Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Of Mattresses and Applique

rug in bedroom
Originally uploaded by ooh_food
Applique. How I do love thee, Applique! I used to look forward to "Bunty," on Mondays when I was a girl. "Bunty" was a schoolgirls' magazine/comic book. It was within those pages that I was first introduced to "Uncle Tom's Cabin," "Pocahontas" and other worthwhile reading material, as well as to the likes of "Uggy Muggy From Mars," which is, inexplicably, burned into my memory. Bunny Hill Designs Block of the Month inspires the same excited anticipation in me as "Bunty" did. I wait eagerly for the fifth of every month, and hold my breath to see what Anne S. has decided I'll be stitching, on and off for the rest of the month. I am her slave. Which is not like me. I like to blaze my own trail. I don't like to make quilts that anyone else can make. What's the point? I want what I spend hours doing to be unique. In the same way, I dislike cookie cutter houses. I want mine to be different. Cookie cutter children? Not in this family!

But I digress......

It may be that I like the discipline....I have to finish one block before the next one comes out. I need that. Anything to prevent me from constantly starting new projects, while those already underway languish in quilters' purgatory! [Was it a Freudian slip that I wrote quitters' purgatory there? And hastily corrected it!] Besides, I decide which fabrics and which colours to use, so it really will be unique!

The OC smiles indulgently. Isn't it nice that the little woman has a hobby, although, God knows, a little dusting wouldn't go astray around here. We'll be able to plant tomatoes on the book shelves soon, but it keeps her happy and off my case, so it can't be all bad.

Yes, I read minds too. Another of my fabled talents.....Now, where was I?

Ah yes. He who would like the dusting done is away for the week. My mission, in his absence, is to hunt down a new mattress set. And yes, I have made a start. Yesterday afternoon I visited two mattress stores. Customers were thin on the ground. Salesmen almost fell over themselves in their rush to my side. Not a good sales tactic, as such behaviour tends to make me want to turn and dash right back out. Better to leave me alone for a while, then sidle slyly over, so as to be available when I start to look confused. Available to spout a befuddling barrage of mattress information. More information about mattresses than a person could possibly store in her head, nine and a half percent percent of which actually registers with a brain cell in there. If you haven't been in the market for a mattress lately, let me tell you, it leads to befuddlement!

To my credit, I stood my ground and resisted the impulse to run. I listened, while most of the information washed harmlessly over my head. I even lay down obediently, and nodded sagely, if somewhat self consciously, from a reclining position at the finer points of traditional spring mattresses, and sleep numbers mattresses, and memory foam mattresses, and the dizzying variety of thicknesses and densities, the relative pros and cons of each explained to me in excruciating, mind numbing detail. Mattresses were pointed out to me that had the endorsement of the Chiropractic Association. Then there were the pillow tops, the bases, and of course, the prices. Oh my Lord, the prices!

"I only want to sleep on it!" I almost said, then thought better of it, not wanting to get into a discussion with Mr. Eager Salesman of other bed related activities. And it's true, we spend a large enough percentage of our lives sleeping, that it's probably wise to invest in something of substance and reliability. While being bamboozled with figures and statistics and prices, I made a concerted effort to look intelligent, and give the impression that I found it all fascinating. In spite of the fact that I was beginning to think my brain must be made from exactly the same high density foam about which the salesman was waxing so poetical.

I came home with a handful of business cards and a head swimming with information. The OC was very pleased when informed, last night on the telephone, of the progress made.

And now it's Tuesday, and I should sally forth again to do some further mattressy investigations. But first, I told myself, since I am being so virtuous, and loathe to venture out into the killer heat, I could do a little applique first, to bolster my resolve, as it were.

So, having made a start yesterday, I agonized for a while, today, over which fabric I should use for the flowers. Decision made [with difficulty,] I cut them out. Then I thought

"I really should go. Sooner out, sooner done."

But then I remembered that supper was ready, only to warm it up, so what's the hurry? A person could sew on at least one petal, just to see how it looks. Of course, that was so easily done, and looked so nice that a person thought she might as well sew on another. Then, there being only five petals to a flower, a person thought, if she did one more, she'd be more than half way to a finished flower.......Do you see where a person could go with this?

Exactly! All five petals are sewn on.

A person thinks they look gorgeous. So, sighing with satisfaction, she has now pushed herself away from the sewing table and is bravely heading out the door to go and look [God help us!] at more mattresses. Wish a person luck, please.......

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Concerning Flouting....

