Monday, July 15, 2013

Lesson Learned

I'd like to think I'm a fast learner-- that I pick up on things quickly, and learn from my mistakes.  It started at a young age and in my 55 years, I've regularly thought about these lessons as I trot through life.

Take my earliest memory of a hair cut for example.  I learned never to cut your own bangs like my big sister did, especially the day before you were getting your picture taken.

When my baby brother was born, eight years after me, I learned that I did not like folding cloth diapers which we used back in the day.  And I learned that if mom accidentally washed the white diapers with a pair of new red shorts, baby brother would be wearing pink diapers much to my mother's chagrin.

I learned that dressing for a luau party was fun at the time but "flashback" photos tend to crack up the entire family.

This is my baby brother and dad about 30 years ago.  My brother just sent this and it's my new fave picture of my dad who passed away nearly 20 years ago.  I'm pretty sure neither of them are wearing anything pink under those white pants.

For the first half of my life I tried to get out of my hometown and in the second half of my life I learned home will always be O H I O...

 My nieces, all for our which will be attending The Ohio State University in the Fall.

After years of trying to out-do Martha Stewart, I finally learned it's exhausting and the food tastes exactly the same on paper plates as it does on all those dishes that needed to be washed after a dinner party.  I've also learned that ordering food in, or better yet, dining out is awesome and totally stress-free.

I learned that after my retirement, it was really hard to "find my groove" and daily routine without working 60+ hours a week at my former job.  That was much harder than I ever expected it could possibly be.  For a good long time I think the lady at the post office thought I was stalking her with my near daily visits for stamps just so I'd have an excuse to get out of the house and talk to someone.

In retirement, I finally learned to quilt, which is a hobby I always wanted to tackle but never had the time for.  I've shared several of my quilts in this space, each with a great sense of accomplishment.  But with the quilt below, that "Woo-hoo!  I did it!" high that comes with the last stitch faded quickly...

Back of quilt is super soft and not nearly a shiny as it appears in this photo.

The lesson learned here is that one should always prewash their fabrics before sewing, including the backing fabric-- ALWAYS-- because the one time you don't-- things can get very muddy.

 My quilt before washing...

 And after.  Oy.

The quilt is still cool (sort of, I think) but instead of the bright "popping" white that gave it a bit of a three dimensional look, after washing, the gold backing fabric "bled" and the white became a pastel yellow.  Some of the coolness is definitely lacking.  (All this gorgeous cotton quilt fabric is from the best fabric store in Los Angeles.)

But, I've also learned not to sweat the small stuff so my bright "white" quilt is a little less modern and a little softer, shall we say.  And the memory of my brother's pink diapers is fresh in my mind-- That makes me smile.

What have you learned?
Welcome to - Joanna Jenkins


  1. smiles...sorry the quilt the colors in it...the quilt my gramma made is one of my fav covers...i save it for fall cause its a little ragged now...

    smiles on the hair cut...i learned from my little brother that no matter how much pepper you try to put on your mashed potatoes in protest, your mom will make you eat every bite...oh my...ha

    some good learning there jj...

  2. You learned some valuable lessons there, JJ. I think the quilt may not be what you intended, but it is still very beautiful! I've also learned not to sweat the small stuff. :-)

  3. Awww it still looks very lovely to me but I imagine it was disappointing at the time. Funny how somethings go full circle... at least in the way of memories.

  4. I loved reading your life lessons! )
    The quilt is really gorgeous - even after the wash.

  5. Your pictures from the past are priceless....great illustrations of lessons learned.
    The quilt is a work of art no matter what the colors are.

  6. I've learned I haven't learned enough. To this day, since my forensic nursing job ended - four years and five months ago - I am still in mourning. I lost part of myself and my identity. I miss my professional colleagues, the work itself and feeling that I was doing something important with my life.

    Of course, though I haven't cruised since my work ended - I do miss that, having done 80 in about 20 years. With these long India stays, I am still traveling in a manner I can afford so that's good...but I remember the days of getting all glitzy and dining at the captain's table and, sometimes, I miss that.

