"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Pearl is getting to be a big girl but she still has a puppy face.

And she can howl just like Evelyn:

Well, she isn't in Evelyn's league but she is working on it.

Pearl drops her ears and is so sweet. We just love how she looks when she does that.

Then she'll turn around and be sassy:

We just love her.

Today, I kept an eye on the clock as it approached 5:00 p.m. wondering if I was going to hit a milestone. I did. It was the first business day (and frequently weekend day) in about 7 years, including holidays, that I got not ONE call from an upset parent, frustrated probation officer, sressed out social worker or confused and angry child.

The phone did not ring, at all.

It was incredible. I'd forgotten that most people actually live their lives without drama and turmoil on a daily basis. In fact, they go out of their way to avoid it.

Since I made the decision to close down my practice and began making headway on closing out my cases, I feel like a two ton weight has lifted from my shoulders. It was not until I made the decision to do this and began lightening my caseload that I realized just how oppressive it had become. I stopped several times during the day just to take a deep breath and revel in the fact that I don't have a heartbreaking case, next week to prepare for. I wonder if this is how a lame duck president feels as he approaches the end of his last term (not too grandiose, am I?). Oh, I still have cases but most of them aren't too stay-up-at-night-worrying-stressful and I will either close them or withdraw in the next couple of months. Take a look at this:

That is all the open files I have left. Normally, I have at least 120 open cases at any given time, with about half of them fairly active. Of those, I usually have about ten that are kicking my butt and breaking my heart at any given time. The next few weeks are still pretty active but by the middle of September, it will slack off dramatically. By the middle of October, I should be all but done.

Oddly, I have been having stress dreams every night for the past week. You know, stress dreams? You're late for a test or a tornado is chasing you? That sort of thing. I think my subconscious is doing some rebuilding or something. Now that the pressure is easing, my stress-related emotions are waking back up and saying, "Oh SH-T!"

Or something like that.

So while it was so peaceful, today, I continued to work on my 2009 Floral Weave Quilt. I made a lot of progress.

I sure hope it looks better when it is done. I 'spect it will.

As usual, I used my trusty glue stick. I dab paste on the ends and at the seam.



And here.

I really didn't have too much trouble with my seams, so far.

I predict that when I start stitching my rows, together, I'll have my share of frustration. The further along you get, the more the little variances start turning into big problems. But that is just the nature of it all.

Have you seen one of these bobbin holders?

On the HGTV message board, they periodically ask what your favorite quilting tool is. I won't say that the bobbin holder is my favorite, but it is one of the first things I would give a new quilter. I love the thing.

You'll notice that it is almost empty. Normally, I fill ten bobbins and when they are done, change the needle, clean and oil the machine, and refill ten more bobbins. This project, I have been emptying all my partially filled bobbins - doesn't matter the color. I've used grey, green, brown, gold, white and pink on this quilt, so far. You can't see it so who cares? As soon as I empty out one more bobbin, I'll do my routine maintenance, change the needle and fill ten more bobbins. I always write down when I do that in my quilting journal. My Janome is going to be SO smooth about the time I start putting together the rows! The quilters among us understand what a thrill it is to have a happily stitching machine.

Here is a plug for Janome: Go get one even if you don't sew. I bought mine as a back up for my little 220 Bernina. I immediately fell in love with it and have used the Bernina once, since - at a class. And Berninas are great machines so that is saying something.

Pearl had lots to say about everything, today.

Husband is in Minnesota on a business trip but will be back in the morning. Right now, I need to get ready for a meeting in the morning to get funding for a troubled young man. After that, I have a home visit with a child who has one parent in jail and the other has a terrible drug addiction. She has some neurological problems associated with her mother's drug use en utero and I need to review the medical records to get a handle at what we're looking at. Believe it or not, although I won't miss the stress, I suspect I will miss the work once I close up shop for good. I know I will miss the kids.


Sherry said...

Yes. I know stress dreams. Shudder. I'm trying to stave them off now.

When Sam retired, I quit, we moved back to my hometown. I would wake in the middle of the night sitting straight up in a panic. Get up, go the office, open the filing cabinet, take out the bank files, and look at numbers. Okay. We'll be okay. We have enough money to last us...as long as we die in the next 10 years.

Well...It's not going to last 10 years. I've tried to get husband to talk to me about it. I asked him if he was trying to spend it all before he died...he's 17 1/2 years older than me. He won't talk. So...a couple of weeks ago I told him that I would be looking for a job (he doesn't want me to work)...preferably part time...or with the school district so I could have more time off. If after a year that hasn't happened. I'll take 40 hours wherever I can find it.

Waking in a panic is NO fun!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad your stress level is getting better, Penny. The girls look beautiful - I did a doubletake yesterday when I saw a beautiful Samoyed outside my shop window!

The quilt is lovely. When you use the glue stick, does it make the top stiff and hard after it dries?


Penny said...

Janet -

Nope on the gluestick. I use the water based and don't even notice it, especially if I steam when pressing out the seams. Of course, I wash my quilts after I quilt them but even so, I haven't noticed that it stiffens it up before I do that. I guess if I smeared on enough of the glue stick it would get icky but I only use a dab to keep the fabric still until I can stitch it down. I've never had it gum up my machine, btw.

Now, I read that you should use waterbased glue (not stick) on binding and that was a disaster when I tried that. I have been working on a quilt binding off and on for months and it is like pushing through concrete. I won't do THAT, again! I know it will wash out when I wash it but right now, it is holding down the binding. So... for me, glue STICK but not liquid glue.

What a treat to see a samoyed. It should have come inside and been your quilting buddy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Penny. I remember reading about your glued binding experience! I've used the glue sticks for applique and noticed that if I let them dry things get very stiff and hard to needle. But I might try glue stick next time I need to hold things together before I sew.

The Samoyed was a pleasant surprise - she looked just like one of your girls, only smaller than I expected. I hope she's a neighbor.

Penny said...

Your samoyed may have been an American Eskimo if it was considerably smaller. They look a lot alike but their temperaments are different.

A lot of people at a party that we went to in March who hadn't seen Evelyn in person (just pictures) commented that she was smaller than they expected.

jacquie said...

lots of catching up to do...pearl is looking fabulous as usual, but growing up and losing that puppy look. quite a change for you closing down your practice. i hope the stress dreams disappear.