Monday, November 28, 2011

poor, poor Rosa lee

Over the years a lot of people have said I should be a writer, enough have mentioned it to me that I have toyed with the idea from time to time; but I never knew what I should write about. Well now I know. If I ever did write a book it would be about poor, poor Rosa Lee. She is my great Grandmother, and her life seems to have been one tragedy after another . Just when I think it cannot get any worse, my cousin Pat who shares my fascination with Rosa Lee unearths another sad secret. Rosa lost her father when she was a girl, he died in an insane asylum. Though her mother was alive Rosa was declared an orphan was sent to live with the people on the neighboring farm and they eventually got legal custody of her. She married James William Furney and according to medical records had 8 children, though only 5 survived to adult hood. One child we learned died tragically. While being tossed playfully in the air by its father, it hit its head on the door jamb and died. Not long after that Rosa herself was institutionalized and she died a few months later at the young age of 37. Her redacted medical records pile on more tragedy where it is stated that her family described her as "always being more or less stupid" Well, where do you go with that? I am left wondering just what really happened in Rosa's life. Was she really stupid, or just unloved by the people who describe her that way. Who is the family that said this of her, her husband and children, or the ersatz family that took her in, or her own mother who seems to have abandoned her...Did her baby really die in a tragic accident, or was it abused and she knew it and that is what drove her insane? The Doctor also mentioned that her fragile condition was compounded by overwork and lack of stimulation. What was her home life like? Was she surrounded by loving people who watched helplessly as she unraveled right before their eyes, or where they cruel and unmoved, maybe even complicit in her deterioration. So many questions, so few answers, but wouldn't her story make a compelling novel? I want to think the best of these people in such a horrible situation, after all they are my own family, but something in Rosa's story conjures up dark undertones that makes me question what really happened. Maybe its just my over active imagination.
Just now I am tempted to say that it is a story I will never write, but I have learned enough to know that I do not know where life will take me and one day I may very well put pen to paper, or rather fingers to keyboard... so until then I will keep Rosa Lee and her story filed away in the back of my mind, and maybe one day if I ever think I am up to the task I will try my hand at writing a story about poor, poor Rosa Lee.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Me and Murray Earl

Have you ever stopped for a moment and taken stock of where you are and what you are doing and come away utterly astonished at what life had in store for you? Its happened to me several times and almost always because of Steve's long and successful career in the Air Force. The picture captures just such a moment. We had the good fortune to spend a Sunday with a visiting dignitary from Australia, Air Commodore Murray Earl. He is the Australian equivalent to our Chief of Chaplains. Never once while I was growing up in Clovis NM did I think for even a second that I would have an Air Commodore over for lunch and feed him fried okra. Even after I knew he was coming I did not imagine that we would hit it off so well. As it turns out, Murray and I have a lot in common chief among them is a love for Hereford cattle. Not only is he a chaplain, but he is a rancher as well, and having both grown up in cattle country we had a broad base to build on. I proudly showed him my growing collection of ceramic herefords, and he told me about his farm...I had a good time that day and I guess he did too because a few months later I received a package in the mail. It was an Australian book on quilting that he had sent to me in lieu of a hereford for my collection. I doubt we will ever see each other again, but life is full of surprises!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I need a beer...

What was supposed to be a fun, quick little blog entry about the wonderful weekend I just had with some friends at the Helen, Georgia Oktoberfest has now turned into a study of grief and frustration. Somebody somewhere arbitrarily decided to go and make my life better by tweaking the process of uploading photos to my blog. When I first decided to face my computer fears and learn to blog I got a handle on how to do it and things were great. Then we switched from Kodak to Picasa for managing our photos and I had to learn a new process, then we switched from a PC to a mac and I had to learn a new process, each time I struggled through learning the new way and thought that once and for all it was behind me and I could happily blog away without any more computer angst, and now suddenly and for no apparent reason, I cannot upload the pictures the way I used to. Did the good people at Google switch something on me without notice? Did Steve rearrange the properties of i-photo unbeknownst to me? Who knows. All I know is a few weeks ago I did it without a hitch and now this morning...well suffice it to say I am going to have to re-learn again! If you do not see a new post in a while you can bet its just me postponing the inevitable frustration of starting over at square one. Now I am too annoyed at the hour I spent trying to upload my photo to wax eloquent about friends and fun in Georgia mountains, maybe later, but don't hold your breath.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Snug as Bug in a Rug

