Tuesday, June 28, 2016

So hot

The past couple of days have been pretty low energy and I think it's because it has been over 100 here in Northern California.  It's supposed to stay that way for the next few days and then stay in the upper 90's.  I try to get out early in the morning to do some work around the house, but by 10am it's too hot to do much and I retreat into the house to work on quilting or sewing.

Today I've decided I need to get back to work cleaning out the kitchen.  Yesterday I took a whole bunch of towels that I had purchased to do some embroidery on, but then decided it was a project I didn't have time for right now.  Instead of storing the towels for 6 months or more, I would donate them to our local homeless shelter.  They could use the towels now and in 6 months if I want to make some hooded towels as gifts, I can go out and buy some more.  Then, I will buy what I need, not the entire store worth, just because they are on sale.

I also took a lot of fleece blankets to the shelter.  I know, it's 100 degrees outside now, but at night everyone needs a blanket to sleep with.  They were happy to have them and I was happy to get them all out of the house and car.  The new homeless shelter is so beautiful and so big.  I read online they have 9 families living there right now (it's a women/children shelter) and have recently graduated several families out to permanent housing and jobs.  It is a very successful shelter and is supported by the thrift store I donate all of my excess 'stuff' to.  They have actually expanded the thrift store to two locations, one for furniture and household items and one for clothing.  They get so many donations that some days they have to shut down their receiving early so they can sort and put away all that they get.

I love shopping there first for furniture and clothes I need because I know I will get a great deal and know that the money I spend will support a good cause.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

memory quilt

 This is a memory quilt for a former student whose mother committed suicide last summer.  Memory quilts are hard to make, not because they are difficult skill wise, but because I'm always afraid that the recipient won't like the finished product.  I've never had anyone say they don't like their finished quilt, so I don't know why I worry, but it takes me forever to plan out what I am going to do with the pieces of clothing that are given to me.  This time I was only given three t shirts and some fabric.
The student's favorite color is purple, so I made a bunch of purple hearts.  The red fabric and the black fabric with the egyptian dogs was part of the gifted fabric.  The backing was also gifted-a dress and some more fabric.  The three t shirts are there, plus two pieces from the backs which I joined together to make the fourth panel.  There is a graduation party this afternoon so I had a deadline for the quilt.  I had planned to start it last week and then every day I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do for the quilt.  Thursday rolled around and I finally cut the t shirts.  I sewed the hearts on Friday and Saturday and then Saturday I finished the top and quilted it and this morning put the binding on and made the label.

I had this student 3 of her 4 years at my high school, 2 as a student in class and one as a Teaching Assistant and we spent a lot of time talking about things that were going on in her family.  She's almost like another adopted daughter so I feel blessed to be able to do this for her.  She didn't have a mom growing up because he mom left the family when she was really little and she finally reached out when this student was in high school, which was good, but hard and then to lose her again was really rough.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Quilts for Canada change of plans

Here's a letter I sent out to my Binky Patrol chapter today.  I've been having some trouble coordinating with the Quilts for Canada people and there is a really big fire here in California that started yesterday.  I was thinking that instead of working so hard to get quilts out of the country, it might be better to keep them local.  I'm hoping that nobody objects so the quilts will bring comfort to those who have lost so much.

I hope your summer is going well and you have found some time for quilting.  As you know, we have been working on quilts to send to the people who have lost homes in the Fort McMurray area of Canada and our goal was to send them off by July 15.  I think we have about 100 quilts either finished or almost finished.  I was hoping to get FedEx to ship the quilts for us, like they did with the Quilts for Japan in 2011 when we collected 1144.

There have been a couple of snags along the way.  First, the people who are collecting the quilts have been having to pay a tariff on all of the quilts coming in from the US, which has added up to a lot of money for them.  Second, in order for us to ship through FedEx for free, we need a non profit on the receiving end to accept the quilts.  I've asked three times and been told they would have an address and tax ID number for me by the next day (all three times) and I still haven't received the information so I could start the mailing process.  Perhaps the thought of having to pay more for quilts from the US is causing the stall, or perhaps they are just overwhelmed with the number of donations they have already received, I'm not quite sure.

I wanted to ask if anyone had a problem with changing out plans to send the quilts we've collected already to those who have lost homes in the Kern County fire that started yesterday?  It is a quickly moving fire that has already burned more than 80 homes and killed 2 people.  It's near Lake Isabella.

