Friday, August 26, 2016

Coming Soon

A blog post will be coming soon.

Tonight is the first time in a week I've had a chance to make my regular blog visits.

I've been busy. I've been up to my ears busy. And it isn't over yet.

But it is OH SO WORTH IT!  Blog post will be coming as soon as I can wrap my head around this exhilarating week. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Stuck in '56

This morning's New York Times Magazine  opens with an excellent article, "Bias Charge". The author poses a question that I'd never considered, never would have known to ask:

"How did racism become an issue of character -- and not culture -- in the first place?"

That part of the paper was delivered on Saturday, so I've had a lot of time to think about it.

My mother was a racist. As a child, I didn't know the word or really understand the concept. But I know that my mother used words that sounded ugly to refer to people whose skins were different colors than our white ones. When I mentioned this to my sister, she replied, "Back then everyone was." It was part of the culture, a culture that began a long, slow, as-yet incomplete process of change.

We've evolved in our tolerance, acceptance, protection, support of other races. Some of us have learned about "white privilege," something that despite my thirteen years in a Quaker school, I barely grasp. Oh, I understand the principle okay, but the nuances elude me. I'm working on this.

But getting back to the question -- How did racism become an issue of character and not culture? -- I don't have an answer, though I know the premise to be true. The question has helped me to get a handle on an on-going situation. There's a woman, a few years older than I am, who lives in a very rural area of a very southern state. "Edna" is a racist. (She's also xenophobic and homophobic, which comes as no surprise.)  I can't do anything about any of this (other than forbid her to use certain words when she is in my home)  and -- for very personal reasons -- I am unable to sever our connection.  Her younger, enlightened brother says, "Oh, she graduated high school in 1956 and got stuck there." He's given up, too, but loves her because she's his sister.

Apart from her racism and related characteristics, she's a person like all of us who has her good traits and her bad ones. But because of that racism, I've had trouble thinking about those things. For me, it's been as if racism is all that she is.

Today, for the first time, I am beginning to understand there is a difference between racism that is an issue of culture and racism that is an issue of character. A difference between people like my mother and others of her generation where no one challenged the belief that white people were better than other people, and Edna who lives about an hour from the nearest traffic light amid neighbors who use the same derogatory racial terms that she uses vs. the people who disrespect our current President because of his skin color and write such vile comments about his daughters that even Fox News had to delete them, and judges who impose vastly varied sentences on individuals that seem, somehow, to be connected to their ethnicity. Racism of culture/racism of character.

The New York Times Magazine article written by Greg Howard is very, very rich. I'll keep it and read it again. It has given me new insight and understanding of my mother, long gone, and Edna, still a part of my life, victims -- if you will -- of their culture. Please read the article if you have the opportunity. If you don't, I'll leave you a quote to chew on:

"It's common for white Americans to position themselves as the neutral arbiters of what is and is not racist and what other Americans are allowed to be angered by. Lo and behold, the answer is always the same -- real institutional racism always ends up being something from the past, something dealt with, not an ongoing system of policies that afflicts minorities and profits white people to this day. Offer any objections, any other experience of the world, and the response you'll get is . . . 'Just [expletive] get over it.'"

Friday, August 19, 2016

My Political Post: Read At Your Own Risk

Well, I certainly did not suspect that follows the Revised Common Lectionary. But . . .

This past Sunday pastors here, there and everywhere including an old friend preaching at my church cringed as they were given this Gospel to share:

"From now on, five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

For those who may not know, the word Gospel means good news.

And this morning, a click-bait on Politico's Facebook page proclaimed:

"Trump and Clinton wreck Facebook friendships -- The social network has become the vehicle for 2016 vitriol, and is ruining relationships in the process."

I went ahead and read the article; a great deal of it made sense. And connected with Sunday's lesson from Luke (Chapter 12, in case you were wondering). This is happening to people I actually know. A father and his son argue their political positions on Facebook for all the world to see, getting more insulting with each comment. People have announced which candidate they are supporting and freely invite those on the other side to unfriend them. I've watched a long-standing friendship unravel and probably come to a permanent end over our current candidates.

I think, though, they've got the headline wrong. At the risk of sounding like a member of the "guns don't kill people; people kill people" faction, I don't think Donald and Hillary are actually wrecking Facebook friendships; it's the people writing about them, arguing about them, having to have the last word, those are the people who are wrecking their own friendships.

Two weeks ago, in celebration of the Rio 2016, I made a vow that during the Olympics I would neither post politics on FB nor would I comment on others' political postings for the duration of the games. One of the best decisions I've made in recent months!!! Most of the time, I've just scrolled past those posts, moving on to Karen's inspirational quotes, to Emily's bicycle ride to fight MS, to Julie's celebration of a new grand baby, to Bonnie's newest adventures in the kindness community. I'm a better person for making that pledge. So I'm going to extend it. I'm done posting my political viewpoint on Facebook; everyone knows who I support anyway. I'm done commenting on anyone else's political posts. If someone becomes too rabid, I'm simply going to downgrade him/her to "acquaintance" and unfollow. That way she/he won't see my posts and I won't see theirs. All of this can be revisited and readjusted after November.

