Friday, March 30, 2007

Words, Introduction

To the left is the Greek word for "word." It is pronounced "lugus." It was practically the first word I learned in seminary when I studied Greek with Dr. Reumann. It is one of the few words in Greek that I still know.
. . . .
Sometimes I'll use a word with a theological connection, and Joe will say, "You know, I don't know what you mean by that. You people (those who have attended seminary) use that all the time. But I don't know what you mean." He may be smarter than the rest of us. Sometimes I use theological words without thinking about what they really mean.
. . . .
Some years back I read a book by Kathleen Norris called "Amazing Grace." In it she takes church-talk words, and writes a bit about them, one at a time, thinking her way through the words. She knows what she means. I dug that book out during Lent this year to re-read, and am thinking that I'd like to take some of the words that us people use and flesh out what they mean to me. I don't know how far I'll get; at present, I have three words in mind. I'll be interested to read comments as to whether these words mean different things to different readers.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Two Views of Spring

Here Near Philadelphia, Spring takes its own sweet time coming. I've noticed all over blogland that people are posting pictures of the first daffodils as though it is obligatory to do so. We've got a couple of crocus up, and the daffs are starting to open. But my harbinger of spring picture is of a forsythia branch that Joe brought in the other day. He likes to do this early in the spring, cut that first branch of forsythia and bring it inside to force it to open. You can see that it as begun to do so.
. . . .
I'd always liked forsythia, but became inordinately fond of it one of the years that Andrew was in nursery school. He came home one day bearing a piece of original art. The teacher had had the kids take a large piece of manilla paper and draw a long brown line on it. Then small pieces of cut and pinched up yellow tissue paper had been glued along the line on both sides. "It's FORTHYSIA!" he told me proudly. And hence it has been known in our household evermore. I do like to see the crocus and the snowdrops peer up through the frozen ground. And I'm always happy to see those daffodils, of which we have plenty. But when the FORTHYSIA comes along, then I really believe we'll have a spring.
. . . .

My second spring picture is Sharon's lotto block. An on-line quilting group I belong to is running a lotto this year. It isn't really a typical lotto. Instead, each participant is assigned a month and she sends out a FQ or a F8 of her chosen fabric to all of the other participants, along with instructions on what she would like done with the fabric. We make the block desired and send it back. Voila: Instant quilt! In a manner of speaking.
. . . .
It's a fun thing to do. We stretch ourselves as we work with fabrics that we wouldn't ordinarily choose. Such is the case for me this month with Sharon's fabric. It's pretty enough, but I don't think I'd ever have chosen it. Sharon, however, is amazingly imaginative and creative, and I'll be eager to see her finished quilt. She asked us to use a white background and a mint green accent. I'd been wanting to make this particular basket block for quite some time, and Sharon's fabric seemed a likely candidate. The thing is, you know, with basket blocks, the directions usually yield two rather than one. Do you think Sharon will mind getting two blocks? I don't.
. . . .
It is my turn to send my fabric out. I chose an intense black on black print that I found in Lancaster County last weekend. I'm asking people to use it for the background of the block and use two different batiks to make me an Amish Star block -- you can see it here: http://www.quilterscache.com/A/AmishStarBlock.html -- I think they will be just drop-dead gorgeous.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Great Getaway at White Oak