Carla has volunteered to deliver the quilts for us when she takes her daughter down for a college visit to San Diego in July, so I know the quilts will make it to their destination and will bring comfort to fire victims.

Let me know if you think this is OK and I hope you will continue to support our efforts.  If you hear of someone in need of the comfort of a quilt, please let me know via email or with a phone call.  I always keep a couple of quilts on hand.

Thanks for all you do for the kids in crisis.

Marilyn Lewis
Vacaville Binky Patrol Area Coordinator

Thursday, June 23, 2016

today's adventure-a new water heater

 So, after getting the estimate on all of the repairs for the house, I called the plumber who installed the garbage disposal and had him come out to give us an estimate on the water heater.  He estimated about $600 less than the contractor, so we went ahead and had him do the work today.  He showed up at 9am this morning (appointment was at 10) and I was out running errands.  I had left the garage door open so he could get in and by the time I got home, he had the estimate ready to go.  After I gave the go ahead, he went off to get the heater and worked from about 10-2 installing the water heater.
 We got a new 50 gallon, which was the same size as our old one.  It isn't the most energy efficient (I think it is $238 a year and the old one was $158) but hopefully this one will last as long as the old one.  The house was build in 1992 and the water heater was installed when the house was built.  Not bad for something that gets used every day.  I plan to actually drain this one every year like you are supposed to and maybe prolong the life of it.  But, who knows, maybe by not draining the old one, it helped it survive for so long. :)
I still have to go scrub the mold form around the base.  It didn't rot out the wood so the base didn't need to be replaced, but the mold looks ugly.  I got some rubber gloves and some SOS pads and will use bleach on it and hopefully it won't take too much elbow grease to get it looking better.  This one has a drain pan underneath, so in another 25 years when it starts to leak, I will notice it before it spills onto the floor.

Another project tackled.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What doesn't kill you...

So, I'm still working on cleaning and getting rid of stuff.  Today, the old fridge and freezer that haven't worked for years are going to the curb for pick up tomorrow.  Yesterday a bunch of ewaste got dropped off at Goodwill.  Who knew they took ewaste?  I don't take things to Goodwill because the workers at the donation place aren't as friendly or helpful as the ones at the Opportunity House Thrift store.  That store supports our local homeless shelter and they come out and unload your car or truck for you, then, you drive up and they give you an itemized receipt.  Yesterday at Goodwill, the old guy comes out to the truck and says he will bring me a cart so I can unload.  He brings the cart to the sidewalk about 15 feet away, then stands there as I unload all 10 heavy things form the truck myself.  Then, he doesn't move the cart, he just takes the things off the cart and puts them inside the building.  It was the weirdest thing ever.  I could have moved them the extra 2 feet into the building for him, but maybe someone was watching him inside the building?  Then, while I was unloading a guy came up and asked if he was taking furniture that day.  He asked a whole bunch of questions about the furniture, like is it stained, ripped, new, perfect?  We only want it if it is perfect so we can make a lot of money off it.  I almost told the guy to take his furniture to the other thrift store.
Part of my cleaning involved taking in my younger daughter's trophies and having the name plates removed and put on one plaque.  I had this done last year and it has been sitting all year waiting for me to decide what to put on the top.  I had the hardest time figuring out what to put on top and finally decided on just her name.  I love the plaque so much more than all of the trophies from soccer, tennis and showing guinea pigs.  It takes up so much less space and I'm more likely to hang it on the wall than display all of her trophies.  Now to do this with my older daughter's trophies.  She has at least 3 times as many.  Neither daughter wants their trophies or the plaque (at least for now) so this is more for me and Im happy with how it came out so that's all that really matters.
 Today I took a break from cleaning and went with my 'adopted' daughter to IKEA.  I've never been before and it was an interesting experience.  She says she's an expert and thought we could get in and out in 1 1/2 hours.  3 1/2 hours later we barely escaped with our lives.  She just bought a new house and had to get a lot of furniture.  I'm more of a thrift store shopper so when she's going around getting a table and desk and kitchen cabinets and file cabinets and spending top dollar and then knowing she has to still assemble them when she gets home, I was not thinking that was much fun, but she was really enjoying herself.  I guess it takes all kinds of people to make this world go round.

I did see a really nice wall cubby
organizer thing for $200 that would make my sewing room look nicer and help organize my fabric better, but after getting the estimate on all of the repairs I'm glad I didn't get it.

