Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesday morning things

* One more evening meeting this week where I have to leave the house and deal with multiple other people. (Piano lesson doesn't really count because it's just my teacher, she's cool, and she comes to my house). I'm ready for this week to be done. (Except this coming Monday I have a dental checkup, ugh)

* I am surprisingly sore (arms and upper back) from the bell choir rehearsal last night. I guess if you did that a lot you'd tone up your arms? Despite the director saying "you use your wrists mainly," I can tell that I'm using my forearms and shoulders and also maybe my upper back a little. It's an unfamiliar movement compared to what I usually get in exercise...

It's fun though. The time goes fast because I find I am concentrating so hard on what I'm doing. The bells I have (E5 and D5) are used a lot in the piece we're playing, so I am having to ring nearly every measure. They're mostly harmony tones so I don't get to carry the melody (the higher smaller bells have that; I think she gave me some of the bigger ones because I'm younger and have stronger hands - the biggest bells were given to the only man in the group).

(And again, a little sad: people talked about Steve and I KNOW if he were still here, he'd be all OVER doing bell choir, and he'd have us ROTFL over something during rehearsals. Oh well, that's life....)

* I have decided for sure that Friday I am going to go to Sherman - to the Ulta, probably to JoAnn Fabrics, there's some stuff I need at Target, and I can do a grocery run. I am also thinking maybe, given the unstructuredness of my summer, that I take each Friday or Saturday (depending on the week) and go do something "fun" that involves getting out of my house - whether it's going shopping, or meeting up with a friend (Laura and I still have tentative antiquing plans, I think), or going to a museum somewhere, or if the Native Plant Society has anything that doesn't involve driving from OKC or Tulsa late at night (their regular meetings tend to be evenings, which does not work for me)...

Even just getting out to some of the small towns that have at least one antique shop or one quilt shop would be something. I will have to kind of hunt around and see if there's anything in the places within a not-too-difficult drive of me but that I never go to.

* I've also kind of decided: this summer I am going to use to work on refreshing my teaching; the pilot study with the decomposers I will probably start in August, when it's starting to cool down (ha) and maybe rain a little again (double ha). From my past work with soil inverts, the summer is not always a profitable time to research them....I'm hoping that's not shooting myself in the foot for the next post-tenure review, but I do have one paper (with a student, no less) out this year, and another one that SHOULD be out shortly, and I'm co-author on one in review.

Good heavens how I hate the ratcheting-up of expectations on those kind of things. I know it's a trick: if you're never sure you're doing "enough," you will just keep on working and working until you drop.

I'm also half contemplating, if I can recruit a student early this fall to help me, going back out and resampling the "grassland" area my first grad student and I sampled back in 2001 or so, and comparing how it's changed (degraded) over time: it's got invaded by viney stuff and lespedeza, or at least that's my anecdotal observation, and I think it might be interesting to document that for sure. (Or if I can recruit someone over the summer; if my other fieldwork colleagues are ever in I might ask them if they have anyone who either wants a little field experience or who wants to make some money - yes, I'd be willing to pay a student cash to help me if that was what it took. I'm guessing 3-4 half-days of work would be what it would take, which might be about $150 or so out of pocket for me. And anyway, when you pay cash like that, sometimes people are a little less willing to worry about the strictly "Well, but I can make $8 at the McDonald's flipping burgers" and accept something a little less, I don't know.)

Or we could do it in the early fall and they could earn research credit hours for it. That would probably be the ideal situation. (Or, failing all the rest of that? Plan it out for NEXT summer in detail and recruit a couple students and redo the WHOLE 2001 study with the idea that "this site has extensively flooded twice in the intervening years, so let's see how both the forests and the grasslands have changed")

The fact that I even have a second research idea tells me that when I'm not involved with the upkeep of classes, my brain relaxes enough that it can be creative. Maybe summers can be for planning research and the rest of the year for executing it?

* I pulled out the yarn (and pattern book) for the long-stalled "Heartthrob" and started on her second leg - I have the rest of that leg to do, then both the back legs, then ears and wings, and then assembly. I do want to try to be disciplined in my projects and finish up a lot of the half-finished stuff hanging around - I need to pick the owl sweater back up again, and I need to finish Augusta....

but I also want to start stuff. I bought the Anaheim pattern for the green "Mango" yarn my AAUW compatriot gave me. And I want to keep going on the new quilt top I started cutting on the other day. And make more quilt tops.

