Bigger, Better, and Bulkier!

EMS Jacket

We’ve updated our ambulance squad jackets, and I’m doing the logo embroidery on the back.  If we’d had them commercially embroidered by the supplier they would’ve been out of our price range, so I am doing them a bit cheaper for the squad.  The embroidery isn’t difficult – it’s getting them on my machine that is giving me grief.  The jackets are bulkier, even with the fleece lining removed.  There is a finite amount of space on my machine and a seemingly infinite amount of jacket to be stuffed around the arms and carriage.  In addition, the size of the logo dictates that I hoop it three times.  No wonder the supplier balked at doing twenty of these.  I’ll also be doing name tags with Velcro backing, but the weather is delaying my progress.  My supplier for the Velcro is located in Ohio, and this is the second day in a row that UPS has cancelled operations in that state.  I was hoping to have all the jackets done by the 16th (our next squad meeting), but I may have to collect them up in the spring to finish the nametags.  These jackets are considerably warmer than our old ones and I don’t want to delay getting them to the squad when our temps are consistently below zero.  Unfortunately people still get sick and need the ambulance, no matter the temperature.

The flu is making its rounds; we’ve seen several confirmed cases at the clinic and the hospital.  I hope you’ve all received your flu shot!

Summer’s End

If Labor Day Weekend is supposed to be the end of summer, Mother Nature didn’t get the memo!  We’re still having temperatures in the mid-90s, and it’s not cooling off much at night either.  This would be wonderful if we’d received a few inches of rain in August, but no such luck.  I won’t complain too loudly though, as I remember “the dry years” while I was growing up, and they were so much worse than this.

We spent a few days over the weekend at my Aunt Greta and Uncle Roger’s cabin at Lake Tschida.  Amanda celebrated her birthday a day early – good thing, because she spent her actual birthday moving!  She and Chris are now in their brand new apartment in Watford City, and with the exception of cable/phone/internet, I hear it’s quite nice.  The service provider for the area is behind schedule, so it will be another month or two before they will get internet and tv again.

I enjoyed my brief break from school, and am now working on 14 more semester hours.  I find out in 2 weeks whether I got into the paramedic-to-RN bridge program, so think positive thoughts for me.

Here are a few photo highlights of last weekend.  We all had a fabulous time, and of course the food was fantastic.  We ladies got a lot of bonding and visiting done while washing dishes, and as I get older I really appreciate the “girl time” with my aunts, sisters-in-law, cousins and daughter.

These pics are of embroidered aprons I made for Greta and Roger:Greta's Apron Roger's Apron

Here are a few of the girls playing: (if you click on the photo, it will enlarge).


The birthday girl with her cake and relaxing with her hubby:

Amanda ChrisAmanda Birthday

The lonely, unlucky fisherman who caught only grief that day  (EDIT:  I just got a copy of this photo that my sister-in-law Rose took and had to post it.  It’s Myron, and my brothers Jim and Gary)

MyronMyron and Boys

And, the boisterous group for the weekend:

Labor Day Gang 2013

If God is willing, we’ll all be back next year.


The Sweet Sound of Silence (or not)

Yesterday, about 6:30 PM our power went out.  I shut down my computer and took a walk outside.  As it started to get dark, I rummaged around and found some candles and a flashlight.  As the evening progressed, I was amazed at just what little I could do – EVERYTHING requires power!  I couldn’t make a cup of coffee or piece of toast.  I didn’t want to open the fridge because we had no idea how long the outage would last.  I settled for an apple and some tepid bottled water that’s been on the kitchen counter for who-knows-how-long.

I ended up on the couch with my Kindle, playing some free word jumble game for 2 hours.  Myron drove in to town to shower at his brother’s house (different electric company), so I used some bottled water to brush my teeth and wash my face, and went to bed.  It was so blissful without any electronic background noise!  Myron usually sleeps with the window open a few inches, and I could hear the frogs croaking and crickets chirping (and dogs barking, and highway traffic).  It was so blissfully silent I could not sleep.  At this point Myron started to snore – not a Homelite chainsaw snore, just a soft snuffle  Without my electronic background noise I just could not sleep.  I finally ended up going to the spare room in the basement, where it truly WAS silent.  I tossed and turned and eventually fell asleep.  About half an hour later the power lit up our house – every light (or so it seemed), both frigdes and freezers, the well pump, the water softener, the dehumidifiers, the air conditioners – unfortunately, the stuff that has become the nocturnal music to my ears.  I shut all the lights off and retreated once more to the basement and fell right asleep.Harvest Myron Haying Myron

What I’m working on

The Homespun Friends Quilt Guild had their annual lock-in, or retreat, over this last weekend in Wishek.  We had a blast!  The food was amazing and conversations were great, and we even got a little stitching done too.  I chose to work on my niece Dianna’s quilt.  She graduated in May and will be attending Valley City State this fall.  She is planning to be a teacher.  Her favorite color is orange, so I had to include an orange batik that she picked out.  I added some purple and yellow, and will use orange minkee for backing.
Dianna's Quilt

I selected an easy pattern called “Chain Links”.  It goes together very quickly and I really like it.  I may use it for my bed quilt, and use browns and turquoise for my colors.Dianna's Pattern  I have all the blocks done; I just need to put the rows together.

