Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday 55 & Da Count-Growth

FRIDAY 55


Petite reflection of my younger self twirls to the music only she can hear,
sings the song from her own soul,
invites the wallflower to dance with her,
bestows her smile like the sun when clouds part.
Forget your sadness.
Join the dance.
When her own steps falter sing her sweet song back to her.



DA COUNT

That 55 is one I wrote for Calypso about 2 years ago when she was having a touch time navigating difficulties with friends and it was taking a toll on her.

This past week Calypso and I have had some very good conversations. She has sometimes struggled to make good choices with regard to the people she gives her heart to, whether they are boys or girls. She is the one who friends go to when they are having problems because they know she will listen and offer support. She also has a tendency to be unwilling to discuss what goes on with her friends. This week she initiated a few discussions during which she analyzed some of the choices she has made, the effects, and the lessons she has learned which she hopes not to have to repeat.

This week she identified a particular cycle she has been a part of and has decided to step away from it (but not from the people) by setting boundaries. I'm proud of her for recognizing the difference between people and situations and finding a way to continue being a friend without getting sucked into the muck. She has also confided some things in me she never would have shared before. Finally, she has decided as far as boyfriends are concerned she is going to hold out for a fellow who displays substance and character, that it's better to be without a boyfriend than to be with one who is a jerk. Can someone give me an "Amen" on THAT?

Do I think it will be smooth sailing from here on out? No...but I am overjoyed at the growth she is showing and I told her so.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Slice of Lime-Jugs!

The snow day yesterday was one thing. If you live around here you know that prior to a snow day people freak out and run to the grocery store for bread and milk. They might be snowed in for a few hours and starve to death otherwise. So for today's Slice of Lime I'm showing you my jugs.



Yes, I'm still in my pajamas and bathrobe and no, I haven't combed my hair. Just keeping it real, folks.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wimps Need Not Apply

I live in an area that gets snow. Snow is not a rare occurrence. As such, it seems our road departments and schools ought to be reasonably well equipped to deal with it. Schools were canceled for today before the first flake of snow fell last night. I am typing this post out and setting it to post early because I intend to capitalize on the opportunity to sleep in. That said, I think it is silly to cancel school before the precipitation has commenced. Makes me wonder about the general survival skills of the decision makers so of course this is the prefect opportunity to waste time with highly scientific internet quizzes to determine my own survival skills.


At least if I had to face a class of angry kindergartners I could handle them.


Zombies seem to pose a bigger problem for me.
62%


But I am not half bad against a number of wild animals.


Brought To You By Favorite Sex Toys



Is this a good number of cannibals to be able to sustain or not? I haven't kept current with cannibal nutritional needs.
How many cannibals could your body feed?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating



I dunno, if this is so great either and I have no intention to seek hard evidence verifying this estimate.


At the very least I know how to dress for the weather...
cold.jpg

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Artsy Fartsy

As promised here are some shots from my trip to the art museum this weekend. I have left a few of the pictures in their original large file size in case anyone wants to click them to see some of the impressive details in the work.

First, the front of the museum. I love the architectural details on the column and the soffits. The blue sky didn't hurt either since we haven't seen a lot of that lately.



One of the galleries was given over to an exhibition of local high school students' artwork. Some of it was really very good. i thought this one called Career Day was quite clever and well done. This is one I've left in a large size if you are interested. Unfortunately, I forgot any writing implements so I forget who the artist was since I couldn't write it down.

The next gallery was given over to recent gifts. There was quite a lot of art glass from Steuben and Tiffany. My photo doesn't capture the iridescence of this piece very well but I chuckled as I was shooting it because I could see my reflection in the bowl of the glass.

Another piece of art glass fashioned to look like a growing onion. Again, I don't quite capture the true beauty but you can at least get the idea.


Next was an exhibit of a local potter who uses local clays and fires his wares with local materials like wood ash and corn husks added to the glazes. He uses some sort of very slow firing process in his kiln. The combinations of the various materials and slow firing give the unique gradations of color. I found the patterns on this large platter kind of mesmerizing. Sorry I don't recall the artist's name.