The weekend at White Oak was just terrific. There were only eight of us, including two people who had never attended before. One was my long-time (since high school, egad!) friend Dorothy and the other a wonderful young woman from church who got bit by the quilting bug while still in high school -- a recent college graduate and new teacher, Ruth produces spectacular quilts at an incredible pace! It was fun having her along.
. . . .
Honna and I got off to a fairly late start because of her work schedule, but we somehow found time to stop at Sauder's en route. I picked up several small batts that I needed to complete some projects, and a really excellent black to send out next month to the Fat Quarters group for them to use as background for my assigned-month birthday block. I'm going to ask them to make the http://www.quilterscache.com/A/AmishStarBlock.html Amish Star block from the Quilters Cache website, using two batiks on this delicious black-on-black background. Of course I will post pictures of the booty when it comes in -- need you ask?
. . . .
We got to White Oak before the wine and cheese had been put away and quickly caught up. The get-acquainted activity was a round of "I Never" with participants each having a small supply of Hershey Kisses that they had to surrender when they couldn't honestly say "I Never." I started it out with a fairly tame "I never crocheted," but it didn't take long for it to deteriorate. A surprising number lost Kisses when someone asserted she'd never played strip poker.
. . . .
After Carol's yummy dinner, we got to work. I'd brought along a few projects to choose from, and decided to work on the quilt for Tom and Anastasia. Anastasia had seen a collection of blocks I had from a Favorite Fabric Swap many years ago, and decided they would go well with their antiqued-blue bedroom furniture. I couldn't argue. I neded sixteen alternate blocks for the setting, and got them nearly completed Friday night before going to bed relatively early (still dealing with the pretty-much-under-control light headcold). Saturday I took two small naps and spent much of the day sewing the rows together -- now all it needs is the plain border (hadn't taken that fabric along, darn it) and it will be ready to go off to Branky,the machine-quilter, when she returns home in a couple of weeks! It might even be done by T&A's first anniversary!
. . . .
Late Saturday afternoon, Dorothy, Kathleen and I trekked out to Intercourse to do our part for the local fabric economy. The Old Country Store had batiks on sale for a scandalous price -- they do this every March in anticipation of the April Quilt Show, because they prefer to start the show with full bolts. I bought a yard each of nine different batiks to use for a swap I'm running. Then I picked out a FQ pack of batiks and coordinating border and binding fabric to make a Yellow Brick Road for a baby girl who is due any time now.
. . . .
Sunday morning I got the YBR top complete before it was time to head back East. This little quit does not want to be tied; it is very clear about that. It is crying out to be hand-quilted but, golly, you know how difficult it is to hand-quilt batiks and I've got the deadline of the near arrival and naming ceremony an obligatory eight days after her birth, and don't want to be hand quilting under pressure. Am seriously thinking of machine quilting it. Do stay tuned. And be on the look-out for a picture within a couple of weeks.
. . . .
It had been a wonderful getaway, and equally wonderful to come home to Joe who took me out to the West Avenue Grillle for a light dinner Sunday night. Settled down with him in the living room in front of a marvelous program on the Discovery Channel and finished the Maple block for the garden project.
. . . .
School is on spring break which means I'm working five-hour days this week. Bet you can't guess what I'm doing with all those extra hours!!! Preach it, Mz. G, "Life IS Good!"

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Second (or Third) Day of Spring


Depends on how old you are, I guess. As a child, I always understood the 21st of March to be the First Day of Spring. But lately it seems that the 20th is the designated observance. Whatever. Second or third, it is decent weather Near Philadelphia. The snow -- which has become grungy and ugly -- is melting and the yellowish grass appears. Just a couple of weeks, I hope, until we are proclaiming "For lo the winter is past! . . . . The flowers appear on the earth and the time of the singing of birds has come."
. . . .
About the only good thing to say about the congestive crud that has befallen me is that it provides ample time for handwork. The Chinese Lantern block is finished and the Maple one is nearly so. The Sleep Cure that I've espoused has done me no harm. I go to bed before ten at night and sleep until the alarm goes off at 6:30 and then take a nap in the afternoon. I'm certainly no worse, and quite possibly am already getting better.
. . . .
No matter. White Oak retreat is tomorrow, come hell, high water, or chest crud. Since we are not at full capacity, I've moved Dorothy out of my room so that if I cough during the night she won't be disturbed. And at the last minute, today, Honna is able to go, so she will be happy to room with Dorothy. And we've shaken up the driving arrangements since Marsha's and Honna's departure times weren't compatible. Flexibility; that's the key. So, reader, this time tomorrow Honna and I should be halfway to our magical destination, Featherweight and Bernina in the trunk, back seat full of fabric, Kingston Trio CDs in hand. Kathleen, godbless'er, has written that she is bringing along some "cough syrup" (her quotes, not mine) to ease my malady, and goes so far as to suggest I may need to share it with those who succumb to lint lined lung disease during the weekend. Not a problem, girlfriend! The belief that I just might have bested this ailment has filled me with elation to the point that I am thinking about Kathy Bates in "Fried Green Tomatoes" -- you remember, the TAWANDA scene?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bad News, Good News

