Not As Tragic As I Thought

When I was a teenager, I had a HUGE crush. When we finally went on a date, I laid in the grass to look up at the summer stars…and laid my hair in dog poop. My hair! Dog poop! On a DATE! You can imagine my mortification. It was so awful it was almost impossible to believe. I was nearly numb. It’s been decades and I never moved past numbness really, a numbness that covered a horror so acute I couldn’t really let myself feel it. Just as well, I suppose. I didn’t want to feel it.

Now, I have a kind, successful, healthy husband, three successful, healthy kids (they’re not always kind yet, but they’re getting there), work I love, hobbies I love, friends and family I love, a home I (usually) love, and dogs I count on for comfort and company and slobbery, hair-everywhere, can I eat that for you, unconditional love. And in less than a month, depending on the weather, I’ll be getting a new puppy.

Yes, that’s right. More dog poop.

At least it’s almost never in my hair these days.

Life goes on. Time heals. Teenage (or any age) mortification may never entirely disappear, but you can layer over it with good memories and gain some perspective. I could have guessed there might have been poop…it was a dog park after all. But I was young, nervous, dare I say….dumb? And we never talked about it, but can you imagine what my poor date was feeling? I think it might have been better to be me. What do you say when your date lays in dog poop? Uh, need a tissue?

So, even stuff that seems utterly, intensely, horrifyingly tragic might not be, and even if it actually IS, time will still give you some respite. That’s how we’re made. We recover. We go on. We laugh again. We might even laugh about that tragic, mortifying thing someday. Maybe not, but if you let it, the passage of time will soften the horror.

Just get out the shampoo, put on your comfort clothes, have a hot beverage, and try again tomorrow.

“…how does this not make a child narcissistic?”

And BTW, I cannot spell narcissistic without spell check. Fortunately, there aren’t very many words that are similar so the spell checker has no trouble at all. Love the spellchecker. Nice spellchecker.

On to the point in a roundabout way. I have always loved polar bears. I think they’re awesome. Scary big, scary big teeth, but talk about perseverance. I’m a big fan of bears of all kinds, but the polar bear is just inspiring.

My mom knows this about me. So for my birthday she gave me a polar bear stuffie (almost wrote stuffed polar bear, not quite the same thing). So soft! So white! So pretty! Love it. I gave it a flamingo stuffie with a tutu for a buddy. They’re all set.

There’s a tag on the bear interfering with the the placement of the flamingo’s wings in the perma-hug I’m arranging. (Yep, I’m unable to avoid anthropomorphizing my stuffies, so they all get buddies and hugs.) What’s this tag? Oh, it’s a children’s book? Would it be good for my way-off future grandchildren? Hmmm, let me look that up.

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman. Reviews were mixed: some people loved it, others not so much…totally normal responses. But this book seems to inspire strong opposing emotions. It celebrates the birth of the child to whom you are reading. This is good! We want our children to feel loved and supported. But, according to the reviewers, it does so with extreme examples, like, the moon stayed up ’til morning just because of you. Also flowery poetry and very pretty pictures. One reviewer said “I liked the illustrations, but how does it not make a child narcissistic?”

I can see both sides and I’m torn. To buy or not to buy? When your baby is brand new, isn’t that how you feel about them, as if that child has hung the moon all by herself? Every child–every person–should feel they are amazing, unique, wonderful, special. On the other hand, by the time they get to be about seven, if that “you’re the center of the universe” message has stuck, boy howdy are those parents in for a rough ride. Not to mention the kid. Who’s going to tolerate that attitude in a playmate?

So, is this book doing your kid any favors? Yes? No? As I mentioned before, my grandkids are a far-off plan, so I have time for some more research. What say you? Who’s familiar with this book? Would you recommend it? Should I get it and then stop reading it to them at a certain age? Gotta read to kids, for sure, but it’s the better part of wisdom to choose those books with care.

Clip art drawing of a double-crust, red-berry pie. I myself prefer custard pie, but this is a nice little picture.

Oh, and Happy Pi Day! I haven’t been much of a mathematician since before middle school algebra, but I appreciate those who are! Here’s the Wikipedia article on Pi Day. Also, there’s a website called I couldn’t get it to load, but maybe it will be easier later or on another day. The could be overwhelmed with millions of people wanting more information about Pi!

Graduation Quilts of 2018…and 2019?

Blue and white fabrics framing farm animal photos and drawings of farm life

My daughter has Angelman Syndrome, which gives her admittance to that exclusive club known as the Developmental Learning Classroom. In our case, this is a mixed-age group of anywhere from twelve to fifteen kids, and in 2018 five of them were graduating while my daughter was still a sophomore.

