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It has not been a wonderful month for posting…….This is not because nothing has been happening, but, somehow, the spirit was…….sleepy?   Perhaps this will change.

Ingmar mar 2017 selling pretzels at german fest

There was a festival at the German School and Ingmar was selling his pretzels, but that is not all he did….

Ingmar mar 2017 german fest

There was some interesting dancing….But the most fun was the men’s group who did a skit in which Ingmar played Carmen Miranda, in costume……

Ingmar feb 2017 ingmar as carmen miranda

Sofia mar 2017 performing Kasper theater for the little kids.

Sofia did a German version of a Punch and Judy show for the younger kids.

Clara Mar 2017 Cleopatra

Clara did a school presentation about Cleopatra and sewed the costume you see here. She did have some help from her Papa, but she did a lot of it herself.

 

 

Clara mar 2017 with lea

Emily and her family drove to New Jersey for a weekend visit with her cousin Miki and his family. There was sledding. It is Clara and her cousin Lea you see above…. And Sofia and her Mom had a sleepover at the McKinley Museum in Canton.

Sofia mar 2017 at mckinley museum sleepover

sofia mar 2017 mckinley 4

Emily and her family are getting quite excited about their new house. They will be moving later in April. This Saturday they are driving to Florida for a week of vacation on Siesta Key in Sarasota. I’ll be flying to join them and am looking forward to sunny days by the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, as Emily was going through things to pack for the move, she had too much fun looking at old photos. The one below is of my three children about the time Andy was less than two. It does feel long ago! But a happy memory.

 

Em mar 2017 found old photo of the three of them.........

My grandsons have been busy, too, with swimming lessons and boy scout activities. But I could not find any pictures of them. And Nathan had to make a map of India out of unconventional materials and he stunned us all by weaving it out of bacon. It was not at all a bad job.I will leave it to your imagination.

Do you remember my post from last August when five good D.E. Stevenson friends came to stay with me at Chautauqua for a week?  You can see a picture of us here:

https://thickethouse.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/travels-in-august/

Perry is the second from the right…Two days ago I was astonished to get a package from her with an amazing handmade hostess gift from her and also from Susan D., Karen K., Betty K. and Linda J. Perry had told us about the crossword puzzle needlework pillows she makes for people who are hosting her Smith College class reunions. I never dreamed I would get one from her that everyone had chipped in on, but I did! She emailed my dd Alice for family names and places we had lived and it is a magnificent gift and I love it!

kristi-mar-2017-perry-gift

I cannot begin to imagine the amount of work here! Perry is very talented at such things. I posted a small patchwork we made for Anne S. after Karen, Perry and I stayed with her at her home in England. Perry’s embroidery was light years better than anyone else’s work. This is all petite point, oh, my…..

What else is making me happy? Well, this evening Emily, Sofia, Clara, Alice and Stephen are coming for dinner and games afterward. We will not play our usual card games but will do a Lotto and a color Go Fish game both of which Stephen can do well and enjoys.

Alice told me two things that made both of us happy. She is volunteering at a school where most of the children are refugees (mostly from Burma) and almost all the children qualify for the free lunch program. She also volunteers at Hillcrest where all my children went to elementary school and all my grandchildren have, too…At the refugee school there are no parent volunteers. I am sure most all the parents need to work. At Hillcrest there are sixty volunteers for the library alone and a position called Parent Volunteer coordinator. Alice just discovered that there is a point system for the children. They can get points for good behavior, good listening, helping others, etc. There is a little store in the library. For 5 points one can get a bracelet. For 20 points one can get to help the janitor. The reason this  made us smile is that when my husband was a refugee and a seventh grade student at St. Malachi’s Urban School, the teachers often let him help Frank, the janitor. Frank helped Paul learn English and use tools and run the audiovisual equipment. Paul loved Frank and felt really important when he could bring the equipment into a classroom and run it. The janitor at Forest Hill is also Burmese, and I think he will also make the children happy and teach them useful things.