Just in time for the "cold" snap that is headed our way, anything below 70 degrees is a cold snap in SC, but I digress. Winslow is sporting his brand new bespoke doggy sweater. You cannot see it in the picture but it matches his little collar perfectly. He even seemed happy to wear it even though the weather has not snapped yet. I have a friend from my quilt guild who has taken to knitting dog sweaters for the fun of it. So for the price of a skein of yarn I have this beautiful sweater for Winslow to snuggle up in this winter. Snuggling is something that he does very well! We have already settled into a routine in the mornings. After Steve goes off to work I venture downstairs for my first cup of coffee to sip while I read my appointed Bible readings. I sit cross legged on the sofa and Winslow snuggles down into the hammock of my nightgown and snoozes blissfully while I read. Last Saturday I slept in while Steve sat sipping coffee and snuggling the dog. Winslow was quite happy where he was till I wondered in and sat down on the sofa in my usual way and Winslow could not get out of Steve's chair and into my lap fast enough! I just shrugged as I looked at Steve and explained that Winslow and I had a "Thing"...The truth is that was the first time I realized that we did have a thing. Before he sat in my lap because it was the only lap around, but when he gave up his sweet spot with Steve to come have his morning cuddle with me, well...I was pleased. After all, I still smart from the fact that my dear Panchito dropped my like rock and took up with Steve without ever looking back. On another note, potty training is on an upswing! He is doing really well, yesterday he got to have the run of the downstairs for several hours and not a single incident!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I'm OK, You're OK method of house training

So its been a few years since we had to house train a puppy. In my mind Milford was a puppy prodigy ...a wunderhund of house training. Of course that is not true, I am sure it was a long and nasty ordeal for all involved, but apparently I have repressed memories about the whole affair. Wanting to do the right thing by Spazlo... I mean Winslow, I bought a book on the current methods of house training. Basically we are crate training Winslow, supposedly tapping into his denning instinct to keep him from pooing and peeing in the house. I get the concept and it has actually worked, he has kept his crate immaculate accept for an unfortunate day shortly after the de-worming medication kicked in. The part that we are having trouble with is the idea of positive reinforcement only. We have paid good money to be instructed to not scold, spank or otherwise traumatize Winslow if he should have an"accident" in the house. Well, no, not an accident, but I maintain that Winslow has had very few "accidents" but rather has made some MISTAKES and needs to be corrected. So with three solid weeks of what we have taken to calling the California method of house breaking we have finally thrown our hands up in surrender and have gone hunting for a rolled up news paper. Now when Winslow makes a mistake we let him know. Because we monitor his every move we are there when the mistake happens so there is no doubt in his mind why he is being corrected. So with the magic words "BAD DOG" ringing in his ears our little Winslow has hopefully turned the corner. With three and half solid days of old school housebreaking and no accidents in two and a half days...who says newer is better?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Honu Quadrille

This is the last of my Hawaiian applique blocks for my Aloha Album quilt. I was a bit intimidated by this block, the inner segments of the turtle shells had me on edge. I finished it while in NM and was surprised at how easy it was to do, it turns out I worried over nothing. Us chronic worry worts do that a lot. Now I worry if I will ever get time to sew another Aloha album block...But its probably a waste of energy too because the quilts that are keeping me from it are coming along nicely and I will be able to add the Album back into the rotation in a few months. I look forward to it, I miss the trips down memory lane that working on this quilt has triggered.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Spazlow's hierarchy of Needs

Years ago in one of Steve's classes we learned about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Essentially it explains that we must tend to the basics before we can start fussing over the more refined elements of our existence. Have you ever been so distracted by needing the bathroom that you could focus on little else? That's Maslows hierarchy of needs at work.

