Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jodie and Mom's Great Spring Break Adventure

Day One:
We landed in Bend, Oregon. Photo to come (it's on the 'other' camera).

Day Two:
Through the clouds, rain, hail, over mountains, through the redwood forest, and down a winding mountain road
 to the ocean.

Jodie did most of the driving the last two days. It's a first for her to drive long distances on a road trip. I think the girl loves the feel of the road as much as the ocean wind on her face. She's a wonderful traveling companion!

Day Three:
Tomorrow we hope to take a walk through the Redwoods, visit an aquarium, drive down Pacific Coast Highway, and cross the Golden Gate Bridge.

But ... we'll see where Fate takes us!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bloom of the Bulbs

The first of our spring bulbs bloomed this morning!
First 2011 Crocus
 I guess Spring really is here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WIP: Easter Bunny 1

The next quilt square I'm stitching for the Holiday quilt is a funny little Easter Bunny.
I love this guy's attitude ... and his chubby belly.
He's lookin' good in sox, don't you think?

Monday, March 21, 2011


No, the hydrangea's aren't abloom yet ... this photo was taken in May 2009.
I'm sure looking forward to the coming flowers! I posted this photo just to help me get in the Spring mood.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Dance: Valentine

Well, this quilt square made for a nice quick stitch! This is now ready to send to my charity group for the Holiday quilt.
Next? I've picked out an Easter bunny. I might even start stitching it tonight ... if I first finish reading my book.

Happy Sunday, friends!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

WIP: Valentine 1

Keeping with the theme of holidays throughout the year, the next quilt square I'm stitching for charity is a valentine.

This design is from a freebie chart I had in my stash. It's called Heart's Desire by Honey Bee Creations. I'm using DMC colors of my own choosing instead of using the specialty threads called for in the design. I also decided to add a grid to the largest heart just to make it a little more interesting.

There's a good chance I'll need to add a border to this design just to fill up the design area of the quilt square a little more. I guess I'll figure that out when I complete the main portion of the design.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Dance: Groundhog Day

 had a chance to stitch for a few hours while watching recorded TV shows and was able to finish this quilt square for charity:

We're asked to stitch our initials and state on each square. Because the this square's design, it was a challenge to figure out where to put mine. So I chose to stitch my name and state in a floss color just a shade darker than the background, and placed them vertically on the square. That way they don't detract from the design itself. I like that solution!

Next to stitch? I think maybe a Valentine or St. Patrick's Day square. Time to go pet my stash and see what charts I have on hand.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Atheists Don't Have No Songs

Two my three atheist buddies, this song's for you!
Jim and Allen ... thanks for pointing The Way.

Love Steve Martin!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WIP: Groundhog's Day 2

I didn't stitch at all while on vacation, and have barely stitched in this last week. Since there's a little progress, I figured I might as well share the latest update on my happy little groundhog.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Angels Drive SUVs

Who knew? I found out the hard way.

It all started with this photo ...

Driving Through Clouds
Some say a picture is worth a thousand words. But I know exactly how much this photo is worth:
2.5 hours
38 miles
a quarter tank of gas
a promise to "pay it forward"
and some new friendships

But let's rewind a bit. I've not written on my blog because I spent the last week in Las Vegas. Three days driving down. Three nights in the Vegas area visiting my daughter and son-in-law. Two wonderful stretches of time catching up with a dear high school friend who I've not seen in a dozen years. (He stayed here!)

Vegas. Yeah.
Not good for Margaret.
Not my kind of town.

I loved the time with my loved ones. That was the highlight. But the lights, the buzz, the action, the vibe of the city was not good for me. Did a number on my brain. It was a bit like putting an epileptic in a room with a strobe light. Not good. Not good. I could feel the mania rising; my ability to sleep dissipated.

Even giving two therapeutic Swedish massages and lots of down time talking and sharing meals couldn't quite bring me back to myself. I had to get out of Dodge. Run away home. So though it took three days to drive from my home in north Idaho to south Nevada, I high-tailed it back north in just two long days of driving. Very little sleep and the equivalent of 8 cups of coffee in 14 hours pretty much put me over the top.

I was on the very last leg of my journey, ready to cross the Montana/Idaho border through the Bitterroot Mountains and Lookout Pass. The lovely view in this photo was before me. The tall pines. The clouds resting in treetops. The mist and rain. The piles of snow and ice. The lowering sun.

Just! So! Pretty!

Just -- HOME!

So I zipped into the rest area three miles shy of my state's border to snap a photo and take care of business before cresting the summit and coasting into Post Falls, just an hour away.

