Saturday, May 13, 2017

Refugee Update

Late last August, I became part of a four-congregation group of volunteers who worked to resettle a refugee family of eleven; these people had lived in a camp in Tanzania for years after being forced to leave their home in the Congo.

The two children who have been in elementary school astonish us with their grasp of the English language. One of the two who attend high school had a great deal of English before coming here and he, too, has flourished. The other high school student is less motivated and the team is struggling to understand her. The three preschoolers will be in kindergarten in September, so there is every reason to believe that they, too, will do well.

The parents are working full-time at a meat packing plant. The work is hard but they are paid well, have health benefits, and even have their own retirement accounts. The other two young adult women are working as hotel maids. So much has been accomplished in these ten months, and yet there is still so much more that they need to learn, to master, to accomplish.

The resettlement team leaders have a weekly conference call and the rest of us receive weekly news bulletins. The most recent bulletin contained a brief report that I found endearing and reminded me that our adult refugees are still somewhat childlike because of the narrowness of their life experience.

"I had fun teaching F and J [the hotel workers] how to mail a letter. (There is a box . . . across from park area.)  They giggled as the letter disappeared.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

With or Without?

With or Without? In Philadelphia, that question ordinarily has to do with one's preference for or against onions on one's cheesesteak. Just sharing that info, in case you come to our city sometime.

I've been making these fun 9" finished blocks, not quite Churn Dashes, not quite Shooflies, but something quite marvelous, IMNSHO. 

I put them up on the wall, and all I could see was Snowballs. 

Then I thought, what if there were tiny squares in the centers of those big white spaces. Would I see the blocks more or would I still see Snowballs. So I cut some little squares and stuck 'em up there. I think I like it better. What about you? With or Without? Squares, not onions.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Charming Apron

Every time I post a picture of one of these aprons, someone will ask what pattern I used. I've made aprons from this pattern for years, ever since Nicole at Sisters Choice introduced her readers to it (and I bet even Nicole doesn't remember how long ago that was!). I usually make the waist ties longer than the patter calls for, and the cat food apron I made for Sherry was the first time I just used a plain piece of fabric insert rather than make those cute little pinwheels. Charming Trio by Anka's Treasures.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

We'll Always Have Paris

 A little more than a year ago, Himself and I were in Paris in anticipation of our Viking river cruise to Normandy. The day that we arrived, we met up with our darling great niece, Abby, who was spending her second semester of her junior year studying there. I believe we were the first folks from home and she was awfully glad to see us. We had a wonderful time together.

Now Abby's graduating college and plunging right into a master's program. A family celebration was held in her honor.

Here's Judy modeling the gift I made for Abby while we were on retreat a couple of weeks ago. I believe you can click the photo to enlarge it and see that the apron fabric is all scenes from Paris. I made my niece a pair of pot holders from the scraps.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Black Rock, April 2017

Five of the usual suspects eight participants went away to Black Rock a couple of weekends ago. Three of us went on Thursday and were joined by the others the next day.

I was productive. I had brought along several different projects and got everything done that I wanted to.

My daughter has been fascinated by the idea that there is fabric with cat food on it. She's never been an apron-wearer, but declared that if she had a cat food apron she'd wear it! Here's dear Judy modeling the CF apron that I made for Sherry. There were enough scraps of cat food that I could make her a pair of pot holders, too. Also I put together the tops for a set of four placemats, but have to get some fabric for the back before I can finish.

I managed to get my bee blocks for the month together as well as two other projects that must remain a secret for a time; I'll reveal them within a couple of weeks after they've been given to their rightful owners.

My major accomplishment for the weekend was the completion of this granny square baby quilt that I'll be donating to an agency that helps young moms who don't have a lot of money to get started. My Circle will be gathering baby things in October for this agency and my hope is to have four little quilts ready for them by then.

