Monday, 29 August 2011

Terrible Trip

Yesterday I officially moved from Jackson to Clarksville.  I'd been in my new room several days already, but this time was official, because this time I brought the cat.

The day started well.  It was my last Sunday at my church in Jackson, which I've attended for four years and which has been a home and a family to me.  I sang, I saw lots of friends, we worshipped - it was great. Packing went fine, too (except I forgot the tea kettle!)  Even getting Conrad into his box was less difficult than usual.

But the trip itself was... awful.  Terrible.  Well, it could have been worse: we didn't have a wreck and nobody died.  But nearly everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

 I had a pretty tight schedule to begin with; it's an almost-three hour drive.  I left at noon and had to be at the school (20 minutes from my room) at 4, minus the cat, for choir auditions.  So I was already stressed, knowing I was in a time crunch.

Then the cat started hyperventilating.  He's only ever been in the car to go to the vet, and he's normally okay with it -- a little meowing, but nothing major.  This time, though, we got ten minutes down the road and he was completely freaked out.  Crying, scratching at the door of the crate, panting.  (I've never heard a cat pant before and that freaked me out!)  I thought perhaps he was overheated; my AC doesn't work very well and the sun was hot.  So I pulled over at a gas station and tried to get him to take a drink.  He didn't want water; he got out of his box and hit on the floorboards, under my feet, and cried some more.  There was nothing to be done about that, so I put him back in his crate with a struggle and a half-full bowl of water, and we went on.  I drove as fast as I legally could, figuring the sooner we arrived the sooner he'd be out of his misery.

At some point in the next hour I took a curve a little fast and my 32 oz. cup of lemonade slushy went over.  I made a wild grab for it and narrowly avoided running off the road.  It was too late anyway.  So there we were, stressed driver, stressed cat, and 30 ounces of lemonade (less slushy now) soaking into the carpets.  And the bag of food.  And my computer bag.  I shifted everything I could and kept driving.

About fifteen minutes later I hit a road block.  They were doing some kind of work on the road ahead and a policeman was diverting everyone back the way they'd come.  So there I was with a distressed kitten and no road map, blocked from the only route I knew.  Attempt to follow the policeman's rough directions failed miserably.  A hasty call to my mother produced alternate directions and we were on our way again, at least 15 minutes behind schedule and now seriously frazzled.

Ten minutes later my hubcap fell off.  I saw it go...  but it was a busy road and no way to stop and get it. Besides, I was late.

We arrived at last... crying cat, me close to tears, and the whole car smelling like weak lemonade.  After that I was fully prepared for my choir auditions to be a disaster, but fortunately they went well and I made the choir.  That went a long way to salvage my day... but my car is still minus a hubcap and full of lemonade slushy, and I'm pretty sure I'll never get Conrad into his crate again.

Still, it could have been worse.  But I'm very glad it wasn't!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Rotary Cutter!

My birthday was last month and my parents gave me a rotary cutter and mat!  I've been wanting one for a long while; especially since I started getting into quilting last year, although I'd thought about them even before that.  I'd put it on my birthday wish list and then put it out of my mind.

So when I went home to get my car they surprised me with it!  Last weekend while I was house-sitting I brought the rotary supplies, along with a pile of calicos I plan to turn into a baby quilt.  I did the preliminary cutting into strips, and it was so easy!  The mat has a grid on it; you just square up the fabric along the grid, lay a ruler along the line, and run the wheel along the ruler.

Of course one must be careful with one's fingers, since that wheel which cuts merrily through half a dozen layers of fabric would easily do the same thing to any stray appendages.  But with a reasonable amount of caution, it's no more dangerous than using scissors, and FAR quicker.  I had the whole stack of strips for a crib quilt cut out in less than an hour (what would have taken me several.)  And they are more evenly cut than I ever managed with scissors!

Many thanks to my parents for giving me such a useful toy :)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Empty Shelves

It's a funny thing.  I never feel like a move is truly real until the bookshelves are empty.  Maybe it's because I read such a lot, and the books I own are almost like friends.  I can pack the clothes and the dishes and the dvds and still feel that life is pretty normal and the move is not really imminent but only something of the distant future... but when I pack away my books I know it will happen, and soon.

My books are all packed.  (Seven boxes of them!)  Most of the clothes are boxed up, and I've got dishes wrapped in newspaper and old shopping bags finding their ways into their crates.  There's still so much more to do, to pack... but the shelves are empty.  It must be real.

Conrad has been assisting the packing effort by climbing into boxes, climbing up empty shelves, and sitting on whatever item I was planning to pick up next.

Shifting away from the sentimental reflection... I'm moving to Clarksville TN for graduate school.  I'll be renting the "bonus room" above the garage from a family who responded, in God's providence, to the craigslist ad I put up when I'd almost lost hope of finding anywhere I could afford to live!  It's a little further from campus than I had hoped for, and it's not a huge space, but it is within my budget and it's a workable distance.  God knows what he's doing :)

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

I made a peanut-butter pie this week.  Not a normal activity, perhaps, for someone who's about to move house.  But then this is not an ordinary pie.

Some of you may have heard that the food-blogger Jennifer Perillo lost her husband last week to a sudden, fatal heart attack.  I had only recently begun to follow her blog and was saddened to hear the news.... her post, the night of his death, was devastating.  "He's gone.  And my heart is shattered in a million pieces."

Just a few days later, Jennifer posted a beautiful piece about her husband.  Go read it.  She talked about her husband's favourite pie and how she kept meaning to make it for him and putting it off... until it was too late.  She asked people to make this pie "for Mikey", and to share it with loved ones, and remember we never know what may happen tomorrow.  Last Friday, the day of his memorial service, was officially "a pie for Mikey" day, and thousands made that pie and posted about it.

I couldn't make peanut butter pie last Friday.  I was looking for an apartment.  But I made it yesterday; made it to remember "Mikey", who I never knew, and to share with my mum and sister, who are helping me move this weekend.  I'll serve it to them and I'll hug them extra hard, and I'll eat an extra piece for my little brother at boot camp, who loves peanut butter.  I'm so thankful for the family I've been given... and I hope I never take them for granted. 

Sunday, 7 August 2011


I am so profoundly tired.  Two of my very best friends were married (to each other!) last night... I was a bridesmaid and sort of acting maid of honor, since Shannon had her brother as her "honor attendant", and he clearly did not perform most of the usual maid of honor duties.  I discovered that the problem with being efficient and knowledgeable is that people start figuring that out and asking you about everything.  Result: many more mad dashes to find things/take messages/give orders.  In high heels.  But one bachelorette party, one decorating party, one rehearsal, one rehearsal dinner, one wedding, one reception, and countless trips between church and reception hall, sanctuary and dressing area, up and down numberless flights of stairs in stiletto heels.... they are married.  I am so happy for them!

And I am so tired.

Pictures to come eventually (including of my dress, which I made), but I forgot to take my camera and didn't have a moment to take photos anyway, so I'll have to wait for other people's to start appearing on Facebook :)