I can’t believe it has been nearly a week since I left for the Sewing Summit. It was such a nice weekend. If nothing else, it was two consecutive days of NO children whining and just plain me time. Amy and Erin did such an amazing job pulling the whole conference together. Everything from the sewing room to the choices of classes (and their speakers!) was just perfect. I learned lots and got very inspired to start even more projects.
I also really enjoyed meeting some of the writers for blogs I follow, as well as lots of other nice ladies whose blogs I’d not heard of before. My RSS feed reader is going to be jam packed as soon as I get through the stack of cards I brought home. Just a few of the great women I met: Faith, her sister Rachel, Kathleen, another Rachel, Jessica, Amanda, Darci, Chris, Tracey and her mom, Diane and the list goes on! (I apologize if I don’t have your blog linked… send me an email or leave a comment and I will fix that.)
Classes: I really enjoyed every class I took. I learned something new in all of them. First up was improv piecing with Jess followed by Free Motion Quilting with Allison. These two classes alone were enough to have me itching to get home to all my UFOs. But wait, there’s more! After lunch was a class on Creative Fabric Selection (aka, color!) by Jeni where we all got free Kona Color Cards! Such an amazing gift. Finally on Saturday, the most inspiring and most talked about class: Marvelous Mini Quilts taught by (yet another) Amanda. On Sunday I took a couple of classes that I hoped would help me with blogging. The first was a photography class taught by Vanessa… the best tidbit from that class was the whole skit about how to make your thighs not touch in a photo… You had to be there, it was hysterical. And finally, one last class on blogging and social media that just spoke to the geek in me by Dana.
For all the fun it was, I had a few low points. I’m not really the kind of person who is comfortable breaking into a group of people to join the conversation, so I spent some time on the outside of the rooms just people watching, especially at the opening mixer. I was also excessively tired that night, so I was kind of out of it anyway. I did have dinner at the Red Iguana 2 with Kathleen (who I spent a lot of time with) and a bunch of people who shared my love of mole. I was the instigator of this outing, and one of the drivers, and I managed to get us lost in downtown Salt Lake City. Yeah, that was the last time I drove.
Saturday morning was a much better time. The lobby wasn’t overcrowded with sewists at 5:30 in the morning, and so I had a chance to introduce myself to Faith and her sister. They are so sweet and such fun to talk to. I decided after breakfast to really push myself to introduce myself to other people in the room and not cling to one set of women. I think I was fairly successful, but still felt a bit of an outsider even into the evening. It also didn’t help that I was constantly running up to my room to pump for the baby. Next year that will NOT be an issue.
Yep, you heard me. I’m so excited for next year already. I’ve spent waaay too much time pouring over all the photos on the Flicker group since I got back. And reading all of the recaps of the weekend. I was hesitant to post because I really did not take many photos. (The one at the top is a view out my hotel room.) I regret that now, but again, I’m not the kind of person who feels comfortable asking for others to take photos with me. Call me weird… I do.
All in all, it was a successful venture… even if I’m already missing the baby free restful nights.
The following is an account of the events of September 11, 2001 from my experience. I wrote this ages ago, and have always meant to publish it near the anniversary of 911, but have always been held back by that nagging feeling that my story wasn’t important enough. I know that what happened to me is trivial compared to those who lost their loved ones on that day. However, the entire day was so emotionally draining, that I doubt I will ever forget even one second of it.
She badged into the closed office and plunked her stuff down on her desk. Awaiting her was a list of things to do. Apparently the new boss didn’t really trust her to come in early and not fuck off.
With a sigh she leaned over and scrawled “Wish Grandma a Happy Birthday” at the bottom of the list.
She scanned the office, if you could call it that. The room was more of a passthrough with four desks set up in a square. Everyone had to walk through this office to get to the other offices. No notes or lists on anyone else’s desk. She supposed that was the curse of being the new girl.
Humph, “the new girl”, she was the only girl and that’s usually how she liked it, but she suspected it would not be an asset at this company. Something about the way management was structured was a bit stiff. Even the other men in her office who had been around for years seemed to avoid speaking their minds about anything. And yet, she couldn’t put her finger on it.
She sat and reminded herself again to get a rear view mirror for her computer monitor. Having her back to the hallway traffic and the boss’s office was disconcerting. The whole place and team was disconcerting. As her computer booted she counted the days she had been working here. Twelve. Two weeks and two days. Today was Tuesday, only 4 days until the weekend and the beginning of her (unpaid) vacation.