And that's when it happened. Distracted by beauty, out of my usual "rest stop routine" due to taking a photo, I locked my keys in my car.

Oh. Dear.

There was one 18-wheeler in the parking lot, the driver sleeping for the night.
There was one SUV with a mom, a teen, two little girls and two frisky dogs.
There was me.
There was no spare key - on the car or at home.
There was no cell phone reception (mountains, trees, rain, remember?)

I woke the trucker up but he said Citizen's Band didn't work there, either. He pulled the curtain down between me and his bare chest and crawled back into his sleeper.

The women in the SUV came to my rescue. They were on a different cell carrier than I, so were getting some sporadic connection. They took pity. I took a chance. I climbed into their vehicle, went up over the mountain with them, and down into Idaho's Silver Valley.

I learned that my rescuers were driving home from southern California. They live about an hour north of me in a town even smaller than mine on the edge of  a very pretty small lake. The driver told me a story of how she got into a pickle on the first day of their trip, and strangers helped her out. By helping me, she was just paying it forward. She wouldn't take any payment for her help, asking only that I pay if forward to someone else in need.

My Idaho Angel dropped me off at the Wallace Inn in Wallace, Idaho. There, I told my sad story to Wanda, the feisty female owner with a huge heart. She is a long-time resident of the small mining town. I was physically shaking (from the tension and all that caffeine) and my cell phone was about out of battery power. So Wanda took me under her wing, used her cell phone to call AAA, my husband, and the local locksmith. Then she pointed me to a comfortable couch and the coffee pot to wait while she popped out for a quick smoke.

Within the hour, I'd talked with the gal from AAA who told me that since my car was in Montana, she could only call a locksmith in Montana ... the closest town about 100 miles away! I declined that offer.

Then I talked on the phone with young Zach, the locksmith's apprentice. Once bundling his dad into his pickup, he'd be by to pick me up, drive me back over the border, and unlock my car. It would cost extra, though, because it was after hours, it was in another state, and it would be x amount per mile. Well, at least I'd get home, right?

And then my hero drove up to the door in his silver convertible. Dale was glad to see I was OK and that things were in the works to get me back on the road. He zipped off long enough to find an ATM so he could pay Zach. He and Zach (and Zach's dad) all arrived back at the Inn at about the same time. We discussed where the car was and how to get to it since there are very few exits on this divided highway.

By the time we got back on the road, the rain had turned to snow. Visibility was miserable. Zach told us what exit to look for that would loop around to get to the rest stop. Of course, Dale and I missed it! So down the Montana mountain we went for another four miles. We found a turn-around. And back up the mountain we went in the slushy weather.

Zach, of course, hadn't missed the first exit, hometown boy that he is. He was waiting for us by my car, with a troubled look on his face. He started, "Well, I'm afraid I won't be able to open your car door."

Dale and I look at each other, jaws dropped.

Then Zach broke into a great big Idaho grin. "... because I already got it done! That was the fastest I ever opened a lock! Took me about a minute and a half!"

Then he did the most gracious thing. He gave us a huge discount on the bill! He said that it wasn't any skin off his nose to come out in the weather, that his boss would understand, and that he really enjoyed working with us because, despite the hour and the weather and the trouble, Dale and I were very pleasant and in good spirits.

I looked at him with a twinkle in my eye and blurted, "Gosh, you're a good guy! Would you like to date my daughter?"

After all, what parent wouldn't want their daughter to date such a nice, polite, generous young man. Zach sort of shifted on his feet and said, "I already have a girlfriend." Poor guy. He really didn't know what to make of this nervous, laughing, nutty middle-aged woman and her offer!

Before we left, we thanked Zach's dad for his patience and keeping Zach company on the road. The apple didn't fall far from the tree; Zach's dad was as polite as his boy.

Those last miles over the pass felt pretty treacherous driving through the snow and slush and rain (it got warmer and wetter the further we traveled down the mountain). I clunked in and out of pot holes and held tight to the right side of the road, white-knuckling it in the pitch black night, allowing drivers much braver than I to zip past me on the winding road. 

We drove through the dark, over the bridges and eventually onto the wider lighted highways leading down into the Coeur d'Alene Lake basin. Driving through Coeur d'Alene and on into Post Falls, I kept my eyes glued on Dale's tail lights, trying to push back the cathartic tears that I could no longer restrain.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

To the West

Sunset: Caldwell Idaho

... at 75 miles an hour on I-84

I love road trips!