Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Friends indeed

Most of us have different friends for different parts of our lives. I have a good friend who has many friends and one day I commented to her that she has someone to do something with no matter what she is going to do.  Concert? She knows someone who loves them.  Antique  shop hopping?
She has someone who loves to do that.  Going for a walk on a nature trail?  She has a walking friend. Berry picking?  There's a friend for that. I always envied that in her. Her friends weren't upset if they weren't asked to go along on a certain excursion. She just knew walking friend couldn't sit still for a concert and walking friend knew it, too. I was her "living across the street keeping an eye on her (because she's 20 years older than me) and getting her into trouble friend."  Then we moved. I miss the everyday-ness of her.

Making new friends can be hard.  Starting over IS hard. But sometimes you luck out. Sometimes you make casual connections that take root and grow because you have something in common.

Like quilting.  These are my quilting friends.  The happenstance of our meeting is varied and grew in strange ways.  But now they are just in the column marked FRIEND, with no disclaimer of being a quilter or a berry picker or reader or anything else.

Last year I asked if anyone was interested in doing a round robin quilt project with a group of women in Germany.  I have a quilting friend, Elke, in Germany.  We were first connected in a strange way but we've been corresponding for a few years.  I asked if she would consider gathering seven friends and doing a round robin with seven of my friends.  They agreed and we were off and running.

Last January we mailed to each other a box with 8 quilt squares measuring 12.5 inches.  It didn't matter that they measure in centimeters and we in inches.  The squares were just measured and we worked from there. No problem. Quilters know how to do anything!

On our side, when the box from Germany arrived, Friend Marilyn and little Adelaide and I drew names and distributed a center to a waiting quilter.  We divided into two groups of four or the end quilt would be huge and the center medallion lost in the 8 borders. So each 12.5 inch square has four borders.  We had a list of who to send to after each of us finished our round.  We had 6 week deadlines to keep things moving.

And now we are finished!  Last night we wrapped it up with a dinner, a reveal of our work and a toast to an amazing experience.  What fun!  I am completely amazed at what was done to each quilt and you will be, too, once I show them to you.  I can't do that till they've been returned to the quilters in Germany.  It wouldn't be fair for them to see their surprises online.

In the meantime, I'd like to introduce you to my quilting friends.  I shouldn't say that.  They are in the FRIEND column.   Unfortunately, one of them couldn't be with us last night.  Janet is vacationing, but no less a part of us.

 This is Sally.  I've shown you her work before.  She does impeccable work and loves doing the teensy weensy piecing.  Sally stepped in when we lost Karen to cancer at the very beginning of this project. We all would have stepped up and taken over for Karen's rounds, but we were delighted Sally joined us.  Friend Marilyn and I met Sally about 15 years ago at a quilt retreat.
 This is Ines.  She is from Peru and does beautiful colorful work. Ines is part of our retreat in the fall.
 This is Friend Marilyn.  My daughter is married to her son and we became friends at first because of the kids then just on our own ever since my daughter was 14.  That makes.....24 years!  Whoa! Doing the math is always scary!
 This is Barb.  I know I've shown you her work before.  She's an incredibly talented artist.  And very funny.
 This is Dodie.  She is a friend/neighbor but for six months she lives in Florida. She doesn't do snow.  Dodie loves the modern quilt and does intricate little pieces I don't have the patience for.  Thank goodness she does!  I love seeing her creations. And I love when it's spring and she and Bob come back from Florida.
 This is Jan.  She is my niece's mother-in-law.  She does beautiful work, she loves applique and embroidery and the things she did to her rounds for these quilts always blew me away.  She notices things.  She will see a detail no one else did. She always went the extra mile.
And me. 

See what I mean?  We all met in varied ways but managed to connect through needles and threads and scraps of fabric.  Last night was the first time Dodie and Jan met the rest of the group, and the first time in this project we were all together. I'm very lucky to have met these women and connected with them.
 After show and tell and exclamations and congratulations and explanations of our decisions on our borders, we toasted the project and Elke and her friends.
 I made a paella for dinner
with homemade blueberry ice cream for dessert.