A friend of our family volunteered to help at the International Institute where I once, surprisingly, taught Hungarian for two years to two hospice workers. One of them wanted to get a Fulbright to go to the medical school in Pecs, Hungary and teach about American hospice work and so he did. When our friend went to orientation she was told they usually had only three or four volunteers at the most but this evening they had to move to a larger room and it was packed with people who wanted to help refugees. My dd Emily says that one good thing that has come out of all the sad Trump fiasco is that inactive good people are now becoming active good people.

And the last, and most important thing, making me happy is that Emily and Ingmar after years of looking have found a house in our township and school district and are in the process of buying it. A tentative date to move in is April 21st. May all go well. The house is on more than three acres which back onto the National Park and it’s on a cul de sac, too. And next to the home of Verna, an amazing gardener who volunteers “everywhere” and has for years and told Ingmar about the house before it went on the market. There is a pond there and a small barn (not a shed, a small barn). Now please pray that they can finally sell their Maryland house. It has not been on the market for a while, but this should be a good time…..

art-home-sweet-home

I almost posted something on Valentine’s Day. But it was only an almost…….

Andy had a chance to get free roses from his work and brought a dozen red roses to me,  another to Alice, and also to Emily. Very nice!

valentine-2017-me-fb

Just now, I am home alone. Actually, Andy is only at work, so I cannot claim that he “has fled”. But Emily and her family are at Chautauqua so they can ski over President’s Day weekend, and Alice and her family are away on a two day holiday at Castaway Bay, the water park in western Ohio owned by Cedar Point. I was there a bit over a year ago and posted about it here:   https://thickethouse.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/busy-busy-busy/

But just now I am having a quiet weekend at home, reading, watching my new favorite Acorn TV series Lord and Master, an amusing Dutch mystery series with English subtitles, and “putzing” about. I think I will make some more soup.

Emily posted some photos of Sofia and Clara at Holiday Valley.

sofia-feb-2017-sofia-and-clara-on-the-trail-at-hvalley

sofia-feb-2017-holiday-velley-presidents-weekend

Emily and the girls drove up yesterday so they could begin skiing today but Ingmar couldn’t go until after the Farmer’s Market this morning when he sells his famous pretzels and other treats. However, he is safely there now. Our neighbor Meredith posted a photo of Ingmar and their dog Jack on our porch.

ingmar-feb-2017-merediths-pic-of-him-and-jack

It looks as though I’ll be going on a week vacation in Florida at the end of March. We won’t be staying in Venice this time, but on Siesta Key at the south end of Sarasota. That’s closer to some of the things we enjoy doing like visiting the Mote Aquarium, the wonderful Marie Shelby Botanical Garden and the fun Sarasota Jungle Gardens. And one day I will certainly drive down to Venice to visit my friend Nancy. We met in 1980 when our children were in pre-school together. Really? Can it be 37 years already?  We were also  Girl Scout leaders together. Nancy was just telling me about the really bad red tide in Venice just now. She said if you go outside it affects your breathing and makes you feel unwell. Still, she attends morning yoga on the beach, but says everyone is coughing all the time.

Meanwhile, in other news, my daughter Alice won second place in the Boy Scout chili cook-off competition at the meeting where Nathan became a tenderfoot.

Puzzles and Surprises

These days are quiet but rather busy. I’m going to three exercise events each week, and the Artist’s Way class on Thursday evenings. This class is very rewarding, but it does require activities every day plus an “Artist’s Date” once a week. And on Tuesdays I seem to need to do a little babysitting. It’s not very much and I love to spend time with grandchildren. But the days are busy. I fit doctor’s appointments and car recall appointments in between.

Every evening Andy and I play our double solitaire, the one I learned from my mother in law who learned it from her grandmother. It’s very like the game Russian Bank in Hoyle’s book of card games. We keep a running score. Andy is ahead at the moment, but I keep hoping.

