Thursday, February 22, 2024


Sometimes in life you just get lucky.  Really, really lucky. Sometimes during your journey you meet a lifelong friend and sometimes you are handed yours.  

These two guys shared a cradle, they go that far back.  Bob and PH are just 3 months apart in age, they are related, part of a big family full of strong women - mothers and aunts - who were the glue that held everyone together in a time before all of the distractions we endure now. They were taught from birth on how life should be lived and what kind of person you were expected to be and that families are what matters. No questions.    

These two guys spent their lives entwined together from infancy to life moments to school classrooms, to paper routes, to baseball, to basketball, riding their bikes all over the city to, as they say, "find a game."  They were masters at Euchre and could read each other's minds.  No one ever could beat them when they teamed up.  Ever.  Don't even try. Just hand over your quarters.

 If there was a situation and one needed advice, they called each other. And because of the way they were raised and because of the kind of guys they grew up to be they passed those values on to their own children.  If ever there was a bond between two people, it was between these two.

                                           Yesterday we buried Bob. He tried.  He tried hard.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Number 2 finish

 Well, I didn't think it would happen, and I didn't even have to do the hard part - piecing the blocks - but I did put the finish on my number two in the Chookshed Stitcher challenge, even though I spent the better part of the last month on a heating pad.  

These blocks were part of a retreat challenge/exchange.  We each gave a piece of fabric to everyone else and asked or didn't ask for something particular.  I gave the green with flower dot (you can see it on the basket closest to the bottom of the pic) and asked for baskets.  I didn't care what kind of basket, just baskets.  We were supposed to have them composed into something and finished, including the binding ( !! ) by retreat in April.  I like that this goes exactly end to end on the dining room table. 

I don't much like deadlines because life happens when you're trying to have fun and I needed to get this done well ahead of April.  And now I have.  Can't wait to see what number the spin of the wheel will give us for March!

Friday, February 9, 2024

Paczki (POONCH key)

 Recently we were talking on a zoom about paczki (POONCH key) and many wondered what they were.   Well, basically they are a jelly filled donut, you might know them as a bismark?  But I know them differently.

My Polish grandma used to make them and over time ate them all herself because she filled them with prunes, which was a traditional Polish filling.  No kid I ever knew would eat a prune even if a donut was wrapped around it. 

My Busia rolled hers in granulated sugar, she never used powdered sugar nor a glaze.  It was that sugar crunch that was traditional.  

The idea in the Old Country was to use up all the sugar, butter, lard and eggs, anything that might tempt you during Lent and get it out of the house. If it was rich and tasty and could spoil in the 40 days before Easter you used it up.  This started in the early 1700s.  This was traditionally a Fat THURSDAY thing, clearing out the cupboards of fattening, deliciousness before Lent.  Now, it's thought of as a Fat Tuesday thing to gorge yourself on donuts and decadence.  Back when I guess you needed the whole weekend to get the job done.  Now Fat Tuesday is marketed at Paczki Day and lines form. 

Many years ago bakeries began to really push this paczki thing and marketed them to the masses.  And thus the changes came.  Way back you could still find ethnic bakeries make paczki with prunes  but if they were going to expand their following and appeal to the masses they needed to be filled with other more popular fillings.  And cover them in different sugars, glazes, and even plain.  

Now you can get custard, cream, blueberry, raspberry, apple, lemon, strawberry, etc. And I can't find any with prunes.  Not where the masses shop.  If you found a bakery in a Polish neighborhood I'm sure they would offer prunes, but maybe not. Prunes have a reputation.

It's been many, many years since I've indulged in paczki (I know there is not "N" in the spelling but there IS in the prouncing) but since we recently had the conversation on zoom for the sake of research I went in search of some.  

Our local grocery store stocks them this way, mountains of them. And they start pushing them weeks and weeks ahead of time.  This grocery store started piling them up immediately after Christmas. But I am a bit of a pastry snob.  I don't want to buy a box of something with a sell by date stamped on them.  I want my baked goods the day they were made.  So I didn't buy any of these.

PH and I found a bakery. We had choices of flavors we could buy in singles.  For the sake of research you know, I bought blueberry, raspberry and strawberry.  And all are/were delicious.  

But if you aren't Polish nor feel the need to purge your house of anything with lard, butter, sugar and eggs you can go to the bakery anytime, any day and buy a Bismark.  It's the same thing. 

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Five Became Two


OK, well, deadlines being what they are I did a little rearranging and my number five became number two just for peace of mind. 

At our retreat a time and a half ago we all gave a piece of fabric and if we had specifics we asked for it.
I asked for baskets and gave the green print with little flower circles on it.  I also asked that the background read white. 
I love the colors and creativity everyone chose 
Our deadline was to have our blocks composed, quilted and bound by our next retreat in April. Well, I didn't need nor want to invest the time into a larger quilt so chose a table runner.  I measured this against the dining room table and it fits exactly edge to edge.  I had a perfect viny/berry print for borders and just did it.  And yes, it isn't as wrinkled in person but right now the floor is a long way away. 

But my back is not cooperating with my life right now and so far I have just one square quilted.  Hoping for the best soon....