I loved this chair for a lot of reasons. It was made from found materials such as an old wagon wheel and leather strapping. It had very comfortable and elegantly sturdy look to it. I'm giving you the closeup shot because I like the shadow it cast on the wall.



I'm a big fan of portraits. Here is Capri Girl by John Singer Sargent. I left this file size large too so you could check the frame which intrigues me as much as the painting.


There was also a small gallery devoted to Asian sculpture. This is a depiction of the Shiva which came from a panel on a chariot. Again, I left this a large file in case anyone wants to study the details of the carving.


Here's Ganesh, just for Susie since I know she has a fondness for this character.


This is La Petite Pensee. I can't remember who the sculptor was but this piece just enchanted me. Her skin looks so soft and the delicate carving of details like the flower petals, the lace edging her kerchief, and even the folds in the fabric. I can't imagine the skill and time needed to produce something so amazing.



This is called Rising Day. It just embodied a sense of hope don't you think?


Finally there was a small showcase with antique Greek textiles. This is a detail of a beautiful wool and silk velvet woman's vest. The shot I took of the full garment was not very good.


This is another one of the Greek embroideries. The colors don't show up as well as I'd like since there was a greater contrast in the 2 shades of red used but I still like the geometry of the pattern.

Hope you enjoyed the little tour. Which piece was your favorite?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Weekend Report

Well, I did have my weekend alone. I was in sort of a crud mood on Friday with all my conflicted feelings about the weekend. On the orders of a geographically removed friend I organized a group of pals to go see Slumdog Millionaire on Friday night. I had wanted to see it for a while but it wasn't showing anywhere nearby. I finally found a theater within a decent distance where it was showing so 5 of us hauled on over to check the movie out. I think all but one of them was ready to pelt me with popcorn because they were expecting something light and fluffy, which Slumdog definitely is not. I loved it though and thought it was really well done. there are some scenes that are difficult to watch for some people, there is no denying that, but it's kind of hard to portray the life of a street kid in Mumbai without some tough scenes. That said, every unpleasant thing is in the movie for a reason and it has a resolution that is satisfying. I also really liked that, aside from the typical boy meets girl storyline, there is an exploration of how people in identical circumstances respond differently and make different choices. The choices reveal a person's character and there are consequences for each set of choices. I like very much that the characters have a certain complexity to them, good people do some bad things, bad people do some good things, everyone wrestles with their choices and the outcomes. It's messy like real life, but hopeful. Good flick, go see it.

So that was Friday night. Having been convinced that an entire day of hibernation would have been more of a giving in to a bad mood I thought Saturday ought to be about something I don't often get to do but really wanted to. I have been wanting to go to the Philadelphia Art Museum for a while now but it is kind of a long hike from where I am so I went to a smaller on that was closer to home. It was a little disappointing to get there and find half of the place was closed (no indication on their website that such was the case and no one informed me of that until I paid my admission....grrrr) but I did enjoy what was available for my perusal. I was delighted to be able to linger over things and actually read the exhibit text without someone trying to drag me off to the next thing or whining about how boring an art museum is. That was deliciously leisurely and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I took a bunch of pictures. I hope to share the best ones tomorrow.

If I had any smarts at all I would have chosen a different activity for after the art museum but I made an unwise choice and paid for it. There is a mall not far from the museum. In said mall is a particular store which I have avoided for a number of years but for which I was given a gift certificate. I don't get this way often, the store does not exist in my own town so I thought, "I am here I will try to use this gift card." DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!

