Give Unto Others…and other stuff


Friday morning, Jeff and I were “up and at ’em” and ready for our yearly volunteer job — painting the lines on some of the Long Valley soccer fields. 

Meet our trusty tool.  It’s really neat.  You put a can of spray paint in, upside down, then you hit the lever on the handle and it sprays a perfectly straight line onto  the grass as you walk along!  

This year we’re doing 4 training fields.  Last year we had 2 small fields and 2 giant fields. 

Here’s a little of our handiwork! 

You know, it cracks me up.  There are HUNDREDS of kids who play for our Washington Township Rec Soccer teams yet the number of parents who actually volunteer to help is little to none.  Who in the hell do they think paints the lines on the fields?  They drop their kid off with the coach on practice days and leave for the coach to supervise. Why don’t they come to watch their kids play a game?  Why are some teams unsponsored?  

Bottom line:  Just because you make a kid, doesn’t make you a good or an involved parent.   Yet this Long Valley crowd will be the VERY FIRST to look down their noses at people.   A lot of the folks around here can be a bit snobby and feel totally entitled.  Ah, that’s my neighborhood!  LOL   

That said, I’m sure it’s the same in your neck of the woods.  My theory is that there are only two kinds of people in the world: 

1. Movers and Shakers

2. Slugs   

Take a look around your own quilting guild.  Is it the same people who do the guild committee work over and over again?   Are you one of them?   In guilds across America I find that it’s generally the same people, over and over again, who sit on their asses and never volunteer to do a thing…. oh yeah, and the slugs are ALWAYS the first to complain about something.   Makes you just want to bitch-slap ’em.  

So get out there and volunteer, sweetie-pies!  It only takes a little effort and it’ll make YOU feel terrific and it will do wonders for the spirit of other people.  You don’t need to volunteer some Raiders of the Lost Ark kind of project.  Try helping out with something really small.  YOU can set the parameters, right?   Now, no bullshiting here, EVERYONE has a LITTLE time to volunteer.  Even you!  Give it a try.  You won’t be sorry.   But I digress . . .


While we were painting two of the soccer fields, we noticed an old church in the distance.   Spooky looking because it is in such disrepair but totally charming, with great bones.   I’d love to convert it into a house!  Wouldn’t that be neat? 

  Not bad from a distance.

  But a closer look has this joint screaming “HELP!”

Even the peeling paint has a bit of charm to it.  I’ll tell you this, I sure wouldn’t want the bill to restore this place.   Whew!  Ca-Ching$$$$ 


When I came home I cleaned the chicken coop!   

Somebody was happy with the new straw nest!  



Well, I bit the bullet last week.

1.  I acknowledged my mid-life crisis and bought a new car.

2.  I bought a convertible.

Trust me, folks.  I look like a Weeble in a Barbie car! 

Weeble + Barbie Car = You know who!











Here’s the car.   But this isn’t the best part.

THIS is the best part.   Jeff and I found it in WalMart!  It blinks and flashes when my headlights are turned on!   Can you imagine?    I’m a Flaming Quilter (among other things . . . )


And, Turnips, it’s the last rose of summer in my garden!    Boooo Hoooo!   No joke!   xoxom

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31 Comments on “Give Unto Others…and other stuff”

  1. September 13, 2008 at 10:46 PM #

    Love the convertible. It will be a great ride for a someday visit to NYC. That church is awesome! What a great place it would be to renovate – but only if, say, you won the lottery or someone else was paying the bills, right? And the license plate is, well, priceless!


  2. September 14, 2008 at 12:35 AM #

    It is the same in guild, Mark. 450 members and the same 20 people volunteer to do everything!

    BTW Love the convertible!!