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day today was "flout", meaning

#1. To treat with contemptuous disregard; to scorn.

#2. To indulge in scornful behaviour.

I've never been a Flouter. I've been called names in my life, "'Fraidy Cat" for instance. That one was to goad me into a little flouting; "Goody Two Shoes," to explain to me, as to the particularly dimwitted, as if I didn't know and wish I could change it, that I was too un-daring for my own good; "Pollyanna," by persons exasperated with my persistent belief in the possibility of everyone getting along and peacefully co-existing, on a global as well as a more personal scale. Possible, yes. Probable? Hmmm. I've been called other names, not all of them flattering. These few, however, will suffice for now, but let the record show that no-one ever called me a Flouter.

I do not flout the rules of the road [well maybe a teeny, tiny little bit...]

I do not flout the laws of the land [since I am a registered "Alien" I have to watch my Ps and Qs, otherwise they might send me packing.]

I do not flout the rules of civilized behaviour.

I do not even flout the laws of fashion, erring mostly on the side of conservative dress, and the laws of decency have a loyal follower in me. [Now that I've listed the many ways in which I am a non-flouter, I begin to wonder if I am, perhaps, a candidate for sainthood.......Hmmm.]

All this may be about to change. I am not getting any younger.

"The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly-and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing."

I'm finding more and more with each passing birthday, that I am less and less inclined to smile when I would really like to growl. I think I feel a serious bout of flouting coming on. I might even go so far as to start wearing purple.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Travels with Molly. Pull up A Chair.....

So I went to England. I'm very allergic to it, but I'm afraid if I get started I just might end up gushing. The other danger is that, in trying to convert the teeming impressions in my head to something articulate, the motor in my brain will burn out! Don't say you weren't warned! So, what would you like to hear? Tower of London? Westminster Abbey? Madame Tussauds? The Tate Museum? Cathedrals? Shakespeare? Tea with the queen? Oops. Sorry. You'll have to go somewhere else!

While I was muddling through the mysteries of English change at Gatwick, having landed fifteen minutes early, and cursing the phone company back home because, in spite of their assurances, I couldn't make my cell phone work, a handsome fellow in a rasta hat found me, hugged me, and whisked me westwards, and back in time, it almost seemed, to meet his Beloved and their Precious Bundle.

I fell in love with her myself. The boy has exquisite taste! I marveled at the Precious Bundle and the fact, at which I have marveled many times before, that such magic is possible in this sometimes gloomy old world. The sweet, pure innocence of a little babe restores hope. Does the world start anew with each new birth?

I rocked him, danced with him, jiggled him, and bounced him. I sang to him and talked silly nonsense to him, and he looked back at me with wide, attentive eyes as though giving it all very serious consideration. Babies make me foolish, maybe because they look so wise?

The soundtrack to my time there was birdsong, bleating lambs, and the wondering murmurs of a new babe. Oh, and reggae, which he has already made it clear, is his favourite kind of lullaby!

If I had to describe my trip in colour, I'd choose spring green, with yellow for daffodils and blazing gorse bushes, and blue for blue skies and woods full of bluebells, and white for hedgerows snowy with blossoming hawthorn.

The Precious Bundle is truly a citizen of the world. One grandfather is from South Africa, the other is from the Ukraine; one grandmother is from England, the other from Ireland. What will he say when asked where he's from? I think he will say he's from a place called "Love." He has certainly been exposed to a lot of it in his short time here. The first weekend was a baptism of fire, for me and the PB too. We met crowds of the little fellow's maternal relatives at a "working weekend" at a cottage in Wales. I was smitten with Wales and the southwest of England. Which doesn't make me a traitor to my first love, surely? There's room in my heart for both! I'm pretty sure the PB was passed around, and hugged and cooed at by everyone there. Even one teenager, R, known for not being much into babies, was caught sneaking a snuggle! They didn't hug and coo at me quite as much, but everyone was really friendly and welcoming!

The weekend is an annual event, where the Beloved's clan gathers to ready the cottage for summer, optimistically trusting that there will be a summer!

Not a given in recent years by all accounts...... Everyone comes ready to work. Walls are built, firewood is chopped, ponds are expanded, flowers are planted, rocks are hauled, gravel is spread, birthdays are celebrated, hills are climbed, photos

are taken, connections are re-established, ashes of loved ones are scattered, stories are told, gallons of tea are swallowed, mountains of delicious food are prepared and relished, campfires are built, songs are sung---it was truly amazing! The oldest relative there was a spry and lovely lady of ninety two. The Precious Bundle was the youngest, and in between there were teens and twenties, moms and dads, grannies and granddads.