Now let me pause because I suspect a great many of my female readers will feel some degree of envy when I say my gift card was for Victoria's Secret. I truly loathe VS. Forgive me and let me tell you why. Let me also say I do not want to appear ungrateful because I know the gift was given with love and only the best intentions and for that I am truly appreciative. The friend who bestowed it upon me knows I don't often splurge on things for myself and she wanted me to have something special. She is a sweetheart in that regard. VS is another matter entirely. First of all, I am not very much the frilly girly sort. I don't go around in granny panties and old lady bras. I like them to match and look nice but I wear them mainly for their containment properties, not their frills. Second, If you are over 25 (check) and weigh more than 110 pounds (double check) the staff look at you askance (at least that has been my experience the few times I have braved the place).

I tried on an armload of bras in my size and not one of them fit. I asked the girl to size me and she told me I had the wrong size. She brought back several in the "right" size for me to try. They were far worse than what I started with. I tried to warn her that shoehorning "the girls" into the bra size she was suggesting was going to put significant strain on the flimsy engineering of said undergarment. In fact, we'd be lucky not to loose an eye. But who I am, a frumpish middle-aged woman who has been hefting around this particular rack since age 13 to know better than you, a highly trained fitter of boulder holders who should also be very familiar with the product line your store offers? I bow to your expertise...and pray the bra hooks don't give way. Not a single bra fit properly and I had no interest in trying anymore so I thought I'd find a t-shirt or pj pants instead. I tried XLs and not one of them fit. I left in disgust. Have I ever mentioned I hate VS? The mental scarring is not worth it.

I drove home and consoled myself at the local Chinese buffet. A plate of fried rice, lo mein, pepper chicken, veggies, and such helped remedy the trauma that was VS and insured I may require hydraulics in my next bra. The next morning I joined the pals who had accompanied me to the movie to help cook a spaghetti dinner for the church and then came home just moments before my family returned from their weekend. So all in all it was a good weekend.

Speaking of Chinese...it is Chinese New Year so may I leave you all with best wishes for the year of the Ox. Works for me...how about you all?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Not a 55 or a Count-Alone


Secretly
silently
slowly
receding.
Tresses trail.
Velvet veil
isolates
insulates
darkens
incubates.





This is actually something I posted about 2 years ago. I'm lacking inspiration once again. The spousal unit and progeny are leaving tonight for a couple of days. I'm conflicted. Part of me wants to go along. Part of me wants to spend the time alone productively. Part of me wants to go explore. Part of me wants to hibernate. We shall see...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Slice of Lime-Magic Bus

Here is another retro style Slice of Lime. After an exchange with Cooper discussing the merits of old VWs I decided this would make for an easy post today.

Prior to entering into the blissful bonds of matrimony, Mr. Lime owned a 1969 VW bus. When we were in college together we were also both members of a small comedy/drama group. The bus became our official vehicle for traveling gigs, mainly because it was the only thing that could carry all of us as well as our equipment...not because of any reliability in the service it provided.

Regardless of reliability it was a fun buggy with lots of personality. Here's our little group getting ready to strain the limits of our beloved bus' functionality. In January of 1987 we took a trip from central Pennsylvania to Kentucky. The goal was to go do some shows and in between to provide service for a local charitable organization in rural Appalachia. We all look so excited and hopeful don't we? Please excuse the Pepto-Bismol sweater I am wearing. Mr. Lime loved that sweater. He was also fond of a pair of camo pants I was given to wearing. I wore both frequently but never at the same time.


The trip should have taken about 11 hours. It took 15. Did I mention the bus lacked heat exchangers? And it was January? And the transmission was kind of touchy? And this vehicle was not known for its get up and go? Yeah, it was a looooong, cold trip, hence the many blankets and sleeping bags. At one point we were passed by a tandem tractor trailer...going uphill...on a steep mountain. There were 3 drivers who could operate a stick shift but only Mr. Lime had mastered the peculiarities of this particular transmission. We were a little worried about getting to Kentucky at all. In fact, we all prayed rather desperately that we would indeed make it that far. We learned specificity in prayer is advisable because upon crossing the border into Kentucky we decided to try to thaw out at the first local eatery we found. When we came back out of the restaurant the bus would not start at all.