I'm home from work today with some kind of crud. It started late on Saturday and Sunday I was hoping it was just some kind of freaky allergy kind of thing. But Monday morning I knew better. Was miserable at work yesterday, sneezing and coughing and blowing, so today I'm home, trying so hard to nip it, whatever it is. When I get a common cold, it generally migrates to my lungs and usually goes into bronchitis, lasting at least three weeks. The one I had at Christmas time took six weeks to remit, so I'm kind of cranky to be starting up again already. Every once in a while, though, I'm able to get it under control so that it isn't any worse than what other people get.
. . . .
That's the bad news. Here's the good: Sunday we got to see 4/6 of our kids plus Sam! Amy and Andrew had been supposed to spend Friday night with us on their way to Brooklyn, but because of the snow, stayed that night home in D.C. and drove straight to Brooklyn on Saturday. I'd stocked up on goodies to make them a bountiful breakfast. So Sherry and Sam and Chris came to brunch after church and I fed them the strawberries with brown sugar and sour cream, the cherry coffee cake, and the southwestern omelet quiche. There was not much in the way of left-overs.
. . . .
Sam had a terrific time chasing Bo through the box-maze that Joe built. He calls the cat "Tick." It seems to be his third word, after Mamamamam and Dadadada. He can fold his hands at the table, can do "so big" and clap hands. All of this in just two weeks! His little cheeks are a bit chapped from teething drool/cold weather combination. But supposedly the first day of spring is this week (?).
. . . .
Just as they were thinking about heading home, the phone rang and it was A&A on their way down from Brooklyn and thought they'd stop for a quick visit. So S&S&C stayed and we all had a terrific hour and a half together. When kids live relatively far away, one takes what one can get!

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Mystery


For years now, on Wednesday evenings during Lent, our congregation gathers for a potluck supper followed by Holden Evening Prayer. Towards the end of the service, in a very beautiful section, there is a soprano solo that leads into The Magnificat. For several years, Pam was that soprano; this year Anna Lisa has been doing that part. About halfway through the soprano's solo, Misty, one of our alto singers, joins in. The blending of their two voices is so lovely that it brings tears.
. . . .
One year Misty wasn't up with the choir; she was in the pew with a new baby. On the first and second Wednesdays, her voice was missed. "Couldn't something be done?" people wondered. And something was done. Misty simply sang her part from the congregation.
. . . .
This past week, I didn't see Misty up front with the choir. When it was time for the soprano solo, I was afraid it wasn't going to be as moving -- we've really come to need Misty's part. But all was well -- the alto part joined in right on time from the congregation. I didn't turn around to confirm that it was Misty; I didn't need to. She must have arrived too late to dress for choir.
. . . .
On Sunday I ran into her and told her once again how important her music is to me and to Joe. "Not this past week, it wasn't!" she replied. "I wasn't here." I was confused. "But I heard you," I told her. You were singing from the back of the congregation." "No, it must have been someone else. I wasn't here."
. . . .
I checked with Joe. "Who was the alto singing from the congregation last Wednesday?" "No one," he responded. "Misty wasn't here and it didn't sound as good without her." "Didn't someone else sing her part? I know I heard it." "No," he confirmed. "Nobody sang the alto. You must have heard what you needed to hear."
. . . .
I've seen those printed exercises where the brain fills in missing letters to make sense of clumps of consonants without vowels, and other things of that nature. Is it possible that the brain -- my brain -- could have filled in a piece of music that wasn't there because I needed it?
. . . .
Or was it something else?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Tulips


