Thursday, July 2, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 7/2/20

Welcome to July. Wow. The year is half over. Although to me, March seems like five years ago. As  the number of COVID cases has spiked dramatically here in California, things that were open briefly have now been shut down again.

I had actually started a blog post about my feelings of "life during the time of COVID-19," but was having a hard time crystallizing my thoughts. And then I read this on Instagram, written by Aneela Hoey, and thought this is EXACTLY how I feel!: "My head feels turbulent, exploding with thoughts but I feel I have nothing to say. These past few months I've lost every bit of desire to do anything creative. Which is confusing because as well as being my work, it is the thing that gets me through all of the other stuff. I feel like I'm at a crossroads without a compass."

There were so many confirming comments. Aneela's feelings are not isolated. No. They were echoed over and over and over. @bespokeoutlaw mentioned reading an article "about this unnamed feeling we are all experiencing being a kind of anticipatory grief..." So many commenters said they had to force themselves to sew something. @hello.erikabea said "...I'm holding out hope that it will change, or I will change." @_michellequilts_ said, "Being creative/doing creative things takes emotional energy. And right now there are a lot of things in our world that are sapping our emotional energy."

As someone else mentioned, it's both affirming and very sad at the same time. Rachel Sterling @sterlingsewn had some good advice, however. "...I think it's important just to acknowledge it and give yourself some credit for whatever you ARE able to do. There is no map, but that doesn't mean you're not making progress."

That's what I need to remember, on all these days when I feel like I'm making very little progress.

But you know who DID make progress? Gabe did some joyous sewing, and it was such fun to be a part of that.

To say that he is a Harry Potter fan is a severe understatement. Both his older brother and sister were fans, but this kid lives, eats and breathes Harry Potter. He decided he wanted some Harry Potter pillowcases. So I purchased a couple yards of HP fabric and he went to work. He also made a cute pillowcase for Ella. I had tried to get her to sew it herself but she wasn't interested. Maybe later... In the meantime, he was happy to make her pillowcase as well.
Then Gabe designed a banner for his room. He had a very clear vision of what he wanted. "Red and gold stripes with points." I thought having it come to the point in the middle would be the easiest. But no, he was adamant that it needed two points. I cut out some strips 5 1/2" by 12 1/2" and told him to put them on the design wall. He quickly decided they were too wide, so I cut them down to 3 1/2".
 He's getting very comfortable with the sewing machine. He told me he needs his own machine. His dream could definitely come true--little does he know that I don't own three Featherweights for nothing! :)
 I'm really glad he stuck to his vision. He knew what he wanted and he made it happen.
It was hot enough to get out the slip-n-slide.

I think we might be getting it out quite often, because...
My first dahlia is beginning to bloom. I'm SO excited! Mark and I really don't enjoy working in the yard, even though we want our yard to look nice. We have an excellent gardener for that. But this year, we have planted flowers and we've been enjoying them a lot.

Are people wearing masks where you live? Here in California--not so much...

With the spikes in cases, it's unlikely that fall sports will actually happen. Mark will probably not be refereeing any sports until spring. Even I will miss football season. It's not that I pay much attention to the games, but I love the sound of the games in the background. It's nice "white noise" for me.
This is how the year is shaping up.
But I'll end by focusing on the upcoming month.
Happy 4th.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 6/25/20

It's finally Thursday. This is how most weeks feel to me.

I read that Disneyland, which had planned a reopening date of July 17, to coincide with its 65th anniversary, has postponed opening to an unknown date.  Cases are going up, probably due in large part to more testing, as well as people being out more.  Here are some good guidelines to follow.

This seems right...
I spend plenty of time inside, on my phone, believe me. But "outside" seems one of the safest places to be right now. I have been wanting a "beach cruiser" bike for the longest time. Jill has wanted to upgrade to a mountain bike. So she sold me this absolutely perfect bike and I love it!
We had family pictures taken last week, but the absolutely amazing Matlyn of Matlyn Mae Photography.

We all look a little bit different than what I was expecting when we first made the appointment, scheduled for late April. But the appointment was postponed, obviously. So during that time, Mark has grown a beard, I have stopped coloring my hair, and Aaron has grown his hair out for maybe the second time since the end of junior high. I'm sure he probably knows this, but I like the look of his head shaved much more than with hair, but that's not my decision to make. Anyway, Christa said that the hair needed to go for the pictures. So last week, during dinner, I don't think anyone really paid attention that he was wearing his Dodgers cap.
Photo credit: Christa 
And then Christa requested that he take his hat off for a picture.  Woo boy...
Photo credit: Christa
Photo credit: Christa
Not exactly what anyone was expecting. Charlotte expressed shock, Gabe and Ella couldn't stop laughing. I'm sure glad Christa videotaped the whole thing.