Thus, we found ourselves stranded in Kentucky a few hours away from our final destination. Through a relay of phone calls made to the one person we knew in the state we found a place who could fix the bus and some very gracious folks willing to put up a gang of near frozen college students who had not planned on hotel fees since they had free housing arranged for where they were ultimately headed. When we finally got where we intended to be we were more than a bit off kilter from the long, cold ride, the unexpected delay, and the cramped quarters. Ok, so what we were really doing there was playing Funny Bones, which is sort of a standing up version of Twister where you have to sandwich big playing cards between assigned body parts without dropping previously placed cards.


The girls mostly worked at a childcare center and the guys were doing home repairs for some fairly impoverished folks. During their travels the guys found a VW graveyard. Mr. Lime stopped to ask if the owner had a set of heat exchangers he'd be willing to part with so we could be just a teensy bit warmer on the return trip. Fortunately, he did and so we had them installed. Here I am employing my superhuman strength to jack the bus up so they could be installed.
We made it home without incident and continued to enjoy the bus for another year or so before it finally let Mr. Lime sit one too many times and he decided to sell it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inside the Bloggers Studio

Ella took part in an interview and offered to interview folks. I have been having a hard time coming up with post ideas lately so I volunteered and she gave me the questions James Lipton always ends his interviews with.
  • What is your favorite word? Tintinnabulation trips off the tongue terrifically. With the OED containing over 171,000 words in current use and over 47,000 obsolete words it's really difficult to narrow it down. And that's just English...Heck, here's a whole post just on favorite words!

  • What is your least favorite word? Same problem as above, though "hate" ranks high on the list.

  • What turns you on creatively, spiritually, emotionally? Excellence, skill, openness, intimacy, tenderness, sincerity.

  • What turns you off? Blatant disregard, rudeness, selfishness.

  • What sound do you love?The one a tree makes when it falls in the forest and no one is there.

  • What sound do you hate? When someone eats loudly it really makes me want to poke them with a fork...HARD...repeatedly...until they stop.

  • What is your favorite curse word? Chingar, although the English equivalent has it's merits too.

  • What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Children's librarian, but I'd be open to being paid a living wage to blog.

  • What profession would you not like to do? Pretty much anything featured on Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs, though I do enjoy watching him perform them.

  • If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? So glad to see you, I was expecting you. You done good, kiddo.

If any of you want to be interviewed you can either steal this list of questions or I will generate 5 original questions. Just let me know your preference.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Presidential Firsts

Much is being made of the history making inauguration of Barack Obama, our first African-American President. It certainly is a momentous occasion. Here are some other, less momentous presidential firsts.
  • Ulysses S. Grant was the first to run against a woman. His opponent was Victoria Woodhull, a former prostitute who was the nominee of the Equal Rights Party.
  • Abraham Lincoln was the first to receive a patent.
  • Millard Filmore was the first to have a stepmother.
  • Herbert Hoover was the first millionaire and the first to have a telephone on his desk.
  • FDR was the first to appear on TV and made the first Presidential flight.
  • Jimmy Carter was the first born in a hospital.
  • Benjamin Harrison was the first to attend a baseball game.
  • William Harrison was the first to die in office.
  • Martin Van Buren was the first who was born as a US citizen. He was also the first president born after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Richard Nixon was the first to visit all 50 states.
  • Teddy Roosevelt was the first to travel abroad while in office.
  • John Quincy Adams was the first to reach the office of President without winning the popular vote. He was also the first son of a former president to ascend to the office.
  • Warren Harding was the first to ride to his inauguration in an automobile and the first to speak on the radio.



*Information from biography.com, nationalgeographic.com, and enarta.msn.com

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK, Jr.

He has been one of my heroes since I was about 8 years old and I first read about him. I always loved biographies so even as a child I quickly went searching for anything I could find about him. His adherence to nonviolence at personal cost astonished my young mind.