Maslow never met Winslow...we are into our fourth week of potty training and as recently as yesterday Winslow refused to pee though given multiple opportunities to do so. He finally let loose a torrent right by his water bowl after just having come in from another unsuccessful potty run. That was the third time in as many days...the only other common denominator in the equation is Steve. It always happens on Steve's watch...Once I could actually blame Steve for it, but the other two times were patently not his fault. So why is our little furry ball of joy putting us through such hell? We just don't know. But this morning he rose to the potty training challenge and has done a good job and I remain optimistic that its the start of a nice long accident free run... hope really does spring eternal.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Long time no see

Some of you may be wondering what ever happend to my Aloha Album quilt, its still around, simmering on a back burner. I managed to get two blocks done while in New Mexico. I wanted to finish at least one so Mom could see it with her own eyes. This is the first of the two. She was surprised by how big the blocks are. I guess I never included anything to indicate scale, so the 18 inch plus block surprised her. It is going to be finished to 18 inches, but right now its untrimmed and is probably 20 inches square give or take a half inch. I think the orchids turned out very nice. I am half tempted to ink some spots on the orchids, but hesitate because the only fix if I mess up is to pull it off and redo it with a new piece of fabric. So I think I will err on the side of caution just now. My plate is full and I do not want to create more work for myself. I have been in the habit in recent months of taking on new projects before finishing the old a result I have four unfinished quilt projects two of which have completion deadlines. So I have dropped the two that have no deadline in favor of the two that do...well sort of dropped them. One is so close to being finished that I hate to ignore it altogether, so I spend a little time on it now and then hoping to keep it moving toward the finish line. When its finally done I will take up the Aloha Album again. But as Bob as my witless I will not take on another quilt project until the ones I have started are done!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back at my blog

Well, I am finally back at my blog. I think just about everybody who reads it knows I was in NM for a month helping get Mom moved down to Roswell after her stroke. As strokes go, it was a big one though you would never guess it by looking at Mom. She is a little unsteady on her feet, a little at a loss for words some times, and her hand will not always do as its told, but she could easily fool the casual observer. It was hard even for me sometimes to remember that she was in recovery because she seemed so much her old self at times. The move to Roswell was remarkable in that it was utterly unremarkable. Things fell into place so seamlessly that it hardly felt like the major upheaval that it was. It has been my experience that things generally go that way when God is left in charge. I can't speak for Mom or Jamie, but I know I only had a fleeting moment of sorrow saying goodbye to 921 W. Plaza. The things on the horizon were exciting enough to hold my gaze and keep me from looking back too much. Maybe my life as a military dependent; always recovering from or gearing up for a move made it a natural thing for me. Whatever the reason, it felt like as the old prayer book said "a meet and right thing to do" I hope it was that way for everybody. Saying goodbye to friends was the hardest part, but as big as NM is, its a small state when it comes to staying connected. Out there its not at all uncommon to drive 3 or 4 hours to get to some place worth going and Roswell is only 2 hours from Clovis so I know Mom will see all her friends from time to time especially after we move back home!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nine down, Eight to go

Here is the next block for my Hawaiian Album quilt. The lauhala mat that the fruit is sitting on is really woven! Just in case you cannot tell from the picture, starting with the pineapple and going clockwise next there is breadfruit, mango, grapes, lilikoi, papaya, bananas and finally two coconuts one in the husk and one out. Looking at this block I am reminded of the bananas that grew in our front yard. While we were there a stalk of them ripened and we harvested them, cutting off the stalk and bringing the whole big thing into the house to the tune of Harry Belafonte's "Hey mister tally man tally me bananas..."It was all fun and cute till the gecko jumped out and ran through our kitchen...thats when we learned to be careful about what we dragged into the house. What we did not realize then was that geckos in the house are part of life in Hawaii. That was just one of a long string of gecko encounters. I actually grew to like them because they ate the bugs and kept to themselves, and as lizards go, are actually kind of cute. I think I may have to add a gecko to my Hawaiian album quilt, maybe sitting on the lauhala mat by the bananas...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My favorite picture ever

