March 2007

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The Ami Simms Newsletter
March 2007
Copyright by Ami Simms

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(Aren't you glad you decided to read this newsletter online?!)

As always I'm glad you tuned in. This newsletter comes out some time on the first day of every single month without exceptions. I have until midnight (eastern time) and some months it's down to the wire!

Linda Cage liked the new term from last month's newsletter: SABLE: Supplies Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy

She prefers:
FABLE Fabric Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy.

I hear you, Linda.

Madison J. Dog here. Mom says I should always introduce myself at the beginning of my column in case people think I'm a human person. I am a dog person. If it weren't for the spellchecker you'd know fur sure.

Somebody wrote in and asked if I do tricks. Mom taught me to bark on command when I was a therapy dog. The hand signal was when she cupped her ear as if she couldn't hear. I started off really soft and then got louder with encouragement. Then we switched the signal when the people we were visiting couldn't hear Mom talk and they'd cup their ears. I'd bark and then nobody could hear anything.

Now Mom shows me the sign for Little. It usually takes me three times to get really loud. I'm only allowed to bark outside and I can bark whenever I want as long as I don't wake anybody up. If I woof and it's the wrong time, Mom hollers out the sliding door to No Bark and I stop. I love to bark at people on the sidewalk from behind the fence. They can't see me and I hope they think I'm mean. Personally, I think I'm terrified, but the barking helps.

Inside I use my quiet voice. I exhale loudly when I want something, like food, or more water, or a Cookie, or the thing on the table. I exhale as loud as I can and it sounds like a very soft bark. Then I perk up my ears, jump backwards, and give the humans my Earnest Look. Usually I have to run up to whoever is not paying attention to me, exhale, and jump backwards several times before they figure it out. I get a lot of exercise this way.

Recently I have become very needy and unappreciative of conversations that do not include me or are not about me or can not be conducted without petting me. Mom says I am developing a Behavior Problem and I had better "straighten up and fly right." I think she has me confused with the bird which we don't have one of.

We don't have a cat either, but if you do, I'm sure you will enjoy this video.

Here are the highlights:

Fire up your sewing machine as the Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts have been invited back to the International Quilt Festival in Houston! Last year we brought 359 and made $16,940 for Alzheimer's research. This year I want to bring 1,000 quilts! What do you say?

We have also been invited to sell a limited amount of Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts at the 38th National Quilting Association Show in Columbus, OH in June. The NQA show will mark the first time that the exhibit quilt AND the "Priority Quilts" will be at the same venue. Wait there's more! I'll be there too presenting some free lectures about the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative.

Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece was very well received at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, VA in February. The quilts are on their way to St Louis and Dallas in March. When you see the quilts in Virginia, please email me a comment to share on the web page.

If you can help White Glove the exhibit at future venues, please don't be shy. Your help is needed and appreciated.

If you are attending the St Louis show and can print off and hand carry some flyers for me. Click here.

If you will be attending the Dallas show or you just want to help, I need some flyers printed and mailed/hand delivered to Dallas. Click here.

If you'd be willing to pass out flyers at your next guild meeting, Click here.

As you might remember, Ricky visited the Priority: Alzheimer's booth at Festival in November and shot some footage for The Quilt Show. This pre-recorded segment will be included in a future broadcast. The segment is in production right now and Ricky emailed me to ask about the photograph I had on display in the booth. (I had brought a picture of my mom so that she could be there "with us." She no longer understands what I do, but she was my biggest cheerleader.)

Ricky was interested in the photo because it puts a face on Alzheimer's. Real people get this disease. He wanted to know who the person was and did I have a scan of the picture to insert into the film. I did and I sent it to him.

I offered to ask people who have made Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts if they would also like to share a picture of their loved one with Alzheimer's on The Quilt Show. If you'd be willing, please email Ricky, attaching your photo to the email.

After raising awareness, the next step is advocacy. Our daughter Jennie is going to Washington, DC this month to attend the Alzheimer's Public Policy Forum March 18-20.

I am not able to make it due to a previous teaching commitment but Jennie will meet other advocates from around the country, participate in a candlelight vigil, learn what other states are doing to secure funding for programs and research, be briefed on the latest scientific developments in Alzheimer's treatments, learn how to make Alzheimer's part of the presidential debate in 2008, and a host of other things in preparation to her visiting Capitol Hill and meeting with legislators. Part of her assignment will be to hand carry letters from citizens like you and me who want to send a message to Congress that more funding is needed to support Alzheimer's research. She will be taking copies of the Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece CD and a personal letter from me.

As citizens in a democracy we have an opportunity, to communicate with our legislators and let them know how we feel. If, like me, you can't make it to the Congress to lobby for more research funds for Alzheimer's research you can make a "virtual visit." Enter your name and zip code and a special web page will automatically generate a letter to members of Congress who represent you. You can add a picture or a personal statement, or not. It doesn't get any easier than this.

