Thursday, July 23, 2015

Facing challenges

I am always impressed by my many blogging friends who love to join in to all kinds of challenges.

There are block swaps and all kinds of group challenges involving the creation of blocks or even whole quilts. I browse these posts with a great deal of awe.

Sometimes it is all I can do to manage the assorted challenges that life tosses my way ...
without looking for more.

Continuing challenge #1 is the tucks in the basted backing of Ben's rainbow quilt. I have now quilted most of the center. I started with the center two blocks and have been going around those two, increasing one row at a time. So far I am satisfied that the quilting on the back is coming out relatively square. As I near the borders, I have reached the places where there are tucks in the basted back.

Yesterday I began the outer row and so far I have been able to remove all the basting and smooth out the tucks in the hoop as I go. This challenge is one block at a time. It means a lot more stopping and starting than I like (I usually work with a very long piece of thread so I don't have to stop and start so often). This way I work the rows leading to the border and then do the cross rows one-by-one.

The nice thing is that now I am nearing the edge, there is less quilt to sit under. Seeing the progress encourages me to keep going and dreaming of the day Ben can take the baby quilt off his bed and have a big-boy quilt to replace it.

Yesterday I added another challenge to the equation.  I had a date set up with one of my best friends who came to Japan for the up-coming World Scout Jamboree.

He will be off to the site tomorrow and had brought me a huge shopping bag of fabric that his mother was cutting from her stash.

Of course this is not the first "gift" she has sent.
Last time I needed to drive my car to pick up the many boxes he brought. (In fact, this may be her way of getting me to live to 200 just to use it all).

I figured one large shopping bag could be put into my roller bag and I could tale the train for free with only a short walk to the meeting spot.

Rushing around to get things organized so I could get out the door in a timely fashion, I kicked something. I can't even remember what it was ... a chair leg ... a corner of the furniture ... the door frame ... but when I finally stopped long enough to look, my little toe was sticking straight out at 45degrees from my foot. Oh, that does not look good. I tried pushing it back so I could put on some shoes. Nope, not going to work. Well I was pressed for time but I hopped on my bike and pedaled
off to the local clinic.

So much for my schedule. x-rays did not look good and it took several sets of x-rays and a lot of pulling and twisting before the toe was back on the right direction. Then a partial cast and all kinds of instructions about not walking and elevating my foot etc. etc. I barely had time left when I got home to change my clothes and grab my roller bag and rush out to the train station, calling my friend to say I might be a wee bit late. Actually the 15 minute walk didn't take so much longer so I was still in time.

One thing though, Those "Silver Seats" which are reserved for the elderly, physically handicapped, pregnant women, etc mean NOTHING to the average rider. They may line up while waiting for the train to arrive, but once the doors open ... it is everyone for himself ... the fastest and pushiest get any free seats. The rest are squashed in and you are lucky to end up with your body relatively above your feet or with a grip within reach. Crutches, walking sticks, casts on feet, mean nothing

When my kids were young and paying half fare, I told them I never wanted to see them sitting as long as there was someone older standing. Travelling with them yet today I notice they hardly ever sit. However, when the seat was offered to a mother with little kids, she would put the kid on the seat and remain standing. Japan has raised several generations of kids who still feel entitled to sit. Since they are all sleeping or texting or reading cartoon magazines or playing games in their i-pads, they conveniently can not notice anyone standing. Well, the train ride was only 29 minutes each way so not too bad.

Sunday I attended with our choir, a memorial service for a long-time member who had recently passed away.

At the end, those in the congregation followed the Japanese tradition of putting flowers on the table in front of the picture of the deceased.

The florist had provided  large white chrysanthemums all in a uniform size. They must have been imported because this is hardly the time of year for chrysanthemums. As we were leaving after the fellowship hour at the end, we were offered flowers to take home. Those Japanese members of the group would never take them home so the foreigners were pressed with big bunches. Well, why not?
Mine went into the entry-way where I can enjoy them coming and going and considering the heat, they have lasted quite well.

The final challenge is the silkworms.

There are still 12 cocoons that have not hatched. I rather doubt that they will as some are way too unfinished or have signs that the efforts to get out didn't work. (dark spots indicate the liquid emitted to dissolve the silk at the opening did not work.

Note the wimpy wings on this little lady.
The eggs are a bit smaller than poppy seeds.

I will put them in a zip=lock baggy and stick them at the back of the vegetable drawer until next summer. It might pe a bit of a challenge to get things right to raise another generation.