I have managed to check off a number of bucket list line items in the past few years what with the poison ivy identification and the climbing of a lighthouse and now this. Seeing my favorite picture of all times live and in person at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Its a self portrait of Judith Leyster. My love affair with her began way back when we lived in the Netherlands. One of our favorite castles to visit was called Muiderslot. It was on the outskirts of Amsterdam and it had all the requisite features of a castle, crenelations, towers a moat...everything. It is what I see when I think of a castle. During the 1600's salons were hosted there for the local movers and shakers, almost exclusively men, except for one daring young woman, Judith Leyster. She was ahead of her time and was successful in a mans world at a mans trade. Whats more, it was as if she was welcomed into it, and was treated as an equal. Thats when I first learned of her, and thought she must have been extraordinary. I think I saw a still life that she painted hanging in the castle. It was not till as a going away present that our Dutch friends gave us a book on the Dutch golden age of painting that I first saw Judith's self portrait. Remembering her from the Castle I was tickled to see her looking back at me and I could instantly see why she was welcomed in the Salon. She has that quality about her that makes you want to know her better.
Seeing the picture in person just made me love it all the more. It was as if I had stopped by her studio for a visit and she was talking and painting at the same time, and stopped just for a moment to turn and give full attention to me. I think one reason I love it is because I know that moment, have lived that moment dozens of times. Usually sitting around with a group of women, maybe we are quilting, or working on miniatures or decorating cakes...whatever work is at hand and the chatter is flowing, but somebody says something that warrants full attention so work halts just for a moment and then resumes again almost before it had completely stopped and the moment is so natural its hardly noticed. That is what Judith captures in her picture and I never really recognized that until I saw it on the wall in the gallery!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Rose and Maile lei

Here is the next block in my Aloha Album. I finished it 1 and a half blocks ago, that is to say I have finished another block and am more than half way through finishing a second block. Why its taken me so long to post a picture of it, I cannot say....Well thats not entirely honest. I think I can say. I have been busy, it's true. I have been out of town twice since I finished this block, in bed sick for a week and then out making " Nice Nice" for a solid uninterrupted week with Steve's work...and I could claim any or all of that for the reason its taken me so long, but it really boils down to the new computer. I am still on shaky ground with it in some respects, uploading pictures being one of them, and as is the tradition in my family passed on to me by my mother, and her mother before her, if its no fun ignore it...Its a good strategy actually except for its fatal flaw, eventually we must all face what we hide from and the longer we put it off, the worse it usually gets, so I am trying to face my computer downloading issues head on...A small matter for most, but for me and others like me, its a true profile in courage!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What had happened was....

I have done enough traveling to know that when I am on the road, I am most likely off my bathroom cycle, if you get what I in an attempt to keep things as they should, I poured a good dose of benefiber into a ziploc baggy to take on the road with me.

Fiber is not the only thing in short supply when I am traveling, coffee creamer is also hard to come by especially when I am relying the the little complimentary coffee station in my hotel room with its single 1/2 teaspoon packet of solidified powdered non dairy creamer. So I have been taking extra creamer with me too for years now.

On our first trip to Washington this April I left my little baggy of benefiber behind sitting on the counter at home and drove off without it. As you may recall from an earlier post, that is the same trip I was on when I succumbed to the flu. After the LONGGGG car ride home I crept upstairs and into bed and did not come down for two days. Steve did all the unpacking and putting things away, for which I am ever grateful. When I finally made it downstairs I remembered my baggy of benefiber and thought I should get it and pour the stuff back in the jar, but it was nowhere to be found. It slipped my mind for another few days until I finally remembered to ask Steve if he had seen it anywhere. His response to me was "you mean that was fiber?" " Yea, it was fiber....what did you do with it?" He mistook it for the coffeemate I have also been know to travel with and poured it all into the creamer dish. Well, that sure explained a lot... Now I knew why my coffee tasted so very strong; so strong that I would go back and put in another spoonful or two of "coffeemate" which would then account for my other "irregularities"
At least now I know the importance of clearly labeling things!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Remembering Gerry

