Monday, August 31, 2009

Lime Bime Bo-Bime Banana Fana Fo Fime

Name Game

1.Your rock star name (pet, current car)
Igor Gracie (Iggy Pop's less successful cousin)

2.Your gangsta name (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe)
Peanut Butter Ripple Birkenstock (Doesn't that handle make ya quake in your shoes?)

3.Your Native American name (favorite color, favorite animal)
Tie-dye Iguana (If you see one of these you've obviously been hitting the peyote kinda hard.)

4.Your soap opera name (middle name, city where you were born)
Mabel Suburb (Doesn't she sound glamorous?)

5.Your Star Wars name (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 of your first name)

6.Superhero name (2nd favorite color, favorite drink)
Puce and Pomegranate Polka Dotted Water (defender of truth, justice, and the snarky way)

7.NASCAR name (the first names of your grandfathers)
Ray Russell (If that doesn't conjure images of inbreeding...)

8.Dancer name (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy)
Chocolate Hugh (Excuse me, I need a private moment...)

9.TV weather anchor name (your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Houck Helsinki (Good morning, campers. bundle up because it's cooooold out there.)

10.Spy name (your favorite season/holiday, flower)
Buck Dandelion (James Bond only wishes his name were this cool.)

11.Cartoon name:(favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now)
Kumquat Mariachi Jacket (What? You have a problem with that?)

12.Hippie name (what you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Cold Pizza Money (If I said Granola Willow it would just be way too cooperative)

13.Movie star name (pet, street where you lived)
Newt East Fourth (Though my publicist advised me to take a different stage name.)

So, now that this sort of silliness is out of the way I will tell you that during the weekend I went to visit some friends. We traded tales of unusual names. They challenged me to properly pronounce 2 of them. These are actual names, not made up. I challenge you to submit your phonetically spelled guesses as to the correct pronunciation in the comments. Ready? (Keep in mind, as Dave Barry says, " I am NOT making this up.")

1. La-a

2. Shithead

Also, please feel free to share the unusual names you've come across in life.
I once knew a Korean law student named Sue Yoo.
I've met a man named Dick Shook.
Mr. Lime went to school with a Justin Case.
Mr. Lime also had a student from Africa whose name was pronounced YouWanna Eeshit. I have no idea who it was spelled.
We also know a man whose last name is Moore. When his wife gave birth to their 5th child they named him Noah...Noah Moore.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday 55 & Da Count-Crashing & Clashing


My browser keeps crashing.
I never want to crash another car.
The teens in this house are clashing with each other and their parents.
I feel like someone is crashing cymbals in my head.
I'm behind on laundry so my outfits clash.
I am going to go crawl in bed and crash for a while.

I got far enough through the laundry to have clean sheets on the bed where I am crashing.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Slice of Lime-Leaving the Nest and Feathering a New One

As I mentioned, the finishing of the quilt came down to the wire. I finished clipping the raw edges the morning we had to take Diana to school. Then I had to take it to the laundromat to wash and dry. It took a loooong time to dry. What was I to do while sitting there waiting. Oh, I can take a Slice of Lime picture!* Tada!

Also as previously noted, I had just enough time to throw the quilt on the line and take a few pictures before it was time to load up Jezebel the truck and head out looking like the Clampetts so we could deposit Ellie Mae Diana at one of them there fancy colleges. At this juncture I'd like you to take note of the expression of misery on Calypso's face. The child is not happy about her sister being away. Isaac, on the other hand, sang the following ditty to the tune of "Ding dong, the Witch is Dead."
Ding dong she's finally gone,
I can't wait.
It's gonna be great!
Ding dong the belligerent one
is gone.

Since I was somewhat rushed upon returning from the laundromat I forgot my good camera. Dangit! The rest of the pictures are with my camera phone which doesn't do so well in certain situations. While Calypso was sinking into depression, I was heartened to note all the dorm staff bedecked in brand new tie dye shirts.

Exhibit A on the rotten results the camera phone gets in low light. We got Diana all settled in (note the quilt on the bed). For her sake I was glad to see the walls were a basic white, not the putrid institution green when I was a lowly freshman at this very same school a long, long time ago. It was also clear to see that while we thought Diana had taken everything but the kitchen sink she was far more restrained than what we saw being hauled into a number of other cubicles. Oh, and they now have cable TV hookups in each room! You gotta be kidding me! We weren't allowed a TV in our rooms at all! There was one TV in the lounge, no cable, and you'd better hope you liked whatever everyone else liked to watch. Cable TV in the THAT what the room and board fee goes for? Sheesh.

It was kind of sweet to see what sorts of "comfort" items Diana packed to take with her. There was a little pillow she made in Home Ec., a couple of stuffed animals, and most touching to me....Silky. Silky is the blanket I designed and cross stitched for her when she was a baby. Once upon a time it had a satin binding she liked to fold into a point and hold in her pudgy little hand to flick while she sucked her thumb. Silky's binding has been worn to a fray. So here sits Silky atop the newest comfort item, the quilt now dubbed "Fuzzy."

Everything was in order so we had one last hug. Good luck, kiddo. We love you.

*No Limes entered washers or dryers during the process of cleaning the quilt or preparing this post.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Yes, I Did!

Way back in February I put up this post where I said I was going to make a quilt. It's got a picture of yards and yards of fabric that needed to be cut into squares. By the end of that month I actually had all 900 squares cut. You can see that pile at the end of this post. They sat for a while before I assembled some of the 3 layer sandwiches. The first ones were completed just before I wrecked Beulah the minivan of love. Then they sat until the end of July or so when was able to sit at a sewing machine for long enough periods to get anything done. I figured I'd better kick it up a notch or two to get this thing done in time for Diana to take it to college. Then I began running into a few roadblocks, not the least of which was the "Great Spackle Incident."

Monday I finished sewing. Tuesday I began the arduous task of clipping all the raw edges. Since this is a rag quilt the seams are left unfinished on the top and then clipped every half inch or so in order that when it is washed those edges fray, giving it a fuzzy appearance. The clipping took a much longer time than I anticipated. I am glad I was smart enough to invest in this spring loaded set of snips which automatically open back up after you take a snip, otherwise I might still be clipping.

