Monday, December 27, 2010

Our God Dogs Frazier and Oliver

Meet Frazier and Ollie our God Dogs. They belong to our friends Steve and Paula Craine. They recently went on Vacation to Florida and we volunteered to have their boys come stay with us while they were away. I am sure you have already noticed how much Frazier lookes like our Milford! But Frazier is his own dog, and from the inside out he was nothing like Milford at all. Neither of them were. That is comforting in a weird way. I don't want to find that other dogs are like Milford, because then neither of them are or were special, and that's not right or true. Ollie and Frazier are as different from each other as either of them is different from Milford. Ollie bold as brass one minute and hiding in the corner the next, and Frazier preferring to hole up alone in his kennel most of time until he would go rip roaring out the door chasing squirrels both real and imagined. It was fun having dogs in the house again, but it did help us decide that we are not ready to have a dog of our own yet. We like the freedom of being dogless, we like not having dog hair everywhere, we like leaving food on low tables without fear, we like spending all day running around town without thinking we need to head home to let the dogs out...No, we are not ready yet, but we will be soon enough.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Consolation Prize

As soon as Steve and I got over the disappointment of not going to
DC we had to get over the disappointment of not going to we did what works best for us and we turned to retail therapy. Facing another 3 years in the kitchen designed for a bachelor we decided to trade in our old kitchen table for an island with breakfast bar. I gained much needed work surface, two cabinets, and two drawers, some more display space and on the far side, a place for my most used cookbooks. We added some groovy tractor seat stools and voila a kitchen I can live with! The best part is now I have a work surface that faces the TV in the living room, so now I can watch and chop at the same time! I did wonder though, why this island, though smaller than my kitchen table actually seemed more useful to me, and it came to me, its the height. Its the same height as a kitchen counter and so makes for a usable work surface. The table, unless you were sitting down, was too low to use in that way. The table is not gone though, its been moved upstairs in my sewing room, hoisted up on bed risers bought at Bed Bath and Beyond and is now my big work table up there. I guess we could have saved a lot of money and just put the table on the risers downstairs, but what it would have gained in functionality, it would have more than lost in style...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hunting the Hunter Hunting the Hunter

If you look through our family pictures you are bound to notice there are
far few pictures of Steve than there ought to be. That's because he is usually the one holding the camera. Maybe that will change now that he upgraded to a better quality digital and I inherited the point and click Kodak for my own personal use. So now with both of us armed with a camera I might catch a shot of him too now and then like I did in Ashville not long ago. We were on the Biltmore Estate looking for photo opportunities when I spotted Steve stalking the statue of Dianna Goddess of the Hunt looking for the perfect angle, so I began hunting him as he hunted her. Its not the best photo in the world, but I like the concept of it very much. Maybe I should make a game of it, collecting shots of him taking pictures and see how many different poses, angles and wierd moments I can capture...Photographing the photograper hmm, I think I will give it a shot.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Biltmore Estate

Just a few weeks ago Steve and I took a mini VayCay. We went to Ashville NC, to visit the Biltmore estate. We bought the Christmas Candlelight tour with bonus day ticket. So we arrived at the estate at sunset and toured inside visiting all the rooms decorated for Christmas and lit by candlelight. There were musicians in the atrium playing beautifully, and the rooms all had decorated trees in them, and fires blazing in the fire places. It was lovely. I would show you pictures, but they did not allow photography indoors.

We went back the next morning to see the estate in the daylight and we took pictures then. You can imagine how grand the inside was when you see what the outside looks like! It is definitely on par with the great houses in Europe! Its open year round and offers all sorts of activities on the grounds from Horseback riding to segway tours...We think maybe we'll take one of those with Zach on one of his visits if he is interested...The only thing is they weigh you to make sure you do not exceed the weight limit for the horses or the segways, which thankfully I don't...but had better be in private! The things I'll do for a little adventure...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back from the Long Arm quilter

My Diary quilt is finished and hanging on the wall. I have taken to sending many of my quilt tops out to be professionally quilted on a long arm sewing machine. My hands have only so many stitches left in them and I am saving them up for my really dear projects. So my lap quilts, little projects like the diary quilt, some baby quilts I have in the works all get sent to my Long Arm quilter. She did a great job on the diary quilt and it makes me wish I was half decent at machine quilting, or had a spare $10,000 or so laying around so I could buy a long arm sewing machine...maybe one day, you just never know. I have been finding that I actually am reaching a lot of my long term goals and dreams, so why not add that to the list? After all, it could happen!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Do you know what I know

