Monday, January 24, 2011


Last fall I decided that I would make quilts for my grandchildren's birthdays, and possibly for children and in-laws. So far I am not too far behind. I made a doggy-themed quilt for Natalie's 2nd birthday in November. Next I made a flannel quilt for my son-in-law for his December birthday. He told me a few times how much he liked the flannel quilt I made for Dave a few years ago, and I have a hard time thinking of a good birthday gift for him, so, when I saw a flannel quilt kit that looked fairly masculine I bought it. Next came Maggie's December birthday and since she likes frogs I found a kit which had frogs prominently featured. These three quilts were well-received, so I was encouraged to keep going with this idea.

Liz had a January birthday and I have a quilt top finished, but have to find backing for it before I can finish it. I did check with her before I started another quilt just in case she wanted something else. I should be able to finish her quilt this week, just a few weeks late. Shelby and Jill have February birthdays and I have a good start on Jill's quilt, but have to shop for Shelby. Jill suggested cats, so that is what I will look for.

Mark lives in Phoenix and I don't think he needs a quilt (didn't ask him though--maybe he does???), so I am not making one for his January birthday. I have a plan for Sam's quilt which won't need to be finished until July, and that just leaves Austin in June.

Whew! What was I thinking?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

No Time on my Hands

Well, actually I have quite a bit of time on my hands, and so I spend a lot of time reading. No Time on my Hands is a book I read in December, a book loaned to me by my daughter-in-law, Jill. The book is by Grace Snyder, as told to Nellie Snyder Yost. I really enjoyed this book about an amazing woman, Grace Snyder. She was born in Missouri, and moved with her family to homestead on the high plains of Nebraska in 1885 when she was a small child. One review I read described the book as "Little House on the Prairie" for grown-ups, and that is probably pretty accurate.

When she was 80 years old Grace Snyder told the story of her life to her daughter, who (thankfully for us!) wrote it all down. It was a fascinating tale of the hard life of those who settled here in Nebraska. The family faced droughts, prairie fires, and hard times, as well as the fun and satisfaction of working together as a family. Grace told Nellie she was blessed by having "no time on my hands." As a seven-year old she had three dreams for her life: that she would marry a cowboy, look down on the clouds, and make the most beautiful quilts in the world. All three dreams came true for Grace.

Grace went on to live another 20 years and the edition I read included an epilogue of her final years. Her quilts have been in shows all over the US. Mollie Newman interviewed Grace in 1982 as part of her preparation to write the musical Quilters.

Another book I read in December was 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. The reason I picked up this book at the library was because of the sub-title: Escape nine to five, live anywhere and join the new rich. It was "live anywhere" phrase that caught my eye. I am not currently employed, nor do I wish to be, so the 4 hour work week doesn't apply to me, but it was really interesting to read about. the author explains how he did this, and actually got more work done. It does involve outsourcing, never attending meetings, and cutting way back on phone calls and unnecessary emails. Tim's philosophy is that you should not work all your life saving for retirement and then do something fun and/or interesting. It is about lifestyle design. Figure out what you want to do during a mini-retirement and then go for it. There are lots of strategies for generating income to finance your mini-retirement, lots of stories from people who have done this and are living this lifestyle. Also, you do not really need to be rich to go live some place exotic for 3 to 6 months, you just have to know how to plan for it and find the bargains. You can live like the rich without being rich.

One reason this is appealing to me right now is because we are in Nebraska in the winter, yet again. I want to be some place where it is warm. Dave and I are also feeling tied down because we feel like it is wrong to leave for any length of time (two weeks is our maximum right now) because his Mom might need us. That makes any kind of trip sound like a great adventure. We started helping my mom in 1998 when she had heart surgery and then a stroke, then added Eleanor in 2004 one month after my mom died. My aunt Marge was here for the last 2 years of her life. It is a lot of taking care of little old ladies, and it is taking its toll.

No time on my Hands and 4 Hour Work Week are almost complete opposites, but I found both very interesting to read. By the way you can read most of the 4 Hour Work Week on the Blog. You will have to get past the 4 Hour Body (his current best seller), but most of it is there--for free.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Bonus Day

Thanks to Allegiant Air Mark had an extra day here in Nebraska. Dave drove him to the airport in Grand Island to catch his 7:55 p.m. flight on January 3, dropped him off  and came home. About 8:40 p.m. Mark phoned and told us that the flight had been canceled! He was very disappointed. They were handing out hotel vouchers, but his flight wouldn't be for another 22 hours so he didn't want to stay. Dave and I hopped in the car and drove back to Grand Island to pick him up, getting there about 10:00 p.m. and back home about 11:30.
The good news is that today he got to spend time with his nieces at the Children's Museum in Lincoln. It was Maggie's last day of Christmas vacation so her Mom was looking for something special to do. Mark and Dave met them this morning and had a great time.
Mark was able to print a boarding pass for today's flight on our printer, and then off we went. We got to Grand Island a little early, so had time to eat an early supper at El Torro, our new favorite restaurant. Well, maybe not the favorite, but a new favorite, and Mark should be home very soon.