It was, as usual, a really wonderful getaway with lots of laughter, too much eating, and the joy of just being together. Interestingly, there was another group of quilters at the retreat center, about thirty representing the Flying Geese Guild of Hereford or Harford (unclear exactly which), Maryland. These fun ladies invited us to come up for a game of chance on Saturday night and -- rather embarrassingly -- one of our number was the winner of 72 FQs!

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Letter to Lloyd

April 30, 2017 

Dear Lloyd and Reberta,

This is a picture of a chocolate bag, a “recommended” dessert at McCormick & Schmicks restaurant. But I am getting ahead of myself.

It’s been a busy week here in Lake Woebegon — erm Near Philadelphia. All good things but too darned many of them. 

The high point of the week was Thursday night, when we went downtown. The Philadelphia Orchestra had a three-day Rachmaninoff festival, and we were fortunate to have tickets for the first night when two different artists each performed one of his piano concertos (the Fourth and the sublime Second). The Orchestra’s organization made quite an event of this festival. Mr. Rachmaninoff's great niece was present, introduced on stage, and spoke warmly about Uncle Sergei. Each concert was preceded by a short play written for the occasion and involving characters from music history of Sergei’s time and each concert was followed by a brief offering of his chamber music. Alas, we decided not to attend any of the pre or post events. It was a very full week, and we needed our sleep.

The City of Philadelphia was all aflutter over something called the N F L Draft, which one or both of you may know much more about than I do. Why, we do not know, but the Art Museum steps and the entire Benjamin Franklin Parkway and for blocks around were shut down from traffic for the whole time. Radio people warned us constantly not to attempt to drive into the city. The public transit was adding trains, we learned. So despite Joe’s misgivings, we drove to our church and parked and went to the adjacent train station where the platform was crowded with people wearing green Eagles shirts, many of which had a name, not the wearer’s own, on the back. Some people were dragging along elementary school children. The air was festive.

We preceded the concert with dinner at McCormick & Schmicks where we shared an unconventional, tasty, but not memorable or traditional Caesar Salad and individual glasses of wine. Joe had a gigantic filet of salmon stuffed with teensy shellfish delicacies in what he said was a succulent sauce. I had the Chilean sea bass (I did not ask to see its credentials; for all I know it may have been from Argentina or Ecuador) with a glorious mushroom risotto. 

I didn’t think dessert was necessary but Joe persuaded me that I should share something he would order. And, of course, he went for the Chocolate Bag. This concoction appears to be a bag made out of chocolate and, indeed, that is what it is. And it is filled with white chocolate mousse. And a variety of fresh berries. And sitting in a puddle of raspberry puree. Several times during its consumption, Joe mentioned how much Reberta would have enjoyed it. We both worked very hard to put it away, too hard it seemed later, but left a full third of it on the plate. We felt like failures but our charming waiter assured us that we had done admirably and drew our attention to an entire FAMILY in the corner struggling with THEIR chocolate bag. It was good.

It was unseasonably warm and, of course, we had a much longer walk than usual to the Kimmel Center, and although we arrived in plenty of time, the combination of all of that mousse and the long trek and the humid air made us feel a bit unwell as we took our seats. 

We have recovered.

After the concert we took a cab to Suburban Station where the transit system personnel were in jovial, good-natured form, the trains were not running on time but not-to-worry additional trains had been scheduled (also not running on time). Once again, we were the only people in “civilian” clothing; everyone else (including people up way past their bedtimes) was wearing Eagles apparel except for a guy who sat alone in his New England Patriots shirt. No pushing, no shoving; people were in good moods — apparently whatever the N F L Draft is, it had gone well.

So that is my report. It was a very different evening out and utterly pleasant. A gorgeous summery night, the company of many, many people unlike ourselves, a scrumptious dinner, and a beautiful concert. Life is good. Come to Philadelphia to visit! We'll gladly show you around downtown and even take you to McCormick & Schmicks if you like. But if you want the Chocolate Bag, you're on your own. Bring $14.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Of Concerts and Blocks

This week Facebook was all aglow with people who were listing ten concerts that they'd attended, except one of the ten was a lie. People were to figure out which one. Sounded like fun, so I started my list:

1. New Christy Minstrels
2. Ferrante and Teicher
3. Leipzig Gewandehaus Orchestra
4. Philadelphia Orchestra
5. Cleveland Symphony
6. Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra

I couldn't even come up with nine that were true!