That first day had been especially difficult. Her manager mentioned to her that he had never managed a woman before. She secretly believed he never managed much of anyone before. His baby-face gave him away. Apparently none of her other team members had worked with a woman before either. No one had even shown her where the restroom was. By lunchtime she was about to burst and went searching for it herself. There it was, just down the hall and around the corner. Once inside she sat in one of the stalls thinking this job was a huge mistake. She didn’t fit in.
She had only taken this job because the start-up company she worked for previously was going under. There wasn’t even an increase in pay to come work here. In fact, she’d had to fight to get them to match her salary. Just another little oddity about this place. They were unusually frugal. And yet, they were paying what was surely an outrageous rent for prime office space downtown.
Just after she finished reading her email, the guy who sat kitty corner from her arrived. With his long brown hair pulled into a low pony tail, and his baggy jeans and grungy tee-shirt he looked like the stereotypical computer geek, which he was. He was, however, the friendliest of the three men in this office.
“Good morning,” he said.
“Hi.” she said, and then turned to check the list for the next item of business.
“Happy Tuesday.” he said.
She grunted. Happy. Right.
Noises came from behind her. Her boss was here. He didn’t say hello to anyone, but rather entered his glass walled office and sat staring out over downtown Austin.
The boy who sat across from her had come in with the boss and moved toward his desk. He was supposed to be her team lead. She figured him for about 22, several years her junior. And he was arrogant, always proclaiming to the office how beautiful his work was, but always criticizing everyone else, especially her. It didn’t matter that her work was more efficient, the boss always took his side anyway.
She nodded and said hello, and as she turned back to her work saw the ponytailed man glance at her and winked. She grinned. She wondered again why he was so different from the others.He looked up from his monitor with a start and said, “A plane just crashed into the world trade center.”
“Nice.” she sad and pictured a small biplane bouncing off the building. It would be interesting to hear this story from her step-brother, who lived in the city. She went back to work until a few minutes later when he announced a second plane crashing into the other tower.
They all stood up and were called to the conference room where a tiny TV was tuned to CNN. As a Third plane crash landed at the pentagon, everyone looked out the conference room window at the back of the pink capitol building next door, and wondered the same thing. Is it next?
The TV played the same clips over and over. One plane hit and then the next. Suddenly the picture shifted to show the first tower imploding. They were all staring drop jawed when an enormous man walked into the room. He loomed over them and commanded “Get back to work, this is a waste of time.”
Silently, they headed back to their desks. She sat down and stared at her computer, utterly confounded by the plane crashes, but appalled by the complete lack of empathy from the big blonde man.
She opened a chat window and typed a message to her coworker across the desk.
“Was that the CEO?” She’d heard stories that he was not a man to be reckoned with. Known for being a slave driver and a scrooge, he didn’t even cut his own mother any slack. Never mind that it was her money that started this company.
“Yes.” he answered. “You should introduce yourself.”
Her thoughts turned back to her step brother in New York. What if he was trapped in the World Trade Center? She couldn’t believe that earlier she was wondering how he would tell this story. Now she wondered if he would be alive to tell the story. She also wondered who else in the office had relatives or friends at one of the crash sites.
“I have to say,” she typed, “That was a little harsh.”
He looked up and whispered “That’s not private.”
A few clicks later the morning’s work was in front of her again. With a sigh, she began typing. More slowly than usual, as she was still distracted by the mornings events.
“A plane just crash landed in a field. They think the passengers took over.” She was smiling and was thinking about what heroes those passengers would be when the big man tapped her roughly on the shoulder.
She looked up startled. “Yes?”
“Come with me.”
She stood and followed him back into the conference room where the TV was replaying footage of the towers before their collapse. There were tiny spots falling from each one, and she realized they must be people jumping from windows. A new feeling of horror engulfed her, she could not even imagine what those people’s families must be going through, much less the emotions and terror of the people trapped in the building.
She was barely listening when he snapped the TV off and told her to sit.
Good dog, she thought as she took a chair. He remained standing. Towering was more like it.
Again she looked out the 4th floor window at the sun bouncing off the stone dome of the capitol building. The parking lot was a lot less full now.
“How dare you?!” he seethed. She was startled back to reality by the sheer loathing in his voice.
His face changed color from the pale skin of the Irish, to red and then on to purple and he leaned over her chair in front of her face. She shrank into her chair and thought that this must be what a person would feel like just before a bear ate them.
“I do not tolerate insubordination! How dare you call me names to my other employees!”
Names? She blinked. He was kidding, right? “Um… I’m sorry. I just..?”