I am getting better about keeping Christmas Secrets, but there
was a time when I could scarcely keep my mouth shut. Its not that I didn't want people to have a surprise on Christmas morning, it was that I could not live with the uncertainty of whether or not I had made a good call on the the gift I had chosen! I was always desperate to know if I had hit the mark or missed it by a mile, and the only way to know for sure was to spill my guts. So I often would. I have moved on from there though in recent years and can now keep a Christmas secret with the best of them. Is it because I have more confidence in my gift selecting capabilities, or do I care less about whether or not my selection is well received? I think its actually due to the fact that as we have all grown older, and as the amount of money spent on gifts has increased, we have all come to see the wisdom in asking each other what we really want and then really getting it for each other, so there is less mystery all around. The gifts that are truly a surprise are the trifling gifts that if they are a good call are a source of delight, and if they are off their mark, then the heartache is proportionately small, in line with the amount of money and thought spent on them. So I guess I have not gained any great self control after all, but there for a minute I thought I had made a great leap forward.
The picture by the way was taken in the garden at Biltmore. He looks like he is about to whisper something good in your ear, does he not?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mom's Mijita

We are dog people, and have always been dog people. So when Mom decided the time had come to get a dog we were all on board. After some looking and asking around Jenny announced that she had just the sort of dog Mom was looking for. That's when Mija and Mom both hit pay dirt. Mija could not ask for a better situation. She is loved and fussed over and has a life that pound puppies dream of. Her boy was even adopted into the family and Junior now lives with Jamie , Sue and the kids. Mija and Junior even get to see each other once in a while. And for Mija, once in a while is enough. Junior, a chiweenie, is a spitfire and is about all his mom can take.

Mom has the dog of her dreams. Mija is good natured, smart, full of personality. She stuffs a remarkable amount of dog in that tiny little frame of hers. She may be small, but she is all dog! There is just enough mischievousness in her to keep things interesting, but not so much as to take the joy out of having her around. Like the rest of us, Mija is a chow hound and it was not long before she succumbed and put on some weight. The good news is that like the rest of us, She is learning that less is more and has started off on the long road back to slimville.

I wonder when Steve and I decide to start looking for a pup if we will find one as good as Mija? We will get to have some furry company in a few days. Our friends the Craines are going to Florida for 10 days and we are going to keep their two dogs for them while they are away, Frazier is a rat/jack russel mix, and Ollie is all jack russel. It will either send us strait out to find a pup of our own, or it will remind us why we decided to wait in the first place.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A thing of beauty is a joy forever

Have you ever been taken by surprise by something that struck you as uncommonly beautiful? So beautiful that you could look at it for ages? That happened to me on my recent trip to Ashville, NC. It was around 4 in the afternoon and Steve and I had just gotten in to Asheville and were trying to find our way to the Marriott. I looked up and saw the dome on the First Baptist Church and from then on I was useless to Steve as a navigator, at least until we had driven far enough from the dome that we lost sight of it. It was love at first sight! Maybe it had to do with the angle of the late afternoon fall light, or the backdrop of autumnal colors, whatever it was won me over utterly and completely. I could have feasted my eyes on it for hours, too bad we had a time schedule to stick to. The next day before we drove home Steve took me back to the church so that I could get a photograph of the dome. I thought it might prove inspirational for a quilt or mini project somewhere down the line. At the very least I can look at it and study it to my hearts content now. I love the colors of the dome, how the verdigris of the cupola seems to spill out onto the tiles of the dome and trickle down. Maybe its the colors that I find so striking. Celedon green is a favorite and pairing it with the terra cotta makes both colors more than they are alone. I don't know, but whatever it is, I want more!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Start with Lily Gilding 101 down below...

I know it will be posted in reverse order, and had I thought it through I could have done this backward and then it would have been easier on my gentle readers, but its early and I am not that clever. So if you are reading this first, then go back two blog entries earlier to Lily Gilding 101 and start there.

