Thursday, July 28, 2016

Are You Feeling the Burn?

My readers know that I have pledged to my daughter, that I will NOT use my blog to make political or religious stands.  She knows too well that it would be too easy for me to alienate my readers, besides which, isn't there enough divisiveness in our country today?  I don't care to add to it! BUT my blog is about home values that are likely a kin to both religious values and how they are lived out, and if that isn't about politics, I am not sure what is? Nonetheless, I plan to keep my commitment and I hope my readers will see that this isn't really about politics.

I want to touch on  the "Feel-the-Bern-Movement".  I am after all living in the land of Bernie Sanders, in The Green Mountain State of Vermont.  Bernie and I have a history, though to be certain, I remember him more than he remembers me.  He has helped me on two important occasions in my life, though we couldn't be more opposite regarding some of our political views!

Only a year after moving to Vermont, my teaching position was discontinued leaving me unemployed for a time.  I applied for unemployment benefits, only to be refused as Vermont sometimes forgets that it is part of the United States and they figured I had only worked for a year and wasn't "eligible". They couldn't see that I had been employed since I was sixteen  in the state of the really big mountains, Colorado. To native Vermonters, all born outside of this state are considered "flatlanders", a description that I never did like nor considered "fair". Bernie was able to see the bigger picture--that Vermont is connected to all other states and had to remind Vermont's Unemployment Office that I was entitled to receive benefits from the federal government for being unemployed. Fortunately this fix was needed only temporarily.

Bernie again helped me when I was seeking disability benefits shortly before I reached retirement age, as I found myself unable to meet the physical demands of being an office nurse. It not only took a specialized lawyer, but a push from our state senator to finally get my case heard and it was Bernie's office that helped me.  I have never forgotten Bernie!

Though his socialistic values don't represent my own, I "felt the burn" for  the "Feel-the-Bern-Movement" as I watched the DNC Convention. The DNC's apology didn't "cut it with me" as Bernie's dedicated supporters literally "burned with anger" when they heard about the emails that exposed the "rigging of the DNC unfairly favoring Hillary over Bernie.  The DNC Convention's attempt to appease them with an apology along with Paul Simon's song, Bridge Over Troubled Waters doesn't erase the fact that the race was NOT won in a fair and democratic way.  It was a cheap and cheesy trick and didn't fool his supporters! Bernie and his supporters weren't given a fair and equal chance to win and to gloss over this was to strip them of their democratic rights!

I don't care which party a person is affiliated with, accountability was lacking for devious and deceitful actions! I continue to scratch my head as to why wrongful actions aren't met with a swift disqualification in today's world. Whatever happened to accountability after breaking rules.  This is happening not only in the world of politics but in the Olympics as well!

I appreciate Jesus' parable of sewing seeds and that weeds are allowed to grow along with the good seeds and that there will be a day of reckoning when the sorting of the harvest begins, BUT I am also encouraged by the parable of the prodigal son. His father was ever so glad to see him come home after squandering his inheritance, and was quick to forgive him and kill the fatted calf to host a barbeque party in celebration of his return, BUT the story doesn't end there. The father's older son may have been jealous, but in the end he still had his inheritance, whereas the younger prodigal son had lost his. God is fair and just, and laws, rules and regulations are designed to be as well.  Actions are NOT without consequences! So I too "feel the burn" for the "Feel-the-Bern Movement" when real justice is missing!

Integrity is everything and hats off to all winners and losers that fight the fight with integrity for that is the only way to real victory!

"Bernie and Bernie Supporters, I feel your burn!! There is guilt here that needs to be accounted for. This matters to all of us who have "down-home values".  Right and wrong still exist in my eyes and the eyes of others as well! And now as one of my friend's would say, "Thus ends my sermon!"

(Getting my daughter's approval to post this, she added that she hopes that Vermont will secede from the Union (not an infrequent solution for staunchly independent Vermonters), and then added that she wants a very tall wall built between Vermont and its surrounding states!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Our Favorite Annual Event--The Vermont Quilt Festival

I have been slow to blog as I had to take a week off to rest up before and after our annual event, attending The Vermont Quilt Festival, June 24-26th. It is where I get an overdose of inspiration, enough to last a whole year. This year we went on Sunday, which is good in that it isn't so crowded, but not so good as it closed earlier than we remembered, and we were cut short.

