Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Quilter Extraordinaire

I'd like to tell you a little about a friend of mine who passed away last week. Bev Bennett was a sweetie who spent almost every spare moment quilting quilts for the Sunshine On-line Quilting Guild. We both have belonged to the Sunshine Quilt Guild since it"s beginnings in mid 1990's. Sunshine makes quilts for kids. Orphans in Siberia and Mexico, children on American Indian reservations, children recovering from rotoplast surgeries and more. With over 500 members there are various members doing various jobs. Some gals make blocks, some cut squares, some make tops, some provide funds or fabrics for those who sew. And some are what we call our "Quilting Angels." Bev was not just head Angel, she was our leader, cheerleader, encourager and more. She was our Quilter Extraordinaire! Extraordinary: exceptional, fantastic, exceptional, marvelous, phenomenal, rare, special, stupendous, unique to name just a few adjectives which describe Bev.

Bev lived in Fairbanks, Alaska with her furry pets. She'd been a widow for over 25 years. I don't believe I'd ever seen a picture of Bev. She only posted pictures of things that made her smile: a moose looking in her window for a handout, the northern lights and photos of the quilts she quilted for Sunshine. Just take a little look at just a few of the quilts Bev quilted for Sunshine. These are just the ones she took photos of and that's over 800 in the past two years. Over the years Bev quilted thousands of quilts for Sunshine. Many of us made the tops and Bev quilted them with joy. While she was still working full time she'd quilt 300+ quilts a year.

I enjoyed the phone calls and emails we exchanged. I was encouraged by her. She never complained and was always cheerful even when health issues plagued her.

Bye Bev, I'll miss you (and I'm sure you've got those angels quilting already!).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

RV Parking at the Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart....you either love it, or you hate it, right? I've always been pretty much ambivalent. We don't have a Wal-Mart close by. We'd have to drive at least 1 1/2 hours to get to one, so I'm not a regular Wal-Mart shopper by any means. Once a year I go grocery shopping at the Wal-Mart in Houston, TX for breakfast items for the condo while at Quilt Market. It's just a few blocks away.

As an aside: we saw the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile parked there once about 11:30 pm! I also know that some people wouldn't step into a Wal-Mart ever...noway, no how, no time, not ever and ever amen! But then I know others who complain but still go once in awhile. And many people are quite grateful they can find affordable goods. I'm not here to judge in any way. Just to share a few observations.

While we were on our holiday trip to and from Yellowstone National Park we spent several nights in Wal-Mart parking lots. Mr. Scottie Dog had heard that they might let you park your RV in the lot overnight so he checked the Wal-Mart website and found that most stores will allow you to stay but it was best to check with the store manager. Off we went on our trip. The first night we planned to stay in Reno, NV but ended up with a several hour layover in Sacramento and on the way to Reno it was getting late. We stopped for gas in a tiny truck stop in Dutch Flatt, CA and spent the night parked next to a few 18-wheelers.

Next night: Elko, NV. The Wal-Mart is on a hill above the city and we parked with a beautiful view of the mountains.

Night three: Twin Falls, ID. This SuperWal-Mart had a grocery store where we bought our food for our Yellowstone stay. Much of the produce was from local growers. There was a family of deer around the trailer in the early hours.

Each store had plenty of parking and we encountered at least 10 other RV's each night. Everything from mega motor homes to teardrop trailers to fancy horse trailers (one set up held 8 horses and also contained an air conditioned plush RV area for humans.

It was on the way home that we encountered two Wal-Marts that were different from the rest. Riverton, Wyoming and Tooele, Utah both had Wal-Mart SuperCenters. Both were small towns...Tooele hardly a village. I often hear about Wal-Marts coming into towns and forcing the local businesses to close. Well, in these two towns there weren't any businesses to close down. Local residents had to drive 35-50 miles for groceries, diapers and more. From what I understand there wasn't even a gas station in Tooele before Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart came in, built their stores, brought jobs to the locals where there had been no jobs. THEN more businesses came in...gas stations, restaurants, hardware stores, a gym....these towns didn't die because of Wal-Mart, they thrived and grew! You and I know that a job at Wal-Mart isn't the best...but it IS a job. We saw new housing going up. Just gave me cause to think.

