Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The unexpected sweetness of life

Not sure what to write about today until I made a trip to the grocery store. Strange where small moments of sweetness pop up. I don't usually have too much good to say about grocery shopping-the price and quality and annoying clerks are usually the main topics. Today, I had this lovely experience.

One a week(sometimes more) I go to the Sushi bar at the grocery store where a very kind and well mannered young man began working about a year and a half ago. The bar is called Danny Sushi and over the course of this past year + I have gotten to know him a bit. We became friendly and a stop to chat was always on the list for me. About half way through the year+ he began to ask me if he was saying things correctly in English and would I correct him if not. I told him I would be happy to help. Then when I did help him with different confusing things he would add some little treat to my purchases-free of charge. Crab rolls, Shrimp shumai, stuff like that. I told me one day that he would make any rolls that I wanted. Even ones that normally don't appear in his case. This led to some very delicious things. He made me Futomaki and Tamago rolls. And so it went for months. Last week I picked up my sushi and gave him a nice pair of gloves commenting that his hands needed protecting since they are the hands of a Master. We laughed and wished each other a good holiday and that was that. Today I stopped by to wish him a happy New Year. He had made me my favorite rolls and shrimp shumai when he saw me in the store-all free of charge. I nearly wept -it was the most touching thing from this man who barely knows me. A tiny gift but full of special care and goodness. We did the bowing to each other thing which, if done well ,can lead to much laughter. You bow, I bow, you bow again, rinse, repeat. Very funny.

There is much to be happy with in the world. Most of it is the sweet stuff, the tender stuff and the small gifts of friendship.

I want to thank you for the gift of yours and wish you a simple, sweet and healthy year ahead.

Monday, December 26, 2011

All the news that's fit

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, or depending on what you celebrate, a lovely day. I'm almost afraid to mention that the weather is still kind of wonderful for December. It will turn around soon, I'm sure, so until then...woohoo!

I managed to get through the day, despite some feelings of sadness, because I started my day with a visit from Lucy. The Happy Couple had brunch with Dani's family and left Lucy here to enjoy the full-on spoiling of the pup. I was pretty proud of myself for the job I did on Christmas dinner. Roger was the chef who handled the big jobs in the kitchen like Leg of Lamb and Prime Rib. I had never before cooked a Prime Rib. Now I have. With such an expensive piece of meat I panicked a little thinking about turning it in to pot roast instead of the juicy roast it should be. Yay Me! It could have been a little more rare but the last 15 minutes made for a bit more done than I would have liked. Still, it was soooooo goooood. Nine pounds of gooood! I missed the fun that we used to have of cooking together but all in all it was a lovely day. We finished the left overs yesterday.

Dani & James surprised me with a Kindle Fire. It was a really big surprise and I played with it all day yesterday. So many apps! I downloaded several games and played so much yesterday that I ran down the battery by 10 last night. I guess the games take a lot of power. Anyway, I love it. My best pal Terry got one too. To illustrate the difference between her and I-I have books and games-she will download practical things like notepads and financial stuff. She really is the adult in this relationship.

Further good news, we got the preliminary plans for the new addition on the house as well as an estimate of the cost. Big Gulp but not that surprising. Now we will have to decide what gets done and what waits for another day. The new house and the refurbishing of the old section will be our priority right now. Some of the other stuff goes into the maybe next year file. The 3-car garage is the biggest thing that will have to wait. It adds nearly a hundred thousand dollars to the total. That's a hundred thousand too much right now. It's this type of thing that makes me miss Roger the most. He would have handled this whole thing with no mental trauma. Me...not so much. I will just have to wrap my little brain around the thing and take big breaths.

I'm going to clean up the house today and make a trip over to the cemetary. Roger's headstone was placed on his grave a few days ago. It took a lot of time since I had a beautiful locomotive etched on to the stone for my train collector. Now that it's up I'll go and put some greenery there.

I'm learning to live with my feelings not overwhelming me all the time. Life is not so bad, it's just different and I guess I have to live with that. Or maybe a better way to put it is to live with it at peace. I've been very angry and sad for so long. Like a great heavy thing to carry around daily. The weight seems less now and I work at not being angry & sad daily.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year. Hope to be back soon.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

new day

I wrote the last entry in an effort to get what is probably known as closure- it's time to try to move along. Thanks to my dear friends who have virtually held my hand and cried with me.
Time to stop crying and get busy living.

Hey! It's almost Christmas!!
I've decided that I need a little of that.

For the past few days I have been trying to shake off the remnants of the flu. All I can say about the flu is WOW. Didn't know the body could do that. Not pretty at all. When the sight of food on the Food Network makes you nauseated you know it's bad.

Before the on-set of the flu last week we had a visit from the Architect who will be drawing up the design for our house construction. It was exciting and a lot of fun to watch James & Dani talking about their wishes and desires for their home. BIL Bob put in his needs and wants-new bathroom suite and bedroom re-design in the old wing of the house to include a sitting room/office area. The decision to totally destroy the killer staircase in the old house. My Late FIL Jim built that part of the house and as much as I loved him...he had no instinct for design. He was an engineer in aerospace development. Aesthetics...not so much. Never has there been such a steep, narrow dark staircase. Still, his good original bones of a house will be a good base.
All of the things that need attention in my world are cosmetic. New floors and appliances-full paint job, new oven and vent hood and after the financial dust settles, a slightly larger kitchen and desk/computer area. That can wait till we see how far our shekels will take us.
Right now, the most important part is to get the kids into a house and out of their shockingly expensive, massively overpriced apartment. In order to accomplish that we need to make Bob a nice new space. He is of the opinion that he does not want to negotiate stairs anymore so his suite will be on the lower level and privately accessible. Since Bob loves to sit on the porch we will build him a new one. The one he has now sits where the new part of Dani & James house will be. I'm waiting, not too patiently, to see what the architect has in mind.
Today is Lucy day..woohoo. That will keep me busy.
Also in breaking news-two beautiful babies were born in the last two weeks. A nephew for me and a baby girl for my hair dresser Diane. The quilt made from Whimsy fabric has finally gone to it's new home.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Year

Ordinary days winding along in familiarity
Do the dishes
Clean the kitchen, load the dishwasher
The phone rings
In a moment life changes forever in all the worst ways possible.

Love suspended
Your life disappears before your eyes

The love of your life remains only in photos that tug at the heart
Silence is less than golden It is, in fact, frozen and icy
Everything you believed about your life ends with the electronic drone of a machine that counts breath and heartbeats.

You find yourself awash in space
Your bed is enormous, yet you only fill up half.
Half the pillows still can't muffle the cries "Can you still hear me?" "Please God, let him hear me?"
You think of all those guilty moments you had wished for more personal time. More of that illusive peace and quiet. Both are a blessing and a curse.
You have two of so many things.
Cars, clothes, shoes, papers, magazines, the list goes on.

Friends watch you become someone else. Changed forever.
Things that seemed so important all pale.
All of the issues of so-called importance lay at your feet in printed words that neither move or excite the passion they once stirred.
For now nothing matters
Nothing really brings smiles but once in a while the sudden loud outburst of laughter at some TV dialog makes the room ring reminding you of how very empty a space it is. You are guilty of surviving.

People remind you about time healing things.
All it reminds you of is that nothing will ever be the same.
No warm embrace
Big arms will not warm this frozen heart again
Tears may stop
Time will pass
Memories will fade until the sharp intake of breath comes at remembering those private, funny, gentle hours.
No one will ever look at you like that again.
The absence of this love is forever

Drag yourself through the year from one event to the next
Grateful for the remaining family diversions and distractions.
At the end of it, you must find a way out of this fog
Hold on to what is left
Remember what is lost
Pray for inspiration that lasts more than an hour at a time
Try to save the day for yourself
Make a new life

Live on

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sometimes you forget to look back...

I was cleaning up some stuff on the computer and I saw a few posts ago that I had gotten a message from Christine Thresh asking about Potato, bacon and cheddar soup. Sorry Christine-for 2 reasons. I missed your comment and I'm one of those people who cooks by the seat of my pants. I always vow that I will make a recipe and write down the step by step and then I hardly ever do. In this case I happen to have a recipe of sorts. You may want to pare down the quantity but even though this seems like a lot for one, I really love keeping left overs in the fridge for lunches or dinners during the week. It keeps very well for about a week or more not that it lasts that long usually around here. When I have a leftover rotisserie chicken I shred the breast and add it when re-heating. It's good like that too. I never freeze this soup since it makes the potatoes grainy and mushy when you defrost it.

