Category Archives: Writing 101

Space to write

Daily Prompt

 

I hesitate to post this, because I started it 6 days ago, and somehow it got lost in my draft folder or I forgot it was there.  I cut out the part about where and how I write, because it doesn’t really matter.  And, this being my 50th post, a landmark, shouldn’t it be special?

What I thought about when I saw the title as I found this post today, – was “Space to write” as in not where do I write, what does my writing space look like – but space to write being about, do I have time (space) to fit writing a blog into my schedule.

Now my teenage, senior year, daughter is gone a lot this summer, and during the school year the amount of help I have to give her or activities at the school have greatly diminished over the years.  Let’s face it, you are raising a kid to be an independent adult, not depend on you for everything forever.  So, by senior year, they should be pretty autonomous.

My job is part-time, 24-32 hours a week, but really, I should probably look for a full time job.  The catch-22 in that is can I find a job that pays as much per hour as I make now, and if not, will I be working 40 hours a week for basically the same amount of pay I am making now – what’s the point?  So I can have “paid holidays” and “paid vacations”.  I get a vacation stipend, so, it’s not like I don’t get a “paid vacation”.

Anyway, because of my daughter’s age, my work schedule, not being big on any other hobbies much besides quilting, all of my family is spread out so we don’t get together much, and not being into TV all that much, I have quite a bit of “free” time.  Now, my biggest hobby is quilting, but sometimes, I get tired of it, and do a bit less than I otherwise would, or just take a week or two off.  Then, I like to do other things, reading is one of them.  I have also had time when quilting is all I do in my spare time at home, besides cooking and showering and sleeping.

So, do I have space for writing?  My original goal was one blog post a week.  With the recent Writing 101 assignments and following a few Daily Prompts, I have done better than one post a week, though not for the first couple months.  Technically, I have almost a year’s worth of posts up, then.

But, the problem with one post a week is that it’s not an engrained habit and can easily be set aside or forgotten, unless I was working on it daily, which I usually don’t.  I found I was either quilting or blogging.

That’s why I did the Writing 101, to build a blogging habit.  As I was doing all of those assignments, I kept saying to myself, but my theme is about quilting, and I haven’t done that much of it lately because I’ve been writing.

See the problem here.  Do I have time for two passionate hobbies? Well, I’m just going to have to figure that out.  Stay tuned to see what happens.

 

Things I Treasure

Writing 101 – Day 20

For our final assignment, tell the tale of your most-prized possession. If you’re up for a twist, go long — experiment with longform and push yourself to write more than usual.

Well, once again, I seem to be ahead of the game.  I have already written about my Brother PQ1500 sewing machine that I use to piece and quilt on.  I’m not saying it’s my “most-prized possession”, but if you read this post, you might think so.

Then, I have also written about my Grandmother’s sewing machine, which is certainly a possession that I cherish, but again, I don’t know if is my “most-prized”.  You can read about it here, and I’ll include a picture this time.

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I’ve also written about my first quilt, or should I say my second, third, or fourth?  I lost count as my memory got better.  You can read about this saga in several posts, My First Quilt, My First Quilt – Part 2, My First Quilt – The Final Saga.  

Somehow parts 1 and 2 got mixed up, probably my lack of savvy blogging skills, and now as I reread them, I’m not sure which one I posted first, either!  Then, I remembered my real first quilt here.

Now, the challenge was to make this long.  Oh, my goodness, have you read those first three posts? I don’t think I have have a problem going longform!  Beat my record by 300, oh spare my readers, puleezzz!   I’m sure you all agree with me. I mean, seriously, if I write another 1800 words and anyone actually wants to read all that, just let me know, I’ll work on it next time.  This time, though I’ll try to keep it shorter.

So, let’s see, the Writing 101 also stated this assignment isn’t due until Monday, June 30, so you can think about it, and I was like, no, I don’t think I need to “think about” writing something long and drawn out about my “most-prized” possession.  If you haven’t read my most recent post that was totally random about movies I like – not a top 10 list! – you’ll know how I feel about absolutes like “most favorite”, “most-prized”, “top 10”, etc.

So, with that in mind, as I  have stated, I have talked about my sewing machine, my Grandma’s sewing machine, my butterfly hanky quilt, my Grandma’s Grandmother’s Fan quilt and the one I’m finishing I think was her work, all of which are definitely cherished items, but “most-prized”, I not 100% certain about that.