Thanks again, friends indeed.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Birthday fun

 This weekend was our daughter's birthday and everyone was here together!
 PH fired up the pizza oven in the backyard.....
.....and we each made our own from a smorgasbord of toppings
 Charlie is a straight cheese man
 This morning was beautiful so we took the kids down to the lake with their toy boats made for them by our neighbor Walter.  Years ago when Charlie was a little guy one of his favorite books was Toy Boat by Randall deSeve and illustrated by Loren Long. 
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I asked Walter, a woodworker, if he could construct a simple little toy boat for him and he not only did one for Charlie but has continued to make one for each of the kids.  Michael received his this weekend.
He sat on the shore and played in the shallows but when he saw a real boat go by he made sure I saw it, too.

Happy summer!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A new mystery

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Let me say upfront that the TV show Bones is my favorite.  I watch, record and re-watch each episode over and over.  It becomes my white noise as I go about my day.  But, gasp!  I have never read one of Kathy Reichs’ books featuring Temperance Brennan and upon which the show is based.   And let me assure you, I DO know the difference between a book and a movie or tv show based on a book.  They aren’t the same, they don’t even try to be the same.

OK, so just now I finished my first “Bones” book.  Bones Never Lie  by Kathy Reichs. I feel like I came late to the party and everyone is already in the know on the latest gossip and life stories of the other guests.  I don’t know what I expected.  It’s important when starting a new book series to start at the beginning, get to know the characters, watch them grow.

 I knew Book Temperance would be “different” that was for sure.  But I wasn’t expecting this different.  The book Brennan makes the TV Brennan seem like she’s still a work in progress.  TV Temperance  is like an evolving alien that needs to learn how this society works. She has tact issues,  but over the years her friends have helped temper her (no pun intended.)  Book Temperance reads more like a seasoned cop who doesn’t spend near as much time in the lab with bones.   The science is there, and we can be assured it’s correct.  The stereotypical detectives are there.  The ex is there.  And, thank goodness, the story is there.   I didn’t figure it out till near the end and in a mystery that’s important.  There’s a serial killer out there and the investigation moves from North Carolina to Montreal to Vermont and back I don’t want to give it away.  It’s too easy to get into the retelling of a mystery and spoil it so just be assured, this won’t be the last “Bones” book I read.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Who said summer is laid back?

                                       Food, flowers in bloom, family fun. It's summer!

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Man Called Ove

I don’t really know quite what to say about this book.  Usually, I am conflicted when the blurb says “in the style of” or “if you liked that then you’ll love this” and this one had that.  It said, “In the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.”    Well, I DID like both of those books but it made me a little skeptical.  What?  Another book about a cantankerous old man?
Well, let me tell you.  If the publisher sent me a carton of this book I’d walk up and down the street passing it out to everyone I saw and then ask for another carton.  I couldn’t and didn’t say that about Harold Fry or Major Pettigrew.
I will gladly stand impatiently tapping my foot waiting for Fredrik Backman’s next book.  I laughed.  I sat all by myself in my chair on the back porch reading this and would guffaw out loud. And then I would cry.  The intensity of the sadness when Ove talked to his wife was just a little more than I wanted to feel. But I did.  All’s well, because in a few more paragraphs I was laughing out loud again.  I just this minute finished this book and the tears are still stinging.  But I’m smiling, too.
Ove, an irascible man who has strong ideas and strict principles and stringent routines about everything, loses his wife and then his job.  His loneliness is heartrending and tender. How does one fill one’s day? How does one learn to be alone? Ove is a man of little words but big on principle, on doing a job for the sake of the job, of doing what’s right just because it’s the right thing to do, even though it’s going to put him in contact with people he considers amazingly ignorant, of being the man he was taught by his father to be.
One day new neighbors move in, Ove is introduced when the husband can’t do something as simple as backing up a U-Haul trailer without taking out Ove’s mailbox.  In correcting the situation, Ove finds himself saddled with young children, a cat, teenagers, cafes, hospitals.   Don’t even try to predict what’s going to happen and I can only promise you the read of the summer.