He interrupted her and in a mocking voice said, “You are about to learn that sometimes ‘Sorry’ just doesn’t cut it!” And before she could say anything in her own defense he roared “You’re Fired!”
“No. You have five minutes.”
“Shut UP!” he screamed at her. Now she was sure that the entire company could hear him through the glass walls of the conference room. She looked out into the hall to see everyone heads down working. Or rather pretending to work.
He opened the door and waited for her to pass through it.
“I… I’m sorry…” she stammered, but she wasn’t even sure why she was bothering to apologize. She wasn’t sorry. He had been rather harsh when he ordered them all back to their desks. She was just the only one dumb enough to point it out. But then, how was she supposed to know he was reading her private message to the boy across the desk? What kind of loser sat around reading instant messaging traffic between his employees?
The four steps to her desk seemed to take an eternity. And somewhere in that four steps a dam broke and the tears spilled from her eyes. Her boss and coworkers were all peering over their computer monitors and pretending not to watch as she sobbed and packed up her few belongings. How humiliating.
She looked up at the CEO about to say “I’m sorry” again, but saw on his face a smug, self-satisfied grin, swallowed her words and zipped up her bag.
And that was when she realized that she wasn’t crying tears for the loss of her job or the humiliation of crying in front of her coworkers. No, they were tears of grief for the lives that had been lost. They were tears of anger for an attack on American soil. They were tears of sorrow because nothing was ever going to be the same.
As these thoughts sunk in, she decided it didn’t matter that he had fired her. Who would want to work for someone so egotistical and insensitive anyway? One last look around the office gave her the answer. Not one of her coworkers — not even her boss — had said one word since she had returned to her desk.
Cowards. All of them. Where was their integrity? Their sense of self worth? What was their idea of right and wrong? These were not the people she wanted to work with.
She turned toward the door and left.
So that’s my 911 story. What’s yours? Where were you when America was turned upside down and then united with a fervor unequaled since? How did the day affect you?
I told you how awesome my fourth of July weekend was, what with the fabric and pattern finds, but what I haven’t mentioned yet was the conclusion to that weekend. Technically, I suppose my luck ran out after the weekend and just before the first of the work week.
Tuesday morning, July 5th. The day before my sweet boy’s first birthday. I buckled him into his car seat to take him to the sitter (my mom) so I can go to work. But damn. I forgot the container of creamer to take to work, so I ran back in to get it. Back outside I remember that we’d been working on my dad’s house over the weekend and the shop vac with nasty gunk in it was in the back end of my car. So I open the tailgate and put the shop vac into the garage. Come back around and pick up the creamer and pull the tailgate shut… and that’s when I was all of a sudden on the ground wondering why my teeth hurt so bad.
Yeah. Genius. Ow ow ow. Holy shit, my head hurts…. I crawled into the car from the passenger side and fished around in my purse for my phone while holding my head with the other hand and dialed Chris and told him to come home. NOW. I knew he would think I was over reacting, but I was really proud of myself for not crying and having the presence of mind to actually call him before collapsing in the driveway. That’s when the baby started screaming. That’s when I noticed my head was gushing blood.
Somehow I managed to get a towel out of the kitchen and put it on my head. And all I could think of was the pain. And that I was very lucky that the baby was already buckled into his seat. He was pissed off about it, but I knew he was safe. I was also really glad that I didn’t get any blood in my Coach purse. Yeah, I have my priorities straight. Really.
I think Chris was pretty shocked when he pulled up to the house a few minutes later to see me bleeding and rocking in the driveway saying “oh shit oh shit oh shit” over and over again.
Next thing I knew, we were in the ER and they were asking me if I blacked out. I didn’t think so (though now I do think I did as this disjointed recollection clearly — ha ha — shows). Then we were sitting in the waiting area for what seemed like forever while some dude kept telling me that I had blood running down my arm. No kidding, Sherlock, really?
What happened to blood being the ER’s equivalent to a fast pass at Disney? Cue really bad elevator music.
Fast forward a few minutes. Now I’m sitting on a table in a freezing exam room with a wad of gauze stuck to my head with some sort of numbing gunk on it, blood drying on my pants and arms. Meanwhile, the doctors and nurses are running around freaking out because the handout on the tetanus shot says that people who’ve had Guillain-Barre syndrome, might be contraindicated. Whatever.
Lucky me. While they were trying to locate an immunologist, I needed to go…. badly. So I found a restroom. But on the way out my gloppy gauze fell off my head and landed — yep, you guessed it — gooey side down on the nasty hospital bathroom floor. Joy.
