going home

This weekend we’re going to Indiana for my family reunion.  There will be relatives there I haven’t seen for years – some for decades.  It’s been over 25 years since I moved away.  There will be aunts, uncles, cousins – my cousin’s children’s children! – it’s hard to wrap my mind around.

It’s comforting to think of going home.  Being around people who have known me my whole life.  People who know my history.  People who love me because of who I am or even, just because I am.  People who may not know my day to day life very well (although facebook has changed that somewhat), but who know ME.  Know where I came from.  Know my history.  Share my past.

It’s something I took for granted when I lived there.  Part of being young, I think, you don’t realize how special and fleeting the sense of love and acceptance that comes from being HOME can be.  You grow up, you move on, you have your own family and you make your own home, but it’s different.  It can be wonderful in its own way, but different.

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school’s out!

I feel like I’m the one on summer vacation!  Except for the whole going to work thing.  But no more checking homework assignments on-line!  No more hounding the boy to work on projects!  And he passed chemistry and geometry!  Ah…bliss!

I’ve started a new quilt for my mother’s birthday in August, using Laura Gunn’s Poppy collection that I’ve had for about two years.  These are beautiful fabrics!

Here’s a peek.  I found a vinyl tablecloth with flannel backing for $5 and created a design wall in the bedroom on the only bare wall in the house!  I have a feeling the design wall will be up more than it’s down…  The picture stuck in the corner is my weight loss inspiration:

I’m guessing that was – oh, well thank you Santa, it was Summer ’03.  Nine years ago.  I can get back there, right?  Just going to take willpower and a lot of hard work.  To be honest with you, I’ve fallen way off the wagon.  I’m still holding the ten pounds I gained over the holidays and I’ve been so lax when it comes to working out.  There always seems to be some excuse – run errands instead, work through lunch to leave early on Friday, coming down with a horrific cold/sinus infection.  I have excuses for days.  But, I’m thinking about doing a 14 week challenge sponsored by Tom Venuto, whose books I’ve read and whose opinion I respect.  Grand prize is a trip to Hawaii, and I’m in it to win it!  And even if I don’t win the grand prize, I’ll finish with a better body and be back on the road to a healthy lifestyle.

And I guess now that I’ve blogged about it, I have to do it.

 

whirlygig

A long time ago I bought a Botanica Encyclopedia and spent many hours one winter browsing its pages, taking notes on plants and flowers I loved and drawing elaborate plans for gardens I never planted.  I planned a white garden with night-blooming nicotania, a Mary garden with white and blue flowers, cutting gardens and more rose gardens than you can imagine.  One flower that struck me immediately was the African Daisy cultivar, Osteospermum Whirlygig.  With its pinched petals, it looked like a flower from outer space.  At the time, the only place that sold this particular cultivar was a garden shop outside London.  I had an upcoming trip to London for my daughter’s high school graduation present and tried to scheme a way to get the seeds (bringing back a live plant through customs was not going to happen) while we were there, but there were other sights to see and things to do and it didn’t happen.

A couple of weeks ago, I found it at Home Depot.  You’d better believe, I’ll be saving these seeds.

Asheville

SB and I went to Asheville for a combined hiking/SAFF trip.

I mostly took pictures on the hikes…

all taken with my phone.  It doesn’t make sense to carry two cameras any more.

We hiked to three waterfalls

and visited with an alpaca.

The cabin we stayed at overlooked a field of sunflowers.

The owner told us to pick some, before the frost got them.

We rode on the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway

and laughed at the quirky surroundings.

I would’ve gotten closer, but an aggressively-barking dog kept me away!

It was a great trip, Asheville is beautiful and I love North Carolina.  I bought very little at SAFF and sadly didn’t see many of my peeps.  More later!

not much, how ’bout you?

It’s about time I ended this blog break!  No reason for not blogging really, just a lack of taking photos and keeping busy.

I finished Avocado Cables – my Blanket for Birmingham!

It was a lot of fun to knit (although a hot thing to knit during the summer).

I hope it will bring some comfort to the tornado victims.  Now I have to concentrate on this:

Lots of squares from my friends across the country – thank you!  I’m waiting on a few more squares, but I think I’ll start seaming this weekend (if we’re not in the woods).

My obsession of late, really since January, has been eating healthily and working out.  I absolutely have an obsessive personality and while I haven’t given up my old loves (spinning, knitting) or even my more recent love (quilting), my time over the past couple of months has been spent educating myself on nutrition and workout plans.  I’ve read so many books and done so much research!  Of course, it’s stuff we all know, for the most part.  Eat good foods.  Move your body.  Enjoy treats occasionally.

We went day hiking a couple of weeks ago, back to one of my favorite places.  The last time I tried to hike there, in 2009, I turned around halfway because it was too steep and my knees were killing me.  This time – no problem!  I was sweating profusely (it’s still really hot here) but I didn’t get out of breath and my knees only bothered me a little bit on the downhills.

