Thursday, October 15, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 10/15/20

 While most of the time it seems this year has crawled by, I look at the calendar and cannot believe it is the middle of October already!

Mark and I spent five wonderful days at the coast again, craving cooler temperatures and clean air. It was in the 60s and foggy when we arrived on Monday afternoon. Perfect weather.

The next day we walked along the beach toward the newly reopened pier.

 I could be wrong about how long the pier has been closed for remodeling--seems like a couple of years. But anyway, it's very nice. 

They have installed three Airstream trailers, not open quite yet. We heard that one will be a bait shop and the other two might be serving food. Maybe they will be open when we return in January.

The waves were large and there was a large group of surfers. It's always fascinating to watch them and try to figure out which waves they will choose to get up on their boards.


A couple of years ago, a very good friend, Jullie, moved from the foothills near us to Santa Maria. We were able to meet for lunch midweek. She suggested a place we had never noticed before, Fin's. They had a large patio and we enjoyed a lovely lunch together.


True to form, I had brought a lot of projects to work on while in the room--knitting, English paper piecing, etc. I nearly always overestimate how much I will actually accomplish when I'm on vacation, especially when I ended up doing a lot of reading, which is very conducive to glancing up at the waves every few minutes. Also, with the reality of turning in a draft of my "quilts and classics" calendar to the printer looming soon, some of the pictures needed some editing. Sigh. I'm such a procrastinator. I know virtually nothing about photo editing. So I did some "cramming" by watching an excellent iphonephotography editing course I had purchased several years ago and never had time to watch  never took the time to watch. I learned some valuable things on some simple edits, so I'm hoping that the photos will be good enough to print in calendar form. The photos have all been chosen, and I'm gathering the final information before I send it all off to the printer. 

We had some beautiful sunsets.

Before coming home on Friday, we had lunch in Morro Bay.


Gabe turned 9 while we were gone. So on Saturday we celebrated his birthday by having ice cream and watching the second Harry Potter movie. It was a really fun afternoon. 



Gabe is endlessly entertaining. He loves playing games. For his birthday we got the Harry Potter version of Uno. If you asked him, he would tell you that so far he has beaten me 11 games to 2. I keep telling him that I'm "letting him win because I love him," but he's not buying it. I also have no doubt that he will keep an accurate running total as we keep playing.

He is also teaching us chess. He brought over No Stress Chess which is definitely the way to go if you are ever interested in learning how to play. You start out with cards that show you which direction the pieces move, and you play a card that tells you which piece to move. Ultimately you can turn the board over and theoretically you have the information to play without the cards. However, I'm still learning so I keep a set of cards handy.


A couple of Pickles cartoons that seem eerily similar to our real life.



Speaking of spelling, I'm also a font geek. Anyone else enjoy looking at and choosing fonts? I know the paragraphs are hard to read, but maybe you can still figure out parts of it. I thought it was fascinating.


My well of COVID-19 memes seems to have run dry. Not that I'm complaining about that. Mark sent me a couple of funny things.

I'm not sure exactly why he sent this one to me...

While I was going through the photos on my phone, I came across these (sorry if I have already posted them).The first is from Gabe, a reminder to keep reading Harry Potter.

Amen to this one. 


Mark was supposed to take Aaron, Charlotte, Levi and Gabe to Minnesota this past July. They were going to attend two Dodgers-Twins games and do some sight-seeing around the state. Just like everything else, the trip was canceled. The Twins finally returned the money for the tickets, along with the tickets. Seems like rubbing salt in a wound...

And something I never thought I would be asked to alter...

That's it for this week. Off to do some more photo editing...


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 10/1/20

 I'm going to begin the month of October by finishing up the month of September. 


Charlotte celebrated her 14th birthday in September. Although "celebrate" in 2020 definitely has a different definition than in any previous year. She decided she wanted to go to Yogurtland and then watch a movie. Mark and I had not been to Yogurtland in the past six months. You enter the store, sanitize your hands, put on plastic gloves, and then you are allowed to fill your cup with yogurt (although the selection of flavors is about 1/3 of what they usually carry). When it comes to adding the toppings, it is now a point and choose kind of deal. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful afternoon and there was a nice table outside where we could sit and enjoy the time together.


Then we came home to open some gifts and watch Frozen 2 together. Charlotte particularly enjoyed watching Frozen 2 at our house because she could sing each and every song out loud, without any of her siblings telling her to please stop. Don't get me wrong--she has a beautiful voice, so Gramps and I enjoyed the singing a lot. 