When we were on our last night, it was quite late when we pulled into Reno. Doreen (our GPS) told us where to turn and how to go to the Wal-Mart. Mr. Scottie Dog had done such a great job of doing all the driving on our trip...I'm so glad I didn't have to contend with pulling our big trailer along. We found the Wal-Mart parking lot and since it was so late (and Mr. Dog was so tired) we didn't ask first to park as there were already several trailers & motor homes parked. We closed up the car and made ready for bed. I already had my teeth brushed and nightgown on when there was flashing lights outside the trailer and someone was banging on the door. Dressed in his bedtime sweats, Mr. Scottie Dog wearily answered the door. It was the parking lot security man and he wanted to know if we were staying over night. "Is it permissible?" Mr. Dog asked? "Certainly." was the answer, "Just move your rig over there to avoid late night speeders." Whew! We'd found our place for the night.

Each night we saved between $$20-$50 from staying elsewhere. In Riverton we had hoped to stay in a campground. But every space was taken as well as the two RV parks in the area, full up. So we didn't deprive any local businesses. I am thankful Wal-Mart allowed us to stay in a safe place each night. They certainly didn't have to do so. Knowing that security was on the job and cameras were there keeping watch, it was easy for us to sleep well. We did spend some $$ in each store and contributed to the local economy.

That's my story.

PS--I've heard that K-Mart sometimes allows RVs to spend the night and I'm sure there are other stores and shopping centers that allow it also. Nice.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Don't you just love quilters?

No fancy pictures today...just some random thoughts. Don't you just love quilters? Today I worked the 2-9 pm shift. Last Saturday was the Sisters' Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, OR and we always get a bunch of ladies in our store on their way home. Today there was a nice lady who flew from Rhode Island to attend the show and take classes. She rented a car after the show to visit two shops she's "been dying to see." One was Greenbaum's Quilted Forest in Salem, OR and the other was our humble Scottie Dog Quilts here in Eureka, CA in the midst of the Northern CA Redwoods. She spent about an hour, took two bags to her car, will eat seafood at my recommended restaurant and will fly out tomorrow morning back to Rhode Island. It was great to serve her and chat a bit about quilting on the other side of the country.

Then tonight Jenea of Idaho Quiltworks came in. It was wonderful to talk shop with another quilt shop owner. If you are ever in Twin Falls, ID you'll have to stop in and see her and her sister.

Don't you just love quilters? I do.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Long Time, No See...or...I went on Holiday!

Once upon at time, a very long time ago there was a family named McNally. Papa Bob loved to catch fish and Mama Marcella dutifully packed up all the needed family belongings so that every other summer the McNally clan could go to Yellowstone National Park. Papa Bob would catch fish. He would also hustle the little children: BrendaLou, Pat & Denny, down to the river or lake so that he could claim their fishing limits. Once in awhile the little ones caught a fish of their very own. Mostly they ran through the grass, climbed the trees and pinched their noses at the sulphur smells that emanate from the ground in Yellowstone National Park. Mama Marcella would do all the cooking, all the scrubbing and watch out for her family. It was an idyllic time loved by all (including Mama Marcella!).

This top picture is our family in 1959 just before the big earthquake. L-R: Pat, Marcella, Denny, Bob & BrendaLou.

Alas, Mama & Papa are no longer with us, but here are Pat, Denny & BrendaLou all grown up. 2010

I haven't blogged in nearly a month because we've been gone. Mr. Scottie Dog hitched up our big 30' trailer, we picked up Sydney and off we drove...and drove...and drove for the better part of 4 days to get to Yellowstone. As promised Sydney got ice cream every day. We drove through forests and cities and deserts (surprisingly green even in late June) and prairies. We slept in the trailer every night. Literally 1/2 mile into the park we saw two bald eagles and before we even got to our camp ground Sydney and I saw two moose, several bison, a coyote, prairie dogs, squirrels, chipmunks, swans, pelicans, blue jays, deer...more, I just cannot remember them all. At the campground we found Liz & Steve and passed Sydney off to them.

About 2 am Beka & Jason & 3 grandbabies arrived and we set up the beds for them to share with us in the trailer. It was such a nice holiday...family and friends joined us for nearly a week.

There was so much to see and do....sometimes we took naps. Jakob & Sydney.
Remember the picture at the top? Well, Mom & Dad, here we all are. Thinking of you and the memories you gave us. On to the 3rd generation enjoying Yellowstone. No one caught a fish, but it wasn't for trying!
PS....our trip wouldn't have been complete without our friends who came too: The Caldwell Family, Crystal & Sam, Lori & Nathan (who celebrated his 16th birthday Camp Style)