I could post gratuitous pictures of my kids and grandson, but they aren’t really possessions, are they?

So, I’m 1500 words or more away from making this my longest post ever, how can I fill the void? You know what, I’m not going to.  I’ll just tell you a few more of my “most-prized” possessions, and maybe a couple pictures, how is that?

Now, if you have followed my blog from the start,  you know the story of how my Mom and her mom, my maternal Grandmother both died in the same week in February 2008.  Grandma’s death wasn’t completely unexpected as she was 100 years old, but to find out after Mom died that the nursing home had been calling her, about the time she passed, about how Grandma wasn’t doing so good – well, it all seems a little inconceivable! That Mom died on a Monday, and Tuesday, we all went to see Grandma.  I can tell you that I have never in my life seen someone who was really already gone, but that day I did.  She never said a word and just seemed to be staring out the window.

Then, my Aunt stated before Mom’s wake on Wednesday evening that she had been to see her and she didn’t look good.  We out-of-towners stayed in a local hotel so we could be close by for the family visitation at the funeral home, trip to the church, and then the burial. As I went to get coffee that morning, on Thursday, my brother came to my door to tell me he had just heard from my Aunt, and Grandma had passed shortly after midnight, on Valentine’s Day, the day of Mom’s burial.  At the funeral home, they told us, they already had retrieved Grandma’s body.  Who knew my mom and Grandma would be in the funeral home at the same time, after they passed!

Anyway, I digress (maybe I’ll get to over 2000 words yet!).  The point was prized possessions, and I have to say that I don’t have much.  I don’t have diamonds, fancy cars, a big house, awesome china, silverware, rubies, a magic oil lamp, gold, etc. I don’t have a letter from President Lincoln that he actually penned.  No letter from any of our Presidents.  No real attachment to much material, although I would miss a lot if it was suddenly all gone, but I’m not fondling it and drooling over it on a daily basis.

Some things I have that I treasure, again, in no particular order:

  • My Grandmother’s toy (or real) small iron, old style, I think she told me once it was a toy (not safe by today’s standards by any means, she was born in 1907).  It’s HEAVY!
  • The rearview window hanger with beads that I had made at a local shop, Beads N More,  from flowers from Mom’s and Grandma’s funerals.
  • A necklace made at the same shop with flowers from my daughter’s baby shower – first grandchild, has a charm that says “Grandma”.  Oh, my gosh, I’m a grandma!
  • A turquoise ring that a friend of mine gave me in the 70’s as a friendship ring.  She moved to Scotland in 2008, and I told her “now, don’t fall off the face of the earth and lose contact” – guess what, she did. Haven’t heard from her in about two years now.
  • My 2011, Game 6, World Series Program, and no, I’m not a Cardinal’s fan, read this.  Yes, it was a memorable game, blah blah blah.  Still, yes, I was there, but, I’m still a Texas Rangers fan.
  • My roll-top desk – something I always wanted, I got it for my birthday in 1997, and have loved it, even though my daughter says “It’s really just a place to throw junk, why don’t you get rid of it?” True, I don’t sit there anymore, but get rid of it?  No, I don’t think so.  It was from Unfinished Furniture, and WE finished it, looks nice, not getting rid of it.   Someday in the future, I’ll sit and pen letters (or write blog posts) there again.
  • My whole family picture – You see, my parents celebrated their 50th in 2006, and I had the bright idea to have an entire family (mom, dad, kids, & grandkids)  portrait done, and give to them as a 50th gift a framed 16 X 20 of that.  Sorry, it was a feat to put together, with only 5 kids and 12 grandkids (family drama did occur, but we won’t talk about that right now) – but, all that aside, I’ll bet there isn’t a member of this family who isn’t dang glad we did it, awful dang glad, well, you know because of what happened a year an a half later.
  • My mother-in-law’s copy of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  This little old sweet lady, mother of my second and current husband, was, as one person told me at her funeral, an angel on earth.  She didn’t have much when she died, but she had this book, and in the estate sale, no one wanted it.  I’ve read it a couple times, and I cherish the fact that maybe she read it, too.
  • A couple of baseballs signed by Texas Rangers back in the 1990s including Rusty Greer, Mark McLemore, Johnny Oates.
  • All the family pictures I have from late 70’s to now that I took.
  • Some of my mom’s quilt and quilting books that I kept (not magazines – too many)
  • The stand basket sewing basket that Mom had, even my 17 yr old daughter wanted to take it home when she saw it!
  • The pink fluer-de-lis quilt that I think my Grandma embroidered and my mom got one and my aunt got a blue one just like it, that my daughter also expressed interest in having someday.
  • The white chenille bedspread with fringe that my Grandmother had and my aunt let me take.