She has been working her way through the Gilmore Girls series. Gramps kept giving her a bad time because he thinks the dialogue is SOOOO fast, as in "nobody talks that way in real life." So when I found a t shirt that said "Life's Short. Talk Fast. Gilmore Girls" I knew that was the gift he HAD to give her.


She also received a cute vintage hotel key from the Dragonfly Inn. Remember those diamond-shaped plastic tags that came with your motel room key? And a set of pencils with Gilmore Girls quotes on them.

This girl is fun, creative, an avid reader, compassionate and kind, an amazing older sister. We love her so very much and we feel very loved in return. You can't ask for more than that.


Gabe continues finding more Harry Potter craft projects. This time it was string art, which is another craft from the 1970s that has made a comeback. He picked it up quickly and it turned out really cute.


My friend, Shelly, has been requesting "signature" blocks for a future quilt. The fabric to make the block has been on my cutting table for months. I wanted to make her a cute pincushion before I sent the block. Hence, the real reason it has been sitting on my cutting table. It was one of those projects you think will take a lot of time, and really doesn't take any time at all once you begin. She lives on a farm and raises a lot of animals. So I had to use the cute print with the flowers in the boot (I wish the flowers showed more but I didn't have very much space to work with.)


Now that it's over, I can mention what was probably the most stressful week I have had in 2020 so far. And that is saying a lot, considering what 2020 has looked like. A couple of weeks ago, I went in for my six-month breast cancer checkup. I had a new nurse practitioner because my regular one was on maternity leave. As she did the breast exam, she stopped and said, "Have you felt this before?" and proceeded to say she felt a lump but had "low suspicion" that is was anything serious. Nevertheless...she wanted to order a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. And then spent the rest of the appointment apologizing for freaking me out. Um, sorry...too late...

The week in between that appointment and the time I had the mammo and ultrasound was super stressful. I can tell you without a doubt that once cancer has invaded your body, it proceeds to play mind games with your head that can get increasingly worse. And that's what happened during the week. Even though I knew better than to "research," I did more reading than I should have--risk of recurrence, recurrence in less than two years, etc. So by the day of my tests I was quite convinced that the news would be bad. After all, it was my third mammogram in nine months, and my second ultrasound! The mammogram was more brutal than usual--they do extra images with a diagnostic study. The ultrasound was much shorter than I remembered it being in January, so naturally I thought, "Well that can't be good." They had told me I would have the results before I left the facility. I was expecting to wait 20 to 30 minutes, but within 15 minutes the tech came with with the report that there was no sign of cancer. So what was the lump? It could be scar tissue, fibrocystic disease, or??? Whatever it is, it is NOT cancer. Hallelujah! My point is: October is breast cancer awareness month. Make SURE you are aware of your body and any changes you find. 

Mark had dropped me off at the hospital for the tests, thinking he didn't want me to drive. So when I called an hour earlier than expected (I had been told to allow two hours for the tests), his first thought was that I was being scheduled for a biopsy.  When I told him it was all good news, we did something we have not done in six months. We had lunch at a restaurant, not pickup. We were escorted to the back patio, where there were few tables and lots of fans. We felt safe eating there, although it was kind of weird to be sitting at a restaurant table and being served! We are normally quite frugal when it comes to dining out, but decided that price was no object--order anything off the menu! I splurged with a glass of wine, meatloaf and mashed potatoes (always my go-to comfort food)--Mark had a pastrami sandwich, and then we ordered carrot cake. It was huge! Like enough for four people. We took most of it home, and wow was it ever good!


I told Aaron we are getting him this mug for Christmas. 

Haha...

Amen...


I've mentioned that we are holding online school at our house two days per week. When school first went online back in March, Aaron and Christa, and Stacie Winckler (their "bonus" daughter), who was living with them at the time, dubbed their online school Wienskler Academy (a combination of our last  name and part of Stacie's last name). They even had a school mascot (Big Foot) and a Latin motto: Propter Virus, Domi Debemus Scholae, which roughly translates to "because of the virus, we school at home," or something like that. (I was lucky enough to procure one of these stickers and it now resides on my sewing table, although it is out of date this semester as it is now K-9).


We have been dubbed Wienskler Academy (West Campus) since we live a mile to the west of them. Charlotte decided that our classrooms need to be labeled so she made signs for each one. 

This is the first grade classroom.