Then someone more innovative than I listed ten quilt blocks that she'd made, except one was a lie. I was in. I was so in. I listed: Log Cabin, Churn Dash, Nine Patch, Tula Pink #17, Dresden Plate, Pinwheel, Louisiana, Philadelphia Pavement, Bear's Paw, North Wind.

Apparently I am transparent. Half of the commenters guessed correctly. 

Today I decided to remedy that deficiency and made the block I'd not made before. I made it with the Alison Glass fabrics that currently have me swooning, and made it the same size as the Tula blocks. Here it is, hanging out with its friends and neighbors. Go ahead -- see if you can pick it out!

Several years ago my dear little friend Ruth decided there should be a block to connect with my blog. She invented a delightful Near Philadelphia Pavement and made two of them. I was dazzled. But I've never made any myself.

I guess I'm going to have to remedy that, too.

So here it is, standing alone, my first Philadelphia Pavement, made slightly modern by enlarging the outskirts which the original pattern has the same width as the HSTs and solid squares. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Alison Meets Tula in My Studio

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sharon came to spend a couple of days Near Philadelphia. She had planned to go home to New England on Wednesday but I told her she had to stay until Thursday, at least. Because Wednesday was the opening of the quilt show out in Lancaster. It wasn't hard to persuade her.

So that Wednesday Bobbi and Sharon and I went to Lancaster with our credit cards burning holes in our pockets. The show had lots and lots of "wall quilts," which -- as usual -- were mostly what I consider "fabric art" rather than "quilts." Whatever. The full size quilts were pretty nice and there were more of them than there had been in previous years, I thought. The vendors pretty much left us cold. I had no idea there were no many long arm manufacturers. They and the various sewing machine dealers took up most of the space. There were a couple of bright booths of Kaffe Collective fabrics, but I didn't buy there because I could almost open my own stand of KFCs. I bought a tiny gizmo for cutting thread on airplanes and a yard of lobster red batik to bind my Lady of the Lake, and I think that's about it. The others were pretty empty-handed, too.

So we headed home and Bobbi wisely suggested we stop at what we always called the Renegade Mall -- the vendors at the Continental Inn across the street from where the Lancaster Show used to be (shout out to Marsha!). We wandered around and Bobbi found some brights on whites that she needed and we were about done. And then, reader, then we came across the booth for Amelia's Garden and, by gum, did Amelia have brights! We were all drawn in like moths to a lightbulb. Amelia was featuring gorgeous bright prints by Alison Glass. Everyone bought at least one packet of F8s. I bought three.

Day before yesterday I had the chance to cut into them. They are perfect for those Tula Pink blocks that I adore. I've thrown in some additional brights to detract from that totally matchy-matchy look. And I've only just begun.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Just Us Girls Sewing

For me, 2017 has not had the best of starts. The first quarter of the year was filled with sick and injured friends. Too many to list.

But we're into the second quarter now, and things are brighter. The young mom with breast cancer has had her surgery and her pathology has come back clear. Yesterday, another woman with breast cancer rang the bell at her treatment center to signal that she's completed her radiation. Again, her dissection margins are clean. The hospitalized Circle sister was discharged, spent a couple of weeks in rehab, and today will move back to her apartment. The broken ankle lady is back to work.

That leaves one. Another friend who was taken sick on Christmas Day, has been through weeks of hospitalization, more weeks of rehab, and continues to recover at home. Early in her saga, a group of friends decided that she needed a Comfort Quilt and blocks were begun and tasks claimed. Then, as often happens, life got in the way for some of the makers, and the quilt wasn't completed as quickly as we had hoped.