All total, the estimate was $7000.  I called a plumber to give us a second opinion on the water heater (the first guy wanted $2100) and he said it would be between $1200 and $1500 so I think we will go with the plumber who is coming out tomorrow to take a look and if so, he will fix it tomorrow.  We will probably have to do the painting ourselves, which hopefully will save another $1000.  The contractor bundled a lot of the jobs into one price, so I'm not sure how much each thing would cost.

Monday, June 20, 2016

ew, gross

When the plumber was out to fix the garbage disposal, he gave me a coupon for $100 off a new water heater.  I knew out water heater was coming upon its last days because it is as old as the house, which was built in 1993.  He said not to replace it until it starts to leak.  Today when I was cleaning out the garage, I got enough stuff moved from in front of the water heater to see that sure enough, it is leaking and has been for quite some time.  There's some pretty mold growing around the base of the heater.

I had a handyman coming to look at some other repair jobs and while he was here, I had him look at this and he says it needs replacing.

The other things are the front door, which opens if you lift the handle up, but not down-he says it wasn't installed correctly, the sliding glass door, which only slides if you are HULK with super human strength, the drywall in the ceiling from an old ceiling leak, some more drywall replaced in the garage-both from a roof leak and from critters-either rats or squirrels eating their way into the walls and the garage door, which won't open because those same critters ate their way into the wires of the opener.

We also need a few of the smoke detectors replaced since they are falling apart.  We have some new ones, but the ones that are hardwired into the house have seen better days.

I guess I had better start doing research into water heaters now!

Little things add up

Today a handyman comes to give us a quote for fixing some things around here...the sliding glass door that doesn't slide anymore, the drywall that has stains from the roof leak that was there when we moved in 11 years ago.  We finally got the roof fixed about 3-4 years ago, but never did get the drywall fixed.  The front door handle that I tried to fix and which works if you lift up, but not down (I think it's supposed to work both ways!), the faucet in the backyard that leaks.  All of these little things that will get caught in a home inspection.  There is still such a long way to go!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Taking care

 Last night after the yard guys left, I took a walk around the backyard and really looked at how nice of a yard I have.  I have been so blessed with this huge yard and house and it really hit me how I am not taking care of the things I have.  I started to feel really guilty for taking all of the 'stuff' I have for granted.  I make excuses for why I don't care for the things I have as I go out to get more and more and more.
 I'm really glad for the whole adoption process and making me really take a look at every single item I own.  I'm going through every drawer and closet and cupboard in the house and giving away or throwing away about half of what is in there.  I've been collecting things for so long and holding onto stuff I haven't used in 30 years that it was so much easier not to have to make the decision to get rid of something.  The bridesmaid dress I wore to my sister's wedding didn't take up that much space in the front closet, but why did I hold onto it for 29 years?  Did I really think I was ever going to wear it again?  Did I really think my girls would want to wear a dress from the 80's?  I'm sure if I go to the thrift store a year from now, it will still be there if I really need it back.
While yesterday's great yard cleanup was encouraging because the yard went from total disaster to fabulous in 4 hours, the inside of the house is a much slower process.  I watch the home improvement shows and in 30 minutes they can transform a house like my backyard.  The reality is every day I go through a couple of drawers and cupboards.  I clean off a few shelves in the fridge.  I sort through piles that have been sitting for months or years and slowly, if I am able to keep at it, the house will become more empty and more functional and more welcoming to guests.  I am slowly cleaning up the sewing room by quilting every day too.  I have lots of quilt tops to work through and every day the pile is getting a little smaller.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

the yard-after 4 hours of work by 5 people

 We have a really nice yard.  It was just hidden under all of those weeds!  It took a team of 5 people almost 4 hours to find it.  They worked really hard.  I can only imagine how long this would have taken me.
 Probably forever since I tend to lose focus after about 15 minutes on any given task.  I thought they were done after about 2 hours and it was looking really good and they kept finding more things to clean out.  They kept hauling out can after can of grass clippings and tree branches and piles of weeds.  They even dug up a dead tree when I hadn't asked them to.  They left these grapevines because they are loaded with grapes.
 The dogs aren't sure what to do with themselves.  They kept barking at the workers, but are so excited to have room to run and sniff.
 See, I told you there was a trampoline behind all of that tall grass.  Now, hopefully with some daily watering, the grass will start to green up.  I hired the guy to come back every two weeks to mow and edge, so again, hopefully there will be something for him to mow in two weeks when he comes back.  He fixed the sprinklers too.  There was a wire that had come out and he was able to figure out which one and replace it.
 This is the fig tree and the birds were happy that I left it for them.
 This is what the figs look like until they finally fall off.  Anybody have any idea what kind they are and why they don't change color or seem to get ripe?  Maybe they need more water?
There are more grapevines along the tennis court fence that will get trimmed once they are harvested.  They are fully loaded again this year.  I'm so excited to have my backyard back again and to have the help with the chores I hate.  Now I can focus on the front yard and maybe with a smaller area to work on, I will be able to keep up.

