Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A PROJECT & TWO BOOKS

I've been working on a quilt project here at our S.V. quilting group for a few years.  It's a red, white and blue quilt that I started maybe two or three years ago.  Making the blocks was a breeze, but when I went to put them together I discovered that all the blue/white blocks needed to be repressed in different directions in order for the seams to "nest" with the red/white blocks.  It's a HUGE PAIN!!!  I now have 6 our of 9 rows repressed and sewed together, but I am sick of it.

So I picked up a quilt that had been 505'd together last year but never quilted.  505 is a temporary adhesive that many quilters use (and love) to hold the three layers together -- without wrinkles -- when doing the machine quilting.  This fabric was in the sewing room, one of many, many pieces of fabric that are donated from time to time.  It was printed to look as if it had been pieced in the Wedding Ring pattern.  This is called a "cheater" quilt.

Last weekend in about 3 hours I machined quilted along the pretend piecing and then bound the quilt with prefolded binding.  On Monday I washed it because the fabric had been sitting in the cupboard so long.  It will make a nice lap quilt for some child.

This week I'm reading an interesting book, Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson.  My cousin Joan had mentioned it to me and I bought it at the nearby Barnes and Nobles.  The subtitle is "The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste."  And it certainly is the ultimate Guide.  Bea discusses step by step, room by room, how to achieve a Zero Waste home and lifestyle.  Her suggestions are well taken, but probably go beyond what most of us are willing to do.  Her wardrobe is extremely limited.  And although I will follow some of her suggestions I will retain a lot of clothing in my closet that is not worn often, just because I like to have a fair bit of variety to choose from.  Some days a plain, even severe "costume" seems appropriate and other days I like to dress colourfully to express my joy in life.
 
Still, this is a good book to buy, read, and keep on hand for suggestions.  Recommended.

I read another very interesting and encouraging book recently, Our Towns, by James and Deborah Fallows.  We saw an interview with this couple on t.v. awhile ago and that made me interested in buying their book.  I highly recommend this perceptive and hopeful book.

They spent four years travelling around the U.S. investigating the health of towns and small cities (43 in all) some not so small.  They looked into several areas of interest: local government, business, education, sports and arts, the whole panoply of what makes up our social environment, to see what was working well and what strategies towns and small cities were employing to better their possibilities for a well-working present and a hopeful future.  At the local level there is an entirely different discourse from the aggressive, divisive national conversation which is more like "verbal war."

About Erie, Pennsylvania they write on page 384: "The point that comes back to us is the starkness of the contrast: on the one hand the flattened terms -- "angry," resentful," "hopeless" -- the language the media and politicians use to describe America in general; on the other hand, the engaged, changing realities people understand about the places where they actually live.  The point may sound banal, but it has consequences.  In the very same terrain that was just described as Rust Belt loser land in a big presidential-campaign rally, and whose urban landscape clearly shows the structural and human makes of traumatic change, people are trying to anticipate and adapt to those changes, to improve their individual and collective futures, and generally to behave as if they are actors in their own dramas, rather than just being acted upon.  Being active, rather than passive, is one working definition of today's American idea."

The following sentence is remarkable in explaining Erie's source of hope: "Erie finds a hyper charged boost of optimism and energy from another sizeable portion of its population: refugees and immigrants."  Their explorations in Dodge City, Kansas, also reveals a remarkable story of how refugees and immigrants are essential to recovery in a depressed area.  Such a different insight from the coverage of Dodge City's troubles during the recent Mid Term elections!

If you'd like to be encouraged and cheered about the possibilities ahead for the US. this is the book to read!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

BACK TO KNITTING

Have you notice that there's been no knitting since May?  I was going along well on my sweater and then developed swelling and pain in my left wrist, on the thumb side.  I quit knitting which I thought might be irritating that joint.  I tried everything I knew of to make that swelling and pain go away.  Nothing worked, so I finally went to the Dr. to see what he could do.  He said, "It's either arthritis or tendonitis.  For arthritis you should get one of those "squishy" balls and squeeze it for two minutes every day.  That will warm up that joint and loosen it.  But if it's tendonitis then you need to rest that joint, not work it." 