I've also been quilting a little on the quilt I have in the frame, I would like to finish that and prep another one for the frame. (I keep thinking: I need to take a day, maybe a Saturday, when nothing is going on down at church and use the big expanse of the Fellowship Hall floor to lay out a couple of quilts where I have the *blocks* done, but don't have space at home to do a proper layout. If I were REALLY into it, I could haul my machine down there and sew from the layout but I don't know, it's probably just easier to stack up the blocks and take them home. And also, when I get to the point of making the next quilt sandwich for the frame, it would be better to do it down there....)

I wish we still had enough people in church with the time/motivation to do crafts that we could have monthly craft meetups. I don't think there's anyone there now that is as involved with doing sewing/quilting/knitting/crochet on a regular basis like I am. Part of that is time constraints: the few younger mothers are busy with their kids and work, some of the older women watch grandkids or have unwell husbands to look after....

It would be nice, though, just to have a monthly Saturday drop-in craft morning, where you could bring whatever you were working on and just have companionship. I think part of the reason the one we had wound up fizzling out was that there was the push to also *have food* and some people got a little caught up in the "Oh, what do I make and take" thing and that became a barrier. If I were running it, I'd set it to start enough after usual breakfast time that people wouldn't feel obligated....I might say "bring a sack lunch for yourself if you want one" but not push to make it a potluck or some such because that does become a barrier to busy people.

No, I'm not going to try to start one, I have enough irons in the fire. I'm just saying it would be nice if it existed. It wouldn't have to be a church-specific thing (though down here a lot of the sort of low-key social stuff like that seems to come under the auspices of a church) but it would be nice to have some building - ideally with big tables and a large expanse of floor, and enough outlets in case people want to bring sewing machines and even an iron and ironing board - where there was something like that. (And while I'm dreaming: have the drop in be EVERY Saturday instead of monthly, with the expectation that people won't come to *all* of them but people can come and go as they wish).

But yeah.....maybe that's another retirement-time idea, to try to spearhead something like that, if it doesn't exist. (It might, and I just don't know about it, because during the school year I'm so busy).

I will also say that I've seen some of the smaller longarm quilters set up at a shop and..... I could probably make space in my house for one. No, not yet, I don't have time, but that might be my big retirement celebration when retirement rolls around: buy one and go whereever I have to go to take classes in using it. When I was at Quilt Mercantile (a shop in Celeste, Texas) last, they had one set up and apparently would let people take a try at doing it, but I was tired and really just wanted to use the rest room and buy a little fabric and get back on the road, but....maybe some time this summer I do that as a thing? I call in advance and say "Hey I know you have these things, could I make an appointment to try one out?"

(If I wanted to be really greedy and perhaps a bit foolhardy, I could ask my dad for the money to buy I said earlier, he's helping my brother and sister-in-law get a new car. But a big part of me balks at that, and anyway, I'm not ready for it yet. But I do want one eventually)


Judy said...

Here's an idea, if you use a floor or a bed to do the layout of your quilt blocks, first spread a sheet out. I tongue-in-cheek call it a design sheet. I play with the layout of my quilt blocks on the sheet. When I am satisfied with the layout and need to move the quilt (I want to go to bed). I can fold up the sheet with the quilt top still laid out. Whenever I am ready to work on the quilt top. I just unfold some of the sheet and everything is still laid-out pretty much where I wanted it. I found this far more effective than stacking up the blocks and hoping I didn't get them out of order.

purlewe said...

I am a big proponent of laying out the blocks and then photographing them. Even if I use my old ipad or crappy cell phone. then I bundle them in rows and pin sticky notes on row numbers if I ever need to refresh my memory I would look at the photo. Also the photo shows me sometimes where I have too many yellows together etc. So I lay it out, photo it, take a break and then come back to the photo. if I re-arrange I delete the old photo and take a new one. I think of it as finding the mistakes when i used to print out a paper. I never could see it on the screen, but a copy? somehow the mistakes stuck out like a sore thumb.