6-8 slices thick cut bacon cut across grain into diced pieces
1 large onion- diced medium
1 cup celery - dice medium
4-5 medium potatoes cubed. I use Yukon Gold or red bliss-they hold their shape and don't get too mushy.
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1-32 oz. Kitchen Basics chicken stock (no salt)or a good strong stock you made.
1 small can cream of chicken soup
2 good handfuls of grated cheddar-I use 4 cheese Mexican by Sargento just because I have it on hand from enchiladas.
4 oz. sour cream
1/2 cup milk or fat free half and half(I like the half & half)
salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven cook the bacon on med. high slowly until it's very crisp and rendered. Spoon out to drain on paper towels. Leave about two tablespoons of the bacon fat and throw in the onion and celery until tender.

Add the potatoes and saute them a little with the veg. in the bacon fat 5-10 minutes keep stirring.

Add the entire container of chicken stock and the can of cream of chicken.

If you find the potatoes are not fully covered add a bit of water or more chicken stock. Stir well and let simmer till the potatoes are fork tender.

In a bowl mix the sour cream and half&half till creamy-add to pot and stir. Taste for seasoning. If the soup seems too thin-make a little roux with the broth and flour and whisk into pot. Cook a few minutes longer to cook the flour.

Throw in two good handfulls of shredded cheddar and stir into soup until everything is nicely blended. Last thing before serving throw in bacon pieces and parsley-stir and serve.

As with many of these chowder dishes, they taste even better the day after.

Hope you enjoy Christine! Sorry I didn't see your comment sooner.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

How lucky am I?

I am the lucky recipient of this beautiful Madonna piece from my good friend Debra. I cannot seem to take a decent picture lately so I hope you can get an idea of how lovely it is. Here is a better shot on Debra's blog

It will be on the wall keeping the "Dear Mother" Madonna I got earlier in the year company. She puts so much work into these wonderful quilts. I'm sorry the detail isn't better. Lovely lace bits and pretty buttons surround the image and great emboidery frames the image itself. Thanks Debra. I treasure both these Madonnas and I think the best thing for me to do to preserve them better is to have them framed. Otherwise I see them getting too dusty with time and that would be a shame. If you haven't seen Debra's work-make time and enjoy . Along with being a generous person, she is sublimely talented and as busy as a bee. I first discovered her work when I was looking for Madonna images and quite by accident came across her blog. Back then I couldn't imagine being fortunate enough to have any of her work. Now I have two!!

I'm going to finish up a couple of things for the Food Pantry and them head to the machine. It's a lovely sunny day here but all I can see right now is my super dirty windows...Long past time for a good cleaning. Maybe this time I should hire someone.
Talk to you soon.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

walkin' the dog

I don't know what's going on with blogger but I'm losing my patience. No matter how I design the page to look it re-sets everything with huge blank spaces and I can't seem to figure out how to stop it. Sorry for the way these posts are laid out but it just does it's own thing and becomes very very frustrating

Welcome to the fall on our property. Hundreds of trees insure a blanket of many colors. It's very beautiful but best not to ask my son about it right now. He's got the blower and the rake out and is tackling the big yard cleanup. He will growl at you when provoked. I'm really just kidding. He's always been the most important part of the fall yard work. He's the one with the best back and, for now, the best stamina. You can see some of what I have mentioned about the climb up to my house. This first picture is only half the climb up. There's about another 100 feet up to the back porch.

Here's Lucy wondering what there is to stop and fool around with when a walk is calling.

These shots are from Thursday while we were off on the wildlife hunt. We still have a huge amount of leaves on the trees and the weather is different every day. Hotish, cold, really cold, semi-hot. Weather lottery.

I am doing some shelf stocking tomorrow at the Pantry and helping with the children's groups remaining to be seen. We have such abundance at this time of year it's incredible to see what the shelves look like now as opposed to February and August. Not getting a lot of sewing done but I wanted to check in to say HI!

Aunt Chilada's for dinner...yum

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

knew it would happen one day.

First, let me show you a photo of my faithful sentry. She is standing guard because, I kid you not, there's a buck with antlers and a lot of horns, outside on my property. I very nearly came face to face with it a while ago and we had a stare down which resulted in scaring the crap out of both of us. What I did see before moving inside was that he had a wound on his shoulder and it appears that someone tried to shoot him but was not successful except to graze him. He's over on the property next door right now and I'm trying to get a better shot but it's through a window and the screens are still on so everything I shoot comes out screened...rats. Anyway, I can't get blogger to let me move photos again so here is the only one I could get so far. He's the brown spot in between the two tree trunks about center. I'm hoping since he was moving in the direction of traffic that he will return to the relative peace of our property. Lots of places to hide. I guess I'm going to call town hall to let them know since I wouldn't want him to run into traffic and have anyone, including him, get hurt.

We've always known that we would encounter deer some time in the near future since the east end is covered with them. Out at the Lab where Roger worked they were on protected federal land and he would stop to photograph them in huge numbers of 100 or more. Trouble was they starved in the winter. As enormous as the land is out there it's not enough to sustain huge herds like that. There was a plan to allow hunting for a limited time but a great outcry from Peta people put the squash on that. Let me just say that those same people pulled up their tents and left the animals to die of starvation once they had their publicity finished. Not nice.

Anyway, Lucy and I have just come back from our walk where we went in search of the deer. No sign of him. Hope that wound wasn't worse than it looked. I see that the police are around looking for him. Don't want to know how that will turn out...

I'm kind of tired today since yesterday was spent at the Food Pantry with multiple visitations of Brownie Troops and Cub Scout Troops delivering food. One of the funniest parts is that the kids get so excited when you tell them that they can unpack their items and place them on the shelves. I bet if their Moms asked them to help unpack groceries they would run like the wind. We were so grateful for their enthusiasm since they had a couple of hundred bags of groceries and that would have meant a lot of bending and lifting for Sally and I. They had lots of good questions too. The Moms obviously had prepared them well and good for them. We've had kids who come in and stand like zombies. That's a touch audience. By the time we were finished late afternoon, I stopped for sushi and treated myself to dinner. Then I fell asleep. Those kids can really wear you out but all in all it was a lot of fun. The kids left telling us that they were going to bake pies and cookies for Thanksgiving and deliver them to us.

I am making potato, bacon and cheddar soup for James this evening. We have been having dinner on Thurs. evenings since Dani is in school until late. I'll send some home for Dani. Maybe we will have a chance to talk about our building project. I'm getting very excited at the prospect and hoping that it will make the winter less loathsome by anticipation of a spring build.

Anyway, if I get a better picture of the buck I'll post it. How I wish I had the camera on me when we came nearly face to face. He was beautiful.

Off to do some laundry. Talk soon.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Keeping busy

This is the material for the other baby quilt that's up next. It will be very simple. 5 in. squares with a couple of borders. Next to it is the new bag I got from Suzan "the reluctant quilter". That woman can really make a beautiful bag. I've had more people tell me how pretty it is. Her company is Hazelnut Deux and her bags are gorgeous and well made.

These days I am trying to be as busy as I can to avoid the thoughts that are clouding my head. Soon it will be a year that Roger has been gone. I am trying to fill the hours with good thoughts and there are many right now. We are planning a large addition to the house come spring. Getting our wish list together so we can talk with an architect who is going to help us with a design. We are, essentially, building another whole house on the property for James & Dani. This suits my BIL Bob and I very well since we adore them and it will be helpful to both of us since it is a large property to maintain and having help will be nice as we are not getting any younger or in any better shape. It's a lot of fun imagining the new house and it looks like we may just squeak by without having to get a variance since we may be able to make it fit into this large property without coming close to the neighbors. We have a good relationship with our neighbors-like to keep it that way. It looks like I will get a new and larger kitchen, possibly a small deck off my bedroom, and hardwood flooring. I also get the best thing of all. A house with family in it again. Oh! and Lucy-can't forget Miss Lucy!!. I must say it's very quiet and sort of lonely here. I can go the whole day without talking with anyone but myself. It's not good for me. Depression creeps up kind of fast and lingers. How funny and unusual for me to find at 63 that I need a life and people around me.