Joe and I are relatively new Netflix subscribers. We realized that we had never seen every single episode of "Upstairs, Downstairs," and those we had seen were so long ago that we had practically no recollections. So we're doing the series through Netflix. Finished the first season and are working on the second.
. . . .
Watching this series provides abundant time for hand stitching, and the latest of the "garden" series blocks is shown here. The tulips hold the promise of spring, which is a mighty important promise, considering what the weather is like Near Philadelphia these past couple of days. I'm presently working on the fourth block, "Chinese Lanterns," which is a favorite of mine because these plants grew in the yard of my childhood home and I thought, as a kid, that they were utterly amazing. I still do, but they don't grow in my yard any more.
. . . .
The snow that caused such uproar yesterday was still coming down when we went to bed last night. At some point it had turned to what they now call "wintery mix" which I think is the same stuff we used to call "freezing rain" but I'm not sure. Suffice it to say that the prolly six inches of snow that we got was topped off with a slick, crisp icy coating.
. . . .
I had a wedding shower to attend today. Joe started early this morning to dig out the driveway but it was a heavy snow that didn't respond well to the snow blower and he tired. Fortunately, Carol got her shorter driveway shoveled out and drove us to the shower.
. . . .
Tonight holds more of the Bellamys and the Chinese Lanterns. Plus some hot chocolate, I think, for the guy who is out there yet again dealing with the snow.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Nasty, Near Philadelphia

Today it finally happened, the long-dreaded Early Dismissal Day. We awoke to rain/sleet and by mid-morning it had turned to sleet/snow. The Upper School kids reached for their cell phones and soon chaos reigned as rumors started and built. I guess it was 10:45 when we got word that the first bus from an outlying district was coming to pick up kids. We checked the website of the two districts we try to pattern after and it was nearly one before they posted that they were dismissing at the regular time. By then, of course, many other districts had picked up students. The handful of students remaining after lunch were herded into the auditorium, where the Head of School had set up his keyboard; he and a student guitarist were on stage entertaining the troops. I really do not like to drive in snowy, icy weather, so I abandoned my post at 1:30 and stopped at the grocery store before coming home. Amy and Andrew were scheduled to come and spend the night and I wanted to make a wonderful breakfast for them.
. . . .
A yummy cherry coffee cake is finished. A vanilla cake is waiting to be iced. Ingredients for a southwestern quiche are at the ready. It's been fun.
. . . .
I took the above picture of some visitors to our deck a little while ago. They were oblivious to my presence, and also to Bo who was entranced by their closeness.
. . . .
Alas, the weather is going to get much worse before it gets better, and A&A will likely not embark on their trip tonight. It's nice to have the house smelling of good baked things and I'm sure Joe won't complain when he finds them!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Doves, Again

Last week, I wrote about doves. And the confusion I experienced when I look at the doves Near Philadelphia who appear to be stupid and clumsy vs. the doves one finds in Scripture, i.e. Noah's sending out the dove from the ark, and the dove used as a symbol for the Holy Spirit. Some very thoughtful people posted comments; others wrote back to me personally. I really like what Frank has to say. If you do, too, check out the link to him in the Religion section to the right. He writes:

