Archive for January, 2011

Christmas is Over Now

How About a Birthday? Or a Road Trip?

It’s Thursday now. My real birthday was yesterday. But I feel as if I’ve been having celebrations since last Friday when Em, Sofia and Clara arrived to celebrate over the weekend. Alice made a wonderful dinner for us all on Saturday, complete with a huge chicken pot pie with puff pastry crust and a lovely spice cake decorated with my age “66”. It made me want to drive out west or watch Cars again. What is as much fun as sitting at a table with all ones children and grandchildren. Not much that I can think of!

Em & Co. departed on Sunday afternoon but the celebrations were not over yet.  My friend Penny invited me down to Holmes County, Amish country, for a huge fabric sale at the Mennonite Central Committee Connections store in Kidron. I don’t really think they realized how many people would come. It took Penny three hours to get through the line. We left for lunch about 4:15pm and drove to Mount Hope to Mrs. Yoder’s Kitchen where we dealt with our starvation issues! The waitress overheard that it was my birthday and at the end of the meal we were surprised with the gift of a birthday cake and a group of waitresses and waiters singing “Happy Birthday” to me.  It was enchanting. And yesterday, my real birthday, my daughter Alice and newest grandson Stephen and sisters in law Aniko and Susie took me out to lunch at the Vintage House Cafe in Avon. One of the owners there is Hungarian and their menu has a pretty authentic Chicken Paprikash. We also all had stuffed pepper soup, and salad and dessert! Good grief! I chose lemon meringue pie which was the closest I could get to the Angel Pie my mother often made for my birthday. That is a “pie” with meringue instead of pie crust, lemon filling and whipped cream on top which is a delicious memory.

So this was my nearly-a-week of being totally spoiled with birthday celebrations, and now we return to the real world! And what a good world it seems despite all the problems and suffering. A world to meet with a grateful heart.

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Em's Quilt

Alice's Quilt

Sofia's Quilt

It was pretty astonishing that the site stats for today showed it to be the highest number of hits of any day since my blog began a few years ago. I’m guessing that this was from people who might have been looking for something to do with the tragedy in Arizona, although my blog is not set to be found on search engines. I haven’t looked into this much so I don’t know what else could be the answer. However, this is not a blog about my reaction to world or national events, and now I’m returning it to the events and interests of my very small personal world……

I’ve been collecting quilt fabric since the 70s, perhaps even a few pieces were bought in the 60s when my mother was quilting, just before it began to pop back into fashion again. If one can call it fashion. The 70s with the bicentennial gave quilt making another boost and now there are thousands and thousands of women who quilt all over the globe and a lot of them blog about it too!

My fabric collecting picked up speed in the 80s and 90s and beyond. My son is always teasing me because he says that when things are stressful in my life packages of books and fabric begin appearing in our mailbox far too often.  He is probably right.  I have enough fabric for several lifetimes and now am really only making wall hangings and doll quilts which let me play around with color and style and not invest in anything too immense and time consuming. But it is a joy and I hope I can post some more quilts here. I’ve done more than I could find pictures of – a tribute to my lack of organizing skills. They were before the digital camera era… But here are two large quilts done for my daughters and a baby quilt I took part in for my granddaughter Sofia. Actually our family has done many quilts for first babies and I’ve contributed blocks to them, and will have to look around for some of those pictures too.  I really enjoy the family quilts.

My personal preference is for scrappy quilts with rather old-fashioned patterns and fabrics and not much repetition.  But I have some very modern designer fabrics that I enjoy and am thinking about using. I think the time has come to enjoy using some of this huge collection. If I don’t I think I’m going to have to begin winnowing it out to send to the Goodwill.  This would be somewhat ironic because I’ve bought a lot of cotton fabrics from Goodwill,  especially good plaids and stripes, to cut up for quilting!

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There were other things I wanted to write about in this post, but I don’t seem able to turn my mind from the heartbreaking events in Tucson. It feels like a stone in my heart. I don’t know how to find the wisdom to say anything that will change anything.

January 8, 2011. Another date that will live in infamy. We really have too many of them, you know.

I cannot understand if there is really more hate in the world or it is just that our populations are much larger and that causes more tragedy to happen. Or if our society has really degenerated so much because people give their minds to media to be twisted and distorted and we don’t know how to act anymore.