While I am glad we take a day to remember his work and his message I sometimes fear there is a danger of him becoming more of a mythic character reduced to embellished stories like George Washington and that cherry tree he never really cut down or Lincoln and his log cabin beginnings. I don't like that it has happened to those two presidents and I certainly hope it doesn't happen to MLK, Jr. though I already see evidence. His "I Have a Dream Speech" is reduced to the one or two snippets that make for pithy soundbites. In elementary school my kids came home with coloring pages with a brief caption.

Take a moment and read the text of his speech and consider it in its entirety.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I Have a Dream"
delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday 55 & Da Count- Andrew Wyeth's Winter Corn

Winter Corn
Andrew Wyeth
1948

Sprouts poke through earth,
children eager to heed the sun's instruction.
Lanky summer youths in fine array
beckon in the breeze,
"Come dance, come play,"
before yielding a golden harvest
in the softening autumn light.
Battered, chapped,
winter sentries
wearily hold formation,
waiting to be felled,
their remains shrouded
beneath a chenille blanket of snow.



DA COUNT

I was thinking last night of what to post for either a 55 or a count today and though there is always much to be thankful for I was feeling kind of bereft of inspiration. What few ideas I had felt forced. I got up this morning and perused the headlines. I was sad to see that American painter, Andrew Wyeth, has died. I am by no means well educated in art but I have always liked his works. I enjoy realism and portraiture so his style and subjects appeal to me in that way. He's also a son of Pennsylvania and spent his life outside of Philadelphia not terribly far from where I grew up so even when he turned his eye to landscapes and still life work it was often a vision that was familiar, just seen through an artist's eye.

I decided to flip through an online gallery of his paintings to see which one spoke to me for a 55 since it's been a long time since I wrote one inspired by a work of art. I got a little lost in the gallery, hence the lateness of this post. So many were utterly captivating but the corn whispered to me. Corn fields very much give me a feeling of being home. I love the way they change the landscape over the course of the year. Now you may really laugh at this but, I love that corn is a New World crop. It just plain belongs here (not to say it can't go anywhere else).

This all seems kind of stream of conscious I suppose but I guess it boils down to this: corn is home, Andrew Wyeth is home. The beauty of the natural world and the art of man are home for me. Home is where your soul finds rest.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Slice of Lime-Sweet Pea

As promised on Monday, here are some Sweet Pea pictures from when I got to dote on her. It's been a while since I did a musical Slice of Lime post but today it's called for. The music is as sweet as the baby. Since I am kind of a technological dolt in some ways I don't know how to embed a groovy little music player in a post so just click the YouTube thingy and listen while you read. And yes, Auntie Lime tie-dyed the socks Sweet Pea is wearing, as well as some sheets and onesies not pictured



Sweet Pea


Sweet pea
apple of my eyes
Don't know when and I don't know why
You're the only reason I keep on coming home
Sweet pea
What's all this about
Don't get your way all you do is fuss and pout
You're the only reason I keep on coming home

I'm like the rock of Gibraltar
I always seem to falter
And the words just get in the way
Oh I know I'm gonna crumble
I'm trying to stay humble
But I never think before I say

Sweet pea
Keeper of my soul
I know sometimes I'm out of control
You're the only reason I keep on coming
You're the only reason I keep on coming yeah
You're the only reason I keep on coming home

~Amos Lee~

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Signs of an Unwell Mind

A couple of nights ago I pulled the bag of potatoes out of the pantry. Honestly, they haven't been there long enough that they should be sprouting. A few of them had poked right through the bag. Normal people might have thrown the spuds away. You already know I am not normal. I was repulsed and inspired simultaneously.




Calypso saw me taking pictures and added some of her own ideas as to how to utilize the spuds that were trying to either escape my kitchen or were plotting to kill us in our sleep. You can pick your nose. You can pick your potatoes. Now your potatoes can pick your nose.


