Incredibly loud, terribly scary

But I did it anyway.

On Saturday, I finally did something I’ve wanted to do for a few years.

Bear bought me a pistol a few years ago. I applied for, and got, my concealed carry license. I live in the woods. He worked nights. I felt like I wanted to be able to protect myself, just in case.

I have always had a healthy respect for guns. My father had a shotgun – or a rifle? I think there may be a difference, but it escapes me. I didn’t really want to own one, but I kinda did because when you’re a woman, and alone in the woods, and the nearest house is too far away to hear you scream, you kinda want to feel like you can protect yourself.

So Bear bought me this pistol. It’s a cute little thing, for a gun. It’s a Smith and Wesson Bodyguard. I’ve shot it once. Because, for the life of me, I cannot pull that slide thingie back to make the bullet go where it’s supposed to go in the barrel and so it’s pretty much useless – I suppose I could bonk someone on the head with it but that’s about it.

It sat, sad and lonely and unused.

And then riots started and thugs were threatening to come into the rural areas. Fear is a powerful weapon. What some fail to realize is that it’s also a powerful motivator.

I signed up for an intro to firearms class, took my not so trusty pistol and a box of bullets and off I went to learn something about this powerful little thing that fits in my hand.

It was three hours. The teacher was great – and as a teacher, I’m a pretty tough judge of my colleagues. There were 5 students, a young man of about 30, and a family – mom, dad and son, and then me. I was the little old lady in the back. I told the teacher that I have trouble with this slide – he laughed and said, “you and pretty much every woman.” He tried really hard to help me with it, but finally we gave up and he let me use a different pistol that was much easier to work.

He spent an hour talking about safety. I think a lot of that was aimed at the young boy, but it was very informative and it really brought home to me how very dangerous this thing can be, and how much responsibility it is to own one. He also gave us some history and told stories and was really very nice and very informative.

The last thing he showed us was how to load the magazine thingie. (Thingie is a technical term that means, “I can’t remember the technical term.”) We did NOT place that in the guns. He asked how everyone felt, as we were preparing to go to the range, and put all the stuff he’d taught us into practice. How to hold your hands, how to aim, how to stand, how to hold your arms, so much to remember! Everyone replied that they felt great. He said, “how about you? How do you feel?” to me. I said, “TERRIFIED!’ It got a chuckle from everyone, but I guess they realized I really was very nervous about this.

So off we went to the range. It was then that we put the magazine thingie in the gun and it was actually loaded. He took me in first, which was a very good thing – had I had more time to think about it, I think I would have been in the car and headed for home before anyone knew I was gone. He was so patient. We all had ear protection, and eye protection, and a target in front of us – just like you see on TV! He shot first. I jumped like there was a rocket in my butt, but I didn’t run. He shot one more time, then had me get in position, fixed my grip, waited patiently.

I took a deep breath. Then another. Closed my eyes, said a brief “dear God don’t let me pass out!” and pulled that trigger. I actually hit the target! And scared the bejesus out of myself in the process!

And then I took another deep breath and steadied myself and did it again. And again. Until my wrist started aching and I had to stop.

We all went back to the classroom for the final wrap up. My four classmates wrapped me up in “you did great! You really did it! You were so scared and you did it!’ I felt wrapped up in kindness from total strangers, who had seen my fear, gave me gentle encouragement, and shared my feeling that I had conquered that fear, at least a little bit. The teacher gave everyone praise, and then said, “and YOU, you were terrified, and you did it anyway, and you should be so proud. You did good. No, you did great.”

I did it and I’m glad I did it. I will never be completely comfortable with a gun. But I’ve learned a lot in that one class – I learned it’s something I can handle and something I can use if I ever have to, but that I need a LOT more practice. I’ll never lose respect for the power of that weapon, and I’ll never cease to be amazed that anyone can have anything BUT respect for it.

It’s not so much about protection for me. It’s about conquering a fear. I don’t like being afraid – of anything. Fear is a powerful weapon. It’s also a powerful motivator.

Posted in learning, my life, teaching | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Double Irish Chain

I made this quilt for my best friend’s daughter. We went shopping for fabric, my BFF and I. She knows absolutely zero about quilting, so she picked out the fabric for the squares – which has a little pattern that you really can’t see in the pictures – and then the light blue, and a lovely pale, off white print for the second color.

Umm, that won’t work, I told her. She insisted it would be lovely.

I pulled out the dark blue. Wouldn’t this be nice, I said?

Nope, she wanted the white.

Okay, then, got 3 yards of it, shaking my head and going, “it’s not for you, just do what she wants.”

A few hours later, she called me and said, “you know, I think the dark blue would be better, can we take the white back?”

