Friday, March 27, 2009

Oh Boy!

I couldn't talk to Lily last night because, when I called, bursting with news, there was no answer. She and hubby and boys have been refugees from Ohio winter for the past week, at a beach south of here, and, having spent the entire day in the water or on the beach, by nine o'clock they were all sound asleep!

What had I called for at such a late hour, she wondered? {It was barely a quarter to nine when I called!] Could it be to tell me we were moving to Columbus? [Something she's been campaigning for for quite a while!]

Or, wait. Had a baby been born in England?


A boy baby?

Oh, wait until the boys hear! Her oldest, who is six [in first grade and very cool] reacted to the news by pumping his fist and saying "Yes!!"

UKGrandma went to see him today. Yes, I am wild with jealousy! But she was very good and sent pictures! Eight+ pounds of sweet baby boy perfection. And of all the days he could have been born on, he choose his mum's birthday! What a lovely birthday present!

So, now you know!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oh To be In England.....

Oh to be in England, now that baby's [almost] here! Or, more accurately, there.....

The lovebirds are moving into their new nest tomorrow, and the due date is the very next day......As my informant, the on-site granny-to-be, remarked in a recent e-mail update, if that baby is smart he'll stay put as long as possible! But that will be up to the stork, a contrary bird if ever I met one.

Word has it that most observers are predicting it will be a boy. As far as that goes, when I was expecting the daddy-to-be, I was so convinced he would be a girl that he had no name for a week. We lived in Montana at the time, and he was born in mid-summer, thirty two years ago---egad!

I assured the OC that he didn't need to stay home that day. I'd be fine. We still had three days 'til the due date. But I was restless. As soon as he took his dubious leave, I got the urge to vacuum. And rearrange furniture. Beds and tables and couches. Not having enormous lung capacity at the time, I sat down to catch my breath between bouts of heaving, lifting and pushing.

Lily was five and her little brother was two. We had arranged that they would go to a friend's house when the time came....After a little more heaving of furniture, it became obvious that the wait was over. Not wanting to call the OC and have him drive all the way across town to get us, only to turn around and drive back in the same direction, I weighed my options, and decided to pile the little people into the Jeep we had at that time, and drive across town, to Terri's house, myself.

When we were ready to roll, I waited for a contraction, made it through it, then started off down the hill towards town. We made it to the bottom of the hill before the next one. At which time I pulled over, got through it and pulled back out into traffic. Until the next one. And so on, all across town. Drive, pull over, breathe, breathe, breathe, repeat. The OC was waiting with Terri for us. Terri took the little ones under her wing and the OC whisked me off to the hospital, where a couple of hours Britboy was born.

I wrote this on March 19 th. and saved it as a draft. But three hours ago, before I could finish it, we got a phone call.............And that's all I can tell you until tomorrow. Because, if I spill the beans before she knows, Lily will kill me!

I will tell you this much: I'm smiling from ear to ear!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Life Goes On....

It's been quiet around here. Sometimes I just don't have that much to say. [If I hear a loud "Thunk!" from the direction of his office, I'll know the OC fell out of his chair at that...] Life has settled back down to a quiet routine. I've been writing letters---yes, I occasionally still do that! Doing some applique, since I have gone uncharacteristically ga-ga over Bunny Hill's basket blocks!

Baking Irish soda bread---it IS March after all---and keeping the menfolk fed and supplied with clean socks. The OC is distracted from brooding too much by his killer work load [and I thought when he was working from home things would be so..o..o much more relaxed! Harrrumph to that!]

I've been itching to write, but inspiration's been lacking. Which, I know, means I should just start randomly writing whatever comes into my head and see where it takes me. But I haven't even been moved to try.

So I came to my sewing room, balm for all sorts of troubles, and picked up my stitching.

Have I mentioned how much I love my sewing room? Love being able to leave my work out, so I can pick it up and continue from where I left off, without having to pass an act of Parliament every time? Apart from that, it's the most pleasant room in the house, with a big sliding door to the outdoors. Sunny and cheerful and bright. If my feathers are ruffled I can come in here, close the door, shut the world out and recover my composure.

Time was when I would lock myself in the bathroom to escape the bedlam. And even then the natives would continue the argument through the door, completely ignoring what I had, naively, thought was an unmistakable hint...... A room of my own was a distant fantasy! Granted, it's a little disorganized, but I'm working on that.

The natives, all but one, have trickled slowly away, each to chase dreams of their own. And sometimes, believe it or not, it is a little too quiet.....But shhhh! One has to be careful what one wishes for. If one craves excitement, one might get more of it than one can handle. It's been known to happen. And then, too late, one appreciates the beauty of a quiet life.

But I digress. Which is part of my charm, though there are those who would vehemently disagree, those who want only the facts, not being interested in exploring the little verbal byways into which I seem irresistibly drawn. If you are a facts-only seeker, you're in the wrong place. Go away! You'll just get a headache.

So, where was I? Ah, yes, stitching. I can see everything from here; the Bean on his knees, working away on extending the barbeque patio,[worthy of a post of it's own!]; El Pussygato, attentively watching from inside the screen the busyness of a certain dove outside. At first I am only dimly aware of the dove. He is just a few feet from where the Bean is working, unperturbed by his proximity, or by the occasional screech of electric saw on concrete paver. Each time I glance up he is there, on the wall, or under the tree, and eventually, curiosity brings me to my feet and I go outside to investigate.