Steve may not have brought home 10,000 Italian twinkle lights, but we do have a hand carved wooden Italian nativity. We bought it in the Black Forrest of Germany. We spent more than we should have, but I have never regretted it. Its a true heirloom. It makes me happy every time I see it. We take turns from year to year arraigning it. This year was my turn. I wonder what Steve will do with it next year?
By now you must all realize I have an addiction to Christmas ornaments. We have 5 trees up in the house this year, though its not as grave as it sounds. There is the one big one, the aluminum one in the dining room, and all the rest are wee little trees. One in our bedroom that has my miniature Hallmark ornaments, and the two pictured above, the first one is in my craft room. I figured I spend so much time up there I ought have a tree to enjoy, and the last one is Steve's tree. He has been collecting the White House ornaments, so we devoted an elegant blue and gold tree for them. Having the extra trees eases some congestion on the big tree and showcases the ornaments better. I will have to curb myself though. Its getting stupid and I know it. My only relief is to branch out and do trees in other places...which I have. The office Tree trimming party is on Friday (my idea) We donated our old, overly large tree to the office and will be decorating it in a blue and silver Air Force theme...I have already bought a lot of the ornaments!

Lily Gilding, the saga continues

I don't know why I have such penchant for Christmas decorations, but I do. The trouble for me is that it is like the snow in Omaha. Growing up in New Mexico I saw plenty of snow, we got some most every year. Sometimes we would get over 6 inches in one snowfall and that was a lot for us! But it would always melt away. The only reminder that it had snowed at all would be the grubby piles of parking lot snow slowly shrinking away over the next few weeks. In Omaha it was different. It would usually snow for the first time in late October and then turn too cold for that snow to melt and then over the course of the winter the snow would accumulate till the piles on either side of the driveway would be too high to throw another shovel full on to them. After that first winter I learned to throw the scoops deep into the yard to make way for the next dozen snowfalls...So like the snow in Omaha my ornaments and decorations are starting to accumulate. I love them and want to keep them, but then I love the new stuff too and want to get it...I am putting myself on a 5 year self imposed ornament moratorium...I have promised not to buy another new ornament for 5 years and furthermore, I have promised to cull the collection of at least 5 ornaments each year (but that included accidental breakage) I am incorrigible though, I have already decided at the front end of my 5 year restriction exactly what I will buy when my time is! I do not have enough green ornaments. Don't you know I will window shop for 5 years looking at all the wonderful green ornaments...I wonder if I will be able to do it? When I was struggling to find room on the tree for one more ornament, it seemed like a good idea, but already I am having serious misgivings!

Lily Gilding 101

I think the next time I need a name for some online adventure I will call myself "Lily gilder" I absolutely belong to that group of people who believe more is more and good can always be made better with just a little sprinkle of glitter and that is never more true than at Christmas. I get teased a lot by Steve and others for the amount of decorations I have accumulated, but he always enjoys the house when its been decked out for Christmas, and I see him inching toward Griswald status with every passing year in the exterior illumination category. When he comes home from Lowes with 10,000 Italian twinkle lights my years of justifying my Christmas ornaments will be over for sure. I am almost free and clear now if you add in his penchant for Christmas CD's...Anyway, you requested it Junie, so here it is...My Christmas house 2010. Be advised it will come in multiple posts because I can only fit so many pictures in each blog entry.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

'Ohelo Berry Wreath

I can hardly believe it myself, but its true, I have finished the second block in my Aloha Album. I really did not think I would even begin this quilt for years, let alone actually make reasonable progress on it, but there you go. I have two of the seventeen blocks done. Of course one of those 17 is a monster center medallion block that will take months to complete, so I am still trying to pace myself. This one is an 'Ohelo berry wreath, I had not heard of 'Ohelo berries before so did a little research on line and found that they grow wild on the big island and make a nice jam. Like the breadfruit, I have never tried it, but I might since I also found that you can order jars of it online, or maybe a kind hearted friend who lives in Hawaii will take pity on me and send it in a care package one day (hint, hint)

I think the dark background is working pretty well. I will feel more comfortable in my decision as I get more blocks done and can get a better idea of the end result, but I feel good about it at this point. Now back to my sewing room where block number three is sitting waiting for me to move it toward completion. Its the block I went rogue on and decided to redesign entirely to suit me. Wait till you see it, I think its going to be a doozy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Treasure Hunt, the first of five

