Random

The pillow top named Analogous Red turned out to be my favorite …

Not just for how it looks, but for the process of making it. And so I’m now making a table cloth for our 10’ x 3’ dining table, using a too thin cotton table cloth as a base …

and covering it with strips of randomly patched cloth “quilted” down with Texas Two-step stitches …

Meanwhile, Don is outside tending his garden, de-thatching the grass that succumbed to brown patch during the worst of the triple-digit heat …

Behind him, the mealy blue sage (var Henry Duelberg), Texas purple sage, and Lindheimer’s senna bloom in all their glory. Watching as he worked, which he does each and every morning, I couldn’t help thinking of a question posed in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass: “Do you feel that your garden loves you back?” Surely his answer would be “yes.”

And here, for the record, is the purple sage before and after a recent, much-needed rain …

along with the joy-full dwarf pomegranate, zexmenia, and American beautyberry,

which has attracted a new-to-us Yellow Breasted Chat …

All the above plantings having been grown within one year of patient care. Nice work Farmer Jones.

Meanwhile, I’ve indulged in some gifts to self. A copy of Hand Sewing Clothing

and a Bissell steam floor cleaner. Which sounds extremely self-indulgent when considering the question “what’s wrong with using a simple mop?” Except that our new-to-us house has a pebbled floor in the shower which is the dickens to clean. Hence the choice of a tool which has a brush that will get the grout clean without the need for cleansers with their vile perfumed scents.

Those noxious scents bring me to a tale of woe (the title of this post being “Random” in order that I might fit this in).

The other day I had the worst mammogram of my life. And you may be excused if you choose not to read further (I am putting this at the end for that reason), but I’ve got to get this off my chest (pun absolutely intended).

The back story is that I have actually had more-or-less annual mammograms since I was 40, scared into it as my mom had invasive breast cancer at age 60. Now 66 years of age, that means I’ve had at least 20, which qualifies me to judge.

The best mammography practitioners are wonders of efficiency, gently but firmly positioning one’s person and body parts, making the procedure little more than an inconvenience with a modicum of discomfort. What I endured last week was not that.

To be sure, the radiologic tech was compassionate and kind. But she was also very inexperienced, the room was warm, and there was an overwhelming degree of dryer sheet fragrance hanging in the air. The word “fug” comes to mind.

The overlong session dragged on and on … “a little more to the right … no back this way … let me know if you’re uncomfortable … you are? I’ll just tighten it a little more … hold on, don’t breathe … okay, there’s a crease, we have to do that one again … you need to sit down first? … are you okay now? … I need to tighten it up some more … have you lost weight recently? … now look over your shoulder and stand up on your toes a little … you’re feeling faint? … that’s never happened before … I should get you some water but I don’t want to leave you alone … (door opening) can someone bring me some cold water? … you don’t think you can do the last image? … that’s never happened before … are you okay if I leave for a minute to check on what to do?”

There was more, but I’m sure you get the idea. Fortunately, I’ve experienced near-fainting before and I know not to be shy about sitting and putting my head down when standing too long in one place makes me break out in a sweat and the world begins to go dark. Fortunately?

The story has a happy ending as an experienced tech stepped in and asked if I felt up to doing the last image from a seated position. I did. She gently but firmly got me positioned and the image was made with no further pain or incipient syncope. And when the inevitable patient survey arrived in my email box, I was honest and wrote “it was the worst mammogram I’ve ever experienced.” Because it was.

On sunflowers and stitches

Jude wrote a post with a new cloth she has tentatively titled the last sunflower. It sent me off on a search in Windthread, trying and succeeding in finding The Sun Flower I recalled from years ago … one that had been planted late and struggled to bloom … until it didn’t.

Don planted sunflowers this year. They bloomed months ago so he set the seeds out on the fence, but they haven’t yet been eaten by the birds …

Some of garden is struggling … the black eyed Susans are long gone and the coneflowers are barely hanging in …

The tomatoes succumbed last month to the unrelenting triple-digit heat, but Don has planted anew in hopes they might produce when fall finally arrives in Texas around November …

He’s a great gardener, long documented here. His most recent triumph is the dwarf pomegranate planted last fall and not supposed to bear fruit for two or three years …

Likewise the beauty berry is thriving …

So yeah … lucky me to have him and an irrigated herb garden to boot …

Meanwhile, I finished the second boho shirt with mixed results. It’s a learning process, so I’m pleased with the pintucks and how I managed to finish the shoulder seams this time. But I miscalculated the neckline, so it’s back to the drawing board for a third try …

I’ve already mended the first boho shirt, but wasn’t really surprised it needed it so soon. The pattern called for cutting very close to a stitched edge and the seam blew out after a couple of launderings. No matter, I think I like it better this way …

Last, but not least, I’ve been reading a fascinating book about Georgia O’Keeffe entitled Living Modern by Wanda Corn. There are pictures of clothing stitched by O’Keeffe …

put into the context of the world in which she lived …

and the paintings she was creating …

So I’ll leave you with this page depicting one of her New Mexico homes along with a telling quote …

“The painting is like a thread that runs through all the reasons for all the other things that make one’s life.”

Replace the word “painting” with whatever it is that you most love to do and I believe it reads true.

Good news, bad news

Bad news first: we played Travel Roulette one time too many and both came down with mild cases of Covid (thank goodness for being fully vaxxed and boosted).

Fortunately, it didn’t happen until after Logan’s graduation and our week at the beach … once we were safe in Missouri in the capable hands of our newly minted RN daughter, who passed her boards on the first try.

So we extended our stay in St Louis (thank you to Southwest for no-fee rescheduling), while quarantining in the guest room. And are now back in Texas, where I’m impatiently waiting for my sense of taste and smell to recover.

More good news: my daughters know how much I love books, especially books about stitch and dye …

And I’m glad I brought Deb cloth and threads to the beach, where I stitched patches of color …

in between seeking and finding inspiration on my beach walks …

More stitching and stories to come … soon.