She was going for the spokesmodel with a spud eye dropper here and yes, she is adorable but I am not seeing eye to eye (har har har) with that notion. I'm just a wee tad creeped out by the possibility of that thing possibly crawling through her eye and up into her brain where it takes root as it slowly turns her into some sort of tuberous zombie.




Diana was not impressed by our antics. The only creativity she wanted was that which would fill her stomach. I bet she wouldn't even crack a smile at the cheesy little French moustaches and beards I gave my dueling spuds.



Recognizing that I was not going to start cooking until she participated in the lunacy, Diana finally offered her own use for the rogue roots. Ever been flipped off by a potato?
Alright, already....I got down to the business of making latkes and we feasted on the wild spuds before they could feast on us. And no, this is not the first time the potatoes in my house have tried to foment rebellion. Here's pictorial evidence of The Spud Skirmish of 2006.




Last night's dinner was far more sedate and decorous as we feasted on Porcupine Balls thanks to Kat's posting of her recipe. Serve something called Porcupine Balls to three teenagers and wait for the comments to start. Dinner conversation will be roughly akin to the SNL "Schweddy Balls" sketch....only with meat...uh, yeah, with meat.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quilts on Tuesday-Let's Go Crazy

Here is one more of the quilts that was found in my grandmother's cedar chest. I am not in possession of this one, which is a crazy quilt. My stepmother held onto it because it is her favorite. I have always been fond of crazy quilts myself. I did take a picture of it though so I could share with you all and so I could ask my mom what she knew about it. Mom seems to think the crazy quilt was more related to my grandfather than my grandmother. She believes it was either given to him by his grandmother or possibly by his mother-in-law. I'm going to have to do a bit more investigation into that because my stepmother had it appraised many years ago and the appraiser seemed to think this quilt was produced in the 1940s, at which point I believe Pop-pop's grandmother was already dead.

In any event, let me give you a little information on crazy quilts in general. From what I have read, crazy quilting was a Victorian fad that generally combined fine fabrics such as silks, velvets, and brocades in asymmetrical, seemingly random patchwork patterns. The patches were sewn to a base fabric then embellished with ribbons, lace, buttons, or embroidered motifs. The borders of each patch were also stitched decoratively. No insulating batting layer was used between the front and back. On one quilt there could be several different patterns of these joining stitches. Early crazy quilts were often intended to be a decorative showpiece of the quilter's needle skills more than to be a functional bed covering providing warmth.

However, the one our family has is not a Victorian quilt. Later, it was more common to find rayon crazy quilts made with a batting and the quilts were tied through each patch. This allowed for warmth, and greater durability so the quilt could function as a useful bed covering. On our quilt there is still the haphazard patch placement and the decorative border stitches. There are also multiple thread colors in the border stitches but only one pattern used throughout the quilt. There is heft to our quilt and you can feel that there is a layer of batting that feels like either an old blanket or possibly a threadbare older quilt. Ours is less fancy and more utilitarian than the Victorian crazy quilts but I still love its wild splash of colors. I don't suppose that comes as a shock to any of you though.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Oh Baby!

Yesterday I finally got to meet my dear friend's baby, Sweet Pea in person. Actually, I got to do more then meet her. I got to cuddle her all afternoon. And no, Sweet Pea isn't her real name. I am invoking "Auntie's prerogative" to give her a nickname. She is just a sweet, cuddly little bundle of adorableness who barely made a peep for the 6 hours I was visiting...Yeah, Auntie Lime hung around a long time but she lives far away, is an undemanding guest, and no one was kicking her out.

She was just waking up when I got there so I had a quick snuggle before she started rooting around looking for the goods. Since my well ran dry a long, long time ago I handed Sweet Pea over to Mama Pea. Sweet Pea was much relieved by that. After a full belly and a clean bum she was ready for some more Auntie loving. She fussed a bit about how hard it is to be almost two weeks old and I told her I understood. I helped her blow some bubbles out both ends and then she quite contentedly decided Auntie Lime's shoulder was a dandy place for a snooze. Fortunately for me, Mama Pea didn't mind letting me have Sweet Pea doze in my arms (you know, some mamas insist on cribs and cradles for fear that babies will get too accustomed to being held while they sleep) so I just soaked up all the soft, pink snuggliness until she got hungry again. It was a really hard day, let me tell you.

