Friday, September 28, 2012

worth it

This is a picture of a picture; a watercolor painting, and it hangs in my aunt and uncles living room.
It was painted in the thirties. Doesn't it look like someplace you'ld love to be?
I wish I could suddenly find myself wading in the stream towards the distant cows, the sandy bar.
Perhaps I would call to the woman and children on the opposite bank.
Birds are rising on the cool spring air and the sweet smell of smoke rides the breeze.
More likely the water is cold as mid-winter and the cows would chase me.
The woman would call out that I'm late for chores and that twenty pounds of potatoes are waiting to be peeled after I haul water and feed the chickens.
It would be worth it though I think......

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

good company

I opened the front door and stepped into the night just as a male voice spoke out of the darkness. "I don't want to scare you," he warned and so of course, I screamed.
This in turn may have caused the man delivering flyers to clench his teeth in fright. Maybe, but probably not. Not everyone is poised to flee.
I tend to be a gasper and a screamer.
I have frightened myself watching the toaster. My mind has wandered, as it does so easily if left unattended for more than a moment, and the popping of the toaster has caused the balloon above my head to explode. Who wouldn't give a little cry of fright under such circumstances.
This inclination to melodrama may actually be encoded in my DNA and therefore at risk of being passed to future generations.
I remember when my daughter and son-in-law were teenagers. As they drove home from work, my daughter suddenly gasped. My son-in-law gripped the steering wheel, awaiting grim destruction as my daughter blithely continued, "We have the cutest skirts at work!"
I know our family isn't alone in this.
We are in good company I think.
My friend shared that her sister's three year old granddaughter had been tucked in for a nap.
Her grandma gently informed her that she would be gone when nap time was over, but that Daddy would be there to take her home.
The next time they were together, the little girl confessed, "When I woke up and you weren't there, I cried and cried........ and then I had a melt down!"
Good company for sure.

Monday, September 24, 2012


"I like how you're coloring that," I said admiringly. "It's very vivid."
"What does vivid mean," my grandson asked, pausing in his coloring.
"It means very bright, and full of color, like the orange or yellow of a sunset."
"When I slept over," he began. "The very last time I slept over," he continued.
"When I got up at six....the sky was green."
Now, that six o'clock start to the day.... I can vividly recall myself.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

small project

Wee Quilt 2012, Plaids At Play, has come to an end, and my little quilt has returned like a homing pigeon.
This is a close-up view of some of the plaid parka wearing preschoolers playing.
Wee Quilt 2013 is to be a Greeting From Auld Sod. I have a story that is desperate to be told in quilt form and this is the perfect time for it. Great, great, great grandmother Haddock would approve I think.
I'm in the pondering stage but will soon move to the sketching stage and then on to the snipping and sewing stage and then the quilting stage and then the posting stage. And then the breath holding stage of course.
That's a lot of mileage from such a small project.

Friday, September 21, 2012

terracotta seagull

A copper sun.
An evening sky flushed and ripely lit.
A terracotta seagull against a silken sea.

white against white

Hide and go seek.
White seagull against white sky,
grey wing against grey sand.
Almost hidden, but they cannot remain silent.
Like children playing.
Ready or not, here I come,
their laughter gives them away.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

who knows

I felt kind of nervous about quilting my sisters lap quilts.
Loops seemed safe and I dutifully meandered about on quilt one.
I amped things up a notch by using....what!?.... variegated thread on the second quilt.
Still, I wasn't completely happy. Loops need to be smoothly sewn. Pauses and jerks and twitches all show up. What I needed was a continuous line design that included pauses and jerks and twitches. Ahh, I would try leaves. They have a lovely combination of points and smooth corners.
Worked like a charm. I found myself relaxing. I found myself loosening up, unclenching my teeth and breathing in and out. I even found myself feeling bored.
Variety, that's what I needed.
I quilted loops. I quilted leaves. I quilted flowers and a butterfly and a dragonfly. Who knows what I might have accomplished if I'd only had more sisters.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

that hand

"But I didn't touch the frog with that hand," my grandson protested, stretching forth his left hand obediently nonetheless.
"You washed that hand for nothing!" he exclaimed.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

the sister project

The Sister Project.

blue and pink

We are four sisters.
Separated neatly in the middle by a brother, we were often referred to as the big girls and the little girls.
I'm one of the little girls.
My two oldest sisters were children in the 50's.
Seeing their quilts side by side has given me a retro moment.
My mother often sewed matching dresses for them. Well, almost matching. They may have been the same pattern and fabric, but different colors, sometimes blue and pink.
Illustrations in children's books of the 50's often included these two colors as well. If I squint, I can still see two gray kittens with large bows, one pink and the other blue on the left hand side of a page.
It seems especially appropriate that the big girls will now have almost matching quilts, and in blue and pink too!

blue ribbon

"The first one to visit me gets to pick their quilt color." I tempted.
My sister hopped on a plane.
A Blue Ribbon for the winner.


