Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Material Girl

At the beginning of the month, I was in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area for work.  Since I was traveling by myself, my evenings were my own.  Yeah!  It's not that I don't like my coworkers, but going out to eat and sitting in a bar every night is just not my cup of tea.
I had received the monthly newsletter from my local quilt shop.  They are participating in the Row by Row Experience.  Quilt shops in the US, Canada, and Europe create patterns for a quilt rows and make them available for free in their shops.  The idea is that when you travel you should find the local shops and stop in for their patterns.  Once you've collected a few, you stitch them and put together in a quilt reminding you of your travels.
I had time to kill my last night before I hopped on the red-eye home, so I checked out one of the local stores.
Oh my!  I was in heaven! 
Fiddlesticks in Vancouver, Washington is my idea of the perfect quilt shop.  The owner, Cheran Bee, made an old workout facility into a cozy, artistic, delightful place for me to spends wads and wads of money.  She uses old, antique furniture to display both bolts of fabric for sale and quilts, showcasing what can be done with it all.
That wall of fabrics in the first photo below is all batiks, my favorite, and that wasn't all of it.  Did I mention I was in heaven?  'Cause I was. 
If you saw my basement, you know I don't need fabric.  But really, I just had to have those three purple and teal batiks.  Besides,  that's all the I could fit in my suitcase.  I'll save the rest for another trip!
'Cause we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

Sunday, August 14, 2016

TToT(17): Quick Takes Version

I know it is often said, but where is this month going?  We're almost halfway through it.  Considering I have spent two thirds of the month away from home, I guess I understand why it seems to be flying by.
one:  I'm home.  We attended the Chesterton Conference, spent a night at Sis's house and then I flew out to the west coast for work for the better part of a week.  It's good to be here.

two:  Thank you to all who kept our friend, K, in prayer.  The surgery went well and K is recovering.  God is good. 

three:  Sis and her family watched the Hairy Beast while we were at the conference.  It was good to know he was being well taken care of.

four:  The conference was awesome!  More about that in another post. 

five:  The conference was close, only a two hour drive.  After the drive two years ago, it was a welcome ride.
six:  My work trip went well.  All flights were on time, and even a bit early.  Other than the dweeb that made me toss out my face soap because it was more than three ounces, getting through security was a breeze.
seven:  A couple of weeks before all of this traveling, I found out that I won a local garden center's photo contest.  I now have a $40 gift card to spend on whatever I want at their place.  Decisions, decisions! 
eight:  Speaking of gardens (we were, weren't we?), the vegetable garden isn't doing well this year.  It's mostly due to a lack of attention, which is due to a lack of time, energy and interest.  Although that sounds bad, it means I won't be canning and freezing this year.  And that's good.
nine:  We're doing some re-landscaping in front of the house.  There were two Yews that had to be removed.  We dug out the first stump together.  One night I was bored, so I worked on the second one.  Two hours later, I had it out myself.  There was something oddly satisfying about that chore.
ten:  I either inherited or was given a lot of fabric.  I've been able to make use of some of it lately by sewing quilts.  I'm on my fourth one for the year.  Fun!


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Can you spare a prayer?

This morning we received an email from a good friend of ours.

Prayers please...
 ...for K. He is having urgent lumbar surgery at P**** Hospital sometime today, as he lost his ability to walk yesterday.

We just had dinner with K & S on Saturday.  While K was hurting a lot with severe back pain, we had no idea it was this bad.  We had terrific conversations, as always, and left with the promise of seeing them again soon.

I know they would both appreciate your prayers.

St. Gemma Galgani, pray for K!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Photo Blogging Challenge (July 2016) - Photographer’s Choice

AKA "Still Standing After All Those Fears"

Cleveland recently hosted the RNC.   For months we have been hearing how the event would be tumultuous, at best, and dangerous and destructive at worst.   It was none of that.   Although there was protesting, everything went well.

So well, that we thought about going down on the last afternoon.   Unfortunately, a few crises at work put an end to that.  Instead we went down the Saturday afterwards and played tourist.
I used to know the area well, but it has been quite a while since I visited.  It was ninety-five degrees the day we visited.  We wandered slowly, checking out the remnants of the convention.  Other than the banners and signs, not much was left.  The recent renovation to Public Square, new buildings scattered throughout, and sprucing up of old landmarks has the city looking great!
We enjoyed our time down there so much that a few days later I took a day off from work.  We repeated the trip, exploring areas we missed on that first day.  Those are pictures for another post. 
The "Q"
Terminal Tower
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
County Courthouse
Playhouse Square
Old Stone Church
Key Plaza and Cleveland Public Library
To see more, visit A 'lil Hoohaa

Monday, August 1, 2016

First Photo: August 2016

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”  
 - Orthodoxy  GKC

I look at the cacophony of colors in the garden and say to God "Again!  Again!"  and am ever grateful that He does.  How could I ever possibly tire of such beauty? 


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Happy Path

A few weeks I took a three day, online class for work.  The subject it covered was an IT documentation process called “Use Cases.”  And, yes, it was as boring as it sounds.

