Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sam!


Sam will be four years old tomorrow.  Here's his birthday present, held up by the Design Husband 'cuz it's too derned cold to set up a photo shoot outside!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sew What

It feels like a long time since I've posted any quilty content.  Well, that is about to change.  Beginning now.  I've not been sewing much but I've been sewing. 

You know those monthly birthday blocks I talk about?  I looked at the schedule and thought perhaps I should get the ones for spring finished early, what with two babies due at the beginning and end of April; it only makes good sense and less pressure to get the blocks for March, April and May finished early if I can.

Julie comes up in March and she requested an all-blue block with a name that relates to wind or water.  Here's Summer Winds for Julie.  It's not quite as teal-y as it looks in the pic.  But it's not true blue either.  I don't know if Julie will like it because the color may be off.  So she prolly will get an additional block in a bluer blue.  I like Summer Winds myself and would like to make some more of 'em.

And here we have the CW-CDs that I've received so far from the groups that are making them for me.  Don't they look spiffy on point?  I'm probably going to leave them that way.  I'm thinking of using muslin lattice with a CW for cornerstones and the same CW for the  setting triangles.  How does that strike you?

These blocks finish at nine inches and there are still ten or twelve more to be received!

Dear Jo

A month or so ago I wrote here about how someone had disappointed me as a partner in the Advent Swap that Fiona and Jo had dreamed up. I never did hear from her.  But yesterday the postman brought me a wonderful bulging parcel from far, far away.  Jo, one of the two organizers of the Advent Swap, had sent me a consolation gift. 

Now you and I (and Jo, too) know that no way was Jo accountable or responsible for the failings of any of the participants.  That really goes without saying.  She's just a dear and lovely lady, a generous and kind spirit, who wanted someone to be undisappointed.  She must have spent hours making that adorable stocking.  And that precious bag -- with each side a different design!  And look at the many additional treasures that she sent.

There was also a terrific magazine that has made its way to the nightstand.  And a splendid Australian porcelain thimble, which I tried out last night and left with my hand quilting.

And a bag of sweets.  I can't imagine what has happened to them!

Thank you, dear Jo, from the bottom of my heart!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Escaping from Real Life

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote here about my unanticipated urge to revisit The Sims.  I thought it might help me to escape some of the reality of the present, ongoing, dreadful economic climate.  A climate that, despite what we read in the paper or hear on the television, is not improving.  At least not Near Philadelphia.  My husband's practice has been threatened and the threat is ongoing.  At the school where I work, we continue to look at staffing and structuring and enrollment.  It is nearly time for 2010-2011 employment contracts to be issued.  There are worries about whether or not there will be salary increases.  There are worries about whether or not certain jobs will still exist.

So I thought about The Sims, and the illusion of control that they provide.  And decided that that was not entirely a bad thing.  As a hospital chaplain, when I looked at the famous Kubler-Ross stages of grief, I learned that the stage called Denial serves the very excellent purpose of allowing the sick person to escape, for a period of time, from the reality of what is happening to him.  Saw a parallel.

I learned that there's a new version of the Sims game.  Actually there have been several versions since I first got to know sophisticated Mortimer Goth and his vampy wife Bella.  The game store at the mall had the new version.  For fifty dollars.  Which, you know, I just could not justify.  Ebay, however, had the old, original version for considerably less and I went for it.

So now, each evening before dinner, I spend some time manipulating the lives of the family I created: Noah Ark and his sweet, talented wife Joan.  They are moving along on their chosen career paths and not feeling threatened.  They are doing a little redecorating in their public rooms.  They are close as close can be with Bella and Mortimer.  Their biggest problem right now is their cute but slightly bratty daughter who throws her snack bags on the floor until the place looks a bit like the internet photo above.

They practice their skills, get promotions, interact with their friends (who are also employed), and shop for new furniture.

For a while I can forget what is going on everywhere else.