Here is a picture of the last customer quilt I finished.  It’s Tula’s Kitty Quilt.  I quilted cats and butterflies on it.  I still have her Asian Influence Quilt to do – that’s on my list for this week.Tula's Cat Quilt

Today I finished up a hoodie for my niece Jessie’s birthday.  Her birthday always falls during the Sturgis rally, so I usually get her something from our trip.  She is at an intermediate size, though.  She’s too old for the kiddie shirts but too young for adult shirts.  I finally found a black hoodie that I thought might fit her, but could not find a graphic that I thought would work for her.  Who would have thought a seven-year-old would be into skulls?  So, I found a nice graphic, and embroidered a rose with a skull in it on the sleeve, and her name on the opposite sleeve.  I hope she likes it.Jessie's Hoodie(Click on the photo to see the details)

Other pictures I’ve found on my camera – Amanda’s cat in her favorite spot, the bathroom sink; Myron with Kitty Longtail’s kittens, and Sturgis wildlife (for the over-the-hill crowd, it was a jackrabbit that hopped through the campground).

Kitty Longtail’s is a very good mother (unusual for a first-time mother).  She is very inventive with her hiding places for her kittens.  Also, she is the skinniest mommy we have.  Although her babies are the youngest of four sets, they are the largest.  Myron finally solved the mystery – he followed her from the chicken coop to her hiding place.  She has been stealing eggs from the chicken coop and feeding her babies!




What I Did on my Summer Vacation

I used to dread that assignment, usually handed out on the first day of school during the fall term.  There was just no way to make milking cows and hauling bales sound like a vacation.  How I envied the “town kids”, who laid around the pool all summer and went to the Dairy Maid for ice cream every day and took real vacations!

I’ve been on a vacation of sorts – as adults we maybe call them sabbaticals or unpaid leaves of absence instead.  I really didn’t go anywhere, although with Amanda here we had more opportunity than usual.  We did spend a couple of days in Sturgis.  Myron and I were sitting in the campground at about 9:30 PM one evening, trying to stifle our yawns, while his niece and her boyfriend were getting ready to go out to the bars.  That’s when Myron looked over at me and asked when did we get old, and what are two old people like us even doing there . . . After trying to make sense of it ( he has attended the rally for the last 17 years), we decided the only benefit was that we would really appreciate a private bathroom and comfortable bed once we returned home.  We may just make it a biennial event from now on.

I spent most of the summer cramming for 11 semester hours of nursing school prerequisites.  Yesterday was my last final of the summer.  I’ve applied for a paramedic-to-RN bridge program, but it requires several prerequisites.  It’s quite a blow to the ego to pretty much be told that the bachelor’s degree you worked so hard to earn is nothing but wallpaper, and nearly all the courses I took that do apply are too outdated.  So, I re-took Microbiology, and Anatomy and Physiology I, and also added Lifespan Development.  This fall I have to take A&P II, Nutrition, Pathophysiology, and Interpersonal Communications (14 semester hours).  The kicker – I won’t even know if I get into the program until mid-September!  There are only a few accelerated programs like this in the country, so it’s quite competitive.  The acceptance rate is 33%, and I hope to be counted among that lucky one third.  If I am accepted, I will start nursing classes in January and be finished by next December, and be qualified to take the exam to be a registered nurse.

In other news, Amanda packed up her car and her cat and moved to Watford City today.  We will miss her (but not that hairy cat).  She starts school soon, and I know she’s been missing Chris and her own household.  She did most of the cooking here and was darned good at it, so it’s back to plain fare for us.  I really did enjoy having her here; I think we spent more quality time together the last seven months than we were able to the last 10 years.  We’re all hoping in the next few years they’ll be posted closer to the south-central part of the state.

As for quilting and sewing, I’ve done so little it’s embarrassing.  Amanda finished two quilts and sewed herself a few skirts and a top, so she’s got me beat.  Perhaps as fall approaches I’ll get back into my comfortable rut and start producing again.

Embroidery Today

I decided to work on an embroidery project today.  It’s a gift for my cousin Branden and his wife Steph; they had their first child in January.  I wanted to make a few personalized t-shirts or onesies for their baby boy.  I bought the shirts a few months ago and figured I’d better get on it before he outgrows them!

I was amazed at all the baby clothes one can buy that already have embroidery or some form of decoration on them.  The baby blankets are really cute, and very reasonably priced.  The drawback to it all is there is no way I can compete with imported goods.  It’s one of the reasons I don’t sell embroidered items – still looking for that niche market.

Here are some pictures of what I did today.  I embroidered two t-shirts, a hooded sweatshirt, and a onesie with pants.  It felt good to finish a project!  Tomorrow, I’ll start on one of two customer quilts I need to finish before the end of the month.

