"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

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Not Enough Days in Your Life

Blogging remains slow, these days. My father-in-law is still in the hospital and we’ve been on a roller coaster of emotion, reflecting the outcomes of the latest tests and procedures. Last Wednesday, he was miserably ill, the prognosis was quite grim and he was transferred to the cancer unit in Oklahoma City. By the weekend, following a biopsy and relatively minor surgical procedure, he abruptly began feeling better and was able to eat. Two days ago, while waiting on the biopsy, the best guess was that he had cancer scattered hither and yon in his digestive tract. When the latest results came back, yesterday, they determined there was no sign of cancer, anywhere. So he goes in to have his gall bladder removed, today, and we are keeping our fingers crossed that they don’t run across anything nasty that the tests missed. He was up and about, yesterday, strolling the hospital halls and I was having a hard time keeping up with him. He claims to be nearly 85 but I think the man must be a liar. Please keep him in your thoughts. We are all quite optimistic, at this point.

My dragon quilt is coming slow. I started the project with no real experience in piecing curves and was terrified at the thought. Accordingly, I cobbled together some home-did paper piecing patterns which I have come to realize only made it more difficult. For example, see this small piece on the right?
It took me about four hours to finish, embarrassing as that is. And then, when I completed it, I realized I hadn’t reversed it so it had to be redone. Grr. After having done a number of curves on the rest of the quilt, I decided – to hell with it – and I just cut larger pieces and threw it together, curves be damned (the swearing was thrown in to underscore my disgust). The piece on the left (which I think looks better) took about 20 minutes. I need to get that pleat out of it but don't think that will be difficult.  You really can teach an old dog new tricks, looks like.

If I had it to do over again, I would definitely not be so afraid of the curves. Moreover, I wouldn’t cut the sections into such small pieces where I’d have to match up so many seams. For heaven’s sake, it is dragon. It is not like someone is going to say that it isn’t accurate unless they are spending way too much time in their parents’ basement playing fantasy video games.

The art quilt class that I was scheduled to take on April 15th has been rescheduled for June. I’d hoped to have that under my belt before I got much further into this project but it might be better to just flounder a bit so that when I actually learn how to do it, properly, I will have a few “ahah!” moments and know what she is talking about. So it is all good.

For a number a years, I have toyed with the notion of using tarot card paintings as inspiration for either painting or quilting. I picked up a couple of new decks because the pictures are so beautiful and will be scheming on what I want to do with them in the future. At times, I wish I was still thirty years old so I would have time to get some of these things done. At times like these, I feel as if I have wasted my life getting educated, working and raising a family… And eating has been a complete waste of time that could have been spent quilting. I am enjoying having such ridiculous notions while I can because if (notice that is "if" not "when?") I go back to work, the party is over.

My best friend and I spent the day at the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts, yesterday.
The following is one of my favorite pieces, which only goes to show that I have low brow tastes:
I think it is darling when I can keep from thinking it reminds of of the movie, Alien.
Mimi and I used to go to the Festival every year when we were kids but she hasn’t gone in decades.  It has been ten years since I was able to go. Husband is extremely grateful that I have her to hang out with because he thinks he’d be recruited, otherwise.   I believe he would rather be neutered without anesthetic than go.  And to be honest, if it meant having to listen to him angst the whole day?  I might also prefer having major surgery without sedation.  The experience would be roughly equivalent in terms of pain.  So it all works out. 

I had a great time. I didn’t take many pictures of the artwork out of respect for the artists but certainly saw pretty things. One painter in particular had some work that I plan to study for inspiration – she works in watercolors and her work is just beautiful.  I think it looks like quilting. 

As we looked at the art, from time to time we would see something sort of delightful on a particular piece that drew our eyes. The more I look into artful things, the more I suspect that many of those interesting little additions probably began as a mistake that the artist turned into something creative. I will keep that in mind when I am struggling with my art quilts.