The yard again-entropy

October 2012 we had a new backyard put in.

Feb 2015 I had a guy come in and clean out the overgrown weeds and now look at it.

I guess a yard requires maintenance!   Just like anything else in life, if you let it go, it isn't going to get better, things will start to decay and revert back to their natural state, especially when you live next to an open field where this is what nature looks like.
 I do have a couple of excuses for letting it get this bad.  First, we have been in a drought for 4 years in California, so we weren't supposed to water anything.  The beautiful lawn I had put in started to die from lack of water, then when I did try to water, the sprinklers broke.  I had a guy come out and fix them, but they broke again.
 This winter we had quite a bit of rain and whenever I had the time to mow, it was either raining or too wet to mow.  By the time it dried out, my mower had died.  I tried getting it fixed, but when I took it in to school to have the students in the auto shop work on it, they made it worse.  That's what I get for being cheap.
 So, I bought a new lawnmower, but every time I tried to mow, it would die because it's a lawnmower, not a jungle eater!  Poor thing just couldn't handle the tall grass.  I have a weed eater, but again, it's for domestic use, not industrial, 4 foot tall grass and every time I try to use it, the string breaks and I just give up.  I'm more of a no collar worker who isn't very good at sticking with a project very long if I don't see success.
 The ground squirrels really do love the habitat back here.  Behind this tall grass is a trampoline.  Can you see it?  Neither can I.
 I was so excited about this volunteer fig tree.  It has lots of figs, but then never turn color.  They stay green and then get mushy and fall off.  I don't know if that's a special kind of fig or what, but the birds like them.  I've tried picking and eating them and they have no flavor and are pretty icky.  I was hoping that maybe after a couple of years when the tree got bigger, the figs would figure out they were supposed to ripen, instead of just getting gross, but so far no luck.  I will give it another year before tearing it out.  It does provide nice shade for my sewing room window and the birds make great company while sewing, so there is that benefit.
 This little mandarin orange tree has had a lot of fruit the last couple of years.  I expected it to get about 20 feet tall, but it has been here for 10 years and this is it.  I guess it is really a super dwarf tree and this is all the taller it is going to get.  The suckers on it are taller than the actual tree, so those need to go.
And this is the view of our neighbors.  Can you see the cow way out in the distance.  They come up pretty close to the drainage canal on the other side of the gravel road.  It's an access road for the water treatment plant and a nice walking path when I have the motivation to get out and exercise.  This is where all the weeds come from and where the ground squirrels are supposed to live.  Maybe I should put up a sign.

I think I might need to hire year round landscapers to help me deal with the yard.  I have these grand illusions that I can do it all by myself and then the yard looks like this again.

Stay tuned for the 'after' pictures this afternoon.  I always enjoy watching other people do work.  At least it isn't too hot yet.  It's supposed to be over 100 early next week.

Friday, June 17, 2016

cleaning does have some benefits

I know most people get satisfaction from cleaning because they end up with a clean house when they are done, but I have a hard time motivating myself to clean for cleanings sake.  I need to get motivation from other places, like coming across old photo albums.  This is my husband probably 20 years ago when he played competitive tennis.  What a great action shot.  I know he will get a kick out of seeing this and it will bring back some good memories.  I forgot where I had put the old photo albums and today I decided to clean out the front closet.  There are probably 20 albums in there with lots of treasures in them.  Normally I would have quit cleaning to go through the albums, but I'm on a mission to get rid of the clutter that has taken over my life.  I finally gave away the bridesmaid dress I wore for my sister's wedding 29 years ago.  I think I've held onto it long enough.  I think I kept it somehow thinking one of my girls would wear it, but really, that style went out about 28 years ago and someone may use it as dress up from the 80's but I certainly couldn't fit into it again.  That was 50 pounds ago. :)  The more I do this the more I'm beginning to enjoy giving away stuff I haven't used in 30 years and making room for stuff I currently use.  Now that closet will be used to hold quilts that are waiting their turn for quilting.  Now, those are in boxes, or hanging in the kitchen.  Baby steps to a better home.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Non returnable gifts

