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Well My Bags Are Packed, I'm Ready To Go...

Just waiting for the taxi to blow his horn!

I'm actually ready a whole hour ahead of time which is almost a miracle. 

When I was in my teens and a young adult, I was always late. Except to work. I have very good work ethics. Even when working for myself, I'm very disciplined, honest and gung ho.

Gung Ho. Now that's an interesting word. I just googled it and here's a piece of what Wikipedia says...

Gung ho is a term used to mean "enthusiastic" or "dedicated."
The term was picked up by United States Marine Corps Major Evans Carlson from his New Zealand friend, Rewi Alley, one of the founders of the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives. Carlson explained in a 1943 interview: "I was trying to build up the same sort of working spirit I had seen in China where all the soldiers dedicated themselves to one idea and worked together to put that idea over. I told the boys about it again and again. I told them of the motto of the Chinese Cooperatives, Gung Ho. It means Work Together-Work in Harmony...." [1]

I'm sure I used the right term above. It fits what I was trying to describe. Must have pulled it up from my military brat days. It's funny how we say the same things our parents used to say - sometimes without even knowing what it means.

Dad was in the Air Force - a lifer - which is part of what makes me the gypsy that I am. 

Now my son, Bear, is making a career in the US Army. I think he's pretty happy with it. Maybe not as gung-ho as he was at first, but he's good at what he does.

I just hate like hell that he has to be deployed again. We're not sure if he'll go to Iraq for the second time or to Afghanistan. We'll know more in November. 

It's hard on him for sure and on his sweetest of sweet wife, Winge. It's hard for all of us. I know...I believe...he will thrive. We all will.

say a prayer...
send good thoughts and vibrations, 
believe in our men and women serving this country and help them make it through this horrible, sad war.


door knob quilts

I am totally jazzed! My heart rate sped up yesterday and by this afternoon, I was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!

And then Jerry suggested I take a chill pill - which I did. I freely admit that because I don't like the things and this is only the second one I've taken in my life. 

Unless you count those I used recreationally back in the 60s/70s. 

Did I just say that?!?

Really, I was very stupid about what went into my body back in those days. Of course, now it's Diet Coke, candy, cookies and chips (when I can remember where I hid them). I have gotten better and expect to continue to do so. 

The older I get, the more I want this body to last. I, at least, want it to keep up with my mind. Which shouldn't be all that difficult. 

No, really - I'm OK.

But, I digress.

What I'm so revved up about is getting everything together for our trip to the States! 

Whoop! Whoop!

I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it!! I'm about to lose control and I think I like it!!!

I've made some little quilts that I've been calling mini quilts, to take to a few friends and family. You can see the progression of pictures in earlier postings below but here's one I finished today...

Every time I finish one and start looking around the house for a place to hang it, it ends up on a door knob. 

So...I'm going to call them door knob quilts! I think it suits them to a T for a few reasons. 

First of all, they fit the door perfectly. OK -there are a couple of them that might be a little long for a door but let's not quibble. 

Secondly, when I give a gift, I don't want the receiver to feel like they have to nail a hole in the wall (here in Colombia you have to drill a hole in concrete and use a screw) to display a piece of my art that they may or may not love or even want. 

Hanging it on a door knob or maybe a drawer pull isn't such a big committment. And calling it a door knob quilt lets them know I'm cool with whatever they do with it.

Thirdly, it's cute. It makes you want to see what it is. Most of the world still thinks of a quilt as something that Grandma made - and you sleep under it.

Then...the name just feels right. Like - when I had a little fruit stand in Surry called Banana Annie's.

Last of all, I googled door knob quilt - and while I only looked at the first page of results - it's not a common name. 

So what do you think?

I want to show you Marlene's really, totally, finished bag. I just thought it was done in the pictures from the last post.

I can't make a bohemiannie! bag without adding jewelry. I have so much of it to play with that it's ridiculous. It took me almost four hours to find the right necklace for Marlene's bag - probably because I'm so selfish with the stuff. 

Of course, I ooohhed and ahhhhed over almost every piece; tried things on, sorted, sorted and sorted some more. Oh what joy!

Then I added a cute little chica to the back of the bohemiannie! bag. SHE looks like she may have taken a chill pill as well.