DOVES

THE SHIPS IN BIBLE DAYS
ALWAYS SAILED ALONG THE SHORE
IN SIGHT OF LAND

THEY WERE AFRAID
TO GO OUT INTO THE DEEP

THEIR FEAR
WAS TO BE BLOWN OFF COURSE
DRIVEN OUT TO SEA
AND SEE NO LAND

BUT AS MEN WHO KNEW THE SEA
THEY CARRIED DOVES

THEY'D RELEASE THEM

AND IF THEY FOUND NO LAND
THEY'D RETURNED TO THEIR MATE

IF THEY FOUND LAND
THEY'D RETURN WITH GREENERY
IN THEIR CROP
AS A TREAT FOR THEIR MATE

AND THE SAILORS WOULD KNOW
FROM THE FLIGHT OF THE DOVE
WHERE LAND
AND SAFETY WERE
AND THE GREEN GROWTH OF HOPE

FITTING THAT THE SPIRIT
SHOULD BE SHOWN AS A DOVE
SHOWING US THEY WAY
WHEN WE'RE LOST AT SEA

FRANK A VOLLMER

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

3.1415926535

At our school, the fourteenth of March (3.14) is always Pi Day. And it is celebrated in grand style. It's the Math Department's day to shine and be visible, and so they do. One year with special advance arrangment, at morning assembly, a student hit the Head of School in the face with a whipped cream pie, to the amazement of those assembled! Upperclassmen (and women) bring home-made (or on occasion purchased) pies to school. Then during lunch, anyone who can recite ten digits after the decimal receives a free piece of pie!
. . . .
In previous years, those who could not do the recitation were eligible to purchase a piece of pie of choice for $3.14, the proceeds going to some worthwhile fund. Memory being what it is and lack of prior preparation sent me to the pie table today with wallet in hand, only to find that the purchase option is no longer available! What to do!
. . . .
Fortunately, a buddy of mine who teaches in the math department --AP AB/BC calculus, whatever that might be -- was there and asked me how many digits I did know. I told him I was confident of five after the decimal. A student nearby caught my buddy's eye. "I believe we have a tutor for you!" said Niall. The student listened to the digits I knew (14159), pronounced them correct (phew) and proceded to teach me 26535 and upon my immediate recitation, a piece of peanut butter pie was mine!
. . . .
Not only is life good, Mz. G; sometimes it is pretty darned sweet!

Charmed, I'm SURE

It was a couple of years ago, on the way to a retreat weekend at White Oak, that we stopped at the Old Country Store in Intercourse --http://www.theoldcountrystore.com/ -- and first saw the Moda charm packs. They were awfully cute. People were grabbing them up like crazy. They were irresistible. I wasn't about to be left out.
. . . .
Stephanie was expecting a baby girl that summer, and one of these little charm packs made a very cute gift for Amelia. It was finished the very next day.
. . . .
After that, delighted by how quickly this baby quilt had gone together and how adorable it had been, I grabbed up more charm packs. Too many more. And into the fabric cupboard they went.
. . . .
At a subsequent White Oak retreat, I started laying some out with a tiny lattice and cornerstone plan, and after three rows lost interest. Packed it away. Dug it out this past weekend and started up again, but really totally without enthusiasm. The charm pack project was turning into a WWIT? (What Was I Thinking?) situation. As recently as yesterday morning I was whining to Honna about how I really was not at all excited about what was up on my design wall. There were four finished rows at this point, and many more to go.
. . . .
And then. And then. Last night I was at a meeting at church and the new Prayer Shawl Ministry came up for discussion. The knitters and crocheters (of which I am neither) are going gang-busters on this project. In fact, two of the people at the meeting were knitting shawls and another came in carrying supplies for more.
. . . .
I know there are quilters who also knit. Trawling the blogs reveals beaucoups. But I'm not one of them, and that is how it is going to stay. For one thing, my fingers will not cooperate (and please do not argue with me on this). For another, I have enough vices for now, thank you.
. . . .
Then the prayer shawl coordinator, Susan, mentioned that she knew that some people made prayer shawls out of fabric, "kind of like a quilt," she said. The light bulb went off! This, then, is what those charm square packs are for! I came home and looked at my design wall with fresh eyes Do stay tuned for photos of the finished projects.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Withdrawl


