You Spin Me Right Round

So since my last post I accepted  a full time job offer with the local community college. Eventually, when I’m trained, I will be proctoring tests for the academic part of the testing center. Today though:

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I mean that really actually looks like me. Blonde, dresses up with multiple screens. I have 4 total screens to monitor. It’s insane to me! BUT the pay is great, benefits and the hours are perfect for me. Come in later in the morning and stay til close. Everyone is really nice and I think I will fit in very well.

And the best part: I FINALLY HAVE MY OWN DESK. I took a few trinkets in to decorate and make the space mine but it still feels a bit impersonal. I think it’s because it’s my first day. I’ll get comfortable and everything will be ok.

The campus is all 1 building in our town but damn that building is large! It doesn’t look like it but when you are tramping around in heels from department to department to the commons to get lunch and eat it’s like a marathon. So tomorrow I’m going back to flat, pretty shoes and will just make it work. Lots of stairs, up and down. Only 1 elevator. So I will be getting my exercise in, that’s for sure. My office is centrally located which is helpful, and it’s at least in the wing with the coke vending machines (OMG they sell my fave Mt. Dew Code Red in the machines I about shit I was so happy), but it’s a hike to the commons to get lunch. So I’m going to plan on bringing my lunch a lot and maybe once a week treat myself.

Anyway I’m still processing everything. I’m hungry, thirsty (I didn’t take my water bottle because it’s branded with another college’s logo, but my boss’s boss had one from HIS alma mater so I figure it’s going to be ok) and most of all EXHAUSTED.

No new NaNo prep on PAPER since last update. Still working on plot and trying to make the main character NOT a stereotypical dystopian female lead. Which is REALLY FREAKING HARD GUYS! Very much looking forward to November and getting some of this out “on paper”.

Alright I really need to go eat dinner, it’s getting late.

When lemons are given….

So I did do some prep work on my NaNoWriMo effort for November. I’m just flat out writing down ideas that I can then cross off or decide if that’s going to be part of the plot etc. etc. Once I get a bit more done on the plot (I really had NOTHING but a tag line) I’ll start on characters. I know the basics (1 teenage female, her BFF, family with both parents still alive and together, and maybe an older sibling then the secondary characters) but they need to come alive.

Sadly work has come to a halt. 36 hours ago my mom and I had to take my father to the ER in the evening. His heart was giving him troubles. He had a triple bypass 3 years ago and has angina. He’d taken 3 of his nitro pills and that was the threshold where we are supposed to go to the ER. So in we went. He spent all day Sunday and probably all day there today. I’m going from home to the hospital as needed. Not going to lie it’s 100% the most exhausting thing. I can’t get caught up in rest it feels like. I sit at the hospital reading or entertaining him or keeping track of what we are doing next, then come home to care for the pets, try to feed myself or rest. I feel like at any time I could drop.

Dad is in good spirits. He should be finishing up his nuclear stress test on his heart right now. I’m going back in to the hospital soon. I ran home to change into gym clothes but instead I ate a late breakfast and took the dog out to play. And update my blog.

Dad claimed this morning that if the docs see Result 1 on the test this morning we might do Procedure A tomorrow. That’s all I could get out of him. I hope that the doctors will come by this afternoon and go over it all with me.

Anyway, life moves on and we have to regroup and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep sleeping, drinking water and feeding ourselves. Play with the pets and feed them. Take the trash out, wash dishes, do laundry. He’s better in the hospital than with me taking him there and back. Here are home I couldn’t keep him in bed. There they have an ALARM on him so it goes off if he gets out of bed or out of the chair without a nurse with him.

I plan on taking my writing in this afternoon to work on. He’ll probably sleep all afternoon anyway and that’s 100% ok with me and the hospital staff. Resting is good.

All I want to do is sleep for like 4 days. But when I lay down the brain won’t shut off and let me drift off. Then nightmares start and I’m just wearing down. Like a tooth ground into submission. I feel useless, slow and dumb. But I’m still upright and kicking, and there is coffee and soda pop in the world to keep me going.

November is Coming

So I’ve been batting around this book idea for a while now. It came to me, as most great ideas, in the shower one night. That’s all I’m saying about the details but there you have it.