"Tamaguchia!"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reach Out and Touch Someone

It was a wonderful start to my day.  "Wonderful" doesn't begin to cover it.  It was reassuring, it was loving, it was affirming, it was warm; it was so many good things.  It was an email.

I'd awakened a little bit before the alarm was to go off, and while the tea water was heating, I went to my email.  There was one with the intriguing subject line "I've been meaning to write this for a long time," and the sender's address was vaguely familiar.

It turned out to be from a blogger I've followed for several years now.  We'd had some communication on a couple of things a long time ago.  And then I stopped hearing from her; she'd assured me that nothing was wrong, but I doubted.  Felt unsettled about it for a little while.  And around the same time I noticed that I no longer had her email, she deleted it from her profile. 

I continued to follow her blog and leave comments; she did the same for me.  But I missed her.  I missed that occasional personal contact.  And continued to have that niggling feeling that somehow I'd hurt or offended her. She's bright, she's articulate, she's funny.  She's a woman of faith, a quilter, and so much more.  She's the kind of person I wish would join my women's Circle at church.  Except she lives Far From Philadelphia.  I missed her.

And then, out of the blue, this email came, that said, in part, "For some reason right now . . . I feel a need to drop you a note and tell you that you are special to me."  She went on to list the ways, the reasons that supported this statement, and ended with "my life would be less rich without you."

I do not have the words to tell you how that made me feel.  But I believe you can imagine.  When was the last time someone said that to me?  To you?  When was the last time I said anything like that to anyone?  When did you?

And so I vow to change that.  Like Kim's more tangible "Share the Love" campaign, I propose a "Reach Out and Touch Someone" movement.  I was so moved by this email that I went to the internet and learned a new skill -- I've developed a button to remind me to take the time to send an email every now and then to someone to tell her that "you are special to me," to let him know that "my life would be less rich without you."

Wanna join me?  Grab the button.  And send that email.

Thank you, friend.  Just look what you've started!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

About Time

Years ago, when I was a seminary student, I read a wonderful book, A Dresser of Sycamore Trees, by Garret Keizer.  It is a series of reflections by a lay person called to a sacerdotal office.  It's one of those books to read and savor and ponder, one chapter at a time.  Some of you would like it very much (yes, you, you, and you, among others).

In one chapter, Keizer talks about how it used to be that when churches were constructed, clocks were built into their towers or steeples.   People in small towns, out about their daily business, would glance towards the tower to check the hour, consciously or unconsciously being reminded that time is in God's hands.  Over time, new churches were constructed without external clocks, and banks were built with clocks installed very close to the bank's name.  An implication that time, perhaps, is in other hands.

I joke about my commute to work.  It takes seven minutes.  If the traffic is bad, it can take as many as nine minutes.  Obviously, with such a short trip, there is not a large margin for error, and I try to leave home each day at the same time.  At the point where I turn off a residential street onto a busy commercial street, there is a bank on the corner with a huge digital clock.  That I almost reflexively check.  Peculiarly, one morning this past week, just as the man on the car radio was saying, "and the time is seven twenty-four," the bank clock was reading 7:34.  It occurred to me that this was somehow emblematic -- banks (in general, not my particular corner bank which is a local institution with an impeccable reputation) have been doing questionable and perhaps unethical things with money in recent months (years?) and now here they were, messing around with time!  How dare they!

The next morning, everything was back to normal.  "Seven twenty-four" was 7:24.  Must have been a "tech thing."  The traffic was light.  I got to work early.

And every day since, when I glance at the bank clock, I think about Keizer's reflection.  And know that time is in God's hands.  No one else's.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

No Longer Home Alone


My Home Alone time is over; the love of my life pulled in a couple of hours ago, tired but fulfilled.  He does like to organize a move.  He said that the kids are well settled in their new home and that already a couple of neighbors had stopped by, one bearing a pot of daffodils, even!  They are in a very family-friendly area of a DC suburb.  Joe says there is a park with a playground just a couple of blocks away, and the boutique shopping and restaurant street is only three blocks away.  I'm so eager to see the house.