I did straighten her out with a bit of glue. A little dab'll do ya.

I ended up wearing some pieces yesterday that I hadn't even seen in years and it was so much fun! I mean, why do I just let it sit in the box?

OK - I've got miles and miles to go before I sleep but I just had to put down some thoughts.

I may not be able to post to my blog while I'm in the states, but I'll definitely try. 

It seems I have SO much to say.


Yeeeeeeee Haaaaaawwwwwww!

Remember I told you that Marlene Glickman and I are working on some collaborative pieces...

and I hinted that there was no stress involved.

Well, after going into the play room to make Marlene's quilt beautiful, I really messed it up. The more I quilted, the more ruffly it became. 

It got to where I had to iron it so I sprayed the back liberally with water and ironed with a hot, hot iron hoping and praying nothing would melt. I did a little spot first to test and it was fine so I ironed the *&$&^@ out of it. 

And it helped!

But not enough.

I thought I was getting happy, but after a few minutes it pretty much started wobbling again. So I quilted some more.

I gave up after using a whole spool of thread in the bottom right corner and disgustedly went downstairs to brood. And eat.

I asked Jerry what he thought about stretching it over stretcher bars and he got the concept but had never done anything like that and I've done very little so we didn't feel confident about that idea.

Never one to give up easily, I tried again, by couching circles of yarn into the bottom corner thinking that would "go" with the circle Marlene added top center.

Oh what a disaster...

Those circles - well sorta circles - were just too Way Out There.

So, I got out some green paint and subdued them.

The artist's block I'd talked about earlier was nothing compared to what I was feeling now. I got depressed and mean. I hate to admit it, but I can be really mean. 

So, I just tried to stay by myself and ended up at the computer talking to my dear free spirit friend, Trish.

Well, she suggested that I try something sculptural and I loved the idea. At this point, that was about all that I thought would work. 

Thanks to Trish…

I started thinking outside the box…

(it had a lot of tape and glue and string and wrapping paper on it and was hard to get out of)

and I felt much better and opened my digital Quilting Arts emagazine...

As I was reading it, I came across an article about selling art at fairs and craft shows and there...in beautiful color...were some purses hanging at this lady's booth.

And it hit me!!!...................drum roll......................

I could make a bohemiannie! bag out of this quilt!

For those of you that know me, I've made, carried, sold and taught (at 2009 International Quilt Festival in Houston no less) this bag for the last 2-3 years.


It was like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders and I felt wonderful!!!

When I realized that my funky mood, depression, overeating, stress and a lot of my meanness of the last week was due to my worries about this quilt, I couldn't believe it. 

I put it ALL on myself. Marlene has never made me feel anything less than wonderful about myself.

So why? Why did I allow this to impact me in such a negative way?

I'll have to think about the answer to that one, other than the obvious - which is - I want her to love what I bring to her as much as I love what she puts into my pieces.

And, I really wanted it done in time to take to Florida when we go next week. 

Yes...I do procrastinate...but I did do the first quilting screw-up a couple months ago. I mean, I tried to get it done early. I thought about taking those stitches out but just knew there had to be a way to finish it with out being that dramatic.

ANYway, I was so happy when I woke up this morning and have been all day.

I got into my playroom and chose fabrics

to finish the top edge of the bag and found a really cool belt that works as a handle. 

It needed painting so I spent some time trying to mix the right colors and of course had to paint lots of other things while I had all that mess out...

including the pockets for the bag. :)

The one above is from what used to be a white sweater that I Kool Aide dyed a few months ago with my free spirit friends - and then added the green circles today using the bottom of the paint container.

The next pocket used to be a plain off-white muslin drawstring pouch which I batiked while at a workshop - and just happened to be sitting next to Marlene at the time. I added the green circles and red paint to one side of it.

So...I was going full speed ahead and by around 3pm today, I finished Marlene's bag!


Whoop! Whoop!

and Back... 



Ya Who!

Yee Haw!

I have to tell you this story...

I was at a Tampa Bay Ray's game last year and every time they did something really cool, which was every few minutes; I'd let out this totally redneck holler that goes a little like this...


And this kid in front of me kept looking back and giving me a look like a was a raving maniac. At one point, I hollered so loud and long that he just cracked up laughing and when he bent over and held his stomach, he actually rolled off of his seat and down a few stairs before the railing caught him. 

