It was good to get away to visit with my family in IL and good to get home. Normally if my husband goes with me, we have spend roughly two and half days traveling and two and half days actually there. If I fly in, then a week's stay. This time, I had the luxury of 10 days, thanks to my friend Marilyn and her husband Roger letting me share a ride as they were visiting family in NE Minnesota.
We got to our pickup destination about 9 p.m. on Wednesday 6/6. They stayed overnight at the hotel in LeRoy and my parents drove down from their Lexington home to get me. (My youngest brother and his family live in that small town right off I-74. ) Pictured is my youngest nephew Ted who was playing ball with his team Thursday evening. The winds were quite gusty but Ted made his pitching debut. Struck all three batters out in one inning--normally he catches. I have a couple of pictures of him pitching but had to take them through the fencing---almost got hit by a pop fly doing it, LOL.
Friday I took a sewing machine lesson at the Sewing Center where my mom had purchased my Brother NX-450 on Thursday morning. Played around a bit and got some questions answered. Worth the price of admission was finding out that bobbin plate with the cutter DOES pull off--here I had been using the seam ripper and a pair of tweezers to pick thread off an errant attempt to fill a bobbin and scolded DJ NOT to be tugging on it in his attempt to help me, LOL. Mom and I met my niece for lunch at a nearby restaurant before we went home.
Mom and I spent several days organizing her stash a bit. Cutting is hard on her back and the scraps bags were mounting. I didn't take a picture of all that but we cut off and on for 5 days. She pressed and I trimmed them down to size. Mom estimated that we probably made our way through a 56-58 qt tub to cut cut squares, strips, bricks and sections for a scrappy Bonnie Scotsman top. She loves to do Indian Hatchet or Railroad Crossing string blocks so we had quite a bunch of those too. She did some cutting but it was for two specific projects---"And All That Jazz" and "Checkboard Plaids" from Evelyn Sloppy's 40 Fabulous Quick-Cut Quilts
We had set aside that box you see full of fabric for me and some fabrics for the Belles---homespuns, plaids so I can do a checkboard in more countryish colors rather than the brights she was using---oh, I got some of the brights as well but those are for a "Kaleidoscope" quilt I started 10 plus years ago, LOL. Patriotics prints were also pulled as I have a row quilt that will call for them and I didn't have many on hand. Mom also shared a nice bundle of 30's repros with me as a "just because" and some fabrics for future WTIL quilts. The day before I left we started digging through her bins to find yardage for backing that she wanted to share with my quilt group. They are separated out by color or type of fabric but you know how that goes---it gets mixed up over time. And we kept finding more stuff that needed to be cut up as well. The white 13 gal kitchen bags seen above was the stuff we culled for backings and so forth. We were able to empty three of her large bins with the reorganization efforts but filled up two of them with scraps and chunks and another with fabric that had never really had a "home". My dad might not have been able to tell a difference but we could! He was teasing me that I had probably walked another mile back and forth from the family room to the utility room hauling fabric.
Back tracking a bit, Sunday the 10th we had our family gathering at the town were my dad was born and raised. I have not gotten to go since DJ and I moved south 10 years ago. We were all happy to see one of my cousins and her husband who live in Michigan as we had more or less, lost contact with that brother's family when he died some time ago. My first cousins are grandparents now so there are little ones around again. 2nd cousins once removed?? Third cousins??? How does that work exactly. Good food, good company and a chance to reconnect while the kids played.
My sister who lives about an hour from my parents had to work the weekend so she came up Monday evening after she got off and had supper with us. My niece Allison came up for lunch Tuesday afternoon and we got together again in Bloomington-Normal the next day. I like to go by the places I used to live and work if I can so took the drive passed the old haunts to see what had changed since our last trip. We met for lunch at Avanti's restaurant. Anyone who went to Illinois State University in Normal (or lives in Bloomington-Normal) or Bradley University in Peoria knows what that is!! Yummy--Italian beef sandwich with meat sauce and a loaf of that good bread to make my own gondola to share with my dad the next day. After a run to Joann's to nab a scrub top pattern, we went onto the movie theatre to see "Knocked Up" A run to one of the mega market stores to get some stuff for our evening meal and I was back in time to prepare supper.
Thursday we pinned one of Mom's completed tops as I wanted to try out her Brother Nouvelle 1500S machine. Wow, does that thing move! Because the design seemed to need some diagonal lines and the quilt was not too large I had it quilted by mid afternoon. The binding was attached in time for me to take it with me to her small quilt group meeting to work on the hand finishing. Several of the girls who would normally attend were not available but we stayed and visited with the ones that did come.
DJ was supposed to be cat sitting and tending the home fires while I was gone. Problem was, Pippi was not eating and was not acting like herself. He took her into the vet on the 11th where she stayed till the 15th. Turns out the old girl has a stage 3 (of 5) heart murmur and chronic renal insufficiency. Her lab values that measure her kidney function were about 4 times the normal parameters. If you look very closely you can see the shaved areas on her front legs---growing back fur again. IV fluids brought her labs down to a more reasonable level and her diet was changed. We have to take her in again tomorrow to see where she stands. It is possible that I will have to learn how to give her subcutaneous fluids here at home but will not know till tomorrow. She IS eating better but has seemed to prefer hiding under the bed coming out when she is darned well ready to. I am that mean old kitty mama that won't let her have any table tastings and has to stuff pills down her.
DJ survived his own cooking. He told me one evening that I had nothing to fear from his possibly taking over the chili cooking detail. I had gotten him a seasoning packet and the other ingredients as I knew he made that in his bachelor days. He said he added a package of Sweet and Low to it to make it more palatable. I laughed even harder a few nights later when he related that story to his son when he called. Tracy suggested he try some brown sugar instead. Those two exchanging recipe hints is something I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams! Good to know that he missed me. I had the opportunity to miss him since we are always around each other.
I just missed my sister from Colorado by about a day---the bed hardly had a chance to cool. She is taking a 3 day bike ride in Indiana with a friend while her girls visit with their grandparents and then will meet up with my niece and SIL from Tennessee for an arranged trip to the Chicago area and back to TN with them.
Yesterday I went through my own 3 fabric bins pulling stuff that I can share to make room for the new additions. Did the laundry and got groceries--that stuff you do after you return from a trip in other words. Today, took said fabric to the meeting place, library book return, bank stop, gas up the car, did the 110 mile round trip thing to get my Viking from the shop. I'll get back in the swing of things in a day or two---I would like to get that bowtie top finished up before the Belles meet next week and of course, I have to finish up my row quilt obligations as well especially since I have the machine back. There is one quilt in my stack to finish machine quilting too. I got one bound in the car trip there and back and part of a snowman bluework block done.
Oh, read 6 books while I was gone too---at home it seems like I don't have time. Somedays I barely even look at the newspaper and by bedtime am just too tired. Kept up my walking too as Mom is committed to an exercise program as well. My dad has already walked once around the globe and is a quarter way around again but he walks faster than either of us though I did do a couple of blocks with him one day. I was pretty proud that I am now up to 2.2 miles in 43 minutes time--8 laps at just a shade over 5 mins a lap. Hopefully that will make the little twerp doctor happier when I go mid week for a followup visit. Enough chattering--bore you all to tears!