The dove is not at all bothered by the arrival of another human. He is intent on his business, which, I soon realize, is the building of a nest! Do you remember the "penthouse in the palm tree" from last Spring? Well, it appears that the accommodations and the locality were satisfactory, certain hair-raising events notwithstanding, so they are back this year, to the very same tree, preparing for another batch of dove-lets, and all the work that that entails.

I sit down on the pavers, just inches away from him, and watch as he gathers the

choicest twigs. He then flies up into the palm tree and delivers the goods to the waiting beak of Mrs. Dove! She appears to be in charge of the actual construction. Which, I think, is a very sensible division of labour. After all, if men were given their heads in the design process, our houses would be fifty percent garage space, 30 percent television viewing space, and the kitchen, bath and bedrooms would have to fit into what was left. Sensible Mrs. Dove!

I was struck by the comforting reliability of nature; the certainty that, no matter how dreary the winter, Spring will come; the dependability of little creatures to be so in sync with the universe that they know exactly what they have to do, the best time to do it, and, most importantly, how to do it!

How often, in the past, have I watched wistfully as a gaunt mother bird has tirelessly foraged for worms and bugs to feed a monster baby, twice her size, who relentlessly follows her about the garden, doing nothing with his own beak but squawking at mama, and holding it open while she stuffs it with worms?

And empathized!

Or watched the perilous flight training sessions, where baby birds are prodded by mama and papa into death defying leaps from the nest.

And wished I were wired with such unerring instincts!

Sometimes the babies don't understand that there are predators out there [oh, how El Pussygato wishes he could get outside to be one of them!] and little birdies need to be fast learners if they wish to become big birdies! But mama is always nearby, keeping a steely eye on any would-be predators.

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."

"A time to be born and a time to die."

Maria has gone to a well deserved rest, but soon it will be "a time to be born" as our Brit-boy and his Beloved await the birth of their first child, our fifth grandchild. So, the wheels keep turning....Though there are times to weep and times to mourn, there are also times to laugh and times to dance. Each one has its place in the crazy quilt of life.

Rebirth is everywhere. Our lemon tree, that looked like a goner from our unusually cold winter, is suddenly covered with tiny, new green leaves! And The Bean's blueberry patch looks like it might produce enough berries for a pie. Or two. If we can get them before the birds do!

So, yes, it's been quiet around here. We're regrouping. Taking comfort from the rythms of nature, confident that the universe is unfolding exactly as it should.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Mother, Mother, I Am Sick, Send For The Doctor, Quick, Quick, Quick!

It was three forty five---A.M.---when I finally crawled into bed. The challenge top was finished, sandwiched, ditch stitched. Two sides of the binding were stitched down. And my eyes felt like two holes burned in a blanket by a chain smoker with palsy. Shortly after six a.m. [having not exactly bounced out of bed] I stumbled towards the shower.

I think it was my son-in-law who said a shower is as good as three more hours of sleep. Let the record show I am not convinced!

On to the kitchen. Must have tea! Locate needle. And thread. Stitch down curves on four corners. Stab finger repeatedly with needle. Curse softly under breath when pesky knot forms and will not be undone except by scissors. Necessitating waste of five more precious minutes, struggling to re-thread what seems like rope through the tiny eye of the needle.

Make mental note to call psychiatrist in afternoon for earliest possible appointment to have head examined.

Time racing by. Dash to bedroom. What to wear? No time for dithering. Grab hundred year old green dress. Pull over head. Good call. One piece of clothing. One problem solved. Add blue batik scarf. "Blue and green should never be seen," the boys jeered at me. So now I wear them together just to be contrary.

Friend coming by at nine. Gather bits and pieces. Go wait in driveway. No sign yet. Plop down on ground. Whip out sewing. Five minutes of stitching is five minutes of progress. Cars passing by must wonder about loon in green dress sitting sewing in middle of driveway. But a woman's got to do what a woman's got to do. And this woman signed up for the 2009 guild challenge*. Which must be handed over in half an hour.

Which begs the question: Why do I do things like this? Is it because of the rocks in my head?? One can only speculate.....

Finally, friend's car turns into driveway. Early morning quiet suddenly shattered by loud cackling. Laughing her head off at sight she beholds. Racket brings OC to door to see what disturbance is about. Shakes head bemusedly upon finding that now there are two loons in front of his house, where before there'd been only one.

Friend drives, I stitch. Five minutes from destination last stitch is in. Done!! Hand it in at door in prescribed anonymous paper bag. Guild meeting proceeds while challenge organizers hang entries at back of hall.

Time to vote! Best of show goes, hands down, to our resident super-quilter/amazing artist/creative genius, Shirley. Her entry is a symphony of exquisite design and workmanship. Think I'm exaggerating? Have a look:

And then there were the rest of us. But not enough of us. I, for example, won a first place ribbon in my category--machine-pieced, hand appliqued. Hold your gasps of admiration. Mine was the only entrant in that category. Makes it a little less impressive, no? How could I not win? Similar tales in other categories.

So, the challenge was disappointing this year, since there were so few entries. But it was not wasted effort. The whole creative process of fabric selection, designing, redesigning, and putting together an original creation in cloth, produces its own exhilarating high. Its been a few days. I'm finally coming down. And now, after the fact, I'm going to hand quilt it. But slowly! And not sitting on cold concrete in the driveway.....

*Note for quilters:The challenge was to construct a quilt, minimum size 26" square, using a recognizable amount of the challenge fabric and up to 5 additional fabrics, in a design that included a star pattern into which participants had to incorporate a nine-patch. Many found it a bit daunting, hence the poor participation.