Fortunately, my husband considers the show a challenging and rewarding subject for him to photograph each year. My stamina is less than stellar and so I can enjoy the quilt show throughout the whole year through his pictures.  He has taught me that any of his photographs can be blown up to better capture the technical aspects of each quilt, truly a worthy study for any quilter! These quilts are better in person, but for those of you that are like me and are challenged to spend a lot of time at a quilt show or even get to one, I hope you enjoy these snippets. Each quilt pictured is followed by a picture of their entry number and quilter to give credit where it is due. I only dream of making such beautiful quilts, but keep working to that end...Maybe someday!?

This year did not disappoint us, except for what we believed to be its shrinking hours on Sunday? It is always the last weekend in June, for those of you that want to take in this wonderful quilt show next year.  It is located in Essex, Vermont and it is posted on line each year, so that you can plan in advance and make reservations for the many quilt classes featured by well-known quilters!  People come from Canada as well as the surrounding states to "take it in".  It is supposedly the largest quilt show in the East. Largest or not, it features beautiful quilts and great vendors that surprise us each year with wonderful selections of fabrics, patterns, notions, machines, and threads.  There is something in this show for everyone, and I am not being paid to say this!! It is truly the place to be in late June.  We are grateful that they moved it to The Exposition Center in Essex Junction years ago, as air conditioning makes it a truly pleasurable event!! Here are but a few of the four-hundred pictures my husband took.  Enjoy!
Row Quilts are becoming popular and this one was created by a challenge.

This "Row Quilt" is by Lorraine Hall and was made for a local quilt show.

The texture of this quilt was amazing (see below)! It is long-arm quilted.

Needle turn and reverse applique, paper-piecing and embellishments used.

Persian Tile Mosaic turned into a quilt!! Amazing or what!?

This quilt is by Megan Farkas, Sanbornton, NH.  What a beauty!!

This bright harvest quilt is made with Kaffe Fassett fabrics!

Quilt by Sylvia S. Smith, East Dorset, Vermont.

I want to try this but will I live long enough? Each tiny block = 1 1/2 inches! 

This Omigosh Quilt with thousands of pieces is made by Kimberly Pratt!

Pizzicato by Katie Pasquini Masopust--NM, VQF Instructors' Showcase Quilt.

Check the detail on this quilt!! Katie has much to teach quilters, to be sure!

This is another quilt in the Instructor's Showcase!

Quilt by Jackie Kunkel, CT. She is a Judy Niemeyer Certified Instructor!

Is this beautiful? Oh MY!! The detailed applique work is perfect!!

This quilt is done by Kathy Dunigan- TX. She is another VFQ Instructor!

This quilt was inspired by an antique quilt at the Newark Museum.

The detailed applique work is wonderful as is the hand-quilting!!

Barb Vedder's work is beautiful!!

This winning applique quilt is done by Barb Vedder, Madison, CT.

This quilt by Betty Ann Colangelo of Lynbrook, NY, is made of feedsacks.

Feedsacks (rare now) used to be a quilter's best source of quilting fabrics!

A visit to Kyushu (Japanese Island) inspired this quilt. Asian-style fabrics.

Beth Valliere of Melrose, MA made this Judy Niemeyer paper-pieced quilt.

This is a Kaffe Fassett version of an old fashioned shell patterned quilt.

Check out Christine Wickert's (Penfield, NY) hand quilting.  It is beautiful!

Check the 3-D toy-design in the center;it differs depending on how it is viewed.

Questions for kiddies are stitched in the corners of the quilt.

Quilted on a home sewing machine!

Quilt by Flora Joy, Johnson City, TN.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Zeldie Doing Better!!

