07 November, 2012

Preparing to prepare

I read part of an article in Newsweek yesterday about how travelling nurses and other health professionals have stepped up to help people in NY and NJ who have been affected by the storm.

One part was about a nurse who got a call from a man who can’t inject himself with his medicine. She drives miles to get to him, walks through flooded streets, climbs twelve flights of stairs, to find this man in a cold, dark apartment with no electricity, gas, batteries, food, or water. So she gives him the injection and then starts helping him figure out a plan for what to do next.

And that’s when the top of my head blew off with a sort of puzzled, frustrated rage. Because, as sad as it is to read about the destruction that Sandy brought, I keep thinking, “Y’all, we had lots and lots of warning that things were going to be bad. If you couldn’t or wouldn’t leave, why didn’t you at least prepare?” 

If you are older, or ill, wouldn’t it make sense to get out of the area, to somewhere the power won’t fail on you? A hotel a hundred miles inland? To visit friends or family in a non-twelve story building where you won’t be stranded with no elevator?

If you just can’t leave your home because…I don’t know why, because you have agoraphobia and all your relatives live a million miles away, couldn’t you get some batteries and a wad of cash, stock some non-perishable food, fill all your pitchers with water, and at least buy yourself some time to figure out what comes next before your situation becomes dire?

Why do so many people have a plan that consists of:
1.     Believing that nothing bad is going to happen.
2.     If something bad happens, I have a six pack of water and some soda crackers around here somewhere.
3.     I am not evacuating, because I don’t want to and you can’t make me, and besides, nothing bad is going to happen.
4.     Something really bad is happening, and I am scared, so I better call the cops or the fire department and tell them to come get me.
5.     Something really bad happened. I don’t know how to contact my family, or my insurance agent. I don’t know my policy numbers. The shelter won’t let me stay here with my dogs because I don’t have their rabies papers, so I am going to have to stay in my car with the dogs, or just turn the dogs loose and hope for the best. I never thought anything like this could happen to me!

This has made me decide that Thomas and I need to come up with an emergency plan, a better one than hoping nothing bad happens. I want the important papers in one place, for us to have an emergency kit and a dog-emergency kit with their papers/some food, to have “go-bags” with some basics packed in case we needed to grab the puppers and go. I want to know that if we were without power and gas for a few days, we could survive, if not in comfort, then with the basics covered until we could go somewhere else or get things fixed at home.

Going without a plan and hoping for the best is really not the best idea ever.


06 November, 2012

This chair is no longer making me anxious

The manky old fabric that came off the front of the chair. It was loose so I pulled it off. Yellow stripes.

One coat of Annie Sloan's Barcelona Orange

The back.

I cleaned the wood with odorless mineral spirits before I painted.

After only one coat there was a lot of wood showing through.

Ginger finds painting inexpressibly tedious.

I got that sucker up on the picnic table to to put the second coat on.

 It took me just a few hours to clean the chair and do two coats of paint. I like that about the chalk paint, very little arduous prep. I also like this color a lot. Looking at the pictures makes me smile, remembering the nice day I did all this a few weeks ago. I was on the back patio, wearing my pajama bottoms and a tee shirt, enjoying the sunshine and puttering around painting my new-old chair.

I got some fabric online. You can see a picture of it here at this website. It's a neutralish linen/cotton blend called Fritz in a color Bisque. It has a slight stripe. I got it last week but just dropped it off at the upholsterer today.

I liked doing all this so far, I can see myself reworking other old pieces of furniture. Will post more when I get the chair back. I still have to wax it...

05 November, 2012

People are strange, when you're a stranger

At the airport yesterday, as I walked towards the exit, I was behind three interesting girls. I do mean girls too, they could not have been more than late teens, early twenties. They were obviously Orthodox Jews, wearing wigs/head coverings, pushing strollers with small kids in them, and had on the Orthodox uniform of long sleeves/long skirt. They were also very small women, I bet not a one of them was even 4' 10". They were talking about someone who used to be a trader with Bear Sterns who has a lot of money and now does some kind of volunteer work and "my husband knows about him, or if not, he can ask someone who does know about him..." It was a tantalizing fragment of conversation. Another strange thing about one of these women was that even though her hair was covered as was most of her skin, she had the worst case of Visible Panty Line I've ever seen. She was a little pillowy (baby weight?) and she was obviously wearing  a pair of teeny, tiny underwear (maybe even a thong) that was cutting her nearabouts in two, with all this flesh puffing up around it. She might want to think about going up a skirt size to maintain her modesty.

The taxi driver who picked us up at the hotel on Friday night did not know how to get to the restaurant we were going to. He drove around and around, asking us (the out-of-towners) exactly where the restaurant was and all we had was a map we got from the hotel concierge. He ran the meter up a lot before Clara got her phone out and got directions. I was fuming in the back seat wondering why the heck he didn't have a GPS. What kind of taxi company sends out drivers who don't know their way around and don't have GPS?

04 November, 2012

A weekend away

I just got back from a wonderful weekend in Houston, TX at the International Quilt Expo. This was my third time to the show in the last six years, and as usual, it was inspiring, amazing, and so much fun!

The only bobble in the weekend was that the Thursday flight I was supposed to take at around 6 pm was postponed over and over again until 11:30 pm, at which time it was cancelled. Thomas was long home and in fact had been in bed for over an hour when I called him, so I took the airline up on their offer of a hotel room near the airport. Was back early on Friday, to discover that my 7:00 am flight was postponed until 10 am. Sigh...although it could have been worse, because it turns out I was now on a flight with my friend Christine and her friend Donna, so at least on Friday I had someone to talk to.

The show is hard to describe. The Houston Convention center is about as big as three or four football fields, and it is filled to the edges with quilty goodness. In one section they have the show quilts. It is almost overwhelming to see the amount of talent, creativity, and skill that is packed in there. There are traditional quilts, appliqued beauties, art quilts, modern quilts, whimsical quilts that make you stop and laugh and peer close to get all the details. Some quilts have serious themes, and the talent that the quilter poured into their work makes you reflect on the message. Other quilts are just riotous celebrations of color and texture and beauty.

The merchandise mall has more good stuff than you can shake a stick at...but most of us seemed to be okay with whipping out our debit cards and our cash money and hurling them at the vendors. "That! and that! and that! I need all that stuff! Oooooh, fabric, and notions, and patterns!" To tell you the truth, I didn't spend nearly as much as I was prepared to. I tried to buy carefully and get fabric I can use for quilts I have planned. I will not lie though, I did make some sweet impulse purchases of beads and some shiny fusible metallics and sheers just to play with.

My roommates were the awesome Chris and Clara, friends from quilt guild. We had good Texas meals - steak on Friday and Mexican on Saturday. In the evenings we visited the hotel bar to talk and drink and do show and tell of all the goodies we got. For me it was three days of no television/dvds, no internet, and a bare minimum of "meet you next to the Brother booth at 5:30" phone calls. I loved that I was so unplugged. I was with people I liked, doing things that made me happy, and that's way better than being plugged into the electronic nipple of the internet.

If you want to see the award winning quilts, follow this linky.  Here are two of my favorite quilts:
Crime Scene Investigation

Ms. MacDonald Had a Farm
members of the Hanging By A Thread group

You can scroll up and down and look at them...although sadly, the pictures are pale, pale substitutes for the real thing. There is just no way a picture can show you the details and the depth and richness stitching and fabric choices bring to a quilt.