I sat on the idea for a while, thought about it a tiny bit, but I was just to focused on my job at the time to really dig into the meat of characters and a true plot and all that comes with actually producing a novel. My creativity was not happening so I just kept the idea in the back of my head.

Well things have changed in the last month: I am no longer employed at the high stress, long hour job of my past. In the past month my brain has been unwinding from the mess of neurons that it had become in the past 2 1/2 years. In that unwinding, the plot idea came back to me. I started to design quilt tops again, wrote in my writing prompt journals, even bought a Folk Art coloring book and have been working through that with my markers.

All this leads me to the wonderful month of November. AKA National Novel Writing Month. I’ve always been a fan, my profile on their website has been there for over 11 years. But I’ve never REALLY participated for one reason or another. This time I feel strongly about what I want to write about. I just need some prep work fleshing out of it first. So while I’m still job searching and have a LOT of free time on my hands I’m on Pinterest searching for character building worksheets, plot development assistance and other things that might help me conquer the 50,000 words in the month of November. I have a notebook and pens waiting (I still hand write all my stuff but might make a switch thanks to Google Docs), just need to sit down and figure it all out.

If you’d like to join me LET ME KNOW! I’m Jill_Sparrow on the NaNoWriMo site (I told you the profile is OLD and I can’t find a say to change my profile name sadly) so let’s be buddies and work on this project together.

Enough stalling, I need to get back to the prep!

Onward to November!

Things Happen And You Move On

So since I wrote last my job and I decided to separate. I’m not going to lie and say I came home and sobbed and ate ice cream and slept all weekend (because you always get fired at the end of the week). I’m on with this. There was no masking that I was unhappy and the situation wasn’t going to change anytime soon so…

I do miss the animals and some customers/co-workers. But in the almost 2 weeks since my depression is better, I’m sleeping better, anxiety is better etc etc. I’m one of those, no matter how hard and crummy the job gets I’m probably not going to leave the comfort of a paycheck and health insurance. I need that kick to move on from elsewhere, because it’s not going to come from within.

I licked my wounds and have been thinking long and hard about what to do next. I’ve learned over the last 2 1/2 years that maybe I don’t want to work in the animal profession. The hours are long and thankless, the job is mentally and physically tough and the people can be bat shit crazy, both owners and those within (this is not a reflection on my past job necessarily just what I’ve gathered over the years).

I literally don’t know what I want to do. I flat out don’t.

I thought about teaching…. need way more training. And it’s terrifying.

SoI just decided to sleep instead.

I have some applications out with the university here in town in admin asst roles for various departments. A few would just be jobs, a few would be exciting, and one would be a future to build on. No call backs yet but the searches don’t close til this week or in a few weeks so I’m not in a panic right now. Just coasting along. I sleep, I quilt, I spend a lot of time with my pets. Yesterday my father and I went to the Indiana State Fair in a rainstorm. This weekend I’m going to the Michigan State Fair with my Aunt. I go to the gym or I just do nothing but read in bed all day with my dog.

I did file for unemployment benefits. I don’t care what people might think, when it’s needed it’s a nice lifeline for folk between jobs. This way I can still pay my credit card bill, pay my health care bill (the part the old insurance didn’t cover), have a little bit of fun money and not be begging my family every day for spending cash. I do hope to find something soon, but for now my depression is enjoying the time off from the stress and bullshit.

Not much else going on really. I’m working on making donation quilts for my local quilt for this fall. I think that if I make the tops a long arm quilter will quilt them for the guild to get practice and then add binding and bring them back. I have a large Rubbermaid box of 5″ squares from an earlier bee project that no one in the bee wanted back. So I take 9 of those squares, make a quick 9 patch block and sash them 9 or 12 of them together using a 1″ sash. They make nice lap size quilts for folk, I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my day and I make more room for more fabric I want.

I’ve thought since OCTOBER that I’d lost a whole half of a baby quilt. A quilt I was REALLY enjoying working on for this little girl. I had made half the blocks and put them together into two rows and poof the rest of the blocks were gone. I searched EVERYWHERE for those missing fully put together blocks. I could never get it out of the back of my mind, where the eff did that half a quilt go? WHO LOOSES HALF A BLOODY QUILT?