Okay, I have run on enough, not 2000 words  yet, but one more thing, and I am sure I have more treasured items I’ll think of later, but here is one I’ll never forget.

Even when Grandma was alive, either she, or was it my mom told me,  or both, when I’m gone, I want you to have my cedar chest.   See, in the olden days, a cedar chest was a treasured item that typically went to the first granddaughter, I think, or was that the wedding ring? Anyway,  I have it now, I don’t know exactly when it was bought, but I think sometimes in the late 1920s or early 30s, as I remember my mother telling me that Grandma insisted on buying it and paying for it herself, working, I can’t remember what, babysitting, something – so she could say this was “her’s”. she bought it from Sears, Roebuck and Co.

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And, yes, I have it now, and here’s why. I’m not sure if I treasure the cedar chest or the note more.  I haven’t removed it.

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There was no question as to who should get it, and now, I think I should pass it to my first grand-daughter, who will be born this year, soon, within a month or so. And, yes, I will leave my Grandmother’s message along with my own.

 

 

Day 19 –

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

Wow, I get bonus points for something.  Where do I sign up?   What will these bonus points get me?  Are they like WordPress credits I can trade in for a new color or widget on my blog?

What idea  have I been toying with that I haven’t had the courage to write about because I think it might be construed as silly?   See, there are a couple points to writing, probably more than that, but a writer can take you places you may or may not want to be: inside their mind (most of my posts are probably this); someplace you have never been (I may have a couple of those); someplace completely imagined (haven’t done this yet); inside the mind of their character and along for the ride (nope, didn’t do this yet either), or any combination of these, and probably more things I can’t think of right now.

So, to pick something I’ve been toying with but afraid it might be silly is risky and maybe telling readers more than I want them to know, but why not?  Let me think on this for a moment.

Okay, I thought about this Monday, I think, while at work in the AC.  I watched a lot of WatchMojo on YouTube one night last week when it was too hot to think, write, or quilt with the AC out.  I can’t remember one whole set of top 10 lists I watched, mostly about movies, but I agreed with some didn’t concur with others, and didn’t really care about many.

But, Monday, I thought, I could write a top ten lists of my favorite movies (look, ma, no “u”).  Of course, I remembered, I don’t really have a list of my all time top 10 favorite movies.  When someone asks me what’s my favorite movie of all time, I don’t know how to answer, because there are so many.  Same goes for books, even though I really don’t consider myself that well-read.

So, I’m going to compile a different list.  It might be 10, it might not, we’ll see.  This is a random list of perhaps quirky movies I just like, for whatever the reason, in no particular order, seriously, not a top 10 list!