No, we can’t, but off we went to the store again and came home with the dark blue.

The first day, I also bought a batting and fabric for the back and a few other odds and ends ( a 2 1/2 square ruler that has paid for itself many times) and some needle and some thread, and the bill came to about $250. As I expected it would

She nearly passed out, People who don’t craft are odd creatures, I swear. 🙂

Posted in my life, quilting | Tagged | 10 Comments

The first draft

There will be small squares at the corners, and probably a small heart quilted in each. I think I can get away with stitching in the ditch for the rest when it’s done. Middle block will have the baby’s name and birthday and be opposite – plain heart, patterned square, probably plain sashing

I’d deep into planning and can’t wait to get to the fabric store. One great thing is that I can use small pieces of so many fabrics, I can buy a fat quarter at a time if I see something that looks good.

This is way too much fun!

Also, this is the first sample, so be kind!

Any opinions and suggestions are welcome otherwise!

Posted in family, home, my life, quilting | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Lack of immunity

Is something I rarely think about. I am normally, according to my doctor, “disgustingly healthy.” (I love my doctor, he has a great sense of humor and I give him as much grief as possible because he gives it right back)

Since March, I’ve had bronchitis, a UTI and now an intestinal infection. Trust me, you don’t want details about the last one. Suffice it to say that I’ve been out of commission for almost a week, only finally feeling human today.

Is it because of the lock down? Is it because of such lack of exposure to germs that my system has gone out of whack? I’m out and about every day but I’m still not seeing and talking to and being close to as many people as I would normally. (Don’t even THINK “new normal” in my presence, there is nothing normal about the world today and it will never be normal to me. )

I worry about the frail among us. Already susceptible, has this made them even more so? I pray not.

Meanwhile, Maverick advises everyone to make sure their moms and dads stay healthy because a sick Mommah is not a fun Mommah!

In other news, I’m attempting to create a quilt without a pattern from a book, just from my own brain. This is kinda fun, but kinda scary. I planned to make the first, sample block yesterday. Not happening. Maybe tomorrow. Our neighbors are going to be grandparents for the first time around Thanksgiving. These people are the definition of Christian – they will always help anyone, no questions asked, no thanks expected, truly wonderful people. So this will happen, this quilt, with much love. I’ll keep you posted.

Posted in bronchitis, Corona virus, Maverick, my life, quilting, sewing | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments


The motif of 2020 seems to be fear.

I’ve never been afraid of much in my life – aside from spiders and mitered corners and snow, I’m pretty fearless

Throw some virus at me, go ahead, I won’t stay home and I won’t be afraid.

Throw killer hornets at me, nope, not buyin it.

Throw firebombs at buildings and destroy stuff that belongs to people who never did a thing wrong and threaten to kill people just because they’re breathing – yeah, that scares me.

I don’t want to hear excuses. I don’t want to hear that people are angry. Anger feeds anger. I don’t want to be part of it.

I would like to buy an island and go live with my Bear, my dog and my books and yarn.

When the world wakes up and common sense once again prevails, come find me. I’m going to be enjoying life and not worrying about microaggressions and whether I should look at someone – might be offensive if I do, but then again, might be offensive if I don’t but if I stare at my toes am I showing fear or am I dismissing the person or am I somehow breathing wrong and maybe I smell offensive to them, or dear Goddess maybe my teeth aren’t perfect so they’ll come and kick my door in and set my house on fire.

Don’t tell me this is how people feel all the time who aren’t like me. They never got that treatment from me. But they probably will now because they’ve finally managed to scare me. I’m pretty sure that isn’t the result that most people with any common sense, which isn’t terribly common these days, would want. I’m also pretty sure it’s exactly how my friends feel.

I’m watching people I’ve known for years, who have been friends with each for years, fighting on Facebook, and suddenly unfriending each other.

Are we being manipulated? I wonder.

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Fear overcome, the battle was won

Well. Sort of. It’s not perfect but as my sainted mother would say, “only the gods are allowed perfection.” She had a pre-planned mistake in every quilt – well, she told us she planned it and who were we to question Mother?

Before attempting the binding on the quilt, I made some placemats. They’re pretty ugly and too big for the table but they work well under Maverick’s water fountain. Yes, I said fountain. No, he’s not spoiled. Put your judgey eyes back in your head.

I’m a wee tad touchy these days. I need to shop. And get a haircut. My cute pixie cut looks like the pixies got at it with egg beaters.

I digress.

I practiced my mitered corners diligently on those placemats. I watched youtube videos – those people should be locked up for making this stuff look so easy. Here’s a hint. It’s not easy.

