Saturday, December 27, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree.....

There are, it seems, some Doubting Thomases out there, who require proof that I actually got my Christmas tree decorated! Oh ye of little faith! Does it matter that I didn't personally hang each ornament?

After all, it was I who drove out into the madness a few days before Christmas and found a tree. No small feat when you consider how many people in these parts put their tree up the day after Thanksgiving!

It was I who feebly bargained with the tree seller. To no avail, I might add. He knew he had a pigeon. He recognized the desperate gleam in the eye.

It was I who climbed up on my sewing table, at considerable risk to life and arthritic limb, and stretched upwards to precariously haul down the various boxes of Christmas goodies.

It was I, also, who sat and untangled the ninety nine strings of lights of various vintages and, mindful of the proximity of Herald Angels and Santa's behaviour spies, managed not to give voice to the vehement imprecations that sprang to my lips.

It was I who circled the tree and wove the strands of lights [those from the ninety nine that still worked] in and out and around the aromatic branches, almost dying by strangulation on a few occasions. And it was I who stood back in admiration and declared it the nicest tree we'd found in years!

It was the Bean and girlfriend who did the actual decorating while we were off to the hospital. And a lovely job they did of it. Mother-in-law came home late on Christmas Day and is doing fairly so far, but very weak still. One day at a time.

Meanwhile, it is I who will be keeping that tree up and watered until January sixth, though all around me have theirs to the curb by Monday morning! I love the soft glow from the little tree lights; the glisten of the baubles; the memories of five shiny eyed children every Christmas morning for so many years; the fresh piney scent; the after-Christmas peace.

The tree is decorated.


Footnote: In case anyone should dare to try to take the tree down in my absence before the appointed time, Casper has volunteered his services as tree guardian.

Would you like to see his claws?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oh, Tidings Of Stress and Oy!

Inspiration's been at a low ebb around here lately. Talking with Rise last week, we made a pact to each post something the Tuesday before Christmas, on the subject of Christmas. It is now 1:21 a.m. Wednesday, technically, but she's undoubtedly sleeping [or lying in bed counting woolly sheep and listening to the wind howling outside--she doesn't live in Florida, poor dear.] So if it's up when she gets up, that'll count as me having kept my side of the deal?

And what is my excuse for being so late you ask?

"Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat," but I'm having technical difficulties. The main one being that I just now managed to wipe out two hours worth of writing by inadvertantly brushing my wrist off some mysterious "erase everything" button. Yes, those are tear streaks on my face. A random sampling of the other accumulated technical difficulties would include, but not be limited to;

Mother-in-law in the hospital, trying to die, again;

Doctors trying to prevent her from doing so;

Father-in-law trying to convince everybody that his mind is still like a steel trap [I have some unsettling news for him.]

The OC juggling his work with bedside vigils at the hospital;

And me, trying to organize Christmas, emphasis on trying.

My mother-in-law is not afraid to die. She's eighty nine and very frail and she's in a lot of pain. She's tired. And she can't clean and scrub like she used to. She's been ready to go for a long while now. Her place in heaven is secure though. She's worked hard all her life and had some hair raising adventures. Which is all good, but not what has secured her place in heaven. That would be her husband. No, he doesn't have influence up there, but They can see what goes on down here, so They know that she is a saint. Right up there with Mother Theresa. I'd have murdered him in his sleep years ago.

So here I am trying to organize Christmas. And wishing I could be a kid again. We didn't have to organize it. We just had to show up. We didn't have to bake all those plum puddings and fruit cakes. You came home from school one afternoon in November and found your mother,elbow deep in raisins and nuts and candied cherries, and it gave you a thrill. Not because you were crazy about fruitcake, but because it meant that Christmas was coming [and the goose was getting fat!]