 My children have started their vacations.  The house is quiet again. I drove my daughter to the San Francisco airport this morning.  There is a reason we don't use that airport, even though it is usually much cheaper to fly into and out of it instead of the Sacramento airport.  It took us 2 1/2 hours to drive there this morning and only took me 1 1/4 hours to get home.  We sat at the bridge toll for over 30 minutes today.  I have a wonderful knack of picking the slowest lane.  Today I picked the lane that everyone wanted to cut into because they either didn't realize their lane was the Fast Track, or knew I was too nice to crash into their car and would let them cut in front of me.  I seriously have to look into getting Fast Track for the 7 times a year I go over a toll bridge.  I have no idea how much it would cost, but whatever the money, it would be worth my time and leg cramp.
 After coming back, the plumber came right on time to install the new garbage disposal.  It's a good thing I had someone come out to do it.  I've put on in before in our old house and I know I could have done it, but it was so nice to just sit on the couch and listen as he hammered away at the old one.  It was so rusted in place he had a really hard time getting it out.  The last guy who installed it didn't do a very good job and left out some parts and that's probably why it started leaking.  I think it was only a couple of years ago when we had it replaced.  I got a smaller one-a Badger 5 only a 1/2 horsepower, which means I have to quit putting everything down the drain.  I know better, but it's so easy and such a habit to just throw all the food scraps into the drain instead of into the trash.  When my class took a tour of the wastewater treatment plant, they told us not to put food scraps down the drain.  I thought they would get composted, but they said they just end up having to do more work to get them out of the water before sending the water back into the bay.  Egg shells are the worst because they don't decompose and the can really wreck your garbage disposal.  Potato peels have clogged my drain more than once and I've learned how to clean out the trap from the outside, saving a few late night house calls from the 24 hour plumber.
 My son made it to Hawaii safely after giving me a bit of a scare.  He told me his flight left at 6am and I figured he's be there by noon, so when it was 2pm and I still hadn't heard from him I started checking the news to see if any planes had crashed.  I was texting and calling him with no response.  Turns out they left at 9am and got in a 3.  It really helps to have the correct information.

My dogs must have realized that I was having a really down day, after the kids left.  I was really tired and took a nap. When I got up, I found this wonderful gift on the living room carpet.  Aren't they just the sweetest things?  Yep, a dead baby squirrel.  When I got home from the airport, they were in the backyard fussing over something and I guess they finally got him.  Thanks guys for trying to cheer me up, but you really shouldn't have.  At least they didn't drop it on me while I was sleeping.

And they are off for adventures

She is going to Miami to visit her older sister for a week and then on to Pennsylvania to teach math to middle school kids for 6 weeks and he is off to Hawaii with his girlfriend and her family.

And I am here cleaning the house.  Who says we don't have fun around here?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Heart blocks


In the midst of cleaning and organizing and celebrating my husband's 50th birthday today, I will be starting a heart quilt using these blocks.  I really like this quilt pattern because it is so quick and easy.  I cut the pieces using my Accuquilt Go! cutter and it is a great scrap buster.  The blocks finish at 12 inches and you can set the hearst all together, or stagger them with the 16 patches like I did here.

Here's the link to the pattern, if you want to make some blocks and sew them into a top.  I've offered to quilt some tops and send them on to the Orlando Quilt Guild to be donated to those affected by the tragedy.  They are hoping for 102, the number of victims and survivors, but if they get more, they will give them to the first responders and doctors and nurses as well.  I'm betting they will have enough to cover all those involved.  If you have a quilt top with hearts that you want to send to me to quilt, just let me know and I'll give you my address.  I have plenty of backing and batting for now.


And here's the link to the original blog post asking for the quilts, so you have an idea of what they are asking for.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The cleaning continues

 With my daughter home for another day, I have a great helper who actually encourages me to get rid of stuff.  Yesterday we tackled the downstairs game closet.  It's a great place to stash stuff and forget about it but yesterday we pulled out everything and got rid of 6 bags of forgotten, unnecessary items.  There were old Halloween costumes and barely used backpacks and PE clothes from my oldest who is now 26.  Some had holes in them and those went straight into the trash and some will be used by my youngest.  The A can fairly easily be turned into an M.
There was a shelf in there that kept falling apart so this morning I went to WalMart and got a couple of sturdy shelves that now hold all of the games and will hold extra blankets that are being washed.  There's even room in there now for all the luggage.  Who knew you could find room for the things you need when you got rid of the stuff you don't ever use?

