Archive for January, 2014

The Inscrutability of the Male Species

January 24, 2014

Louie reads The Times with me in the morning.

Louie reads The Times with me in the morning.

My dog Louie is easy to love. All he asks for is love and affection. His food and water are out all the time and he has a doggie door to serve his bodily functions on his own timetable. He goes to bed an hour or two before me and warms my side.

Last night he woke me up at three in the morning, whining and barking in the kitchen. I staggered out of bed to see what could possibly be wrong. There was plenty of fresh water and food. I took some food from the bowl and put it on the floor. He started eating so I went back to bed. Ten minutes later, as I was just falling asleep, he started the whining again. I knew the barking would begin and I was worried about awakening the nice young couple who lives in the condo next to mine. So I again got up and went into the kitchen. Louie had finished the food I’d put on the floor and wanted more. I put much more food out of the floor and went back to bed.

This morning I thought about Louie’s behavior and it reminded me that I do not understand the male species. I was married twice, for a total of twenty-seven years. I thought I knew both of my husbands, but they both surprised me in the end. They both disliked talking about feelings. They both hated confrontations. As far as I’m concerned, this is a recipe for disaster in a relationship. When things change, as they must, and nothing is communicated, how can the partner adapt?

Many of my break-ups with boyfriends have happened after vacations with them. I guess that’s a huge hint not to take a vacation with a beau. I’m not sure if it’s the 24/7 nature of a vacation or whether foibles are noticed and not discussed.

I know men think women are inscrutable, but I would argue the same is true of men. Those Mars/Venus books haven’t helped. I don’t expend a lot of energy pondering the problem. I just go on to the next guy, knowing it will end without me having a clue why.

Am I honest when I break up with a guy? Sometimes. If it’s something he might change, I will. If it’s hurtful and probably not going to change, no. So maybe it’s best I don’t know why men fall away. I always say Kids and dogs love me. Men not so much.

Crafting Craze

January 4, 2014

I worked hard in November to meet the challenge and write fifty thousand words to finish the first draft of my novel Ruby. Hanukkah was so early I had no more shopping to do in December. Since I’m retired I don’t get invited to masses of holiday parties. So to take up my time I usually do a craft project. It was too soon to revise and edit my book. I needed some space from it. I’ll start that in mid-January.

I decided that the quilt on the queen-sized bed at my cabin was too dull. I wanted to jazz up the room. I sewed a quilt last year for my bedroom in Scottsdale and it turned out great. For that one I followed a pattern and machine pieced the top and then hand quilted it together.quilt at Scottsdale The project took a year. Since I knew I’d be deep into novel revisions, I wanted something that could be completed by the end of the year, in one month. I settled on a raggedy quilt. Each quilt square is individually machine quilted and then machine assembled. I’d done one in flannels for my mother with heart appliques.

I was surprised to see such a crowd at the fabric store. The closest Jo-Ann’s is twenty miles away because the nearer one closed last year. I chose fifteen fabrics in five colors. I was armed with coupons but it still cost over a hundred dollars!

When I got home I retrieved my rotary cutter, cutting then an extra three of each for the pillow shams (another forty-five.). I had quite a bit of the filling, warm and natural, in my cupboard, but not quite enough, so off to the fabric store again, equipped with a coupon. Luckily I live alone so I was able to spread everything out on the dining room table and no one asked me to clean it up. After all the cutting I set to work quilting each square with an “x.” My idea was to add appliques of my two dogs, running after each other up and down the quilt, but that would come later.photo (1)

It took some days for me to get half the quilt together. Then I decided it was time to do the appliques. I wanted photos of the dogs standing up. This is easier said than done. I took a lot of pictures. I even had my neighbor bribe the dogs with treats to stand up. I got a few I could use and printed them out. I cut them out and traced them on white polka dotted fabric. I embroidered in the eyes and the ears. They looked pathetic and very amateur. I didn’t want to spoil my quilt so I decided to put one of each in the bottom corner of the quilt.

Sparky chasing Louie

Sparky chasing Louie

I forgot to say that I was covered in threads every time I worked on the quilt. There are no finished seams in this kind of quilt. You want it the edges to unravel. And they were doing it all over my clothes, the dogs, and the floor. (I’ve since washed the sweaters and the threads are still clinging, even after I rolled a masking tape wand on them.)

The pillow shams were a challenge because I had to do multiples of six inches and that was either too large or too small for a standard pillow. I opted for too large. I plan on getting very plump pillows to put in the shams.

Finished quilt

Finished quilt

On my third sojourn to the fabric store I bought some nylon netting to make scrubbies. My friend Betty gave me one a few years ago and I still use it on my pots and pans. Treasures, the Munds Park store, also sells them so I have some up there. I wanted to try my hand at it. I hadn’t crocheted in at least thirty years. When I was newly married the first time, and poor, I crocheted everyone scarves for the holidays. I also managed to do some afghans and baby quilts. I looked at a crochet book while I waited to have the netting cut. I decided to buy some cheap yarn to practice.

A few days later, out came the rotary cutter, pad, and ruler. I cut the netting in two inch strips tied end on end and rolled it up into a ball. I had practiced on the yarn and though I knew what I was doing. NOT! You can see my miserable scubbie next to the one Betty made.

Mine is the blue one

Mine is the blue one

Yesterday I went to the library and found a book on basic crochet stitches and a pattern for a round. It’s yet to be determined if I can follow directions. Betty couldn’t advise me as her grandchildren were visiting from San Diego. They may be gone by the time I don’t figure things out.

 

 

 

 

 

I also knitted ruffle scarves during the month while I watched sappy movies I taped from the Hallmark channel. Some scarves I’ve given away as presents. Others are for sale at The Blue Coyote, a boutique in Cave Creek with an eclectic mix of goods for very reasonable prices. Here’s a photo of what’s left. photo_1 (2)I have quite a few skeins of yarn, over twenty, so I’ll be knitting though the new year. But now it’s time to get on with editing and revising my novel.

Check out my book, Reinvented Lives, available on amazon.com, my

Me modeling a ruffle scarf

Me modeling a ruffle scarf