M’s Quilt – BEHIND SCHEDULE – But I’m OK With That

Let me get this out there in the open first thing. I’m behind schedule. I wanted to have M’s quilt quilted, bound and finished before today. Didn’t happen.

I could tell you a million different reasons why I let things get in the way and all the unforeseen interruptions that occurred. But I’m not going to waste your time or mine doing that. What I am going to say is that I own it and I’m OK with it. Things come up. Things happen. I’m tired of fighting the flow and taking it out on myself when I don’t meet my own expectations. Do you ever do that?

OK. So where am I in the process? I am a bit over 1/2 way finished with the quilting, which I decided to do wonky echo quilting (using King Tut #918 thread) instead of wavy horizontal or vertical line quilting. Once the quilting is finished, I will apply the binding which is a randomly pieced scrappy binding made from the colors/fabrics that were used to make the M and accent strip. The binding has already been pieced and prepared, so it is ready to go (a PLUS!). I really like the look of the variegated thread on the solid navy background. I can’t wait to get it finished and wash/dry to see it all crinkly.

I think if I push myself and work really hard I might be able to get it finished today. But if I’m being honest, I need to admit that I already know that’s not going to happen. (See where I’m going with this self-honesty thing?) With all the uncertainty in the world right now, virtually EVERYONE is under incredible stress. That includes me. I was never a particularly fast quilter to begin with. Stress makes me even slower. You know what? That’s a perfectly normal response to stress.

SEW. What am I going do to help myself so I don’t revert to Perfection Paralysis and allow M’s quilt to join my UFO pile? I’ve decided I’m going to lower my expectations of myself–and of others. I’m going to stay true to my personal values but I’m also going to cut myself–and others–some slack. This is all new territory we are in and no one knows when it’s going to end. Sew. YES, I’m going to sew, quilt and work at a healthy pace, allow my process to just be. It will BE imperfect and I’m going to celebrate that because I AM IMPERFECT. I’m going to take breaks when I need to go for a walk. I’m going to spend time with and care for our chickens, goats, and seeds I’m starting for our garden. I will make frugal but tasty and nutritious meals for my family every day. I’m going to take care of myself so I can “be there” for Jeff (husband) and Jacob (son who is a college student finishing his semester online from home) and 3 adult children serving active duty in the military. I’m going to do my very best to be kind, extend love and encourage others. I’m going to look for the good and I believe I’m going to find a LOT of it everyday.

When I feel myself getting sucked into negative thinking and doom & gloom, I’m going to come back here and read this post to remind myself how to get back on/stay on track.

No matter what the situation, giving up is never a good answer. We can always choose to tweak, adjust or even change course entirely. But as long as we remain honest, stay responsible for our own choices and keep moving forward, we retain our own personal power and dignity. With that there is peace and satisfaction at the end of every day.

OK. Enough about me. How about you?

What are you going to do to take care of yourself and keep moving forward?

What do you think about M’s quilt so far?

As always, I absolutely value and appreciate constructive comments and sharing. Please remember that in order to protect the blog and my readers from hideous spam posts I must approve each comment that is submitted. I have numerous responsibilities, so sometimes it takes a bit for me to get to reading and approving posts. Thanks in advance for anything you care to share. It means a lot to me.

Got leftover cans of pumpkin? Make DELICIOUS Brunch Pumpkin Pancakes from Scratch

Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup packed brown sugar, placed into small bowl and loosened with fork until no clumps remain
2 1/4 cups pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
3 cups whole milk + 2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup real butter, melted
Optional: 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
First, combine milk with lemon juice in a glass measuring cup or glass bowl. Set aside at room temperature for 10 minutes or so (while you are preparing the other ingredients).

Next, in a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Mix until all ingredients are well evenly distributed. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a whisk or fork, combine pumpkin with beaten eggs. Mix until smooth. Sprinkle the loose brown sugar evenly over the pumpkin/egg mixture and stir in, mixing well. Add the milk/lemon juice mixture (it should be thick and clumpy as you pour it in). Add vanilla and melted butter.