Sweet Pea is healthy, happy, and too cute for words. Mama Pea is recovering well. She and Papa Pea are head over heels in love with Sweet Pea so all is as it should be in their world. I have decided they simply need to move back here so I can properly dote on Sweet Pea...both for her sake and mine. I've discovered the antidote to an atmosphere heavy laden with adolescence. It comes swaddled and cooing.

*I did take pictures but I got home pretty late and haven't had time to download them or fiddle with them yet. They'll come later this week.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday 55-Harbin Ice Festival

*image from boingboing.net




The wind sweeps down
from the far corners of the world
gusting across the plains,
whistling through the trees.
The gales moan and howl
as they batter and chap
those they toss along.
The blustering gives way
to a haunting melody
gently beckoning
as it softly swells
and draws those
who fall under its charm.



Thursday, January 08, 2009

Slice of Lime-Tie Dye Madness

So this weekend I went on a tie dyeing binge. It's been about a year since I broke out the rubber gloves, buckets, squeeze bottles and string. I did 18 t-shirts, 8 dinner napkins, 3 pair of socks, and a partridge in a pear....no, wait, the bird got away. There is one other item I did but won't mention or share at this time because it's a surprise for someone who reads me. Aren't you all wondering now? Ok, so the wash line here only shows a few of the shirts I did but it was kind of nice to see some color splashed against all the white snow.



Though my limelets have rebelled against tie dyes for a number of years now, Calypso has recently seen the light and decided she wants some of her own. Her objection is the bagginess of the t-shirts so she handed over her one form fitting white t-shirt with the request that I make a rainbow swirl on it. Here are the results. She was pleased. Apparently when she wore it around some friends one of them asked her if I would do a short for him too. Maybe the old lady isn't so uncool after all if the youngsters want her stuff.


This next one was an experiment. I get bored doing the same pattern over and over again so I fooled around with different folds to see what I'd get. I liked it! Once the dye is on the garments they have to sit around for 24 hours waiting for all the happy chemical reactions to take place to permanently affix the color to the fabric. I can hardly wait the full time before opening them up to see the results. I know what patterns I am going for. I know what colors I used. But it's still a surprise to see exactly how it all turns out once they are opened up and washed out. Maybe I am weird but it's like Christmas morning when I unwrap all the shirts and other things. I get very excited. If something flops though it's kind of like getting that great big pink bunny suit like in A Christmas Story. Fortunately that doesn't happen to often so it's usually more like getting that Red Ryder BB gun.
Since I am trying to reduce, reuse, and recycle I have been weaning the Lime family off paper napkins and using cloth ones more often. I decided to dye a bunch. They were perfect for using up the small amounts of dye left over after doing the big items. Almost too pretty to wipe your mouth on, huh?

I took bunches of pictures of the finished products but forgot to take any new pictures of me in the tie dyes for this week so here are some of my old favorites in tie dyes I have also done.

Dance of the 7 Dishtowels
Sock it to Me
How'd She Do That?
My Favorite Sheets

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I Am Not Making This Up

Moose had this quiz on her blog and I had to take it. I answered honestly and did not tweak any answers in an attempt to manipulate the results. Believe it or not this is what I came up with. It would seem I was destined for my date with a zipline.





You Should Fly on a Trapeze



Some people may call you a daredevil. Others would call you an adrenaline junkie.
(I believe my mother, and not a few other people, just called me foolish.)

But for you, it's not about the risk - it's all about the reward.
(It's about remaining a kid and the adrenaline rush.)



You crave freedom. And flying on a trapeze is the closest you'll get to that freedom.
(The sudden landings are not terribly freeing though.)