It was hilarious!

And, I hear the Rays are in the top four and it's killing me that I can't even watch the games on tv.

GO RAYS!!!!!!!!!



I REALLY miss Tim Gunn!

Today I stayed at home with my Sophia while Hillary took Jerry for his check-up. (He needed a translator and Hillary is doing a great job learning Spanish). He and I need to get serious about learning the language too. 

We finally have health insurance - as of the beginning of this month - and it's a load off my mind.

He said the doctor's office was large, clean, uncrowded and efficient. The doctor was very thorough and set him up with appointments to get him into even better shape than he's in. 

He felt really good about health care there and I must say, my experiences with it so far have been positive too. 

The sidewalks here are totally uneven. Almost every house and business has it's own sidewalk arrangement and they don't always - actually hardly ever - are the same. You can see from this picture taken near downtown...

And this one taken from in front of my house looking down the street...

Anywho, I ended up stepping off a sidewalk while looking up and ended up at a clinic that put my foot in a cast. They were every bit as careful with me and my information as they've ever been in the States. NOTHING against the USA but health care sucks.

And Jerry got a terrible case of the flu the third week we were here- wash those hands people - wherever you live - and ended up in the hospital for 3 days until they were sure his blood sugar levels were straightened out. They took great care of him...and me!

Our plan includes some dental and will pay for lens for our glasses along with lab work and medicine. And it's much, much more affordable than anything we could have gotten in the USA. Believe me, after Jerry retired in April 2k9, we looked - and just couldn't afford it. That is, if we wanted to have any $ left over to enjoy life.

So, I'm happy to say health care here in Colombia looks like it'll be good for us. So many people have asked and now we know.

I've had a bit of a creative block for the past week

After I finished beading my mini quilts,

I decided to work on a couple collaborative pieces that I'm doing with a friend from Tampa Bay...Marlene Glickman. I have a piece that will end up with her and one that will be mine when they're finished. I really want to get some work done on them before I leave for Florida and Kansas next Friday.

Marlene does absolutely wonderful, cutting edge, totally creative work and I'm usually worried that I'll just muck up what she's done when I touch the piece. I have got to get over that feeling! 

Whatever happened to the Law of Attraction here?!?

Here is the first picture I have of the piece I'm talking about...

That was taken after we'd both done a couple rounds on it.

The lovely thing about our collaborative pieces is that we have NO rules. No deadlines, no you-gotta-do-this-or-that next. NADA. It's wonderful. And we're both really OK if the other decides to cut up what's been done and totally rearrange it. We both have complete artistic license when the work is in our hands. It's a beautiful thing.

As I hinted at above, Marlene is a marvelous artist and every time a piece comes back to me, I'm thrilled.

And scared!

But sure enough, I plunged in and decided to quilt Marlene's piece and it didn't turn out flat

It's driving me crazy thinking about how to fix it. 

It's bothering me more than having no health insurance for those 16 months.

I've always told anyone and everyone - that I don't take stitches out unless I have to. I mean, it's really gotta be a have to. Usually I can find a way to make it work. 

I sure miss Tim Gunn.

I'm receiving my Quilting Arts Magazine digitally since NO mail reaches us here. Well - most mail doesn't. I love getting the next issue and have it saved to my desktop so I don't even have to be online to read it. I learned my lesson a couple weeks ago when we didn't have internet. 

Shelley Brenner Baird, an artist featured in the Artist Profile section of the magazine (October/November 2010 issue), talks about a quilt she finished and when her peers told her the quilting on the piece was atrocious, she actually spent 55 hours taking out stitches.

Boy what a guilt trip.

I'm sorry Marlene.

Usually if I have something that isn't flat, I can iron the you-know-what out of it and it works. This piece has too many fabrics and threads that I'm afraid will melt if I did that - so that option is out. I did iron some, and it helped, but...not enough.

So, I've had the piece hanging in whatever room I happen to be in at the time - all week. It's literally following me around the house and it's like the Offspring song,  

Gotta Get Away 

where it says...

Over My Shoulder Is A Big Mistake.

Yep - that about describes it.

