Tuesday, September 30, 2008


At the time I went to seminary, theological education started with four weeks of intense study of Koine Greek, the language of the New Testament. Working together from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon, with optional sessions in the evenings, we covered one year of Greek in one month. We began, appropriately enough, with the opening words of John's Gospel, "In the beginning . . .

It was an exhilarating experience. At the end of the course, I came away with an "A" for my first grade in seminary, and was capable of translating the appointed Gospel lesson for a given Sunday in five hours or less. And I actually did do that each week for the following three months.

Could I do it now? No. Could I do it even ten months later? Not really. I could barely remember en ar-KAY ayn ha LOH-gohs (Blogger wouldn't accept my Greek font, darn it), Greek for "In the beginning . . . " Knowledge gained through cramming doesn't last unless it is used on a regular basis, unless it is reviewed, refreshed, and used.

All of this has been in my consciousness this week as I've read reports of the debate prep and came across the following:

"After campaigning with her running mate, Sen. John McCain, in Ohio, she will travel Monday to McCain's Arizona cabin to cram for the debate in St. Louis, Missouri . . . ."

So, Sarah's got three or four days to learn how to be Vice President? To cram in everything she needs to know to convince the voters that she could step in on a moment's notice? And then have all of that knowledge at her fingertips later on?

Give me a break.

Based on Governor Palin's recent interviews with Katie Couric, with Charles Gibson, a lot of people I know are eager for the debate this Thursday, eager to watch her make a fool of herself -- and of John McCain -- yet again.


But consider this: It could all backfire. Based on her past performance, the expectations of Sarah Palin are not very high. She's almost bound to do better than we anticipate.

Crossing a bar that has been set low should not fool viewers into thinking this is someone with deep knowledge. It is someone who has crammed. Who has essentially learned a full year of Greek in four weeks and not only passed the course, but has done so with flying colors. Whose knowledge of The Important Things is right up there with my knowledge of Greek back at the end of September, '92.

I want someone smarter than I am to be President and I want someone with a deeper knowledge of the issues than I have to be Vice President. It scares me that this woman who can't name a Supreme Court other than Roe v. Wade is "cramming" to learn Vice President 101. It terrifies me to think that as soon as five or six months from now -- Given Senator McCain's age and health -- she could be the leader of the free world.

I watched Katie Couric ask Sarah Palin about John McCain's record, heard the candidate say, "I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you ," and I cringed. I read this and was speechless myself.

She may as well have said, "Katie, it's all Greek to me."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chickens and Stars!

I've mentioned before that I belong to a couple of groups that have monthly projects that we do for each other. The FQ group is one of them and for September DeeJae asked me to add some other body parts and do the buttonhole stitching for it. I was on it right away. I love chicken blocks. (I have a whole box full of various chicken blocks, but that is a story for another day.) I bonded some feathers and a beak and then decided that buttons were in order for the eyes.

It took about one evening to finish this block for DeeJae. I haven't sent it off to her because I'm going to make Susan's chicken block for DeeJae and send them both together. Susan bailed me out back in June or July when I couldn't think straight and couldn't sew anything more complicated than a Nine Patch. Sharon had asked for some flying geese and I just didn't feel like I had it in me to do them with precision and didn't want to ask Sharon to wait until my brain returned. What if it never did? So Susan to the rescue. She's had a very stressful couple of months dealing with family issues of various happy and sad kinds, and I thought it was time to return the favor.

A couple of months ago some of us decided to do a block swap of brown and aqua-or-teal-or-turquoise stars. Each of us selected two different stars so that there wouldn't be duplication, and got to work at making eleven of each. It would have been better if there were twelve participants, but we work with what we get. At the end of the swap, each of us will have 22 gorgeous stars, the start of a sensational quilt.

The first batch of blocks arrived in the mail this week from Robin. I was too busy to open the squishie until this morning. Oh, my stars! Did Robin do a spectacular job or what? My fabric is downstairs in the rubble and I need to get cracking because the swap out is the first week in November. I've already heard from Mary that her blocks are on the way from the UK.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sssshhh! It's a Secret!