Oh, and getting back to Luke: One of my seminary professors has become infamous famous for allegedly shouting, "Preach the damn Gospel!" That's what my friend did.  And she did it without mentioning either candidate.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Quilt for Orlando

My guild, Philly Modern, committed to providing two quilts to be sent to survivors of the Pulse attack in Orlando or to families who lost someone in that attack. The response was huge. We went with rainbow hearts; I made two. After Tricia did the magnificent quilting, she brought it to me and I was able, despite my back issues, to make the binding and machine it on. Then, in front of the Olympics this week, I hand-stitched that binding down.

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Modest List

As far back as I can remember, I've been a list-maker. I don't always get everything on the list completed, and I've been known to pad my task lists with some fun stuff just for the joy of crossing it off. I do love to make lists: task lists, grocery lists, reading lists, sewing project lists, lists of lists, even.

Today is the first day of two weeks that the school for autistic kids will be closed for the end-of-summer break. Two weeks that I don't have to set an alarm even once. Two weeks to fill as I please except for one 24-hour hospital shift this coming Saturday.

It's early in the day of day one, but I do honestly believe my back has reached the 91% mark. I didn't have any trouble at all sitting at the counter for breakfast and a few minutes ago I reached/bent to plug in the laptop since I was nearly out of power and didn't cringe a big.

So, with all of that in mind, I hereby set forth a modest list of goals for these two weeks:

  • Machine quilt AND bind the political quilt.
  • Machine quilt OR tie AND bind the YBR charity quilt for the Baby Bureau.
  • Make the hanging sleeves for the two quilts that were accepted into the PhillyMod exhibit at Oaks!!!!
  • Clean up the studio.
  • Try that fantastic-sounding fish recipe.
  • Get Blind Man's Fancy ready for the Quilter.
  • Get Word Salad ready for the Quilter.
  • Finish reading the book club book.
That seems like [more than] enough.

Oh, and remember this picture?  

Himself has agreed to accompany me to school and help hang nails and twine for me to have this odd "bulletin board" in my little office! Better add "order the cute clothespins" to the list!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Odds and Ends Again

Well, the back is approximately 89% better. That last 11% is taking its own sweet time. I still sleep a lot (though I've used up all of the muscle relaxers), take pain medicine, and at this point have been stuck on Level 85 of Toy Blast for a couple of days. Once I'm at 100%, I tell you, this game is history. I did feel okay to do a couple of loads of laundry, and today I baked a batch of cookies because someone special is preaching at church tomorrow and I was in charge of coordinating the reception. I hope she likes peanut butter. If not, well, I do.

Since people have liked the miscellaneous things I've unearthed in the computer, here are some more. With any luck at all, these will be the last and I'll soon be back to posting nice quilts and cows and, well, you know . . . .

Nearly two years ago I visited The City Quilter (and spent part of a most wondrous day with my friend Emilie, but I digress),  and took this photo of this bag that I admired. It's so simple, really, just a nice plain tote bag someone made and added pretty handles, and made a grid and sewed on some terrific buttons. I kept thinking I was going to try to make a bag like this, but I haven't, and now The City Quilter is closing. I still think it would be fun to make this bag. It would also be fun to spend another day with Emilie.

Admittedly, this is an odd photo. And I can't remember where I got it, prolly from Pinterest. I thought it would be a nifty way to hang stuff on the wall near my desk at work. I'm going to try to get Himself to help me get it started before the new school year begins.

No explanation needed here, I think. But Helen will like it. And so will some others.

Actually, this one is kind of representative of me right now. Perhaps I'll make it my FB profile picture until that final 11% is accomplished!

Again, no caption needed. But isn't it great!

Friday, August 12, 2016


A week ago, I made myself (and everyone else) a promise that for two weeks I was going to focus on the joy, the hope, the excitement, the positivity that the Olympics bring and on Facebook I would neither post anything political nor be moved to comment on political postings by others. So we're half-way through this period of self-imposed censorship, and here's how I feel about it:

I haven't watched as much of the Olympics as I had planned to, partly because of my low tolerance for commercials and partly because the Simone and Michael news reaches me during the day through social media and I'm not usually one to stay up late. And, of course, there's the issue of my aching back (which is   v e r y   slowly improving).

I've read fewer of other people's political posts, scrolling along at a good speed, knowing that this particular graphic that my friend Pat (whose political position is polar opposite to mine) shared is one of the greatest truths ever:

So, into the second half of the Olympic politic-out I go, being glad to have made this decision, and thinking I just might keep it in place through November!