Last week I had a super week of friends with time. It seems that it was a good week for all of my friends to have time to do stuff. Yay! I went to dinner with Geri at Taormina, lunch with Dani's Mom, Cheryl, at the Greeks, Thursday night quilting with Terry and Pam and out shopping alone on Friday for some necessities from Macy's.

I still have my work at the Pantry and it is our very busy season. Seasonal workers are looking for help for their families for the winter and we have a large number of veterans who are needing help as well. The VA hospital is a few miles away and it breaks your heart to see what's happening to these people who are returning from service and having trouble dealing with memories of war and physical injuries. It makes all of us try doubly hard to get our donations and grocery gift cards in place so at least they can be assured of a meal when they are hungry.

I'm going to fire up the machine and get to work on the new baby quilt and then I don't want to hear about birthin' no babies for a while!! II have so much to catch up on sewing wise.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


The days are really golden around here right now. We have a lot of color in some areas but, amazingly, there are some trees that are still only tinged with color and for the most part still green. A few rainy days will take care of that.

We went on a little visit to North Carolina to check up on the old folk. Aunt Mattie and Uncle Don are in their mid nineties and now in assisted living. Mattie is still very sharp but Don is failing a bit. I'll take 95 if it could be on those terms. Mattie got a kick out of my Kindle and she learned some games on cousin Susan's I-phone. That woman is pretty sharp. She enjoyed playing solitaire. We visited them several times and did a lot of lunches and dinners at some great places around Davidson/Mooresville. Davidson is a college town about 20 miles outside Charlotte -Mattie and Don live in the retirement village there. It's quite the place for that kind of thing. They had a cottage on the property for many years and then, due to illness they had to move to the assisted living facility. Anyway, being a college town, there are many really nice places to shop in and eat in. We picked a place called Toast and had a great brunch one day. The food was very good and we ate on the lovely patio outside. Very nice.

Our flights were uneventful which is all you can really ask for these days. I have been catching up with the laundry and a bit of housekeeping and now I can return to the @$!%*# baby quilt that never ends. One down and one more to go. Our niece is having another baby in December so another, hopefully much quicker, baby quilt is on the way.

Dani is nearly finished with this semester of school and her schedule for the next is mostly in the evening so I will not have Thursdays with Lucy. I will miss our crazy days together but probably get more accomplished since I am so easily distracted by the cuteness.

Well, off to make some chicken soup(it's very chilly here) and back to the machine to finish that quilt.

Hope to have something to show soon. Talk to you tomorrow.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Update to last post.

I received this note from my good friend Debra Spincic of Debra's Design Studio regarding the Basics Quilt gather that I wrote about yesterday.

Please add to your post today about the Quilt Drive that I will gladly machine quilt any tops that are sent my way. I know that alot of people would contribute to these kinds of causes more but the machine quilting holds them back. They can dig out some old UFOs and I can use those. I have plenty of fabric or sheets for backing, no problem.
If they will send me the top, binding enough to finish it and $5 for batting, etc. I will finish the tops into quilts and send them to the Basic Housing address. I'll get a box started and send a load at once. I have a few here I can save & send.

On another note, my 1000 Pyramids quilt I made for the Golden Retriever Rescue Fundraiser auctioned last night for $525. A man bought it for his mother for Christmas. Nice man, eh?


A better friend you can't imagine. Debra does a lot of donation work. We met through the Quilts of Valor program and that's only one of the many good works that she has had a hand in. I sent her offer to Victoria, who I think may be away for the weekend so I'll probably hear from her later. I'll keep you posted or check with Victoria at Bumble Beans for information and an address for Debra. It's a generous offer from Debra who will quilt and send your donation to Basics for you.
I'll talk to you soon...

Friday, October 07, 2011

Thursdays with Lucy and Helping those in need

My friend Victoria, of Bumble Beans Blog has been working her fingers to the bone for a while now on a project that means a lot to her as well as the many families in NY who are in temporary housing through a group called Basics Inc.. Please take a moment to go to her Basics site by clicking on the blog above and, if you can, help with a donation of a quilt. All the info is on the link and on her site there are some very simple ideas for a fast and easy quilt of any size. They need all kinds and sizes. It's a project that began with a simple question from Victoria to the man in charge of this group. She asked if they could use some quilts and how many. He responded by asking if she had 700. So far I think she has gathered and and made around 300. Winter is coming and they need many more. Go see what she's up to. That woman can work faster than anyone I know.

And now, for some Lucy...

I know it's not Thursday but this post never made it past being saved and now it's Sunday morning.

As you know, if it's Thursday-it's all Lucy. We have a contest to see who can out smart the other and I'm sorry to say that Lucy has been winning lately. I have to scan the room really well to imagine how little furry paws and jaws will find various fun things to run and hide with and eventually tear to shreds. How can something so cute be so shreddy!! Those beautiful little white teeth are like razors. She loves to screw with your mind as well. It's the challenge of the game. She knows that I can't run that fast and her funny , short, little paws try hard to gain a pawhold on the wood floor to make a getaway. Very funny pup.

On another note, I will be away from the blog for a few days but I should be back to blogging again by the 12th. Nothing serious, just some work that needs doing. Hope you take a moment to look at Victoria's blog. It's a good cause and a great comfort for families who are trying to get a new start in life. Food, shelter, and comfort. Sounds simple but it isn't always that easy.

Back soon

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

I call shenenigans or Sunspots

I tried to post yesterday. Really I did. Stop laughing back there. There are gremlins afoot. It's either Blogger, our server, or some mystical thing that has to do with sunspots. I'm giving it another go.

About a week or ten days ago I got an e-mail from our cable company. Normally I don't complain much about cable since they really are pretty good and certainly very fast as they claim. (Lets discuss how crappy digital tv is someday though.You know, the constant freezing of the screen and the efforts to sync it back up that take just enough time to lose half a program) But I digress, they stated that there was work being done and we could experience problems with the server. They also said that in an effort try and not screw with us too much, work would be done mostly between the hours of midnight and 6 am. That works for me. I have a Kindle, the answer to all technology problems in my world so I'm prepared. Besides, if I'm on the Internet at those times you can be fairly certain that I'm having a serious problem since I am distantly related to Rip VanWinklezzzzzzzz.
Then I saw an article in, I think, the Times regarding the major solar flares that are due to cause us to run screaming from our electronic hardware in the next months. As a side note, you may remember that Roger worked in science as his job for 35 years. One of his favorite answers, as well as many of his colleagues in the community, to the question of why some piece of technology wouldn't work was...sunspots. Once when I couldn't get the TV to work and nothing went right he looked at me with a very serious face and said...sunspots. It became our personal mantra for everything that goes bump in the night, to why my cake fell apart or the car made a funny noise. I really miss that sense of humor of his so much.
I'm beginning to think that this is how the world will end. Sunspots will drive humanity insane and we will all perish in the onslaught from having to do without our electronic stuff.
For instance, I just found a photo of some shoes I bought from Land's End. Nice Suede Penny loafers. The photo somehow deleted itself or I would show you how cute and preppy my little loafers are. Hate to admit it but I'm the last, sad, aging preppy around. I don't like bling, or blouses that are covered in sequins and stuff and if you could see my closet(heaven forbid) you would find the worlds largest collection of chinos and linen shirts. I spent a good part of yesterday looking for some clothing to wear in NC next week. I came home with three things and one doesn't fit right. There are beautiful sweater sets and tweed sweaters in the stores but frankly, there would have to be a major change in NC weather for me to need a sweater in October. It's still in the 70s here for the rest of the week. So I guess I'll take my nice linen stuff and hope there is an iron in the room. Linen always looks like you just got out of bed midday but I like to start out crisp. Wish I could iron my face.
Just in case you couldn't imagine this post getting any more boring...I spent the morning interviewing families for the Adopt-a-Family Christmas program. Specific wants and needs for each family are our goal so lists must be gathered and sizes etc. so that the various churches in our community and ask people to help and know that they will have a guideline to help the givers.
So good people of Bloglandia, that's where my morning and some of the afternoon went. Now I have laundry and some clean-up to do and then...praise the heavens...I can maybe get to the machine and work on the crosses above. I'm still trying to get back to doing something with them after months. That is if I don't run into any more sunspots.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

what I did on my summer vacation and then some.

For a slightly computer challenged person like me, blogging, it turns out is something you should really keep at. "From not doing you must re-learn all that you have un-learned"....Yoda.