Well… last night while I was rummaging around in my room and still stewing about this bleeding missing quilt I thought, maybe you DIDN’T put all the blocks together at retreat in October. So I looked closer in the bag that I had the fabric in (I bag all my cut project fabric together with a copy of the pattern so I can just select projects for retreats easily and pack that much quicker) and surprise. I did NOT put all the blocks together, I am NOT missing half a quilt. The quilt is made out of a jelly roll so in my neatness I stacked all the cut components of the blocks back on top of each other and they look like scraps left over from cutting. Close inspection showed the center of the blocks sitting right there on top, waiting for me. I felt like a complete idiot and at that point just went to be. I look forward to getting the fabric out tomorrow, ironing as needed and finishing that sucker. I’ll get backing for it this weekend and get it gone. Still excited about the fabric (it’s cute down on the farm baby fabric) but I just want it gone.

Alright the cats are circling the desktop telling me it’s time to go to sleep mommy. Til next time, thanks for reading, liking and maybe commenting. 🙂

It’s Been A Long Time

Sorry I haven’t updated in a while. I know you’ve all just been missing me. Things went down in real life that took my attention and this kind of fell away for a bit. My 32nd birthday came and as a gift my younger sister was in a car wreck, broke her right leg and some ribs, totaled the vehicle and that’s just had all my focus. We’re over a month out and things are going great, thanks for asking. She was cleared to drive today, which was a big hurdle. She’s been enjoying physical therapy as much as one CAN enjoy it. I hope this will be a change, not just for her, but for all of us. It’s been a wake up call for her I think.

Had my first visit with my therapist a few weeks ago. Honestly I have NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING WHEN I’M THERE but people seem to think it helps. I have an appointment with the nurse practitioner in the behavioral health dept on the 8th to talk about getting the right meds to straighten my head out. When I made that appointment on my birthday June 1 it seemed like forever. Now it’s only a few weeks. It might take a while to find the right thing but we’ll get there. I’m not giving up.

I’m gonna drop a Pro Tip on ya here: DON’T BURN YOUR BREAST WITH BACON GREASE. That also happened a week ago, has been a disaster, and is literally a pain in my side. 2 antibiotics, twice daily bandage changes and a special visit to the wound care center. I swear I need to be wrapped in bubble wrap or something.

So anyway, I’m back. And I need to be honest. Mainly with myself. I’ve had to get on the scale a lot lately thanks to all the planned and unplanned doctor’s visits and I’m just fucking fat. Fattest I’ve ever been. I have a hard time sleeping at night, despite being tired at the end of the day (part of that is depression I bet and part being fat). My back hurts all the time (with the weight goes some of the boobs right?!) and I’d like to keep my right knee and right ankle in some sort of working order for longer than my mid-30’s.

This isn’t news to anyone who knows me. It’s OBVIOUS I’m a chub. What to do about it? Eat right, exercise. Die anyway. I literally food journaled ONE DAY today, when I thought I was doing an ok job. I sucked. I’ve already eaten dinner, about 30 minutes ago, and I just want to CRY. I’m so unfulfilled. Yes I know it’s going to take a while, and change is hard, give it some time and you’ll never look back. But damn it’s HARD and I want to WHINE a bit. I like food. A lot. I like the act of eating it, either alone or with others, I like preparing it, watching TV about it, researching about it. I just like food.

I have an appointment (all these appointments!) with the dietitian and if they tell me to eat a salad everyday I’m gonna crack. I’m kind of limited on lunch, I have a microwave at work, a crummy tiny toaster and a toaster oven that smells like it’s burning the place down to heat things up. That’s it. I did a whole week or two of a ham sandwich, tater salad and a fruit. It wasn’t bad, wasn’t the healthiest (better than Burger King or a slice of pizza I hope) but it was blah.

I don’t know seems to be the theme of my life right now.

I JUST DON’T FUCKING KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.

but don’t we all?

I have to go take more antibiotic pills, change my burn dressing and stare at the wall in frustration.