So today, I was writing my thoughts down in my personal journal - where I can tell how I really feel - and I felt like I came to a solution! 

It really does help to write things down for me. It's therapy. 

I could visualize a fix and and I loved it...finally. 

Then I saw (remember this is in my mind) Marlene's delight when she receives the quilt next week and even went so far as fantasizing about how the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild members would ooohh and aaahhh over it when she brings it for 'Show and Tell'.

In other words, I want them (principally Marlene) to love what I did to it as much as I always love what she does to my pieces.

So, with new hope and excitement, I sat down with it this morning and stitched in the wobbly corner in the bottom left of the picture below.

Here's what it looks like now...

I still have a lot of stitching to do on it, but I'm not really sure it's helping. I think it's obscuring too much of what's been done previously (good stuff) and feel pretty let down but I know that's not what gets things done...so I will work on it every chance I get between now and I'm satisfied or take-off...whichever comes first.

I'm thinking of couching some bigger circles there in the bottom right section after I finish with the quilting. I'm sure I'll change the color of thread I used and may paint over some of those little circles. And add more glitter.

If you have any ideas PLEASE feel free to comment.

I'm off to the playroom determined to get this looking 




My favorite son, Bear, is celebrating his 28th birthday today! 

Happy Birthday Butter Bear!

He was born in 1982, just after midnight, on a Thursday. 

Here's a story I wrote about him in a course I took way back when...


Bear's Birthday
Shortly after dinner on September 22, 1982, I began feeling some mild contractions. I wouldn't dare allow myself to believe that my baby was ready to be born. After all, he was already three weeks late to the day. I'd been sure time and again that "today" was the day. The only problem was that "today" never was the day and this had been going on for five weeks. I decided that I was going to become too busy to think about it again; which was really hard to do considering my belly looked like I had stuffed two basketballs into it. On top of that, I felt like I was carrying around a sack of rocks.

After an hour I was sure I was in labor. I began cleaning house, arranging a babysitter for my daughter, packing my suitcase, fixing a meal to freeze, shaving my legs and all those other things that expectant mothers do at the last minute.
By the time my contractions were coming at regular intervals I let my husband in on the excitement. He began acting like a monkey, all nervous and running around doing nothing. After I calmed him down we called the doctor.

At around 11pm that night we took off to the hospital. I was aware of the fact that second babies usually come faster, but I wasn't prepared for the speed with which this one was moving! I had waited all evening for the last possible moment to leave and by the time we were dropping Hillary at my sister's house, I was hardly able to talk to her.

The drive to the hospital lasted about twenty minutes and during that time I was withdrawing more and more into my own little world.

As we walked across the vast parking lot to the entrance doors I had to stop twice for severe contractions. I remember a lady walking by and knowingly saying, "Looks like you're going to have a baby tonight"! I couldn't even acknowledge her at this point but my husband stuttered and stammered something to her.

The admissions clerk saw us coming and had a wheelchair ready before we could speak. I guess I must have looked dangerous because she didn't even take any information at that time, but rather told Jerry she would get what she needed up in Labor and Delivery.

The next thing I knew I was in the birthing room, in a hospital gown, doing my slow chest Lamaze breathing. The nurse had checked me and said I was seven centimeters dilated and no sooner had she gone than I really began to hurt and to worry. I have a high tolerance for pain but I wasn't sure I could bear this much longer. I told my husband how I felt and he suggested I change my breathing style to panting, which I did immediately.

Almost right away the doctor came in for his examination. He informed us that I was in transition, that is, almost to ten centimeters. I couldn't believe how quickly it had happened but I was relieved to know why I hadn't been doing so well. At this point I regained my confidence and knew that I wasn't going to freak out.

All of a sudden I felt the urge to push! I knew from Lamaze that no pushing is allowed until full dilation is accomplished. Well the nurse quickly checked me and lo and behold I was fully dilated.

From that point on, for the next five to ten minutes, all I heard out of Jerry's mouth was, "Push, push, push, push, push". Then after the nurse came back from getting the doctor that was all she could say. Believe me, it was such a relief to push that at that point I was very agreeable.

I could feel the baby's head moving down the birth canal and I knew that he wasn't goint to be but another minute or two, so I told the nurse she's better get the doctor. She ran out to get him and I just kept pushing.

