Patience, the hardest virtue…

I had planned my first day back from vacation carefully. I was going to choose photos, write blog posts, and get all caught up before leaving at the crack-of-before-dawn on Wednesday to teach in West Houston. I even had dreams of sewing! Dang. None of that happened.

Instead, I answered some email and then took mom to two doctors. Her primary Dr.’s associate saw mom for a UTI, swollen leg, and an open (but not infected) wound. While not great, this is not unusual medical stuff for an 84-year-old diabetic.

Cue up a happy sky photo because so far, so good.

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I took mom home for a nap after doctor #1, where she could rest and put up her leg. That didn’t happen. Instead, she was playing bingo when I came back an hour and half later to pick her up to go the eye doctor.

My mom has seen every eye doctor in Sherman over the last 5 years and she still can’t see as well as she wants to (this is after cataract surgery, in case you are wondering). I admit it — I lost patience long ago. Every doctor said ‘use drops’ and they tweaked her prescription. I figured my mom’s age was the problem and that her eyes were never going to be as good as she thought they should be.

Well, not so much. Last month, she saw Dr. Long who, with his associates, figured out that mom was seeing double. Did you know that they make glasses for that? Yes, they do.

The new glasses came and we all thought the problem was fixed. Except that it wasn’t. Damn.

Mom’s 2nd doctor visit today was back to the eye doctor. I figured that her glasses needed to be tweaked. Again, I was wrong.

It was a long visit. I admit that I was less and less patient as we waited, but I didn’t lose it and remained nice throughout. My younger self would not have stayed as nice. Does that indicate growth that comes with age? I can only hope.

Long story short is that her eyes are changing, too much and too fast. The doctor wants an MRI of her midbrain. Mom was a nurse and I know enough physiology to know that he suspects something stroke-like. Damn, again.

Mom was not thrilled, but she was calm. Nothing had really changed. She has trouble seeing and she has been a stroke risk for a long, long time. Life goes on. And we will try to remain gracefully patient, no matter what comes. It’s time for another happy picture, right?

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To those of you who find yourselves taking care of parents, children, or grandchildren, I hope that you find graceful patience when you need it. And if you have any to spare, please do send it my way :-).

Be nice.

Dr. Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College, spoke at the Austin College commencement this year. One thing he said has stuck with me: Be nice.

He went beyond that to say that when you aren’t nice, people won’t like you. And if no one helps you [when you need it], it’s because no one likes you.

That’s harsh! But take a moment to think about people you don’t like. Are you going to go out of your way to help them? Not so much. Which takes me back to the top: Be nice. Build relationships with people. We all need friends.

I could stop there, and would have if I had not read this post from Generation Q yesterday. It appears that there is a ‘secret’ facebook group of quilters that is not being remotely nice to people who are different from them. Who knew?! There are unhappy people on facebook! Deep sighs all round, right?

I shy away from politics and religion online and in classes and I’m not going to spout opinions here. That said, my mom and grandmother taught me early on that if you can’t say something nice about someone, it’s best to say nothing at all. It’s better to make friends than it is to make enemies. It’s never nice to intentionally hurt someone else’s feelings who is doing nothing to hurt you.

So, please, let’s all do what we can to spread niceness in the quilt world, and beyond!

BeNice

Thanksgiving in NYC, 2016

Steve and I are visiting Celia and Jeff for Thanksgiving again this year. It could easily become a tradition. We take a laid back approach to viewing the Macy’s parade. We only watch parts of it, from a distance because we all like the balloons the best.

Macy's Parade 2016

Macy's Parade 2016

Macy's Parade 2016 - Street Vendor

Macy’s Parade 2016 – Street Vendor

Watching the Macy's Parade 2016

Watching the Macy’s Parade 2016

I couldn’t resist the shot when I noticed myself perfectly positioned in someone else’s camera as they were preparing to take a selfie

Celia put her camera on the tripod for our Thanksgiving family photo.

Celia, Jeff, Becky and Steve

Celia, Jeff, Becky and Steve

Steve and Becky - tree hugging at Lincoln Center

Steve and Becky – tree hugging at Lincoln Center

I must not be paying attention when I look in the mirror because I keep expecting to see my younger self in pictures. Everybody else looks great so I’m just going to assume that I do too. And so do you so smile for those pictures.

 

Meet Lucy…

This is Lucy, who celebrated her 88th birthday on August 18 in my class at The Quilt Crossing in Boise. How cool is that!

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The class worked on Pick-Up Sticks from The Quilter’s Practical Guide To Color, learning how to make this improv block the easy way. Everyone had a great time, especially Lucy!

Some of Lucy’s Piece O’ Cake applique quilts were hanging in the classroom and it was so much fun to have them there. This is her version of Spectacular Spring from Applique Delights (still available as a downloadable ebook).

Lucy-AppliqueDelights

And this is Lucy’s version of Thru Grandmother’s Window, our first block of the month. The patterns are available as downloadable ePatterns.

Lucy-ThruGrandmotherWindow

Lucy and I agreed that it’s good to have a goal and we both want to be quilting into our 100s. That’s an excellent goal, don’t you think?!

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade…

We walked a few blocks from Jeff and Celia’s apartment to 64th Street and Central Park West. We got there an hour before the parade started and there were already lots of people there. None of us are committed enough to parades to have gotten there in time to be in the front row.

Anything below head level was hidden from us, but luckily most of the good stuff is tall or floating. The Macy’s stars were first…

Followed by a turkey float…

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My favorite was Adventure Time…

Jeff is in the kitchen cooking. Celia and I have been decorating their Christmas tree, and Steve is having a nap. What a great Thanksgiving!

Just talk to people…

I enjoy solitude, but when I’m out and about I recognize that each and every one of us has a story to tell and I am not shy about talking to people I do not know.

Before I left my Minneapolis hotel this morning, I visited with the nice lady who was the hostess at the restaurant. She was about 70, if I had to guess. We got to talking about the quilters who had been at quilt market and she remarked that the crowd included a lot of younger women this time, and it made her happy.* I hadn’t actually noticed but I realized she was right. How great is that… there are lots of young quilters!

*This non-quilter’s memory was very good, and she was a good observer of people. It’s been 3 years (I think) since quilt market was in Minneapolis. I was impressed.

On my way to the airport, I got to visiting with man who drove my taxi. He had a lovely accent and I asked where he was from. It turns out he was from Ethiopia and he has led a very interesting life. He is a Coptic Christian (this might be a relevant link), and a singer, who traveled to sing in different churches at Easter and Christmas and other holy times. His family was scattered all over the world. He has worked in the tech industry, and I think he still does. Driving a taxi was sort of a side note for him. The drive to the airport could have been longer and I would not have cared because he was an interesting person.

Not long after, I was in an airport restroom, washing my hands next to a young woman who was fixing her head scarf. I mentioned that it looked nice on her and that I’d often wondered how women keep a scarf in place so well on their head. That led to a short conversation about face shapes and how individual women use different scarf-management strategies. We each went away with a sincere smile on our face. We were people, not stereotypes.

Here’s the thing: I talk to strangers—especially ones that are different from me. Most of the time, strangers turn out not to be strange—they are just people I don’t know. Visiting with them makes me more aware of the fact that each of us has an interesting story. We are all more the same than we are different.

A lady I met at the airport on a different trip.

A lady I met at the airport on a different trip.

So the next time you are in a place with someone you don’t know, maybe on an elevator or standing in line, just say something nice. You may be very surprised at how much you enjoy visiting with someone you do not know.