We joined our church more than twenty-five years ago. As we were leaving that first Sunday, Carol pulled me over to a group of women who had gathered. "You want to do this," she told me. So I stayed to find out what it was that I wanted to do.

The women's organization of the church is broken into Circles that meet monthly. Generally the group is relatively homogeneous age-wise, but not always. There are day groups and evening groups. I was being invited to join a group that met on the fourth Monday evening of each month. I did join, and have hardly ever missed a meeting in twenty-five years. Circle became something sacred on the calendar. When the kids were little, Circle was one of the few things I did -- not because I was Tom's, Sherry's and Andrew's mom, or because I was Joe's wife -- for myself. Circles are named for women of the Bible, and my group is called Deborah, after a wise woman who served as a judge in Israel back in Old Testament times.

Each month we have basic elements to the meeting: The devotions, the business, the topic, and the refreshments. We take turns covering these and we take turns spending a year or two as the leader of the Circle.

At the September meeting we draw names for Secret Sisters. Then, throughout the year, we pray for our Secret Sister. We send her greeting cards. We remember her birthday and Christmas with small gifts. And throughout the year, when we go through difficult times, we are comforted by knowing that some secret person from Circle is also praying for us. And here's the interesting thing: Unlike many groups of Secret Sisters or Secret Pals, we never reveal who had who!

I love the September meeting! I think everyone does. We start with a potluck dinner, usually at my house, and impatiently get through the business until it is time for Elaine to pass around the basket with the names and we find out who we will pray for during the coming year. This time I drew a name that I have not had before. After all of these years together, one would think we would know practically everything about each other. But not so! This year I will take pleasure in getting to know Someone secretly in a new way. What fun this is going to be!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


When Joe was sick and I looked for illustrations for my blog posts, in addition to the anatomical pictures, there were also the more fanciful, traditional, sometimes even cute "heart" pictures.

There's nothing cute about a liver.

I was wakeful last night, thinking about my friend and her sick daughter. My first thought of the morning was about them. They have been in and out of my mind all day.

They were transferred from the excellent community hospital where Caeli was a patient to a center city major teaching hospital on Sunday. Yesterday was full of studies, tests, interviews, all of the things that comprise a "work-up."

The outcome frightens me. And if it frightens me, what the heck is it doing to Caeli and to her mother, my friend of the past twenty-eight years?

Caeli is in complete liver failure and needs a transplant, either a partial organ from a matching living donor or a whole organ from a cadaver donor. The numbers "36 to 48 hours" were mentioned; I'm not totally clear whether that means the transplant is likely to occur within that time frame or if it must occur within that time frame. And, uncharacteristically, I'm not asking for clarification.

I've got a couple of quilt pictures to post. I've got topics to discuss. I even have the time to do these things. But they will wait. Because my mind, my heart, my prayers just aren't available right now. They're in a hospital room downtown.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Our Children

Years ago as a new hospital chaplain, I looked for milestones in the work. My first trauma call. My first Code. My first emergency Baptism. These challenges came along and were met. My first death didn't happen for quite some time. And when it did, I didn't feel ready for it.

I was alone in the hospital overnight, carrying the beeper, and when it went off and I called the floor, I was asked to come up to be with the family of a patient who had just died. I asked for a little information -- and was told the patient had been sick for awhile, and her mother was present at the death. Walking to the room, I prayed to know what to say. I'd anticipated that the first death would be something very different -- the end to the suffering of a very old and very sick patient, perhaps. As I approached the room, I didn't have the words I needed. But when I went into the room and saw that the patient was in her sixties and her mother in her eighties, I enfolded the woman in my arms and said to her, "This isn't supposed to happen. This isn't the way it is supposed to be."

When we are mothers, when our children are very, very little, we have the miraculous power -- for a brief time -- to make everything all right. It is an amazing gift we are given; the ability to comfort, to fix things, for these little tiny people, the ones we would give everything for. The thing is, though, we don't realize the power is transient. We want it so much that we think it will always be thus.