Of course you were too well brought up to ever say that you weren't exactly your mother's fruit cake's biggest fan. Besides, you always choked down a slice, since that was the only way to come by the marzipan and frosting that came with it. It was out of the question to just pick off the pieces you liked. In for a penny, in for a pound. If you'd had your way though [a rare occurance back then,] you'd have eaten the entire coat of marzipan off the cake and left the densely studded fruity part for the aunties and the neighbour ladies who went into paroxysms of delight with every bite! But greediness and gluttony were strongly discouraged, so you offered it up for the poor souls in Purgatory.

In early December a child with an inquiring mind might notice that strangely shaped packages were being secreted in the back of the hot press at the top of the stairs. Being very inquisitive, such a child might take her curiosity a step further and try to peek inside such packages. One such, she found, in a mixture of horror and delight, contained a beautiful, golden haired, blue eyed doll! Who could she be for? Could one dare to hope? Turning her over, the better to admire her, the inquisitive child was startled when the doll plaintively bleated "Mama!" at the same time as a key was heard turning in the front door downstairs....consternation as the inquisitive child scrambled to re-wrap the precious package. And oh! The guilt! Trying to act surprised and delighted on Christmas morning!

But did this mean that the man in the red suit was a fairy story? That the wise ones on the playground at school, who sneered that only babies believed in him, were right all along?

And if Mum and Dad were fibbing about this, what else might they be fibbing about?

Who could be trusted?

The most important thing about Christmas, the parents and the nuns kept reminding us, was that it was a celebration of the birth of Baby Jesus. Every year we set up a nativity scene on the hall table. I loved the excitement of reaching into the box and pulling out the figures one by one----Mary, Joseph, the Baby, the shepherds and the wise men, the cows, the donkey and the sheep. Each of the churches in town had a life size stable and manger. I loved to go to see them all. And Christmas carols! Groups would go around at night, stopping at all the houses and singing a few and collecting some coins for their trouble.....Nobody does that here. Maybe they don't even do that there anymore. Christmas has become much more about commerce than about carols.

There was more that the computer gobbled, but since it's 2:30 a.m. I'd better get to bed or I may just sleep right through Christmas!

We did get a tree. It's up, lights on, but no decorations-yet. Tomorrow![Oops! Make that "today!"]

My Christmas elf climbed up on the roof this afternoon and strung the lights!

I baked my own version of fruitcake today with bourbon-soaked nuts and cherries and raisins, much more cakey than fruity! No marzipan though!

Wishing all my bloggy friends a Happy stress- and oy-free Christmas!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Searching For Fungi.....

A delicate, coffee-with-cream coloured mushroom appeared on Tanya's blog today, the last day of NaBloPpMo.

I groaned.

I didn't have any exciting pictures of mushrooms in my files, and even though we routinely have all manner of fungi popping up around here, it's been dry lately......Nevertheless, armed with my camera, I set off out to the trees, to see what I would see....

This is what I saw.....

Pine branches strewn everywhere, complete with pine cones, a few days too late! The wind had been up and howling around all morning.......

But no fungi.

This lonesome leaf caught my eye.

There is something desolate about a lone leaf, ripped from his summer tree, abandoned by his fellows, at the mercy of the capricious wind.

The wind danced along behind me. He was looking for a fight. This little beauty was cowering, out of his reach, under some brush.....

Still no fungi.

The wind and the ominous gray clouds had turned to rain. At long last. We've needed it. I stood in close under the bamboo for shelter, and listened to it's urgently whispered secrets for a while, then made a dash for the shade garden, where, gray, blustery day notwithstanding, I was dazzled by these beauty berries.

But no fungi.

Despondent, damp and cold, I came inside, and had another look in my photo files.

And found, at last....

A fun guy.......

Running for cover, please don't throw rotten tomatoes! It crawled, uninvited, into my brain, when I was browsing for birthday cards last week. Throw your tomatoes at Hallmark....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Un-Pine Cone Sans Bug

Tanya's photo for our duel today was a pine cone with a bug. It didn't look good for me. I was pretty sure I didn't have anything similar in my photo files. But, I went for a look anyway. And found this. It's not a pine cone. The only bug is of the microscopic variety, invisible to the naked eye. But! It grew on a tree. Just as a pine cone does. I took this photo last November on a hike through the woods. I have no idea what kind of tree it was. I just knew these berries were a beautiful colour and a beautiful shape! Am I disqualified now??

