Monday, December 24, 2018

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Quilt for a Baby Girl

Usually when of my adult children needs a quilt for a wedding or new baby gift, they come and look at what I've got finished or in flimsy stage, and pay me whatever they would  normally spend for the wedding or baby gift.

It's been a good system.

But this time, my daughter's boss was expecting his first child and she wanted something special. I'm so sorry that you can't see the fabrics up close and personal. They are cats and bears and other animals. And ten or twelve of the brick blocks are embroidered. I did the embroidery while I was traveling in England and then assembled the quilt upon our return. 

Once we found out the baby is a girl, I chose pink polkadot fabric for the back and the border. 

I'm happy with how it turned out and I'll try to get a better picture before my daughter takes it away!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Annual Meeting

Today was the AFTBOTGOOGD annual meeting. Many years ago I shared the story of the association in a blog post, but I'm going to share it again.

I come from a family that doesn't do a lot of cemetery visiting and decorating. This isn't to imply in any way that we don't remember our forebears. Far from it: Scarcely a visit goes by that my sister or I don't quote a parent, an aunt, or another relative, now long gone. We just aren't big cemetery goers. But Bonnie and I do go faithfully each year shortly before Christmas.

Many years ago, right after Sherry had read Gone With The Wind and was a young teen who hadn't entered the obnoxious phase yet, when Bonnie and I returned from a cemetery visit, my daughter inquired with a twinkle, "Was this connected with the Association For The Beautification Of The Graves Of Our Glorious Dead?" And the name stuck. We remember our dead fondly, but that doesn't mean we're reverent.

This morning before work, Joe and I were going over the calendar for the week. I mean, there's a lot going on. And the man means well, he really does, and he tries. But sometimes . . . . Like this morning, he piped up, "Right. And today's the meeting of the Grateful Dead?"

It was. In a manner of speaking. And it was a nicer day than it has been in the past few years.

First stop was to our uncle's grave, pictured above. We did a pretty good job of placing the spray, we thought. And shared fond memories of our uncle and aunt before heading around the roadway to our own parents. We didn't get as good a placement on this one. But in our defense, the stone is much shorter than the uncle's, and we're not as agile as we used to be.

Now there's a plot for an extended family located about halfway between "our" two stones. They aren't "our" people,  but we've sort of adopted them because they are are big-time grave decorators. I mean, major. Lavish. They caught our eye some years ago, and they've never waivered in their devotion. So, it being a nice day and the ground dry and all, we went over to see what they had going on this year.

This is the stone on the right. This year there's a nice little Christmas tree. The terra cotta slate with the painted flowers flowers is new. The angel's been there for a few years. The piece atop the stone used to be on the ground where the floral painting is now.

This is the stone in the center. Another sweet little tree. And a lavish grave blanket. Assorted small statuary.

And the stone on the far left, the newest one. On top there's cowboy hat holding down a flattened ziplock bag that appeared to contain a paper of some sort. We just let that be. The hat, though, had a slit in the top and we realized that it was a bank! And just then, my sister found a dime at the base of the stone. So she put it into the bank. Each of the graves also had fastened to it a small brown paper bag. We didn't investigate, but surely did speculate.

We thought we were done there, but for some reason, I checked the back of the plot and there was this  smallish white sculpture that looked quite a bit like a pair of buttocks.
We drove around and observed some other nice decorations, checking our grandparents' area, and pausing by the Chinese section, wondering why this year there were no oranges on the graves as had usually been in the past. But it was getting close to lunchtime and we'd promised each other a toasted everything bagel with cream cheese and Nova, so we headed back out, reminiscing a little more. And when we stopped for a prolonged red light, I happened to notice the license plate on the car ahead of us. 

In Pennsylvania, you see, there's a limit of seven letters or numerals on a license plate. AFTBOTGOOGD just wouldn't fit.

Monday, October 29, 2018

United Kingdom Part Nine: The Cotswolds

We spent a few days in The Cotswolds, visiting churches (of course), and enjoying the beauty of the area. We were in and out of shops; Joe bought a sweater and I looked around a lot. We had a good lunch in a pub. We spent time Chipping Campden and Broadway, and one day was devoted to Shakespeare and Stratford-on-Avon, and that will be in a separate post.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

United Kingdom Part Eight: Ancient Stones

Years ago, on our first trip abroad, we saw the Coliseum in Rome. I told Honna later, "It looks just like the pictures." Except it didn't. Seeing it in person reveals its immensity. Stonehenge was like that, except there was another dimension. A feeling of mystery. There are so many unanswered questions, though our wonderful guide Kevin knew the answers to more questions than we would have thought to ask!

The elements are larger than I'd anticipated. There is a fence to keep people from climbing on the stones or defacing them. This also makes it easier to take nice pictures.

First glimpse from the bus window. I love it that you can't see the throngs of people, just the totally disinterested sheep!

On the day of the midwinter sunrise, if you stand on this spot, the sun comes up precisely inside a frame  of stone.

We'd anticipated a chilly day, wearing sweater, coat, scarf. Ended up carrying most of it! Hanging around our necks are our Road Scholar ID badges. They came with a handy pocket that holds the listening device so that the lecturer can talk with us easily, even if we are spread out a bit.

This traveler was tuned in to a dress code we were unaware of. There were a handful of silly people posing for photos in such a way that the picture would show them holding part of the structure.

After Stonehenge, we moved on to Bath.

We had a tour of the archaeological site of the Roman bath.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

United Kingdom Part Eight:: Bill and Chuck

My love for William Morris's artistry is no secret. I've been so involved with his fabrics for so long than I usually call him "Bill."

A contemporary of Bill's, one Charles Rennie Mackintosh, caught my eye not long ago, and Joe and I decided that after our Road Scholar tour ended in Edinburgh, we would travel up to Mackintosh territory, i.e., Glasgow for a few days. It turned out that on the day that we were to see all things Mackintosh, I spent a couple of hours at the Royal Infirmary and a few more in my bed. I'd picked up a cold from a Road Scholar mate, and it had settled in my chest so seriously that I was afraid I had bronchitis. So I didn't get to see much at all of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, but what I did see persuaded me that he was going to be my new boyfriend, and I started thinking of him as "Chuck."

Bill's tea room at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Bill's designs at the V&A.

More Bill at the V&A.

Oops, back to Bill's Tearoom.

What I didn't anticipate was running into Bill at Brideshead Castle Howard!

This chair was part of the Bill exhibit at the V&A. So I thought it to be his design.

And THIS chair was at the Willow Tea Room in Glasgow, so it must be Chuck's design! No matter which of them designed it,
I want it.

This chair is definitely Chuck's, at the Lighthouse in Glasgow.

Terrible photo of a coat rack at Chuck's tea room.

Inside the Willow Tea Room.

I was so happy to be at Willow Tea Room. You wouldn't guess how sick I was.

My wonderful tea partner.

Joe got to do about half of the Mackintosh tour that we'd planned. He loved it, and says we will have to return to Glasgow so that I can see it all. Until then, here are Bill (on the left) and Chuck (on the right).