And we are mistaken.

This summer a close friend's son has developed a dreadful progressive neurological disorder. My friend is at wits' end, feeling helpless and powerless. Not long after that, I learned that the brother of a boy Tom was in school with has Lou Gehrig disease. A friend from church lost her daughter to breast cancer. This isn't supposed to happen.

This past week I learned that a blog friend had lost a daughter at some point long before I knew her, and I just ached for her. We expect to lose our parents someday; that is the natural course of things. But our children?

This morning I learned that a friend's daughter has been hospitalized with an auto-immune hepatitis -- it seems her body has been attacking her own liver to the point where two days ago she was close to death. She's rallied a bit, and tomorrow will be transferred to a major teaching hospital and begin the assessment for a transplant. My friend is devastated. This is her only child and she's a terrific one, too. The kind of gal that has a million friends, a tremendous sense of humor, and a brilliant mind. Much like her mother. But my friend wants so much to be able to do something. To make it better.

Much like the mom of the guy with the neurological disorder who told me she would trade places with him in a minute. Of course she would. Moms should be able to make things better for their children.

This isn't the way it is supposed to be.

There are those who say, "I know that everything happens for a reason." As if there is some reason that they would accept for the tragedy that has befallen them. I don't buy it. I don't believe God visits these horrible things on our children, on His children, for some reason or lesson. I think, instead, that God aches along with us in our pain and that sometimes, at some point, gives us the grace to make some kind of sense out of these things, and to be able to see glimmers of good that come out of even the most awful of situations.

I've been thinking about this a lot today as I cried with my friend and prayed with her daughter.

These are our children, for crying out loud. This isn't supposed to happen.

But it does.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What Senility Article?

One day Honna mailed me an article about senile dementia. She'd found it interesting and thought I might, too. She was right. I phoned her right away.

"I got the senility article," I told her.

"What senility article?" she replied.

We thought the exchange was hilarious.

It took place thirty years ago.

Since then, each of us has lost her mother to Alzheimer's dementia. Far from hilarious, for us (and for me more than for her), forgetting anything at all has become concerning. We know that everyone forgets things and we know that this increases with age. We know this. And yet we wonder, "Is this how it starts? Has it begun to happen to me?"

So it was with tremendous courage last night that I watched a movie called "Away From Her." Joe and I had seen previews of it when it was in the theatres, but it got away from us (no, we didn't forget to go), so we put it on the Netflix queue. I was afraid it would upset me. It did. But not in the way I anticipated.

What a disappointing and unrealistic film! Let me list my complaints:

...The idea that an educated and intelligent person with Alzheimer's would deliberately choose to move away from her home of many, many years and into an unfamiliar place, away from the anchor of family. Ludicrous.
...The care facility's policy that no one, NO ONE, can visit the patient for the first thirty days. This radically contradicts good practice, where the importance of familial connections is stressed.
...The notion that the patient would lose her long-term memory, i.e., of her husband, that quickly and yet preserve her short-term memory, i.e., of her new attachment. Again and again the sick woman was shown with the recent past intact and detailed while the distant past was expunged. People with this disease remember the past as though it were yesterday and remember yesterday not at all.
...The unfailing gentility of the patient -- there was no evidence of frustration early on, and no indication of intense mood swings later on.
Though the film received overwhelmingly good reviews, one writer spoke of it as a "Hallmark card" about Alzheimer's. So right on.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Black and Bright

Yes, this is still a blog that is often about quilting. It really is. Recent posts to the contrary. I thought it was time to post some pics and reports on some of my current WISPs.

This top is from a swap that we did last winter. We swapped batik and black snowballs. We were very careful not to make the typographical error that we once made with the snowman block swap, turning them into snotmen. Many of the other swap participants have completed their tops; heck, they've completed their quilts. And given 'em away. I still need to sew one more long seam and put the corner triangles on and then do the borders. It will happen.

I already know who this quilt will be for. A lovely young girl who will graduate from high school in 2010, about a year and a half from now. So I have time.