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Tasty Morsel.....

This NaBloPoMo dropout is cheering for Tanya to cross the finish line in the next few days, carrying the torch for those of us who ran out of words and oomph, halfway through, and decided they liked it better posting whenever they damn well felt like it! Which is just another way of admitting they ran out of words! So, I'm matching photos with her, to egg her on a little!

This fellow stood patiently, very close by, as the Bean was hauling his kayak out of the water. As he removed this fish [??] from the kayak's side, Mr. Bird inched closer, one slow, elegant step at a time, hint, hint. A nod is as good as a wink to the Bean, so he tossed him the fish, which he effortlessly caught and demolished....Yum!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Stolen: One Meme, Thirty two Questions

Nobody tagged me, nobody challenged me. Visiting Suburbia, I shamelessly stole it. Not only that. With flagrant disregard for the rules, I've used more than one word for each answer. Can I live with this shame, you ask? I think so. It takes much more to shame me these days than in days of yore...And so, to the questions!

1. Where is your cell phone? Damned if I know. To find it I'd have to call myself from the house phone!

2. Your significant other? In bed, unconscious.

3. Your hair? White as the driven snow. Or silver, if I'm feeling elegant.

4.Your mother? Deceased. Distant, when alive. And very smart...both fashion- and IQ-wise.

5. Your father? One of nature's gentlemen.

6. Your favorite thing? In all the world? Mother Nature.

7. Your dream last night? Muddled....

8. Your favorite drink? Tea

9. Your dream/goal? To earn a living, writing. So now you know!

10. The room you're in? Family room. Curled up on the couch...

11. Your fear? Death of those I love.

12.Where do you want to be in 6 years? Closer to children and grandchildren.

13. Where were you last night? At the airport, picking up the OC.

14. What you're not? Buxom.

15. Muffins? Almond.

16. One of your wish list items? Free, unlimited travel! I'm allowed to dream......

17. Where you grew up? Limerick, Ireland.

18. The last thing you did? Ate pizza I made myself.....

19. What are you wearing? Clothes, silly!

20. Your TV? Gave up the ghost a week or so ago. Don't even miss it!

21. Your pet? One house cat with attitude.

22. Your computer? Dell.

23. Your life? Busy/Happy.....most of the time.

24. Your mood? Sleepy.

25. Missing someone? Always.

26. Your car? Ford.

27. Something you're not wearing? Lederhosen.

28. Favorite Store? Barnes and Noble. Ross.

29. Your summer? Hot!!

30. Your favorite color? Bluegreenplum. See. One word at last!

31. When is the last time you laughed? Today, at the OC's verbal antics.

32. Last time you cried? This week, from frustration and aggravation.

Have I inspired you? To do this too? To ignore the rules and blaze your own trail? Happy to help! I'm tagging Tanya, because I know she's desperate! And Rise,the Unblogger [no me darlin', one photo, every couple of weeks, doesn't count!] to force her hand. I'd tag Lily too, but my insider info tells me she'd be more grateful if I sent her some heavy duty corks!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Tale of A Shelf

In 1971 the OC and I set off from NY on a great adventure---his AF career. His first assignment was in the Mojave Desert, in California. After a week of driving, with our not-quite-fully-potty-trained black lab puppy, Suzy, we arrived at what I was sure was the dusty and desolate ends of the earth!

But even though the OC was a lowly second lieutenant, we were lucky enough to get a three bedroom house of our own, on a quiet, leafy street on the base. Needing furniture, to dull the echoes, we went on a hunt. And bought a shelving unit. We're not talking mahogany here! It was made of pressed board of some kind, with a finish that made it look like wood. And the price was right.