Do you want to help make quilts for Orlando?


I read about the Orlando Quilt guild collecting quilts and squares to make quilts for the victims and their families.  All the details are being worked out, but if you are interested in helping out, you can read more about it on their blog.  You can make a quilt or make a square or 17 and send them to be assembled.  The pattern for the heart blocks is linked and looks pretty easy.

My husband is friends with a guy in Orlando whose best friend was shot and critically injured.  He plays an online video game with him and has known him online for a couple of years.  It's pretty interesting to me how small of a world this is.

I asked him yesterday if he could get his contact information so I could send him a quilt to give to his friend.  From what the news said this morning, all of the survivors were expected to make it, even the critical ones so that was good news.

Monday, June 13, 2016

A story of Adoption

About 3 weeks ago, my husband mentions that he thinks it would be a good idea if we adopt.  You know, as in a child.  Adoption is something I've always wanted to do.  As a teacher, I see how many kids are out there without parents.  I have one or two almost every year who are in foster care and probably several who have been adopted.  I've always and forever wanted 7 kids, so when my husband mentioned that he was thinking of adding to our family, I started things in motion.  I started asking my friends who have adopted which organizations they went through and asked them their stories.  I contacted a couple of local agencies.  The first one to call me back was Families First http://emqff.org/

I set up an appointment to meet with one of the social workers. My husband wasn't quite sure what hit him.  His one comment about the idea of adoption turned into a full force crazy train!

We had our meeting today and things went so well.  We were sent home with a packet of papers to fill out and fingerprints to get and a CPR class to sign up for.  He already has his CPR certification from being a tennis coach.

The next steps are to get the house cleaned out.  Panic sets in because there is just too much stuff here.  It's one thing having too much stuff and having your own kids, but having too much stuff and asking to take care of other people's kids is something totally different.  I guess the state has standards of what is acceptable and having to walk around buckets of fabric isn't good.

My normal way of cleaning is to throw everything into a bucket and throw that into the garage.  Then, the goal is to go through the stuff in the garage later.  However, later never comes and the house fills up again and now the garage is full.

So, looks like I will be making lots of trips to the thrift store and finally letting go of the excess to make room for what is important.

I appreciate your prayers as we begin this journey and look forward to the blessings God has for us.

James 1:27New International Version (NIV)

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

A week gone already

Time goes by differently when you are on vacation.  It seems to travel at a much quicker pace.  I can't believe a week has gone by already.  Yesterday my son's girlfriend was over for most of the day and the kids played games and hung out together.  It is so nice having a house full of kids.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The best things

Yesterday I drove to San Francisco to pick up my daughter from the airport.  She came home from college for a couple days before she heads off to her summer adventures.  She's going to Florida to visit her sister and then to Pennsylvania to teach for 6 weeks.  It is some math class for middle school kids that she tried to explain to me about how you can count certain numbers but not all numbers, like real numbers you can count and rational numbers you can count like irrational numbers such as pi, which continues on forever. http://www.mathgoodies.com/articles/numbers.html

It's ok if you don't understand either.  Usually during these conversations, I nod my head a lot.  She's really into math and has taken a lot of math classes and she and her brother can have these complicated conversations.  They both try to talk to me about stuff like that and I do my best to remain in the conversation, but the both know I'm just faking it.  Math was never my strong point.

Then, she comes home for a couple of weeks before heading back to her final year of college.  She still hasn't decided what she wants to do after that.  She says she knows she doesn't want to go straight to grad school, but doesn't know what kind of job she could get with a math/economics degree.  She says something with data analysis or project management, but she isn't sure she would like doing that so is hoping to get an internship before settling on a career she hates.

I have a very strong feeling she will fall in love with teaching this summer.  After all, what's not to love about summer's off?  Sure, there are the parents and students and administration issues the other 9 months, but having time to do what you want for 3 months sure is nice.

It was so nice to fall asleep last night to the sound of children laughing.  They sure can get loud when they are all together, but I wouldn't trade that for peace and quiet.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Things get worse before they get better right?

Doing a whole house clean out is rough work.  My house looks like we just moved in or something.  There are boxes and buckets of stuff everywhere.  I had to move all of my stuff out of my son's room so he could move all of his stuff in and my stuff no longer has a home.  I'm trying to make a home by getting rid of stuff I no longer use, but until then, the poor homeless stuff is in the way.  The only real way to clean it up is to get rid of half of the stuff.