As you can see, it is finished. Made by ten women from three states. It was delivered to the eleventh yesterday. Her healing process will now accelerate.

Sunday, April 02, 2017


It's been pretty many years since I received the phone call that posed the exciting question: "How would you like to be a great aunt?" My niece quickly went on to say that I was, of course, already a great aunt, and she was about to become a mother! That boy grew up, married, and made me a great GREAT aunt a couple of times over. Now his brother is following in his footsteps, and a second great GREAT niece is expected in a couple of months.

Unable to attend the shower, I sent this flock of sheep along with the great GREAT grandmother to deliver.

Paper-pieced and hand-quilted.

Looking forward to a GREAT visit with this new little girl sometime in June!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sixes and Nines

I think these 6-inch squares and nine patches are all Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. I've still got a whole tub of them and have halted the acquisition process. For a while. I don't know what else to say about this quilt. Except that I love it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Another Baby Quilt

Out neighborhood is a nice enough one. I sincerely believe that if anyone had any real trouble, any of the neighbors  -- except the Nonspeakers -- would help out. But it isn't the kind of neighborhood where we are in and out of each others' houses. We don't get together for coffee. I have a key to Andrea's house and she has a key to mine; we take in mail for each other, that kind of thing. When we moved in, back in 1999, there were so few children that we didn't even turn on our light for Trick or Treat. Over the years, though, this has changed. Some young couples have moved in; down at the far end of the street is a family with three elementary school boys and across from them is another with three elementary school girls and a toddler boy. There are other young couples with even younger children. Across the street, next to the Nonspeakers, there's the cutest young woman; she's an English teacher and her husband is in the Navy. For one long stretch, he was in Afghanistan (or perhaps Iraq, I'm not totally sure) and the rest of us kind of kept an extra eye out. He's back and I believe is on his last tour of duty before leaving the military. They have produced two cute little girls and just before the weather got cold I saw her outside and she had a familiar look about her. "Have you got something going on there?" I asked and she replied, "Yes, another girl, due in February."

I kind of forgot about that and a couple of weeks ago when we had some unseasonable warm weather I saw her out front with a bundle in her arms. That third girl had arrived. I mentioned this to Himself who promptly suggested I needed to make a quilt for her. Mindful that third children don't get much recognition upon arrival, I pulled out the scraps from the Tula in solids quilt that I'd made for my coworker and made sixteen free pieced blocks. Before long I had a flimsy and since it is such a small quilt, I machine quilted it myself.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Quilt for a Brother

I've mentioned before that the little school for autistic kids where I work is a hotbed of fertility. And I love it. It is fun to be around young women who are starting their families. There's a rule that there must be at least one pregnant person at all times.

One of the behavior analysts is expecting her second boy in a very few weeks. I don't usually make quilts for babies after the first one in a family, but I didn't know Laura when Lucas was born, so that doesn't count. I hope she likes this bright collection of Tulas in solids. You might want to click on the photo and enlarge it so you can see the quilting. My machinist is gifted at knowing just which design to use, and the circles on this piece add something special to the quilt.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ninety Degrees in the Shade

Every January for the past several years, I've vowed that this is the year to get the UFOs finished up. And I diligently pull a few out and do some token stitching. And that's about it.

You prolly haven't noticed that I made no such promise this year. Instead, I've stacked up the flimsies and taken them, two at a time, to the machinist, to turn them into real quilts. Several have been done, and actually bound, so a new stack of finished quilts is forming.

Even though Ninety Degrees in the Shade is made entirely from Civil War repros, to me it has a modern look about it. The blocks are all the same, but the color placement makes them look like different blocks.

The name comes from my childhood, back before air-conditioning was in our homes. Come August, there'd be a sweltering scorcher of a day and without fail, my mother would proclaim, "It's ninety degrees in the shade." I never knew whether this was actual or an alternative fact, but it doesn't really matter, does it?