Here is Block Eight of the current BOM project.  I don't particularly like this block.  It wasn't as difficult to make as it looks.  I'm proud of staying up to date.

I slept a lot this weekend and drank a lot of juice.  Saturday I ventured out -- I had to pick up my dry cleaning and I wanted to get some storage baskets to put under the new desk in the morning room.  I'd never been to a Home Goods store and had the notion this was the right place to find the baskets.  I was right.  I found them.  And a few other things.

Other than the block above, I didn't do any piecing.  I've been hand-stitching the binding on Sam's birthday quilt and have Caroline's ready to do, too.  And, of course, there is my secret hand-quilting project.  Bonnie came over last night bearing a delicious pizza for dinner.  And there was a good long phone chat with Honna later on.  Laundry and a couple of small domestic projects that had been niggling at me -- relocating Bo's water dish and cleaning out under the bathroom sink.

And that's about it. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Home Alone, January 2010


After Joe left for D.C. last evening, I sulked and felt sorry for myself for about ten minutes and then went downstairs to the studio.  I'd retrieved two quilts from the machine quilter the day before and decided to do the machine part of the binding.  Which is what is going on in this picture.  As I began my work, I happened to notice that my little thread and scrap holder (that Jan [who hasn't blogged in months -- what's goin' on, Sistah?] gifted me with years and years ago) was empty for a change.  And, if you are anything like me, the annoying part of doing a binding is what to do with the roll of binding as it is being applied.  Mine frequently end up rolling around on the floor, gathering lint, dust, and threads. 

Inspiration struck!  I plunked that roll of binding right into that thread catcher, where it rested happily until the binding was all sewn on.  Which took approximately one load of laundry in the washer.



Now, as to these blocks here, you may (or may not) have noticed that every once in a while I post a picture of a block that I've made for a monthly birthday block exchange.  Well, it is my turn!  I participate in two of these exchange groups, and this year I'm assigned to my actual birthday month (February) for both of them.  I asked each group to make me the same thing:  Nine inch Churn Dash from Civil War repros on unbleached muslin or similar.

The blocks have started to come in and I'm liking them quite a bit. I'll probably receive a total of perhaps 25 and, while nothing is certain yet, I'm inclined to think they'll be put on point with a CW for the side triangles . . . .

I've been having my breakfast while writing this.  Don't know yet what the day will hold.  A couple of errands, for sure.  A nap and some rest, too.  And I believe that under the circumstances, a bit of self indulgence is in order.

I'll let you know.


Friday, January 22, 2010

GFNO


Well, you know, I'd been feeling like a COW* all day. I'd arranged to take most of the afternoon off, and Himself and I had been scheduled to drive down to the D.C. area to help our son and his wife move from the condo to their new townhouse.  Joe was assigned to be the Operations Manager and I was looking forward to helping position things (I do love to move furniture around a room!) and unpacking and loading the china closet, and so forth.

And, wouldn't you know, in the past couple of days the Crud, which wasn't totally gone yet, moved into a phase of New Nasal Congestion, a different sort of a wrinkle for me.  While I'm thankful as can be that it's not the Dreaded Bronchitis, I've not slept a lot at night because of trouble breathing due to the blockage.  And I snarf and blow a lot.  I don't want to get grossly descriptive here; just trust me when I tell you that it just hasn't been pleasant.  After another short night last night of trying to find a position where the nasal passages didn't feel completely blocked, this morning I did The Responsible Thing, and wrote to tell the kids I wasn't going to come, but was instead going to stay home, keep close to my vaporizer, and try to catch up on sleep, rest and fluids.  I tell you, I was not happy about this.  And I felt like a COW*.

I came home from work early, as planned, to find a parcel waiting for me.  A terrific surprise, a GFNO (Gift For No Occasion in family lingo) from dear Pat, who'd been cleaning her stash, came across some terrific fabric, thought of me, and sent it off with a note "From one COW to another!"  What a bovine thing to do! 