We set it up in our living room and stood back to admire it. We felt exactly like grownups! It had a big rectangular space for our television; shelves above and below for books and records; a shelf just right for our record player.....

Gradually, that dry and dusty place became our home. That shelf saw Lily carried over the threshold; and her first faltering steps from chair to couch. For three years it kept passive watch over the little joys and sorrows of our day to day lives.

When Uncle Sam sent us to a new assignment, our shelving unit was loaded on the Mayflower van, and arrived, slightly more battered [always slightly more battered!] at new homes --- in Montana, California again, Alabama, twice overseas, North Dakota, Minnesota and here. When we finally arrived at our present home our shelf unit had moved with us approximately ten times, and had served us faithfully and well in living rooms, family rooms, childrens' bedrooms, and finally in my sewing room.

But it grew weary from all that traveling. And increasingly battered. And I, ungrateful wretch that I am, grew weary of it. We wanted to donate it to charity, but no-one would come to pick it up. And It wouldn't fit in the trunk of the car.It started to put down roots in the hallway where it languished after being evicted from the sewing room......

Until today.

I asked The Bean to wrestle it out to the curb. My plan was to put a large "Free!" sign on it, go back inside and see what happened. The Bean thought it a waste of time, but humoured me. He thought it too big for anyone to haul away. But he was wrong. We put it out there at five o'clock.

By six it was gone! Hauled away to a new life, without us. I hope it will be happy.

I'm just happy that it's gone!

Monday, November 17, 2008

To Sleep, Perchance to Sleep Some More!

Three thirty this morning. It's quiet. It's dark. We're sleeping. When Ringgg! The alarm clock jangled us awake.

"Somebody throw that thing out the window into the trees, please!" Nobody did.

The OC had a 6 a.m. flight to catch, and the airport is an hour away, so-o-oo--oo! Even though, when I came home, I crawled back into bed for a few more hours, I was still dragging all day.

You know those articles you read, about the virtues of going to bed at the same time every night, and rising at the same time every morning? Apparently it leads to health, happiness and serenity in one's dotage. The way I'm going, I'll never find out.

The OC can lie down on a rock and take a nap, in glaring sunshine, with trombones blasting six inches from his ear. It's a gift. Without it he'd have passed into his dotage and beyond, long ago. Fifteen minutes on such a rock and he bounces awake, like a child who's had a three hour nap.

Not me!

Specific conditions must be met before my eyes will close, no matter how tired I am.

The room must be dark;

and the atmosphere quiet, shhhh!

There must be a sufficiency of blankets;

socks are a nice touch;

a hot water bottle even better!

A cat curled up by my feet, in case the hot water bottle malfunctions.

And the planets aligned, just so....

Aha! I think all those conditions have been met!

Excuse me please. I've got some serious sleeping to do.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Only Went To Have A Look.....

I went to have a look at the Fall Harvest of Art festival, at a local park yesterday. The day was damp and gray. But here, damp and gray is almost a treat.

I wasn't searching for anything, just a pleasant way to spend an hour or two, while the OC was golfing.

Golfing makes me yawn.

Art shows make him yawn.

So we agree to differ....

There are lots of retired folks in our area who moved here from "up north." Their bones bring them here.... Wimpy bones, like mine, that don't like to shiver [with delight, yes; from freezing weather, no!].....
And an aversion to shoveling snow!
People forget that old people used to be young people. Young and vibrant and talented. There were wood carvers there, and photographers; oil painters and watercolorists; potters and glass painters; jewelers and metal sculptors.

I zig-zagged along the pathways that meandered through the trees, stopping here for a closer look, there to admire a technique, and everywhere to marvel at the creativity. But I managed to remain unencumbered.

Until, that is, I came to this:

I was smitten at once by the soft colours, the greens, the blues and the beiges. The artist was an elderly lady, as soft and feminine looking as her paintings. If I'd had to guess, without seeing her, I'd have guessed she was much younger. So, I am guilty too!