Here’s a before and during progress picture.  In the 2010 photo, I’m wearing a size Large men’s shirt and bustin’ out of those pants – there was a lot of wiggling just to get them on that morning.  In the photo taken a couple of weeks ago, I’m wearing a ladies’ Large and the shorts I bought in June are loose. Yes, I’m even posting my weight for all to see because it’s really not about weight, it’s about losing fat and being fit.  It’s the SIZE that matters!  Heh.

So, progress.  Sometimes it’s not happening as quickly as I want – like when I looked at all the pictures from our hike and immediately focused on my big butt, my cellulite-ridden thighs, batwings, etc.  It was depressing.  After all my hard work, I still have so far to go.  But after going to bed early to avoid eating ice cream, I woke up, looked at where I’ve been, and realized that it’s okay that I’m not where I want to be yet.  It’s a journey – a marathon, not a sprint.

And I’ll get there.

the cuteness

Saturday our fiber guild had our meeting at Alpacaramas Farm in Brierfield, Alabama and it was a great field trip!  I took a ton of pictures, but I’ve edited down to just a few.

A field of alpacas.  It was funny, we’d approach them (with food) and they’d run away.  They were very skittish!

The alpaca on the left is a Hucuaya and the one on the right is a Suri.  The Suris looked so funny when they ran, their fleece just flopping this way and that!

I don’t know if these three were a “family” but they stuck close to each other.

Another “family” overcame their shyness – Mom came over for the free food,

Dad kept a watchful eye from the rear,

and Baby stayed sandwiched in the middle.  Baby has blue eyes, which is uncommon for alpacas and can indicate blindness, but he can see so yay!

After we chased the alpacas around for awhile, we went to the barn to see the Great Pyrenees puppies!

OMG I lost my heart to these babies!!!  They have an adult GP named Speedy and he was everyone’s BFF.  If you started petting him, you’d better not stop because he’d give you a nudge and a paw!

When we retire to our cabin in the woods, the first thing I will do is get a Great Pyrenees puppy!  Mack will just have to deal.

I bought some fiber, but haven’t washed it yet so I’ll show that when it’s washed.  I spun up a tiny sample from the lock and it was fabulous – heathered gray and soft as can be.  I’m thinking lace shawl, definitely.

Right now I’m still spinning my way through the Wensleydale – I have 1100+ yards so far!  That was from the first 9 ounces and I just received another 17 ounces, so I could have about 3,000 yards when it’s finished.  What I’ll do with 3,000 yards, I don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll think of something!

How was your weekend?

 

one week in

Today is Day 7 on Weight Watchers and I have to tell you, it’s definitely a doable program.  I even made sausage balls for the boy this weekend, did massive amounts of math and figured out that one sausage ball equals 2 points, so I had two!  It’s good to know that if I really want something, I can have it.  These are all things I knew, of course, after years of reading health and fitness articles and many, many diet books.  Maybe I just needed the structure of a program to keep me honest to myself.  I don’t know.  I’ll find out tomorrow at the weigh-in!  Sticking with it will be critical, once the novelty wears off.  I am very determined, though.  I realized this morning that fat people aren’t told often that they look good.  You know, when you run into someone you haven’t seen for a long time and they’ve lost weight, the first thing out of your mouth is “You look SO GOOD!!!”  If you’ve gained weight, what do they say to you?  They say, “It’s good to see you!”  Or maybe that’s just my personal experience.

In between calculating points and reading Running for Mortals, (I started the weight loss workout program Monday) I have been crafting a bit.

I decided to participate in Fat Quarterly’s quilt-a-long, since I had enough fat quarters stashed and it looked easy enough for a beginner.

I do not understand how my squares aren’t square.  I cut the fabric using a ruler, the same length every time, and they never match up once they’re sewn!  I decided to square these almost 6″ blocks down to 5″ blocks so they’d be easy to sew together.  It was a lot of work, and they still aren’t perfect, as I learned last night when I began sewing them together.

Please pardon the crappy lighting photo.  Sadly, my dining room table is not big enough to lay out the entire quilt design.  I need a design wall, but a walk around the house did not provide ANY blank walls large enough to use as a design wall.  However, if I move a small bookshelf in my bedroom, I can use that wall, so that will be a must before I finish this quilt top.

I’m afraid my knitting ADD has infected my quilting.  It’s the supervirus of crafting.  I was so certain when I started this that I wouldn’t be that way, I would start and finish a quilt before starting another one!  I would only buy fabrics with a quilt in mind!  I was going to be a completer, not simply a starter!  Well.  The ADD Supervirus had other plans!  I still have to sandwich and quilt the string quilt, I have to finish sewing together the quilt top in my last post, and now I have this one to finish.  Plus, my daughter and son both want quilts, but not the quilts I’ve already begun.  There’s no end in sight!

So of course, I’m spinning.