That's not such a bad thing. Life is always an interesting and sometimes fascinating lesson. I believe that I have had enough lessons for a while. We are never to old to learn but frankly right now I'm caught up for a bit.

Life around here these past months has been a journey to find... me. I found that I am one of those women who focused on doing a good job as mother and wife and when both those things were taken away from my daily life I became the proverbial basket case. In our daily lives we sometimes say to ourselves as artists or workers in cloth, "when will it be my turn". That is not to diminish the experiences of motherhood and wifery. They are years I would not have changed or given up for any reason. Now and then the universe throws you a curve ball though and the choice becomes not your own but some universal crankypants attack. Everything you know to be good and right suddenly stops like one of those freaky roller coasters and you have mental whiplash. In the last couple of weeks I have begun to feel something familiar within returning. The desire to create and the burning desire to feel something that resembles normal again. I know that things will never be the same without Roger but I have come out of this phase of uselessly begging the universe to make it all right and give me back what I lost. Things will simply be different. How they are different is now my choice to make.

Perhaps dealing with getting some etching done on Roger's headstone was a trigger and perhaps taking o a new position of more responsibility at the Food Pantry have contributed to a somewhat new outlook.

Above, you will see two of the reasons I have for getting up each day. My wonderful, smart, Daughter-in-law Dani and, of course, the amazing Miss Lucy Goose. Dani is back in school studying for her CPA and has a very long day on Thurs. I get to watch Lucy until James gets off work and then we have dinner together. By Thursday night I am wiped out and happy. Lucy makes me laugh so much. She's the definition of wild thing but so much fun to play with. Besides, the exersize is good for me. I have done way too much eating for comfort these past months.

My hairdresser Diane is having a baby in December and the quilt above is for her baby. I have begun to straight line quilt with the walking foot. It's easy stuff but in order to keep it neat you really must pay close attention and go slowly. Hope to be finished soon.

To all of my friends who took the time to check up on me this time I was missing in action, thank you so much. I can officially call myself an American now and have a passport!! I was so excited when they finally approved my getting Roger's Social Sec and let me change my name officially that I stopped on the way home by Roger's grave and sat talking to him. His biggest fear since 9-11 was that the bureaucratic nightmare at government agencies would become a serious mess for me. It was a serious mess for a while but in the end the wheels turned slowly and finally proved what we knew all along. I've been a citizen since 1951 through my mother's naturalization. Whew!!! I think I have finally gotten all the paperwork assiciated with Roger's death done with and can relax and take a deep breath.

Well, I'm off to set up the machine and get this baby quilt done as well as spending some of the day doing paperwork for the Pantry-financial paperwork for a change.

I've loved catching up with all the beautiful work you all have been turning out. Also the donation work turned out by several good friends. Stop by Debora's Design Studio(link on left) and see all the great work she's doing with donation quilts. Bumble Beans sent me a postcard yesterday to show the quilt that was made with donation blocks that some of us sent her for her "Bloggers, Friends & Family Signatures" quilt. Victoria's blog is on the left as well under Bumble Beans. Mad Talents all around.

Back Monday.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Life in slow motion

I'm still waiting for the results of my x-rays on the knee so in the mean time I thought I would let you know I'm trying to make the best of it(even though I appear to be backwards on the surfboard)

Catching up with work for the Pantry since that only requires sitting and I'm watching some netflix. Reading a few things on the Kindle, or as I call it, the best invention to come along in my world EVER.

Bob left for Alaska this morning pre-dawn and is well on his way there by now. He will be back in a couple of weeks. It's pretty quiet around here for now.

I need to go to the Pantry to pick up some paperwork and I get to use the special parking places right outside the door which helps a lot. I don't like this feeling at all though. Moving slowly is not my thing & it requires a lot of patience(something we might all agree is lacking in my profile)

I keep thinking things like, "I'll just run out and do thus and such." Not so much!! One of my stops is to get a bag of thistle seed for my beloved Goldfinches. I'm out and they look angry...

I'll let you know what the Dr. says as soon as I can locate him. Back soon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Busy work & pain

I've been trying to keep myself busy but the gods are conspiring against me I think. Some of you may remember that my right knee has been giving me some trouble from time to time. Well, from time to time has now moved up to all the time. Along with the pain in the knee that now goes on forever, I am favoring it so my hip hurts too. Crap!

An appointment with the Dr. on Thursday will begin what I hope doesn't lead to surgery but perhaps physical therapy instead. There is so much I want to do in my house but the pain gets really bad after only a half hour standing on the foot. All of this is making me a bad combination of cranky and depressed. Not a good place to be. The hip thing is keeping me from sitting long enough to write letters for the Pantry so now I am behind on that as well. Can I get some more whine with this pitty party....

Anyway, I have not progressed to far on James's new quilt but I did manage to find a few more blocks for the Kaffe piece above. I should really lay out and observe blocks more carefully. I would have moved a couple of those around where there is too much light together. What I really need is a handwork project. Something small and manageable for couch potatoing.

I'll let you know how the Dr, goes tomorrow. I suspect the first thing will be a series of x-rays to see what the actual damage is. As per the Stones-what a drag it is getting old. I am writing on the blackboard a hundred times-I will stop whining like a 90 year old.

Yours truly,

Bad Patient with no patience

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Look how innocent little sleeping puppy looks. Miss Lucy has exhausted herself and fallen asleep. She is such fun to have around but when she decides it's bedtime, that's it. Fun's over. Time for napping.

The quilt in progress is a replacement for the one that some adorable little sleepy puppy tore a hole in and pulled out the stuffing. Lucy has forced me to have m quilts done on the machine or long-arm professionally. She likes the little ties in the quilts and goes at them full force until there's a hole. The batting is an added fun feature. Good thing I love that pup so much. Anyway, I found my Japanese fabrics and began a replacement quilt for James. I will have to send it out to be quilted though so that little tiny, itty, bitty, teeth can't play with ties and batting.

I decided on a Chinese(or Japanese) coin pattern. Not too complicated and goes together pretty fast. I have quite a bit done and enjoyed the first season of "In Plain Sight" on Netflix while I worked. That's one of my favorite shows and I had never seen the first season which is now available on the instant viewing option on my computer.

We have said goodbye to our wonderful company and another great visit. I'll talk more about that tomorrow. For now I just wanted to check in and say HI! I'm still kickin" and thankful for AC and power. The humidity is back and I hear next week the temps are going up again. Good time to be inside and busy...or napping. We'll see what the day brings. I may just take my cue from Lucy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Little check-in

Just wanted to let you know that I'm alright. I have a house full of wonderful visitors and I'll get back to blogging sometime soon. Hope the summer is a good one for you all as well.

I turned off the comments till next week but thanks for the e-mails checking up on me.

Back next week.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Little bits & pieces

It's either feast or famine regarding time around here. Lately it's been feast. Since I've taken back my job at the Pantry I am having to re-learn some things on my computer. Roger had installed some new Office programs and I'm having a bit of a learning curve. Also having a little problem with my wireless keyboard and mouse. The keyboard keeps making double strikes so I wind up with sentences that go like this-II amm soo tirred of havving to correcct every damnnn sentencee. Grrr. Only happens sometimes.

Above is the first of a couple of baby quilts that I need to get done. The color is off a bit in the photo. The "Whimsy" fabric is brighter but I just don't have time to go figure it out right now. I will give it a border and call it a day...NEXT!

I'm deep into the immigration/social security maze. It's really being kind to call it a maze. It's more like a big steaming pile of mess. I begin to wonder if it would pay to have a couple of drinks before trying to tackle the whole thing.

The other day I had dinner with my oldest friend going all the way back to 6th grade. We didn't want an actual dinner so we ordered a couple of appetizers-fried calamari and baked clams and enjoyed a couple of drinks down at the beach at sunset. Great company and a lovely setting. This place makes the best fried calamari EVER. Plus, I got to catch up with Linda. It's funny how you can not see each other socially for a year and pick up right where you were last time. We live a half mile from each other and all these terrible months went by. Linda came to Roger's funeral and when she saw me the other night, she just hugged me and said, "Wow has this past year kicked your ass, or what?" Yes it has but I'm kicking back at last.