She saw that I liked it, and was eager to sell. No, no I'm just looking. I walked away, but soon I was back, drawn by the those irresistible colours. But still I demurred. I'd walk around, and think about it..... I thought about it. Where would I hang it? I'd have to find a frame, and I'm hopeless at finding frames.....Why did I like it? Another picture to dust! I'm allergic to dusting, and knick-knacky things that constantly require it.... But this would hang, be vertical, less of a dust trap.

I walked a small circle, and then I was back. She smiled as she sweetened the pot---"I'll let you have it for---[$10 less than marked.]"

Being the sleuth that I am, it didn't take long to figure out it's charm.....I dug in a drawer for some scarves of my mother's. There's that smoky blue and soft greeny-gray. I remember her wearing them as I was growing up. The colours of those scarves are my memory of my mother. Maybe that's what drew me to the striped sweater in this picture? And that sunny sundress? And that pottery bowl which I salvaged, years ago, from a potter friend's rubbish bin! And that blue jug??

My mother and I were not very close. I wish I'd had more sympathy, more empathy, more compassion, more understanding...I wish I could have seen her life from inside her skin, even for an hour.

Too late.

She's gone.

And here I am. Grasping at straws. Wrapping myself in her colours, which are my colours now. If I ever find a magic lamp and a genie pops out, my first wish will be to see my mother for an hour. So I can hug her and let her know I love her. I get her now...since I'm a mother too......When we meet, I'll wear one of her scarves, and she can wear the other.

I wonder if everyone has such convoluted reasons for buying a painting.......

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Exhausted," quoth The Bard Of Bawn

my word today:
up 'til midnight,
every night,
to push that little button,
to keep me in the game.
but why?
what purpose?
what's to prove?
i like to write...
can't find my groove.

and then---
'til 4 a.m.
watching moments ticking by...
there's a full moon in the sky.
????? oh why?

every day i must write something,
my head feels like a pumpkin.
empty vessels make most noise.
be quiet then,
put down the pen,
and ply the needle
'til you can wheedle
something sane
from out your brain
to make it worth your while---

to write again.

There is a word for how I feel tonight.
I saw it here.


Went to investigate. Clicked. What a mistake! [but an interesting one!] That was about an hour ago, which means we're creeping up on midnight, again!

I'm going to bed now. No, really!
I have just one request....
Could someone please cover up the moon?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Snippets and Snailets and Puppy Dogs' Tailets....

Besides making a present for Lily's birthday this week, I recently finished a few other small projects. No matter how small, it is cause for celebration when I finish anything.....

A hat for Sugar 'n Spice grandchild, modeled, unwillingly [I had to snap fast!] by a grandchild of the Snips and Snails variety. Although I don't think those designations are fair.....Little boys are just as sweet and lovable as little girls!

This little guy has a mama who knits, so he and his brother have all the hats they need for winter.....Oldest son, Papa of Sugar 'n Spice, does not knit, and so I spent a couple of evenings in Ohio recently, knitting this strawberries and cream hat to keep her ears warm this winter. Lily made one for Sugar and Spice's little brother, and since her own Snips 'n Snails had exhausted his patience for modeling silly hats on the strawberries and cream number, she had to model it herself!

Teaching my friend, H, how to quilt, I had to make something myself in the pattern she chose, the better to demonstrate! So I made some place mats.

I wanted to make them in Fall colours, because, no prizes, it is Fall! But since I have the attention span of a flea, and would likely never finish them if I had to make all four identical, I decided "I'm the boss. I'm going to use different fabrics in each". I suspect the OC thinks it is all highly irregular, he having such an orderly mind and all, but he has, very wisely, kept his counsel.

This NaBloPoMo lark is wearing me out! Today, singularly uninspired, I went trolling through my archives, all the way back to November 2006, when I first participated in NaBloPoMo, to investigate what, exactly, I had found to blather on about for thirty whole days! For 14th. November, 2006, this is what I found. What can I say? I'm a big believer in recycling!....especially when inspiration comes dropping so slowly, or not at all....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How To Make A Present For An Obama Mama...