My human thinks this is a likeness of me, but it is not even close!
Zeldie thanks you for your well wishes and prayers and says to tell you all that she is feeling much better! Her lab work does not show kidney problems, but did show signs of infection. She is on an antibiotic that is cherry flavored, which she would like to report is not a favorite flavor among cats, but with her two humans and a syringe it is rudely getting shoved down her throat, and then as if to apologize they are then pushing her to eat by feeding her baby food meats along with the most tempting of canned cat food every couple of hours.  She says she may well have to pretend to be sick just to get this pampered care that, as royalty, she deserves!
 Zeldie gets treated every two hours to gourmet foods & all I get is this ball!
She has been treated for worms and at the animal hospital she was given subcutaneous fluids to hydrate her. Her humans think she may well have something inside that is devouring so much food now!  She still doesn't care to drink, but as yet she hasn't been offered clam juice or champagne!! Her humans seem slow to catch on to the sort of care that cats in her class deserve.  She is still loyal to them, no matter what, for after all, she is a most special breed!!

Her humans want to thank you too for your concern and care! It appears that Zeldie is ready for another life on earth, one of her many.  I am sure that she will soon be back to re-designing my quilts! She wants you all to know that all she has to do is to bite them where she wants her human to do some extra fancy patchwork and is pleased that so far she has re-designed three quilts and looks forward to redesigning many more!
A lovely hand-quilted wool quilt that I...

...bit a few holes in the back and so got this lovely patch done to credit my help!

Monday, July 18, 2016

My Mostly Companion

Zeldie, my mostly companion is at the Vet's today.  We took her in yesterday after she had refused to eat.  She will be re-hydrated and then evaluated using lab work.  The vet is thinking that she may have kidney disease, as she couldn't find anything else to account for her refusing to eat or drink. I take her for granted, though even yesterday, I was mending a new quilt that she had decided to revise with her teeth.  I decided that since this quilt reminded me of a flower garden, I would patch Zeldie's teeth holes with appliqued butterflies.  I think she just likes to add to the designs of my quilts.  Our other patched quilt is patched with hearts and as one can clearly see, this is a quilt much loved by my Zeldie.

I vowed I would not own a destructive cat, but there is the rub. I don't own her, she owns me and my heart.  I have rearranged the entire house for my little Zeldie...Every overstuffed piece of furniture is now covered with soft blankets that she mostly kneads instead of bites, though she still nibbles at them as much for my last word on anything. I choose not to use my mother's precious quilts as my mother's quilts are not in need of being redesigned!! My quilts are not in that category however!!

We just got a call to pick her up and take her back home. It is for her own comfort and our finances. We are to feed her baby food and give her antibiotics for now and offer water to her, and we will know more tomorrow. She is still very droopy looking and sleeping in her favorite place, on the back of my vacation chair. I may need to learn to give her fluids subcutaneously. Sometimes cats can live on with their kidney issues, though there is much to consider. I pray that my little Zeldie is simply acutely ill and will get better!  I miss "my mostly companion" and hate seeing her not feeling well!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What Would Jane Do?

What would Jane do  about divisiveness in our nation?
I thought it would be only a pause in my day, as I sat at my sewing table in my living room to watch the congressional hearing where FBI Director Comey was to answer questions regarding his investigation about Hillary Clinton's emails.  I have no time to waste in getting my sewing done for upcoming craft sales that start in October!  I had no idea that I was about to commit to five hours of intense dialogue. At least I would get lots of fleece socks sewn, though I must admit that I hadn't thought of the irony that "fleece" was the theme of the day--pun intended!!

I have however, promised my daughter that I will refrain from political discourse in my blog, and so the point in writing this blog is NOT to take a stand on the issue of Hillary and whether or not she should not be indicted but rather to say that I believe that the divisiveness in our country could all be overcome if such dialogue that I witnessed in this hearing would occur between all of us. I was spellbound as to the level of thought that people put into their questions, and I was amazed at Director Comey's sincere, honest and transparent answers (never mind that it seemed that 2 + 2 no longer equals 4). Hours passed quickly and as Comey expressed that he was beginning to experience pain in needing a bathroom break, I experienced the same need.