No, that's not a typo in the title. When we first moved to Near Philadelphia, the drive-up window of the bank had a hand-lettered sign that said "No Withdrawls." I immediately knew that "withdrawl" was Southern for "withdrawal," and the difference was the speed at which the withdrawing occurred. I giggled to myself about that every time I went to the window. Alas, the sign is gone, so apparently withdrawls are now permitted.
. . . .
So, anyway, I'm going through a bit of withdrawal this week. I need to sew a little every day. Either by machine or by hand. It's pretty much how I keep body and soul together, in a manner of speaking. Last night in front of a new TV show, I did hand stitching on the current "Time Began in a Garden" block, the tulips. I was hoping to have it ready to post to the blog this week. Alas, starting tonight, I have to be out each night for three consecutive nights. I don't like weeks like this. I'd prefer to be out not more than two nights out of five. But sometimes it happens. And it is all good stuff. But it means sewing withdrawal.
. . . .
The quilt pictured has nothing to do with withdrawal or withdrawl. But I wanted to include a picture! It was made as a gift for a young woman from church who moved to New York City to live on her own. A brilliant writer and editor, Emily had done her time in Philadelphia and was ready. We were serving together on a church committee when she was in her job and apartment search and she confided, "I hope I earn enough that I can afford to heat the apartment!" Just in case she couldn't, I made her a quilt from a 30s repro block swap. It's been a couple of years now, and from what I hear, paying for the heat has not been an issue.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Fifteen Friends

I've written before about my relationship with the Jenny's Pre-K class. These are the 4-going-on-5-year-olds who are far too sophisticated for our Preschool program but not quite ready for the rigorous demands of Kindergarten. Some years we have one section; other years there are two. Jenny is the consistent teacher. I don't remember exactly how we all came to be friends, but at least once a week the class will come to visit me in my office. Often it is to share their newest poem. Some days it is because it is rainy and they can't be outside and need a walk to use up some of their boundless energy.
. . . .
Once in a while, I'll bring in a book from home, one that my own kids used to like when they were 4-going-on-5, and we'll all go into the big Upper School Library and I'll read to them. They bring me wonderful presents that they make themselves -- a plate with their signatures, a vase of tissue paper flowers, a nifty clothespin clip for my desk, a magnet for my fridge. They are generous and giving; in return they are delighted with the occasional sticker or animal cracker from the jar on my desk.
. . . .
The size of the class varies; this year it is a big class of fifteen. They are all terrific kids this year; none seem to have any major "issues."
. . . .
It was so windy yesterday; it was difficult to get photos taken. The quilt was actually behaving like a Pre-K person, flapping here and there!
. . . .
Each year there is usually one Pre-K kiddy that I develop a special fondness for. This year it is Jimia. The day of the Winter Holiday Program, Jimia's parents could not attend, and I got to be Jimia's family for that day. We both liked this very much. Merrie, Noah, Toby, Becca, Charlotte -- these are a few of my favorite people.
. . . .
In early November Jenny has the Pre-K produce crayon self-portraits and then by some mysterious process known only to the fifth grade, these images are transferred onto fabric rectangles which come to me to be made into a quilt that then goes to the school auction. Some years it brings in $60; other years it brings in $1000. It all depends on the wealth of the families of the year.
. . . .
The Pre-K quilt for 2007-2008 was finished on Saturday evening and will be turned over to the class this Friday. Chances are excellent that there will be a photo of them with it at that time.
. . . .
It's not a spectacular quilt. It's pretty ordinary, actually, the way it is laid out and constructed. It's the subject matter that makes it special.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

You've Got Mail!


