Monday, June 27, 2011

Think About This: Random Quotes

This week has been a relaxing one, but with a few twists and turns along the way. I came across these quotes and found them interesting. 

Maybe you called it right the first time. Synchronicity. Life isn't a series of random events at all, but rather an expression of a deeper order.” --Billy McCall
Go ahead and ask the questions that must be asked. Say the things that need to be said. Perform the tasks that are to be done. Follow the dreams that flow from who you most sincerely are. Put thought into what you say and do, yet refrain from being paralyzed by an excess of imagined scenarios.” --Ralph Marston 
Focus not on past regrets, but on tomorrow’s opportunities. Regret weighs a ton. Living with words spoken or unspoken, deeds done or deeds left undone, and actions taken or not taken is one of the biggest burdens people can carry. Living with regret will not allow happiness, joy, energy, and peace back into your life. Regret is like a long shadow darkening the path behind you as well as the way ahead. If your focus is on yesterday’s regrets, then by your own choice, you allow them to be part of your tomorrow.” --Bryan Dodge
Decline to be caught up in wasteful, destructive power struggles.” --Author Unknown
Someone is going to criticize what you do. Do it anyway. If you truly desire it, and believe in it, and know it’s worthwhile, then it’s something you are meant to do.” --Ralph Marston
Even someone who is agreeable and charming may have some devious intentions. Do not let yourself trust people just because they seem trustworthy -- wait for proof! Watch for people who are smiling broadly today -- they may have something to hide.” –Daily Horoscope

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lessons Learned From My Daddy

I was lucky enough to know my daddy for thirty-two years. He died of lung & liver cancer in 1986, at age 54. He was a man of few words, but he taught me lots of cool things when I was a little girl. I was the first child, so I was his little blonde sidekick. He picked me up from nursery school on his way home from work and we usually stopped at a drive-in market. He got a beer & peanuts, I got a small Coke in a glass bottle and a candy bar, usually Payday or Goo-Goo. No wonder I had so many cavities!

I was curious and didn't mind getting dirty. We went fishing together where I mastered putting a worm on a hook, but never could stand those ugly crickets. He converted an old shed into a playhouse just for me. I'm sure I was in the way, but he let me hand him tools when he built something or worked on the car. Later he showed me how to to change the oil, spark plugs and tires. He let me play pinball with him and when I was tall enough, I got to shoot pool. My mama says he even taught me how to cuss, although I believe that gift came from both of them. 

Daddy was a plumber, so I learned about leaky faucets, soldering copper pipe, and how a septic tank functioned. We went hunting; he showed me how to handle a gun. I helped him skin squirrels and rabbits, then we fried them up for supper. We camped in the boondocks, planted gardens and grew corn, beans, tomatoes and squash.

Naturally, as I got older, I became more interested in school, my friends, boys and clothes. By then my little brother was the main sidekick, so that was ok. Daddy always left most of the discipline to my mama, but now and then he put his foot down. Like the time he wouldn't let me ride Frankie's blue Honda 50. He thought women who rode motorcycles were trashy. That went for pierced ears, too. I did both after I got married; he just shook his head.

As an adult, I realized more valuable lessons from looking back on how he lived. He left school after eighth grade to work and help support his family. Daddy enlisted with the Marines to fight in Korea, but the horrible experience of war was something he didn't talk to me about. He was extremely proud of his service. He sometimes worked two jobs to put food on our table and to give us the extras we wanted. He always wanted us kids to do better and have more than he had.

Even his bad habits taught me about life. I saw first hand that it really wasn't that cool to smoke or get drunk. All the adults on both sides of our family smoked; it was ordinary in the '50s and '60s. I helped clean house; emptying stale ash trays and scrubbing the film off windows makes you see how nasty a habit it is. I never even lit a cigarette. Over-drinking isn't pretty either. It did amaze me that while battling alcoholism, he never drank on the job. I didn't touch the stuff until my late twenties, which probably kept me out of a lot of trouble as a teen. I finally decided that drinking an occasional beer or glass of wine wasn't going to turn me into an alcoholic.