Twenty minutes later the doctor comes back in and tells me he thinks that I could have the tetanus shot because my reaction was to a flu shot and the tetanus shot doesn’t have the same ingredients that caused my reaction. Eh? I didn’t care anymore, I was going to get the shot anyway. I’m pretty sure my neurologist would have told me to get it.
Now the doctor wants to go ahead and do the staples in my head — because staples are better and don’t require shaving hair — but the nurse has brought the wrong staple gun in. That thing was huge. I swear it was big enough to staple an elephant who just had a c-section together. After the doctor finds the smaller stapler, I finally get to point out that the numbing gunk has been off my head for a while, and that maybe we should put more on there. The doctor declines and says it will be ok, it hasn’t been long enough to wear off. Um, ok.
Five staples and much pain later (yeah the numbing effect didn’t wear off at all), we finally got out of there. Chris took pictures, but I’ll spare you the gore. They forgot to mention that I might have a concussion. Which I didn’t really figure out on my own until a couple of days later when I ran a red light in my foggy stupor and realized that maybe I shouldn’t be driving… especially with the kids in the car. The fourth day, I woke up and everything was clear again, and that’s when I realized I must have been concussed. I’m telling you, top rate speedy care at that ER, baby. All for the bargain price of $1500 bucks or something.
So that’s how my awesome weekend ended. I suppose it could have been worse.
You ever have one of those days where everything is going so well that you feel like you should go buy a lottery ticket? I had one of those during the 4th of July weekend.
I had planned to go shoe shopping for me — gasp! — on Saturday, but other stuff kept popping up. I was happy to be getting all the little things on our list done, but was totally bummed because I’d been looking forward to shopping alone for a while. (As an aside, we should note that I hate shoe shopping… I buy a new pair of shoes about once every ten years, but I was inspired by the shoes in this tutorial for a gorgeous skirt.)
Anyway, Sunday I didn’t make it out to the stores for shoes either, but I did manage to get to Hancock Fabrics for their 4th of July sale. I needed to buy some fabric for Alexis’ birthday dress, and I wanted to look at patterns for myself as well. I just ordered this gorgeous fabric from Anna Maria Horner’s Loulouthi line and couldn’t wait to cut into it. For me. Actually, when I ordered it, I had planned to use the Built by Wendy Simplicity 3835 pattern that everyone is using these days. Unfortunately I did not know that it seems to have evaporated into thin air. Seriously, the only copy I could find was on Etsy and listed for like $35. Um. no.
It’s just as well, because when I got the fabric I decided that wasn’t the pattern for it after all. So I was on the hunt. I found several that I thought might work, and then, for kicks, decided I’d check for the Simplicity 3835 pattern. They had five. I can’t tell you how long I stood there debating buying all of them and selling them on Etsy for a tidy profit. In the end, my conscious won out and I only bought two extras. To give away. Did I mention that all Simplicity patterns were on sale for $1.99? Yeah. I know… but it gets better.
So now I’m wandering the store enjoying the peace and quiet… or at least the lack of noise from my children. I found the fabrics I needed for Alexis’ dress (on sale). Then found a couple of fabrics for new jammies for each kid, and I might have put a few bolts in my cart just because they were pretty… Just sayin’.
All this time I’m watching the line to the cutting table snake all the way back to the bathroom. Seriously, who has a big sale and only schedules three people to work? Those poor ladies, they were busting their butts. Anyway, I decide to go search for notions in hopes that the line would die down. And guess what? When I put the last set of pins that I could possibly ever need in my cart, I notice that the line is gone. Poof.
I hightailed it over there just in time because the poor woman was one bolt into my cart full when the line began expanding again… longer and longer and longer… and here I am with my 13 fabrics waiting to be cut. Awkward.
Now here comes the really good part… When she got down to the quilting fabrics I was buying just because I can, the cutting lady shoots the barcode on the end and informs me that TWO of these lovelys were on sale for… wait for it… $1 per yard. I bought the rest of both bolts.
Sadly, I did end up waiting in the mile long line at the register (one cashier, really?) and so I got home about an hour later. And sadder still, no one at home was sharing my enthusiasm at finding multiple copies of a “discontinued” pattern, and super cheap super cute quilting fabric, too. It might have something to do with the fact that I am supposed to be paring down my fabric stash so I can move it into the loft. Boo.
I’m still giddy over the success of it all, but my luck didn’t last…
P.S. — bonus points (for what I don’t know) to anyone who gets the reference in the title.