This quilt has been in progress for a long time. I ran into Maria from Pinwheels http://www.pinwheels.com/ ---- at the Fort Washington Quilt Show about four years ago. I didn't know her and I didn't know her company. But on the wall of her stand was this terrific quilt made from fabrics I'd never seen the likes of before. She wasn't busy at the moment and we visited. She explained that the fabrics were Daiwabo taupe fabrics and that they were imported from Japan. They certainly didn't look like any "Japanese" fabrics I'd ever seen, and I was immediately smitten with their subtlety.
. . . .
The quilt on the wall was called "You've Got Mail!" and was from a BOM. Maria said she had one set left. "Not any more," I told her, and signed up on the spot.
. . . .
As the fabrics arrived over the next months, I could bear to cut into them. I was afraid I'd never have any more! But in time they all came, and by then I was on Maria's mailing list and had subscribed to her FQ of the month bundles and I certainly did have Daiwabo taupes. So I pieced the quilt. Joe was taken by it right away, and asked if he could have it when it was finished. He'd never asked for a quilt before -- not that the house isn't full of them. He wanted it hand quilted. And that took some time. But now it is finished, and yesterday he took a nap under it. I really loved making this quilt. And I really love the guy who naps under it.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

About Doves

We had an influx of doves this morning. A dozen or more mourning doves appeared at the pan feeder on the deck rail; there were so many of them that they were bumping into each other and kicking the seeds out onto the deck. Some waited patiently on the rail; others couldn't wait and kept fluttering at the others until they could get a spot at the seeds. This preponderance of doves was unusual; we frequently will have one or two of them at one of the feeders, but I don't recall having a crowd like this before.
. . . .
Joe and I have always thought of doves as not exactly the brightest birds around. They appear to be very stupid, as though their tiny brains can't manage their big bodies. Sometimes they seem oblivious to the approach of a cat, bumbling out of the way at the last minute. Their clumsiness seems to be a trademark. This morning as we watched a botched landing, Joe remarked, "They look as though they don't know how they got there." I couldn't help but agree.
. . . .

But here's the weird thing. Last night at church the dove was a character in the sermon. The gist of the sermon was God in relationship to Noah, and by extension in relationship to us. Pr. G talked about Noah's sending out the dove three times before disembarking (just noticed that "ark" in the middle of the word -- how cool is that!). This morning, watching our feeder guests, I wondered at Noah's choice of a dove to send out. I'm pretty much amazed that the bird was able to find its way back to the ark the first two times, and am still not totally sure what happened the third time! What ever happened to the concept of the wise old owl? Noah sent out a dove? What was he thinking?
. . . .
And, of course, we see the dove at the baptism of Jesus, and later on in Christendom used everywhere as the symbol of the Holy Spirit.
. . . .
I know God is famous for turning things upside-down. And perhaps it is only the doves Near Philadelphia that seem to be so dumb. Maybe it is a case of appearances being deceiving and they are actually of at least average bird IQ. Or, finally, it could be that there are other types of doves that I've no experience with that make sense in the scripture stories. In any event, great fodder to chew on theologically. Will be interested to see what, if any, comments this generates.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Anticipation!


Can you hear Carly Simon singing in the background?
. . . .
"Anticipation, anticipation -- Is makin' me late -- Is keepin' me waitin'"
. . . .
When one works for a school, the bonus, the wild card, the joy that almost makes up for the pay is a snow day. When that most welcome early morning phone call comes, announcing that school is closed. There's nothing quite like it. That feeling of palpable grace -- receiving something totally undeserved, unearned.
. . . .
The flip side of that, of course, is the dreaded "early dismissal." This happens when the snow starts to fall -- or intensifies -- during the school day. The kids become wild with anticipation, the hope that the school will close early, releasing them to go home and do whatever (Kathy B, please note that I said whatever, not Whatever). It's a day that faculty and administration and staff alike dread.
. . . .
The rumors start. A nervous teen-age driver will sneak off and phone home, asking mom to call in and have him let out early. To be safe. That's all it takes. Kids then go into the bathrooms where cell phone use is not permitted, phone home, and request the same action from their parents. The school phones start to ring.
. . . .
In Pennsylvania, any school district that provides busing for their students within the district is required to provide busing also for those boys and girls that attend parochial or private schools.
. . . .
My school is an independent (private) school. We have lots of nervous student drivers, and we have kids bused in from as many as twenty different districts. When the various districts decide to have an early dismissal, we get phone calls notifying us what time the bus will be here to pick up their kids. So there are all of those calls. Plus the parents calling to ask for their students to be dismissed so that they can drive home "before it gets bad." And the bazillion other parents who call to ask if we are having an early dismissal.
. . . .
Utter mayhem. But sort of exciting in a disaster-mentality kind of way. Radios are on, the lobby is abuzz; we have an inch or two at this point, but the first district has yet to call.
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Anticipation! Sing it, Carly!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bento Box


