Monday, September 20, 2021

Books and quilts, quilts and books

 I went to a quilt exhibit this morning.  It was tailor made for me: books and quilts.  Each quilt in the exhibit was inspired by a book, mostly a children's book if you consider most but certainly not all of the quilts were in the children's room of the Georgetown Public Library.  There were seventy-four quilts in all, scattered all through the library and it was really, really fun to wander around.  You could vote if you had a real favorite or thought a technique was exceptional.  

I took a photo of some,  the ones I liked the best.  Have a look:

This Santa quilt greeted you as you walked in the door and truly, you couldn't help but smile.  I smiled and said aloud, "of course!"  It was a perfect Night Before Christmas!

I first heard of Schrodinger's Cat from Sheldon and I still don't understand it but I loved that the quilter was inspired by this.
What better way to honor sacred spaces than a cathedral windows quilt?
The snowy day was always one of my favorite books for images so this one made me smile big.
Circle houses again but this time, Harry Potter inspired.  Notice the Quidditch circles.

This was another perfect interpretation of a story.  Can you see Laura's dolly in this?
No book for this one, just a quilt representing us.

This one was my third favorite behind the Santa houses and Little House on the Prairie. I like Thanksgiving most of all the holidays.

Such  a fun exhibit, books and quilts, quilts and books.  Cudos to the group that thought of this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021


 I'm done.  Finished.  Moving on.  I would like to say it's been fun but it's only been tolerable.  I've decided I don't need nor want another child, pet or hobby. We'd been gone for a week and I thought for sure if left to her own devices Montana would just quietly die in the refrigerator, starved, ignored, unstirred.  But oh, no.  

I opened the fridge and told PH I thought she was dead.  I was free of her. I took her out and stirred her and fed her, just to make sure and dang if she didn't start bubbling away. So I kept feeding her for a few days, and sure enough, she grew and grew and grew. 

I had decided I was done with this Pompeii thing.  It was fun while it lasted but I wasn't going to make it a career.  I thought Sunday I'd make a straight loaf of  sourdough bread.   And some rolls! How about some rolls for Wednesday's company dinner?  Sure!  Well, the rolls turned out good and to know that I had to eat one but that meant there weren't six left for dinner Wednesday so PH and I just ate the rest.  The loaf though?  Squirrel food.  

I told PH at the end of the day I'm done. I've wasted a lot of flour, time and too many brain cells on this sourdough thing. I have to find a new home for Montana.  After giving it a few hours thought I realized my neighbor likes too cook and she would be a real possibility for adopting Montana.  I asked, she said yes!

I really thought I was going to have to wrap her in a receiving blanket, put her in a cardboard box and leave her on church steps. 

As I was putting her in a jar this morning I told PH there was a lot of her and would Friend Cheryl really want this much?  He said, "just pour it down the drain."  I looked at him horrified, "that would be like putting a pillow over your grandma's head!  Montana is over 100 years old and obviously still breathing!"  I couldn't just KILL her.

She has a good home now with  someone who knows how to handle sour dough starter and I don't have to worry about her anymore.  I will be just fine with the instant active dry yeast from the grocery store if and when I venture back into the world of bread.  But don't hold your breath.  Just be happy for Montana.  And Friend Cheryl said Montana would come back to me someday reincarnated as blueberry muffins.

Monday, September 13, 2021

we've been gone

 We've been gone. For a week.  Even though PH is technically retired he is still asked to go on this trip to the Upper Peninsula each year and sell the area.  I go along for the ride, the scenery, to give him company, to keep snacks moving.  It's a really nice trip and we look forward to it but we never know from one year to the next if it will be the last so we treat it like it is.