I'm so excited about this potential quilt. Many of the blocks were pieced for me by an on-line group where we take turns each month making blocks for each other. I had bought a wonderful collection of hand-dyed cottons and sent out two to each participant, asking them to use Kona black for a background and to make that particular block. I was delighted with what came back, and jumped right in and made the rest of what I would need. Now they are up on the wall waiting for me to cut the alternating black squares and start to sew the rows. I already know what the border will be like; it will come in time. There's no hurry. This is one of those quilts where the anticipation, the journey, is the joy.

There are a couple of other things in the works, but the camera screen flashed at me: "Danger! Battery Exhausted!" I thought it was a bit dramatic, but turned it off anyway. Exhausted. Tell me about it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Self Revelation: A Tension

As is so often the case, it was another blogger that got me to thinking. Julie who has both a fine mind and a talent for making beautiful quilts wrote about not really wanting to blog about politics, but it seemed to burst out of her.

Then one of her commenters, Cheri, who has a mighty fine blog of her own, wrote, "I try to keep politics off my blog, too, because if I like someone's quilting, I don't want to know if I hate their politics!" And that made me smile because I kind of feel the same way.

As bloggers, we choose what aspects of ourselves we share with our readers, people who may be family, friends, acquaintances, or unknowns. As a blog reader, I'm generally drawn to those who share more dimensions, rather than fewer, of who they are.

I tried to keep politics out of my blog posts. My sidebar gave enough information, I thought, about my political leanings. When I was volunteering at a campaign office during the primaries, though, I did share the excitement that I felt, the idea that I was working for a cause that I believed in. I wrote about the experience more than about the candidate. I was uncovering for both my readers and myself a piece of me that I hadn't known before.

In the past few weeks I did some different political blogging. Rather than extol the virtues of the candidate I prefer, I realize now that I succumbed to the urge to express my serious concerns about another candidate. I wasn't totally happy with myself when I did it. I thought that venting would make me feel better. What it did was let me know which readers share my viewpoint.

I noticed that some of my regular commenters were quiet during those posts. And this led me to believe they support a different candidate. Their absence was felt, and I thought about what Cheri said. I hoped that they still liked my quilts, if not my politics, and me, if not my candidate. [It seems they do. :-) ]

(As a side note, rather amazingly, one Reader From The Other Side who knows me IRL as well as from reading my blog felt the need to respond but did it in such a strange and childish way --sending by mail a clipping that reflected his own opinion and -- I suppose -- hoping to impress me with his astuteness. He did it anonymously, using an envelope with a return address that wasn't his and carefully misspelling my name on the outside. He made an impression all right, but not the one he was trying for.)

When I'm with friends whose political leanings are different from mine, for the most part, we just let that be, and talk about the things we do share. I don't expect to persuade anyone to my point of view, and I certainly don't want anyone to try to persuade me. It is better, in person, to just by-pass this difference.

So, what I'm rambing about here today has to do with tension and risk. The tension of self revelation. What to share and what not to share. The tension between wanting to share and not wanting to offend. Between openness and discretion.

No conclusions at this point. Just thinking and pondering.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Charm Pack Winner Announced

I was so crazy-busy on Thursday that I didn't get the name drawn for my give-away winner. Friday wasn't much better. Yesterday I managed to draw the name but didn't get to post. What is this saying about how hectic of a week I've had and how happy I am that a new week is beginning today!

Thassnot all that's beginning today. Joe graduated from the cardiac rehab program last week and was urged to re-enlist and continue his good work. He's lost about 20 pounds and is feeling well. No chest pain. Not so many naps. Rather than automatically re-up at the fitness center, he spent a Saturday as an investigative reporter checking into LA Fitness, the YMCA, the place over at the shopping center and I believe one more place. Evaluated cost, equipment, travel time. Seemed the very best deal was at the Y, so he signed US up. Yup. Got a family membership that includes private sessions with someone who will figure out an individualized program. He went for his session on Tuesday and mine is scheduled for this afternoon.

Where was I?