After finishing the clipping late Tuesday morning (did I mention we had to leave to take Diana to school at 3:00 pm?) I dashed off to a couple of last minute errands then the laundromat to wash and dry the quilt so as to remove spackle crud and hasten the fraying. I think my mind was a little frayed so I guess it was good that I found this sign on the washing machines otherwise I may have gotten confused and climbed in myself. Seriously though, makes you wonder what sort of lawsuit occurred that requires this warning now, eh?

No such warnings were posted on the dryers so theoretically you can tumble dry your kids if you hose them off outside first. The quilt took forever to dry. I kept pumping quarters into the machine and cranking it to high heat.

I got home all of 15 minutes before it was time to pile into the truck and take the kid to her dorm. That was just enough time to throw it over the washline and snap a few pictures of the finished product. Here is what the back of the quilt looks like (except that top row flipped over). The back is all neat and tidy with no raw edges showing...

...unlike the front which is all fuzzy.

(There were a couple more pictures of the process before clipping but Blogger is being a pain and won't let me upload anything else right now.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not incarcerated yet thanks to my own procrastination.\

I've been sewing furiously. The quilt is fully assembled but now needs every seam clipped before I haul it to the laundomat to wash it. I spent 4 hours sewing last night and another 3 today to finish assembly. I've been clipping for the last 2 hours and still have over half the quilt to clip but my right hand it beginning to curl into a claw and my shoulder is completely tensed up. Diana goes to college tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if I can manage to finish thing fully in time.

The combination of spackle dust lint which coat the mucous membranes of my nose, sinuses, and lungs provide an interesting manner of asphyxiation. Excuse me while I hork up a hair ball and blow some particularly interesting snot rockets. (You know, that rednecky maneuver where you just close one nostril and shoot the snot out the other one.) I figure if I can work up enough respiratory force they could be some deadly projectiles once I give them enough time to harden up.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Just in Case I Should Fail to Post... may want to check news reports for a Pennsylvania woman who is now in prison after intentionally smashing her husband in the head with the tailgate of an old minivan.

I came home from a night away to find Mr. Lime sanding spackle in the den and all the contents therein covered in a layer of spackle dust.

The den is where we have an entire wall of books.

There are 4 large pieces of upholstered furniture and a rug.

Finally, and this is the one that really made me hit the roof...

It is also where my sewing machine and all the pieces to Diana's quilt are. The quilt which I have already spent countless hours on. The quilt which I am trying desperately to finish in the next few days so it is ready for Diana to take to college.

NONE of the aforementioned items were removed from the room or covered protectively before sanding commenced (nor was I given notice prior to my departure that he intended to sand while I was gone in order that I may have moved the sewing machine and quilt) even though we earlier discussed the need to make sure this occurred in order to prevent a huge mess AND aggravation of symptoms for the 3 members of this household who have asthma.

Should I successfully suppress my more violent desires and get the quilt cleaned up and in order I will post about something more generally edifying as soon as possible.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday 55 & Da Count- Bella Sings


You have met Bella before. You know she's a beauty.
Sunday when Lisa came back to pick up Jacob she brought a very talented friend.
He played Bella and made her sing. He was quite taken with her.
I was just happy to hear her played beautifully and to see her being enjoyed and loved.

Lisa's friend told me some things I didn't know about both Bella and the other instrument I'll show you. They both asked for some pictures to share with a luthier pal who is very knowledgeable. Thought I'd share them with you too.

Guitarscape of Bella (Gibson ES 125 ca. 1950)

Grampop's double neck lap steel. This is also a Gibson. I learned why I've never been able to find this model on their website. Mom tells me her dad had it custom made. I know he had a Country/Western band and a Hawaiian band back in the late 30's early 40s.

I learned humbucker pickups are insanely valuable. This isn't a humbucker but I liked how the shot came out.

I already knew the Gibson logo here dated the lap steel as older than Bella.

I like the way the mechanisms are exposed here. On Bella they are boxed in.

I was surprised to find my reflection in the key on this shot when I downloaded the pictures. I giggled when I found it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Slice of Lime-Unexpected Gifts

As you know I had (EDIT: as Craver noted in the comments this conjures redneck images. Yikes!) took care of my cousin's son Jacob last weekend. I enjoyed having him here very much. When Lisa came back she surprised me with the lovely necklace I'm wearing in the picture. The picture doesn't quite do it justice but it's all I have right now. It was a sweet bonus. I love it and I love my cousin (even if she didn't bring me jewelry, just so we are clear on that).

Yesterday I had a semi-spontaneous visit from Sweet Pea and her mom. That's always a nice surprise. I got to surprise them back. Some time ago I was informed that Sweet Pea had outgrown the first set of tie dye I had given her. I had some new psychedelic baby duds for her. Here she is in her newest ensemble.

Naturally, we had to pose together each in our tie dye duds. Looking groovy, baby!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Flattery Gets You a Meme

Beach Bum got me this time. He tagged me with the following statement:

"Because her beauty and intelligence is only exceeded by writing and culinary talents."

Well, shucks, how can anyone say no to that? Although he did direct me to "cough up some inspired crap." The physiology of following those particular instructions would yield some really unpleasant results, I'm afraid.

The rules of this meme involve opening the fourth file where I store pictures and then chose the the fourth picture in that file then write an explanation of that photograph, so here it goes.

This particular picture is not in fact the fourth picture in my fourth folder because I did this very meme a long time ago and sort of followed the rules. I still have the same folders in the same order from that long ago so I am just picking the fourth picture in my most recent folder. Ok, so that wasn't very interesting either. When have you ever known me to cooperate with meme rules anyway? You want that sort of mindless lock step behavior you came to the wrong blog. I'm sticking my head out the window and shouting my unwillingness to conform! "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!"

Ok, sorry, didn't mean to get so riled up there. A blogger could have her head explode getting worked up that much over something as silly as a meme. And by golly, isn't that the perfect segue to the story of this picture of such a lovely little doll? It's so sweet and innocent you may wonder how exploding heads (which seems like it would be a darned fine name for a rock band if it weren't so close to Talking Heads, but maybe they could suggest it means toilets that go boom. Oh, I dunno, now I am thinking of the Boom Town Rats and Bob Geldoff and good grief, if he gets a hold of this story he may go out and need to do a giant benefit concert for kids with no dolls or dolls that got blown up in mine fields...and gees, I have really digressed. Does any of this sound like inspired crap or just it just strike you as some drug induced stream of consciousness? Really, it's just a little peek inside the mind of Lime. Scary, huh?)