I used to like watching the Clean House shows where a crew comes in and helps the homeowner destash by taking everything out and then helping the homeowner go through everything in one hour.  The reality however is it takes way more time and energy than one hour and I don't have a crew of people to help me.  I keep second guessing myself and thinking that if I get rid of something I know I will need it next week.  If only I could find the perfect storage solution, I could somehow make room for all of these treasures.  But what kind of treasure sits in a box for 6 years without being used or looked at?  The last time I did a total clean out, I put dates on the boxes.  That was in the summer of 2010 and many of the boxes haven't been touched since.

Time to make room for new things to come into my life, like peace and joy.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Faith paid off

 I was able to get these two quilts, plus another one done yesterday, despite having a terrible migraine.  It only lasted about 6 hours, which is very unusual.  Normally, when they hit, they are there for the rest of the day.  I've started drinking more water throughout the day, so maybe that is helping.  I also managed to take 10 bags of clothes, a box of books and a box of video games to the thrift store that supports our homeless shelter.  I didn't really feel like going, but was so glad to have made the trip after I went.
I have a lot of things like that where I know something needs to be done and I dread doing the chore, but once it is finished I look back and realize it wasn't as bad as I had thought.  I'm slowly working in the sewing and quilting room (yes, there is a difference) and starting to see floor space again.  I have 20 patches to make for my husband for his tennis party, which I think will be next Saturday.  The fire hasn't been lit under me yet because he doesn't have a definite date set yet.  I also have 87 other projects I want to be working on.

I'm also trying to adjust to having my adult-teenage son living back at home again.  Well, his stuff is living at home anyways.  I helped him move out on Tuesday and I think I've seen him about 2 hours since then.  We are trying to establish new rules for this 'grown up' kid who had all kinds of freedom while away at college and who isn't used to telling mom where he is and when he will be home.

On Wednesday, he took the car and left it with no gas.  Normally, it tells you how many miles until empty.  It was just blinking, which means less than 5 miles.  Of course, I noticed it after we got down the street and I figured I'd just zip to the gas station which is about a mile away.  Of course, there was an accident which blocked the street and we had to go around.  That made us late for tennis lessons.  This mom was not happy.  He said he didn't notice it was on empty.  Of course, gas tanks just fill themselves!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Having faith

 I was going to save some of these pictures for tomorrow's post because I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get a quilt done today.  I have a really bad migraine this morning.  I've been doing pretty well with them lately so I guess I'm due for a doozie.  But, I'm trying to grow mountain size faith this summer.  You see, I have some mountain moving to do with cleaning out my house.  I always get overwhelmed with the task of getting rid of things.  I know I have some hoarding genes in me from my dad's side of the family.  Several of his sisters were hoarders, complete with 50 cats and I have a really hard time letting go of things I know I will never use, but that still have usefulness in them.  I get these grand plans to make something, collect all of the necessary supplies and by the time I have what I need, the desire has passed and I'm on to the next project.  I think I just really enjoy collecting and not actually making or finishing.  Maybe that's why I love quilting so much.  I have a team who will help me finish all of my projects.
 Yesterday I took in recyclables.  That is such a dreaded chore and I am not exactly sure why.  Anxiety builds up as the time grows closer.  The place I've been taking the cans and bottles to has a hard to get in parking lot and is always super busy.  I always wait until I have at least 10 bags which means it takes me about 30 minutes and I never sort until I'm at the recycling place.  There are so many things I could do to make the task easier and always get mad at myself for not doing what I know I could do to make the job less stressful.  As the day approaches, I think that I should just throw everything into the blue recycling bin and be done with it, but then also think of the $30 or so that could be used for batting or new quilting designs.
So, yesterday I looked online to see if there were any other recycling centers in town that had good reviews to see if maybe trying a new location would make the job easier.  Sure enough, there is one near the grocery shop I go to every week and one of the first things I saw was that everyone mentioned how easy it was to get in and out.  I was taking my husband's truck so that was going to make things so much easier.  Sure enough, it was super easy to get in there, nobody was there when I arrived and the people were really helpful.  They even went up to people's cars and helped them unload.  I think from now on, I will take in recycling once a month when I do my grocery shopping and the chore will be less of a pain.  It should only take a few minutes and the recyclables won't be piling up around the house.

That mountain just became a molehill and my anxiety level went down.

My faith that other dreaded chores can be tackled just increased!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Coaches Dinner last night

Wow, two date nights in less than a week, that's a record for us!