Oh, yes, the winner.

Well, it is Karrin. I've "known" Karrin for about ten years through a couple of email groups. She's a sweet and generous person who does amazing crazy quilting. As a matter of fact, we're in a round robin together and this month I am hand quilting her project which is about the sea. So I'm tickled that Karrin has won, and her charm pack will be off in the mail tomorrow!

If I'm not too stiff and sore to go to the post office!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11: Our Lives Forever Changed

Life As We Knew It changed for everyone on September 11, 2001, a terrible, terrible day.

But a different September 11, the one in 1974, was the day that changed life forever for Joe and Me in such an amazing way. For that was the day Tom was born.

After many years of trying to achieve a pregnancy, everything we dreamed of arrived in the form of an 8-1/2 pound boy who has brought joy and more joy to our lives with every passing year.

Here is a picture of Tom on the day we met Anastasia, the woman who would become his wife.

On September 11 each year we remember the horror. But we also remember -- and are thankful for -- the joy of Tom.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

It All Comes Together

Here's a confession: Sometimes -- not all the time, but sometimes -- I feel as though the work I do is unimportant. I work at an independent school, where the tuition for high school students is more than $20,000 per year. Sometimes I feel as though the work I do would be more meaningful if I worked at an inner city school, a school for disadvantaged children. Sometimes, when I walk through the parking lot and see the cars that the students drive -- cars that are beyond my budget -- or pass through the lobby where girls are holding handbags that cost more than enough to feed a family of five for a week, I think I am in the wrong place. I ask myself if working at a school for the wealthy, the privileged, is in conflict with the values I learned at seminary where the focus was on servanthood.

It has been a struggle. I remember the year that Tom taught at a public school in the Bronx. We all thought it was wonderful that he was helping these kids gain an appreciation and understanding of classical music. He didn't think it was so wonderful, because he spent most of his time breaking up fights rather than actually teaching. It was disheartening.

I've thought about this on and off for quite some time.

And this summer, it all began to make sense because of a young man I met.

This young man -- let's call him Nate because that is what his name is -- works tirelessly at the campaign office of the candidate I support. I met him back during the primary season. He was there almost every time I went in, greeting people, listening to their concerns, suggesting ways they might use their talents and skills to help the campaign. He's back now for the general election, patiently registering new voters, answering questions, and listening more than talking, as people share their stories with them. He's probably paid a small salary at this point, though back in the spring I believe he held down a minimalist job of some sort that would enable him to devote so much time to the campaign.

He's bright, he's capable, he's a graduate of a fine college and could be working in a position where he would make more money than I do. But for the present, he's working to effect change, to make a difference in the lives of some of the very people who come into the campaign office. He's committed to an election where health care and so much more is at stake. And he works, seemingly tirelessly, for what he believes in. I don't know what the future holds for him or what he aspires to; I suspect it will have something to do with policy making.

As it turns out, coincidentally, Nate is a graduate of the very school where I work.

Luke says, "Everyone to whom much is given, of him much will be required."

This school is operated by the Quakers, the Religious Society of Friends. Their values are held up and passed along to the students in subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle ways.

Maybe Nate never heard what Luke had to say. Maybe he did. But he understands it and he lives it. Perhaps better than I do.

And so I am at peace with my struggle, believing that in some way I am contributing to the shaping and forming of young people who are given much and will, in turn, give much.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Old Papers

The other night Joe opened a box from our last move in 1999. It may be the last of such, but one never knows. As it turns out, this particular box was from the previous move, in 1980. I'd begun to think that if we haven't needed whatever was in the box in nine years, we could just toss it without opening it. I don't know what my thoughts would have been if I'd realized it was twenty-eight years since it had been packed!

We found all manner of things in the box, including a high school yearbook, my high school charm bracelet and class ring. We found a stack of birth announcements with ducks from when Tom was born and bears from when Andrew was born. The Raggedy Anne ones weren't there, though. There was a stack of greeting cards sent by well-wishers on the occasion of Tom's birth, and we read through them and wondered who some of these people had been! Roberta Heckler's name sounds somewhat familiar, but I've no idea why!