Ok, so exploding heads (of dolls, not toilets). Once upon a time, my mother was a little girl. Once a year she had to help her mother clean out the attic. Every summer during this ritual my mother and grandmother would come across a little china doll that had been my grandmother's when she was a child. Every year my mother would ask to have it. Every year her mother would say, "You're too young, you might break it." This went on up until the year my mother turned 10. Again she was told she was too young, she might break it. However, Christmas morning of that year she came down the steps and found the much longed for doll under the tree with her name on it. The next day she broke its head.

My grandmother had the head replaced and my mother eventually came into possession of the doll after she had grown up. Many years ago Mom was cleaning out her own attic she brought it down and showed me and told me the above story before handing it to me and telling me to be careful. I had never seen or heard of the doll before. Mind you, at this time I was a grown woman and had already come into possession of Hepzibah, the doll my other grandmother had inherited from her grandmother. I had an appreciation for how delicate these things can be. My mother handed her doll to me. I reached out to take its head in one hand and its body in the other. The doll's head immediately exploded in my hand and a shower of delicate china shards fell to the floor. The thing literally popped like a balloon when I took it in my hands. I looked up completely mortified by what I had done and my mother burst out laughing.

She put what was left of the doll away. A couple years ago she showed me a new china head and set of hands she had found that would be the right size and that looked like she wanted them to look. A few weeks ago she put them on the original body and sewed a new dress and bonnet. This weekend she came up for a visit and brought the doll to show me the finished work. Some day when I am a little older I look forward to inheriting it, telling the story of it to my own dear daughters and letting them demolish the head in their own fashion before I have it replaced for them to pass to their children who can destroy it and so on and so forth through the generations.

Tradition is so important.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

My two favorite funny conversations with Jacob this past weekend.

At the beginning of his bath:

Jacob: (regarding the water somewhat suspiciously) Our water comes from the duck pond and has duck poop in it. I think this water has duck poop in it too.

Me: (stifling a giggle) Our water comes from a well, which means we had to dig a very deep hole to get water up from underground. Since it was underground no ducks could poop in it.

Jacob: (smiling after sighing in relief) Oh! That's really good!


Before taking a quick dip in one of my friend's pools before going back to my house to meet his Mama.

Me: We won't be able to be in the water for a long time. Before I let you go in I want you to make a deal* with me not to fuss when it is time to get out.

Jacob: Ok, it's a deal....but....maybe I might forget and complain.

*Final terms included a 5 minute and 2 minute warning from me. I threw in one last cannonball just because he had been such a good kid.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The City Cousin and the Country Cousin

(Perhaps you recall my visit to my Cousin Lisa in Boston this past Spring [Which also involved hijinks with Suldog and HIS WIFE.]. This weekend her son Jacob came to visit me while Lisa was elsewhere.)

Cousin Michelle?

Yes, Cousin Jacob?

It is different in the country than it is in the city.

Yes, it is. What are some differences?

My yard is small in the city. Your yard is big in the country.

When you ride your scooter at home in the city there are sidewalks to ride on.

In the country you don’t have sidewalks so I have to stay close to the side of the road when I ride my scooter.

In my house in the city I have a pet hamster in my room. I used to have fish.

At our house in the country we have squirrels, and chipmunks, and rabbits, and raccoons, and deer, and sometimes even bears in the backyard.

My house in the city has turkeys in the backyard!

I remember seeing them when I came to visit you in the city. I was so surprised!

When I take a bath in my tub in the city I like bubbles and my tubbie dinosaurs.

I am sorry I don’t have bubbles or dinosaurs for you in my tub in the country but I have some cups and a frog that squirts water out of his mouth.

Cousin Michelle, in my room in the city I have pictures of Cookie Monster and Big Bird on the wall.

Ah, yes. I remember. You were very kind and let me sleep in your room when I visited your apartment in the city. Now that you are visiting my house in the country you sleep in my boy’s room where there are pictures of baseball players on the wall.

When I go to bed in the city I hear the trains go by and see their lights.

When you go to bed in the country you will hear crickets and frogs. It will be very dark but I will keep the hall light on if you’d like.

I'd like that.

Cousin Jacob?

Yes, Cousin Michelle?

I know something that is the same in your city apartment and in my country house.

What’s that?

Both places have people who love you.
Good night, sweet dreams, I love you.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday 55 & Da Count-Les Paul


He invented the solid body electric guitar
after creating his prototype, "The Log,"
which was originally rejected.
He had the idea for multitrack recording.
He nearly lost his right arm in a car accident in the 40s.
He won Grammys for performance at age 90.
He changed the sound of music forever.
R.I.P. Les Paul


Les Paul died yesterday at age 94. Maybe you know of him, maybe you don't. If you have ever listened to anything with an electric guitar and enjoyed it you owe him a debt of gratitude. Jazz, country, pop, rock, heavy metal, it doesn't matter which of those styles you favor, you owe Les Paul your thanks. He has been inducted into several Halls of Fame (Rock and Roll, Inventors, Grammy, Songwriter) because of his talent, innovation, and influence. A whole line of Gibson guitars bears his name and is favored by far too many big names to begin to list here. He continued performing regularly at New York's Iridium Jazz Club until very recently.

As if all that were not enough I am also blown away by how he came back from a devastating injury. After his right arm was shattered in 3 places in a car accident in 1948, doctors suggested amputation. Instead, Les Paul insisted on surgery and having his hand set in a position which would still allow him to continue playing. He spent 18 months in casts. I am humbled by the stubbornness he showed his doctors, who were sure he'd never play again, and by the incredible discipline required for him to get back to his guitar. That he not only continued playing, but excelled beyond so many others until his 90's just blows my mind. I can't seem to find the discipline to play through 15 minutes of stabbing pain in my wrist and numbness in my fingers.

The music world has lost a giant.

Ladies and gentlemen, Les Paul.

Over the Rainbow


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Slice of Lime for Jocelyn-Great with Child

My life is kind of consumed with trying to get this quilt done for Diana before she goes to college in a couple of weeks. Free time from that is generally spent schlepping her about to procure items she is certain she cannot live without while off in the wilds of a college dorm. Jocelyn made the comment that she had difficulty picturing me carrying a 9.5 lb baby. Well, since I am bereft of other inspiration for this week's entry, I am going to share the "great with child" pictures. We'll work up to it slowly...

