I did take yesterday (mostly) off. (I got some grading of quizzes done, and finished a read-through of a journal article I'm reviewing while they worked on my car).
I have to take the car back, though, at least for a few minutes (whaarrrgarblll). The battery test, they said, was reading "low." And as the battery is still under warranty, if this is an actual problem rather than a fluke, the battery will need replacement. The mechanic did ask me, "Have you driven it much in the past couple weeks, or just short trips." He thought maybe the run to Sherman would charge the battery back up. (Unless, I suppose, it's an alternator problem...but then again, that should also be covered by the warranty still).
So, okay. If I have time after lab Monday afternoon I'll run out and let them check it. They said they could check the charge-level in five minutes; if it reads low the diagnostics/replacement will take an hour (wharrrgarrrblll). At least I won't be paying for it. (But this is one of those situations where I wish I was either married, had a reliable boyfriend, or had a BFF that I felt comfortable asking her to drop what she was doing to help me for....so I'm not either stranded at the car place, or have to wait on one of the mechanics to be free to drive me home or back to work)
Thursday afternoon I did drop my quilt off to be quilted. I found a pattern (the person who does the quilting, if she's there, will let you look them up on her computer) that I liked - it's going to be another rose-pattern. It'll be a little while, as she had three large quilts ahead of mine, but that's okay.
I realized, when I sat down and re-did my budget, that if I don't increase expenses anywhere else*, I can probably afford (because of my new, higher, full-professor salary) to get a quilt quilted every month or two - so I can work through some of the backlog of tops and have usable quilts from them.
(*And of course, all of our expenses are increasing: food, gas, probably electricity this summer. But I still think I can swing doing something like getting a top quilted every couple months).
It's funny what we choose to spend our money on. My first thought when I realized I had more disposable income was "yay, more quilt fabric and yarn."
Of course, one needs time to use what one has. I find that two nights in a row - as I had this week - of being out in the evening is really tough and distressing. Wednesday night, of course, was the usual Wednesday night thing (after a full day of teaching.) Well, not quite USUAL - the pastor and his wife wanted to do a model Seder so the kids (and any adults who cared to come) would understand what Passover would have involved for the Jewish people. So we had to do some preparation: there are several different symbolic foods: matzohs, of course, but also parsley, salt water (to dip the parsley and the "green vegetable" in), "green vegetables" (typically either lettuce or cucumber), a boiled egg, "bitter herbs" (horseradish), grape juice (A stand in for the wine), charoset (a mixture of chopped apples, walnuts, and honey), and a lamb shankbone.
(We didn't have the lamb shank - because of the expense and the difficulty in finding it). I made the haroset and boiled some of the eggs and brought my little jar of horseradish (I think I was the only one who actually ATE the horseradish - no one was required to try anything that they found too unappealing).
It was interesting; we learned a little of the history of the celebration.
(We didn't have the orange slice - though the pastor's wife said she had planned on it, she forgot - there's a new tradition of that, at least in some parts of the U.S., because apparently some years back, a very conservative rabbi claimed that "A woman in the pulpit is like finding an orange slice on a Seder plate" and so some Reform and other synagogue groups that supported women becoming rabbis started putting orange slices on their Seder plates)
Some of the symbolism is discussed here.
Thursday night was the AAUW children's play. The Theater department puts this on; we help by collecting the money. Half of the proceeds goes to the Theater department, the other half we use to award as scholarships. I could only work the Thursday night performance (the one open to the public; all the others are for schools in the area). I wasn't going to stay and see the show (I usually don't) but this year it was the musical based on "Schoolhouse Rock," which, like most kids who grew up in the 70s and 80s, I remember fondly.
They did a few of the favorite songs (I didn't see the very beginning of it, as I was helping to take money for latecomers). They did, however, do the "Preamble Song," which is probably the one I remember best. (I can still recite the Preamble - and yes, I add in the "Of the United States" that they leave out at the beginning to make it scan better as a song - thanks to this little bit:)
They also did the "I'm Just a Bill" song, which I think is probably the most famous Schoolhouse Rock one. And Conjunction Junction. And a couple others....I think they did "Three is a Magic Number" before I got a chance to go in and sit down.And they did the Interjections one at the very end.
There's an earnestness to the Schoolhouse Rock songs that I like. A sense of idealism. (And in the video of that song that I posted, the old-style voting machine! The first time I ever voted - in Ann Arbor, in 1988 - it was on a machine like that. I kind of miss those; doing the "fill in the line" like we do here may be accurate and fast, but it doesn't have the romance of the old lever-machines)
Another fun fact: I know that at least one famous singer took part in these; the jazz singer Blossom Dearie did the song about the number 8, and the Adjectives song. (Hah. "Unpack your adjectives." I've actually used that phrase to describe someone using harsh language about something.)
But at any rate: two long days (7 am until nearly 9 pm, with just a 2 hour or so break) gets tiring and I need time to renew.
I did do the necessary (and some unnecessary) shopping yesterday; got the last package of lamb chops at the Kroger's (the only other lamb choice at that point were large leg roasts, which I knew I could neither afford nor consume in a reasonable amount of time). I might do the red cabbage this afternoon to have it done; also, sometimes it tastes better after it's sat for a day.
I spent most of the afternoon, then, sewing on blocks for the current quilt. I'll be glad to get these done. I think what I want to do next is to set these together, and also the quilt-that-is-now-going-to-be-a-gift-quilt...and then, I don't know. I have several patterns ahead, I'll have to decide what I want to do most. I have some very super-pink and girly fabrics in a jelly roll that I think I'm just going to do a simple "strip" quilt out of, and I have the pink fabric I want to use as the background on the quilt....that might be the next one, I like the idea of doing a super-restful pink/cream/gray quilt after doing a couple that are very bright and very saturated colors.
I also broke down and ordered (after looking at it in the catalog for almost a week and debating) the Celebrate Spring kit from Connecting Threads - the quilt uses these fabrics. I really like the colors, and I like the Japanese-inspired designs. The one thing that held me back (it's not a very expensive kit at all) is that it's lawn - which is much thinner and finer than what I'm used to working on. (I think this will probably be a quilt I hand quilt after it's done....I'm not sure that lawn would hold up well under longarm quilting). I also think when I make the quilt I will get the thinnest cotton batting I can find for it...or maybe something like Thermore, which is VERY thin.
I'm also trying to do a bit more handquilting on the quilt that's in the frame. I'm close to finishing, I just have to power through the last bits. And then I can put a new quilt in the frame!
(I think actually hand quilting loses out a little for me to other types of projects because progress is so slow...and I have to admit, I partly blame the blog for that attitude...I often feel like "gotta feed the blog" becomes a little bit of an imperative some days...like, "If you don't post crafty content soon, you'll lose readers!" I'm sure that's not really true, but...sometimes I feel like that. Or perhaps I just blame the "gotta feed the blog" feeling for my feeling of wanting something that is INSTANT GRATIFICATION in terms of making stuff.)