Parker1 Parker2 Parker3 Parker4 Parker5

On the frame today

I was supposed to have mandatory paramedic training this weekend, but it was canceled at the last minute.  Since I’m still on call, I can’t really go anywhere.  So, it’s a good opportunity to get a quilt done!

I have a quilt top from Elaine in Illinois on the frame today.  It’s an antique that she’s had for many years, in an Irish chain pattern.  I chose a loose feather-and-swirl design, in an off-white thread so the quilting doesn’t overshadow the top.  I really like how the design looks on the quilt, but the big test will be whether Elaine likes it.

Elaine's 1 Elaine's 2

In other news, we have 12 kittens running around the farm!  I’ll snap some photos of them later and post a few.  We’ve only had one cluck hatch a nest of eggs – she sat on 17 eggs and hatched 16 chicks!  They are about 2 weeks old now and doing quite well.  And, the last of Myron’s cows calved yesterday morning so we’re through with calving for the year.  It’s so green and pretty out from all the rain this spring.  The yard needs cutting twice a week, and would tolerate a third weekly cutting if any of us had the desire to mow it.  But we’d rather mow than suffer drought.


AWOL is an Army acronym – it stands for Absent With Out Leave.  Yes, I am guilty! I like to keep the blog updated weekly, and it’s been at least 6 weeks.  Lest anyone think I never returned from my birthday trip . . . I am indeed alive and well.

The Homespun Friends Quilt Show in May was enjoyed by around 200 folks this year.  I am always amazed at the creativity and artistic ability of our group. I hope to get some photos posted soon, but like usual, my days somehow slip away and leave me perplexed as to just what the heck happened to them!

My son-in-law is now a certified peace officer of the State of North Dakota.  Chris graduated from the ND Highway Patrol Academy on 23 May.  He is enthusiastically upholding the law near Watford City.  His parents and an aunt and uncle made the trip to ND for the event, and stayed with us for a few days.  We had a great time and we all pitched in to throw Chris a Texas-meets-ND party (that would be smoked brisket with trimmings, stuffed and grilled Jalapenos, Texas watermelon, German potato salad, and of course no party would be complete without the red-eye).  That weekend Chris’s parents helped him load a trailer with household goods and moved him to a rental house outside Watford City.  All went well, despite the blown tire on the trailer.

My aunt and uncle who reside in Aberdeen, SD, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with an open house, mass, and formal dinner.  It was so wonderful to see so many relatives and catch up with cousins I never get to talk to.  We were all in agreement that it was so much more enjoyable to see each other during a happy celebration instead of at a funeral.

So it sounds like all I’ve done is party the last few weeks.  That’s not quite how it went – quite a few work days have been thrown in there, both professionally and at home with more progress on the house remodeling.  I’m excited to see it finally looking the way I’d imagined it would, and sure wish I could just wiggle my nose and have the rest of it finished.  As my mother always said:  “If wishes were horses, the Vetters would ride.” (Yes, as kids our fondest wish was a good horse for each of us.  For many years we had to share an obstinate Shetland pony among the four of us).

I’m off to bed, as I work a 12 hour shift at the hospital tomorrow.  Elaine has patiently been waiting for me to quilt her quilt, and I have one of Tula’s in the queue also.  I hope to have those finished by the end of the month, and maybe get back to working on a few of my own.

Spring Symphony

How wonderful to wake up to spring weather!  Amanda is amazed that the temperature can reach into the 70s, but there is still snow on the ground.  The grass is showing just a hint of green, and the trees are trying to make up for lost time.  There are buds aplenty, and in a week leaves should be unfurled in all their light green glory.

One of my favorite parts of spring is listening to the birds, especially in the hush that preceeds the sun’s trek into the eastern sky.  I opened a window around 7AM and was rewarded with the melodious strains of birdsong – mourning doves with their plainitive coos, meadowlarks with their crisp notes trilling along the treble scales, feisty robins arguing about whose turn it is to pull the worm, worried wrens concerned with making a nest in a hurry for eggs that are about to burst out of them, the echo of a very industrious woodpecker, and red wing blackbirds singing in the distance from their beds in the reeds.  No bickering bluejays today to ruin my symphony.

I had a few finishes yesterday and a start on my bramble basket quilt.  Myron interrrupted my progress last night for an early birthday celebration (complete with presents!!!), and he informed me an hour ago to get showered and packed as he is taking me on an overnight adventure.  So, I’ll post my photos from yesterday and take a run through the shower.

Oh, the birthday gifts – I forgot!  Amanda baked and frosted a non-dairy carrot cake, and we opened (and susequently emptied) a few bottles of wine, and of course no birthday would be complete without red-eye shots.  Myron bought me an Amazon Kindle e-Reader, and Amanda and Chris bought me the screen protectors, wall charger, and a beautiful cover for it.  Michael called from Afghanistan a few days ago also.  So far, it’s been a pretty darned good birthday.

Grandmother's Flower Garden Runner, quiltedBramble Basket on the FrameBramble Baskets SashingBramble Basket Paisley

Kindle Paperwhite in coverE Reader Cover