Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Magic of Camp

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

It is the second day of camp and we're out on the kayaks, four leaders and ten campers, stroking our way through the placid waters of the Sound.  The weather is beautiful as only Seattle in summer can be, sunny and cloudless with a gentle breeze, temperatures hovering in the low 80s.  These summers are our reward, we hardy Seattlites, for the nine long months of grey we endure each year. 

"Anna" paddles beside me for much of the trip.  In these first two days, I have been struck by how much she reminds me of myself at fourteen: sweet, shy, a little hesitant, nose frequently buried in a book.  I was a little surprised, and pleased, when she signed up for kayaking rather than one of the quieter activities.

At the end of the hour we approach the shore, heading back toward camp life.  The lifeguard tells us that we're free to flip our kayaks if we want, just to experience what it's like in a controlled, safe environment. The little Keowees we paddle are wide and sturdy, difficult to flip by accident, but when you intentionally lean far to one side, they roll over easily.  I tried it last year for the first time and loved it: a moment of fear and disorientation, the shock of the cold waters, and then, finally, the exhilaration.  In most years, perhaps a third of the kids try it. 

Today I am the first to go over, demonstrating how it's done.  The water is a tiny bit warmer than usual but still icy, perhaps 60 degrees rather than the usual 56.  It is so cold that after the first few seconds you don't feel it.  I gasp, shriek, then laugh.  I love this; camp is my favorite week of the year.

Anna looks down at me as I swim over to grab my paddle before it can float away. "How is it?" she asks.

"Really cold, but you get used to it quickly."

She nibbles her lower lip.  "I'd kind of like to try it, but...  I don't know..."  Her voice trails off.

"You should," I said.  "It's fun.  Exciting."

Still she hesitates.  "I don't know..."

"Oh, come on," I say.  "Think about it.  How many times in your life are you going to get the opportunity to do this?"

If she says no, I will let it drop, of course.  It needs to be her choice.  But instead, she reflects for a minute, then nods.

"You're right," she says.   "You're right."  I watch as she takes a deep breath, puts her feet outside the kayak, and leans toward the water. 

She shrieks as the cold hits her, then disappears for a second, resurfacing, shouting, "COLD!"  She is laughing. Exhilarated.  "That was FUN!" she exclaims.  Her face is pure joy.

And this is the magic of camp. 






Sunday, June 02, 2013

Quilt Border Marathon, Part 1

I am on a quilt border marathon right now.  I counted up and I have nine (count 'em, NINE) quilts that are pieced except for the borders.  Can you tell what part of the quilt-making process I don't enjoy?

So I decided to just climb onto that horse and start adding borders.

And now there are only eight.  Stained Glass Lasagna, first pieced in 2010, is now bordered and ready to be shipped off to a woman who will quilt it and donate it to a women's and children's shelter.

Before:





After:


Kind of like finally putting a picture in a frame, no? 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Arkansas Crossroads Quilt

I saw this quilt in a photo and had to make one.  Or I supposed I could say I had to make two, since we're doing one at our church quilting group with white X's.  But I wanted to see what it looked like in my usual black/bright colors.  I finished the blocks today, and I think I like it...

Will add one black and one bright border -- probably pink -- after it's put together.  


Friday, August 24, 2012

I'd Like To Buy A Vowel

A set of rings, spotted on Amazon by an alert friend who posted the link on Facebook.


Eeva' jewelry

Stainless Steel Cz Gem "You're My Love" Engraved Couple Rings Set for Engagement, Promise, Eternity R001 (His Size 7,8,9,10; Her Size 5,6,7,8). Please Email Sizes

 Price: $13.99

The rings are cheap.  Proper grammar, however, will cost you.  I'm guessing the "e" and the apostrophe are an additional $500.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This Is What We're Going Back To

It is May.  The Supreme Court will be ruling on Healthcare Reform in June.  I find myself pacing again, the way I did before Obamacare finally passed in 2010.  This is real, and this matters, and this will affect millions of lives.  If the questions the Supremes asked are taken to their logical conclusion,  the Affordable Care Act is doomed.


The funny thing is, chances are that this will no longer affect me personally.  My son, my cancer survivor kid, has managed to become one of the lucky ones, joining the ranks of College Grads With Good Jobs and Benefits.  He has health insurance. HE HAS HEALTH INSURANCE!!!! Assuming he keeps his job, (say a prayer, cross fingers, knock wood,) he will not be facing a life where he cannot get healthcare due to his lifelong pre-existing condition.  At least not yet. 

But here's the thing:  Millions of others will.  

Millions.

So it seems like a good time to take look back at the world we will be returning to.    

 ********************

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Our Healthcare System, OR: Crying and Throwing Up. And I'm Just the Mom

It was last Monday, maybe halfway through our first appointment with the chemo doctor, and she was explaining to my son and me all of the potential side effects of his going through chemo this summer.

Higher chance of leukemia, for one thing. Oh, and vascular (circulation) effects. As in, for the rest of his life, my son's heart and lungs will be similar to those of somebody who smokes. Several times higher risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, strokes...

And that's when the tears started pressing against my eyelids, and the coffee started boiling in my stomach, and I wanted nothing more than to flee the consultation room run to the bathroom so I could throw up and cry.

I didn't, of course. This was a meeting of grownups, and we were here to figure out the best option, which right now appears to be chemo. So I swallowed both the tears and the bile and pretended this was what was right. And it probably is.

Understand, though, (and I'm speaking here especially to our politicians, particularly to the Republicans and blue-dog Democrats who think our healthcare system is just fine, thankyouverymuch) that this is not the best medical option.

My son's AFP numbers have dropped from 2200 back into the normal level of less than 8. There is less than a 20% chance that the cancer will return. Given the risks of chemo, it would probably be best, medically, to sit back and wait to see if the cancer comes back. If it were to do so, they would then treat it with both chemo and surgery. 

The problem is that this is more than a medical issue. The peak time for testicular cancer to return is 2 to 5 years after the original surgery. My son will be a college junior this year. Two to five years will put him just out of college and in the workforce.

But, unless he's one of the lucky ones to get a job with a large company, it will be almost impossible for him to find health insurance he can afford once he's no longer on our health insurance. He will have a pre-existing condition, which makes him uninsurable. A return of the cancer then would be disastrous, as would a return of cancer while he's still in school, when he'd probably have to drop out for treatment and, because he would no longer be a fulltime student, could no longer be on our health insurance.

And so, next week, he will start chemo, because it's covered, and because he can do it this summer when it won't affect his schooling.

And so we will be embarking on thousands of dollars of treatment which may damage his health in the future almost solely because our healthcare system is screwed up and may not be there for him later on when he needs it.

It's enough to make you want to cry and throw up

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bright and Sharp

And lo, the first of many, many quilt tops made from the Bali batiks has been finished.
Now I need to figure out how to free-motion quilt on my sewing machine. (Quilt pattern is Scrappy Mountain Majesties by Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.com.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

For Better or Worse

Me, reading the headlines: "Blind Chinese activist flees house arrest. That sounds like the kind of headline that's going to have a punchline at the end."

17-year-old son: "Hmm. I don't see it."

Uh-oh. These kids are just like me.