This is the first of my five miniature quilts that I am making to submit to IGMA The International Guild of Miniature Artisans for an Artisan certificate. Artisan status within the guild is highly prized and not easy to get. Most who apply are turned down on their first submission, so I really do not know what to expect, but I do know I am pleased with this, my first effort. I call it "Treasure Hunt" because of the jewel tone colors, the central theme of gold and for the over 20 "I SPy" motifs I have embroidered on the quilt. See if you can spot some of them...A mushroom, a bouquet of flowers, a key, a pair of cherrys, a spider and her web, a peacock feather and a tropical island...I know its not easy to see them on the screen, but if you look closely you might find a few. While your at it, notice the gold feather stitching, about sixteen of them to the inch!

Friday, November 19, 2010


Just like in traditional patchwork where the first block you are likely to learn is a 9-patch, the first block you will likely do in Hawaiian quilting is the Ulu pattern. Ulu is Hawaiian for breadfruit and it is a tradition in the islands for novice quilters to make this pattern first, doing so is said to ensure many more happy adventures in Hawaiian quilt making. Since my Aloha Album is a huge undertaking, I thought it wise to follow the advice of the quilting Kupunas and Kahunas. Its good advice too because the Ulu pattern is excellent for cutting your applique teeth on. It has plenty of points, as well as inside and outside wonder they tell you to do it first, it will teach you all you need to know, except what breadfruit actually tastes like...thats one of the things I would have liked to have done while in Hawaii but did not get the opportunity. But at least now I have quilted it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

great great great grandpa Bole

A long time ago I heard a statistic that stuck with me; that most people cannot name their great grandparents. At the time I heard it I know I couldn't. So it pleases me that I can finally name all eight of them and many more still. Not only that, but I have seen pictures of all but one of them, my Granny's mother who died when Granny was just a little girl. And whats more, I know a little bit about some of them by piecing together little snippets that I have collected through my research and now have a sketchy pixelated composite idea of what some aspects of their lives might have been like. I like knowing my families place in history, it helps me understand my own place a little better I guess.

This summer on my trip back to South Carolina I made a point to go to Camp Ford in Tyler Texas. It was a rebel prison camp from the civil war and it was where my great great great grandfather Sampson Bole died of disease just months before the war ended. As prison camps went, it was one of the better ones, and had it not been for overcrowding toward the end Sampson might have lived. He was from Ohio and from his muster records I know he was 44 when he enlisted, that he was tall and dark complected, and was a carpenter by trade. He enlisted in April of 1864, was captured at the battle of Marks Mills in Arkansas and was marched to Camp Ford and was dead by October. He is buried in a National Cemetery in Pineville Louisiana. I made a point to go there too. He was not listed on the record there meant to help make finding grave sites easier. But Steve found it back in the corner,one of the older graves in the cemetery. Yes, Sampson's grave was there in spite of being left off the "helpful" list. We left some flowers, a note in the record book suggesting they update it and include Sampson in it, and then headed back to South Carolina. I don't know if any other of his descendants have been to his grave, but I have. I wondered what he must have thought as he lay dying alone and far from home. I wondered if he worried that he would be lost and forgotten, if his family would ever know what became of him. I know they did eventually learn of his death , his wife Lydia petitioned for her widows pension, and William Hook, the man who as a friend of the family vouched for her having been married to Sampson was to become her own daughter Sarah's father in law and one of my own great great great grandfathers when Sarah married his son William Bernard Hook, I even have a picture of him and William Bernard too, Sarah eventually divorced him...I wonder if I will ever know why? I do know that Sampson was not forgotten and I think it pleases him to know that even now 140 years and 5 generations later he is still thought of, loved and remembered.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sturm und Drang in South Kakalaka

So Steve and I were sitting at Five Guys last night enjoying a tasty cheeseburger when all of a sudden Steve says "Oh Crap!" "What, WHAT?" I say...Steve then tells me that he just realized his high year of tenure, the magical thirty years that mark his retirement date from the military will fall a few months short of a full three year tour in Germany. SO this means there is a good chance we will NOT be able to go. All bets are off, but because his assignments come out of the Chiefs group and not the general enlisted assignment system, they play by a different set of rules and he may still be as eligible as we had originally thought before the Five Guys Epiphany. We wont know till Monday, and even then I will not trust the answer what ever it is. The Air Force has a remarkable way to make things work when they want them to. The general rules may not apply here at all, or may be waived "in the best interest of the Air Force" Or they may well say in Air Forcese "Sucks to be You" They are pretty good at that last one...

