Monday, September 18, 2017

My Words Quilt: I Love It!

I got my Words quilt back from the quilter, and I just love it! This is a huge quilt.. almost ten feet long! I worked on it for over five years. It was going to be a birthday gift to myself for my 60th birthday. Next week I'll be 65! My goal was to get it done by my 65th birthday. I don't know if I'll get it bound by then, but it's done enough for me to say I accomplished my goal.

It was custom quilted by Steffani Burton of Minnesota. She did a beautiful job!

Several of you made word blocks for me. Thank you so much. You helped make this quilt very special.

The backing is a Tula Pink fabric. I had my husband's name in a block from an abandoned project so I put it on the back with two little words added: "Carol loves."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Book Review: On Living

On Living by Kerry Egan.. Kerry Egan is a hospice chaplain and tells the stories that her dying patients have shared with her. Some are funny, some are touching, some are sad. Families have complicated stories which sometimes involve secrets or hurtful memories. She shares these without violating any privacies, of course, and tells them to show us that dying people are just like living people.. except they are dying. She encourages us to take advantage of our lives now while we can, and to tell people we love them, ask for forgiveness, or tell what we've kept buried for too long. Most of us won't depart from this earth with profound last words, leaving our survivors in awe and wonder. At the same time, she encourages us not to be afraid of dying people. They need our presence and our listening ears. This week marks the one-year anniversary of my mother's death. I was so lucky to be with her 'til her last breath. It's a privilege to go on this journey with a loved one.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Book Review: Two Books

(1) Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett -- A young mother dies and leaves behind her husband and two daughters. We see the story through the younger daughter's eyes; she is age ten when the story opens. The family struggles with their collective and individual grief, trying to get a handle on their new normal. The young girl carries the reader along as she works through her questions and struggles. These are obstacles that every family faces. The story is poignant, endearing, and very true-to-life. You won't be sorry you picked up this book.

(2) Cody and the Fountain of Happiness by Tricia Springstubb -- This is a book for the 7-10 year-old age group. I bought it to give away, and then decided it was good enough for me to read, too. Cody is a spirited young girl, curious and a lover of all animals, especially... ants. She says the most darling things and made me laugh. I even read bits out loud to my husband. There are other books in the Cody series. If I were a kid in that age group I would be gobbling up these endearing books.

people reading while waiting for the solar eclipse in August

Friday, September 08, 2017

Rocky Mountains, Part Two of Two

Rocky Mountain National Park was established the year my dad was born.. they're both 102 years old now (Dad celebrates in Heaven).

I liked how these trees show the survival technique of trees up at the timber line where icy winds prevail. The icy winds come in from the windward side, making it too cold for growth on that side, so it grows only on the lee side. How clever of the trees, don't you think?

Most of the above pictures were taken at Bear Lake. It's a very popular destination. The parking lot fills up, and then one must ride a shuttle to the lake as there is no more room for more cars. We decided to wait until after 6:00 PM. We were so glad we did; there were very few people there, which was definitely a benefit that made our visit there enjoyable. I would have hated having wall-to-wall people there! It's a gorgeous little lake with a nice hike that goes all the way around.

My very nice husband agreed to drive us to Golden, CO so I could see the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. I loved their current exhibit which was quilts from the Caohagan Islands (part of the Philippines).
The last quilt photo is a detail of a larger one.. I loved the bird's-eye perspective of these kids.

It was another beautiful drive over to Lyons where I wanted to visit a quilt shop. I'm so glad we went; it's a fabulous shop. I could have spent hours there. It's in a building that used to be the Black Bear Inn, which is why it has that black bear on their sign. It has a huge parking lot fit for an inn, so go there with all your friends! There's plenty of parking space!

Our last evening in Colorado gifted us with a beautiful sunset.
Coming back home, we drove through the Sandhills in Nebraska. They are beautiful, but.. oh, my. They go on forever and ever. Be sure you have a full tank of gas!

I loved Colorado. Under the right circumstances you could convince me to live there.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Rocky Mountain High: Colorado! Part One of Two

I don't have all my photos properly organized, but it's getting to be too long to wait. I've had to learn a new system since my computer upgrade, and you know -- it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks! I'll do what I can. (Apologies for some of the pictures which may be fuzzy or washed out as I haven't finished fixing them all.)

After the eclipse in Nebraska, we headed on to Colorado. The first town we stayed in was Sterling. It was quite a drive from Nebraska, and still in the flat part of Colorado. We were happy to get there and get out of the car. The main things we did in Sterling were go out for dinner, and the next morning we went to the quilt shop, Quilts-N-Creations. It was an average shop, not one I would go out of my way to visit, but if one is in town, you might as well visit. (The workers were friendly.) I tried to buy a little something in each shop I visited, because I like to support independent shops and to leave a little bit for the area's economy.

Next stop was Estes Park, Colorado. This was our home for the next four nights. What a lovely drive there, and what a lovely town! Above you see a scene along the road, and then you see the Big Thompson River which flows through Estes Park and a long ways outside of town as well. Back in 1976 they had a huge, disastrous flood there. Over 100 people died. We could see.. in many places there would be no place to run to safety! Now they have signs up: "If it starts to flood, climb to safety." I kind of wonder.. glad I didn't have to attempt that self-rescue plan.

A short drive around the area took us to St. Mary Lake, and one tourist who was climbing on rocks there, whom I photographed while driving past, so it's a rather odd photo. Pretty little lake.

Estes Park is nestled in here, under all these breath-taking mountains. The next two shots are views from our hotel balcony. So pretty! And it was cool, fresh-smelling air which we loved.

Visit to Rocky Mountain National Park:
this winding little road goes up to the Alpine Center at 11,796 feet above sea level. Along the way there are stops for beautiful scenes, such as Chasm Falls.

Approaching the summit.. there is an information center and a retail store with café. See the poles planted next to the buildings? It's so they can find the buildings under the snow at the end of winter.

I found this picture at Wikipedia, the Alpine Center in late May.

We decided to do the "Huffer Hike." It takes hikers up to 12,005 feet above sea level. Well, we were already at over 11,000 and it was already hard to breathe. Just a little bit of walking rendered us out of breath and huffing/puffing. Thus the name of the hike. We had to do it quite slowly to give our poor bodies time to catch up to the low oxygen levels. And.. it got colder and colder as we went up.
The view up there was gorgeous, and it kept changing as the sun and the clouds moved around, changing the sunshine and shadows on the mountains below.

Back down to 11-something thousand feet, we went into the retail store where I looked for A. I met her at a retreat in Wisconson; she works for the retreat center during the fall and winter, helping host retreat groups. She told us that during the summers she works at RMNP at 12,000 feet, so I knew this had to be the place. There she was! It was fun to see her. I'm holding up a RMNP t-shirt to prove where we were.

Above are more gorgeous mountain scenes along with a moose who was very close to the road, and some elk (we saw LOTS of elk). We also saw a deer, an eagle (it flew past us pretty close! it had just caught a fish!) and some other cool birds.

This was my thought when taking this next picture: "I would love to live in a place where this is the view that greets me when I come out of the grocery store." It's soooo pretty there! The next photo is an historic hotel there whose name I have already forgotten. The last picture was taken at YMCA of the Rockies. Last year I had tried to get my family to do a family reunion there, but it was shot down. Really, I had no idea, when going to Estes Park, that I would be that close to the YMCA place. It would have been a beautiful place for a reunion and has a huge grounds with many different buildings, some small, some large. Oh, well... at least I got to see it.

I am blathering on for too long, so I'm going to stop here and post a Rocky Mountains Part 2 in the next day or two. Thanks for reading this far!