The family photo shoot was a lot of fun. Matlyn is inventive and instinctively knows how to photograph both kids and adults.She took so many amazing photos. Here are just  a couple.
 Photo credit: Matlyn Mae Photography
Photo credit: Matlyn Mae Photography

I'll share more in a separate post. It's been three years since we took family photos and I'm thrilled with the results. And wow, have these kids grown!

Ruby and Amelia looked like this on Friday night. Beyond adorable.
Photo credit: Matlyn Mae Photography
By Saturday, their hair looked like this: mermaid braids! So cute. I'm sure Amelia would tell you it took hours and hours and hours...and hours. And I'm pretty sure Jill would agree. Although she says she is already watching more braiding videos on YouTube.
Photo credit: Jill

A project for this summer has been to label my quilts and also update my quilt diary blog. My plan was to label a quilt a day. Want to see how well that has worked for me? Actually, not at all. In addition, I have three quilts that need binding. But summer has only begun, right?
At least I continue to do some English paper piecing. It's fun and cute.

Stay healthy, my friends.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 6/18/20

There is really very little to post this week. I'll start with this, because it is important and ongoing.
Mark has started reading White Fragility, which I plan on beginning soon as well. And my hairdresser also recommended Me and White Supremacy. Have you been reading? Do you have some recommendations?
The Fresno Chaffee Zoo opened last Friday, and we decided we needed a change of scenery. We have season passes but were also required to make a reservation. We reserved a time at noon on Monday, so we could have lunch. Things are different, of course, in the age of COVID-19. No longer can you go through a line and order a custom salad or sandwich. All the food is already boxed up. No fountain drinks--only bottled water and Pepsi. And beer.

But the animals were in full display, so the visit seemed nearly "normal."
I also appreciated their social distancing markers.

However, the fact that practically no one wore masks, except for workers, pretty much irritated me. Come on, people. You are protecting other people by wearing them. Be thoughtful. Wear a mask.

I'm doing a little EPP here and there. I think that center square in the one with fried eggs is too white, so am thinking about replacing it with a creamier square.
As I said, not much going on. Christa's mother replaced some succulents in this pot (because she is a pro at this).
Anyway, I got out the macro lens for my iPhone (an add-on lens by Moment) and took these shots. I really love the Moment macro lens.

And to end on a light note...

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 6/11/20

As states are opening up, what are your thoughts? I know that depends so much on where you live, as different states are experiencing hot spots or decreases in new cases.

Monday was our 47th wedding anniversary. We grabbed something for lunch and headed to nearby Lost Lake. Seriously. Nearby, like 15 minutes from our house. And in the 41 years we have lived here, we have never been to Lost Lake! The weather was perfect and it just felt so good to get out of the house, for something that wasn't essential like grocery shopping.

I saw this yesterday. It seems about right to me. We made reservations at our favorite hotel on the central coast for August. Can.hardly.wait!

 Mark and I are still pretty much sheltering in place, although I have a hair appointment next week. Oddly, I have mixed feelings about that--not the appointment itself, but I am now ready to stop coloring in order to relive the hair color of my younger days, and I'm not sure about cutting. I've grown sort of accustomed to the length. We are planning family photos in the next month. There is no way Mark is shaving his white beard, or trimming his now-bushy hair. Oh well. I don't think any of us will forget 2020 and COVID-19. Might as well have lasting photographic evidence.

This was a funny one. And also, it seems about right...

Of course, COVID-19 is not the only thing we will remember about 2020, is it? It's still difficult to articulate my thoughts in print. Social media is a hotbed right now, and with Jason in our family, we have seen racism over and over, up close and personal. It is REAL.
Maya Angelou was a wise woman.

We love reading Pickles.

I remember these. Do they still make them?
My new favorite pictures.

Where do you find  yourself among these choices? My father was a pessimist, and I work hard to be different than that. Right now, I just want to be an artist...

Amen. My 2020 planner is a record of things that have been canceled.  I'm keeping it as a reminder of what 2020 might have been. Hopefully my 2021 planner will not be a useless purchase.