I have a graduation party this weekend. Dani's sister, Victoria, has graduated high school and is on her way to being a nurse. She's such a lovely young woman with a sweet personality. Very smart kids in that family. Yesterday, I got little Miss Lucy for the day. We sort of wear each other out but in a good way. Lucy also saved me from the big bad kitty that was hiding under my car....such a brave girl. She spent the day patrolling the front door making sure that the chipmunks, squirrels, and birds didn't get to me. I feel so safe now... At any rate, I'm sure she slept really soundly last night, I know I did.

I'm off to the grocery store, Pantry, Post Office, and then home for some work on the quilts.

Have a happy 4th everyone.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Brand New Day..

The lawyer who has so kindly taken on my immigration case thought he had pretty much seen everything. That is until he met me yesterday in his local office. The office is is a town not too far from me and in large Hispanic area. I found myself opening the door to a scene kind of like something you might see in a movie. It was such a wonderful experience. A very small waiting area filled with people speaking one of the most beautiful languages in the world, Spanish.I have had a number of years of Spanish and many of the people who come to the Pantry are Hispanic so I'm used to helping people with their English. This place was such an experience. The many dialects and the lilting sounds of women as opposed to the more defined and sharper sounds of the men. I could have sat there all day just to hear more. When I opened the door 2 of the women who were waiting stopped talking and actually welcomed me to sit next to them by moving their papers and handbags. I seriously think they wanted to get a closer look at the gringa grandma with blond hair, blue eyes and find out what on earth I was doing there. One of the secretaries came to take my info and kept saying my name and asking me if I was there regarding immigration??? Are you sure??? Who recommended you to this office. I asked her to speak in private for a moment because there is nothing further from my personality than to expect to be treated like someone special because my friend is a major political guy in the area. All I asked him to do was to recommend someone who would know what they were doing with immigration law. My friend had made a personal call to the lawyer and called in a favor. That was not known to me until the end of our meeting.

At any rate, I handed him all the paperwork pertaining to my birth and history which included very fragile papers from 1948 and he became very excited by the fact that I had an antique green card. Apparently, such things have not been in use since the dark ages. He called all the lawyers in to his office to show them what one looked like. To boil it all down to less than a novella, my father was an American soldier during the war so it automatically makes me a citizen. I have the records of that birth and several other papers from Germany that make clear those facts. There is a notarized letter from my mother giving the details of my life from the beginning. Anyway, after much discussion it was decided that the best way to proceed would be to apply for a passport. While the passport people are throwing up their hands and screaming. the lawyer will have the German documents translated so that when the passport office send them back to the lawyer we can proceed from there. There is no point sending them the German papers now since they will just be annoyed and not know how to read them. So I'm looking at about 8 weeks till they start asking for additional info.

The best and most amazing part of the day came when I was waiting for something to finish printing and he asked me what I do. I explained that for the past 13 years I have partnered with my friends to run the Food Pantry through the auspices of the Ecumenical Council of Churches. He was quiet for a moment and said, "I have decided to take your case pro bono." He went on to tell me that many of his clients had commented in the past how much they had been helped by the Food Pantry and he believed that we were doing the work of the Lord there. He said he had spoken to a number of clients who told stories of how one or the other of us had given them enough money to get gas for their cars to get to them to work. I had tears in my eyes by the time we were done. No one has ever told me anything so lovely in all the time I have worked at the Pantry. It's not the kind of thing you do for thanks. It was a moment I will never forget and when I think back to all the times I handed over $10 or $20, I had a renewal of faith in that office. Since I am not a wealthy woman but I am comfortable enough, I have written a check to the lawyer to help with the legal costs to someone who cannot afford his services. It was the least I could offer and I will do it again.

On the way to his office I kept thinking and praying that Roger would be looking over my shoulder and help me not to screw anything up. I felt his presence more yesterday than I have since the trip to Maine. It was a truly lovely feeling.

I hope I'm quoting it correctly,

"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches on your soul and sings the song that never stops at all" Emily Dickenson

The small quilt above is the one I made for Roger many years ago. It hung in his office since the early 90s and I made it as a joke since his pet peeve was having to wear ties. It came back home a last month when his office was packed up and the personal contents were given to me. It made me laugh to see it. Wearing ties made him bananas.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

This & That with a Weiner

Here's something pretty to look at while I discuss something icky. Lets chat about "The Weiner". First, let me assure you that he is not my congressman. He works his magical charm far off to the west near NYCity. Actually it's Queens. Whatever the scene of his horrible behavior it comes as no surprise to me at all. He was and remains a despicable human being but then look who he has for company. At least Barney Frank doesn't have the cojones to defend him although he is being defended by Charles Wrangle. Who better to be a big defender of sub-human behavior than good old Charlie. If Charlie is the arbiter of decency we're are so far up that proverbial creek that it's past the point of the paddle helping. Just hold your nose and pray for shore. Weiner has been a cry baby irritant for a long time. Whenever they need someone to throw a hissy fit and act like a bad child..Weiner's your guy. He, of course held himself up as another arbiter of social conscience, decency and civic pride. No one likes him and now we're not sure his lovely wife does either. The rats he serves with have all deserted him and are busy distancing themselves from his aberrant behavior. Even, Chuck"the schmuck" Schumer has cast him off and that was his only pal. Schumer used him as an attack dog and now he's done with him. The Weiner is roasted....sorry couldn't resist. This afternoon I saw a news report that showed his wife entering the garage to their apartment. To be a fly on that wall for an hour...whew. He makes me want to take a shower just looking at a newscast with him in it. Enough of him. The highlight of the past two weeks has been the headlines in the NY Post. They are too funny for words and I blatantly stole the Weiner roasted from them.

On the immigration front and 180 degrees away from Weiner is my friend Linda and her husband. Linda and I go back to 5th grade. Her parents owned what was once one of the only liquor stores in the area back in the early 50s-60s. We remained friends and although we don't see each other that often, she is my oldest friend and still so dear to me. Her husband is a wonderful guy who is pretty high up in political circles around here and she put him on the trail of an immigration lawyer for me. Today, I got a call from the lawyer. He said, jokingly, that when he got a call from Linda's husband early this morning he was a little worried that he had done something wrong. We had a laugh over that and he asked me to tell some of the basics of the story. He is going to see me on Sunday in his office at 10 am!! I don't know what I will do to thank my friends but I'll come up with something. I feel so much better just knowing that someone is on the case and he apparently told Linda's husband that he would take good care of me. Thanks Goodness for friends in high places. I am blessed.

I worked on a baby quilt with some of the Whimsy fabric by Joanna Figueroa today. I have two baby quilts to turn out in the near future and at least one is nearly a top.

Tomorrow I will go back to work for the Food Pantry in my former position. I've been helping but not doing my old job. The final meeting of the season is tomorrow at 9 am and they asked me to come back. Nice to be wanted even if it is because they can't find a bigger sucker than me. Seriously, I do miss many of the people at the Ecumenical Council. Don't miss those 9 am meetings though. I'm still plodding along in my jammies at that time. Must set alarm for tomorrow. I don't have to go far though, just up to one of the Presbyterian Churches that is holding tomorrow's meeting.

I'll get some shots of the quilt blocks or top tomorrow. Back soon with more news.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

and now, for something somewhat different

Who better to paraphrase than Monty Python?

Before I start here's a little 12x12 tile piece I was fooling with. Victoria of Bumble Beans got me started on this. I may sew some more later. I like the randomness of it. Sort of like my life right now. A bunch of different stuff colliding together and I love using every tiny piece of Kaffe fabric. Just can't throw that stuff away.

I have a little, sweet and a little bitter to share and then I'll clear up some of the questions you have asked and comments you've been kind enough to leave me.

The sweet-It is, as some of you know, the birthday season around here. May and June contain birthday's for nearly everyone in the family with a few exceptions. My dear friend Terry and I were treated to a fabulous dinner at the other quilting friend, Pam's house on Thursday evening. After the meltdown at social sec. you may well imagine that I needed something to perk me up and Pam had just the ticket. Pam & Bill live about a mile or so from me on a hill above the village and over the harbor. It's a sweet old house that they have made beautiful inside and out. We'll talk about their garden more in a minute. I am blessed to have two great cooks as friends and Pam really outdid herself using one of the numerous Ina Garten cookbooks that one or the other of us has given her. It pas to keep your friends in great cookbooks. She made a baked pasta dish that was delicious but the true highlight of the meal was Bib lettuce and tomato with Ina's Green Goddess dressing. We were among friends so we made total pigs of ourselves and used the garlic bread to sop up the dressing. Truly, you could have just set a loaf of garlic bread and a bowl of the dressing before us and it would have been A OK with us. The recipe is on the Food Net. site under her recipes. It's made of mayo, sour cream, garlic, scallions, and basil, OH MY. Yum.