There have been many fine Olympic images shared this week. Here's one of them:

The Polish cycling team. Did you notice their helmets are mismatched?
 I didn't think so.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

More Odd Things

I swear, I've got to get better.  I'm up to Level 79 on Facebook's insipid game, Toy Blast.   Tonight I was able to sew for 45 minutes, the first time in two weeks. I've returned to work, I've done the exercises, I've finished the muscle relaxants, and am still taking the pain pills. And cleaning my miscellaneous computer files, which has unearthed the following. And that's what I know.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Odd Week

It's been an odd week Near Philadelphia. Eleven days ago I awoke with a back spasm, the first (and with any luck the last) of my entire life. Two days in, I was seen by a PA in the ER who put me on pain meds and muscle relaxants. A few days ago I saw my family doctor who gave me some exercises to try. I'm glad to report that -- although I am not my regular self -- it is all somewhat improved. I no longer take the muscle relaxants during the day, I can drive short distances, and can almost foresee the day when it is over. 

My friend Vetch once had a terrible illness and she told me it had made her a better pastor because it gave her a new understanding of what some of her parishioners were going through. Perhaps this will make me a better hospital chaplain. 

I've spent more hours in a recliner during these eleven days than the entire rest of my life.Here are some of the things I've done during this Recliner Spell:

  • Spent entirely too much time on Facebook
  • Subscribed to The New York Times on line because I felt like Huffpo was starting to look too much like The National Enquirer
  • Read a great deal of The New York Times on line and the paper copy delivered on Sunday
  • Watched some Olympics and snarled at the quantity of commercial interruptions
  • Took a vow not to post anything political on FB or to comment on anyone else's political posts for the duration of the Olympics
  • Completed the acrostic in Sunday's Times
  • Temporarily stopped following on FB a couple of people whose political stuff was beyond offensive; now giving them another chance
  • Played a FB game called Toy Blast, reaching Level 72 and giving up because the stages with ice that melts and reforms make me hyperventilate
  • Ordered and received some very nice clothes for autumn from Gudrun Sjoden
  • Done some hand quilting on a project my sister began and cannot finish
  • Cleaned off the Desktop of my Laptop, putting all kinds of things in a newly created folder called Desktop Stuff
  • And in the process of that last, discovered these gems that I now shall share with captions only as needed:

My friend Pat posted this photo and I really think I would like to make something like this out of my scraps. Apparently so do a lot of other people Pat and I know.

SEVERAL people sent me this clipping of side-by-side dueling obituaries. Worth clicking to enlarge.

Yeah, yeah, CW fabrics, but what a great design! Someday.

Multiple Project Disorder, in case you didn't guess.

Yes, a rubber chicken in a wine glass.

I'd love to do something like this. Soon, too.

And during all of this time, my daughter and her family are on vacation you-know-where. Love this photo of Sam!

Thursday, August 04, 2016


Until someone asked, I realized I didn't have a whole picture of Aberdeen's people quilt. Tom graciously took this one today with his phone. Down in the lower left is the gal in the itsy bitty teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini.  Two columns to the left and up four is one of the girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes. Sixth column to the right and fourth body down is someone dressed in Olympic regalia made by my British friend Judi. There's a lady in a kimono and a couple of Halloweeners and so many others. This was a great swap and a joyful quilt to make. And it DOES appear that clicking will make it bigger!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Olympic Memories

Four years ago I was immersed in a swap of little people and I particularly enjoyed inventing lives for some of them. Like the fellow on the far right; wearing his Liberty of London shirt, he and his partner are antique dealers. This was before they were allowed to marry; I bet they've taken care of that by now.

Since the Olympics were on (and that's what got me to thinking about these people, the upcoming Olympics, I mean), I made Gabby Douglas in the middle; she looked stunning in her purple outfit, and Usain Bolt on the left -- remember how we all loved him? Both are sporting their medals.

And here, on the left, we have another nice gentleman in a shirt with teensy weensy buttons. But next to him, on the right, is that absolutely gorgeous British swimmer in the microscopic Speedo, Tom Daley (be still, my heart). I didn't put a medal on him, but I did french-knot a cute little belly button though I don't think you can see it.

I'm very much looking forward to the Olympics which will officially begin in just two days. Since I'm still pretty much confined to a recliner during the day due to this dratted back spasm, at least I'll have something wonderful to watch on TV. I wish I'd been able to have quilts ready to bind, which had been my Olympic custom for many years, but that's not to be this time. My sister, however, came over last night and brought a project she'd been hand quilting before her arthritic hands rebelled, a project that I'd long admired. Said I could finish it and keep it.

Just wait 'til you see it.

If this post is a bit incoherent or garbly, blame the pain meds and muscle relaxers. Please.