Today we had the weather and the time simultaneously to go out and photograph finished quilts. So that's what the next few posts will be.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fifth Grade

The school I attended from half-day (afternoon) kindergarten through graduation from ninth grade was torn down a few years ago. The building was ancient and probably full of asbestos and lead paint and god-knows-what-else. There was a minor uprising from alumni, but I thought that the right decision had been made.

A wonderful thing that came out of this was the establishment of a Facebook page by one of the alum for any and all other alum. Through it I've reconnected from folks I knew when I was very young. It's been fun reading other people's memories of our histories together. Recently, apparently some people from my particular age bracket have been cleaning out old things and finding memorabilia that they'd thought was long gone, and they've posted photographs, programs, assembly leaflets, and it has been interesting to read through them.

This morning a terrific guy I remember as a trumpet player in the elementary and junior high bands posted this picture of our fifth grade trip to Pennsbury; this would have been circa 1955. I downloaded the photo to my desktop and have returned to look at it so many times throughout the day. Fifth grade was the last happy year I would have until tenth grade; I was younger than all of my classmates, and when puberty hit, I was out of my league (whatever my league may have been). I really didn't fit in well from sixth through ninth grade and have few good memories of those years.

But fifth grade! Oh, my! Our teacher was Miss Koons and I adored her (a minority viewpoint, it turns out!). She recognized and lauded my gift for spelling, we studied Quakers, learned about the changes our bodies would undergo in the next few years, and the entire grade most of the students went on the first ever fifth grade camping trip (I was sick with a fever and was unable to participate). This photograph that John shared was taken on the field trip to the home of William Penn (think famous Quaker), and I can name about half or more of those pictured.  The woman with us isn't Miss Koons; she was our student teacher that semester. This was from a time long ago where girls only wore dresses, jumpers, skirts or Girl Scout uniforms to school and absolutely nobody wore blue jeans (they were called dungarees). It must have been a wonderful day; we all look as though we are happy to be there. If you haven't found me, I'm in the front row, the one with the braids.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

All the News

I imagine we all go through these periods. You know, the times when our own personal worlds are filled with unpleasant news. For me, the current spell began just after Christmas when a friend was suddenly hospitalized with a new diagnosis of out-of-control diabetes coupled with a too-nasty-to-be-viewed infection in her foot. This was to set the stage for the next couple of weeks: In short order a close friend underwent a knee replacement and another slipped on some shoe polish (don't ask, I didn't), breaking her ankle in a couple of places. A darling young mom from church developed breast cancer and then, suddenly but hardly unexpectedly, a Circle sister was hospitalized with a serious heart problem. I wasn't eager to see what else 2017 was going to bring, but I had been hoping that the worst was going to be over after these first couple of months.

Turns out this was just the warm up.

This week I learned that another "old" friend's son is ill. Seriously ill. This friend is one of longstanding; it's been a bit of a bumpy relationship with some extended period of no contact. We wouldn't call each other "close" friends; rather, we are dear ones. She once told me, "We've got this connection. Whether we like it or not." She's a resilient woman; she's had to be. I won't go into details; suffice it to say that her family has been dealt more than the average amount of Truly Nasty Medical Stuff.

Years ago, someone close to me confided, "I've reached the age where it isn't my parents' friends who are having horrible illnesses; it is my friends." Obviously, I reached that age some time ago, but our friends' children -- that shouldn't even be a category.

I learned of Clay's illness through Facebook, of course. Because someone has set up a Go Fund Me page. Since the news first broke, the diagnosis has escalated from Stage III to Stage IV. He and his family have an arduous road ahead. His chemo begins tomorrow.

It hasn't been revealed as yet what form my support for my friend will take. I'm waiting, and watching. So far I've offered to come give her a big hug and a box of kleenex; in true form, she responded that I should buy stock in Johnson and Johnson -- they'll be using many kleenex.