He sent me to a clinic in Airdrie for X rays and an ultrasound where it was discovered to be arthritis.  In September I had a shot in that joint and the swelling and pain more or less went away.  By the end of September I cast on a pair of socks for my brother-in-law Wayne.  I usually give him a pair of socks for his birthday, which happened to be the day I cast on the first sock.  

Then we were in Arizona where I have musical activities almost every day and quilting, art, and visits to the swimming pool with the Dear One, so not much knitting got done.

Yesterday I finished the first sock and cast on the second one:
I guess this year Wayne will get his socks for Christmas instead of for his birthday.

Dear Son #1 plans to arrive here early this afternoon.  He's been travelling, hiking and climbing for a year now. 

This evening (6 p.m.) we will be at a Thanksgiving Service for our Lutheran Church, the Synagogue next door and the Methodist Church next door to the Synagogue.  This is a yearly get together and one of the features is a large combined choir of the Lutheran and Methodist Churches.  The other feature, aside from the actual Thanksgiving Service, is a pie social that follows the service.  That's always an enjoyable time of fellowship and I will be baking a pie for that.  I plan to make a Cranberry/Pecan Pie.  You can find the recipe for that in the blog post of September 25, 2018.

Approaching Thanksgiving Day I have been thinking more than usual on our many blessings.  We watch news programs a lot and when you do that you are aware of how very, very many people in this world are suffering from war, from oppression, from famine, floods and fires.  It can make a person feel guilty about living such a pain-free life.  I am deeply grateful for the innumerable blessings in our life!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

THE WEEKLY ROUND

When we are in Arizona I have a fairly "dense" weekly schedule, which I've mentioned before.  So it never seems as if there is something worthy of blogging about--or that everything is worth blogging about, which is just too much to handle.

As the week starts with Sunday, it begins with church service either at 8:30 or 10:30 and that includes singing in the choir, which I love doing.  This morning I also played a violin piece during communion, Count Your Many Blessings, a very simple piece, but one that enables people to think of the words, and in that way adds to the worship.  Last week Sunday afternoon the orchestra played a very patriotic concert, it being Veterans' Day.

Tomorrow morning I look forward to practicing on the pipe organ for two hours.  I'm working on a new piece for Christmas based on "O Come All Ye Faithful," a spritely cheerful piece of music, and also reviewing "Sheperhds Carol" based on The First Nowell. Usually Monday afternoon is spent at the swimming pool.  Tomorrow I will also drive my sister to her eye exam appointment.

Tuesday means more organ practice, another two hours of concentrated enjoyment.  This Tuesday I have to go to the village's back gate and wait in line for a new windshield sticker that will automatically open the gate for me to go out or in.  I'll take along my knitting to occupy me while I wait in line for the sticker.  Fortunately this is a once-off happening and doesn't need to be done every year.  I'll also pay the Cox bill for phone, internet and t.v.

Wednesday usually means orchestra practice from 9 to 11 a.m., but we will not meet this week as this is the day before Thanksgiving.  Instead in the evening there will be a combined Thanksgiving Service with the neighbouring churches: the Synagogue next door to Lord of Life and the Methodist Church next door to them.  This is a yearly affair and very enjoyable.  The Lutheran and Methodist choirs are combined to sing a wonderful anthem of praise.  And, according to some--best of all, the service is followed by a pie social.  I plan to make one of the Cranberry/Pecan pies for that affair.

Thursday is U.S. Thanksgiving day.  Our older son will be with us and we will join many others in the village restaurant for a Thanksgiving feast.  The best part is not having to cook!

Friday I have an appointment to have a perm at Walmart and realized after I made the appointment that that day is BLACK FRIDAY!! Oh, Oh.  Good thing the beauty salon is right inside one of the doors, so I can sneak in and out and try to avoid the crushing crowds that are expected.  For the life of me, I cannot understand why people are willing to suffer through that experience just to save a few bucks!  I'd rather do without that battle  through crowds to buy a new t.v. or whatever!