Enjoy all your challenges ... the most frustrating one of mine is not doing vacation bible school games with my foot in a cast, it is facing the continuing problem of being no-reply on many of my long-tram favorite blogs.


  1. Sorry about your toe! Now you can sit and quilt. What was the reason for the Japanese not taking the flowers? Hope that toe mends quickly so you can keep up with all your travels!

  2. Wow, ( I typed Woe first of all!) and maybe it is that as well, Very fancy cast and covering. Challenges, I will admit this is the first online challenge that I have felt happy with my sewing. And not as if life wasn't busy enough, you seem to be even busier Take care with your toe, are you like our wee kitten Boris and not able to read the doctor's instructions?? He was told to stay inside, keep warm and QUIET!! You might take those words with you, and wave the paper on the train so all the other sitting-down passengers might be polite and stand Or at least one of them, and give you a seat. Take care..

  3. So sorry about your foot. What a good sport you are!
    I had to laugh about your train story. New Yorkers have a bad reputation, but I see all kinds of people give up their seats for disabled, old, or people with babies. I'd say mor often than not. And if I see a pregnant woman standing I ask someone sitting to give up the seat. People always do it if you ask them directly in a nice way--so far at least. One day someone will pull out a gun or spit at me, but it hasn't happened yet.
    I guess I am a pushy New Yorker through and through!

  4. Seems to me this is not the first or maybe even the second time you have done that toe in. Nikko looks exceptionally sleek in the photo. Has she shed all the winter undercoat? I agree that your normal life may be challenging enough.

  5. That sounds painful. Hope your toe heals completely and does not cause pain for you in the future.

  6. So sorry about your foot. Crutches are no fun. It is also hard to drive with your left foot (believe me, I know this one well). Hope it heals quickly. Enjoy the flowers. I haven't had fresh flowers for a long time.

  7. Wow - things are popping at your house (so to speak). I hope the toe heals fast. I did that one time, just plowed my toe into the edge of an open door - oohhhh that hurt.

    I've found that going into settings on my blog and clicking "show my email" - has worked for me - it lets your email be seen by only the author of each blog - it doesn't show the email to other commenters,and then the author can see your comment and reply in an email if they choose to.

  8. You certainly do have quite a few challenges of your own. Obviously the idea of staying off your feet is a no go. Take care to mend properly.

  9. so when does rest and elevate your foot translate into stand and walk for a couple of hours!! Take advantage of the bag of fabric and challenge no 1.... and rest it!!

  10. Oh dear Julie, hope your foot heal quickly. That's awful. And still you went ahead to do everything you wanted? You are brave woman!
    Chrysanthemums, I still don't go near to them especially the white one. It does give me eerie feelings.
    Good luck with your challenge and get a good rest!

  11. I agree with you about sitting/standing on public transport. I often feel the urge to stand up for someone but I have to remind myself I am ten years at least older than they are! Parents do not do their children any. favours by spoiling them in this fashion. In Madeira recently the bus driver wouldn't start till two young people stood up for very frail folk. However, on my visit to Japan around the millennium I found people unfailingly polite and although the bullet train was crowded passengers did not push. In UK I am surprised by how many young people sit on old folk seats. I hope you make a good recovery - well done for not letting it stop you and I hope the fabric was lovely.

    1. I am not sure if my reply reaches you as you come up no-reply, and I seem to have lost your address when the computer up-date got rid of my contacts folder.Why this happens with my long-time friends, I do not understand ... well, computers are way beyond my ken.
      The bullet trains issue tickets for seats so there is not much need to push unless you want excess overhead space before someone else gets their share. Commuter trains are a whole other ball game ... first come .. first served and winner tales all.

  12. Is Nikko supervising your quiet time? Sounds like your new challenge is to learn how to relax and heal. A challenge I fail quite often when I am not feeling well.
    The 'Entitlement' generation is getting worse. It is a shame that manners and respect for elders are rarely taught at home or in school.
    Get well soon!

  13. Julie, we are so very sorry to hear about your foot ! And we are also so sorry to hear that you had to stand for 29 minutes each way on public transportation. That's a long time ! That happens on our public transportation also. There are seats specially marked for seniors and the disabled, but they are usually taken up by young people or one solitary male who is "man-spreading" across two seats.
    We hope that your foot heals very soon ! Sending you love, hugs, and blessings, from Marina and Daryl

  14. Julie you have the worst luck! I hate this news about your toe although you seem to rise above and go on despite whatever happens. blessings, marlene