Finally I sucked it up. I made the binding. I sewed it onto the quilt. First, I bought this handy little binding tool from Amazon because the nice lady in the Missouri Star Quilt video talked me into it. Seriously. I swear she was talking directly to me. It helped with getting the binding the right length, but did nothing for the corners

Mitered corners were invented by Satan

I ripped the binding off.

I had a shot of Irish Mist and wept a little.

Then I girded my loins – actually, no, I didn’t, I don’t know how to do that, but I’ve always kinda wanted to say that I did – and sewed that bitchin binding back on.

Nope, those corners were not gonna miter. No way, no how.

I had another shot of Irish Mist

I wept a little more

I tore the binding off.

Maverick and I had a long conversation, mostly consisting of me going, “why, why, why????????????” and him going, “shut the hell up, you whiny woman, and give me a treat for listening to you go on and on.”

I finally gave in, threw in the towel, and squared those bloody corners up and sewed that binding down and declared myself the victor.

The baby will never know that those corners were meant to be mitered. The quilt was delivered today – it’s cold and will be for a few days and then it will be hotter than the hubs of hell but hopefully she’ll get to be snuggled in it for a day or two. And by Fall, when this virus nonsense has become a bad memory, I hope to hold her wrapped in it and rock her for just a moment.

the cause of my misery

Posted in family, home, my life, quilting, sewing | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Fear, panic and courage

This has absolutely nothing to do with the virus. Seriously. Not one thing.

My neighbor is pregnant with her first child. A nice young couple, they have the rare party that ends by midnight, throw a bash for the neighborhood every summer, keep to themselves, and are pretty much the definition of good neighbors. The lapse in judgement that caused them to get a “mini Goldendoodle” has been forgiven because Willow is spoiled almost as much as Maverick, and although her parentage is sketchy, she’s a good dog who doesn’t cat about. (See what I did there?)

I decided to make a quilt for the baby. Every baby should have a quilt. My mother taught me this – I realized the other day that my mother taught me as much by her actions as by her word – took me long enough to figure that out. Anyway. This quilt has been a trial. I wanted baby prints – and couldn’t find cotton. Flannel substituted, and I thought that would be fun, snugglier than cotton, softer, too.

Flannel is a bitch to quilt by hand. I don’t quilt by machine, that’s not a quilt, according to the aforementioned sainted mother, that’s a comforter. A quilt is hand quilted, and that’s that. Thank you, Fons and Porter, for something called a needle puller.

Tonight I finished the quilting part. Thank you, Sweet Baby Jesus in your fluffy golden diapers!

Party for a minute and then realization hits.

I have to do the binding.

Only spiders scare me as much as binding a quilt.

Dare I take a chance and do this on the machine? (That’s a bit sketchy as far as Mother’s rules, but if I get it done, I’ll take a chance on her smiting me. She’ll probably haunt me but she loves me so it won’t last long)

The first step is actually cutting off the excess fabric on the quilt. I’ll do that tomorrow. Then I’ll have to have a shot of Irish Mist and sit down.

Next I’ll cut the strips for the binding. I can do it, I have a rotary cutter and I’m one of the cool kids – I know how to use that baby!

I can handle sewing the strips together. It’s the next part – where I actually attach those strips to the quilt, that will make me freeze.

If you don’t hear from me for a few days, send booze. I’ll be staring at the quilt, and the binding, crying, muttering, “why, why, why did I do this? What was I thinking!?” It will be a terrible mess, I just know it.

Pictures will probably not follow. I hate documenting disasters.

Posted in home, my life, quilting, sewing | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Now you’ve gone too far

So the latest in the ongoing saga of a virus and losing rights all over the place, my grocery store has started limiting the number of people allowed in at one time, and placing lines with arrows on the floor so the good little robots have to go up one way and down the other. (This was done last week, I noticed very few good little robots.)

Grocery shopping normally takes me half an hour. It’s about 5 miles to the store, and I shop the same aisles every week, start with the yogurt, down to the eggs, around to the milk, over to the paper products for paper plates – I buy TP and that sort of thing at the big box store – on to the meat section, up the canned goods aisle, over to the chips, then finish at the produce.

According to whoever is in charge of this mess, I should now start at produce and finish at the yogurt. I am a creature of habit. DO NOT MESS WITH MY ROUTINE!

Apparently it is now taking upwards of two hours to do a weekly shopping. I don’t really want to spend two hours with strangers in a grocery store, even though I’m a social person and can talk to a stick if it stands still long enough. I got stuff to do, and I’m really not good at standing around.

I honestly don’t see how this will do anything but make lives more difficult.