Last night was a dinner for all of the coaches at our high school.  My husband hates going out to dinner because he doesn't like weird foods.  He could eat tuna sandwiches and top ramen every night for the rest of his life and be happy.  I looked at it as a chance to have Chinese food.  There were probably 50 people there and nobody brought their wife or husband, but I didn't care.  I was going to have a nice dinner with my husband :).  It turned into a meeting about the new rules and regulations for next year.  I still didn't care!  I was eating sweet and sour chicken and pork friend rice and thinking back to when I was a kid and my family used to go to Ming's.

At the end of the business meeting, the Athletic Director announced the Coach of the Year and this year it was my husband. :)  He coaches two seasons of tennis, girls in the fall and boys in the spring and only gets three months off...January, June and July.  It's good for him to keep busy and he loves both the sport and the kids and while the kids do drive him crazy most of the time, I'm not sure what he will do once he retires.  He keeps threatening to give it up one day soon, saying he is getting too old to move around as much, but I have a feeling he will be doing this until the day he dies.

It was nice to see that others recognize all of the hard work he puts into coaching.  There were 9 teams that made all league this year so there were a lot of other coaches that could have won this year.

What a great date night.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

California people...be sure to vote

There are more things on the ballot than just the presidential primary, so be sure to get out there and do your civic duty.  I was number 100 at my polling place.  I asked if I got a special prize.  The lady said she thought if I took my ballot receipt to McDonald's they would give me free food.

This morning I helped move my son back home from the dorms.  Good thing it was a rather cool day for summer in Northern California.  Some crazy person decided to do road work on the little street that is closest to his room and I had to park 1/4 mile away.  8 trips back and forth really added the steps this morning.  My activity tracker wasn't sure what was going on.  They let you borrow a dolly, but what we really needed was a giant wagon or rolling cart like UCLA has.  Now that school understands college kids have STUFF and that stuff needs to get from here to there and putting it on a tiny dolly just isn't going to cut it.  Most of his stuff is awkward and hard to balance.  It took us about 2 hours to get everything packed up and loaded in the truck.  We were the last people to sneak in for the breakfast service and got refueled for the drive home.  He still has 2 finals left on Thursday, but had to be out of the dorms before those were over.  Not very good planning UCD.

Now we have to find places to put all of his stuff here at home.  Every time I try to get rid of stuff, more finds its way into the house.  Some days I feel like I'm losing the battle.

Monday, June 6, 2016

the many faces of a teacher at the end of the year

So school is officially over.  I spent 11 hours grading final exams and last minute assignments and entering grades and thought for a minute or two that I was going to go crazy.  As I sank deeper and deeper into the ever collapsing couch, I wasn't too sure I was going to make it.  I have been waking up since Friday with nightmares about this year's students and the future of our country!  It has been a rough year.

About 2pm I had to break out the coffee and cookies.  They perked me up and I finished grading around 5:30pm.  The future started to look a little brighter.  I sent out the final email of the year letting students and parents know that everything was finished.  Almost immediately I got a reply from a parent thanking me for being an 'Awesome teacher'.  Wow, did that make my day.  Eventhough her daughter didn't get an A in my class, she said her daughter always knew where she stood grade wise and she appreciated that I kept her informed with my weekly emails and daily text reminders about homework.  Sometimes I wondered if anyone actually read those.

This morning I heard from a couple more parents on the other side of the coin.  One said her son said the final was so easy he had no idea how he failed. I wrote her back explaining every point he missed and told her I hoped it helped with her conversation with him.  Another said she noticed her son had 7 missing assignments and was that a mistake.  He missed my class about 20 times for baseball.  Having a 7th period class and playing a sport is really hard and it takes extra dedication to complete both well, but some of those assignments had been missing for 2 months.

 This is the face you make as you get in your car to drive away after you've spent 4 hours 'cleaning' your room.  It was more like stuff everything from the desk and counters into the cabinets, but hey, that's how I clean.  It's not like anyone is going to come look in the cabinets this summer and I'm moving back into the same room next year.  At least I hope they clean off the counters this summer to make all of my dash and stash worth my time.  I have grand plans to go in a couple times over the summer to actually sort through the cabinets and throw stuff away, but I filled the garbage cans today which means I had to be done.  That's the rule you know.

Now, to start MY vacation.  There is so much that needs to be thrown out or donated around here and I'm not exactly sure where to start.  I guess anyplace is a good start and a little bit every day is better than nothing at all.  I hope to fill the garbage cans every week and take a load to the thrift store once a week too.  Wish me luck!