He just finished a large and challenging jigsaw puzzle, a Wentworth one called High Jinks. I bought it for myself and thought perhaps we could work on it together, but this one, being tall and narrow,  doesn’t lend itself to that.

andy-wentworth-puzzle-feb-2017-high-jinks

I first learned of these puzzles from some of my D.E. Stevenson friends who live in the U.K. Anne Stoye and I worked on one while I was her house guest in 2010. And now, my friend Geraldine from Luton has been posting about several wentworths she has been putting together. This one is fairly challenging. The books are all girls books from the past but there are repeats on those shelves which makes it tough to figure out. But Andy did it, in two nights, I think.

These puzzles are expensive, but I paid less than a third of the amazon price by going directly to the company in the UK.

I asked him if he would go with me to the Bath Church Epiphany Art Festival and this afternoon we drove over. It’s a very satisfying show with work from local artists. Some of them are very, very talented.

bath-epiphany-art-show-2017

bath-church-epiphany-art-show-15

They have two rooms filled with art as well as art in the sanctuary. I was very surprised in the room with smaller works such as jewelry and pottery and leather work to see some small origami books with DVDs which were labelled as the creations of Mary Lou Jubin. She is the aunt of my nephew’s wife and I have known her for more than 20 years! But I never knew about her achievements in art and music.  So, another satisfying small world event. And when I talked with some of the ladies at the reception desk it turned out that not only had they taught with her before she retired, but she is a skilled performer on the hammered dulcimer and played for three hours on the opening night. Mary Lou also gives programs at a local branch library and I think I must look into finding out when one of these is about to happen and attending it.This was my “Artist Date” for the week. It is something that is supposed to inspire one and put more joy into our lives. This certainly did all that.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

 

Mary Oliver

 

At first my dd Em planned to drive to the March in Washington, D.C. but the friend she was going to travel with backed out. So she marched with another friend in Cleveland. I just talked with her. She’s nearly home again. She thought there were about 5,000 women/people there. (Update – Cleveland police estimate there were 15,000.)  There were lots of police who were calm and friendly as were the marchers. Sofia drew a picture for the march. This is what Emily wrote:

“Marching in the CLE!
For my fabulous daughters with big dreams.
For my smart and creative mom, sister, aunts and cousins.
For my amazing husband who lives the fact that men can contribute so much more than money to a family.
For my father who was born a refugee and believed in helping people.
For my diverse students who have so much to contribute to our country.
For my peace loving Muslim, Christian, Jewish and friends of other faiths, or no faith.
Because food is not the only great thing from Mexico.
Because all people have value. Because I am not afraid if you live your life differently than I do.”

em-jan-2017-fias-drawing-for-womens-march

To see Sofia’s poster for Martin Luther King day last year – look here:

https://thickethouse.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/desultory-thoughts-in-winter/

Dear Friends…….

Christmas was so beautiful, both Christmas Eve with my daughter Alice and her family at our house, and Christmas Day with my daughter Emily and her family and their amazing tree, as tall as last year’s, about 12feet, I think, and then the delicious dinner together. Then came wonderful New Year’s Eve and both a cheese fondue and then a chocolate fondue dessert at Alice and Mike’s home……..We celebrated together, all my family. But somehow, the impulse to post anything about these joys passed me by. I do apologize! I did not realize ahead of time that I was heading into this sort of hiatus. And I am not sure it is quite over….

We are now in the joys of the slowly lightening days moving toward Spring! But first, loving the pleasures of winter, of snow. All my children enjoy skiing and have already been doing it, though the winter vacation days did not have much in the way of snow. I was worried about them last Saturday when ski club began and it was 3.7degreesF  (I think this is about -15.7 Celsius)  when I woke up. But all my offspring proclaimed it glorious because it was sunny and there was no wind.

We all love snow, at least in January when it is new and white! And we all value kindness which, apparently, shares some qualities with new snow.

art-snow-gibran