I am honored that the letter I wrote for last year's Virtual Visit was selected by the Alzheimer's Association to inspire others to write this year. Let's FLOOD Congress with letters!

To participate, just fill out the information on that page to make your voice heard. You can do this. If you've never written your Congressperson, this is an easy way to start. Funding for Alzheimer's research at the federal level is DECREASING, not increasing. If this is a concern to you, please speak up.

What's better than a garment that travels anywhere, looks great, can be wadded up and stuffed in a suitcase, and NEVER requires ironing? Give up? A Rag Fur Jacket! This garment is all that and more. It's the most fun jacket you'll ever wear. I guarantee you can't wear in into an elevator without getting the Quilter's Handshake — that's someone wanting to pet what you're wearing!

Spring is just around the corner. Celebrate with something fun to make and fun to wear! Save money when you buy scissors too. And I happen to know how you can get 10% off your order, don't you? Click here to order.

Wikipedia is a free, web-based encyclopedia written collaboratively by volunteers. Never having visited there before, it was quite engrossing. Why did I go? A writer was surfing the Web and came across my story on visiting the White House. (His mother was a quilter.) Jim asked if he could use my photographs of the drapery in his article.

So if you'd like to see what Wikipedia is all about, and see something moderately familiar, click here and here.

Click on the little icon by each picture and you will see that I even got a photo credit!

When I run out of clean clothes it's not a pretty sight. I actually wore orange socks the other day, the gray turtleneck shirt with the blue dye stain across the shoulder, AND the short jeans that make me look like I'm expecting a flood. I even went out in public. I visited Mom. When the Alzheimer's residents who dress themselves look better than you do, it's time to do the laundry.

OK, I was in a hurry and I goofed. I threw the $9.95 TJ Max silk bomber-style jacket from 1994, which I have carefully hand-washed many times before, into the washing machine. I don't know what possessed me, but the gods where smiling and it came out unscathed—except for the shoulder pads. The thread holding them to the jacket had shrunk. All the other thread was fine. The silk fabric even seemed to enjoy the water and agitation. Go figure. The shoulder pads, however, were not happy. They were bunched and gathered, so I yanked at them to relieve their pain. This caused the offending thread to break, no doubt in many places, setting my shoulder pads free to wander inside my jacket between the outside shell and the lining.

I carefully donned my jacket, manually adjusted the shoulder pads at shoulder level, threw a spool of thread, a needle, two pins, thimble, and a seam ripper in the pocket and enjoyed the rest of my day, confident that I would find time to give the jacket a Shoulder Pad-ectomy at my leisure. Multi-tasking at it's best. I was so proud.

My plan worked like a charm. I went out in public again, several times. It wasn't until late that evening on the way home in the car that I leaned back and noticed I was lumpy in strange places. Indeed. I couldn't figure out why, having forgotten that I was to perform surgery on my jacket.

Sadly, both liberated shoulder pads, encouraged by my active lifestyle, had migrated south. One had set up house down the back of right arm and the other made was residing just under my left shoulder blade. Great. I felt like I had been walking around all day with my fly open. Or worse — maybe people thought they were implants gone awry!

Still convinced my plan would work (eventually), I coaxed the shoulder pads back into their original position, carefully inserted my arms, marveled at my brilliance, and decided that I would just wear the jacket until I could find time to pick out the shoulder stitches, reach in, remove the shoulder pads, and Invisibly Applique the seam closed. It was only a matter of time. Some plan. Currently I am on day FOUR! Don't stand too close.

It's called Hassle Me and you can set it to send you email "reminder" of anything you want ("Remove Shoulder Pads) at "semi-unpredictable intervals." Go try it, but do NOT put my email address down!

There's a new Watch Your Step entry. Liz Broussard shares a Twisted Sisters quilt and Denise Moon made a Picture Play Quilt. Jean shares a picture of her stash and Jack & Amy check in from Kazakhstan Kazakhstan with a new letter and some new pictures added to their last letter.

Thanks for Sandy B. for sharing this one. It's on a web site about a Planetary Orbital Calculator, whatever that is. (Please don't write and tell me.) Skim as you scroll all the way to the bottom for the disclaimer. Worth it.

Please do. Forward the ENTIRE thing to all your friends and even some of your enemies. Everybody enjoys a laugh or two. Please do NOT forward just part of it. Somehow my name gets dropped off when these things float through cyberspace and since I’m writing them for free, I should at least get credit for writing them. If you write a guild newsletter (real paper or online) and would like to “reprint” a particular part of the newsletter you must ask first. Here’s how.

Anything having to do with the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is yours to spread around. I don't care if my name is on it or not. Please help me get the word out.

Go quilt something!
Ami Simms