Last night, I pulled out the pattern and directions for my next sewing project. I make doll clothes for a friend’s little girl who has an American Girl doll – little miss Sassypants once took said doll to something wearing a dress I had made and when the other girls and their moms oohed and aahed over it, she announced, “You can’t get one like it, it’s one of a kind, made by my Auntie Susan.” I love this child. 🙂 The last project was a dress with multiple layers of tulle – a learning experience for me and something she will love. Next is a set of leggings with an overskirt of tulle, a knit top, and a headband. The headband is made of stretchy lace.

I don’t have any stretchy lace. This is not a big deal -NORMALLY! I would get in my car and run to the store and buy what I need. But noooooooooooooo, the powers that be have decided that my fabric stores are not essential. Maybe not to THEM! I need my damned lace! Can I get it online? Yeah, and pay twice the price for something I can’t touch so I’ll probably hate.

This may seem like a first world problem. Okay, it IS a first world problem. But it’s the little things, people. The little things are going to put us over the edge. I need my life back. I need lace. This is essential to my mental health. Deny me my lace and I’m going to start knitting hats for Maverick. He will not be happy.

edit – my neighbor, after listening to my rant, sent up a HUGE box and storage bag of all kinds of lace. I am in HEAVEN! Still annoyed that my stores are closed, but I’m a happy camper right now!

Posted in Corona virus, home, Maverick, my life | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

There was a possum on the porch

Life in the country is amazing and funny and crazy and sometimes scary and quite often just makes me go “what WAS that?” with a great deal of laughter.

The other day, Maverick, as is his norm in the morning, woke me up by jumping on the bed and stealing the little bear who sleeps with me every night. He carries it around and happily hides it somewhere so I have to search for it each night before bed, so he can steal it in the morning and hide it once again. Perhaps he thinks he’s saving it. He also jumps back on the bed and lately has begun to cuddle with me for a while before barking in my face that it’s time to get up.

We wander down to coffee and computer, and the big Bear who sleeps with me will normally be waiting with the TV on Andy Griffith (gag) and the newspaper spread out on the table. We are such old farts.

The other day, said Bear was not at the kitchen table, but standing on the porch. I pulled down the window in the screen door and questioned this departure from the routine. Maverick and I do not like departures from routine. He pointed to the front yard and said, “don’t let Maverick out.”

Lying on the lawn was a large, gray, unmoving critter. “Umm, what is that?” He told me it was a possum, that Maverick had sniffed out. It had been curled up in a corner on the porch. Bear got Maverick inside, where he promptly ran upstairs to get me – good boy! Bear got a rake and gently moved the possum from the porch to the lawn, but he said it was “acting funny,” and had growled and bared teeth at him.

I contacted a friend who knows about wild animals, and was told that was a defensive move and not to worry. Meanwhile, we need Mrs. Possum to leave the vicinity, please, so Maverick doesn’t make her a chew toy.

All avenues resulting in dead ends, we called the police. Two officers showed up. I have chosen to forgive the young one who stepped on one of my tulips when he jumped back in alarm when Mrs. Possum again bared teeth at him. They agreed that she was not acting right, and decided that the best course was to put her down.

I took Maverick to the basement to play ball, not wanting either of us to witness the execution, but not before asking if they were sure she didn’t have babies.

We played with the big ball awhile and when I heard no shots, I went back up to find out what was happening. Mrs. Possum had decided to roll over, revealing that she did, indeed, have babies in her pouch. Bear, when he saw this, said, “I won’t shoot her.” He told me later that no one had been able to load the gun, something he had done thousands of times before and yet could not manage that morning. Make of that what you will. 🙂

So Mrs. Possum was shooed into a trash can, and transported to the woods, where she was sent on her merry way. Babies intact, food and water sources available, we hope she stays and so do her babies. Possums are harmless but they eat ticks, and ticks are anything BUT harmless.

And so I smiled the rest of the day. A simple rescue of an innocent creature made me realize that in a time of fear and darkness, there is still good in this world.

Posted in home, Maverick, my life | Tagged , | 10 Comments

I want my life back

I never thought I would see a time when I didn’t know who to trust, who to believe, when everything I said was disputed, when every bit of good news I tried to impart was met with disdain and “they’re lying to you.”

I am saddened by the state of the world. I am saddened by people who wish to believe only the worst. I am tired of comparisons to other countries, designed to make us despair, give up, give in.

We are so much stronger than a virus. We do not need to isolate ourselves, live in fear, refuse to believe there is good anywhere.

I want my life back. I haven’t felt this way since after 9/11 – when the world turned upside down and nothing was ever the same again. I just want normal. I don’t want to be told I can’t go to the store, I can’t get what I want – so what if I need it or not? This is America, we don’t lay down and give in. What the hell are we doing?

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