Well its Monday morning and the answer so far is "no, you cannot move" So now thoughts have turned from beer and bratwurst to buying a big ol island for my kitchen to make it more user friendly and finding a reputable rat terrier breeder...

By the way, anybody recognize the castle? You should! The bridge was washed out and we had to stay the night...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Aloha Oy!

I finally did it. I finally began working on my Aloha Album. Its a bit of a risky move because I did a complete 180 on my choice of background fabric for the quilt. In the picture of the completed quilt that comes with the pattern you can see that they chose a pale honey colored fabric. My choice is pictured above. It's a fabric line called Stonehenge, and I chose the color way called flint.

One of the things I thought was most beautiful in Hawaii were the lava rock structures and walls you find there, or the lava fields on the big Island with ferns and plants just starting to grow. Plants show their tropical colors more vividly against the dark lava and that was what I was hoping to capture. Its not as simple as swapping out backgrounds though, as I am coming to find out. First how do you trace a pattern on dark fabric? With white transfer paper, I have learned. Also one of the keys to a good quilt is controlling contrast in the fabrics to make them do what you want them to do. My overall objective was for a high contrast quilt, that's easier to do on a light background. So I have spent the $100 for my flint fabric, now its my job to turn it into what I had envisioned. I will have to choose brighter and lighter fabrics than I had intended, I sure hope my gamble pays off. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chubby Cheeks

Well, after what just happened I had to write about it on my blog...

I was upstairs in the FROG (Family Room Over Garage) doing my exercises when I heard an unusual commotion coming from Mr. Humphries cage. Its unusual because Hamsters are nocturnal and Mr. Humphries barely stirs when she hears me in the room during the day. The noise coming from her cage this morning was remarkable for its volume and length, enough of a fuss to make me quit my exercise routine to go see what was happening.

What I found was Mr. Humphries dangling from between the rungs of a little bird ladder in her cage leading from the bottom to one of the platforms. She was hanging not from her paws, but from her over stuffed cheek pouches! I guess she got a case of the midnight munchies, stepped out for a little nibble and decided to take a load of tidbits and bedding back to her upstairs house she has been sleeping in lately. She must have lost her footing on the ladder, slipped through until she got hung up on her chubby cheeks. Good thing I was in the room when it happened! When I looked over all I saw was a bulging hamster mouth, slightly agape with bedding poking out from between her teeth. I wish I had taken a picture, but it would have been cruel to leave her hanging by her face while I went looking for a camera. So I did the right thing, lowered the ladder and let her free herself. She made her way back to her house, taking the longer but less treacherous route and I went back to my pilates ring. While I am sorry for any trauma the incident brought to dear Mr. Humphries, I can't help but wonder what good things are in store for me on a day like this with a start like that!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kit's block

When you move around as much as I have you have the chance to meet lots of people, not all of them are keepers. Some are interesting and are good company while you are with them, but when you go, you leave them where you found them and move on to the next place and the people who inhabit it. Once in a while though you do encounter a "keeper" someone who's value far exceeds the trouble of keeping in touch. I have found a few keepers along the way and you know who you are...One of them is my friend Kit from Omaha. She is as smart and as talented a person as you are likely to find. She is pretty and funny and has a dry wit that would be the envy of any Englishman. She is the one who first showed me what good applique work could look like, I still see in my minds eye the half finished applique quilt she showed me once and the startling blue bow that she had so finely worked that accented the floral was love at first sight. As a going away gift she gave me several fat quarters of fabric to begin my own applique project.