  3. Jackie
    September 14, 2008 at 1:23 AM #

    Congrats on the midlife crisis. A convertible is much cheaper than an affair in the long run. Plus, I’m sure your teenager was thrilled when it came home. He can probably just feel his license coming on . . . I’ll be 50 in a couple weeks and I can’t come up with a fabu thing to do on the day! Going to Iceland to see the Northern Lights in December, but I should be able to think of something for such a big birthday! You bought a car – – I can’t even think of a restaurant for dinner. You = awesome. Me = dork.


  4. Jackie
    September 14, 2008 at 1:24 AM #

    BTW . . the church would make an awesome quilt shop!


  5. September 14, 2008 at 12:11 PM #

    That church is awesome! Wish I had the dough to buy it.
    Love the convertible – will Evan get to drive it? Will you be driving it up to NH in two weeks?? (can’t wait!!)

    Only in Evan’s dreams will he be behind this wheel. He gets my old car which has 110,000 miles on it. I’m a car as an appliance type person, not one who switches out of boredom. And yes, I will be driving it to Henniker, NH! See you then! xoxom


  6. September 14, 2008 at 4:51 PM #

    Sweetie your a hoot. Love the church and I agree that it will cost big $$$ but for someone it would be worth it. There is a stone church where I live and I would love to live in it. A couple of friend when to your workshop in Moosejaw I think they said and well they said your totally fanastic. Hope to see you in Manitoba at some time.


  7. September 14, 2008 at 9:43 PM #

    that belfry would be a delight to us dingbats, we love just hanging around in old churches! or……it could be a great place for sulky 14 yo who knows everything and likes to leave freezer doors open and let everything thaw out. it could be his’ quiet corner’. just remember to tell him there is no internet, cell phones or cable. it would drive him batty!
    keep on stitch’n on!
    (mauh) Liz


  8. Bonnie
    September 14, 2008 at 11:35 PM #

    I don’t know how I missed the license plate when you showed me the car. I love it!


  9. September 15, 2008 at 3:17 AM #

    There is a church for sale near where we live. Both Linda and I would love it, but it is so close to the highway, Linda is afraid someday that the govt would just come up someday and say sorry your front door will now be 5 feet off a major 4 laner… I just dream of it right now…lots of room to hang quilts in it!
    Love your new car…..I so need a new one, but I have to wait a little longer….My car has 230,000 and I am still driving it….sigh…Our oldest son will get the van with 189k on it soon. Linda got a “new” 2006 van with 30k+. That is OUR hot new set of wheels…woohoo… 🙂


  10. September 15, 2008 at 4:30 AM #

    But then, do you really want those psycho ‘sports parents’ who yell abuse at the coach and ref, and rip into their kids for not playing professionally? Those people are REALLY scary!

    Love the church, it would be such a shame if it deteriorates any more. Hope someone with sympathetic taste restores it.

    Nice car girlfriend! 😉 Make sure you get yourself a lovely driving cap for when you have the top down!! 😀 (yeah, I’m just jealous!)


  11. Colleen in Canada
    September 15, 2008 at 2:38 PM #

    Hey Mark! Hang in there with the roses. they may surprize! My 5 bushes are bloomoimg again for the third time and we are much cooler 9weather wise!) in canada! No secrets here, I neglect them and they reward me. Funny the sewing machine does not oblige!
    yours in roses, Colleen in Canada


  12. jeanine in Canada
    September 15, 2008 at 3:13 PM #

    Hi Mark:
    The volunteer thing is the same for any kind of group all over the world. I remember my mom in Holland volunteering for scouting, school trips, driving all the kids to the pool…… I apprecriated it, but many other moms did it. She even has volunteered to go on the school trip of her granddaughter.
    Like your new car….. I’ll just have to do with now bags on my bike.
    jeanine in Canada


  13. September 15, 2008 at 5:35 PM #

    Volunteering – oi vey! Our soccer league made volunteering mandatory if you wanted your kid to play- worked well. As for our Guild, we just threatened to drop programs – and someone always stepped in – just in the knick of time! Too bad threats and blackmail are the only things that work effectively! 🙂 See you in Henniker! Suzk


  14. September 17, 2008 at 8:59 PM #

    A flaming quilter…I LOVE it! Looking forward to seeing you in Des Moines in a few weeks…I live here, and we can’t wait for y’all to visit us!


