Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Busy Week

This week I am finishing up the first edit of the pages and illustrations for the new book--can't divulge the title yet. The pages have been edited by my editors and now it's my turn to go through them and add anything or make any changes. The next version I see will be the page proofs, probably this summer. That part is very exciting--to see the layout and design of pages with photos. My publisher has the quilts to be able to photograph them and I've almost forgotten what they look like!

Everybody's making pink and brown quilts these days and there'll be one in the book too.

I tried to make every quilt in the book inspiring in some way and that's not always easy. I wanted them to be simple enough for beginners to make and yet also give experienced quilters patterns that are, if not exactly challenging, at least interesting. There also will be a few sewing accessories, which are always fun.

Here's my basket of scraps, leftovers from the book quilts--I still haven't cleaned it out yet.

In addition to making sure I finish up the book stuff I have lots of other things that are keeping me busy these days. My 16-year-old daughter has been having problems with herniated discs in her back for over a year that have gotten much worse in the last few months. It's been very stressful to see her in so much pain and not be able to participate in activities that she used to enjoy--she was a terrific soccer player for years and years. She's seen several doctors and has gone through two rounds of physical therapy which sometimes seems to aggravate it more. The latest doctor recommended a Physical Therapy/pain management program for adolescents which sounds promising and is supposed to have a good recovery success  rate. It happens to be located in downtown Chicago, which is not really a big problem for me--but we live at least 45 minutes away when traffic is good.


The program is four hours twice a week plus the commute, which means it will take up a decent part of my week as I will be driving her on those days. Since it doesn't make sense to fight traffic and go back home after I drop her off, I am stuck waiting downtown for hours at a time while she is going through the program for the next few weeks or months.


Don't get me wrong, I love the city. I was born and raised in Chicago and have always lived near it. My husband came with us yesterday and after meeting with the doctors and being introduced to the specifics of the program, we handed her over and took off for a few hours.


I spent my twenties living in an apartment in the city before I met my husband, married, had kids and then moved out to the suburbs. Although we occasionally travel into the downtown area, it's usually for an event---a concert, play or a work-related dinner for my husband--and so it's not that often that I get a chance to just roam around without a plan.


The physical therapy place is down the block from the American Girl Place--I had to stop and look for old times' sake. We were lucky to be able to have that store nearby to visit when my daughter was younger--she'd bring her favorite doll and we'd shop and have lunch in the American Girl cafe, running into girls from all over the country on trips to do the same thing. Oh the memories of my sweet baby girl playing with dolls!



The doll with the sunglasses sitting next to the dog looks like my Caitie!

From there we stopped for coffee and a snack and then walked all the way to the Chicago History Museum.


Chicago has some great neighborhoods and it's been years since I've walked through them instead of hastily driving past on my way to somewhere else. Luckily, it was a beautiful day.


Beautiful vintage architecture mixed with skyscrapers in the background.

Only the very rich can afford to live on Astor Street.

The History Museum

No visit to the Chicago History Museum is compete without seeing the exhibit on the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed much of the city, killing hundreds and leaving thousands homeless.

This doll really intrigued me and I wondered about her role in the Fire.

"During the Great Chicago Fire, 6-yr-old Charlotte McNally and her family fled for their lives. She carried her doll to safety and decades later donated it to the Chicago History Museum."

Then it was time to walk back and pick up my daughter. The walking did us some good and helped our stress levels a bit. If I hadn't been so worried about her I'd say it turned out to be a pretty good day. Wonder where I'll go in the coming weeks?



Barb said...

Thanks for the lovely photos of my home town.
I miss Chicago and we're trying to figure out a strategy to return. We lived in Glen Ellyn for 12, but now I've been in northern NJ for the past 7. American Girl is such a fun place to visit.
Sorry to hear about your daughters injury - hope all is well soon.
Looking forward to the new book!

Jan said...

WOW!!! First of all, I just love that first photo. The little scissors are so cute, the prints are gorgeous and I love Willow Tree Angels. The fabric basket is very pretty also. I have never seen Chicago so I really appreciate seeing these photos. What a beautiful city it is, not at all as I expected for some reason. Looks like you and your husband had a nice day despite the reason for being there. Good wishes for your daughter to have a full recovery from this back problem. I'm sure that is very frustrating for her as well as worrisome for mom and dad.

Kathleen Tracy said...

Thanks! My daughter gave me that angel for Mother's Day several years ago. Many people have a negative impression of Chicago but it's so vibrant and I loved living there for so many years. It's especially beautiful along Michigan Avenue and the lakefront and now I have a chance to spend more time roaming around there for hours every week.