I just got back from Washington where I attended the "In Memory" day celebration at the VietNam Memorial Wall. I went because Daddy was one of the new inductees to the In Memory Honor Roll and he was being honored there that day. There were all kinds of people there to honor their loved ones, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, wives, husbands and children, even friends and fellow soldiers. Some of the loved ones were recently lost while others, like my Dad had been gone for decades. It did not seem to matter though, everyone still felt their loss.
My friend June knows a thing or two about that. She is learning to live with a new normal that is life without her husband and best friend Gerry. She tells me that part of what makes it hard is that life seems to have filled up the space where Gerry used to be and its like people have forgotten him. But I want her to know that I have not forgotten him. In fact he is on my mind a lot. I remember the things about him that I loved. He had the best smile. It lit up his whole face and then spread through the room like a golden glow. He also had a knack for telling the most inappropriate medical stories with the clinical detachment you would expect of the good doctor that he was, but most of us not being in the medical field could hardly believe what we were hearing. He hardly seemed to notice the stunned looks on our faces. Steve and I would laugh and laugh because it was almost guaranteed that a day spent with Gerry would mean another medical marvel for us add to our growing collection of Gerry stories. I remember that he was a chow hound and would eat anything that did not move! And I remember that Gerry was as wise and gentle and accepting a soul as I have ever met. He was nonjudgemental and willing to look at something from every and all perspectives and give value and respect to ideas and beliefs that were not his own.
June does not have to worry that Gerry will be forgotten because I know he is remembered by more people than she can imagine. His work in the emergency rooms of all the hospitals that relied on him brought him into peoples lives at times when they needed not only his skill as a physician, but his grace as a human being the most. I know he touched their lives in ways that he probably did not even know but in ways they will never forget. All those people may not be shouting Gerry's name from the roof tops, but they carry him in their hearts and they will remember him just like we do because a man like Gerry is simply unforgettable.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

a little South Carolina Aloha

The State flower of SouthCarolina is the Jessamine. Its easy to see why too. The vines cover most everything in the wild places of the state. They go un noticed most of the time, but in the early spring they start to catch your eye. Little yellow buds appear and in a matter of days the vines are bursting with yellow trumpet shaped flowers that smell somewhat like pez candy muddled with cheap perfume; a little sweet but not in an unpleasant way. Our backyard wilderness is covered in jessamine vines and when I looked out over them this spring I could not help it, I had to have a go at stringing a lei. So I went out in the weeds and collected the blossoms. Even though I must have picked over 100 flowers I hardly left a dent in this years crop. It turned out rather nice if I do say so myself. The only thing is that while it seems the most natural thing in the world to wear a lei in Hawaii, its is a little strange and uncomfortable to wear one in South Carolina. So I wore it for an hour or so, and then gave it to my neighbor Barbara who probably thought I had lost my mind. Still It was fun for a while, and if I have another bumper crop of jessamine next year I may do it all over again, we'll see...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cherry Blossom Festival

Many years ago I was given stacks and stacks of old National Geographic magazines. What a treasure trove it was! Every night for my bedtime reading I would pick a new magazine to peruse. One magazine featured the Cherry Blossoms in Washington DC. It was from around the 1950's and the pictures had that Kodachrome cartoony colorized feel. I was enchanted,
....A desire to see the cherry blossoms for myself was planted then and I have quietly kept it all these years. It was one of those things that was not a burning all consuming desire, but one of the sorts that sits quietly in the back of your mind as one of those "wouldn't it be nice..." kind of desires. As luck would have it, we were in DC for a friends retirement ceremony. Steve was on TDY for it as a participant and I tagged along and got to stroll around the tidal basin and view the Cherry blossoms with my own two eyes and well, it was nice! and perfectly timed too! At least as far as the blossoms were concerned. They were in full bloom just days before they were to start losing petals. Timing was less spectacular for me. I knew I was under the weather, but had no idea I was on the threshold of a full blown case of the flu. Looking back now at the pictures Steve took of me that day I can see it in my face. I should have been home in bed. Oh well, that's where I am now and glad to be too. At first I felt bad for being out and about in a busy urban environment harboring the flu... I kept to myself and wore gloves most of the time, so hopefully there will not be a spike in flu stats that is attributable to me. But on reflection and considering the crap the folks in Washington are currently putting us through, I kinda of like the idea putting them through a little crap myself...I'm just saying...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A tale of two quilts

