Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Once in a Lifetime

PH doesn't stop the car for antiques or ice cream but he will stop so I can take pictures of people's laundry hanging on a clothes line.  

This evening he stopped for this.  What a guy!

An Elegant Woman

An Elegant Woman by Martha McPhee

Have you ever thought about the decisions you’ve made during your life that ended up being profoundly important decisions? In An Elegant Woman Martha McPhee gives us four generations of women whose decisions tracked a century, their lives and changed their course.

In 1910 Glenna leaves her husband with his new and current girlfriend, takes her two daughters, Katherine and Thelma (called Tommy) to the train and heads West. Now, this is where we start to judge Glenna. Not for leaving her husband, who wouldn’t? But for leaving her little girls aged 3 and 5 with a few traveling nuns on the train at a stop. Glenna doesn’t know the nuns, the nuns don’t know Glenna nor the children but they watch over them, feed them, keep them warm while Tommy tries to figure out this new development but realizes also at that point they can’t depend on Glenna that she is in charge of Katherine. She just doesn’t realize yet this is forever.

The family is headed West to Montana where Glenna is sure she can get a job teaching because there are miners there, there are women there and so there will be children who need to be taught there. Reunited with her girls at the end of the train ride, Glenna finds a job and once again, leaves the girls while she teaches in frontier one room schools throughout the state and campaigns for women’s right to vote. The girls are lucky to be left with people who love and care for them but are once again wisked away when Glenna is ready to move on.

Always, Tommy is in charge of Katherine’s care. By now, she’s learned to shoot, ride, trap, trade and feed themselves. As the girls grow it becomes clear who is going to move on and who is going to be the one who doesn’t. Tommy works (remember she’s a child) and protects. When Katherine graduates from high school and makes a decision for her future Tommy makes a decision that upends both of their lives.

All through this story you feel sorry for the girls, you don’t like Glenna much, ever, and you don’t blame Tommy one bit. At least I didn’t. The author gives us the stories these women gave themselves for all of their lives, and we all know that our stories are tempered with perspective. How does the same story change with the way someone perceived it?

I thought all through this book of how our stories change as we tell them over and over, and how each person who experienced the very same event sees that event through different eyes.It cetrainly opened mine.

Friday, May 22, 2020


When we moved to this house 5 years ago I immediately noticed this cast iron cauldron sitting in the yard next door.  Not used, not planted, not even a single brew on Halloween.  I just talked about it all of the time.  A perfect planter.   Then those people moved.

A new person moved in for a very few months. When his For Sale sign went in the yard I strongly urged PH to ask if we could have it.  The guy said no.  Nice, huh?  I kept mumbling that he was moving, what did he care?

New owner moves in.  Without my knowing it, PH again went to ask if there was a chance we could adopt the cauldron.  He said yes!  It helps that his wife didn't like it not even a little bit.
PH took our hand cart with wheels at the top and bottom, the two strong young men hefted it onto the cart and wheeled it down their driveway, down the middle of the street and around the corner to our driveway.

They said, "Denice, go stand in the exact spot you want this!"  So I did.  I did not ask them to haul it up the steep, twisty driveway to the top, where I originally thought I'd want it.  I made the concession to putting it at the bottom of the hill.
Then we went to a garden center near here and bought sweet potatoes to plant.  These aren't the decorative sweet potato vines you use in hanging baskets, these will grow real yummy sweet potatoes.  I scattered some marigolds in there to keep curious deer away at first.  I can take them out when the sweet potatoes take over.  They grow underground and I think the warm sun warming this cast iron pot will be a really good environment for them.

Chocolate cake number 4.  This was a mint chip sheet cake I put into two 8 inch layer pans.  I got this recipe  here
This one rates a 4 from the girls (they were eating it with their fingers standing in the doorway till we told them to go cut a piece on a plate) but more like a 3 from daughter and son-in-law.  They didn't like the chocolate chips in the frosting.  But the name of this is mint chip chocolate cake and it does have that mint chip ice cream taste to it.  I liked this one almost the best. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Surprise, surprise

Sometimes we - or rather, I - start a project and don't know if I'll like it in the end. Especially when I'm just winging it, working off an idea in my head. Those ideas don't always turn out.  That happened quite recently.  When it does, the top gets folded and put away or at least on the bottom of the pile. One was so butt ugly I gave it to daughter for the dog.

But not this time.

I've been wanting to do a flying geese quilt and have been on a mission during  this Great Pause to use my scraps.  After randomly constructing these geese/goose units I thought I was really going to like this one.

But there was one problem.  Seams.  Lots of them.  Let me tell you, when I finished this quilt top I put the machine back in the bathroom closet.  But I found I really, really liked this top.  It's not big because I just plain got tired of using the machine to make the geese.  Because of the seams and my arthritic hands I knew if this was ever going to be quilted I'd have to send it to a long arm quilter.

Friend Marilyn knew of someone, Dawn, who lives about 45 minutes away.  I've only ever had two other quilts finished by machine and that was many years ago, so Dawn and I talked about batting, what I was looking for, and where on her porch to leave the quilt. 

And here it is, finished and beautiful, she did a beautiful job.  I was so excited to get it back yesterday I put the binding on immediately and just finished sewing it down.

This quilt really makes me smile when I look at it.  I don't know why but it hits just the right note, it turned out exactly how I wanted it to and that doesn't always happen.