Above we have a picture of me about a week before I delivered Diana. This was during the home invasion baby shower some friends gave me due to my 5 week confinement to bed rest. They descended upon my living room one evening and came bearing decorations, cake, and gifts. They barged in, set up, threw a party, cleaned up, and left. It was fairly impressively orchestrated and executed. In any event, since I had spent 5 weeks as the immovable mass on the couch I had given up on dressing to impress, hence the grody sweats at my own shower. Oh, and that string around the belly...that was a game called "guess the girth." I was providing the correct measurement for all the other lengths of string everyone else had cut in estimation of my proportions. This was my first pregnancy so it was the "cutest." The belly just popped straight out the front. From behind me you wouldn't guess I was preggers. In fact, just before I was ordered to bed by my doc I had been walking downtown when I heard someone come up behind me and catcall whistle before making a comment that let me know it was directed at me. Not that this was a regular occurrence mind you, but my normal response would have been to ignore it. However, I was pretty sure whoever was whistling didn't realize it was at a pregnant woman so I swung my belly around and patted it as I winked at him and said, "Thanks!" The look of horror on his face was priceless.

Here we have baby bump #2 about a month and half before delivery. It was the end of dry season in Trinidad when Calypso was born. The combination of that heat and being pregnant combined to make me a fairly immovable mass again even though this time around I had no medical complications. Mr. Lime described my daily schedule thusly, "She gets up, gives Diana breakfast, then sits down. She gets up to give us all lunch, puts Diana down for a nap, then sits. After the sun goes down she gets up and cooks dinner, cleans it up, then goes to bed." Well, add in doing laundry (this included cloth diapers which necessitated boiling the needed water on the stove since we had no hot water heater), and grocery shopping, and house cleaning too but yeah...I did sit a lot. When I sat I fantasized about standing in a cold shower for about an hour to cool off. Did I mention it was the end of dry season and we only had enough water to take sponge baths? Yeah, fun times. This picture was before we realized the water tank was almost empty or we wouldn't have filled up the kiddie pool. (Most folks have water tanks which fill up during the few hours a day the city pumps water to your neighborhood. That way when the city isn't pumping water you still have running water in the house coming out of the giant tank. As dry season goes on the city pumps less and less frequently so you could go days or even a couple of weeks without your tank being replenished.)

Ok, ok, so here's the picture just a few days before Calypso was born. I sewed that dress. It was just about the only thing that fit me at the end. Really, wasn't that huge, wildly bright flower print just the right choice for making me look svelte? Those sandals were the only things I could get on my feet. I told you, the heat and I did not get along during the pregnancy.

Finally, we come to the shot of me about a week before Isaac was born. I am pretty sure in addition to developing a 9.5 lb fetus I had also developed my own gravitational pull. I was avoiding cameras at that point. I only tolerated this one being taken because we were christening the deck on the back of the house Mr. Lime had just finished. It's such a becoming picture with me in my ugliest glasses, squinting into the sun, sweating to death in the early September heat. Yeah, that was the summer of '95. Ninety-five was also the number of days in a row the thermometer cracked 95 degrees and 95 % humidity and when I carried a 9.5 lb infant. We had no A/C. It was horrid but at least I could stand in my shower whenever I wanted to and I only had to endure 3 months of summer instead of a full 9 months of it.

Unfortunately, I was also horrid. One male friend made the mistake of trying to nicely inquire as to my well-being one day. I snarled, "You strap a 30 lb basketball to your gut and swell your ankles to twice their normal size and tell me how you'd be doing!" As soon as the words left my mouth I was overwhelmed by guilt and turned around in tears to apologize. The poor guy never knew what hit him. To his credit we have remained friends. Just before delivery my doctor estimated I had "a nice 7 lb baby in there." I laughed in his face as I reminded him my other 2 were bigger than that and I could tell by my inability to breathe, the need to remain within close proximity to a bathroom, and by the way this kid was crushing a nerve in my legs that he was going to dwarf his sisters. When I saw his cantaloupe cranium and linebacker shoulders I have to admit to thanking God for c-sections.

Now, if you want to see a truly adorable pregnant woman skip on over to Kat's place and send some prayers and good vibes for a healthy delivery for her sooner rather than later so her hubby can be home with her when the lil punkin arrives.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Books

I started this last week when I listed 7 books which shaped me during my childhood. Today you'll get the rest of the list of influential books from, this time from my adulthood.

8. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. This was the first piece of adult fiction that really grabbed me and made me care deeply. As I said last week, I've always tended toward biographies and memoirs. I had certainly read works of fiction before this that I enjoyed but this one just hit me in a far more powerful way. I was bumping along the road with the Joads. I worried about what would happen to them. I wanted to know they could survive. Of course, not all of them do and they find California is not the promised land they expected, but there is a seed of hope when the formerly self-involved Rose of Sharon, who has just lost her baby, nurses a man dying of starvation. Aside from capturing me all along the journey, it was the book that made me appreciate how honest endings aren't always happy but they may give us just enough hope.

9 & 10. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom & The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw. I am listing these two together because I read one right after the other in the weeks after my Nana died. After back surgery that went horribly wrong and set a cascade of bad things in motion she went from healthy and active to dead in 4 short months. She was my last living grandparent and a member of what Brokaw calls the greatest generation. I was broken hearted and for the first time I had to walk my children through the grieving process as I trudged through it myself. Each one of us grieved in very different ways. I didn't hide every tear from the kids. We cried together plenty of times but I was concerned that if I really fell apart and wailed like I wanted to it would be too upsetting for them. I let them see me grieve, but in private moments when the girls were at school and my son took his nap I'd pull out the book and let the flood of tears start. These books may not be considered great literature but they provided a badly needed catharsis during those days.

11. Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck. Yep another one from Steinbeck. I read this a number of years after Mr. Lime and I did the bicycle trip from Pennsylvania to California. That trip was such an education about human nature and my own country's geography and various subcultures. I was curious to read the observations of one of my favorite authors. Although his trip had taken place decades earlier than mine and was just the author and his dog in a camper, I wondered if I might find any parallels. I was not disappointed. His reflections were thought provoking and tied up a few loose ends for me even as they generated new questions. The difference in time periods between his book and my trip made for some interesting comparisons in my own mind. It's a great book for anyone to read but I am so glad I had my own cross country experience first. It made reading this book like sitting down to have a drink with a fellow traveler and sharing notes.

12. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder,Insanity, and the Making of the OED by Simon Winchester. This is about the process of publishing the original Oxford English Dictionary and the friendship which developed between the main editor and one of the most prolific contributors of entries. Ok, stop yawning now. I mean it! This is not a boring book. It's fascinating. Winchester did a masterful job of weaving factual tidbits in with the narrative of the two main characters. I came away really amazed by the perseverance, organization, and attention to detail which was maintained over the duration of this herculean effort. There is a mystery about the man who contributes so much. As for the details revealed, truth is indeed stranger than fiction. The subtitle is not mere hype. Laugh if you want, but I gained a whole new appreciation for my dictionary. Ok, so I am a hopeless nerd. The bit about the Funk & Wagnalls last week didn't already convince you of that?

13. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. Ms. Nafisi is one of the intellectuals who suffered during the early days of the Islamic revolution in Iran. She had grown up in relative freedom, able to dress in western clothes, to read world literature, and to study and teach among men and women. Suddenly she risks being beaten if she is not veiled. Foreign books are censored. Colleagues are fired and students are expelled. Nafisi begins a secret book club of women who are determined to continue pursuing their love of literature. They have difficulty even obtaining the books they want to read. The authors and works they choose come to represent so much more to them. During their book club meetings they can discard the veils, share their hearts, find strength from the stories and from each other. I have to admit, a lot of the works the author links to are not ones I ever read or may be ones many people have complained about being forced to read in some class. Understanding what they meant to these Iranian women who cherished them enough to take real risks in obtaining them made me examine how much I do or don't value my own intellectual freedom. It made me see how it can all be swept away so quickly. That was a fairly sobering realization.

14. A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Ok, so they are technically children's books and I was actually introduced to them when I was 14. Therefore the argument could be made that I should have included them last week. Well, I'm the one doing this book meme and who says I have to follow any meme rules much less the ones I make up myself? And don't even start in on me about listing 2 books under a single number. Uncle Shelby is all about breaking the rules. He'd certainly understand. At 14 we stand on a cusp. I certainly did. Mom was recently engaged and we moved into her fiance's house for the summer as sort of a trial run. My brother would get up early in the morning to walk two miles to sit in our empty house rather than stay at the zoo in the fiance's house. I started working for the first time. One job was not enough to keep me out of the house. I found two. One was helping an older cousin of mine during a day camp program she ran. She brought these two books to share during story hour. After all the kids went home I asked her if I could borrow the books because I enjoyed the parts she shared. I read the rest of the poems and found verse that tickled my funny bone, validated having a slightly skewed perspective on things, and played with words in the most fun way. Other poems were touching in their tenderness. At the age of 14, when you're not quite grown but not a little kid, when you have a home but not really, when maybe you have a new family but you aren't quite sure, when you have all these divergent parts of you that want expression and you can't quite find the way...well, it's very nice to have a somewhat subversive grown up who takes you by the hand and suggests breaking dishes as a way to avoid the chore of washing them. When Uncle Shelby follows that by speaking of a game called Hug-o-War before describing the evils of growing into a sourpuss perfectionist you realize there may just be other people out there who "get" you. I've made sure my kids had lots of access to Shel Silverstein and all the small people in my life get copies of these books as they learn to read. They are simply satisfying selections of silly, sublime, and subversive verses.

15. Traveling Mercies and Plan B by Anne Lamott. I read these books this past year. Again, I'm drawn to memoirs. Lamott shares her journey of faith in a way that it alternately hilarious and thought provoking. The last few years I've become increasingly unsettled in my own faith for a lot of different reasons I don't intend to go into here. I am disquieted and restless and quite honestly, a bit sick of some of what I see around me that strikes me as rather callous and Pharisaical. I do continue to see some fine examples too, for those I am grateful. In Lamott's books I see a real person who is very willing to admit to her own frustrations and failures as she trips and stumbles while learning to walk the walk. I appreciate the honesty and the humor she brings to the telling of her journey.

16. Listening is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project by Dave Isay. This is an outgrowth of the project begun to document and oral history of American life in the voices those who lived the stories. StoryCorps interviews are conducted and recorded under the supervision of facilitators trained to enable regular people to interview their friends, family members, or neighbors. The book is excerpts of the most deeply affecting interviews. As a person who often looks at a stranger and wonders what stories make up that individual's life, I truly enjoyed getting a taste of these personal narratives. They are not always polished story telling but they are authentic and powerful no matter the form. I loved the validation this gave to the stories everyone has.

Yes, you got more than 8 books. I could easily give you more for last week's list or for this week's list but this ought to keep you busy for a little while. If you'd like to share the list of books that had an impact on you, I'd enjoy a peek at what pages spoke to you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Sinking Feeling

Once upon a time a blogger named Jocelyn posted a story of frustration over kitchen renovations. I sent her an email because my story was too long for comments. She said I should post that story at some point when I had no time to write. Well, that day has come. Ok, so I have time but lack ideas.

Way back in the summer of '95 when I was great with child (all 5'4" of me carrying what would be 9.5 lbs of my son, wince with me if you will) we lived in a house with a very deep claw foot tub. The girls were 2 and 4 and as such still required supervision and assistance in the tub. I was far enough along and my belly was so enormous that I could not reach all the way into the tub so my dear husband had to take over the child bathing duties completely.

One lovely morning I awoke and staggered downstairs to find my refrigerator in the living room, my sink and stove in the back yard, and some bare pipes sticking out of the floor. Since I had gone to sleep with all the aforementioned appliances in their formerly appropriate kitchen positions I was a wee tad perplexed and asked my husband what had led to this new, less efficient, and far less esthetically pleasing arrangement. He informed me that, upon waking, he discovered a pipe in the kitchen had burst so the renovations we intended to occur AFTER the new baby was born were rescheduled for immediately. He also informed me I would be without a sink in the kitchen for some days as ordering and installing counters was a time consuming thing. He went on to suggest we could do dishes in the tub. I reminded him of the impediment of my girth preventing me from safely bathing our darling progeny. Knowing all too well of my spouse's great aversion to washing dishes I asked if he planned to see to that task as well. He said no. I informed him that until such time as I had a functioning sink in my kitchen we'd either be dining out or subsisting on fully microwavable meals in disposable containers. He acquiesced and said we should go for microwave food for the sake of cost. After enduring a couple of barely digestible Hungry Jack frozen TV dinners he fixed me up with a fully plumbed sink on stilts while we waited for counters.