Thanks, Pat!  You've certainly brightened my day today.  This fabric and I will be heading right to the studio!

*Cranky Old Woman


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Opal Dream

The other night our Netflix selection was Opal Dream, which we knew absolutely nothing about and came to us through the "recommendations" system at Netflix.  Golly, was it good.  Very unusual.  Interesting setting.  Tremendous acting (and I always like it very much when I don't "know" the actors already).  Fascinating story.  Amazing family dynamics.  Gentle in places.  Harsh in others.  The underlying message:  You don't have to be able to see something for it to be real.

Think about it.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Prairie Points


Some very nice person wrote to ask what prairie points are. They are adorable little pennants hanging off the edge of a quilt, for the most part, although they can be used within the quilt as well. There is a picture to the left of some particularly lovely prairie points; said picture rather unceremoniously and without permission lifted from Holly's blog. Which you may want to visit because the woman understands cute in a way far beyond what the rest of us can comprehend.

My current [secret] project is my first time trying prairie points, something I've had a hankering to do for a while now, but was just waiting for the right project.  Googling "how to apply prairie points" yields good directions.  They aren't hard to do.  And they are so darned cute!  I'm frightfully eager to show mine, but it won't be for a few weeks yet.  I'm hand-quilting the project (rather slowly) and the points are applied at the end, after the quilting is finished.  All in good time, right?



Monday, January 18, 2010

In Which Odds and Ends of Subject Matter are Covered


  • This isn't my favorite time of year. January and February, I mean.  I've never been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, and I've never had any experience with real depression.  But most years around this time I tend to withdraw, to introspect, to be less lively and less upbeat.  My birthday falls during this time frame and sometimes I wonder if these "blues" have something to do with the formal acknowledgment that I'm a year older.  Or perhaps it is some primal hibernation-like instinct.
  • Healthwise, I'm improved but not cured.  Still have a little bit of a cough.  Am off medication except for a swig of cough medicine at bedtime.  (Not counting the occasional glass of Chambord in the evenings.)  But it does not appear to be turning into bronchitis.  For which I am more grateful than I know how to express.
  • This is really the birthday season in our clan.  Joe and Chris, one day apart, one week.  Then three weeks later within the span of five days, me, Sherry, and Sam.  We usually have two joint observances. 
  • Spent a fair portion of Saturday sewing with four friends.  Golly, it was good.  I can't yet show what I'm working on.  It's a present.  For someone known to read my blog.  And there will be prairie points involved!
  • The real estate transaction for my son and his wife worked out just fine.  Not without some last-minute hoops to jump through.  They move this weekend.
  • I won't be complaining about Comcast a lot longer.  A [very handsome young] man knocked on my door today and gave me costs and features and the long and short of it is that we'll be switching internet and television to Verizon and getting a better deal on our [already Verizon] phone service.  Just a couple of weeks.  It is something we've been talking about but just haven't got around to doing.
  • COW Alert:  I've about had it up to here with the Conan/Leno controversy.  Could we move on, please?  Who stays up late enough to watch these guys, anyway?
  • Circle meeting tonight.  Been getting together once a month with this group of women from my church for more than twenty-five years now.  One of our daughters has grown up to be a social worker at a shelter for abused women and their children; she's coming tonight to tell us about the project and how our group can help.
And that's pretty much what I know for now.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reality?

Bear with me, if you will, please. This is going to appear disconnected at first, but I really do believe it will make sense by the end.

Years ago, when The Sims first emerged on the PC scene, my daughter played with it and liked it. She thought I would, too. On her recommendation, I went out and bought a copy. She was right. I created a little family of Sammy and Elena Magnet and eventually they had two children, Lucy and Jeffrey. They were good friends with the Goths and, in fact, at one point Sammy and Mortimer had a brief affair. We were redoing our kitchen at the time, and as you could probably guess, the Magnets had the poshest kitchen available at the time. That was a long time ago.