The third grade classroom doubles as the cafeteria during lunch time. Wondering about what it means to "Grandma it"? So a few weeks ago I happened to drop something while eating, and Levi said, "Way to go, Grandma. You just 'grandma'd that," and now any time anyone drops anything, someone says, "Hey, you just grandma'd that." It's weird. I guess you have to be there...



The 7th grader and 9th grader alternate between the other classroom and the gymnasium/classroom depending on which one has a P.E. class that day.



The other night we photographed the final entry for my hopeful 2021 calendar, Quilts and Classics. It was a beautiful maroon 1937 Ford. I posted some pictures on Instagram and it has gained some traction, nearly 1000 likes! It's always a mystery to me how some pictures go by completely unnoticed, and then all of a sudden a lot of people see some random picture. Algorithms...who can figure them out? Anyway, someone (whom I don't know) posted this to their Stories, which was very kind.
and the son of the car owner made this fun rendering of one of the photos. 
This has been a dream for a couple of years, always a dream. And I didn't really have to do anything about it because I didn't have all the "elements" to make it a reality. But now I have photographed 12 quilts with 12 classic cars and it's full steam ahead. I'm nervous. I don't have any big expectations for it. The car owners of course will get a copy, as well as friends and family. I would love to sell a couple but have no clue how to even market it. But sometimes a dream is NOT about dollars and cents, it is just about personally fulfilling something. 

Do you remember when too much coffee was considered a risk to developing breast cancer? Well, now it's considered somewhat beneficial, that is if you drink five or more cups per day. I'm not going to admit whether coffee is beneficial to me or not.

This has been a long post. Thanks for hanging in there...

I'll conclude with this. Which may or may not also be true.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 9/17/20

I haven't felt much like blogging lately. Our state is burning up, as is much of the West Coast. The Creek fire, which is quite close to us, has consumed over 246,000 acres, and nearly two weeks after it started, is only considered 18 percent contained. Many places near and dear to our hearts are gone. The town of Big Creek, which we drive through to get to Huntington Lake, sustained heavy damage. Lakeview Cottages, rental cabins we used to partly own, to our knowledge have survived. But  many people have been displaced and lost their homes. Many hikers were caught unawares and it was tricky getting them evacuated to safety. Military helicopters made many trips to get them all to a safe place.

Online school continues at our house two days a week. Mark had an old stop sign and safety vest, and decided it would be fun to pretend he was a school bus driver when we picked the kids up one morning. We were amused. I'm not sure they thought it was a funny as we did. Ella looks decidedly unimpressed.


Today, we tried something different for lunch. Mark has been rocking it as the "cafeteria supervisor." Monday has turned into "mac 'n cheese Monday" but on Thursdays, he steps it up. And we decided "cafeteria trays" would be fun. So we found some on Amazon that looked like they would work. This is today's lunch: cheeseburgers, frozen grapes, pluots and homemade applesauce. Yummy.

When we have free time in the afternoon, sometimes we do crafting projects. And by "we," I mean Gabe and I. He brought over his stuffed penguin a couple of weeks ago with very defined ideas of making a Harry Potter outfit for him. Fortunately, I have a big stack of felt. We made a cape (with a hood) and a crest on the front, glasses and a zigzag for the scar.

Ella brought her dog and wanted a rock star costume. So I made a blue jacket, a star-shaped eyepatch and what was supposed to look like a studded neck collar.
Gabe and I also began working on a zipper pouch with a vinyl window in the front. He sewed the patchwork panels for the front, sewed them to the vinyl and did a most excellent job of top stitching. It was tricky figuring out the rest of the pattern for some reason, so I ended up doing the finish work. But I was so proud of him and the good work that he did.
He also made a striped scarf for the Harry Potter penguin. That stack of felt that has sat neglected for a couple of years is getting a good workout and it's nice to have it handy for these projects.

A couple of months ago, when we were rearranging the office spaces in our house, we reluctantly needed to get rid of a beautiful handmade desk and storage unit that my father made for me when I was in eighth grade--out of solid maple. We gave it to our next door neighbor, and she sent this picture over today. One of her daughters now has her own room and the desk combo is perfect for her. It makes my heart so happy to see something in use that my father made for me about 55 years ago. 

This is a not-uncommon conversation at our house...
The "Gruber's Girls" had a Zoom sewing day last Saturday. I set my little laptop on the corner of my sewing table, and sewed away. Those sessions give me such a needed boost.

And that's about it for the last two weeks. I've been doing a lot of sewing, and one of these days I'll get around to sharing that too.