Saturdays are given to a quick but reasonably thorough cleaning of the condo--with Jim helping by doing the vacuuming.  Yesterday the vacuum for the rugs died an abrupt death.  Dennis is looking at it to see if it can be revived, but it's a hand-me-down, so no great loss if it's at an end.

Saturday day afternoon is sister time.  Joanne and I usually go to Starbucks at a nearby Barnes and Nobles for a coffee or latte, a good visit and perhaps a look at some books.

And then, before you know it here comes Sunday again!

So while we are here I am quite busy, quite "scheduled up" but it all seems kind of everyday and not worth blogging about.  My original intention with this blog was to keep our kids informed on what was happening at their parents' home.  If others read it, that's fine but the intended audience is quite small.

Have a wonderful week!  If it includes Thanksgiving Day (U.S.A) may you be blessed and may you recognize your blessings.  If you reside other places, the same good wishes go to you.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Friday, November 9, 2018

PAINT SURPRISE

About three years ago I painted our bathroom a very deep blue that came from my brother-in-law Wayne.  They had painted some walls in their house here that wonderful colour.  He had at least a 1/2 gallon left and was kind enough to let me use it to paint our bathroom.  The bathroom is very, very small and half of it is taken up by a walk-in acrylic shower stall, so I used just a small amount of paint.

The blue was applied over a very pale cream and one coat seemed to cover it just fine.  But sometime in the next year a picture fell off the wall and the frame gouged a small divot out of the blue paint, revealing the white beneath.  Other little dits and dats showed up as we went along, so this fall I "borrowed" back the 1/2 gallon of paint.

Today I got around to using it.  I stirred it well with a paint stick, dipped in a little foam brush as the areas were very small and didn't require a regular paint brush.  It took about eight minutes to fix up those white spots that were showing through.  But when I went to move the paint can from where I had placed it in the shower stall --thank heavens!-- these rather big blobs of paint had leaked out of the bottom of the can.  Could it have rusted through?  The can is four years old.  YIKES!!
Was I ever happy that it was in the shower stall!!!

I put some paper towels under the can and put the can into a plastic garbage bag.  Then I cleaned up the paint spills.  They were quite thick blobs.  I quickly rinsed them away and then got the scrubbing powder and scrubbed the entire basin because I know from painting with watercolours how very staining a blue paint can be.  I think it looks o.k. now.  And the bathroom walls are all fixed up.  One more job off the list of upkeep tasks.

We also were able to replace our old spring and mattress on Monday.  Remember that last year I had such good luck finding a new sofa bed on the residents' bulletin board?  I looked there again and found a virtually new queen sized spring and mattress for $175.  Someone's son and daughter-in-law had required a king size bed rather than the queen size that was in the guest house.  So Donalda had a queen sized spring and mattress to dispose of.  Monday afternoon our helper Dennis, Jim and I went there to pick it up.  Fortunately her son Stuart was there and helped greatly with manuevering the awkward spring and even more awkward mattress into Dennis's truck and then into our condo here.  Many thanks to Stuart and Dennis for helping us with that.  And now we have a firm mattress to sleep on--no more lying in a "trough."  

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

IN MEMORY OF MARCY

This past Sunday our church celebrated All Saints Day.  We light a candle for each member who passed away during the last year.  We also have a large bouquet of white roses, with one red rose in the middle.  Anyone who lost a loved one in the past year is invited to take home a rose in his or her honour.
We are appreciating this beautiful white rose in honour of the memory of Marcy, a dear
friend who died last March and is deeply missed.

When we returned to AZ my friend Nan, who also loved Marcy, remarked to me that she often thought she saw Marcy at a distance and then realized that it was impossible.  Marcy is gone.  I hadn't had that experience.  But now, being back in AZ I do think I catch sight of Marcy, and have to suffer that disappointment again.  I guess it's because here is where Marcy was, here is where I knew her.