My mother gravitated towards floral fabrics. These rose prints reminded me of both my oldest sister and mom at the same time.

spinning nine-patch

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

in the air

What is morning mist but Autumn in the air.

Monday, September 3, 2012

cranberry pinwheels

It seemed like a good idea to bake something for my co-workers. Something to share at work tomorrow in honor of the new month.
Bread dough is easy and so I made a batch of plain white dough, about one loaf worth.(flavoured with honey and lemon juice)

I thought to add cranberries and create a rustic loaf.

I'd bake it in the morning and let the dough rise over night in the fridge.
Scratch the loaf idea. They take too long to bake. I'd have to wake with the chickens.
Buns it is!
A rectangle of dough, then butter spread, a sprinkle of sugar and frozen cranberries.
A quick roll into a long pinwheel and onto a buttered pan in slices.

Half the cooking time of a loaf and presto, a pan of Cranberry Pinwheels to drizzle with icing and dash out the door with. 
Won't my car smell good? 

of the joy

My husband likes to take the Road Less Travelled.
"Left or right?" he'll offer.
And off we go, winding through quiet countryside, past farm and field.
I've been revelling in time spent together.
The responsibilities and pressures of life have caused us to lose sight of each other on the trail.
We've hiked along, but its been lonely by times.
This summer interval has reminded me of the joy in sharing the view.


"Is that blood or blackberry juice?"
We had grabbed buckets and headed out in the cool morning air to pick blackberries.
Our hearts were as light as our pails.
"Why do people pay a dollar seventy-five a pound to
U-pick blackberries?" my husband wondered aloud as we began.
"Because THEY have no thorns.... ouch," I added right on cue.
"OW!" he responded.
"What beautiful fruit, ow, ow, ouch!" I gasped.
"EEEowwww," my husband howled.
"Ahhhhhh, its got me.... my hair, my hair," I cried.
My husband manfully thrashed to my rescue.
"Ouch, ow, ow."
"Arghhh, aghh, ha, ha, ha, uhh, yike, yip, youch."
Our pails filled in spite of ourselves.
We were sorry to quit.
We were exhilarated as we limped to the car.
We left as comrades.
Danger bonds.
That is my only explanation.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

didn't look good

I wondered for a moment if I would be calling my husband from 'downtown.' You know, that one call you're allowed to make. "Hi hon, I'm at the Police Station...."
I had handed the teller a stack of bills recently spewn out of a bank machine. I had thumbed through them counting at a glance. Looked good to me. She had taken them and trotted over to the bill counter. They had looked good to her too.
But, they hadn't looked good to the eye of the machine. It saw, not what we thought we saw, but what was really there. And, what was really there included a counterfeit bill.
It didn't look good.
A small crowd gathered behind the counter. It was apparently a very crude imitation. "It looks like it was cut out with scissors," crowed a young blond teller.
I signed a slip of paper, finished my transaction, scuttled out, and got into my car. 'Got into my car,' as opposed to 'get away car.'

silent wings

There is a wooded park near our home and we ambled along its trails last evening as light faded.
A movement caught my husbands eye mid-stride as a mouse hastened underfoot. It was not a sleek and satiny city mouse but was a country mouse instead. His coat was tufty and unpressed looking; Casual but comfortable. He didn't seem concerned with the tangle of feet above him. Perhaps he had already heard the hunters voice on the evening air.
A bend or two in the path and we saw the silhouette of a great owl high in the darkening branches. It disappeared on powerful, silent wings.

bad hair day

I'm not having a good hair day.
Bad hair days so often are outward reflections of inner disquietude. Have you ever noticed that?
There are those days when you smile contentedly and even coyly at your 'good hair day' self.
You are usually on top of your game on those days.
You have a grasp of the big picture. 
You have a grip.
And then of course, to even things out, you have bad hair days.
Days when you doubt your contribution to life as you know it.
Days when the big picture is rather blurry.
Days when you don't have a grip.
I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Always change a losing game they say.
And so, I brandished the scissors and comb and the world has tilted on its axis.
I am no longer having a bad hair day.
I am having a geeky hair day and that is actually an improvement.
A good hair day may be just a shampoo away.
Ever the optimist.
Geeky, but optimistic.