  15. September 18, 2008 at 1:18 AM #

    Love your pictures of the old church! Even the peeling paint! As another person commented, it would make a wonderful quilt shop if not a house.
    Your chicks must be happy, wow, fresh eggs are great omelets!
    Congrats on the new wheels too! Luv-luv the license plate frame!


  16. September 18, 2008 at 1:03 PM #

    Ok, “weeble”, thanks for the volunteer encouragement. Everytime I see soccer lines- i will think of you. I volunteer- but not on soccer fields. Do your neighbors complain about the chickens? are they a lot of work? I have been considering.. however, I need to check zoning reqs. But- the best part of this post (besides the fact that you referred to yourself as a weeble wobble- I can totally relate!) is the CHURCH. totally up my alley. architecture, renovation, that old peeling paint IS charming… ahh, that would be a fun project.


  17. BCQuilter
    September 18, 2008 at 4:16 PM #

    Our guild has the same lack of “new” volunteer blood. In fact, this year, we will be without a newsletter. No one wanted to step up to volunteer. Sad really.

    Ah well, a fellow guilder, with some tutelage from little old me, has started a Guild Blog, and soon we’ll be launching a new Guild website.

    I love the car and plate! Woohoo!

    Chickens are funny, they do seem to like fresh straw in their laying boxes. We have one ol’ bird, the matriarch, if you will, that is 12 years old, and is still laying very well. This same bird in her prime, laid 18 eggs, and hatched out 16. The typical hen will have a 50% success rate of hatching… I guess no one told her. LOL.



  18. Sandy in Calgary
    September 18, 2008 at 4:41 PM #

    About the lack of volunteers, Mark, don’t stress about it. My dad who is 83 says it was always that way in his day too – some things never change.

    Loved the workshop and dinner you did in Moose Jaw in July – would do it all again in a heartbeat. Did you ever get your passport back?

    Love the car!!


  19. September 20, 2008 at 2:55 PM #

    Love that Old church….looks like a quiltshop in the making to me!!!! You’ve been overdue for a convertible, honey…..or a tattoo!!!That’s what my Mom did when she turned the big 50….she still loves to shock the lil ol ladies at the quilt shops with it……its a spool of thread and a needle!! also…fly me to pickle road and I will teach you all about that APQS!!! Ive had mine for years and am a Sales Rep…I”ll show ya a good time and teach you a few things!!!
    So bummed I missed the Thunder Bay retreat!! My Mom and I talked about it….NEXT YEAR 4 sure….love yer baby dog….!!


  20. September 23, 2008 at 9:18 PM #

    Ah….since hearing you feeding the chickens, I at least can see their home!!

    I LOVE the license plate….and the LIGHTS!! Hysterical!!

    I’m SO glad I found your blog. Anyone who lines soccer fields, would love to live in an old peeling church, quilts, has chickens, a convertible, and loves his dog is my kind of guy!!!


  21. Penny Schmitt
    September 26, 2008 at 3:06 PM #

    Hi Mark–Totally love the flaming quilter plate! Speaking of volunteering, I’m in Houston TX working on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers part of the Hurricane IKE recovery. We have been overseeing water & ice distribution, some of the debris removal, temporary Blue Roof bandaids for storm damaged houses and other stuff. Bet there are a lot of Texas people who are homeless and heartbroken, and could use a quilt for a hug. I visited the town of Bridge City where all but 14 households have been flooded out of their homes. Just one of many hard-hit neighborhoods. Don’t know anything about anything going on, but where there are quilters there’s bound to be help. Good volunteer opportunity!


