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more politics

The country we live in.

If Obama, with a Democratic controlled Congress, couldn’t pass gun control legislation, there is no hope in hell that Trump can or will.  The only thing that can be done is executive orders, which rests solely on Trump.  You may remember he banned bump stocks (sp?) by this approach.

I suppose that is why the Democrats have been so focused on blaming Trump for the El Paso shooting rather than pushing for legislation that might bring change.

rant

Why do “undocumented” people come to the US?  For work, of course.  Instead of, or perhaps in addition to, imprisoning people discovered to be here illegally, they should start cracking down on the people who hire them and imprisoning THEM.  I personally don’t think people should be coming here illegally, but it’s obviously a big part of our economy.  If the illegal entry was eliminated, it could be replaced by expanded, SAFER legal immigration.  I don’t think you need to go chasing after people coming across the border.  If there were no jobs, only people whose lives were truly in jeopardy would come here, actual refugees.  Economic migrants would stay home.  Per WaPo, poultry companies were hiring undocumented immigrants intentionally.  If you read the article, the undocumented workers get arrested and the people who hired them get fined – $3000 a head.  That’s nothing!  To me, it means the US government is not truly motivated to stop illegal immigration.

Don’t tell me they (the poultry companies) couldn’t find Americans willing to do the job.  If the price is right, people will do just about anything.  It costs a small fortune for governments to build things in this country, because they hire unionized, US citizens.  We all deal with the consequences of that.  We can also deal with more expensive food.  And if people don’t like it, legal immigration would be expanded, or guest worker programs, or whatever.  (Even expanding legal immigration from poor countries would help, since it would increase the number of unskilled laborers in the workforce and depress wages, but not as much as bringing in undocumented people does, since they’d have to pay at least minimum wage and benefits.  Which in Seattle is $15 / hour.  And that includes tipped workers.)

Picture Window Baby Quilt

I was inspired to make this quilt by a project from Blue Elephant Stitches, always a go-to source for inspiration.  I was sick with morning sickness and looking for something easy – and I wanted to make something for the baby.  She calls her quilt the “High Five Quilt,” and the source pattern is in a book called Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Nyberg and Cheryl Atkinson.  I didn’t end up following the pattern, however, just eyeballed it.  I cut squares of approximately 2.5 inches, then did one layer of a log cabin.  I didn’t measure precisely, and I often made the center squares a bit bigger if convenient to showcase whatever was in them.  After the block was done, I used a 6.5″ square ruler (which I bought for this project) to conveniently trim them to size.

Fabric

I honestly can barely begin to say what the fabrics are.  I made the entire quilt from stash, which I’m rather proud of, including the binding and backing.  There’s a fair amount of Sarah Jane fabrics in there, as well as a lot of Heather Ross “Tiger Lily.”  I think there’s some Lotta Jansdottir fabric.  The binding is a Carolyb Friedlander fabric from her Euclid line, and I used a few other Carolyn Friedlander fabrics throughout, especially her greens.  Beyond that, it’s hard to say.  I’ve got at least two swan fabrics in there, because I love swans, and some stripes.  There’s some ballerina fabric I bought for Isla.  I’m not sure what else.

Batting

I had enough wool batting on hand to finish the project, so wool it was.  I get my wool batting from Quilter’s Dream.  I always like wool batting for a baby quilt, because I figure quilts are as much for sitting on as for covering yourself with, and wool makes them nice and soft and puffy.  And as a bonus, they’re nice and warm for covering yourself with.

Thread

Piecing, quilting, and hand-sewing the binding was done with Aurifil Mako 50 Wt in White (2024).

Quilting

I was originally planning to quilt this on a 2-inch grid.  However, as I noted above, I didn’t measure precisely, which meant the quilting lines were just a little off.  Not cool.  It looked messy and like a mistake.  I ended up just stitching in the ditch at 6″ intervals.  I contemplated quilting the whole thing with wavy lines, and maybe I should have.  I did a lot of fussy cutting in this quilt, and I didn’t want to quilt over any of the fussy cut centers.  It’s OK.

Binding

I used a 50/50 linen/cotton blend from Carolyn Friendlander’s Euclid line for the binding.  I actually found this a bit hard to work with at the corners, especially in combination with the thick wool batting.  I was lazy and didn’t use a walking foot for the binding, which I think was a mistake.  My corners were not up to my usual standard.

I made much of this quilt while feeling like I was going to puke.  I’m not thrilled with the result, but I don’t hate it.  I think i could give it to someone in good conscience.  Something about the in-your-face combination of pink / blue / green fabrics just rubs me the wrong way.  However, I do love the fussy cutting that I did, and I think a little kid would definitely appreciate all the fussy cut pictures in the middle of the squares.