Part of the fun of going was strolling through the Myriad Gardens – things were very peaceful.
See this little guy that looks so harmless?
Be warned, those nasty Canada Geese are the filthy birds that brought down the plane into the Hudson!!  It is probably dreaming of more wicked schemes. 
Okay, I thought the following sculpture made of farming implements was a little creepy looking:
Mimi seemed intrigued and immediately started naming off all  the implements she recognized (did I mention she is a rancher?).  To me, it looks like something out of an Iraqi prison.

I took a few closeups of the flowers because I thought I might be able to use them on an art quilt - sometime after I finish all my dragons and tarot cards and barn art quilts.
And if you have noticed, instead of actually working on an art quilt, I am blogging...
Mimi was enjoying the ponds and I had to mention that when they first opened the gardens, a number of bums drowned in them.  I probably should have just kept that observation to myself.  Then and now. 
I have always loved the Oklahoma City downtown Skyline.
In this economy, I particularly love to see those cranes continuing to build. Oklahoma City has a sort of an odd economy in that it has, historically, not been felled by economic factors on the same timeline as the cities on the coasts. Moreover, the housing bust never arrived so compared to many places, it is vibrant and strong.

When we left the Arts Festival, we wandered down to the Stockyards (where we’d parked one of our cars) because Mimi needed to pick up some panel of some sort.  We had a few minutes to kill so we did some window shopping in Little Joe’s Boots and at a couple of tack shops.
The lasso on the above longhorn seems overkill, given that it has already been beheaded.

I was thinking I might like to make a basket like the following in my spare time.
I love the smell of leather. But not in a weirdo sort of way. I told Husband that I also love the smell of hospitals and he thought that was creepy until I explained that I associate it with the birth of my children which evokes a happy mood.

It is probably still creepy, though. 

The barn siding is coming along, nicely. I set up the birdcam to capture photos of the guys working and will retrieve that when it is done. If the battery doesn’t run out, I should have a pretty good record of the progress.

We took the girls to the vet for their shots and they both weight 57 pounds and some change – they are within about 3 ounces of each other with Pearl being the heavier one. Evelyn looks bigger but much of that is coat and Pearl is solid muscle. Evelyn needs to drop about 5 pounds and when she does (and blows her coat), I suspect she is going to look quite different – and much smaller.  She has always been a fussy eater and we have to practically beg her to eat.  Why she is overweight when she has a history of not eating is a mystery.  We slightly reduced her food intake and she is immediately acting like she is starving to death and even inspecting Pearl's bowl in apparent hopes of finding a left over molecule of food. 

I’m off to get ready to head up to the hospital. Please keep my father-in-law in your prayers.

Happy Quilting,

Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


ranette said...

Okay somehow I missed the post about your father-in-law, but I'm glad the news is better than it was. You've been on my mind and I almost called you to see if you were okay. Glad you are doing well.

You make the Myriad Gardens and the Arts Festival look good....somehow you were able to get photos without all of the kids on field trips in them...lol...I know those kids need culture, but geez they can be a pain.

Have a great day Penny!

Carol said...

Loved all the photographs and the story of your day out. Sounded great.
Hope all goes well with your dad and that he recovers properly.

tisme said...

Looks like a good day! Will keep your father in law in my prayers.
I am working on an art quilt right now. I am not allowed to share until May 15th, but am without a doubt learning as I go, so I understand what you mean. Might not be overly happy with it right now, but it is coming along.

Anonymous said...

I will keep your father in law in my thoughts. I hope everything works out for him.

Thanks for taking the time to write - I look forward to new posts.


Sherry said...

What a wonderful day off!

Your father-in-law and all of you are in my prayers.

Shogun said...

Your father in law will be in my prayers.

Those are some beautiful pictures of gardens and art - thanks for sharing them.

I started training this week at my new hospital (social work) job and I always think about all the families and what they are going through.

Penny said...

Shogun, congratulations on the new job! You will do great.

Janet, thank you for checking in - I appreciate it.

Ranette,thank you for your concern. I am fine - you must be psychic, though!

There weren't too many crowds and few children at the Festival - it was the first day and the kids were still in school - it was a fabulous time to go!

Miriam said...

I love the photos of the gardens.
That chicken looks kind of scarey!!!!