Thursday, February 23, 2017

You are Perfect

One of my granddaughters is on the autism spectrum. She's been on my mind lately because, at almost four years of age, she has been doing quite well. Jillian is a lovely little girl, who has been receiving specialized therapy since she was 18 months old.
When I call my daughter I can often hear Jillian talking in the background--it's such a joy to hear her speak!

If you have ever had a family member born with a disability, you will identify when I say I have spent some time wondering "why." And I received the answer this week. I heard the small voice of God say to me, "Jillian is perfect."

Perfect? That perplexed me at first, until I realized that my idea of perfection is different than God's. When I thought about it, I realized that none of us on earth is without some problem. Don't we all struggle with some physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual disability? But God calls Jillian perfect. He knew she would be autistic and yet she is perfect. 

I'm not saying perfection means without sin. That's something else and I'm not going to discuss that here. And I'm not saying we should not strive to be the very best we should be, to keep our minds sharp and our bodies healthy. 

But Jillian is perfect. 

And if she is, then so am I. 

And so is everyone I meet. For the first time in my 61 years, I can see God in everyone. I can see the perfect imperfections of other people. I see that our differences are what God cherishes in us. Which is why we don't all look the same, why we are different political parties, why we go to different churches (or don't go to church at all,) why we think differently. 

It's so easy to think that everyone should think just like we do. But God says we are perfect. Perfectly imperfect. How much easier it is to love my neighbor when I don't have to judge them. I don't have to try and change how they think. Because where there is love, God is free to work in their hearts.


The weather has been nice this week so I decided it was time to put a finish on my Ashford Inklette loom. I used an oil based Polyurethane, applied with a foam brush, and two coats with a sanding in between. It came out nice and shiny.

So I had to make some inkle bands with it! I decided to make shoelaces, and here is what I have done so far.

I'm not sure if these will be long enough for a pair, so I may be making each one twice. I'd like to have one pair for each of the grandkids. All seven of them! We'll see if I get that far!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dental Visit in Los Algodones, MX

On Thursday, Bob and I drove to the Mexican border, about 20 minutes from where we are staying, to visit the dentist. We no longer have dental insurance, and we have found that it is much less expensive to go to a dentist here than in the States. These dentists are trained in the US and have beautiful state of the art dental clinics. This was our second time getting a cleaning in Los Algodones and we felt like pros.

We paid our $6 to park in the parking lot, and walked through the turnstile into Mexico. There is a visitors center right there when you enter, and if you hand the person at the desk the card of your dental office (or a piece of paper with the telephone number on it) they will call and arrange for a car to pick you up. We go to Loval Dental, and their car is marked so you know you are getting into the right car. Which makes me feel much safer! The driver was very nice and claimed to remember us from two years ago. Not that I believe him, but he was fun to chat with.

Bob knew that he was going to need a fix on his teeth because one of his fillings from years ago had fallen out. They took an X-ray ($5!) and scheduled his root canal for this coming Friday. The cleaning was $45, the root canal will be $350, and the new tooth will be $240 if I'm remembering correctly. They don't take insurance here, and you pay in cash. A bargain! The same work would cost thousands in the States.

So we'll be returning this week. I'll go with Bob for moral support but my teeth were fine.

After the dentist, we decided to walk back to the border, stopping for lunch at La Parrilla, our favorite  restaurant in town. We love the food, the music, and the atmosphere, and the place was hopping!

After seeing how pudgy I look in this picture,  I decided to take charge of my diet and use my VitaMix to lose some weight. I'm now drinking green smoothies for breakfast and lunch, and eating a light dinner. We'll see how it goes, but the smoothies are yummy and it's not a hardship to eat this way. I'll still make bread for Bob a couple of times a week. At least I can enjoy how good it smells!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Projects Finished and Washer Toss

I've been spending time on a new project. On our weaving group on Ravelry we have a WAL (Weave A-Long) going. A WAL is like a challenge to do a project that fits the rules specified. This WAL asks you to weave cloth that uses three colors: black, white, plus one more color. No other colors are to be used. I pulled together some cones of weaving thread and chose mint green as my third color, and quickly warped up my 12" Ashford Knitters Loom to weave a pair of roller towels. It took me a little over a day to finish weaving the cloth.
 And here is one of the finished towels, hemmed and with Kam Snaps added for closures.
Details: warp length was 113". Width in reed was 11". I used 8/2 cotton, doubled in each slot and hole, with one white thread used as weft.  I ended up with two towels 20" long (40" when not fastened) and 9" wide.

I also finished weaving my blue and white Baltic band yesterday.
This will go into my collection of woven bands that I have for whenever I need one. You'd be surprised at how often I need a band, and I usually can find exactly what I need in my stash.

I haven't talked much about our 17 1/2 year old cat, KC, lately. He's what is known as a "reluctant traveller," but does enjoy staying in one place for months at a time. He loves that Auggie doesn't pester him so much anymore, and that he has laps to sit in whenever he wants. The one thing he's been wishing for, however, is to be able to go outside to sit with us. So this week I rigged up a harness and attached a long leash, and he came outside to enjoy the fresh air. At first he explored a bit.
Then, being no dummy, he waited until Bob went into the coach and appropriated his chair. Ah yes, this is the life!
We went out the next day and purchased a nice new harness that's easier to get on him, so he'll be able to enjoy this treat often.