For the past few weeks, I've had this inexplicable urge to play with The Sims again. And I've felt kind of sheepish about it. Seems I should have had my fill of it back during the kitchen remodeling. And it's not a very mature activity for a sixtyish woman, now is it?  Well, no matter -- I couldn't give in to this urge anyway. (1) I can't find the discs and (2) That was back on a very old operating system (Windows 97 even) and that original version of the game isn't very compatible with Vista.

No matter what we read in the papers or hear on TV news, the Economy is impacting more and more people all the time. Little businesses are closing on the avenue. Friends talk of acquaintances that have been downsized. Friends themselves have been downsized. Construction is down, and that is seriously affecting a certain small architecture practice I'm familiar with. Even at my school, as student families are hit by the economy and job loss, enrollment has been decreasing (remember, this is an independent school with a hefty tuition) to the point where we are now staffed for an enrollment that is many students greater than we actually have. Some administrative restructuring has occurred, resulting in job loss, and there could be more restructuring or downsizing of staff yet to come. It is difficult. It is stressful. My friend Polly tells me about a woman at her church who has lost her job; she is no longer young and her technology and other skills are minimal -- yet not eligible for Social Security now or even for unemployment compensation due to the nature of her place of employment.  Polly and I both wonder what is going to happen to her.

My son and his wife, making the transition from a microscopic condo to a sweet townhouse, have been beset by all kinds of difficulties with appraisals, real estate personnel of questionable competence, unanticipated expenses (such as having to board the dog in the kennel on days when the condo was being shown and they were at work), and other complications. "Hi, Mom," his phone calls still begin. But the usual wryness of tone has been replaced by real adult concern and perhaps even anguish as he feels powerless in the face of unfamiliar turf and issues coupled with his growing responsibility as an expectant dad.

All at once this morning it hit me. Little wonder I've had an urge to play The Sims again. To have Sammy and Elena reconcile after his foolish fling. To befriend the Newbies. To refit the bath with a glorious new tub. To be picked up by the carpool promptly each morning and be returned each evening, earning a promotion by expanding the skill set and making additional friends.

To have a sense of some sort of control, some illusion of security, even just in a game. Because there certainly is none these days, in Reality.



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Getting Better


Slowly, slowly, I'm getting better.  Stayed home from work on Monday and didn't sleep quite as much as the previous three days.  Did a little bit of sewing -- those four additional blocks for the Batik Stars project.  Haven't begun the setting blocks yet.

Came back to work on Tuesday and by the time I get home each day, I don't have much left.  Am cutting back on medicines at this point and the cough, while present, is a ghost of what I would have expected at this point.  Perhaps I'm to be spared the bronchitis!

Saturday I'm scheduled to spend part of the day sewing with a couple of friends.  I'm either going to work on Hambone's blocks or the alternates for the Batik Stars.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

On the Mend

Well, my ambitious plans for Saturday didn't pan out. I didn't even go near those fabrics for Hambone's quilt (yes, that his in utero name). Between sleeping until nearly nine (after going to bed well before eleven) and two one-hour-or-more naps during the day, I'd begun to think I might be turning into a cat!

I did go down and run one load of laundry between sleeps and cut and pieced Chizuru's January block. She'd asked for blue on cream Churn Dash in the nine-inch size. I could handle that.

I came up with a lay-out for those beautiful cool batik star blocks and it requires I make four more. And then there will be the setting blocks. All in good time. All in good time.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

To All Who Commented on The Crud

So many lovely people took the time yesterday to sympathize, to comiserate, to prescribe.  One wished she lived closer so she could bring soup.  One (my dear sister) actually is bringing soup.  The compassion alone made me start to feel better!

I was amazed at how much I slept throughout the day.  Himself turned into a wonderful nurse, providing hot tea, maintining the new vaporizer, running to the pharmacy, and picking up thin-crust pizza for dinner.  Moved to the sofa for the evening where we watched "Tom Brown's School Days" from Netflix (B-) and then crawled back into bed for approximately ten more hours.