I'm thankful that my three unidexters are all doing well (in fact, there are plans afoot [see what I did there] to take one of them out to a fabric shop); the young mom from church has finished her chemo, and the Circle sister has moved from intensive care to a regular room. My own mild head cold and lingering strained ankle muscle have taken on perspective. I am thankful for all of that, because this newest news has caught me totally off balance. I wait to see how best I can help my friend.  Meanwhile, if you've a prayer to spare, please remember Clay and his mom and his wife and his three children. I've changed his name for this blog post; that doesn't matter -- God knows who he is.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Good To Go!

This will be the last cat update for the foreseeable future. As you can see, I completed the bonding of block number eleven using the fabrics I was given. For block number eight, I made the cat gray because I thought there were already plenty of yellow cats. Happily, I found fabrics that I liked in my stash and scraps to make blocks five and six. Block five had planned another checkerboard foreground and I thought we already had enough checkerboards and made it solid. I went into my floss supply (years ago I was a counted threads stitcher) and found all of the colors that I need. Since the photo was taken, I put a red border on block number seven. Last night I embroidered whiskers on three of the blocks that were otherwise finished. Each of the seven bonded-but-unembroidered blocks is in its own ziplock bag with the correct flosses.

Since the whole idea in resurrecting this ancient project is to have something portable for planned travel, it feels very good to have everything all organized and ready.

If I ever get all of the blocks completed, I'll check in again, I think, before assembling the whole thing. Meanwhile, Meow!

Monday, March 06, 2017

Those Dratted Cats Again

Every few years, it seems, I have to blog about the primitive cats project, a BOM that I subscribed to and started in -- ahem -- 1999. If you have nothing else going on, you can read the previous posts by clicking "Primitive Cats" in the Labels section of the sidebar. Actually, I don't recommend it. Those posts contain a bit of whining and vowing and not a whole lot in the way of progress.

This photo is the completed quilt as planned by the designer. See those checkerboard lattices? They are pieced; they are not made from a checkerboard fabric. See that border -- it, too, is pieced. Ye gods. Do you see how detailed and intricate these blasted blocks are? Simplify, simplify, simplify!

It all came to the surface again about ten days ago, and this time it has stayed out! Five of the blocks are finished, or very nearly so. Keep in mind that I use a hand-buttonhole stitch for this kind of project. They take for ever. For blocks 5 and 6, all I have are the two patterns, not the fabric that should have come with them. I don't know why. And at this point it doesn't really matter. Another complication is that the individual blocks don't come with color images and this finished photo above is from a different provider than the one I used, so the colors I have aren't necessarily the same. You can see what I mean.

Here's where I am now. Still have those five just about done blocks. I decided that the thing to do was to put everything up on the wall, start making the backgrounds, bonding down the body parts and so forth, and make a list of the DMC that I'll need for the stitching. Blocks 8, 9, 10, and 12 have been pieced and bonded since the rediscovery. And block 8 was a deliberate variation; it was supposed to be a narrow-striped yellow cat and I thought there were too many yellow cats and not enough of other colored felines and enough stripes already. So I made that cat gray using fabric I had on hand. Block 11 is currently in progress. When that is up on the wall, I'm going to take the patterns for 5 and 6 and make a copy of each and using crayons color them the way I think they would look best and then take those coloring pages to the stash and, if necessary, to the local fabric store. Once those two are pieced and bonded, I'll go thread shopping.

We have some travel planned for later this year; ordinarily, I do not take handwork along on trips, but this time, I think I shall. But no catnip. No.

You know, I just might actually finish this someday!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Not the Mad Hatter's Tea Party

A month ago I wrote about the quilt that was the result of a big group effort involving two pattern designers, a dozen quilt bee members, a clever machine quilter, and a ballet school director. You can read about it here.

Today was the ballet school director's tenth annual tea party to raise money for the Susan G. Komen organization. I learned that as of today, she has raised $300,000. The tea party was as much fun and as elegant as usual. A friend at my table asked, "You know these tea sandwiches -- the ones that are cucumber and cream cheese? That are so good? And so easy? WHY don't I ever make these at home for myself?" I didn't know. I have the same problem.

