and when I got out of the shower, I put my dirty clothes down in the spare room instead of putting them in the hamper in my bedroom.  The spare room is also my sewing room (when I have not expanded to the kitchen, as I have now).  So, when I walked in there yesterday to get some of my sewing equipment to go sew with my friends, there were my muddy jeans, with the key in the right front pocket!!  ARGH!  Anyway, my brother says he can weld my lock back together, so I’ll have a spare lock in case I ever have to do this again.  What a maroon, right?tree 2012

Well, off to denude the tree and then get back to more sewing and quilting.  I will not fall asleep on the couch.  I will not be lazy.  Repeat this mantra often!