So today, on Father's Day, I raise a glass to my Daddy. I wish I'd talked to him more, that he'd lived longer. But I'm thankful for all those days we had as sidekicks! By spending time with me and teaching me practical skills, he helped me become an independent, well-rounded woman who isn't afraid to try something new. I'm proud to be his daughter.

Useful Notion: Daddy taught me that if you stick your head in the sand to avoid a problem, you'll either suffocate, you'll miss something important, or someone will run over your ass.

"My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
~ Clarence B. Kelland 


Monday, June 13, 2011

Nine Inventions I Couldn't Live Without

OK, I'll clarify my statement: these are inventions that I probably could live without, but definitely wouldn't want to. So many wonderful things have been invented in the past hundred years, it's hard to think of what our ancestors did without them.

Electricity – Since our power went out while I was writing this, I decided it was pretty important. In fact, most people would say it is a basic necessity. My great-grandparents didn't have power in their homes until their later years, even with the TVA electrifying rural areas of Tennessee. Electricity made it possible for other important inventions that we now take for granted.

Air Conditioning – After high temperatures of over 90 for three weeks, I truly appreciate being comfortably cool in our home. It's especially sweet to come in from working outdoors and feel that first cold breeze across my face.

Cars – I've always been a car girl, from the time my daddy let me help him work on his old vehicles. I have a passion for six speed sports cars, preferably red, with a sun roof ..or a convertible top. But I'm not really picky if someone wanted to give me a Challenger, Corvette, Mustang or Camaro. In the meantime I'll be running around in Ruby, a nice functional Trailblazer.

Dishwasher – Another fabulous machine saves time in the kitchen, and saves my hands from looking ratty. My parents bought me a portable for a wedding gift, even though they didn't have one of their own. Just wish I had one in the travel trailer!

Computer – Happily, the home computer gave me the means to start a successful word processing and mailing business that I loved, and helped me excel at my tourism job. In retirement, the computer still keeps me in touch and lets me write these fun blog entries from home or on the road.

Contact Lenses – My vanity is showing here, but I just can't imagine being without my contacts. Losing those Coke bottle glasses changed my life.

Direct TV & DVR – I love this technology! DVR saves me from annoying, repetitive commercials, lets me schedule recording, watch when and where I want, and fast forward through the boring parts of a NASCAR race.

Crockpot – This little appliance makes it easier to get supper on the table and avoid fast food after a long day at work or out running errands. As long as you remember to plug the thing in.

Sewing Machine – Did you think I'd forget this one? While hand stitched quilts and vintage clothing are incredibly amazing, I feel fortunate to have a computerized embroidery machine, serger, and sewing machine to create my clothes and crafts.

Of course, there are thousands of other inventions that we use every day to make our lives easier and more convenient. I am thankful for all of them, and the clever people who created them. I have to stop somewhere or this blog will be way too long. But remember, not all inventions are great.

"Man is the inventor of stupidity." – Remy de Gourmont


Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer Sewing: Light, Cool, and Simple Shirts

Temperatures here have been in the mid to upper nineties, so I've done most of my errands and outdoor work in the early morning. After laundry and such, I had time to play in the sewing room during the heat of the day.

Armed with a tall glass of sweet tea, I pulled out the lightest fabrics from my stash to whip up some new summer shirts. They are comfortable, nicer than a t-shirt, and can be worn over a tank top for a crisp, cool look. 

The two shirts pictured are from one of my favorite patterns. New Look 6407 is a fitted shirt with several collar and sleeve options. For simplicity and ease of wear, I chose not to use the darts in front and back but the tapered side seams give a nice fit.

Four finished seams, sleeves, a collar, buttonholes, buttons and I was done in just over 2 hours each from cutting table to wearing. It's a good thing they don't have speed traps for sewing machines, or I'd be in big trouble!

Useful Notion: Don't be afraid to modify or adjust a pattern to suit your mood, your fabric, or your creative style. Add or delete pockets, change sleeves, use contrasting fabrics for collars or facings. That's part of the fun of making your own clothing. 

"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right" 
....Martin Luther 



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