Add the dry ingredients (previously set aside) to the wet ingredients in 3 separate additions, stirring lightly and mixing well but not over-mixing. The batter should remain slightly lumpy. If chocolate chips are desired, add them now and mix until evenly distributed. Hint: I pour about 1/3 of plain batter into small bowl then add chocolate chips to the large bowl so we can both have plain and chocolate chip versions. Set batter aside to rest for approximately 5-10 minutes or so.

Prepare your griddle, preheating it to approximately 350 to 375 degrees. You will know your griddle is hot enough when you finger drip water over the griddle and it immediately sizzles up. I use a cast iron griddle and butter as my lubricant, but you may choose to use your favorite griddle or pan and lubricant (butter, coconut oil, or cooking spray, etc.).

Depending on how large you like your pancakes, pour 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup (or whatever size/amount you prefer) into puddles on the griddle. Allow to cook until golden brown on one side, then flip and allow the other side to cook until golden brown.

The number of pancakes you get will depend on how big you make them. This recipe feeds our family of 2 large and hungry teenage boys + 2 adults and leaves quite a bit of leftovers.

The leftover pancakes freeze beautifully. Simply let them cool then place in freezer bag(s). I use quart size freezer bags and put 4-6 pancakes in each bag so the boys can pull out a bag and finish it the same day. Be sure to remove as much air as possible when you close the bag. Place in freezer. Reheat pancakes in toaster.

Santa Fe Century 2011 – bicycle 100 miles or more in one day

Heartbreak Hill -- about 41 miles into the 103 mile ride

Brief summary of the Santa Fe Century: My heart said, “YES!” My knee said, “NO!” My head said, “Remember what happened the last time you didn’t listen to your body? Yes, that’s right, you tore your ACL and you were out for a year.”  Knee/head/wisdom won. I quit just shy of making 40 miles. Very disappointed, but I know it was the right decision.

On the bright side, I was able to be present to watch my two riding buddies finish their first century rides–YAY for Connie & Alee!!!

Nearing the finish line...

Turn the corner to find the finish line!

It’s true that I was sad and disappointed that I had to pull out short of my goal.  Clearly this outcome is a perceived failure.  Yet, how much worse would I feel if I had not listened to my body and damaged my knee to the degree that it would require serious medical intervention or even surgery?  Possibly being out of commission and off the bike for an entire year (like when I tore my ACL).  Perhaps, taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, the wisdom I gained weighs heavier in the success column.  Afterall, I will be back on the bike and there will be more century rides to complete THIS year.

I have learned so much more about my body and myself…and about what I need to do to get stronger and prepare for next time.  Why is it that I seem to learn the more from perceived failures than expected successes?

Knee/ACL Status Update – 5 weeks post-op

5 weeks post-op -- 5 incisions healing very nicely

In the last couple of weeks I’ve received several inquiries about the status of my knee/ACL reconstruction surgery and recovery.  Here’s a quick summary:

When I saw my surgeon on Tuesday for the 5 week follow up, he was extremely pleased with my progress.

He released from Physical Therapy after completing just 4 weeks.  I can achieve a greater than 120 degree bend in the knee.  I can fully straighten the knee.  I have been walking crutch free for 3 weeks.  I have been back to my spin (indoor cycling) classes for a little over 2 weeks. I’ve been back in the pool, swimming freestyle with no kick (using a pull buoy to immobilize the legs).  I can go up and down stairs (relatively) normally alternating feet in the stepping motion.  I still go slowly on the stairs–especially coming down–but every day is getting better.

I still have a some swelling, but it is going down little by little every day; although, it does flair back up when I have been on my feet too long.

Things I am not allowed to do: NO running, twisting or lateral (i.e., shuffling or sliding sideways) movements for another 3 – 6 months.

My surgeon has given me the go ahead to get on my road bike whenever I am ready (no clipping in tho’ — have to use plain/open pedals).  If the weather stays nice, I will give it a try tomorrow.  YAY!!!!  Oh yeah, I am excited.  And a little nervous.

Thanks so much everybody for caring and for your support over the last few months.  It really means a lot to me.  HUGS!!!