 

 

The Great Crush

So it’s been a busy, busy month here at my workplace. We are running a special we call “feral month”. All during the month of April we spay/neuter feral cats and friendly community cats that might not really have owners for FREE. Surgery and rabies shot FOR FREE thanks to PetSmart Charities.

However that means busy, busy days for those of us at the clinic because we cannot always predict how many animals we are going to end up with because feral cats in traps don’t need a appointment. Today for example we are doing 111 surgeries, dogs and cats, pets and shelters and ferals. And just as many Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Yup.

It’s exhausting to say the least.

Sadly that means blogging has been put on hold for at least another week while we run the end of this month out. I work 12 hour days and it’s all I can do to feed myself and bathe and play with my own pets once I get home and then get some quality sleep.

I still plan on doing some intros of my pets and some posts about what I’m currently working on quilt wise. I got some GREAT new fabric this weekend (Queen of the Sea from Moda all my favorite colors and a dolly included! I’m so excited to work on it) so I look forward to sharing with you.

But first, the great crush of ferals at the end of the month commences!

How I Started Quilting As A 20-something

So I’m going to keep on with the intro theme and talk about how I, as a young woman, got into the old art of quilting.

My mother was always a quilter when I was growing up. She’s the old style of quilter, no machine, no rotary cutter and mat, all pieced and quilted by hand. She’s also make our Halloween costumes in the fall by hand as well, using patterns and fabric from JoAnn’s of course. Once we moved away from Vincennes though life became busy and she let her hobby fall by the way side as she was responsible for making sure my sister and I got to where we needed to go with our increasing activities.

When we moved to Bloomington, and my sister and I became a bit more independent with driver’s licenses and cars mom started to think about getting back into the hobby. Bloomington has a large, very active quilt guild and she found out a few fellow co-workers were also quilters and encouraged her to attend meetings with her. So she started up again, slowly at first, right before the current “crafty” wave hit.

I never thought much of it but had some experience with the sewing machine through a small foray into the cosplay world. If you don’t know the world cosplay, it’s making costumes of characters and going to conventions and geeking out with fellow fans. It’s expensive, stressful but over all rewarding. I made a few costumes I liked but it just didn’t quite fulfill my creative intersts. Plus, did I mention it’s really expensive. And again this was LONG before cosplay was as popular as it is now, so patterns were hard to find, reference photos were hard to find and let’s not talk about finding just the right fabric. It was also hard for me to travel to conventions to hang out with fellow fans who would appreciate all my hard work. So I hung up my costume hat and put the sewing machine away.

Then one afternoon in the summer of 2007, after I returned from 10 days in Ireland I was bored. I was kind of done with college (let’s not talk about that right now) but had no job prospects, felt I wasn’t ever READY for a true non-profit job in the sector even after schooling. So I was listless, bored, terrified and looking for something to keep my mind off the big changes in life I knew were coming.

I wondered through the empty house and decided to get mom’s quilting fabric out and this new book of 100 Quilt Blocks she’d just acquired. I’d seen her work with the template plastic before and cut out the tiny bits and put them back together to make a block so I thought why not me? I decided I was going to do the birthstone blocks that were in the book and started going bonkers.

It was an unmitigated disaster to say the least.

Yes I got blocks together that looks somewhat OK but it was slow and frustrating process. But I was still enjoying myself.

Mom came home to a disaster zone and lots of questions for me.

That was it, I had the bug.

I learned more about block styles and realized the blocks I was trying to make were impossible to do the way I was trying to make them. They were more for paper piecing instead of traditional piecing which was, in the end, what I wanted to do really. I learned that you don’t have to do it by hand like mom does, you can use a machine. You can even use a machine to quilt the thing!

So I worked and studied magazines and the few online tutorials I could find. Remember this was before Pinterest and the DIY crafts boom that made this kind of thing cool for someone my age to do. I even decided I was going to make my OWN block, inspired by a photo I took of the tiled floor of Kilkenny’s St. Canice’s Cathedral in Ireland. It was perfect for a quilt block. I worked for hours on that thing, bought the fabric for it from JoAnn’s where else. Of course, didn’t buy enough fabric, knew nothing of putting the blocks together in the proper way (I thought you worked from the inside of the block out, not in rows or columns and couldn’t figure out why putting these squares and rectangles together was so bloody HARD) and again was facing frustration.