Back when the kids were very little, I was heavily involved in the La Leche League, and as a fortunate stay-at-home mom, I was able to pursue leadership in that organization. Among the papers was a folder containing my application for the leadership program, including a brief autobiography. I set that aside, thinking one of the girls might like to read it someday. When we lived in Ohio, I was the editor of the newsletter that went out each month to all the subscribers of the La Leche League news, and there were one or two copies of each of these newsletters. I thought Sherry might like to take a look at them. Folded up in a strange piece of paper was a lock of golden hair from Tom's first haircut that I thought I'd give to Anastasia, remembering when Joe's mother gave me a similar item. It was fun digging through and looking at these things. There was a small collection of Indian Head pennies that belonged to my parents. A letter from my old friend Oddery.

We had a good time digging through the box. And then I found a journal that I'd written as a requirement for an English class I was taking in the spring of 1970. I set it aside, and last night I read through it. My first thought was, "What if someone else were to get ahold of this!" I was absolutely shocked at how self-centered I was in my early twenties. Arrogant, too. Perhaps it wasn't a bad thing that I found it; reading it gave me the opportunity to see that I have, in fact, grown in many important ways. But, quite honestly, I did not find a whole lot to like in who I was thirty-seven years ago.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

More Business As Uusual

Joe had phoned Sherry on Friday to see if we might spend some time together this weekend. She reported that Chris had tickets to go to the Eagles game so she and the children would come see us on Sunday.

They arrived about one-third of the way through church. It had been a long time since they'd visited our church and it was fun afterwards to show them off and receive compliments!

We came home and had brunch on the deck and a long, satisfying visit. Sam and Joe spent a great deal of time outside looking for chipmunk holes and stacking logs. They came in then, both pretty tired. This is an uncharacteristically serious picture of the little guy.

Here's Carrie, in the dress I'd made for her, quite smitten with the Owlie that Tatania sent. Those long legs are so chewable!

She's been in day care for a week now, and Sherry says she's doing very well with it. Sam's in a different class, of course, but comes over to see her when they are outside on the playground at the same time.

She's the most amiable baby -- just like her mother was.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Back to Business as Usual

Two of my cyberbuddies, Kat and Lori who both live afar, came to Pennsylvania to attend what used to be called The Fort Washington Quilt Show until a few years ago when the Fort Washington Expo Center was sold and the show moved to Harrisburg. It's a Mancuso production, one that I always enjoyed attending because Fort Washington is literally seven minutes from Near Philadelphia. Because it always is held during the first week of school, I've not been able to attend since it moved.

Kat from Northeastern Ohio and Lori from Oregon came, though, and didn't have a lot good to say about it other than the vendors. They said there were a lot of art quilts and they, like me, prefer bed quilts. Since they'd come as far as Harrisburg they decided to extend their little excursion and spend a couple of days in Lancaster. Which is where I came into the picture. I had no major plans for today other than household drudgery and thought it would be great to drive out and meet them for lunch in Intercourse. I know Kat from her doing some of my machine quilting and from other times we've gotten together. Lori I've "known" on line, liked and admired from afar, for prolly eight years. I was tickled to have the opportunity to meet her in person. She did not disappoint. I forgot to take my camera, darn it.

I did take my shopping list, though, and at the top of it was a Civil War border fabric. During my vacation this summer, one night I awoke with a vision of CW 9-patches made into Irish chain quilts and am now working on the third one. They are all baby size quilts and I'm having a fine time with them. I found a most agreeable border fabric at the Old Country Store.

Turbo and I are involved in a block swap where we are making brown and aqua-or-teal stars on cream backgrounds. She's apparently had trouble finding aqua-or-teal locally and asked me if I saw some to pick them up for her. What fun! I found some, as you can see, three for each of us. I think we both have plenty of browns. We each have to make 22 stars. I'd best get started.