  22. Lily
    September 28, 2008 at 1:52 PM #

    This is one Grandma who travels 2 hours just to see her wonderful grandsons play soccer and my beautiful granddaughter do her gymnastics thing. I also hardly ever missed one of my own kids games (and there were LOTS with 5 kids!) So not all parents are as lame as those there. However, our guild is a little the same as yours: 110 members and 20 – 30 people do most of the work (and yes, I’m one of them). LOVE the convertible! I’m jealous!


  23. Matti
    September 30, 2008 at 3:23 PM #

    Just found your blog. Apparently, I’m slow to pick up on some things. Simply love your post on all fronts. Will send a shortcut to my desktop so I remember to check in…


  24. Lori
    October 1, 2008 at 12:53 PM #

    So “you sexy thing” you got a convertible…for your mid-life crisis. I think it’s great. And you’ll get to feel the wind through your hair, caressing your face, while you’re racing down the highway…Ahhhhhh. Use it in good health!
    And I agree, Evan gets the older vehicle…when he drives. First he will need to learn respect for the aged before getting his hands on the new “baby”.

    Right as usual the same people do the work while others sit a wait to be entertained. Guess they never experienced the “fun” in “work”.

    Play on!


  25. October 4, 2008 at 4:49 PM #

    you crack me up. love your flaming quilter plate!
    my friend bought a convertible porsche. he was at a stop light. he’s 40-ish. he hears girls screaming at him and says to himself, “yeah, this is why i bought this car, the girls love it”. he slowly turns to look at the screaming girls, trying to act all cool, and they are the 12 year olds that he teaches in sunday school!
    go buy that church and restore it!!!!
    have a great weekend!


  26. Mary Ann Scanlon
    October 6, 2008 at 3:19 AM #

    Oh such a totally cool quiltshop could be done out of that church! there is a similar one (at least there used to be) old church converted to a fabulous restaurant in Pueblo,l Colorado. But I’d rather have you working on fabric lines and magazines so it’ll have to wait I guess.
    When my kids were younger and playing soccer I coached for a number of years and our league too had to go to the “mandatory volunteer” approach to get things done. It never failed, those who did the least had the most to say about what needed to be done! Now my daughter is the woman’s coach at a small college and gets to play everyday..she gets paid for it. Oh and this year she and her partner had their first child…guess how many quilts, stuffed toys and hand made blankies that baby girl has!


  27. Mona
    October 24, 2008 at 7:07 PM #

    My son lived in a renovated church a couple of years back and it was BY FAR the coolest place I have ever seen. The stained glass windows when the light came thru. TO DIE FOR! His church had an Art Gallery in the ground floor, he lived in the upstairs. Just a thought 8^}


  28. October 24, 2008 at 9:55 PM #

    The 80/20 rule seems alive and well most places-20% of the people do the work for the other 80%-in the volunteer world. I suppose I might be stretching it-it’s more like 5% at our church!

    Thanks for drawing the lines. I’m a total soccer fan and my girls are past all that now. It’s one of the best recreation/exercise for kids today. Of course watching the grown up hot guys in Europe play football (soccer) is a fun afternoon spent while quilting.


  29. Penny
    November 7, 2008 at 8:21 PM #

    Hey Mark,
    I have to say that I totally agree with you about volunteers. We did the big soccer club volunteer thing for 9 yrs, and the only people who complained, were people who did no volunteering of their own. I told them that when they started paying me, then I would entertain their comments…otherwise, volunteer or get out of the kitchen (or soccer field in this case).
    The whole experience has actually kept me from joining a quilt guild. I’m not a slug, and I’m afraid I would end up in the same situation…and it would taint my love for all things quilting…maybe someday. Until then, I have my underground guild…my friends who share my obsession, and the newbies who ask me to help them get into it…that’s enough.


  30. November 30, 2008 at 12:01 AM #

    I think that every little bit helps, too. If everyone can just do a tiny thing, then they all will add up to a big thing and make a difference.


  31. mbubloni
    February 23, 2009 at 5:33 PM #

    I’m new to this and I just had to comment I love the license pate and frame!!!


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