The bitter of the evening came in when we sat down in front of her lovely picture window with the grape arbor outside and Pam said, "Before you start, tell me what's missing from this picture?" Hey, no grapevines. Pam's grape arbor comes from a 130 year old gnarly trunk that looks like a Japanese watercolor come to life. Well, it did. The grape wines covered the trellises and cascade down the sides of the porch and made it a joy to sit under and the place where her grandchildren liked to play outside in the shade. You won't believe what happened. Last week while Pam and her husband were gone, the new loudmouth neighbor next door had his tree guys come and cut down the vine-on Pam & Bill's property. There is about 150 feet of property between their house and the grapevine...the one on P&Bs land...and a good sized fence to boot! Those people had to come onto their land to cut down a 130 year old trunk, the stump of which now sits dead and staring Pam in the face. She is a great gardener and just sitting in her garden you are overwhelmed with the sweet scent of honeysuckle and the amazing plants and trees. Stunning nastiness. Not only that but when they introduced themselves to the neighbors with a cake, the guy made some snide remark about all the trailing vines all over and what's that about. Yes, the vines trailed all over.....Pam's property and porch. If ever there were two people who clip, trim and care for THEIR property it's P&B. It was dark and stormy while I was there on Thursday but I'll try to get pics when I'm there next. Last I heard P&B are going to buy wisteria because it's fast growing. the bill for whatever it takes will be left with them. This jerk who sits in his yard in a wife beater with his belly hanging out shouting to all on his cell about how much money he made this day or that with a Jersey Shore accent. Enough to make you lose your Green Goddess dressing.

Regarding my SS situation. Thanks so much to you all for commenting. It must be confusing to you as it is ever confusing to me still. Here's some of the deal. I do have a birth cert. from Germany. Unfortunately, my mother listed my name(here goes, hang on to something solid) as Dorothea Louisa and her maiden name. On other paperwork from Germany my real father is listed. The name she used to come into this country and to be naturalized is different than those two names and she made me use it in papers from the orphanage and in early school records. She also dropped the Dorothea Louisa and began using Doris for me during those years. Is the room spinning yet for you?

Flash forward thorough those days and several other men to about 1960 when we came to this village. The last of the "stepfathers" John or John the Jerk, you choose, was supposed to have adopted me. Two years ago I found out he never adopted me. That's just how she said it to my brother. "He never adopted her" in a nasty tone of voice. Too bad since very document from that time till my first marriage has me listed as his adopted daughter. School records, high school diploma etc. Not to mention the fact that he was the worst human being you can imagine and had I known that he was nothing to me I would never have put up with his crap even for a second. Rather than what happened, I would have punched him back without thinking twice instead of waiting till I was 18 to tell his sorry, drunken, butt goodbye. But no, I was a good girl then. That and they often reminded me that if I wasn't, I could find myself in some other place. Often wonder if "some other place" might not have been better than there. Anywhere, but there. Of course, all of that led me to all of this and I wouldn't have changed a thing since it brought Roger and James into my life.

Where my dilemma comes in is trying to explain all these things to government drones. Civil service workers in NY. There may be many places in the county where civil service workers are very pleasant people but let me tell you it's a tough find here. They dare you to make them care and let you know that you're pretty much taking up their valuable break time.

Well, thus ends today's daily broadcast of "Dee Dee in Dire Straights"

Tune in Monday for the next episode. Episode #3 in which our heroine finds herself handcuffed and deported to some far off German location. Thank goodness our girl can still speak some and read most fairly well.

MUST keep sense of humor...keep repeating...MUST keep sense of humor.

Love you guys!!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Legal Wrangles

Imagine yourself doing something that should be relatively simple. Now, imagine that you find yourself at the top of the biggest pile of crap you can envision. Throw in the INS and Social Security and you have a somewhat clear picture of where I am today.
I may have mentioned to some of you at various times that I was born in Germany after the war. German mother/American soldier father, now deceased. Never met that father until the mid 80s. Took me that long to find out who he was due to my mother's giant crate of lies opening somewhat and a trickle of info coming to light. While Roger was alive, he did everything he could to research and glean some information that led to finding that I am not an illegal alien. Here's the twist- I'm not illegal but I'm not quite legal either. Again, lies my other told...could fill a book and nearly has already. A mountain of paperwork. Along the way, I was never allowed to change my name to Roger's legally since there was no birth certificate and when we finally got one from Germany, the name was different, the location was different, and it went into the file of lies marked MOM. Along the way she had a succession of men that we lived with the details there are to gruesome to go into but lets just say they'd make a 1950s bad movie staring Lana Turner or someone like that. Along this twisty path we had to do our taxes with my former name to keep things legal on our end. Twenty-seven years worth of tax forms. All nice and neat and on the up and up. Records of my divorce from first husband, marriage to Roger, Social security cards for Roger. My social sec. that I've had since high school graduation. All good things nice and neat. Record of my entry with my mother into the US in 1952 when I was 3ish. Good stuff right? Even the name of the ship and military papers from it. Sounds good huh? My mother's naturalization papers when she became a citizen...all excellent right??
Yesterday my darling DIL Dani took me over to SS to register to receive Roger's benefits. I told them why I was there, presented the death cert. they asked me for proof of who I am and then, then, the giant crap hill began to crumble under me. They started to look up my SS# and a big gust of angry wind hit me in the face in the form of several official people who kept saying things like. Holy crap!! This doesn't make any sense. What are these names?? Why is your birth date different in several papers that were filled out by....guess who!! Out of what appeared to be about 20 people in the office, many of them became involved in the conversation and their tone of voice, while not nasty, was very frightening. They told me they cannot do anything for me until I have dealt with Immigration. Please excuse my language when I say this but if you think SS is a mess, you cannot imagine what a cluster f--- immigration is. I need a lawyer who can present my case and keep a cool head. I was in tears just trying to get to the right person to speak with who then told me this was something they would need to deal with in person(no surprise there, even I can't figure it all out)and it might be best to have a lawyer familiar with immigration law try to sort it out. Social Sec. has asked me to return at the end of the month to fill out all necessary paperwork for the benefits which they will hold on file until I can present a passport or clear proof of citizenship. Even if that goes slightly smoothly, it will be more than a year before I see any of that-thank goodness I have some money to fall back on.

Tomorrow I will be 63. I have lived here for 60 years-53 of them in this village. There is no way to describe how I feel right now except to say that I am depressed, angry, and not a little scared. My mother has been the direct cause of every bad thing that has happened to me since I was 3. She lied, she abandoned me in an orphanage in St. Louis to people who beat me with switches that you were required to go and cut from bushes outside, she lived with men who wither beat me or worse. They were disgusting drunken animals and I was regularly told that I had a new Daddy from time to time. Non of them adopted me but they made me use their names so that's part of a record I must now explain to people who are similar in attitude to what you may have experienced at the DMV in your life at one time or another. They are cross-eyed and dumbfounded by the end of only a few minutes and I am frustrated knowing that in the end they will just pass me on to the next drone...
All I feel like doing is sleeping and yet I can't. Last night was filled with that dream where you are falling. No hard figuring there. Mostly, I miss my darling Roger, who would have at least been a rock next to me and found a way to comfort and make me feel even a little better. Now there is no going back. I'm in for a penny or pound as they say. Waiting to hear from a friend who has some connection in the court system here. I want to find a lawyer and at least she can tell me who not to hire.

On the only happy note, James will be 27 Sunday and we are having dinner. Dani' birthday is the 15th-Terry's is the 17th and so on it goes.
I hope whoever you are reading this that your life is going along a lot more peaceful than mine right now. Unfortunately, you can count on my return with more crappy details soon. If you do, please say a little prayer. I really need it now.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Whew... computer crisis averted

Thanks to my own personal geek squad(Hi James) I have my stuff back. Thank goodness, and James, my pictures were floating around in the ether waiting to be found along with some programs and personal info that I would have hated to lose. Thanks too for all the tips you sent me. We do have an external hard drive and that was one of the things that Roger would have done and I didn't know about. I'm fairly sure that one of the thumb drives around here contains a backup of all my programs and files as well. I remember Roger telling James to make sure to back up the files before they did any work on the computer-just in case.