There are lots of trees, lots of water, not a lot of people, no big cities, just medium to small sized ones. There's a lot of space between towns and cities and villages and people and that means a lot of driving.  Really, if you lived here you have to go a long way to get groceries. Or fabric.
This is it, as far north as you can go in Michigan unless you board a ferry here for a few hours ride to Isle Royal, and that attracts hikers and rustic campers but not us.  I'd like to see the moose and bear that are there but I'm not rustic.   This is the tip of Copper Harbor and it's absolutely beautiful country.  I asked the owner of the bookstore what brought her here and she said forty years ago she worked a summer job there and never went back. Winters are the definition of harsh.
 PH kept stopping to watch the waves.  It was really windy and at night it rained so the waves were  very active.  Lake Superior is rarely calm but during this day the waves were gorgeous.  We made a turn in the road and saw a windsurfer holding his own. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Mad Women's Ball







The Mad Women's Ball by Victoria Mas

     After they stopped burning us at the stake they put us in asylums. That was so much easier because the asylums were very legal yet not lethal for maybe years and by then who would know or remember you were even there? It was so easy, you see, to find yourself dropped off by a member of your family at the front steps of an asylum and never given another thought. It didn’t take much.

     Since the 17th century women were “sorted,” as the author says. She tells us first came the poor, the beggars, then the depraved and prostitutes and then later the mad women, the hysterics and simpletons. For some, you only needed to have an opinion and speak it. Yet, for all its ease in dispensing with problem women family members the aristocracy didn’t use the service often because they didn’t want the stigma to follow them into the dinners and drawing rooms. Yet, it did happen.   

     This story takes place in 1885 Paris and Eugenie has been dropped off at the front door of the Hospital Salpetriere by her aristocratic father and reluctant brother. Her “crime?” She can see the dead and made the mistake of telling her trusted grandmother, who told her father and now here she is among the mad or otherwise and examined periodically by a room full of doctors who perform experiments on them in a thinly veiled attempt to cure them.

     Eugenie immediately sees someone very near and dear to Beatrice, one of the nurses at the hospital and yes, it’s hard to believe someone who tells you a deceased loved one is in the room but Eugenie lets the dead speak for themselves and Beatrice has to decide whether to listen.

     The Mad Women’s ball takes place once a year at the beginning of Lent. In the weeks leading up to it the patients are excited with the diversion planning how they would be dressed in gowns of their making or choosing and allowed to mingle with the aristocracy of Paris. The aristocracy is there to gawk. It’s quite the event no matter which side you are on.

      I’m not going to tell you anymore about the story. I read this in two nights. I’m surprised it took that long.

Monday, August 30, 2021

It took all summer

 It took all summer and now that school has started we finally made it to the beach.  We put chairs in the car, took our books, PH took his bathing suit and towel and off we went.  It wasn't over 90 degrees (like it's been for the past two weeks,) it wasn't a crowded weekend so no more excuses.

The skies were deep blue

The beach was almost deserted, the only people around were retired or young parents of toddlers
We decided this was what we'd do:  first we'd walk from the pavilion down to the pier, walk the pier and come back by way of the shoreline to the pavilion, get our chairs from the car and settle down.
Here he is, Dangerous Dan defying the roll of the waves to go to the Land's End. I hid behind that concrete structure you see along the margin.
As is usual with us, we changed course halfway through. We do that a lot.  You can do that when it's just the two of you.  I call it pivoting.  After our walk we decided the sun was really hot, we aren't looking for a tan so headed into town for lunch.  PH had never been to this restaurant and being a Monday and everything nowadays being prefaced with, "if it's still open" because of the lack of workers,  we figured this was the place for lunch.  I could guarantee he would enjoy this place
So here I am, one of those people taking pictures of food.  I find that a strange thing to do but here I was doing it.  PH is a traditionalist and had a hearty breakfast.  I warned him this place serves BIG portions.
I am more daring.  This was a Monte Christo sandwich drizzled with raspberry.  OMG.

We dawdled all the way home foraging at farm stands along the way and decided that even though we didn't sit in the sun on the beach we had a really good beach day.


Yesterday, while it was still over 90 degrees so the air conditioning was on I decided to make loaf #2 of the Pompeii Project.  No way was I going to do a winter thing like baking bread if the temperatures were like they've been but with the air conditioning on I had socks on and I thought I might have killed Montana so it was a test.  To see if I killed Montana. 