Karen said...

First, I would like to say how sorry I am to hear about your daughter's back pain. My husband went through that two years ago and he had surgery to remove the bulge. He was back to work full time within a few months. He's able to do all the things he could do before. I'm curious as to why the doctors don't recommend surgery for her. It seems like such a fast way to solve the problem.
The pictures of Chicago are beautiful I was there in 1969 for one night. We met some old friends of my dad's from college. I remember the river and I think it was the Sears Tower that we saw too. It looks so much cleaner than I remember. I love the American Girl dolls. My daughter wasn't into playing with dolls so we don't have one of those.
I'm getting excited about your book coming out. It's fun to read about the process that it takes for a book to be published. Your little pincushion in the top photo is really cute and I love the little Angel as well.

Jenny said...

The pictures of Chicago are awesome. The American Girl Place holds a special place in my heart because I have such wonderful memories of spending time in the Los Angeles store with my daughter. Her most beloved doll is Samantha so I made her a Childhood Memories doll quilt to remind her of all the little things she treasured as a little girl. She will be 15 soon. Where does the time go? I hope this new physical therapy will help your daughter and she will be feeling better soon and can enjoy some of her favorite activities again. I too am curious about the little doll from the fire. What a comfort she must have been to that little 6 year old girl. Your new book sounds great and I am looking forward to seeing it.

Connie204 said...

I worked in downtown Chicago for years and grew up in the South Suburbs. I haven't been into the City for a while. Your pictures make it look great. Hope that the therapy works for your daughter and that she starts feeling better soon. Connie204

Daniƫlle said...

Thanks so much for the lovely pictures, they enable me to travel without flying any miles hihi!! I too hope your daughter will feel better soon! Happy sewing and good luck on the new print!! Daniƫlle

Kathleen Tracy said...

Thank you all so much for your best wishes and comments--it is very stressful for us right now, particularly as she is hoping to choose a college to attend next year. Several doctors we've been to have told us surgery is not an option at this point, so we have to find the best way to deal with it. I hope this is it.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

What a lovely tour. My daughter lived in Oak Brook for 4 years working for a ministry. I visited her several times and we toured downtown a couple of times. She loved living there, but is now back at home in sunny Florida. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. Hope your daughter will do well with the therapy.

Beth said...

Kathleen, can't wait til that new book is out so I can see all the new quilts. I always enjoy the history along with the quilts.

My daughter has been through a similar experience with back pain. My DD is older than yours, but she started out with physical therapy and a home exercise program. She has been through that several times. She also had injections into her back which offered relief from the pain, but was not a cure so the pain came back as the medication in the injection wore off. She struggled for several years before having surgery last fall. She opted for the least aggressive procedure. Sadly she still has pain. Why am I telling you all this?First, I would like offer my sincere hope that this course of treatment helps your daughter and leaves her pain free. Second, if it does not, be her advocate and push to find out all possible treatment options. Seek other opinions. She is so young that I hate to think of her suffering and missing out on some of the activities she has loved. Not to sound like the voice of negativity, I also know people who completely rehab(d)their backs with therapy and it sounds like your daughter's program is intensive. Best of luck to her.
To you keep quilting and writing and rmember to breath.:)

Wendy said...

I've never been to Chicago, it looks like an interesting city. I look forward to your new book, is that little star pincushion in the new book? I love it.
I wish your daughter well.

Barbara J said...

Hi Kathy,

I hope your daughter is finding some pain relief with the new therapy she's going through.

I love the pictures of some items in your new book and of course pictures of Chicago.

I was thinking perhaps you could bring along some small quilts to hand quilt and park yourself in a comfy cafe chair or start a small project of English Paper Piecing!

Barbara J

Frances Leate said...

Thank you for the visual tour of Chicago - maybe I will get to see it in person one day.

Sandra said...

So sorry to hear that your daughter is not feeling well. Pain is a very humbling thing to deal with, especially when you are young. Hopefully they will find some answers to help her.

Such lovely photos of Chicago. I enjoyed the tour. Perhaps you could start a hand pieced quilt to pass the time. There are some wonderful tutorials online.

Kathleen Tracy said...

Thanks, Sandra. I have been hand piecing some hexagons and have them all ready to go, just in case it rains. Having the opportunity to walk along the lakefront or visit museums or other places in the city is hard to pass up since I've spent most of my time inside the last 9 months, working on the book and making quilts at home--day in, day out. Traveling around in the city will be a nice change.


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