Funny how things come full circle...Now eight years later, I mentioned to Kit that I was looking for a pattern book for an applique masterpiece called The Little Brown Bird. I had decided that the time was nearly at hand for me to begin work on something of that magnitude, but finding the book was proving difficult. She said she thought she had the book on her shelf and since her body is in full blown mutiny she knew she would not ever make the quilt and wanted me to have the book. So she sent it to me and in return I promised to work one of the blocks from the book for her. She chose the rose basket block . I was so glad she did, because it was the one I wanted to do most of all. I was eager to try my hand at one of the blocks to see if I had the right stuff for this level of work. I think I do...what do you all think?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This one is for Junie

Autumn is my favorite time of year. The leaves on the little maple tree in our front yard are just turning red, and there is a nip in the air first thing in the morning that makes me wonder if its time to turn on our heaters. I missed Autumn while I lived in Hawaii, at least the autumn that I had always known, of leaves turning colors, days cold enough to want a jacket, but warm enough that you could manage without one or the smell of wood smoke in the air. But for what Hawaii lacks in those sorts of autumnal delights it makes up for with the constant need to rake up dead leaves. I grew to hate the plumeria tree that grew in our front yard. Our neighborhood was a tidy one, and when I neglected to pick up after my dirty tree the neighbors did it for me, and nothing shamed me more. I resented having to pick up leaves year round. Other than the wonderfully sweet smelling flowers the only thing that Plumeria tree was good for was helping me pretend that Autumn had come to O'ahu. On nights when the wind kicked up I could hear the dead leaves scraping along the concrete of our driveway, and if I lowered the thermostat on the A/C a few more degrees I could almost convince myself that it was cold outside and the autumn leaves were rustling. As my time there grew I did actually learn to perceive the change in seasons. Its subtle, but its there. Still nothing beats a little fall color when you are deprived, so this post is for June, Enjoy the color and if you get a rainy day, make a pot of tea , lower your A/C enough to want a sweater,listen to the dead plumeria leaves rustling around outside and pretend you are snug in a house nestled in some autumn woods.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gifts from My sister

Imagine my surprise when the doorbell rang the day before my birthday and what I found was this
gourmet Chocolate Birthday Cake, sent to me by my sister and her family! I ask you what could be better than finding a chocolate cake on your doorstep? We put it in the Fridge and waited for my Birthday and had it for desert after my birthday dinner out with our friends the Craines, Steve and Paula pictured above. It was delicious and even with four of us feasting on it we had enough left over to have a second slice the next day. Good thing that finished it off though, or I would have kept on eating it and undoing what little good I have done recently in an effort to fit back into my pants.

I titled this entry "Gifts from my sister " because you can just barely see the turquoise necklace and earrings I am wearing in the picture. They were also a gift from my sister last Christmas. She made them herself which makes them all the more dear to me, not to mention they are the perfect match for my new turquoise shirt!

Thanks to my sister my birthday was everything it should have been, a great dinner, a cold beer, good company and CHOCOLATE CAKE!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The quilt top is finished!

Here it is, the finished family tree/diary quilt that I have been blogging about for the last several months. I think it looks pretty good, what do you all think? Of course it's not finished yet. I sent it to my long arm quilter who will quilt it on her special machine and then I will add the binding a rod pocket on the back so I can hang it on a wall. The bottom right block is actually an envelope pocket and inside I will put a key to the meaning of the quilt blocks. I have it already printed on a piece of fabric that I will fold up and keep inside so that years from now somebody will have the fun of deciphering it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bright Hope

This block is called Bright Hope. I think its the perfect choice for one of Zach's blocks because we are certainly full of many bright hopes for him and his future. They are well founded too. Sally Gotilla a dear friend of Steve's from way back said when she first saw Zach as a baby that he was kissed by Angels, and so he still seems to be. He is doing well in school and growing into a hardworking responsible adult. He makes us proud all the time, and even better, he makes us laugh! He is a funny man...I almost typed boy but then thought better of it. He has earned the right to be called a man through his hard work and smart choices. He is a wonderful son and his dad and I could not be more pleased with him! The best part of all is that we hear good things about him from people he has encountered. They all say generally the same thing, that they are impressed with the quality of his character and that he is a fine young man. I got to experience this first hand over the summer. We had gone to the Sears where he works for Family and Friends night. I was in the ladies department shopping when I looked up and saw him rolling down the aisle singing to himself as he pushed a dolly in front of him. He did not see me right away, so I know his bonhomie was genuine and he was happy to be at work doing his job. I knew why his co-workers liked him, I would like working along side somebody with that attitude too! Knowing that he is making good choices for no other reason than they are the right thing to do, even when he never expects us to know about them give me confidence that our bright hopes for Zachary are well founded indeed.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jaime the Tiger