Aaahh, good times....

Maybe next time I need an idea I'll tell you about how replacing a single toilet turned into a 2 week nightmare.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Meme or Death

1. Can you fill this out without lying?
Is there a particularly compelling reason why you even need to ask?

2. What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
Something that went in hard and came out soft. Oh, it was a stick of gum, you pervs.

4. Where was your default picture taken?
Near de fault.

5. Last person you rode in a car with under the age of 20?
I was under 20 far too long ago to remember. Plus, I don't consider it a particularly momentous occasion that merits recalling. Besides, I can't even remember who I rode with yesterday.

6. Name someone that made you laugh today?
The cast of Monty Python

7. How late did you stay up last night and why?
By "up" do you mean vertical, maintaining a positive outlook, or in orbit?

8. If you could move somewhere else, would you?
I might shift my weight to my other butt cheek.

10. Which of your friends lives closest to you?
The one I have tied up in the closet.

11. Do you believe ex’s can be friends?
I don't know. Y? Maybe if they mind their Ps and Qs.

12. Calling or texting?
Smoke signals

13. How do you feel about Dr Pepper?
I've never felt about him. He's kind of standoffish about me putting my hands on him.

15. Where is your biological father right now?
I've never met him. I don't even know his name. How the heck would I know? But if you know, feel free to pass the information along.

16. Where are you at right now?
Why have you included a superfluous preposition in that sentence?

17. What bed did you sleep in last night?
Uuuuhh, exactly how many options do you think I have?

19. Who took your profile picture?
Someone took it? The rat! When I find out who, that person is really going to get a piece of my mind! And they darn well better give it back! (I mean give back the picture, not my mind, but if they try to take my mind they better give that back too. A mind is a terrible thing to loose.)

22. Are you mad about anything?
Mad about you, baby.

23. Do you think relationships are really worth it?
You haven't even quoted me a price yet. What's your best offer?

25. Are you a bad influence?
When I'm good I'm very, very good. When I'm bad I'm better ~Mae West

26. Night out or night in?
How about a night in and out?

27. What items could you not go without during the day?
Oxygen molecules

28. Would you share a drink with a stranger?
Listen, just because I used to swap gobstoppers with my best friend when I was 7 doesn't mean I'm letting a complete stranger sip out of my glass now.

32. How many times have you been pulled over by the police?
I have the right to remain silent.

33. Do you hate anyone?
Hate is such a strong word.

34. If we were to look in your inbox, what would we find?
My hand forcefully whacking you upside the head for invading my privacy.

35. Can you easily tell if someone’s fake?
Yes, the waxy skin and glassy gaze is a dead giveaway.

36. Has anyone ever called you a perfectionist?
Only people who have no standards.

38. What song is stuck in your head?

39. Someone knocks on your window at 2 AM, who do you want it to be?
At 2am, I'd be inclined to hurt anyone who knocked on my window.

40. Wanna have kids before you’re 30?
You're about a decade too late to be asking.

41. Name something you have to do tomorrow?
Hugh Jackman

42. Can you whistle?
Sure, I just put my lips together and blow.

43. Do you sleep on your side, stomach, or back?
I sleep suspended by my feet.

44. Do you think too much or too little?
I think juuuust right.

47. When is the next time you will see the person you like?
I like lots of people.

49. Can you handle the truth?
It's an intangible thing. How am I going to put a handle on it? Would epoxy work?

54. Honestly, who was the last person to tell you that they love you?
Are you suggesting the last person who said this was not being honest?

55. Did you have an exciting last weekend?
THIS was my last weekend? Ever? Gees! Why didn't you tell me beforehand? I would have made sure it was exciting.

57. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Have you been paying attention at all? N-E-V-E-R!

59. What’s something that can always make you feel better?
Being felt better.

60. Will this weekend be a good one?
Well, not now that you told me the one that just passed was my last one!

61. What do you want right now?
Another weekend.

62. Have you ever worn the opposite sex’s clothing?
Apparently you've forgotten about this picture.

63. Look behind you, what do you see?

A misspent youth.

64. Have you ever worked in a food place?
"A food place." I must say, your eloquence is astonishing.

66. Any summer plans for 2009?
I was supposed to have a plan? Gees, I just keep missing all the important memos.

67. What’s on your schedule for tomorrow?
Do you have any idea how to do anything spontaneously?

69. Would you like some cake?
Depends upon my other options.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Da Count-Gracie

Short and sweet this week. Gracie is older than Beulah the Minivan of Love was but the price was right. I'm very grateful to the friends who made her available to us. Here's hoping she has a lot of life left in her.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Slice of Lime-A Man of Letters

Since I shared the books of my childhood that meant the most to me I thought I'd share this picture this week. That's Pop-pop reading to me when I was about 3. Yesterday I touched on how my parents encouraged a love of reading. My grandparents did too in their own way. truth be told Pop-pop was the most avid reader of my 4 grandparents. The irony is that he is the only one who did not complete high school. He was driven from school to work during the Depression. He carried a tremendous shame over that for the rest of his life. He shouldn't have.

First of all he was one of the hardest working men I knew, but not at the cost of people. He wasn't a workaholic, just formed in the mold of a typical Pennsylvania German who felt idleness was an evil and that you should earn your pay with your most honorable effort. Additionally, he is among the smartest men I ever knew. He could fix anything. He could grow anything. He was a fine cook. He could sew by machine or do hand needlework to rival any woman's.

All those are noble traits but as I mentioned he was an avid reader. I don't know if it began as a way to compensate for his lack of formal education or if he always loved books, but by the time I came along I knew he just plain liked books. He was a great fan of James Michener because of his time spent in the South Pacific. He felt Michener captured that part of the world well in his writing and so he devoured the author's other books. he enjoyed the travels vicariously. If he didn't know how to do something he'd pick up a book and teach himself.

He also had the most impish love of wordplay. He'd wrap his mouth around the most incredible tongue twisters in 3 different languages, mind you, and rattle them off effortlessly. He enjoyed limericks and Ogden Nash/Dorothy Parker type quips and poems. He LIVED for a good pun or riddle. Of my four grandparents he was the most likely to read a story to my brother and me if we asked.