Months before her birthday you see it made up in a quilt shop. It draws you like a magnet, and you, who are leery of buying even one more pattern, when there are so many already at home, unhesitatingly fork over the cash and take your prize home.

"She's going to love it!" you gleefully gloat to yourself.

Weeks go by. The pattern sinks under the tide of fabric and papers and instructions and tools that seem to constantly ebb and flow across the sewing table. You flip the calender to November, and your memory to 1972, to another, long ago November, and it doesn't seem right, or fair, that the years raced by so fast, so sneakily, while time didn't seem to be moving much at all. But it always was. And always is. Marching along from day to day, from week to month to year to decade to lifetime, and the momentum builds and you want to push the pause button, or maybe even the rewind button, just to savour some of the moments....But it's too late. The universe has no patience with your nostalgia. It's got the present to be concerned about........

Speaking of present---did I just get side tracked? Panic sets in. Where is that pattern? I know I saw it here just the other day! Finally, it floats to the surface. Time to assemble the raw materials..........

She never used to like pink that much. But since her house is awash in testosterone, and she is outnumbered three to one, she's fighting back. She's wearing more pink. She's countering the storm troopers and Han Solo with some Princess Leia....

First you read the directions through to the end, so there won't be any unscheduled panic attacks.....

Then, scissors in hand, you commence to snip. And snip. And snip. In accordance with your instructions.

Referring frequently to the pattern, you fold and press and pin. Then, very carefully, you stitch.

Next, taking a deep, steadying breath, you plunge into unknown waters and apply the magic paper....

......and once again, stitch, with care.

At last the stitching is done. Almost finished, you think. But you have reckoned without the paper removal, still to come.

Then, once again, you snip, and snip, and carefully snip some more. A lot more. And finally it really is done.

On the day of the birthday! With the birthday girl a thousand miles away.

So, if you decide to follow these directions, make one small adjustment. Start the whole procedure two weeks before the birthday instead of one!

Happy birthday Lily dear! I hope the card, at least, arrived on time. This will follow shortly! Hope the "frowing up" and "eye-radia"-suffering storm troopers didn't dampen your day too much!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Almost Wordless Wednesday


No water entry.


....will be prosecuted.....

Just as...

....soon as....

.....we fish them out...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NaBloPoMo Makes My Warts Show

Last night, at a few minutes to midnight, I pressed "publish." Whew! Ten days of NaBloPoMo, and holding. But, as I crawled into bed, I had misgivings.........I blog about whatever occurs to me, about what happens to be going on in my head, especially when I'm under the NaBloPoMo gun.

But maybe there are some things that should be off limits? Maybe I should only talk about cheerful, upbeat stuff? And keep the gloom, the irritation, the frustration, the impatience, the uncensored, unpolitically correct Molly to myself? And how believable would she be? Besides, I argued with myself, who am I writing for? My official answer to that is "Me!" But, truth is, I love when people take the time to put in their two cents. I love to feel I've connected.....

The OC gets up before I do, and so, when I arose, I crept quietly past his office, knowing he'd probably already, in his capacity as chief snoop on my blog, had a look, to see what mischief I had wrought while he'd been snoozing. He smiled and said "G'morning!" [that's our version of "g'day!"]. And so I relaxed a little. It can't have been that bad. After fortifying myself with coffee, I slunk over here to see if there were any comments. And what did I learn?

I learned, once again, that bloggers are empathic souls who roll equally easily with problems shared and mumbly grumbling, as with happy carefree times;

That no family is as perfect as it might seem. We all have problems. Sometimes problem children, sometimes problem elders. Fniucking** about them doesn't mean we don't love them; it just means we're human; that we get frustrated; and exasperated; that once in a while we need to have a little rant. Just a little one.... And then our heads will clear and we'll get things back into perspective.

I learned I'm not the only one to have to stifle a yawn when a story I've heard, at least a million times, is trotted out as a priceless, newly resurrected gem, never before recounted, by a man who is inordinately proud of his prodigious memory.....