Right now, Steve and I appear to be in a baby cycle...that is to say people we know and love are starting to reproduce so I have been busy making baby quilts. The two pictured above are the same pattern, but done for two different babies in two different color schemes in two different countries.. The first is for our friends in The Netherlands, Bas and Erna and their new much wanted and long awaited baby girl. The second is for the first of the next generation of the Wachter family. Technically the baby will be a Murphy/DeVore...but technically the Wachters are actually Richardsons so who can keep track, and why do we care? The important thing is that Steve's sister Bonnie is finally going to be a grandmother when her son and daughter in law have their first baby sometime in June. I had the pleasure of meeting Jackie for the first time last September and loved her on site. We talked then about her desire to start a family, what neither of us knew was that at that very moment she was already pregnant! I hope her little peanut likes its quilt as much as I do!

Monday, March 14, 2011

As the Aquarium Cycles...

So, I was cleaning the living room the other day and I paused to look at our new fish tank. Steve has gotten on the fish tank bandwagon with me and together we have set up a really good looking tank. Its about 30 gallons, and its got live plants, a first for me, but Steve really wanted to give it a shot, and so far so good. Only one type died on us but all the others are growing like sea weeds. Its teaming with life, our tank and that is what I was thinking about when I took a moment to watch the fish. Less than twelve hours after adding the first two guppy fish to the tank to help it get through its nitrogen cycle ( the first crucial few weeks of a new tank) I looked up and saw baby fish swimming around the tank. You can see one in the top photo. 5 have survived from the initial brood and they are hale and hearty and doing fine. We have since added 5 danios, 5 tetras, 2 otocinclus and 3 angle fish, and I enjoy watching them all. The baby guppies though are special. They will live out their entire lives in the middle of my living room... Think about that for a minute. There are five fish downstairs in my living room right now who will live out the entirety of their existence in the middle of my living room. That is
an odd thing to consider, no?
It might seem sad at first except I know these fish are many hundreds of generations removed from their wild ancestors and so for captive bred fish they are living large. I don't mean to brag, but really, look at that second picture and tell me those baby fish were not born into the lap of watery luxury!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Aloha Oe!

Here are a few shots of our newly redecorated home office. We had so many cool things from Hawaii that we decided to devote a room to them. I spent a great deal of time surfing the web looking for the right office furniture. We finally found a computer desk and hutch that were at the high end of our price range, but it had the right tropical vibe and we were just waiting till the stars aligned and the time was right to buy that desk. In the meantime however we kept looking around in case we found a bargain and boy did we! The desk itself was not tropical in any way, but like my friend June likes to point out, real Hawaiian style is not over the top tropical with koa wood and rattan everywhere, but a mixture of some traditional, some with that in mind we decided to snap up the bargain desk and make it work. We found the perfect rattan chair at Pier One on clearance, and a great lamp at a consignment store. Once we moved all our Hawiiana into the room it was ready to go. I did add one little touch though. The woven panels in the hutch are my handiwork. I bought some lauhala place mats online, cut them to fit and stuck them on the glass panels of the two cupboards. Once they were trimmed out with bass wood trim they look like they were always there. Now we have some more concealed storage and the best part is that its totally reversible. If we ever decide to redecorate then all I have to do is pull them out and clean the glass. So tell me what you think?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A visual Aid

Would you believe me if I told you I had been trying to get back to my blog for three days? Well, that is to say, get a new picture up on my blog. I have been back, but empty handed, so did not bother to post anything. If a picture really does speak a thousand words, then the above shot should easily be able to fill that quota. It was taken with the photo booth feature on the computer, but it's taken me this long to figure out how to get it on the blog. To be fair I have not been at it full bore for three solid days, but I have made an attempt or two and left in frustration. I guess I am back to my old click and cuss method of computer usage. I have yet to figure out how to upload a picture from Picasa to my blog, but maybe I will figure it out. I guess Picasa is fairly new to the Mac world, like me, and like me is still feeling its way around in the dark uncharted reaches of deep cyberspace that is realm of the Mac user. Hopefully I will learn the new ropes soon and it will not be the trauma to post on my blog that it is right now.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A hot mess