I suppose that doctors know their jobs but this man obviously wasn't taking me seriously. The baby's head was showing but Dr. Wash was still lollygagging around in the hall. I could see him and told him in no uncertain terms that my baby was about to be born! By this time Jerry and the nurse were shouting, "Blow, blow". They knew that if I blew I couldn't push the baby out before the doctor got there. Well I wasn't about to blow at this point. That's kind of like telling a shooting star to turn around and go back. I just couldn't do it!

I thank God to this day that I at least had a nurse present, because I finally gave the push that was needed and at 1:35 am out popped my baby's head! The doctor was running into the room pulling on his gloves at this time. He got to us just in time to suction the baby and catch him on the next push!

I was sitting up in a chair-bed all this time so I was the first to see I had a baby boy! I was thrilled and I couldn't wait to get my hands on him. I reached out to take him from the doctor, but he pulled him back and said, "Wait a minute". Well I waited what seemed like hours and again reached for him. This time I succeeded in getting my hands on him and the doctor disgustedly said, "Here take him". So I did!

All this time Jerry was busy taking pictures of this miracle of birth. My son was crying and didn't seem very pleased with this part of the world. I was amazed and happy beyond words and I'll never forget it.
Wow, typing that made my heart race and all kinds of emotion come up.  



Universidad del Atlantico

Yesterday, Jerry and I were invited by our friend, Jesus, to tour the campus of Universidad del Atlantico where he attends school.

The University is just outside of Puerto Colombia - which is just west of Barranquilla on the coast.

On the way in, there were lots of vendors set up selling food of every description...

And jewelry...

which is popular at any age. I meant to look closer on my way out but they were gone by then.

The first building we came to is the new library. Jesus says that only the first two floors are full but they expect to fill it up in time.

The grounds were quite beautiful with flowers and greenery all over the place...

There are Koi in this pond - lots of them, but my pictures didn't turn out clear.

The campus has two cafeterias...

You can just make out the U A (Universidad del Atlantico)symbol trimmed into the bushes above in front of the gazebo cafeteria. Isn't there a name for that type of trimming? Jesus asked me and I didn't know the answer.

There is a science center...

And breath-taking views:

They have a huge athletic department complete with swimming pool and soccer - whoops I mean football field.

More of those views later!

The campus has some pretty awesome art...lots of which I, unfortunately, didn't capture on film.

A huge open air gymnasium...

and Lots of stairs...

I don't remember what this building was used for but I loved the way the sun was shining on it. 

In between it and me was a big pond with an alligator in it. Jerry found him while I went upstairs to get pix of the sunset. There's a reason why we call him Gator Geezer.

Here's one of Jerry and Jesus standing in front of the alligator pond all satisfied that he found the critter.

This is from the top of the building (6th floor I think it was) (I couldn't breathe after climbing the first 4 and may have lost consciousness and didn't count anymore).

You can see Barranquilla in the distance. We're looking at it from the West - the sun is behind me - and Pedro's University is between us and the city on the far left of the picture just past that high rise.

This is a shot looking straight down from where I was standing and boy did it do a number on my equilibrium. I don't think the banister I was holding onto (I didn't dare lean) was any higher than my hip. 

That circle is huge and the tree shading it is around 25-30 feet high. I'm not sure if that's a map or what. I'll ask Jesus next time I talk to him.

Here is someone enjoying the views from the west end of the building.

See how low that bannister is! I wasn't exaggerating. (Of course - I never do).

This is where the Magdalena River meets the Caribbean off to the North.  You can just see that ship out there on the river.

I'll bet there are a few alligators in that there swamp!

We met some really super nice students along with Alaine, a really cool guy from Barranquilla, and Iris, an Americano teaching English as a second language; there on a Fulbright Grant, who were my tour guides when I went upstairs - which is why I know what these shots are of.

And...the Magnum Opus(s) ...

Alaine says that's Swan Lake between us and that glorious sun setting behind those fantastically beautiful hills.

Alaine told me there was a nickname for Barranquilla which goes like this...

El Mejor Vividero del Mundo.

Which Jesus translated as...

The Best Place to Live in the World!

I must say, it's a pretty awesome place

and right now...

I'm happy to be here.