This recipe made two loaves, it's the one Friend Harry sent from the National Geographic article. I thought I could use the hot humid day to help the bread rise.  The directions even said, "place bread in a warm humid place to rise."  I could do that on the front porch.  It was a heavy rise, it took 6 hours, three for the first rise, three for the second.  So essentially, this was an all day project.  It was very different from the first recipe. Very different.  This one called for fennel seeds, poppy seeds, fresh parsley, it smelled different when baking.  I am not going to say how this one compared to the first loaf till Friend Harry and Marge taste their loaf.  I don't want to influence their taste buds.   

Oh, by the way, I did not kill Montana.  She perked up just fine after I fed her.  Kind of like me.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Saga Continues

 In my head I originally called this quilt Pink Quilt.  I don't name my quilts per se but I do refer to them as someone sometimes.  Do you recall that I had it machine quilted by someone with a long arm and it turned out to be a BIG mistake because it was quilted so horribly?  Sure you do, the photos where ghastly.

I spent some time with a pile of safety pins and marked the places that were the absolute worst of the machine quilting and ripped those sections out, restitched them by hand all the time realizing the thing was going to look like a hodge podge of quilting, then handed it to PH to wash in hot water and put in the dryer to see if the machine stitching I left in would tighten up a bit, saving me from having to rip the entire quilt apart.   This is how it came out of the dryer.  I thought, "well, ok, it's a utility quilt and so just ok."
I really loved that the back made the quilt reversible and gave a reason for this panel print to live.
Here are the pieces with better lighting.  The white background was nice.
And this is how it came out of the dryer.  When PH handed it to me and I turned it over I could not believe what I saw. Those squares are, as you can see, quite pink. I didn't believe what I was seeing.
BUT the big mystery - look at that white border!  NO pink bled onto that white border. None. Not a teensy smidge of a bleed. AND it didn't turn any of the lighter colors on the front pink!  I do not understand at all but I thought actually it didn't ruin an already ruined quilt, as long as the pink bleed behaved and stayed within the white border you could make the argument it was supposed to be this way, that the panel was originally this color AND I was ever so eternally grateful I didn't cut and use these squares into something really special only to have THAT ruined.   This Pink Quilt has lived up to its name.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Lightning Strike

Lightning Strike by William Kent Krueger


I like reading prequels especially when, in your own time, you come to wonder about what came before.

Lightning Strike  is a Cork O'Connor  story that takes us back to his adolescent years when Cork's father is tasked with finding the reason Big John Manydeeds is found hanging from a tree at Lightning Strike, a sacred place to the Ojibwe on Iron Lake.   People who want to dismiss any death of a Native American say it was suicide but it just doesn't make sense to the people who know him both on and off the reservation. Why was his blood alcohol level off the charts when he didn't drink anymore?  How did he get up that tree by himself? These are questions the people want but don't trust Liam O'Connor to find the answers to.

Cork's got a pretty good life for a small town boy in early 1960's Aurora, Minnesota.  Freedom to roam morning to night, a couple of paper routes to give him some money, two best friends,  parents who are respected, though his father Liam has to work hard for respect because he is Irish and married in.  Because Cork has the freedom to move around the lakes and area on his bike and canoe and because his mother and grandmother belong to the tribe, he has the respect of the elders in the tribe and the town.   This freedom makes him able to listen to the talk. He hears conversations his dad doesn't.  He sees things and makes connections and seeks the wisdom of tribal elders.  

Cork doesn't solve the mystery of Big John's death but he IS instrumental in gathering the information his father needs to put it all together.  He isn't a cocky little kid, he isn't perfect but he is smart and his parents understand him.  I had to think back to that time and remember what a child's freedom to roam meant.  

Eventually, after false starts and stops the pieces begin to come together and Big John's death is explained.  And we come to know how Cork O'Connor came to be Cork O'Connor.  

If you are a fan of Cork O'Connor and author Kreuger you won't be sorry you spent some time in the 1960's with this young man.