This is probably my favorite block in the quilt. It certainly is the most personal block! I designed it myself and know that Mom and Zach would recognize it instantly! Mom came to the Netherlands to visit when Zach was not quite a year old. She wanted to give him his first birthday present while we were there and she knew she wanted it to be a stuffed tiger like the one in Calvin and Hobbes Since we thought Zach would be a lot like Calvin...boy we were right about that! We searched in every town we visited for a toy tiger. We had covered almost all of the Netherlands and had all but given up. We had seen toy tigers, but none of them had that Je ne sais quoi that we were looking for. Finally on the last day of her trip we stopped in the toy store in Barneveld, the one closest to our house and there he was...the tiger we had searched the width and breadth of the Netherlands to find, in our own back yard! We snapped him up and took him home. Mom pulled out the tiger and held him up in front of Zach and we watched in utter delight as the smile spread across Zach's face and ended in an all out giggling fit of laughter. It truly was love at first sight! Zach latched on to that tiger and has not let go yet. Of course Jaime is living with us in SC and not in Zach's room at the Frat house, but we all know Zach will never let go of Jaime!
How did he come to be called Jaime you might ask and I have the convoluted answer to that question. My sister's nickname as a baby was tiger, her given name is Jamie, but in New Mexico there is a male hispanic name that is spelled very closely...Jaime ( prounounced hi-me) so naturally Jamie was often mistakenly and sometimes purposefully called Jaime and so it sort of when Zach had a tiger we naturally gave it Jamies other nickname as its own name, clear as mud right?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baby Bunting

This block is called Baby Bunting and was an easy choice for my Zach. I still remember bringing him home from the Dutch hospital where he was born. Steve and I put him in the car seat and strapped him seemed strange to put such a tiny baby in such a big chair, his little head flopped over...Its a good thing that one of the shower gifts we received was a little cushion to put in car seats to support newborns over sized heads. I found out only recently that he was born in the shadow of the church where a pair of his ancestors were wed well over 400 years before. I wish I had known that then...

Thank goodness we had friends in the Netherlands, the Van De Glinds, the Paardekoopers, and our American friends the Polings, all who had experience with babies, something neither Steve nor I did. Both being the youngest in our own families, this was as up close and personal to a baby we had ever been! There is nothing like being thrown in the deep end to teach you how to swim and we were in well over our heads! But we managed and I think on the whole did a pretty decent job. We did it with a minumum of gadgets too. We bought a second hand crib before we left Clovis, we were given a second hand high chair and an old fashioned baby swing that you crank up by hand. The only things new were the play pen, the stroller and the car seat. Our shopping for baby stuff was severely limited. The BX on Soesterberg was small and had very little in the way of baby goods, and the Dutch stuff was out of our price range, so we did without all the bells and whistles. I did not even realize it until we moved back to the States and I saw all the baby stuff we had gotten by without. At the time I was a little disapointed to not have been able to play with all the gadgets, but you know instead of waisting time on baby gadgets I got to play with the baby instead and that was deffinately the better deal.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Z is for Zachary

This block is the Signal Flag design for the letter Z- Z for Zachary! I remember the exact moment when we chose the name Zachary for our still yet to be born baby. For some reason I never chose a girls name, only a boys. I did not know till he was born that he was a boy, the ultrasounds never showed us one way or the other, still I must have known because in my mind he was always a he and never a she.

We were at our own going away party hosted by Steve's office at Cannon AFB. It was at the restaurant above the bar at Western Skies, that then turned into China Star before burning down...We were sitting at the table talking over possible names and when the name Zachary came up we all liked it because it had the same hard ch that is in Wachter, and then Caroline Sherman said " I can hear it now...Zach Wachter...."and that was it. No need to look further, we had found the name. I hope he likes it...Having a name you like is a good thing. My name has been interpreted to mean Battle Maiden, at first I was not sure about that, but it has grown on me, seeing I have had a few battles to fight, its good I have the name for it. My friend Naomi gave me my name in Hawaiin, she took it from the literal translations of Wahine Koa to a more poetic and infinately more fun to say Kawahinewiwo'ole Which means fearless woman.

Zachary's name means Remembered by God. Since he was our one an only after my chemotherapy, I think he was remembered by God and he still is. I know because it's been repeatedly demonstrated throughout his 19 years. I tell him that good fortune follows him where ever he goes, but it would be more accurate to say that God remembers him where ever he goes.