    I remember that big four bedroom home I rented, filled to the brim with "collections" - 500 cookbooks, mushrooms, elephants, etc - & I've learned that I can do without most of that!!! Most of it was given away, the rest is in a large storage unit.

    I LOVE eating out, always have...enjoy writing Trip Advisor and Yelp reviews ( that's my
    excuse )...I remember all the needlework and decoupage I used to it is limited to Christmas stockings - I've got my little granddaugter, Harper Ann's, to work on here in India...I'd better quit

    This post of yours was wonderful. I can relate to it in so many ways

  7. I still think it's awfully cool that you made a quilt!
    I've learned that there IS such a thing as dewberries and wineberries, how to recognize stinging nettle and not to apply lotion before doing yoga!

  8. I love this post, Joanna! I'm so glad you stopped by so I got your blog address! I've learned a lot of those lessons too -- but one that I will be taking on is the retirement issue in a month or two. My job (for 32 years) has been both high profile and many hours and while I'm looking forward for time to be creative, sleep in, maybe exercise more -- it's also a little scary socially!

    I think I must look down some more posts!

  9. I so admire your quilting pictures! Kudos for the effort, and for the beautiful end product. I once washed an antique quilt that had been handed died. I felt bad and promised myself to someday make a replica. You inspire me. I, too, love the old pictures of when we were little and in our teens. What a time that was. I'm learning to set reasonable goals, and go for them...without fear! Great post!

  10. Your quilting is beautiful, and you've much more personality and warmth than Martha Stewart.

    I've learned how much more there is to learn. I thought I previously had it all figured out. How naive I was.


  11. I've learned to check you out because you've had so many experiences like mine. On the other hand, I cut my own bangs, while you seem to have been like my goody-two shoes sister, who never seemed to do anything wrong.

    Oh did I mention that rolling your sister's hair in Evening of Paris perfume will make you both vomit all night? Especially if you sleep with her. Dianne

  12. I like your ending: Don't sweat the small stuff. Everything you mentioned caused frustration or a questioning of a decision once made, but it's all done now with more lessons lurking in the shadows. :) Your quilt is beautiful and shows how talented you are!

  13. I always thought I wanted to learn to quilt, but I've learned I really don't have the patience and would rather buy one...or use the ones I have that my great-grandmothers made. Yours is still lovely, but I can imagine how disappointing it had to be at first when it wasn't what you expected. I love that pattern!

  14. Still looks wonderful to me!! And, quilts should look worn and loved!

  15. My husband's family is from Ohio! I love it there.

  16. Wow, I love you quilt -- even after it was washed! You've got a wonderful gift, and patience! I used to do more needlework when I was in college, and even as a young mom. Now that I have more time, you'd think I would get back to it ... hmmmm...

    Hope summer is going well for you!

  17. Well, I clearly know nothing about quilts, because from here, that 2nd pic looks fine.

    (btw, I'm coming to L.A.'ll be hearing from me.)

  18. Here's a Scottish joke for you - I pour whisky on my hair. It grows in half cut...Hope you are well, JJ.

  19. Retirement almost killed me, especially since it wasn't voluntary but because of massive budget cuts to Public Health. After 21 years as a forensic nurse ( and with some mobility problems ), I couldn't just be transferred to another nursing position for the city of San Francisco. Forensic jobs are are to find and no one else paid the city and county of San Francisco salaries so I took my pension and cried a lot. Finally, because I had so many friends in India...and because I could actually afford to live here for part of each year, I boarded my first flight to Mumbai.

    It's been though to give up my home and make adjustments. I miss my nursing profession on a daily basis. I wasn't ready to retir...but I am glad I got to spend time in India.

    I may not get back here...though I have a ten year visa. Getting old makes travel harder...perhaps, my visits won't be six months but two. I do have that sweet little granddaughter I need to see more often - since my son keeps forgetting he had skype.


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