It wasn't as if I needed another WIP, UFO or PIGS, you know. But, in fact, I did need one. Joe had a late meeting tonight and didn't come home for dinner, leaving me the happy holder of several hours of potential sewing time. But nothing in the current retinue of projects sang to me. The quilt on the design wall has been there for too long without anything happening. I badly needed a night off from the interminable knot-tying of the present Pre-K quilt. The hand quilting of Joe's quilt is finished (photo to follow this weekend, I hope). I suppose I could have dug out a set of blocks. In fact, I tried to. I had a dozen nice green William Morris blocks left over from Jaime's wedding quilt. I put them up on the wall and pondered them. And then I took them down.
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The last time the Mancuso show was at Fort Washington, I went with Honna. While wandering around the vendors' area, we passed a stand that had projects all kitted up. I picked up a packet of gorgeous Japanese prints and admired them profusely. But I'd already spent more than I'd intended, and put them back down. Believing I'd see a similar collection another time.
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Not to worry. Birthday rolls around and there they are! Honna had gone back to the vendor's stand after we'd parted company and picked up the packet! They were for a Bento Box -- I remembered the sample on the wall and looked forward to diving in. Alas, the kit was just the fabrics, no pattern, and although I certainly could have figured out how to do it, I never quite got around to it.
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A few weeks ago at our church Quilt Day, Kristina -- http://kdmade.blogspot.com/index.html -- was there with black, white and red fabrics and the Bento Box pattern! She agreed to lend it to me when her project was finished. When she did, she remarked, "This goes very quickly." She's right. Tonight, when nothing else would do but to get started on something new, I got out the pattern, got out the kit, pressed and paired, and got to work. The kit had 16 FQs, enough for eight blocks. I thought nine had more potential; and went to some left-over fabric from the Japanese quilt I'd made Amy and picked out two more FQs. One washer-load later, five blocks were finished and a sixth nearly so!
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I have a recipient in mind for the finished project, but will say no more since said recipient -- I believe -- is a blog reader. But that gets me to thinking about how much more satisfying it is to make a quilt with a particular recipient in mind. To think about her while cutting, to pray for him while stitching, to just more or less focus on that individual -- Hold him or her In The Light, if you will -- I really do like to make quilts that way. Don't you?

A Quick Trip to Cape May

Cape May, NJ, is about two hours from Near Philadelphia. That's if Joe is driving. If I drive it is more like two and a half hours. It is where we have gone for many years for refreshment. We generally stay at the same B&B, The Mainstay Inn. We've been there so many times that we can settle in very quickly. The picture to the left is what The Mainstay will look like in another 6 or 7 weeks, I guess. We drove down on Saturday, leaving after noon, and arriving around three o'clock. Tea is served promptly at four and is not to be missed. Joe had a nap and I went out to the counted cross stitch shop -- I'd bonded a couple more of the Garden blocks and needed floss for applique.
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This time we stayed in the Harrison Room, where we'd not stayed before. If we go for more than one night, we like one of the larger rooms, but this time the smaller, less expensive room was just fine. It was very comfortable, and the adjoining bathroom was nearly as big as the room itself!
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I'd brought along my book and my applique work. It was nice enough to take our tea out on the porch on Saturday.
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We weren't able to get into our favorite restaurant, but our second choice was excellent. We've become fond of the East Lynne Theatre Company that is based in Cape May, and we attended their performance on Saturday night. Sunday brought painting for Joe, shopping and stitching and reading for me. Around mid-day we headed back home, the prospects of same made sweeter by knowing we were having dinner with Sam!