Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Yesterday we went hiking and I met an old advesary, The Summit Trail on Camelback Mountain. In '97 The Summit Trail was my very first hike and after all the trails I have hiked since I still considered it to be the most difficult. But I didn't know if it really was that tough or if it was just the memory. Our friend, Leonard was in the mood for a strenuous hike and I decided it was time to take another try at the summit.

The trail is 1264 ft, just a bit over a mile to the summit and has heavy traffic. It is rated difficult, a fact that makes me feel somewhat vindicated when I recall my first climb. Actually, climb is a more accurate description than hike. There are places that you must use your hands and pull yourself up the rock ledges. It is very steep with lots of loose gravel making it easy to loose your footing and slip. For me the difficulty is increased by the joggers. Yes, the joggers! They are the 20 -30 year olds that train or workout by running up and down several times a week. I think that they have all got some kind of spring action in their knees. They leap and bounce from one boulder to the next. Showoffs! I am going to suggest to the Parks Dept that they have a Senior Day.

Despite my horrible experience 12 years ago I was ready to tackle my foe. Afterall, I am now an experience hiker with the proper hiking boots(not tennis shoes as before) and brand name hiking clothes! Halfway up Jim got really tired and wanted to turn around but we went on and once he got a second wind he was fine. I had to stop more than once to rest. My heart was pounding, would slow down when I rested but not recover as it should. Jim was concerned, I was shocked. Just past the 7/8 mile marker I made a couple of missteps because I was feeling so weak and I knew I didn't need to try and make the summit. Leonard and Peggy went on to the summit and Jim and I turned back.

It was definitly a disappointment but also an awakening. When I get home I am getting a stress test and if everything checks out okay I am going to focus on cardio this year. I must admit that cardio has taken a backseat to flexibility and strength training the last couple of years. This is why you must retire when you get older-- there is just not enough time to work while keeping up with all the doctor's appointments, latest healthy food info, workouts for the various body parts and scheduled maintenance visits (pedicures, massages & facials).

In '97 there were several times along the trail that I stood bewildered trying to choose which rock to step on next and much to my embarrassment had people ask me if I needed help. Although I made it to the summit and down that year without serious injury, other than my pride, I didn't feel good about myself. I was mad and I was challenged. I decided to have knee surgery that I had been putting off and when I recovered I started hiking, something I have enjoyed ever since. I am not mad about yesterday like I was 12 years ago and I guess that alone is a good thing, a sign of
maturity and being a peace with myself. However, I am challenged and curious, challenged to improve my health and curious to see what other good things or new adventures might open up from my Summit Trail experience.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Well, here it is and it only took 3 months. (I didn't actually work on it for 3 months straight, it just feels that way.) After 120 hours of sewing I quit counting hours and started counting procedures- 10 buttons, 4 pockets, 6 sleeves. Yes, 6 sleeves- although the classic french jacket armhole is a tight, high fit I wasn't happy with the comfort and ease until I put the sleeves in for a third time. That meant taking the sleeves and the lining out twice and since they are both put in by hand it was a time consuming task. After sewing on 10 buttons I decided I liked it better without the buttons. I also liked three pockets better than four. Besides actual sewing time there were many uncounted hours spent searching for the perfect buttons and trims, a process made more difficult because there are so few resources besides the web. After a trial and error process of various trim combinations I decided on a bugle bead trim inserted at the edge of the jacket and three stands of a pink cashmere yarn overlaid with a black figure 8 trim.

Overall, I am happy with the finished product and although I would lkie to make another one someday it won't be anytime soon! With the completion of this jacket three of the five fabrics I bought in Paris are now hanging in my closet instead of laying in my sewing room. That feels good!

One of my next projects will be to make a blouse out of the remaining lining fabric which Susan tells me is Roberto Cavalli and a very nice compliment to Chanel.


What am I talking about? Well, if you sew you know. One of the pieces of fabric that I bought in Paris was this Pierre Cardin animal print/plaid wool. I loved the fabric when I first saw it and then when I discovered that on the reverse side of the animal print was plaid it was a MUST HAVE! I knew exactly how I wanted to make it to showcase both sides. Whenever I wear it people stop me and tell me how great it. It is so nice to have a garment that I have made and put time and thought into to be appreciated.

The handpicked zipper and petersham waist are techniques that I learned in Susan's couture sewing class. The zipper is put in by hand and the petersham waist uses petersham ribbon instead of a facing or a waistband. I love both techniques and the petersham waist works especially well for my bodytype.

In the selvedge of the fabric was the designer's name so I made myself a little lable to sew onto the ribbon. I have enough of the fabric left to make a hat.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I have been planning to make a Tooth Fairy pillow for Grace for quite awhile now. And since she has 4 loose teeth I decided I'd better get with it. Instead of a pillow I made a little quilted wallhanging that she can hang on the door. what is the going rate for a tooth these days?

Grace's Dollhouse

Many thanks to my cousin Jane who gave me this dollhouse and all the furniture! A little paint, some new wallpaper, flooring and curtains and it was new again. Jane and Paul you will be glad to know that we keep the Razorback wall hanging! Some things are never outdated.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Last year my theme was to Edit, Simplify and Enjoy my life and as I reviewed the goals I set I am inclined to think I did a rather good job. My main objective was to reduce the excess in my life and get down to what is really important. Although the year passed incredibly fast there was a slower pace for us and a greater sense of calm. I believe the biggest factor in this change was that I quit shopping as a hobby! There was so much more time for more meaningful activities. This one change also reduced the stuff and simplified the daily. Getting dressed is easier, putting things way is easier, I feel easier and it was easier on my bank account! I will definitely continue on this new path in 2009.

As a result of spending less time shopping I had more time to read. Two of my favorites this year were biographies on Elizabeth I. I also read a couple of books just for entertainment-- something I haven't done in years.

I didn't exactly sew and finish one item a month but the french jacket qualifies for several months of sewing.However I did make two skirts which I love, both from Paris fabric. The first is a basic black wool with a flounce. The second, my favorite one is made in wool animal print in browns and green but what makes it special is that the other side of the fabric is a plaid. This design with the back pleats allows me to showcase both fabrics. I loved wearing it and was stopped more than once and asked about it. I also made Grace a few things.

As for my french, well I totally dropped the ball on that one. But I have enrolled in a Russian for Travelers class this spring. And since I am going to Russia in May this makes more sense. I do want to learn French but if I am not going to use it, it doesn't seem like a good use of my most precious resource- TIME.

Grace's dollhouse did get finished but not as I had intended. It just wasn't happening and I didn't have the skills or tools to do it like I wanted. So when my cousin, Jane, offered for the second time to give me the house she made several years ago and all the furniture, I gladly said yes. We did a remodel job, new floors, wallpaper and a fresh coat of paint and Grace now has her dollhouse! This change of plans showed me another area where I have grown. I accepted the fact that there was a better way to do something than my first plan.

And I'll just admit that I didn't have a daily devotional time everyday but never the less I did grow spritually. I believe one of the main reasons was our new pastor, Ben Pilgren. His lessons have been on the very things I have been struggling with the last couple of years. And I also think that because I have more time my mind has been able to focus on more spiritual matters.

Overall I count the year a success and hope that 2009 will be equally as fulfilling.