This is a picture of a cupcake doggy we picked up at a local grocery store to take to a friends house on New Years day when they asked if we would bring desert. It was meant as a joke because we thought it was the most hideous thing we had seen in a long time and was well worth the $4.99 it cost just to see the stunned look on the faces of our hosts...Joke was on us. It turned out that they actually liked the dog and thought it was cute... I had Steve take a picture of it in case I decided to submit it to the Cake Wrecks blog. So far I have not bothered. I chose to post it on my own blog as a visual metaphor of my computer skills. Just as this creation can only loosely be described as a cake or for that matter a dog... I can only be loosely described as computer literate. What we both are in fact is a hot mess, though neither of us can be fully responsible for being that way. Just as this Dog was left as you see it at the hands of another, so I have been rendered helpless by somebody not leaving the computer as they found it. I cannot upload my pictures from my camera and am left to troll my old photos for something usable. I cannot be sure, but what I think has happened is that my more computer literate Husband has monkeyed with the settings and now Picasa does not function for me like it once did. I have tried my patented method of clicking the mouse until something happens, but nothing has...I even resorted to calling Steve on each of his two cell phones, but you guessed it, he is not available right now... so... PLEASE STAND BY....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Mokes

This block does not exist in the original Aloha Album. There is a trumpet vine block that I eliminated because though they are pretty, I don't have any real associations with them and Hawaii other than I drove past a nice one on my way to Zach's school from time to time. I modified the Diamond Head block for this one of the Moku Lua, the two islands that are just off shore of our favorite place in all of O'ahu, Bellows Beach. Now, of all the blocks in the quilt this will probably be the most special, not just because I designed it ( rather cobbled it together from other sources) but because Bellows was a special place for us. Sometimes we had the whole beach to ourselves. If surf was up we could ride our body boards for ages. I could see then why surfers are addicted to riding the waves, when you catch a wave just right and you are able to ride the crest...nothing else compares. Of course that only happened once for me, the waves big enough to do that are a little daunting and I wondered if it was the smartest thing I had ever done...probably not, but I am glad I did anyway. I will never forget it. I will also never forget a day when the sea was calm and we floated in the water bobbing and drifting in the gentle surf. While I lay stretched out in the sea I looked up and saw a rainbow over the open water. It was a moment of unrivaled beauty and peace. That's why we loved going out to Bellows so much, no matter what was on offer -adrenaline rushes, meditative soaks, or just walking along the beach it always put us back in balance. June is blessed to live a short walk from this very view!

Monday, January 31, 2011


This is block number 4 in my Aloha Album, its a Taro plant, or Kalo in Hawaiian. Our Neighbor Jerry Carson had a pretty taro patch at the bottom of his garden border. It was where the water collected when his automatic sprinklers kicked in and caused a little stream to form trickling down the slope of his yard making the perfect spot to grow a taro plant. When he thinned it once he gave me a plant to put in my yard and as far as I know it's still there. I like that I planted a taro plant while in Hawaii, it seems the appropriate thing to do. I also enjoyed poi while there. I liked the creamy texture and the faintly yeasty flavor. I loved mixing a little poi with my Kahlua pig, though I was told by someone that its not done...mixing poi with other foods like that...While I do like to respect tradition when I can, I will not let it stand in the way of good eats, so I am an unrepentant poi tainter and will mix again if ever given the opportunity.