I updated the “quilting” page on this blog today, which had been very out-of-date, and it made me realize how much I was quilting in 2015 and 2016, and how little I quilted in 2017 and 2018.  In 2017 and 2018, I started running a lot and working a lot, and quilting got put a bit by the wayside.  I did do a lot of farmer’s wife blocks, but I still haven’t finished that quilt.  It’s nice to finish a quilt for the first time in a long time.  I did actually do a whole-cloth quilt recently, but I stupidly forgot to photograph it!  Finishing these two simple quilts is making me enthusiastic to do more quilting over the next three months.

on guns

I’ve been travelling regularly to Spo.kane recently for work.  This has been interesting for me, as I live and work in a bit of a liberal bubble.  I mostly read liberal papers.  (I’d actually like to read the WSJ, for example, but they are behind a paywall.)  I’ve begun to think of myself as a conservative because I find my views ARE conservative compared to the prevailing wisdom of Seattle politicians.  But leaving here is an eye-opener.  One of the things that has stuck out most for me is the amount of pro-gun signage.  If Seattle, you’ll occasionally see an NRA bumper sticker.  Certainly, my old company leaned conservative, being full of aerospace engineers, compared to the area at large.  But pro-gun and conservative (ie pro-life) billboards, bumper stickers, and signs in windows are everywhere in Spo.kane.  Well, maybe not everywhere.  But they’re around in a way that they just aren’t on this side of the state.  Living here, I just kind of assume that everyone favors gun control, or most everyone, because . . . why wouldn’t you?  But, they don’t.  They REALLY don’t.

The latest shooting doesn’t change my opinion.  I’d ban all manner of guns and pretty much reduce us to a state comparable to Ireland.  In my ideal world, your average LEO wouldn’t carry a gun, never mind ordinary citizens.  I’m pretty much a pro-gun person’s worst nightmare.  H and I donate a few hundred dollars every year to our local anti-gun organization (they’d call themselves pro-gun responsibility, but come on.  They’re anti-gun.)  Last night I suggested we move to Ireland after hearing about the latest massacre.  I hate it when people do that – bash the US and talk about moving, usually to Canada.  I think living in this country is an incredible privilege that most people under-appreciate, with or without Trump.  But people getting shot in the streets?  It’s just unacceptable, and I really see no end or improvement in sight.

positive thoughts

I was thinking some rare positive thoughts about pregnancy this morning, so I thought I might as well post them.  I’ve reached the cute bump stage.  For the longest time (I’m 23 weeks, folks!), you couldn’t really tell I was pregnant.  I just looked chubby.  (You still can’t really tell when I’m in running clothes.)  Finally, though, I’m clearly pregnant, BUT I haven’t reached yet the whale-like unwieldy third trimester stage where my belly just takes over my body.  I feel all curvy and feminine.  Normally, I am absolutely not a curvy, feminine woman, and I’m totally fine with that, but it’s kind of a nice novelty for now.

L finished out the swim season, and I’m very proud of her.  Swim team is not what you’d call relaxing, and she made big improvements in her swimming.  She can swim 25 yd free in 27 s, which is not bad at all.  She drastically improved her backstroke and learned breaststroke well enough to compete and not get disqualified and look quite confident.  She kind of learned butterfly, though she got DQ’d the one time she competed it.  At the end of the season, she earned an award, along with some other swimmers, for being a good sportswoman, and one of the coaches said some really nice things about her.  I really liked the swim team.  It was very welcoming and they had a good program for the younger kids.  It’s one of the best teams, if not the best teams, on the Eastside.  I always find sports team success interesting.  I think it’s as much about good organization, inclusiveness, and growing kids, regardless of whether they have natural talent, as just lucking into having some athletic kids on the team.  I’ve written before about how my father was a very successful coach, despite (or because of) insisting all kids get equal playing time in games.  I feel like the head coach at our club has been successful for a lot of these reasons.

B is learning how to swim, oh so slowly.  She’s a competent dog-paddler, but definitely not there yet with freestroke.  But it’s nice to know if she was pitched in the drink, she wouldn’t sink like a stone.

23 weeks

It’s funny to me that my last blog entry was two weeks ago.  I actually like having these blogs to look back on and remember how I was feeling.

After getting the previa diagnosis, I had a significant anxiety spike for a while.  Not only was I (and am I) worried about complications directly from the previa – bleeding, hospital stay, C-section, etc. – it just made me feel very vincible.  If that’s a word – basically the opposite of invincible.  My pregnancies have been hard, no doubt about it.  I know some women have much harder pregnancies, but the nausea, vomiting, SPD and feeling lousy after eating means pregnancy has definitely been no picnic for me.  However, I’ve never really had to worry about my health or the baby’s health.  Excluding my first trimester miscarriages, I’ve never had any kind of flag whatsoever indicating any issues.  No failed screens, no gestational diabetes, no bleeding or even spotting, textbook weight gain, no early labor, etc., etc., etc.  I’ve been lucky.  Previa is fairly unusual but not the number one risk factor listed is age.  And being old is a risk factor for basically everything.  I’ll be 39, nearly 40, when this little one is born, and I just started going down this fairly bad road of worrying about losing the baby.

I feel lousy a lot, and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish feeling lousy, especially GI lousy, from complications that might result in early labor.  The time from 21 weeks to 24 weeks has just been dragging by.  Obviously, I don’t want to have a baby at 24 weeks (survival rate 50%), but still, I think reaching viability will make me feel better.  I’m 23 weeks today, and at this point, some babies survive, and every day brings me closer to a healthy baby, even if she came early.

I’m also struggling at work.  While my nausea is mostly (but definitely not entirely) gone, the second trimester honeymoon has just really not happened for me.  I don’t feel good.  And it’s really hard to be effective at work when I don’t feel well.  I think I need to level with my boss, but I really don’t want to.  It’s be different if I hadn’t just taken a new job.  I think I really need to take a step back and realize that this season of life will pass.  My baby will be born and grow up, probably faster than I can imagine.  She’ll be in school, and I’ll still have 20 years of career left.  Even if I’m kind of sucking at work right now, I can and will be a strong contributor again.  I just need to keep things in perspective.