Red, black, and white pinwheel quilt made with Portland Trailblazers fabric.
Portland Trailblazers Pinwheel Quilt. While I was designing this, I really, really wished for basketball fabric to complement it.

Now, I’m a life-long fabric addict, especially–but certainly not exclusively–quilting fabric. I have enough of it stacked on shelves in my basement sewing room that my husband has been known to call it insulation. I also have a lot of Un-Finished Objects (UFOs). I’ve even joined a monthly class at a local quilt shop that rewards you for finishing your UFOs.

So, when I learned that there were five graduating kids–young, emerging adults who had worked incredibly hard to achieve milestones such as walking and feeding themselves, or learning to write their own names–I thought hey, I can make graduation quilts for these kids. They totally deserve it, and that’ll be five more finished projects!

Big pink heart quilt with multi-colored borders
Angela’s Hearts Quilt

Did I think about the fact that I already had UFOs I could finish and give to them? Well, yes, but these kids deserved their own custom quilts. None of my UFOs had Trailblazers, OSU Beavers, or Star Wars fabric.

Did I think about the fact that I’d have to start these projects from scratch, and I only had two months until graduation? There was no possible way to get them back from a long-arm quilting business in time (there’s always a back-list) so I’d even have to quilt them myself.


Blue and white fabrics framing farm animal photos and drawings of farm life
Animals on the Farm Quilt

I won’t get into the angst- and urgency-filled saga of actually making those quilts, but they did get finished (yay!) even though they were a few days late (boo). I had to deliver them to a classroom empty of kids because school was over for the year by the time they were finished. The teacher assured me she would put them in the office and let the families know they were there.

I still don’t know if they were ever picked up, liked, abandoned, ignored…It’s been eight months and I’ve heard nothing. Crickets.

Chirp, chirp.

For a while I was quite desperate to know how they were received. I kept hoping the teacher would email me to forward a note from one of the families, saying E. really likes his farm animal quilt, or A. loves her hearts and flowers. But as time passed I re-learned the lesson that there’s a certain peace in not knowing what other people think of what you’ve created.

Quilt with images of eight characters and the words "Star Wars The Last Jedi"
Star Wars Panel Quilt

I did the work and I’m proud of the results. I enjoyed the process. I used my training, experience, and creativity to make these soft, pretty things, and then I put them out into the world to warm someone else. I enjoyed them and then I shared them. From earlier experience I can assume that at least some of what I made was well-received and is being used and enjoyed. I don’t have to have the details. Making them brought me joy. So did giving them away.

Orange, black, and white quilt with pinwheels and a black border.
OSU Beavers Pinwheel Quilt. Can’t get it to go right side up.

I’ve already asked the teacher for a list of this year’s graduates. There are three. Two girls who both like music, and a boy who likes blue and green.

What will I come up with this time? I’m excited to dive in and find out.

2018 RWA Conference Countdown

Photo of sunglasses
Wikimedia Commons photo of sunglasses

Oh man! I’m so excited. Someone once said “I hope you get to unplug this summer,” and that’s what I feel I’m going to be doing at the RWA national conference I’m leaving for in (gasp) 15 days.

I’ll be unplugging from my daily life (even though, hey, I’ll still be there, and it’ll still be daily). The odd thing is that I’ll also be plugging IN to all the knowledge and excitement other authors will be sharing, I’ll be getting together with writing friends I haven’t seen for ages, I’ll be plugging my brain in so it can soak up all the yummy authorial goodness on offer.

I ordered new business cards to reflect the fact that I have a new website, then I made a couple of little updates to the website. I’ve made a few strategic wardrobe purchases, scanned the workshop listings to see what I might be interested in, and made sure my Cheeky Tarts (writing friends) dinner is on my schedule.

Fifteen days to go!

The Man With The Golden Arm

Firstly, as a writer, I must apologize about the capitalization in that heading. There seems to be some confusion regarding said capitalization amongst my various colleagues about this, so I went with caps for every word.

Secondly, this is a marvelous story and I highly recommend you type this blog heading into your preferred search engine and read any one (or more) of the articles with which you will be presented. I don’t wish to ruin it for you, so I won’t give you all the facts, but this is an admirable man who has saved–literally–millions of lives. He’s humble, courageous, and loyal. He hates needles and trucks with them regularly anyway, simply because it’s the right thing to do. The science involved is remarkable, and the human-factor (pardon the pun, or ignore it, as it won’t hit you until after you read more about him) is engaging and charming.

I know I won’t ever make this much difference in my lifetime, and in fact I don’t even aspire to. I’m just not that nice. But his example does tempt me to try to be a better person, and that anyone can affect others that way is also quite remarkable.