Sooooo.... here's a run down of my week. Sewing-0. Playing with the adorable Lucy-10. Some shopping and a couple of visits to the nursery for plants. I got myself a lace cap hydrangea in the color above. Something I have wanted for a while. Not quite sure where I'm going to put it yet. I have a few options. I bought two very large pale lavender impatiens hanging baskets to hang on the crook at the side of the yard. The color is so ethereal that it almost glows in the twilight. Lovely.

Now I just have to feel a bit better(hopefully tomorrow) and get things planted. My right knee is really giving me a difficult time. Of course, if I would keep in mind that I'm not 40(or even 50-gad) and stop running around like a crazy person playing with the dog it would probably be a good thing for the knee. Last week Lucy and I invented a new game. I call it Bone Hockey. Lucy has one of those big bones, filled with peanut butter that she has licked clean as a whistle and she likes to run around with it and make it go under couches and chairs and coffee tables. Then, she sits and cries for you to get it out. I take a broom and sweep the bone out...rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.... It occurred to me last week that once I get the bone I could use the broom like a hockey stick and make her run after it. About 10 minutes in, I'm prostrate on the couch and panting harder than the dog. Who the hell came up with this brilliant idea anyway? Ahem...I feel so bad that my yard and property are not closed in so she can't be off leash outside to play. Oh well, what's a pup to do?

Today, Terry and I got up early and went on a pilgrimage to Fairway Market. For those of you who are not familiar with NY. Fairway is a place where you can go to get all sorts of delicious, high end, and ethnic foods. The really big Fairway is in the city but in recent years they have expanded to the island. It's not exactly near me but Terry used to live in the area where they built one and so she is my fearless driver. Driving Miss DeeDee. At Fairway you can spend $25 on a piece of wild Alaskan salmon should you feel the need. I moved on to other items. They have olive oil and balsamic in 20 different kinds at a bar with bread to nosh. Then there is the barrel bar of olives, pickles of every imaginable sort, the cream cheese bar and the finest bagels around. Not to mention Eli Zabars bread at the bakery. Terry did the most damage. I only broke a hundred. Our thought was you have to try something new once in a while and boy did we. Artisanal Salami made with red wine and fresh baguette with real Italian Fontina... It just doesn't get much better than that for lunch. Worth the trip. Next week, "Uncle Guisseppi's" out east. I'll eat salad all week and it will be worth it. I guess my taste buds have re-awakened. I cooked a couple of times in the past week and enjoyed it.

I have two movies from Netflix. The Black Swan and The King's Speech so I'm set. I could use a good bottle of wine though. Maybe I'll go raid my BIL Bob's stash. We all have similar taste around here. Handy!

By the way. I received my Madonna piece from the Alzheimer's auction and it is even more beautiful in person than the photo. I've dragged everyone in here to see it and the reaction has been wonderful. Great work Debra. I'm so lucky to have gotten it. I'm going to have it framed. It has a hanging sleeve on the back but I would like to see it framed in a lovely way and that way it's more protected too. So happy with this purchase.

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


I've had a major computer malfunction and now all my photos and video and TV is gone. Just letting you know I'm OK but not sure how this is going to get fixed. The photos are the part that's really getting to me as there were many of Roger, the family, our vacations and Christmas etc. I'll be back when I can get this mess fixed. Things learned in the last few days-NEVER open a window that claims to be from Windows and tells you that your computer is at risk and your hard drive is compromised....EVER...just sayin'
Hoping to be able to do some sort of restor program and get back to where it was last week. Haven't figured that out yet. It offers to restore only to yesterday and that's the day that the s--t hit the fan. I'll check with James when I can or welcome any info from computer saavy friends.
James ran a malware program to get rid of the virus and I'm back but have none of the programs or folders or pictures I had. All my favorites are gone(not really a problem,I can get that back myself by re-doing them). It's the photos and TV/media stuff I am missing.
Hope to be back with you soon.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Look what I got

Look what I bought from the Alzheimer's Quilt Initiative Sale. It's a Madonna piece by Deborah Spincic. I
I've admired her work and specifically the Madonna pieces for years. I can't wait to see it in person. So lovely.

Sorry I've been missing for so long but I have been helping a friend with some awful problems and trying to get so many things done personally that the blogging has just gone by the wayside. Since losing my gardener, I'm finding it really hard to do some of the work myself. Back problems make it hard but knee problem make it nearly impossible. As a consequence it's taking me twice as long to do half as much. I did make a couple of spiderweb blocks which I will show soon. The best news of the week is that my hair cutter, Diane, is having a baby in December. They have been trying for so long that it's just the best news ever. So, of course a quilt is in order. More on that later.
It has certainly turned to summer here and thankfully I have a new a/c. I'm predicting a very humid summer. We have had nothing but wet, wet, wet and humid. Not my favorite thing but given the state of disaster in the rest of the country I'm shuttin' up. I would like to know where all the help and celebrities are for the people of the mid-west...hmmmm. They must all be busy with important things like winning awards. Where are folks like Clinton and Bush? They must be busy still helping folks in Haiti...yah...that's what they're doing. Just wondering why people are still living in lean-to cardboard shacks and defecating in holes in the ground. They raised MILLIONS!!!It sure seems like we are the first to put our hands in our pockets and help the world in general and somehow the biggest mouths in this country can't even bother to show up to help those who have lost everything in middle America. I'm speaking about both sides of the isle and those loud mouthed celebrities who fly around helping people in rain forests and such. Rant over...

Last night I had a lovely dinner with the "girls of quilting". Love my friends so much. They are both having such a hard time right now
with personal family issues that it was great to see them smiling and actually laughing. I'm puppy sitting tomorrow. Love!
Hug your loved ones tight. Talk to you soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Roger's violets

These violets are from a basket that came when Roger passed away. It was a whole basket with several small pots grouped together and they were so pretty. As with so many of the flowers back then I contemplated pitching most but remembered than Pop used to love the violets too. He kept them under a plant light in the other part of the house by his desk and really enjoyed them when they flowered. One of the many changes in life right now it that I'm kind of at loose ends regarding a schedule. I don't really have to be anywhere at any particular time and since "making dinner" has gone by the wayside too, I can plan my day as I wish. One of the things I missed being a mother and wife was having a lot of time to take care of things like plants. That, along with the fact that I have few windows with good sun kept me from fussing too much about them. Besides, life was busy with kid and husband stuff.

Over the course of the winter I've been nurturing several of the plants I received including these lovely violets and they have rewarded me with beautiful full, fat, blooms. I have another couple not shown and they seem to be a very light cross between pale pink and very pale violet. I'm really enjoying this particular aspect of singlehood. Years ago when I was on my own I had many beautiful house plants but over the years filled with other distractions they all went by the wayside. I think it's the frustrated gardener in me. My back and knees are a problem and outdoor gardening is very hard for me.

Anyway, this week has, once again, slipped away from me. I had some banking stuff to take care of - new accounts and other stuff. Some meds I have been taking for my knee and arthritis pain upset my stomach a lot and that coupled with the cold wet days just made me sort of useless and not feeling like doing much but reading and cuddling up on the couch. I'd better get on with things because we are coming into the birthday season. Everyone has a birthday in the next month or so.

I swear I will get more productive. There is just so much to take care of and it overwhelms me. Good thing I don't drink...hmmm..

I have the blocks cut for a spiderweb and I just need to mark them and get going. Always wanted to make something with these blocks. Hopefully I will get a chance to start later. The machine's out and waiting.

Talk to you soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Trip stuff...

I'm back and lookee what I found in Maine while we were there! Seriously, We stopped at the Owl's Head Transportation Museum and they happened to have an exhibit of classic MGBs. As you may remember, I had an MGB that was my baby for 14 years. It was a newer model(72) but my baby nonetheless. And red too!

The trip was lots of fun with a few minor tears thrown in. Only on my part and I tried to keep it from the kids. We stopped at Thunder Hole on the Loop on Cadillac Mountain and since it was a favorite spot for Roger, all I could see was the image of him basking in the sun on those rocks as he did for so many years. I kind of lost it quietly and took myself off for a little quiet weepies. By the time James and Dani got back in the car I was OK and we proceeded on.