Everyone was buying raffle tickets and putting them in jars. I put most of mine into a jar for a spectacular vacuum cleaner valued at $779 (that someone else got to take home); a lot of people were interested inn the ballet quilt.

I was excited when Miss Jane pulled the winning ticket for the quilt and it turned out to belong to one of the school's students! Here's a picture of her -- the lovely young dancer on my right wearing the black sweater -- with me and her sister (in the pink sweater).

On the way home, I started thinking about next year's quilt. Tea party . . . yes, a tea party quilt!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ladies of the Lake

I can't remember how many years ago my [currently inactive] little swap group decided we needed to make Lady of the Lake blocks. We used WOW and sea-color batiks, and I ended up with a massive stack of LOTLs that promptly went into the cupboard. My friend Kathy got hers put together last year and jazzed them up with some red-orange HSTs. I liked what she did and picked up some red and white lobster fabric with a similar plan in mind.

Now, you know, almost every January 1, almost every quilter vows, "THIS is the year I finish up the UFOs!" and then starts something new. But this year, so far, I've taken six flimsies to the machinest, picked them up, and have most of the bound. One -- Polar Vortex -- has gone to its forever home.

Over the weekend, while foraging for a possible back for one of the next two flimsies (see, I'm trying to stick with it!), I rediscovered the LOTLs. I put them up on the wall. They were boring. I simply couldn't muster up any enthusiasm about sewing them together. I even messaged Kathy to see if she wanted to take them off my hands. Then I went upstairs to start lunch and began muttering to Himself about all the work that had gone into those dratted blocks and how uninspiring they were. He had no idea what I was talking about, so while I stirred the soup, he went down to take a peek at the wall. When he came back up, he said, "I fixed it."

He certainly did. His layout rocks. I couldn't wait to sew them together! (There are still twenty more, in my Guild bag now to take to Kathy.) I love what he came up with.

Now, here's the question: Should it stay the way it is? Does it need/want border(s)? If so, how many? What kind? Opinions are gratefully solicited.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Next Blog

On Friday, I visited a friend of more than thirty years; she is in the intensive care unit of the hospital where I work. She is very sick, and I left the hospital honestly not knowing if I would see her again. She has been much on my mind since.

This morning, I awoke to find my Facebook feed saturated with news of another passing. 

Nearly eleven years ago, when I was a brand new blogger, I was eager to learn more about this world of cyber activity. I had a few friends with blogs, and through their blogs made new blog friends. Occasionally, I would click that button at the top of a blog; you know, the one that says "Next Blog."

"Next Blog," one fateful day, turned out to be a moving account of a hospital experience written by a man undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. His was some of the best writing -- blog or elsewhere -- I'd ever seen. I left a comment.

Eleven years. I read everything he wrote. I learned of his unsavory past, his resurrection, his marriage, his job loss, his separation, his politics, his reconciliation. By the time his daughter was born, we'd been blog friends for so long that I knew I had to send her a quilt. His marriage came apart to stay and he remained a devoted, proud, and enthusiastic father. He found a new love; he became engaged. All the while, he wrote. He blogged. At some point a year or so ago, the blogging dribbled off; he'd become involved in podcasting and television production. 

We never did meet, though we talked about it. He has family Not Far From Philadelphia and recently promised that the next time he went to visit them . . . .

I'm about the same age as his mom, and I've always had a motherly feeling towards him. He confided in me about things he couldn't share on his blog. I listened. I sent him things I'd written; he critiqued them. 

And now he's gone. I don't know how, and I think it is actually better to leave it that way.

"How do you mourn for what never existed? How do you grieve not for the past but for the future, a future that will never be? I suppose that's what true grief is -- it's not the disappearance of what was there all along as much as it is the sudden absence of what you were so sure was to come." - Chez Pazienza


Chez Pazienza
December 11, 1969 - February 25, 2017