Mom talked me in to going to French Link on this thing called a quilt retreat. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew she came back from them and talked about how fun they were. So we paid our moneys and off we went, all my crap in tow and me feeling a tiny bit terrified of all these seasoned quilters and me, not knowing my head from my butt.

I’d brought the now infamous (in my head) Ireland quilt with me and was proudly sewing along when one of mom’s friends came up and said there was an easier way to do it. Shawn showed me the rows/columns technique, not the inside/out I was thinking was right. Changed my outlook on this new hobby. I never looked back.

Yes, it’s 2016. No I do not have a photo of this Ireland quilt that started it all. Why?

It’s not bloody done.

Not even CLOSE.

But since then I’ve made probably 40+ quilts for friends and family to celebrate anything from new babies to weddings, graduations to deaths. I have not made anything for myself until last year. Yup. out of all the quilts I’ve made I’ve only kept one truly finished piece.

Why? Because I love what I do, it makes me happy to give the gift of time and care and thought that goes into making a quilt. When I give you a quilt, it’s not a simple thing. I’ve thought about things you like, colors, patterns. I’ve spent hours finding the right fabrics, the right pattern. I’ve spent days, weeks, months cutting that fabric out according to the patterns, putting the top together and making it look as beautiful as I can. Then there is the actual quilting.

Mom and I talked about commissions and prices of these kinds of quilts that we make last night for a long time. A coworker asked her to make a quilt for her granddaughter like one mom had displayed at their workplace. She didn’t know what to say so she sat on it for a while. First, the fabric is from like 2008 or 2009. No way are we going to find it again. It was hard to find at that time it was so popular. Second, how do you tell someone you can’t afford me? It’s not conceit, it’s truth. The fabric, thread, batting and backing alone for a baby quilt is about $150+ depending on the quality of the fabric. Then you have the hours upon hours you yourself spending making the thing.

We decided there was no way to value the quilt any less that about $250. Just no way.

I have my moments of being a little “over” my hobby, although over isn’t the right word. It’s tied to my depression. I am going on a small retreat this coming weekend with my quilting friends and I have lots of plans to get things accomplished. Again, nothing in the cards for myself, they are all gifts for others. One is a high school graduation, one is a toddler quilt and one is show quilt that I’d like to display in some upcoming quilt shows this year and next. Then probably give away.

So that’s my long winded story of how I got into the hobby of quilting. I’ve met lots of great folk, been lots of great places because of this gig I have.

Introduction

Hello and welcome to my new blog. My name is Sara and I live in beautiful Bloomington Indiana. I work in the non-profit animal industry here in town and animal advocacy takes up a big part of my life. Always has, always will. Thus the title of my blog, 19 cats and counting. Yes I have a harem of cats, none of them have been purchased. They are all strays or rescues and they are my life. I’m sure I will introduce them to you in later posts because I talk about them a lot.

I am also the proud mommy to a 9 year old pit bull terrier, Duchess. She is my baby, my pride and joy and my reason for living. She loves unconditionally, drives me up a wall and thinks she is a cat. I am involved in advocacy for this breed and will speak a lot to myths and truths as well as current events in the pit bull world. This is not a pit bull blog though, just a big part of my personal life.

Other than the animal part of my life I am also an avid quilter, reader, wanna be writer, learning to be 5k-er and experimental cook.

My plans for this blog is to share my thoughts, feelings, opinions and some of my life with my friends and family and anyone else that might be interested. I hope to use tags freely to make it easier to find what you are looking for. Expect photos of quilts I am working on, stories of my pet’s being ridiculous, political opinions (moderate liberal, pro-choice, don’t know about guns never had one don’t plan on one, GLBTQ supporter hard core) as well as general rumblings and maybe book reviews.

I hope to schedule posts for a weekly publish time (maybe on Wednesdays in the morning) but other posts might pop up in order to remain topical. I’ll try NOT to bombard readers with posts all the time, I hate that.

 

~S