And everyone got along. And everyone worked together. And everyone had fun. And no punches were thrown. And so much was accomplished and such lovely memories made. There is room for Pollyanna in the world after all.

I'll leave it at that until another day.........

Sunday, June 07, 2009

"Waterlogged and Saintly"

I've been back home now for about two weeks and I know that one or two of you are getting impatient with the silence......I will write about it! It just needs time to percolate. I had a lovely time with the new parents and the Precious Bundle; made some lovely new friends; saw some beautiful places, and suddenly it was time to come home, just when I was hitting my stride. I spent ten days with Rise. Is it churlish to say it wasn't enough? I was delighted to see her, but, it wasn't enough! She keeps looking for new posts on my blog. I keep looking for new posts on hers. We're both feeling uninspired!

Meanwhile, The Bean noticed that there were six hundred and thirty messages in my in box.

Six hundred and thirty.

Stretching all the way back to October 2003.

Oh dear.

"Don't you ever delete anything Mom?" he asked incredulously.

"of course I do!" I said. "I just keep the ones I want to reread."

That sounded lame, even to me. In what lifetime do I plan to have time to reread six hundred and thirty old e-mails? So I've been on a mission to delete, and give my in box a lean and hungry look.

These things cannot be accomplished overnight. I have to be careful not to delete any gems such as the following, until they have been properly savoured. One incautious click and it would be gone forever. Phft! And look what you'd have missed! This is part of an e-mail titled "Waterlogged and Saintly" that I got from Rise last August. She even mentioned that she planned to blog about it. Did you see a blog post about Lough Derg over there? Uhuh. Me neither. So what I'm doing here could be thought of as a public service....if you stretch your mind a little! Go on, stretch it!

Hi Molly,

Sorry for the silence from this end. Myself and the black dog took ourselves away for a couple of days to Lough Derg!

Do you remember Lough Derg? The place of pilgrimage for all God fearing, holy Catholic, slightly deranged Irish folk?? What was I doing there you might ask ... Not being a believer in coincidences, when a leaflet about Lough Derg fell into my lap out of a magazine, while the black dog was nosing around, and the world was looking particularly gray, I thought to myself, "Why not?" Over the last couple of years, I had often mentioned that I'd like to do it, some day, soooo....Off I went to Donegal.

The pilgrimage involved three days of fasting, going barefoot over the rocky, stony beds, and praying. The website was at pains to say that one didn't need to be a practicing Catholic to do the pilgrimage, but, in true Catholic Church tradition, that was a load of horse-[expletive deleted, tsk, tsk!]. Quelle surprise.

Lough Derg itself is in Donegal, at the back end of nowhere. Long drive. The pilgrimage takes place on an island in Lough Derg reached by a ferry. I had hoped it would be a silent time, but the world and his mother were there, with their corns and bunions on full display, praying fervently. I think I was the only non-Catholic present, but I'm glad I did it. It was very tough. The weather was, as usual,[expletive deleted, potty mouth!] Not to mention cold, wet and windy. Going without food and staying awake for thirty six hours does funny things to your brain! What brain, you say?

I came home just in time for the Leaving Cert results. He[youngestsonofrise] did very well ... surprised everyone, including himself! I told him it was all due to Lough Derg, and me spending three days on my knees, starving, freezing, and battling the demons in the rarefied atmosphere of saints and sinners!

"You didn't get where you are today, sonny boy, without your mammy at your back pushing your arse up the hill!"

He had the grace to be slightly amused.

I feel a post coming on about the Lough Derg experience ...

L [oldestsonofrise] is off to Sicily tomorrow for a scuba diving course. Wish I were going too! Not with him of course ... just to go somewhere its not raining ... it hasn't stopped [expletive deleted, again! The shame of it all!]-ing rain here for the last 2 weeks....

The Met office are issuing weather alerts regularly about the possibility of severe flooding;

The farmers are whinging;

The slugs are about to take over the landscape;

The government is on holidays;

The country is beginning to go down the tubes economically, and the experts tell us it's time to tighten our belts.

Bet if the sun came out, the entire population would down tools, grab their buckets and spades and head to the seaside ....

So there you have it. A blog post from Rise, just not on Rise's blog. I'm feeling kind of saintly myself. A big sister's got to do what a big sister's got to do. Now that I've moved those words over here, I can delete one message from my inbox. Which leaves only six hundred and twenty nine.