 All participants were allowed five minutes each and the oversight committee longer. The questions and answers were exchanged in rapid fire one after another.  The range of opinions varied as polar opposite views from disgust at questioning the expertise of the FBI investigation to sincere angst at the apparent lack of consequences for those that appear to violate national security interests. I decided right then and there that thoughtful reflection needs to happen in the world at large just like what was happening right there on TV!

Once upon a time patriots of our great nation took seriously the issues of the day and shared such discourse among themselves and worked out their issues through debate and compromise and thoughtful action.  At our table we are often accompanied by our digital tablets or cell phones and we report polls and data instead of serious discourse. I know that we are often NOT comfortable with our differences and have even gotten to the point where we choose NOT to discuss them in order to be socially correct. Perhaps this is wise if people cannot handle discussion without putting their fists in action or getting out their guns, but I think that this is where civil discourse is breaking down. We need to listen to each other and use words to persuade, and teach. Perhaps if this would happen more at our own kitchen tables around the world, we would have less violence, and polarization between people. We need to appreciate that points of view need to be heard in order to have a better understanding of issues and how to resolve them.

What I saw on TV in this congressional hearing were expressions of passion and differing views, acceptance and challenges posed to improve what isn't working, and suggestions as to what is needed to be done to fix what appears to be current lax attitudes and practices. I am sure that others, like me were saddened that this sort of talk regarding standards was done after actions were taken instead of before, but it is this very process that we are in need of in our country! It takes time and courage for all of us to put our brains to work and have meaningful dialogue and debate in today's high tech, quick fix culture, no matter how uncomfortable and politically incorrect it may seem.

It became clear that even the FBI was short sighted and needed different matters brought to their attention before the bigger picture could be adequately accessed and of course, when it comes to politics, sometimes their is intent to avoid truths that may not be so pleasing to some. No matter what issues needs to be worked out, words are better than guns to relate our dissatisfaction and resolve differences. Solutions can only be reached when discourse instead of violence occurs, especially if we are to remain a civilized society where diverse people can live together with law and order and peace.

Serious dialogue should never be considered a waste of time. Nothing worthwhile is easy or quick, and I have decided that when it comes to peaceful solutions, I need to start with myself and my own family.  We need to become more tolerant of what doesn't please us as individuals and appreciate that the good of all needs to be considered.

I realized that it won't start if I don't take on this personal challenge and relate to others in an open, tolerant and courteous manner about matters that truly concern me. I need to become more comfortable with the lack of peace to become more tolerant of differing views and the same needs to happen when we communicate with others on-line or by text. We all need to become be OK with differences without being like children that demand our own way all the time. I cannot believe that serious divisions are coming between the closest of friends and family members over political issues! This is the only way that I can think of to change this climate of polarizing views, with no workable solutions!

How easy it is to blame others for the lack of peace and violence in this world, but communication is the key and it begins with each one of us.  Tonight my husband got an email from an old friend that decided to invite everyone to participate in a day of doing random acts of kindnesses, as she too felt the need to counteract the divisiveness in our country.  It is my idea that instead of avoiding differences and being ultra polite and careful to avoid political division, we need to become less sensitive to hearing things that don't please us. I think that we are living in a more isolated fashion and are stuck within our own heads with all our digital devices and need to talk to each other again, and not just about the weather!

I went to graduate school with someone that was taking coursework in psychology and for her project for the semester, she decided to overcome her phobia of snakes and so she worked to de-sensitize herself to her own fears, and her goal was to be able to reach into a cage and pick up a pet snake and show it to the class and then put it back into its cage.  She didn't accomplish this treatment of her phobia in one day, but she did it in "baby" steps taken each day. So it is with our toleration and respect of others.  We need to practice listening to people who have views that oppose ours and practice acknowledging their concerns and views, and practice respectful dialogue with them. It is the only way that we can eventually to some agreements as to how to fix what isn't working. I think we are losing the art of civil discourse and need to practice it everyday, just like in the days of old!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Birthday America!

Thank you, Tom McMillen for your fine pictures celebrating this great event!


(Dedicated to my Aunt Catherine Martin, who were she living would be 100 today!  She always thought fireworks were in honor of her birthday and I think they might be!)