All of this Civil Warring has taken a toll on my shirtings, of which I never did have very many. I needed some and couldn't find any at either Log Cabin Quilt Shop (which has moved into the location where that place that had the amazing green rulers used to be, and is just the most delightful place) or at Old Country Store. So we trudged over to Zook's and behold! They had ample to select from and so I did.

I say trudge because today was a serious weather sort of day. I have lost track of whether it is a postlude to Hurricane Gustav or the prelude to Hurricane Hanna but it has rained and rained and rained. My drive home was a little bit unnerving as the rain was coming down in sheets, imperiling visibility. Initially I'd planned to stop at Sauder's but since I'd found everything that was on my list (and then some), I didn't.

Fortunately there wasn't a lot of traffic on the turnpike, and I got home safely, taking just a little bit longer than I normally would have. But I realized as I pulled into the driveway that my hands were aching from clenching the wheel for so long. Not fun. I took a major nap with Bodacious and after I'd been up for about an hour Joe suggested we go down to the Pub and get a sandwich. Which we did.

I had left home leaving plenty of time to meet up with Lori and Kat at the appointed hour, and got to Bird-In-Hand earlier than I'd anticipated. So I went into the big farmer's market there and bought some Amish sticky buns to bring home. Couldn't decide between the pecan or the raisin, and fortunately they had them in large size and small size, so I didn't have to choose, and I brought home one of each. Sherry and the kids are coming to eat brunch tomorrow. We'll see what Sam thinks about sticky buns!

And I couldn't resist the tomatoes. Aren't they gorgeous?

Up there on the picture of the shirtings, you may have noticed a little charm pack that I didn't mention. I saw it at Old Country Store and thought it might make a nice give-away. So, to all of you readers who have borne with me during my recent political digression, please accept this peace offering. Leave a comment, and on Thursday, September 11, Tom's birthday, I'll draw a name and send the charm pack off to the winner. It's Moda's "Collections for a Cause."

And now I really have to get that border made.

Friday, September 05, 2008


No, I didn't watch him last night.

Two weeks of Olympics followed by a week each of the Dems and the GOP have taken the toll on my sewing. After so much time away from Bernina, I was beginning to get a little bit hivey.

So I settled in for a fix last night. I knew I couldn't concentrate on anything significant in the realm of sewing, so after making the block that Lori had requested for her birthday, I began to piece CW repro 9-patches at a furious pace with no thought as to how they'll be used. Felt good.

Emerged from the studio in time to catch the bio of Cindy McCain who, like Laura Bush, seems to be a lovely woman with unfortunate taste in men.

Gonna end with one more political insight and then promise (not so much for my readers as for me -- I certainly don't want Andrew calling for another Intervention to my occasional obsessions) to get back to blogging about quilting, philosophy, family and friendship. It's a note to *Half-Baked Alaska who was booing Barack for being a community organizer and touting her own loftier position as a governor. It's not original, unfortunately, but lifted from a brilliant commenter over at Chez's place.

Pssst, Sarah --

Jesus Christ was a community organizer.
Pontius Pilate was a governor.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

On the Fence

There was a wee bit of a buzz on campus this morning. One of the teachers has a sister who works for Katie Couric. Said sister had inquired as to whether one of Katie's correspondents could come to the school later today and interview a group of women who are Still Undecided.

I wondered if anyone would show up.

Turns out the correspondent was directed elsewhere, so I'll never know.

But this raised a question that had not occurred to me until now: How can anyone be Undecided?

Either you want to see Roe v. Wade torn down, or you don't.

Either you want a war monger in the White House, or you don't.

Either you want a President who picked his running mate knowing that her acceptance would out her daughter's personal life to the world, or you don't.

Either you want to give the wealthy tax breaks that burden the not-so-wealthy, or you don't.

Either you want a President who selected a knowledgeable Vice President, or you don't.

Either you are terrified of a McCain/Palin win, or you're not.

Can't believe anyone is still on the fence. Take a look at it. It's a terrible place to be.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Bang Bang You're Wed

I had decided on Friday that I didn't need to write anything about Sarah Palin; not only did her biography speak for itself but better writers and more analytical thinkers than I am have done the job thoroughly.