So if any of you rather enjoy some of my silly ways with a meme or think every now and then I turn a phrase particularly well, you owe some thanks to Pop-pop, just as I do.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Swiped from Suldog

Suldog did this over at his place. His list was so interesting and varied I loved it so, of course, I decided to swipe it. Here are the instructions he posted.

List 15 books that had a dramatic impact on your life, or that make you happy in your pants, or that you took out of the library and never returned, or something like that. Anyway, list 15 books. Folks who are looking for a good read will find some worthy choices, while folks who like lists will be gratified.

I'm not sure any of them made me happy in my pants but maybe as I go along I will find one. If I do, I'll let ya know.

1. Go, Dog, Go! by P. D. Eastman. I learned to read before I ever went to kindergarten. My parents both instilled a love of books when I was very young. My mother taught me to read before I ever entered school. It's probably a very good thing because there were a number of teachers who seemed determined to make me hate reading. My parents' early influence was a good inoculation against school inflicted drudgery. As it happened, they also encouraged me to express my opinion. So when, in the due course of time, I entered kindergarten and found the available reading material less than fascinating I let my teacher know. I requested to bring in my favorite book from home and read it to the class. She insisted I did not know how to read. She thought she could placate me by offering to read what I brought in IF it proved suitable. I insisted on presenting the book myself and assured her I could, in fact, read it myself. She remained unconvinced until she spoke with my mother. Thus I came to read this book to my class during story time. Really, how could anyone not love the way the tension builds between the boy dog and the girl dog trying to impress him with her various hats? Who could resist the exciting tree top dog party at the end? Only those with the dullest imaginations. That's who!

2. The Crane Maiden by Miyoko Matsutani, Ill. by Chihiro Iwasaki. This was a book my mother got as a freebie trying to lure her to subscribe regularly to a children's book club. It's based on a Japanese folktale about an poor, childless, older couple who aid an injured crane. Shortly thereafter a young woman who needing shelter appears on their doorstep and offers to pay for her keep by weaving cloth for them to sell. Her only condition is that no one must watch her while she weaves. The couple agree but eventually give in to curiosity thus discovering the girl turns into a great crane who plucks feathers from her body to weave into the beautiful cloths. The crane maiden must leave once her secret is discovered. Although it has a sad ending I loved the story and I was utterly captivated by the illustrations. Long after I gave up other picture books I'd take this one off the shelf and marvel over the soft watercolors. I still love artfully done picture books and would love to have a collection of all the Caldecott winners.

3. The Favorite Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris. Dad brought this home for me after returning from a business trip. Mom seemed horrified by it. She hated the poor example of grammar in the dialogue and the somewhat un-PC tone. In retrospect, I think she also hated it because of other things that went on during that business trip. Anyway, after Dad left, Mom told me I wasn't allowed to have the book at our house. I had to keep it at Dad's. PC or not, the stories made me laugh. I liked that the language was "bad." It was strange to realize books could make people angry but I liked sitting on Daddy's lap while he read such subversion to me.

4. Helen Keller biography. I have to admit I am not sure who wrote the version I remember reading as a child. My mother had taken my brother and me to the Jersey Shore for a weekend when I was 7. We were each allowed to pick one souvenir from a shop on the boardwalk. Nothing appealed to me until we found a bookstore. I was in heaven. I'd been to the library bunches of times but this was the first time I remember being set loose in a bookstore and being told I could pick one to take home forever. I took a VERY long time to choose. I found this book and was immediately intrigued by the blurb about how a woman who was blind and deaf could manage to succeed in the world. Life seemed like a tremendous trial at that time since it was only about a year after Dad left. When I read this and saw all that Ms. Keller had overcome I felt a spark of hope. She became one of my heroes and I reread that book so many times it nearly fell apart. I was also proud of the book because it was the first "grown up book" I ever read. By that I mean it had chapters and no pictures. I felt very big being able to manage a book like that. It set me on a path of loving biographies, memoirs, and stories of overcoming adversity that has lasted to this day.

5. The Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia. (no longer published in hard copy) Dad bought this for my brother and me after the divorce. At first I thought it was a very strange thing for him to do, but I was only 8. What did I know? Well, with this set I could eventually answer that with, "Lots!" I spent many a rainy day pulling volumes out so I could follow cross references. Hours would pass and I'd suddenly notice I had more books spread on the floor and flipped open than remained on the shelf. As great as Google is, there is nothing quite like being able to see all the information spread out in sequence on the floor in front of you. It helped me see connections between things. It instilled confident nerdiness. It was fun to know things.

6. The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupery. Yes, another "children's book" but I think it should be required reading for everyone regardless of age. Over the years I have found a number of people who share a special fondness for this book. I think there is a very sweet kinship between those of us who would include this on our list of favorites. I read it for the first time in 3rd year French class. This required us to go slowly. It was discussed at length during class obviously as a means of getting us reading and conversing in French but the teacher also clearly had a deep love of this story and wanted to impart its lessons beyond grammar and comprehension. Some of the students thought this was all very smarmy and overly sentimental. The Little Prince tamed me (if you've ever read it you will understand exactly what that means). M. Colasanti, merci de me présenter au petit prince. This book and the next one on the list are the only two I own in 3 different languages.

7. The Bible, NIV. As a high school student I received a copy of the New International Version. It was in a form of language I could understand instead of all that flowery, antiquated language. Although I always read ahead of grade level I've also always had a mental block against that style. Even Shakespeare can drive me batty. This was approachable and comprehensible. I was deeply grateful to be able to "get" what it was saying after spending a portion of my teen years terrified of reading this book. After all, it was a heavy, gilt-edged volume that was read in very serious tones on Sunday morning. My fingers or eyeballs might catch fire if someone so unholy as me were to dare touch it or attempt to understand it. Really, I thought that until I laid my hands on a version I could understand. Not bursting into flames was a pretty transformative experience. The added benefit of comprehension proved to be even more so.

These are only the books that had a dramatic impact on me before I ever reached adulthood. Ok, I realize if I give this much of a review on all 15 books I am going to loose everyone long before they get to the end of the post. In the interest of keeping readers interested (and milking an idea for as long as I reasonably can), I'm going to break this into 2 parts. You'll get the books which impacted me as an adult next week.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Overheard at Chez Lime

Just after a TV ad for the erectile dysfunction drug Levitra aired Calypso turned to me and asked, "Why is 4 hours the magic number for an erection lasting too long? I mean really, I think after 3 and a half hours it would be kind of problematic. I'm not a guy but I think I might be saying, 'Down boy!'" With that last bit she made motions as if she were trying to push down some great object with her hands.