This beautiful white rose is an appropriate tribute to Marcy, who was a beautiful soul.

Monday, October 29, 2018

JUMP ROPE

Did you play "jump rope" when you were a kid?  I was thinking about that today.  We had recess twice a day at school, a 15 minute break in the morning and in the afternoon.  There was also a longer noon hour, but most of us walked home, had lunch, and then walked back to school.  There were several games we played on our macadam playground.  No soft wood chips for us!  When we fell we got up with bloody knees and elbows.  Scabs were almost universal.

Jump rope was a popular recess pastime.  We had several chants to accompany our jumping.  I was remembering one that went this way: (using the name of the next girl in line while the current girl was still jumping): Vote, vote, vote for Margy.  Margy's waiting at the door.  Margy is a lady and she has a hundred babies, and we don't need Linda anymore!"  Linda jumps out of the jump rope and Margy jumps in.  The chant is repeated with the name of the next girl in line. And they were always, only girls.  I think the boys played mostly marbles. If I had music score paper I could write down the tune.

Another sing-song chant went like this: "Down in the valley where the green grass grows, there sat Judy as sweet as a rose.  Along came Dale and kissed her on the cheek.  How many kisses did she get that week?"  Then the girls holding the ends of the rope whipped it around at double speed while Judy tried to jump successfully as often as possible, with the other girls counting, 1...2...3....  And that, supposedly, was how many kisses Dale gave Judy that week.  (At that point in our lives, not one of us was being kissed!)

I often think of these old time things.  Also of songs that I learned as a child, such as "Barney Google, with the goo-goo-googlely eyes!  Barney Google had a wife three times his size.  She sued Barney for divorce.  Now he's living with his horse.  Barney Google, with the goo-goo-googlely eyes!"  What fun nonsense!  We would put our faces right up against each other, close our eyes, and say, One, two, three, google eyes! And open our eyes, staring crosseyed into our partner.

There was a nice little gang of kids who lived within a few block radius that hung out together.  We played softball on a dead end street.  We rode our bikes to Franklin Park, a mile away to go swimming in the summer--free, in a city pool with life guards.  We played hide and seek and "ghostie" a twilight game played around the outside of a house, preferably with shrubs and other places to hide.  We liked to scare each other.  We also played "eenie, einie over" in which we were on either side of a house, preferably the back extension which was just one story high.  One group threw a ball over the house and the group on the other side had to catch the ball, run around the house (the mystery was which was to run, which way those who were "it" would come from) and try to catch the kids on the other team.

There was a kind of naughty song we liked to sing:  Oh, I wish I was a little bar of soap, Oh, I wish I was a little bar of soap!  I'd go slippery, slippery, shiney, over everybody's heinie, Oh I wish I was a little bar of soap!  Actually, I think the verb form was: I wish I were....  The subjunctive was still then a recognized and respected verb mood along with indicative and iussive.

My sister (two years younger) and I were fortunate to have as friends two sisters who matched our ages.  We did so much together!  I remember all sorts of card games, monopoly, Chinese checkers, Parchesi, passing many summer afternoons and evenings with the four of us.

Well, those were the "golden summer days of youth" all right!  Nice memories to have, now that we are the "old folks."

Friday, October 19, 2018

A REALLY GOOD MEAL

I picked up a bag of prepared salad yesterday.  It has broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, and chicory.  For supper tonight there was a large half chicken breast thawing in the fridge.  In the freezer were four cheese biscuits (homemade) left over from Wednesday evening's dinner.  These were heated up in the microwave.
The chicken breast cut into four pieces and breaded was ready to go on the George Foreman grill.

To the salad I added the packet of dried cranberries and roasted pumpkin seeds that came with it and then also added some fresh, fat blueberries and some ripe strawberries that I cut up.  A packet of poppyseed dressing was included.  The crowning glory of the salad was some little lumps of goat cheese.     
                         

It was a very tasty, healthy meal, very easily prepared.  Just how I like to cook and just how we like to eat!