But then the story continued. I thought long and hard. Any of us might find herself in the position of having a teen-aged child dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. That happens. I thought about the amount of compassion and support that such a situation would call for. I knew that if I were in that situation, I'd surely put my own ambitions on hold and decline a most tempting invitation to pursue a new job so that I, as a mother, could provide that compassion and support. I'd choose not to let the world -- literally, the world -- know of my daughter's or son's difficult situation.

I'd been concerned about Sarah Palin's views ever since the announcement of her candidacy on Friday. There were a lot of problems, each of which might warrant an individual blog post. I didn't take the bait. I'd leave that to the deeper thinkers and the better writers.

But then came this, direct from Ms. Palin herself:

"Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family," they added.

Sarah, listen to yourself. "The young man she will marry." She's seventeen years old, for crying out loud. Give her a break. Isn't it enough that you've made Bristol's situation a topic for the pundits to exploit? Do you have to compound it by hauling out the shotgun (no matter what your views on gun control might be)?

I'd pretty much restrained myself from writing the above. Again, others were handling it very well. And then I read the following excerpted from this morning's New York Daily News:

Bristol Palin's pregnancy was an open secret back home


Tuesday, September 2nd 2008, 7:34 AM

Levi Johnston.
Bristol Palin.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
He's a superhunky bad-boy ice hockey player from cold country; she's a chestnut-haired beauty and popular high school senior.

The all-American teen twosome will make GOP vice presidential pick and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin a grandma at age 44 - just in time for Christmas.

Doe-eyed Bristol Palin, 17, and ruggedly handsome Levi Johnston, an 18-year-old self-described "f---in' redneck," have been dating a year, locals in Wasilla, Alaska told the Daily News.
. . . . . . . . . . . .

Besides his hard play on the ice, Levi Johnston was also a bit of a hell-raiser off it - another reason Bristol may have been smitten.

State troopers popped Johnston last year for snagging some king salmon out of season in Moose Lake, records from Alaska wildlife enforcement show. He had to pay $370 bail.

On his MySpace
page, Johnston proudly declares: "I'm a f---in' redneck."

"I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing," he says on the site.

He also warns that if anyone messes with him, "I'll kick ass."

The Web site, before it was removed, appeared not to have been accessed for a year.

On it, he admits to having a girlfriend.

On the part where it asks about children, he wrote, "I don't want kids."
. . . . . . . . . . . .

And I needed to write.

Do we really want someone who is advocating her 17-year-old pregnant daughter marry this man (who may well have very fine qualities that no one has yet discovered) in the position of potentially making irreversible decisions for us?

I don't.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Family Wedding

My great nephew was married yesterday afternoon to a lovely young woman he's dated since -- I think -- his freshman year in college. He'd graduated this past June. How could it be that Susan's son was getting married? I remember her wedding as though it was last summer; we had three little kids and we asked someone to take a picture of us because it was a rare occasion that we were all five clean and well-dressed at the same time. I remember, too, when a few years later Susan asked me, "How would you like to be a great aunt? Not that you aren't a great aunt already!" and thus the impending arrival of Scott was announced.

He's grown into a poised and handsome young man with a sweet and beautiful wife. His younger brother Ben, a college freshman himself, served as best man and his darling girlfriend was very much on the scene. Younger sister Kristen looking exquisite as a bridesmaid in delicate green.

All six of our kids, plus Caroline (Sam having been claimed by his paternal grandparents for the afternoon) were in attendance and we had a table to ourselves. It was wonderful to be together. Afterwards, even though Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania, is only about 90 minutes from Near Philadelphia and we might well have driven home in the evening, since our Virginia folks were staying over, Joe and I decided we would, too. We spent the night at a really good B&B right in the town where Susan lives and were treated to a yummy breakfast this morning. And then we all headed to our respective homes, not to reconnect for several months.

This photo shows Anastasia and Tom and Joe and me clean and nicely dressed at the same time. You'll need to trust me that the other five were, too.