I had to laugh and say I really didn't know what the medically delineating factor was in determining how long was too long for something hard and long. She went on to add, "Ok, so if a guy is with his wife maybe a 4 hour boner would be a good think but I'm thinking if it happens at work when some cute girl walks by it has to be a bad thing." I made note of her logic as I continued to chuckle.

The movie resumed and a scene of an implicit quickie in a bathroom occurred. Calypso asserted, "See, good thing his boner didn't last 4 hours!" I laughed and nodded my assent at which point Isaac walked into the room and wanted to know what all the hilarity was about. We recounted the discussion and he thought we were a bit touched in the head. He sat down to log onto the computer.

A few minutes later he called up from the screen, "Mom, what's a poly-GAME-ist?" After my giggles from his mispronunciation stopped (because let's face it I was already primed for silliness and the mistake had set in motion all manner of absurd images in my mind, not the least of which was Bull Paxton controlling his wives via mental manipulation and who enjoyed board game conventions, but I digress...) I told him a polygamist was a man with many wives all at once. I don't remember who pointed out that a 4 hour erection might be necessary in order to keep up with multiple wives. I was too busy trying to catch my breath in between guffaws.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Stitches in Time

When I was small my mother allowed me to use her old sewing machine once she replaced it with a new one. It was an old, blue Singer that was notorious for jamming. It drove me out of my mind. I had not yet developed skill so the least bit of resistance or malfunction tripped my frustration. Mom would happily sew away in her own little world and I'd want to throw the blue beast on the floor. I couldn't understand what on earth she enjoyed about sewing when all I ever got were tangles, knots, and a jammed machine. "Keep at it, don't give up, take your time. You're just a beginner. It will get easier." But I couldn't get past the frustration.

I could do basic repairs like sewing on buttons or fixing a seam by the time I entered Junior High when I had to take Home Economics. The teacher was a miserable woman who found out my mother was a seamstress and therefore expected perfection from me. This did nothing to endear me to the art of sewing. Mom got me through that class with her gentle patience and well as the secret agreement that my teacher was in fact being a completely nit-picky twit. In the meantime, I picked up crocheting from my grandmother. I did graduate high school knowing how to read a pattern and construct a basic garment, nothing too fancy or tailored very precisely though and it had to have explicit instruction from which I would not dream of deviating.

In college I picked up cross stitching and continued a little crocheting. I began to see how these sorts of things could be relaxing, contemplative, restoring, even meditative. I made a lot of gifts that way. Especially in college, in between reading, studying, and writing papers, it felt good to disengage the brain for a bit and focus on something else and yet have something to show for the time. I even went so far as to design some of my own pieces since I couldn't find patterns like what I wanted to do. Mom and Nana were delighted to see I'd found some sort of art involving needles and threads and that I enjoyed it and made it my own. They encouraged that and showed off my work to people they knew. I felt like I had accomplished some rite of passage.

Shortly after getting married I acquired a very old, very heavy, but very trusty sewing machine from our landlord. It had been his grandmother's and it seemed his fiancee turned up her nose at the old machine. I was delighted to receive it after giving it a try. It worked like a charm and had an external belt and other features that made maintenance easy. I could do repairs and minor alterations now without having to rely on mom's machine when we went to visit. I also had fun making just a few very simple outfits for Diana when she was a baby. Mom was thrilled to share some baby patterns with me and coach me along the way. Heavy as my machine was, I paid to ship it to Trinidad when we moved there.

Then in Trinidad I found I was pregnant with Calypso. Diana had been born in the middle of winter so most of my maternity clothes were winter-wear, which was much too heavy for the tropics. Off the rack maternity clothes were either hard to come by in Trinidad or extremely expensive. I had my mom send me some patterns and I set to work sewing since fabric there was very inexpensive. I had a couple of disasters and Mom was not close at hand to help me figure out how to fix them. It was just the machine and me. I ripped out mistakes and resewed new mistakes and jerry-rigged some I just couldn't cope with ripping again. I also had some nice successes. Mom wanted to hear all about it and see pictures. She laughed about my endless mistakes but commended me for figuring out how to make it work telling me that was a normal part of the process. I felt more confident. Then we were robbed and the thieves took my machine. We had a very high wall with broken bottle embedded in it. I will admit I prayed they all got a hernia or two trying to heft that machine over the wall.

When we came back to the US and Mr. Lime found a job, he got me a new sewing machine. It was a pretty basic model but it did what I needed it to do and has remained reliable. I continued to do repairs and minor alterations and the occasional item of clothes for the kids or me. Then came the challenge of costumes for the living history farm where the kids and I have volunteered. I was able to lay my hands on a basic pattern for the blouses and bonnets...VERY basic. Basic as in, "Here's a rough shape to cut out with a bunch of pieces but we aren't going to give you any directions as to how to assemble them. Oh, and for the skirt you're completely on your own. Here's a picture of how it should look." Yowza, I was just a wee tad nervous about this whole endeavor. Thankfully, I had some borrowed garments I could examine to see how they were constructed and I had a book that explained different techniques. I was thrilled when I managed to produce wearable, reasonably accurate costumes AND to have my mother tell me they were well-constructed. This is the woman who made my wedding gown, her gown, and all the gowns for my attendants, the woman who made my prom gown and Diana's, the woman who had been making quilts since before I was born (including one for me with scraps of my old baby clothes and kitchen curtains she had also made). This woman looked on my work, the work of a kid who used to scream and cry at the old blue beast sewing machine, and she pronounced it "very good."

So now I am working on this quilt for Diana. Mom and I worked together on the one I have on my bed but she did at least 85% of the work. I committed to make my first ever quilt from start to finish for Diana. Mom has advised me. She helped buy the fabric as a gift for Diana. Mom asked if I wanted her to help sew it or if I was determined to do the project myself. I told her it's my goal to do all the work myself on this one. It's the next rite of passage for the machine and me. She seemed to understand. The more I get to know my way around the machine the more accomplished I feel and the more I understand about Mom and the line of seamstresses, knitters, tatters, and quilters who came before her in our family.

This past week and weekend it's rained a lot so I have been catching up on this project because in three short weeks Diana heads off to school. The quilt needs to be done by then. In the process I am finding the stitches don't just bind fabric together. They are binding generations.