I learned that others wonder, too, how we, who presently have the world so firmly by the tail, will deal with the tribulations to come? The misplaced glasses, the fading eyesight..... And the problem of how to find the former without the latter? The brittle, so-breakable bones, the creaky joints, the southerly migration, or total disappearance, of bosoms; the hearing loss. Eh? What's that you say?---THE HEARING LOSS!! And how about those trips to the back of the house? The ones where, once you get there, your mind is blank, and you scratch your balding pate, and wonder what in heaven's name you came here for?? And so you return to the scene from whence you started, in hopes of a glimmer..... It's all good exercise, if you want to look at it in a positive light.

I've warned my daughter, that when these signs and portents become chronic, I'm to be taken out quietly to the north forty, like old Yeller........never to be seen again.

Meanwhile, now is the time to develop the hobbies that will keep our minds occupied so we don't drive our children to distraction with daily organ recitals.* The way I see it, if I'm trying to figure out an intricate quilting pattern in my head, that'll leave less room in there for dwelling on the condition of my liver.....

When I look, in dismay, at the amount of fabric I've accumulated, and the number of patterns I've earmarked in scores of quilt magazines, I remind myself that they represent insurance against idleness in my dotage. I'll feel so useful,[and isn't that the biggest issue?] to be stitchin' something for someone---I may not know who, but I'll trust my children to find homes for all my finally finished projects!

Then there's the small matter of wanting to spend enough time in Ireland to hike all around the coast, taking millions of pictures, and filling notebooks with random babbling, and painting.........

The trouble with the in-laws is they never had the leisure, or the means, to develop hobbies. They were too busy learning new languages at every new place along the way. Hobbies were a luxury enjoyed by people who weren't strapped for cash; people who struggled daily to make a living, so they could feed and clothe and educate their children, so those children could grow up and marry people who would wonder why the in-laws had no hobbies.

And so it goes.

**Fniuking: a "word" of uncertain origins, invented perhaps, by one of our children and meaning grumbling and grousing about something or someone.

*I wish I had invented this one! An organ recital is what you get when you ask a hypochondriac "How are you today?"

Monday, November 10, 2008

Those Were The Days, My Friend.....

The Ancient Ones have had interesting lives. One of the things I'm always saying I must do is write down all their fascinating stories......Some day.

Old age and failing health have taken their toll. Their world has narrowed so much, that sometimes, all they want to talk about is the latest ache or pain, the newest medication, or the most recent visit to the doctor. I'm interested, in general, of course, but the mind reels in rebellion when every minute detail is reported, and the possible ramifications dissected and discussed, as if it were truly scintillating stuff.

Which it is not.

To my profound embarrassment, I have, on occasion, lost the battle to maintain consciousness in the face of the onslaught. The male of the species has a wider range of topics. But it is no less exciting to be his captive audience when he decides to wax pontifical on politics, world affairs or religion.

Because his views are the only rational ones. If he were in charge of the world it would run smoothly, like a well oiled machine. There would be order, and discipline, not to mention hangings and court martials. Everything would be either right or wrong, black or white. Politicians would be honest; young people would be respectful, or else! Doctors would be more courteous and not keep people waiting; teachers would have control of their classrooms; drug dealers would be shot; crime would be non-existent; what criminals there were would be doing hard physical labor and would be on diets of bread and water.....

And we'd all live in a yellow submarine.

But, today I was in luck. He was in the mood to reminisce about his youth. Which I really do find fascinating. Much more so than his latest squabble with the insurance company. Because he has lived through history, and experienced, first hand, things I can only read about. Things I'd prefer to only read about.

It doesn't matter how smart you are, he opined, everybody needs a little luck. He mentioned several close calls he's had in his life. And then he reached back even further, to when he was seventeen. He was a schoolboy still, but was a member of a resistance group, fighting against the country that had taken over control of his country. He was caught [because, he says, he was young and stupid and nationalistic...] along with a few of his friends. They were lined up against a wall to be shot.