  • Now, Voyager – 1942, take Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, and Claude Rains – and what have you got.  I don’t know, but I love this movie.  It’s got 8 stars on IMDB and 91% on Rotton Tomatoes Tomatometer.  That’s pretty amazing.   I never knew what Bette Davis eyes meant until I saw this movie for the first time. First of all, any movie made before 1980 peaks my interest.  I love old movies, especially those made in the 40’s and 50’s, don’t know why, just do.  I’m not into sappy love stories, which is probably why I like this movie.  Bette Davis is strong, proud, and smart.
  • Field of Dreams – Okay, I’m a baseball nut.  That’s the one and only sport I cant get a grip on or go to bat for.  Get it? 1989 – Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, Timothy Busfield, Gaby Hoffman, and OMG Burt Lancaster.  Burt’s last motion picture film, and absolutely amazing performance.  I never saw  him in a romantic way, but his role made me think of him as one sweet man.  My now 17 year old daughter confessed she had never seen the whole movie, just bits and pieces, and I wanted to watch it right then and there with her.  I had this on VHS, and it’s on TV all the time, so I watch it a couple times a year, at least.  It’s not Iowa, it’s heaven.
  • The Holiday – Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black (has my birthday, but he’s younger than me), Jude Law (looking actually pretty awesome to me even though he doesn’t seem to be at his best), and Eli Wallach (yes, I know who he is!).  It’s a kind of a Christmas movie, and really kind of stupid and senseless, but there is something about it that sucks me in every time I see that it’s on TV.
  • Gone with the Wind – I know, I know, when I graduated in 1979, and this movie was 40 years old already, it was still considered to be the best movie of all time.  Don’t know what movie holds that title today.  I have also read this book several times (due for another read, actually), and the movie does detour from the book quite a bit, but it still holds a magic.  Perhaps, it is because I had read the book and it was on TV for the first time prime time in November 1976 when I was 15 years old.  I can remember laying on my belly on the living room floor in front of the TV and telling everyone, including my Mom and Dad, “The TV is mine, I’m watching this!” I watched both nights.  One nostalgic thing I remember, and I don’t know when I had this conversation with my Grandmother, but she went to see it at the Mount Olive Drive-In in 1940  (which was gone even before I was in high school), and she told me “That was a long movie!”   I still have the 50th anniversary VHS pack, though I don’t think I have ever watched it because it was already on DVD by then.  Maybe it’s the historical aspect, maybe it’s the South, maybe it’s Clark Cable and Vivian Leigh, it’s just amazing. Classic movie, that’s all I got to say about that.

I can’t go on right now.  I have to go see if one of these movies is on TV right now, or Netflix.  I may be up late already.  I’ll let you know some of my other favorite quirky movies at a later date.   But, I wonder, what are some of your picks?

Oh, BTW, I should have posted this on the Daily Prompt a few days ago, about what celebrity I’d want to be – I’d pick Roger Ebert.  I am one tough movie critic, though, so I don’t know if it would work out.  Seriously, Hollywood might go out of business if I was a movie critic, except, occasionally, I do like something quirky.

 

 

Day 18 – Hone your point of view

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

Okay, so maybe I won’t continue on with the Writing 101 assignment.  I have too many questions about the holes in this story line.

  • If Mrs. Pauley lived in a house for 40 years, why the heck didn’t she own it?  Does anyone live anyplace that long and still rent? Really?
  • Knowing what I know about eviction (which is very little), does the landlord ever really show up with the police or just let the police do the job?
  • Does it really only take three months to go that behind on the rent that the police show up to evict you? Did Mr. Pauley die on the first of the month without the rent being paid?
  • Why isn’t Mrs. Pauley moving in with one of her boys? She has 6 of them for heaven’s sakes. Surely, they wouldn’t just let her get evicted!
  • How could Mrs. Pauley have absolutely no income?  It just doesn’t seem feasible that she wouldn’t at least have some kind of social security or something.  Maybe I’m just ignorant of it all.
  • Which way are most people going to take this story – will it be very sad, and what is to happen to Mrs. Pauley? Will she become homeless living on the streets.   Will some try to put a positive slant on it?  Will Mrs. Pauley be saved in the end by one of her boys, or the life insurance person showing up, or what?
  • Is WordPress based in Canada or something?  Who spells neighbourhood with a “u”?

I know, I know, I was supposed to have answered these things, but I couldn’t wrap my head around all the questions I was supposed to answer.  Yes, I have an imagination, but I guess I tend to reality,  of which I do not know how this could happen, if it could happen, how it could happen, why did it happen.  Didn’t someone once say, “Write what you know?”

Day 17 – Worst Fear

What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears. If you’re up for a twist, write this post in a style that’s different from your own.

One of my worst fears? And, a style not my own. Ugh.

I’m really trying to finish this 20 day Writing 101, but ugh, so hard to keep on what I consider to be the theme of my blog – quilting. My brain muscles are being stretched like a sling shot used to launch stones marked for the kill of the hunter’s next meal. There, how was that?

Oh, fear, blah. The way things have been going lately with the AC out,  no desire to quilt, my fear is when will I get the gumption to get going again. Still so many projects to finish.   So, I’m hoping once that is resolved tomorrow, I will find some energy to forge on, especially with Grandma’s Grandmother fan, now that I found a quilt shop I think can help me decide what to do for the border.

Well, this sat for a day, so now the AC is fixed, and I have already assembled a quilt top for Quilts for Kids.  I have another pieced in rows of 10  3″ blocks each, 12 rows, the same as the finished top. Now on to quilting!  Now the question is, should I write or should I sew?