That sounds fairly senseless. I don’t know that I can make any sense about this horror.

I remember Gandhi was once asked what he thought about western civilization and he said he thought it would be a good idea. But of course, it is not only western civilization. It seems to be everywhere. Is there more fear? Is that what makes a time of change so vulnerable? I really don’t know.

I know there was a lot of hatred and willingness to act upon it when I was growing up. Some things have improved, at least among some people. But as long as there are enough people willing to listen to demagogues and thus keep them profitable, I imagine we will keep moving in the wrong directions. It could be a leader of the Taliban. It could be Rush Limbaugh. Personally I am unable to perceive the difference between them.

I keep coming back to the thought of Christina Taylor Greene, born on September 11, 2001. So a beautiful life, such kindness, talent and such aspiration. All destroyed by a tragically misguided unbalanced soul with a gun.  And it makes me cry. And those who incite such unbalanced people with their rage and hate rhetoric and call it entertainment also make me weep for this country.

I am a normally optimistic person and hope to return to that state of mind soon, but just now, it eludes me.

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Smiley Stephen

This morning I had a chance to spend some time with my newest grandson. His mother Alice went to her son’s school to help with an activity and to bring cupcakes to celebrate Nathan’s birthday.  This birthday actually happened in December, but it was the first day of their winter break so it was postponed. Nathan helped make them. He cracked all the eggs himself and put them into the batter. I think he did other things too, but this is the one that I was told about!

Stephen slept nearly all the time I was there while I read my Dandy Gilver mystery, The Burry Man’s Day, which is an interesting read. It’s set in 1923 Scotland, but a brighter more comedic one than the world of the Inspector Ian Rutledge books by the wonderful mother-son writing team called Charles Todd. Those I find mesmerizing. But, I digress. Perhaps digression is becoming my most frequently exercised talent…..

Stephen slept until about ten minutes before his Mom and brother returned home. He woke starving and I could not help with that problem, so in no time at all we had full-blown shrieking. I did what I could to soothe him, but that was not successful. And then Alice was back and life was again good. For all of us!

A baby of his age (a few days over three months) is growing and changing so rapidly that if I don’t see him for two days he looks quite different when we meet again. So I love these moments  of watching him.  And when he is awake and well fed he is such an easy little guy to coax into a smile. He smiles if you just talk to him, especially if you say a lot of “goo goos” and “gah gahs” which seem to be the favorite sound at the moment.  Isn’t it wonderful how making a baby smile can convince you that you’re really a marvelously clever person! Oh, my!

When they were back and we had had lunch together, I got to watch Nathan playing with his legos, making rather fearsome “bionicals” that I would not want to meet at night in a dark place. Well, I wouldn’t like to meet them anywhere, actually. Alice was sorting through things in her office and found a little book she had made when she was in second grade. It’s called The Blue Bubble and the Great Green Snipper Snappers and dedicated to her brother Andy. What memories.  I have somewhere a cookbook her kindergarten teacher made of recipes her students said their mothers made. Alice gave my cake recipe. Not too hard to remember. She told Mrs. Liss that I made it by mixing white sugar, and then some brown sugar, and then some more white sugar. Then I baked it. What a healthy cook I must have been in those days. (It was actually a Hungarian sponge cake with a few other ingredients.)

Even though the day was overcast and snow fell fairly constantly, there was a lot of sunshine in my soul.

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Welcome, 2011!

some of the walnut ornaments Em received from her in-laws

I wanted to show you, even though it’s a little past Christmas as most people celebrate it nowadays, the wonderful carvings inside a walnut shell that my daughter was given by her parents in law. They certainly look as if they came from a Christkindl Markt, probably in Munich which is the large city closest to their home.

I had a sort of New Year’s lunch and visit with some dear friends yesterday, and Andy and I celebrated with champagne at midnight and   phoned the family in PA to wish them “ein guten Rutsch” into the New Year.

Me, toasting the New Year

Andy New Years 2010-2011

And I wish the same to all of you who read this blog! A good slide into the New Year and a 2011 which is satisfying and finds you among dear family and good friends, some adventures and discoveries and love and laughter. And lots of good food and good reading……….May everyone’s heart find peace.

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