We stayed in a very beautiful hotel right there at Bar Harbor called the Harborside Inn & Resort. It was well worth every penny. Since it was a week or so before the season opening, I could actually afford to pay the tab without getting a bank loan. The only downsides were that many places hadn't yet opened and they were re-surfacing the main drag but that didn't stop us from going places and doing things. It was just a little bumpy here and there. We found a delightful restaurant for dinner one night and had a fabulous meal. Dani did some on-line searching and found a place for breakfast called Two Cats. Everything was made to order and just delicious. In all the time Roger and I had gone there we never ventured up into that part of town and discovered the place. I had a lobster omelet and they made biscuits to die for with homemade strawberry butter. Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin...

All in all it was a lovely time. I wish we had gone directly there for the few days but as we were planning I thought it would be better to make a stop in Boothbay rather than drive for 9 hours all the way to Bar Harbor. Boothbay was really closed up pretty tight. We did manage to find a place to eat there the one night that was a kind of neighborhood grill. The food was excellent though.

My son did all the driving except for a brief time by Uncle Bob. Dani and I sacked out in the back nearly all the way home.

We all missed Miss Lucy very much but she was getting special treatment by Dani's sister Victoria who sent photos to Dani's phone regularly.

I dog sat on Wed. while Dani had some plans and Lucy and I wore each other out. I had her again yesterday...ditto. She was exhausted from guarding me from the evil squirrels and birds and the occasional cat. Today, we are finally getting some rain. Thank goodness. The green tree stuff is everywhere including our noses and sinuses. I welcome a good rain to wash away some of this sneezy mess. As for the rest of the day, I'm settling down with the Kindle on which I downloaded Mah Jong and Solitaire. Very addicting. Tomorrow I will get out the machine and do some sewing. If nothing else, I got some new pants that need hemming.

For the rest of this day I'm napping and reading and the finale of Survivor is on tonight. Every time I say I'm not getting sucked in but here I am again.

Hope you have a peaceful day-more tomorrow.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Back next week...

I'm taking a little road trip with James & Dani and Bob. We only have a few days so I'll be back by the end of next week. We all need a break from the daily lately.

Bringing the camera. Talk to you soon.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Remembering Harry

If you don't like the weather wait 12 hours and see what happens. We've gone from hot and sunny to damp and drizzle to sunny and springy and back in a weeks time. Rollercoaster. Not complaining since there are so many who have been so badly damaged by this weeks weather. My heart goes out to those people down south who have lost everything. So sad. I wonder how they have the strength to go on but them what else can you do.

I had some sad news in my world today. Over the years I worked in the Food Pantry I met many people who were kind and generous. They would give what they could and help when they could. Several of those people became good friends over the years and some became like family to me but in a special and different way.

Many years ago I wrote a thank you to a Physician who lived way out on a lovely stretch of land called Eaton's Neck. It's 3 or 4 miles away and the neck of land twists around the Bay and the entrance to the Harbor. Beautiful place. My best friend all through school lived out there and I would spend many weekends of my youth at their house. Kind of a wild place back then. Anyway, my friend Harry lived out on the neck and was a retired Physician, writer, & Professor of Medicine at some very great Universities over the course of his life. He was even a visiting Fellow in Nuclear Medicine at the Laboratory where Roger worked. He was very old school and when I use the term gentleman, I can hardly think of anyone to better hold the title. It was an honor to know him and a delight to talk with him. He had a wicked sense of humor for many topics, especially politics. We became pen pals over the course of 25 years. He began our letter writing friendship telling me that in all his years of donating to worthy causes he had never gotten a letter so well written and meaningful. I have many letters from him thanking me for thanking him. It became a running joke with us. Thank thank, no, thank you.

Over the months of Roger's illness and his death I lost track of Harry and for a time someone else took over the thank you notes. Not long before Roger passed, I heard that Harry's wife Helen had died and I sent him a letter of condolence. He replied and we began our friendship once again in letters. Today I found out that Harry died. How I wish I had gone there to see him. He gave no idea that he was ill except in retrospect when I said I hoped to see him soon he replied that he didn't get into town much lately. The thing that really floored me was that Harry was 89. You could have knocked me over with a feather. He seemed like maybe 69 and was so bright and quick and smart that I just never imagined him not being around for a long time.

There are some people who effect your life in such a sweet and important way that losing them leaves a great hole in your heart. I often ran into Harry in the Library and so, in our letters we would sign off by saying, "See you around the stacks". I will miss him more than I can say and this village will miss a genuine gentleman. I hope that Harry is hanging around the stacks in heaven and he runs into Roger in the section on fishing. What a great conversation that would be. My great good fortune is that I have many years worth of letters to re-read and chuckle over so that I can always remember Harry.

Back soon...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Busy days and tasteless food

I was hoping to get back to sewing today but there are a number of important things on my plate today and tomorrow. I'm in the midst of transferring investments over to me and setting up new accounts. Among other things I have to go and open a new account and get papers signed that allow transfers from retirement accounts to be made to me. All very important stuff but I would rather play with fabric. Maybe later in the week. Tomorrow I have my check-up at the Dr. The one where he yells at me for not taking better care of myself these past months. Rats!

We had a quiet day yesterday. The kids came in the morning for brunch and I made scones, scrambled eggs and some sausage. Not sure how this widow thing is supposed to go but I found myself not even wanting to cook and not at all enjoying the results. It put me in mind of that movie, Eat, Drink, Man, Woman. The chef's wife passes away and he looses his sense of taste and desire to cook. That's how I'm feeling lately. I've always been a really good cook and it seems to be another thing(like creating) that I have lost my mojo for. The scones are a favorite around here and even friends have asked for them to be made. Yesterday they tasted weird to me. No flavor, not good at all. Everyone said they enjoyed them and they were all eaten but to me they had no flavor and I would have never recognized them as mine. Really hope this phase passes. Heck, I hope it's a phase. In the movie he only gets his mojo back with romance...not happening here.

The weather here has predictably turned from early spring to summer in two days. I need to scoot to Best Buy and get a new air conditioner for my bedroom. The one we have there is alright but it has some glitch in the electronics and will suddenly stop working from time to time. Also, I want to buy one that makes less noise if that's possible. Some of the ones we have had are so loud you can't hear the TV or hear yourself think above the noise. Recommendations??

Well, for now I must be off to the bank and try to keep my eyes from crossing while listening to the whys and wherefores of banking stuff.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

it's the Easter Pup

Finally got a few pictures of the Easter Pup. Miss Lucy came to visit. She is one fast little maniac. Crazy Lady. Anyway, ever since she first came here she has never gone near the stairs. Well, Lucy discovered the stairs now. Those little legs made a quick hop up while I wasn't looking because she heard her Daddy up there. The coming down part was not so great. She hasn't learned to be a graceful girl yet and tries to come down as fast as she scoots up. Can you say ass over teakettle. I stood at the bottom to try and slow her down but she dodged me and took off sideways over the couch in a leap of freedom. Tomorrow I get to Lucy sit since Dani is taking her test to get into the CPA program in September. Fingers crossed. That's a smart daughter-in-law though so I have great faith that all will come out alright in the end. I'm sure she will be thrilled to be done with it. She's been studying for months.

It's a fairly gloomy day here added to the fact that we had to go to a wake for a family friend last night and the funeral was this morning. Needless to say I was not happy about being in that place again. I did run into a friend I haven't seen in a couple of years. Husband of an old friend I've lost touch with for various reasons(see; selfish, pretentious, witch). Turns out they divorced...holy crap! How out of touch am I. You would never have imagined that these two would divorce but there it is... Thank goodness it was amicable enough and truthfully I'm happy for him. He's a great guy and the wife was all about the money. He owns a very prosperous business and, miracle of miracles, she left him for someone richer and a bit younger. No surprise there. Anyway, it took the edge off being at the funeral parlor to be able to sit and chat with him. He got to keep the incredibly beautiful house, the business he created 45 years ago and the guy she ran off with died within a year. Now she can be the fabulously wealthy widow she always dreamed of being(no kidding). Life sure does turn out strangely sometimes.

I'll try to get some work done but as Lucy is coming I have to make sure that every single thing is put up high since she likes to grab things and run, chew them and return them to you a lovely, slobbery, mess. Truth is I don't really care that much but my cashmere scarf almost fell victim recently so I better pay attention. I guess I'm baby proofing for the four legged baby.

Sleepy babies....well, one of them anyway.

Happy Easter or Passover which ever you celebrate. Talk to you soon.