I’m going to just skip this fear post, and move on to the next. Well, I will leave you with this thought.  Ever notice how not many people talk about their fears, as if giving voice to them makes them stronger or something?

Groudhog week?

Daily Prompt

If you could relive the past week, would you? Would you change anything?

No, I would not, could not relive this past week. No AC, and we waited too many night to get my son’s unused window unit, and too many nights with disturbed sleep, and coming home to a hothouse everyday as the unit wasn’t made for our large living room.  The only good day was last Friday going to volunteer at our local outdoor summer musical theater, The Muni.

Now, if I could relive another week, it would be last summer, the week of July 4th.  Leaving Wed., July, 3,  we drove to Missouri, stayed at my sister’s, got up the next day to head for Texas.  I’ll never forget the tears in my eyes as we turned onto Route 69/75 which would take us all the way to Dallas.  We drove straight to the Ballpark in Arlington, went to a Ranger’s game on the 4th, saw fireworks, and stayed at the hotel right by the ballpark.  I told my 16 yr old daughter that even though she was born in Texas, she didn’t remember it, but that we’d make her a Texan before we left, or we’d just have to stay until she could say it.  Even before the 4th inning at the Ballpark, she looked at me and said “Why does the North suck?”

Because it doesn't look like this.
Because it doesn’t look like this.

Bam, I didn’t have to do anything!  There’s a feel in southern air that I cannot describe, but it just feels like welcoming, home to me.  I remember fondly as I stood watching the fireworks after the game, “This has the best day I’ve had in a long time!”

The next day, we drove to almost Austin, Georgetown – for step-son’s rehearsal dinner, Friday and wedding and reception Saturday.   Even though it was 100 degrees that day, we didn’t feel all that hot.  Unfortunately, had to leave Texas WAY TOO SOON, and drove out of the state about 2:00 on Sunday, July 7.

The minute we drove into our now hometown, cloudy that day, humid, only 85 degrees, it felt immediately oppressive. There really is something to that “dry heat”.

But, at least we had a cooler full of Blue Bell ice cream!

 

My real first quilt

I know, I know, three 1500 word posts were not enough, right?  Didn’t I cover this topic already?  Sheepishly, I must admit, after writing the saga of my first quilt, I was sewing one night, and remembered – “Oh, my gosh, I made a two baby quilts when I was pregnant with my firstborn!”

Okay, I didn’t think firstborn, but you get the picture.  So, here’s the story.

I was young, not even 20, newly married, pregnant, and we recently moved to Texas, 1000 miles away from everyone I knew!  We were relatively poor and I was lonely and bored, so as part of my nesting, I decided to sew up some baby clothes for my newborn.  Several outfits later, and numerous occasions of swollen feet, I had a few outfits. They were darling little one piece numbers and gowns, super cute, wish I still had them, but I unwittingly loaned them to a friend who never returned them.  They stood up really well over several children, though.

After I got the clothes done, and the bumper pad covers in a bright orange print, I had some leftover fabrics, and decided to make a baby blanket/quilt.  I had some iron-on embroidery patterns, so I picked a a couple designs, embroidered those, and put on a border.  Now, I didn’t know much about quilting back then, and I was in Texas, so I don’t think I used batting.  But, I wanted to hold two layers together, to cover the embroidery stitching, so I sewed multi-colored rows of stitching, basically machine quilting.

When I was done with that, I had an old flannel sheet that I cut and put two pieces together, and did about the same thing, except I had a patch I put in the middle.

Oh, and how does this tie in to Writing 101, Day Sixteen, something about “Lost and Found”? Well, I was pretty sure I had given these to my son when he moved to Georgia a couple years ago.  I sent him a text, and he replied that he was sure I did not.  I rummaged through my cedar chest, the only place I knew I would have them, but, they were not there.

I let him know I did not find them, and sent up a silent prayer that they were not lost.  A couple days later, he sent me pictures from his phone. And, here there are, the real first two “quilts” I ever made, when I was 20, for my baby. (not the best pictures)

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Hey found them! It’s the goofiest looking rabbit ever?  I think so, but, hey, it was the early 80’s.

Having moved so much, I didn’t keep a lot of my kids toys or baby stuff, but I kept these, because I made them.  Now, my son can use them for his children, someday.