This morning there is the cough to begin to deal seriously with.  But everything else is so much better.  And I attribute quite a bit of this to the good wishes and personal attention. 

We'd planned to leave this morning to spend the weekend up at Penn State visiting family.  But clearly that must be postponed.  I'd not be a welcome guest.

So today brings the rotary cutter and some fabric for a new baby boy!

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Crud

There prolly isn't going to be a lot of action around this blog for a bit. Went off to the Orchestra last night with a scratchy cough and during the clarinet concerto it somehow morphed into full-blown crud.

This is more than a common cold. This is an uncommon big-time crud. My head feels like somebody shot an arrow through it. Coughing and blowing major stuff. Cold. Miserable. Achey.  In bed even.

See y'all someday.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

We the Purple!

I finished sewing the last side of the border on and was still sort of stunned to realize: We The Purple is a flimsy! I'd been working on her for a long time, gradually and slowly, and enjoying every bit of the process. And now she is finished, but doesn't quite fit on my wall! She's folded up and waiting for the right recipient and then it she'll be quilted and bound.

Yes, "she." Usually I think of quilts as "it." Sometimes "he" (remembering Big Jake -- now that was definitely a male quilt!). I think this is the first time, though, that a quilt has been a "her" throughout. Anyone else think like this about her quilts?

I was under the influence of Wanda throughout the making of this quilt. No doubt about it. She'd prolly find it a bit tame, but I think she'd like it anyway.

This was made from two Bali Pops.  I have a great group of "neutral" batik strips (if that isn't an oxymoron) that I actually bought from Wanda during her virtual yard sale and I know exactly what I'm going to do with them.  Have some other things to finish up, though, before I can start.  Stay tuned!



Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Grace

A blogger friend of mine is grieving his failed marriage. Despite his own fascinatingly checkered past, he remained true to his wife, cherished their marriage, and adores their toddler daughter.  But the union ended, through no major fault of his.

As blog writers and blog readers, all we really know of each other is what we choose to share of ourselves. But, much the way our brains fill in a missing letter in a wrd in order to make sense of it, we tend to fill out the empty places in the bloggers' self portraits and believe we really do know them.

In a recent post, my friend wrote yet again of his pain and his grief, and he pondered exposing all of his estranged wife's failings and hurts to him. He pondered, but he did not act.

One reader-commenter said he was being gallant. I thought about the post for a few days and then reached this conclusion:

The God that my friend doesn't acknowledge created mankind in His image. One way of thinking about that is "There is that of God in every person."

One of the sublime and basically incomprehensible characteristics of God is grace. Grace, as in mercy toward one who is undeserving, a kindness rendered by one who is not required to do so.

As a Lutheran who spends her days with Quakers, I claim to recognize Grace when I see it.

What is intriguing me today is the new profound awareness that even those who do not believe God exists have been created in His image and, therefore, do godly things unaware.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Blocks for Susan

Each month I have a few blocks to make for other quilters. I like to do them as early in the month as I can. Susan's blocks, however, fell by the wayside because December was so busy. Fortunately, Susan had December for last year and January for this year, and sent the same fabric for both months.

She sent the sweetest floral and asked to have it used for the background. She sent some pink and some green scraps and said we could use those or use something else. There was enough background for me to make her three blocks instead of just the two, and I added another fabric to the mix. They'll be heading out to her tomorrow. Then it will be on to Chizuru's block; she's looking for blue on cream Churn Dash -- that will be a lot of fun to do!


Monday, January 04, 2010

Show and Tell, Early January

Block Seven from the Fat Quarter Shop BOM came right on schedule, shortly after December tenth.

This was the first time that I didn't get the block made within the first week of its arriving. Heck, I didn't get it made during December at all! Mindful that it is now January and early next week FQS will be shipping Block Eight, yesterday I put Seven together.

It is very pretty, I think. This is going to be a wonderful quilt.