But then a car drove up. In it was a major in his country's army, wearing a white band around his hat, as a symbol of surrender. With the major was a general of the country now in power. The car stopped and the major jumped out. He had recognized our boyo and told the general that he was the son of a friend of his and did not deserve to be shot.......

And so he regale me with his tales of how much better the world was, back when he was young, in the old country. When men were men, and women were their servants, and children were seen and not heard, and there was discipline, respect and order in the world.....

Oh-oh! I think I'm about to lose consciousness again.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Quilts In The Gardens.......continued

Our little quilt show at the botanical gardens yesterday was such a success everyone wants to make it an annual affair. Other quilt groups in the area want to be included, which would be great! The more the merrier. There were several sections of the gardens that had no quilts yesterday, so there's definitely room for expansion.....We even had some vendors peddling their quilty wares.......

Before the show, we wondered if birds, and the possibility of birds doing what birds sometimes do when sitting on tree branches, might be a problem. Such activity is completely natural, but some quilters might be outraged at Mother Nature if their quilts were, to put it delicately, fertilized! No such problems arose, I'm happy to report. The only birds who caught my attention were these.......

Even the squirrels behaved themselves and stayed in the background. We are in Florida though, and if there's one animal everyone expects to see in Florida , especially if they have students at UF, it's the Gator!

On the subject of orange and blue, here's a bright Snails Tails quilt....

Stars were a recurring theme.......

As were appliqued flowers......

Here's Jane, a good quilting friend, who had her eightieth birthday today...Happy Birthday Jane! That's her pretty wall hanging, beside her.........

This hanging was one of my favourites!

If you've been reading my blog for a while you've probably seen my kitty. I dragged him out of mothballs and gave him a turn in the fresh air yesterday.....

This last quilt was best of show at a much bigger quilt show this year. No prizes for guessing why!

I had a wonderful time during my few hours on quilt patrol. I met some very interesting people, from as far away as London, and Finland. Everyone was in a relaxed and friendly mood. I talked to the Finnish lady for quite a while. She was in awe that "humans could do such beautiful work!" I'm pretty sure she's going to leave no stone unturned when she goes home 'til she finds someone to teach her how to quilt!

I hope you've enjoyed following me around. We plan on doing it again, so if you're in this part of Florida, in this part of next year, be sure to stop by our Botanical Gardens!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

"You're Closer To God In A Garden.....

.....Than anyplace else on earth." Especially if there are quilts on display throughout the garden!

One of my favourite places is a small Botanical Gardens, designed and maintained entirely by members of the local garden club. Many quilters like to garden. Some gardeners, while not being quilters themselves, admire quilts. A few months ago, some gardeners and some quilters put their heads together and decided to have a quilt show in the botanical gardens. Everyone in our little guild was asked to loan some of their quilts for display. I loaned four of mine. We had a total of one hundred and three.

Today was the day!

The weather was lovely. The sun shone, but not too brightly, the better not to fade the quilts! The advertising worked. More than two hundred people, who had never been to the gardens before, turned up for the show, in addition to regulars, quilters and gardeners.

So sorry you couldn't come.....but follow me! I'll give you a peek.

Here we are at the entrance.....

Here you can see the first quilts, just ahead......

Before we proceed, please heed this gentle warning!

Here's one of mine, on the left. I made it for The Bean when he graduated from high school. I don't think he likes it very much, even though I'd saved animal prints for a few years, since he's been animal crazy all his life. C'est la vie....

I'll bet whoever this was made for appreciates it! Of course I like the colours here better too.

Take a good look at the quilt in the middle here. Who would have believed that purple and brown would look so good in the same quilt? It was gorgeous!

Since I spent the whole afternoon on quilt patrol at the gardens, I had no time to blog! So I will have to continue this tomorrow, or risk being thrown out of naBloPoMo for non compliance with the rules. It is three minutes to midnight! Ciao!