Use Cases detail the sequence of events that a person or system does to effect the desired outcome.   They are most often used in creating or modifying software, but really could be helpful for all sorts of processes.

Think about using an ATM.  Someone, somewhere probably wrote a use case for accessing it:
Customer inserts card
System reads card
System displays PIN prompt
Customer enters PIN
System validates PIN
System displays main menu

During the class the instructor talked about “the happy path”.  These are the steps, when executed, have no flaws or exceptions.  The machine was working properly and able to read the card.  The customer entered their PIN correctly.

For some reason that phrase, the happy path, really annoyed me.

Did I mention that the class was a bit boring?  While I was in this class, I had the Cavs victory parade streaming on my other monitor.  The Goodyear Blimp was there and several times the TV station cut to a view of the crowds from overhead.

One point three million people.  Celebrating.  Happy.

Then I knew what was so annoying about that phrase.

Since when does something go just so, absolutely perfectly?  In my life it doesn’t.  Go back to that ATM.  I’ve dropped the card.  Entered the PIN incorrectly.  Put the card into the machine upside down.  But, in the end, I got my cash.  And that's just a little thing.  What about the bigger ones?

I watched that parade.  There was no flawless path to victory.  LeBron came to Cleveland.  Then he left.  And then he came back.  Last year when the Cavs made it to the playoffs, and ultimately the finals,  injuries – a dislocated shoulder in one player and a busted kneecap in another – hampered their abilities.

It almost looked like this year was going to be a repeat of last when a major player had to sit out of one of the final games due to a concussion.  Not again.  But persistence, hard work and faith in their own abilities paid off.

Northeast Ohio held their collective breath the last two minutes of game seven.  That victory was fifty-two years in the making.

Don’t tell those one point three million people it wasn’t a Happy Path.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

TToT (16): June & July

Sneaking this one in just under the wire.  There's lots for which I am thankful since I last wrote, let's see if I can remember May, June and July so far!
one:  I'm so very glad nobody seems to mind if people pop in and out of this link-up.  I'm nothing if not inconsistent when it comes to writing these.
two:  If you somehow missed it, The Cleveland Cavaliers won the Championship!  That's the biggest thing in NE Ohio since I don't know when.  The last time a Cleveland team won a major sports title, I was just a few weeks old.  And, that my friends, was a long, long time ago. 
three:  I had a week off at the end of June for vacation.  It was one of those "stay-cations" and it was lovely!  I futzed in the gardens, played putt putt, hiked, and did a whole lot of nothing. 
four:  Christine mentioned last week that while she was in Ohio, we got to get together and visit another lovely lady, Melody and her family.  What a wonderful afternoon that was! 
five:  Sis and BIL have a pool in their backyard.  One of the days that we over there, it was a little too cold to swim.  But, that didn't stop up from dippin' our toes in and splashing around a it.
six:  We enjoyed a lot of hikes in our local county parks.  Jack liked going off-trail and into the stream.
seven: While on vacation, we pulled out the hammock.  We've been enjoying cold beverages, good books, naps, and the choir of birds while lounging on it.  We feel sorry for PWH.(**) 
eight:  The view from said hammock has been quite beautiful of late - blue skies and puffy white clouds.  It never gets old trying to figure out what the clouds look like.  Today we had, among other things, a dragon, a puppy and a baby. 
nine:  I have been reading a lot lately and have had many good books from which to choose.  Two I am currently reading, Divine Mercy for Moms and The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder,  I was given copies so that I could read and review them.  I'm a little behind, but soon.
ten:  I love a lazy Saturday or Sunday.  Between going to work and just doing normal errands, I sometimes feel like I'm always in the car.  Recently, I have been trying to make it a point to have "go nowhere days" and I love them!
Check out more goodness at one of these hosts:
 ** PWH - People Without Hammocks

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


I ate my lunch at my desk today while reading one of the latest Patterson novels.  As I sat there, I heard something from a nearby office. 

I got up and stood at the door and listened.  My coworker, Nori, was singing quietly to herself.  I couldn't understand the words she was singing, but it was lovely.  I felt like I was intruding on someone's prayer. 

And, in a way I was.  The song she was singing is Blessings by Laura Story.

It seems every which way you look these days, we hear of pain, suffering, tragedy, things happening that shouldn't be.  It doesn't matter how much we pray, we live in a fallen world and those things will be.  But, we pray on, seeking God's mercy.

This was a song I needed to hear today.


We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

(Repeat CHORUS)

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Funny Foto #18 - Dead or Dying???

We haven't gotten a print newpaper in years.  It seemed that whatever was in it was stale or old news, things we had read on the net several days earlier.  But, maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.  It gave the writers and editors time to think and review their articles and headlines.

This is from a local news site.  Makes you go huh?


Friday, July 1, 2016

First Photo: July 2016

As June progressed the rain of the prior month was quickly forgotten.  The gardens turned green and purple and orange and yellow and so many other colors.  Birds and bugs became frequent visitors.  It was a joyful month.
I expect this month to bring more of the same.  There is much to admire.
"The main point of Christianity was this:  that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister.  We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate."
- Orthodoxy GK Chesterton