The rush of doing something humans weren't born to do is amazing. And you're willing to put your life in danger to experience it.
(Shaddup, just shaddup. Yes, I'd go on a zipline again but only with a harness or a net from now on!)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Quilts on Tuesday-Old Quilts in a New Year

For Diana's birthday my dad and stepmother gave her my grandmother's cedar chest. At that time I acquired most of the quilts which were stored inside the chest. I'm not entirely sure who made most of them but two that were inside I know my mother made. This first one I remember her working on. My grandmother was a cat lover. She always had a cat in the house. She also had a large collection of cat figurines. When my mom offered to make her a quilt she naturally wanted cats on it. In case there was any doubt that this was a quilt enjoyed by a cat lover, when I opened it up I found it covered in cat hair. I took a picture of it and immediately put it in the wash. Some of the old quilts I have I'd be afraid to wash but this one seems to have held up pretty well.



Here's a close up of one of the appliqued blocks. You can also see the hand quilting around the edge of the block and a little on the backing peeking out underneath where I folded it back.


Next is the quilt Mom made for my grandfather, who was a WW2 Navy vet. I only took this close up because it's unlikely the quilting would have shown up very well in a shot of the full quilt. The top is simply solid blue with most of it quilted in the anchor motif. The border is waves. The corner folded over shows the backing. I don't remember Mom working on this one but I do remember Pop-Pop tearing up when she gave it to him. Once he composed himself he talked with her about the techniques she used (he was fairly skilled with a needle himself) and praised her skill.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Year in Review

Citizen of the World strung the first sentence of the first post of each month together in a paragraph. I rather liked the disjointed prose that produced so I am stealing the idea.

As you know, I have been sharing various Pennsylvania German traditions lately. Well, the house is clean. Arrived safe and sound today. It's recipe time again. I don't have any ideas for today that wow me. Tired of all of those surveys made up by high school kids? As we near our Independence Day celebration I have a confession to make. No, I did not fall off the face of the earth. It is 6:21am and Diana and Calypso are already on the bus. Not that long ago I had 32 teaspoons. The circus will be pulling out of town soon. Today is opening day of deer season in Pennsylvania.

Kinda makes your head spin doesn't it?

Not to make your heads spin any worse but....The new year has started off rather dramatically. As you know, my dear friend had her baby. That's the really happy news. I was hoping to go visit her and meet Sweet Pea on Sunday. Unfortunately, I spent the afternoon in another hospital with different friends. On New Year's night the couple's 11 yer old daughter found her mother unresponsive. When she tired to rouse her mother the woman began vomiting and convulsing. As it turns out a brain aneurysm had just burst. In addition to the severity of the aneurysm, she has suffered severe trauma to her heart and has pneumonia due to aspirating vomit. She is in extremely critical condition. The couple also has 15 year old twins. Prayers, good thoughts, positive energy....whatever you'd like to direct toward this woman and her family would be truly appreciated. No matter the outcome, things are going to be very difficult.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday 55 & da Count-Auntie

FRIDAY 55

There's a knock on the door
before an invitation to help walk the dog.
My kids scramble out the door giggling happily.
I have a few blissful moments of quiet.
There's a crying girl.
A shoulder and an ear are offered.
Advice is shared.
Soon all is well.
A special auntie is worth her weight in gold.




DA COUNT

I'm excited for my friend who just had her first child. She's been trying for a while and it's a joy she and her husband have been anticipating. When she lived close by she was not only my best friend but she was a friend to my kids. She'd wander by the house and sweep them up for a walk or adventure. Her visits always involved time spent fussing over my kids and sharing in whatever fun they were having. As my girls got older she became a confidante for them. When we were out running around it was common for us to pop in on her too. My kids still call her Auntie. It was hard to have her move away and lose those spontaneous visits. Even though we aren't as geographically close anymore I look forward to being able to be an auntie to her precious little one.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Welcome Wee One


My best friend's sweet pea made her entrance on Tuesday. Welcome to the world, little lovely.