This block was a joy to stitch. It had lots of inside curves and points...things that used to give me fits back in my early days, but now that I know a few tricks of the trade they are actually more fun to stitch than the straight parts. I hope the next block is as fun to sew...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Home at Last

Zach Calls New Mexico home now, and I am glad. He is happy there and Oma's house has always been a home for Zach. When he was little, and maybe still now, he loved to come upon Oma's house after dark when the big picture window was glowing golden and inviting him in. He said it always felt very warm and welcoming to come to Oma's house. So I am glad he has that now, especially when he needs it most. But what I needed most lately was to have him here with me for a while. So his trip here was just what the doctor ordered. I had to snap a picture of him as he was flopped out in his bed making what we always called "Zach's room" really his for the first time since we moved here two summers ago. Finally, with Zach in his old bed under his old quilt did I finally feel home at last.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Where the magic happens

This is it, my frog, my sewing room, secret lair. Its where I spend the vast majority of my time. I love having a spacious room devoted to my "doings" Its big enough to have plenty of work surfaces and room on the floor to spread out. There is even room for our exercise equipment up there! I am totally spoiled now and when we go shopping for our next house such a room will be high on my list of priorities!

I have not spent much time up there recently, too distracted by dogs and life to focus on any of my projects. But I feel the need to stitch coming on, so as soon as I get a minimum amount of housework done today I am heading up there for some occupational therapy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another Go

I figured while I was still riding the crest of my blue ribbon wave I should enter another quilt show. The thing is, I never thought I would win a blue ribbon at a State fair, at any quilt show really. It all goes back to my first quilt show I attended. It was a national quilt show that happened to be held that year in Omaha where I lived. The quilts there were tremendous, the best efforts of the best quilters not in the county, or the state, but the whole country! That set the bar pretty high. I thought then if that is what it takes to be an award winning quilter, then I will have to be content with making quilts for their own sake. That notion was compounded by visiting the local art museum at the same time as the quilt show where they had on exhibit the top 100 quilts of the century. You can only imagine the quality and craftsmanship that was on display! Seeing that level of skill was daunting, but also liberating. That was when I adopted the quilting motto " My quilt, my rules" and went about the the next 10 years quilting the way I wanted to, in my lap without a hoop or a frame. If I never planned to enter my quilts in a show, and my sole purpose in quilting was for the joy of it, then why force myself to learn techniques and styles that were not comfortable or natural for me? What I did not realize was happening as I went about making quilts my way was that I was actually becoming good! So winning a blue Ribbon this year was not so much accomplishing a long sought goal, as it was realizing a long abandoned and never fully owned dream. It spoke to the possibility of what I am actually capable of and so with that in mind a few weeks ago I submitted a CD with pictures of my miniature crazy quilt to the National Quilt Society's BIG show in Paducah, KY. Just say the word Paducah to quilters and they will know you mean THE QUILT SHOW in Paducah. I thought it was a little bold, a little ambitious, but why not? Its a juried show, so even being accepted will go down in my book as a win, heck...the fact that I produced something I thought was worth the attempt is a win! I think its ironic how the superlative quilts that I saw all those years ago that made me think I was not up to the task of award winning quilting actually freed me to grow into producing that very thing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Don't do it!

" Don't do it! they are nasty little things that bite!" That's what my friend Sherry said to me in an e-mail when I mentioned to her that I was thinking of getting a hamster. I have to admit, her warning did give me pause for thought, but it was a little too little and a little too late. I had by that time pretty much decided to do it. I am glad I did. Mr. Humphries is a delightful little thing, and I can say she has never bitten anyone. Hamsters have bad eyesight and so will feel things with their mouths, and she has done that a time or too, and I can see why people might mistake it for a bite, but its not really. She never clamped down and was as surprised to find my finger in her mouth as I and we both withdrew harm, no foul. I have learned to wash my hands before I handle her so she will not mistake them for any sort of food. I imagine a peanut in its shell looks to her blurry hamster eyes not unlike a finger and vice versa, so why confuse the issue with the smell of food on my hands? One of us after all is working with a hamster brain, and so I should always do my best to insure its not me. I read up on hamster husbandry before I got Mr. Humphries and one author mentioned that the one down side to Hamsters is their short life span. That they are gone all too soon leaving a hamster sized hole in your heart. I thought that was a bit much when I read it and thought to myself that their life span seemed just about right to me, after three years or so, I would be tired of cleaning the cage and would be ready to move on. Now that I have had the pleasure of Mr. Humphries company for the past 9 months, I am starting to think there will be a hamster sized hole after all.