The cool batik stars on white blocks came in early in December, too. I was eager to swap them out. Trouble was, I couldn't find one of my sets! I looked high and low, but obviously not high enough or low enough. Finally, just before we were to leave for Richmond, I found them.

Swapped them out yesterday and they went in the mail today. Six people each made six of three different blocks. The idea was to make six-inch blocks, and set them as the centers of twelve-inch Sawtooth Stars. I love the variety, I love the batiks, I love the whole thing.

I had a stray six-inch block in the right colors and turned it into a block.

Looks as though I need to make one more before I can set them!



Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Year's Recap

We left home on Wednesday morning, Richmond-bound. We took our time, following the Secret Route rather than struggle with the frustration of I-95. Last summer we'd discovered a terrific breakfast-and-lunch place in Millington, Maryland.

At that time, I wrote: "We stopped at an unknown lunch spot in an unknown town in Maryland and, friends, it was the kind of place where you'd expect to see Ruth and Idgie walk through the door at any minute brandishing their fried green tomatoes. The proprietress was doing it all -- clearing the tables, taking the orders, cooking the orders, delivering the food, and all with a style and panache that had us captivated. People seemed to know each other but the fact that they didn't know us --yet -- didn't daunt them a bit. We had a marvelous lunch and splurged on a chocolate milkshake to go, because somehow we knew she would make it just right."

We got to thinking about that place as we were driving on Wednesday and thought we just might get there in time for an early lunch. We did. And to our dismay, there was a sign on the door that the place had moved to Chestertown. Having no real deadline other than being in Richmond in time for dinner (because just who would want to miss Anastasia's lasagne?) we ambled our way over to Chestertown and the River Heart Cafe now located on the corner of Cross and Cannon Streets and there was dear Deb, the aforementioned proprietress, with her distinctive black bean soup and all was so far beyond well! If you go to C'town, don't miss her. She's open weekdays for lunch and First Fridays for dinner and she said something about Saturday breakfast, but I was so full of chicken cheese quesadilla that the details are a tad fuzzy.

Once in Richmond, we stayed at a very inexpensive motel, a Days Inn that was literally a four-minute drive from T&A's place. It wasn't elegant. But it had clean rooms with comfortable beds and decent showers. Couldn't get the wifi in the room, just the lobby. But for approximately $40 per night, I decided I could live with that and do my minimal internetting from Tom's.

It was terrific to have everyone together. Amy and Anastasia at various points looked exhausted but everyone pitched in and helped. Thursday night's dinner was a group effort and Friday night we got Mexican take-out.

One day Sherry, Amy, Amy's GPS and I made our way to this wonderful quilt shop, "Quilting Adventures," which specializes in fresh, bright contemporary cottons and they have a delicious and abundant assortment of batiks. I wanted to pick up a little something for my blog-revitalizer and also wanted Amy to select some fabrics for a quilt for her baby boy. It's a great place, and we had a marvelous time and left knowing we'd done our part to keep this fine shop in business a little longer!

Our trip home was uneventful. We left Richmond at five in the morning on Saturday because we'd been invited to a noon wedding. The traffic was cooperative (as it certainly should be on that hour of a Saturday) and we arrived home in plenty of time to change into our wedding finery and go off to see Herb and Elaine make their vows, followed by a lovely little party at their friends' home.

So it's a new year, filled with potential, certain joys and as yet unknown sorrows. I'm working today on finishing up a top into a flimsy and hope to post about it tomorrow sometime. I'm going to set a slide-show gadget on da blog to show all of my finishes for the year; now that is something I've never done before.

Wishing all of my readers a good new year, and all who work at schools abundant snow days.

Images of a New Year -- 2010 -- In Which


Elaine and Herb Marry



Tom Receives a Shovel



Amy and Anastasia Will Become Moms


A Cheeseburger Cake is Completed



We Watch the Wii


Amy Selects Fabrics for a Baby Quilt


The Batik Stars Swap Out