Bob and I like to go for a walk together in the evenings, and on our walk the other night we saw four fellows playing a game. We stopped to watch and ask questions.
The game consisted of two wooden boxes, 12" X 12" X 4" high, with a piece of 4" pipe cut 4" high in the center. The boxes were about 20' apart. Each player took turns tossing three huge (1") washers into the opposing box. A player got 1 point if his washer landed within one washer-width from the box. Two points for landing in the box. And three points for landing inside the pipe.
You can see here that one set of washers has been painted to distinguish one team from another. These guys were playing USA vs Canadians. I'm not sure who won.
The scoring was kept on this handy stick. Very clever! I Googled this game and there are official rules. You can buy the game pieces if you didn't want to make them, but it looks easy to make yourself. 

We are thinking that this would be a fun game to play with the grandkids. Maybe their parents, too. And a fun woodworking project if the little ones wanted to help.

Bob has been working hard on a project for the upcoming Mardi Gras celebration here at the park. And golfing. Last week he golfed three times--once with our friend, Ron, once with the "9-ers" group and once in a tournament.

We don't celebrate Valentine's Day much, since our anniversary is five days before, but will most likely go out for an ice cream. Have a happy Valentines Day, dear blog reader!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Cinnamon Buns and Golf

Bob and I are having a fun week so far. On Monday, I went to visit my friend Kathy who, with her husband Ron, is staying in an RV resort on the other side of Yuma for a few weeks. Ron and I passed somewhere on the road as he came out to our park to golf with Bob.

Kathy and I had a fun time catching up, and I showed her how to make cinnamon buns from scratch. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to bake bread. It is one of my passions, and I've been making GOOD bread ever since my grandmother gave me a hands-on lesson when I was a young woman. Before that lesson I fed a lot of bad bread to the birds.

Our cinnamon buns were so good! Ron drove Bob back across town so we could taste Kathy's and my creations and then Bob and I went home together.

Bob is getting a lot of golf in this week. Besides playing with Ron on Monday, he played with his regular league on Tuesday and is playing in a special tournament today. Then he will attend a tournament luncheon on Saturday.

I have been keeping myself busy by weaving, biking, and watching Season 1 of Madam Secretary on Netflix. Plus choir practice as usual on Wednesday afternoon. I'm really enjoying choir--I had forgotten the joys of singing in a group, and the women are a lot of fun, too.

Today is Bob's and my sixteenth anniversary so we'll be going out to dinner to celebrate. It's hard to believe that it's been 16 years already. It feels like just yesterday, and yet like we've been together always. I'm truly blessed.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Martha's Gardens Date Farm

I've been wanting to visit Martha's Gardens ever since I heard about it two years ago. I love dates and am interested in how they are grown. On Thursday Bob and I went there and joined a tour.
 We rode in comfort on a wagon pulled by a farm vehicle.
Our tour guide was the manager of marketing and he was very knowledgable about all aspects of raising dates. Here he is showing us a flower from a male palm. The pollen is collected by hand, and over 6,000 female palms are hand-pollinated each Spring.

Martha's Gardens grow Medjool date palms which are all descended from palms in Morrocco. Male and female trees produce offshoots clustered around the base of the tree which are removed and planted to grow new trees.
Male trees produce male offshoots and female trees produce female offshoots. Each baby palm is an exact genetic duplicate of its parent. Only one male tree is planted for every 50 female trees which produce the dates. 

It was a gorgeous day to be out looking at date palms!
 Yuma is set in a fertile river plain, watered by the Colorado and Gila Rivers, as well as many canals.

 At the edge of Martha's Gardens we saw the fields of salad crops grown in this area.
One quarter of the date farm is certified organic, but the entire farm features organic garden methods. Huge forklifts are used to pollinate, trim, provide maintenance on the trees and to pick the dates. It is a very labor-intensive business.

We indulged in a couple of the famous date shakes after our tour, and we came home with some dates as well. They are very good.

On Friday I did something else I've always wanted to do. I gave blood. Having done it once, I'll be sure and do it again! 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Sewing and Weaving

The weather here in Yuma has finally improved, with tempatures rising daily to the high 70s. Beautiful weather in which to be outdoors! I'm enjoying biking and walking daily in the sunshine.

Besides being outdoors, I have also started weaving a new band with my Seidel card loom and Sunna heddle from Stoorstalka, which enables me to more easily do pickup pattern designs. I figured out how to quickly direct-warp this loom and heddle combination.
First I clamp the loom to the table, angled towards the counter where I have a large bar clamp fixed to act as a warping peg (my warping peg clamp is not long enough to attach to my counters.) I then thread the doubled threads through all the non-pattern slots. One of each of those pairs of threads is later moved to a hole, after I've wound onto the warp beam. I thread every other pattern thread doubled through the pattern slots, which are shorter than the regular slots. One of each pair is later moved to the empty pattern slot next to it. I'm supporting the heddle with a spring clamp on each side.
This is my band, and I'm loving it. I have 8/2 cotton as background threads and weft, and a Norwegian yarn called Áhkko as pattern thread, used double.

I've also done a little sewing in the last few days. The sewing machine that I bought for daughter Catherine did not come with a cover or a case, so I decided to make one to help keep dust out and to prevent my granddaughter, Jillian, from messing with the dials. I had this lovely Asian-inspired fabric in my stash plus a faux bois fabric that I love. I found a quilted pad from a thrift store ($3) that was perfect for a lining. I measured the machine's height, width, and length and cut out panels to make a simple five-sided box shape. A little piecing of the two front fabrics and there you have it--a new cover. I'm quite pleased with it.

Today (Thursday) we are planning to do some sightseeing. More to come!