Saturday, October 30, 2010


Just thought I would drop by and thank everyone for your kind concern. We are moving along slowly in getting our world in order. Dale has been fortunate in finding a primary care doctor he can relate to, thanks to the help of our daughter and a nursing friend of hers, we are beginning to think things will be alright. Thank you Elizabeth. We have a plan. Dale is feeling better about his health and I am breathing again!

I couldn't let Halloween pass without commenting on the holiday. When i was growing up, it was somewhat rare for anyone I knew to actually buy a costume. Sometimes costumes were home sewn but it was more likely that we would put together something from our own closets. I am the oldest of ten, four girls and six boys. There was a lot of trading going on, but basically since it was all about the candy we were not too concerned about what we wore. . I don't recall being anything but a gypsy and my brothers were cowboys or hobos. Did I tell you it all about candy and fun and being scared? There was a big old house in the town where I grew up and it had a great reputation of being haunted. Mrs Ferris, the little old lady who lived there, did nothing to dispel the rumors that she dabbled in witch craft. When we knocked, that is if we dared to knock, we were invited in for hot cider, candy apples, popcorn, etc. The house was dark with candles to light the room and all the furniture was covered with black. The rumors circulating among the young were that her husband simply vanished one night. It seemed he was a very mean person and so she finally had enough and turned him into a toad. it seemed credible at the time because especially on Halloween we could hear him croaking. Now be kind! Remember, it really was a more innocent time. Children could for the most part go out trick or treating safely. They could accept home made cookies and candies safely, etc. And we could pretend to be scared of the haunted house. we were pretending, weren't we? By the time I turned twelve, I knew she was simply a lonely widow with no money and a home that grew more dilapidated every year with giant weeping willow trees that partially shrouded the house in an eerie way on Halloween night.

I grew up sewing my own clothing so it wasn't a stretch for me to make costumes every year for my children. My son was a tiger, an astronaut, Evil Knievel,etc. Our daughter was a gypsy, a princess, a Gibson girl and both so much more. Together they were Minnie and Mickey mouse.

This year I will open my door to Twilight vampires, the Jonas brothers, Nemo, witches, princesses, spider man, pirates, super heroes, ghosts, batman, and the occasional wookie. I will not be handing out apples, oranges unwrapped candy or home made cookies. But I will be having fun with each opening of my door an adventure.

Happy Halloween to all of you

Monday, October 18, 2010


Well I sat down this evening to simply say that my posts would perhaps be far apart but that I have not forgotten you the friends I have made over this last year or so. However, I checked in on my daughter's blog and she has already spoken about what is going on in the family so I will also comment and then just do what I can when I can.

On the last day of a pretty wonderful vacation, Dale woke up to being disoriented and nauseous . he had a similar experience in the spring and left the hospital with a diagnosis of sinus infection. This time he spent four days in the hospital and went home knowing he had experienced a TIA also known as a mini-stroke. He has been very lucky as even though strokes in the cerebellum effect things like balance, his balance continues to improve. The physical therapist in the hospital was very pleased. We are currently trying to line up a primary care doctor and the therapies he will need. Also a cardiologist as it also turns out there is scarring on his heart and that makes it weaker. This has been stressful of course and of course he is a man. Enough said don't you think?

So the photo above shows Dale with a lady friend sitting on a bench in the hall of Wall Drug in the town of Wall. You should look it up. I have lots of pictures but no real time to share right now.

So, I will check in when I can. Heck I might even be able to sew. of course, I am terrified and so is he. For now we just have to wait and see. More later

Monday, October 11, 2010

Current project

Oddly, this looks kind of pink. I suppose that may have something to do with the red sashing. It is actually a lovely pale cream color and looks great in person. These blocks have been made over time. The fruit block was completed in 1998. Over the years I have made many blocks for teaching and recently I realized that I could make a quilt or two from this collection and so because I haven't made an album quilt with sashing this seemed a good time to do so. My problems in the past have been with keeping such sashing straight. I think it looks a little off in this photo, but believe that has much to do with the way I pinned it up. In person it looks pretty good so I will be moving on. I am designing a border that will include elements from most of the designs. I am thinking perhaps of a very vine border, very dense. If you have a good idea I would love to hear from you. i believe the borders will also have either an appliqued scalloped border on either side or a sawtooth border. Hope you are in the middle of just such a lovely problem. I will share during the process.

Vacation and Waiting for Superman

We returned today from a really nice vacation, which is good because it did not end as well as we would have liked. Dale woke this morning with his second case of vertigo this summer/fall. I was the designated driver today and we made it back from KC in good time. The vertigo, well he believes he can sleep it off so has gone to bed.

Getting back to the fun part, the handsome fellow you see above was in the process of sticking his head into the front passenger window for as it turns out, a handout. Seems they label these guys the "begging burros". Of course I did not know that going in. I read about them later. In any case there are sign everywhere not to feed the animals, to include everyone we saw. Mountain sheep, prong horn antelope, buffalo, prairie dogs, mountain goats, turkeys, beavers,well I think you get the idea.

We did everything we could on the whole trip. Saw the Corn Palace. the Badlands, Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore, Wall Drug store, ( Only ask if you really want to know. I have pictures!) a pony express station and fort. and devil's tower in Wyoming. We were excited to stay in Sundance the night before only to suddenly realize that it was not resort like because it wasn't Robert Redford's Sundance! Bummer! In any case I am excited to say that I walked all the way around the tower by myself. So beautiful and so spiritual.

Sounds like a wonderful vacation doesn't it. it was, really but there was this book. I had finished everything else and had been putting off Waiting For Superman. I really did want to read this but as bibliophile who reads fiction and escape style fiction most of the time, I was somewhat reluctant to begin. However the time was upon me and I began. I am so hooked on this book. It is about education in America and about the people who want to be part of the solution as well as the young people and their families who are living it. I was so excited that I wanted to share so began reading elements out loud to Dale. Did I mention we were usually in the car. While we share the same core beliefs about education, it turns out that we don't share a common approach. This resulted in some spirited discussion. Okay! we argued, sometimes loudly. Danny, in the back seat was not impressed. He tried to mediate what was essentially a loud discussion by siding with me, ( he does love me best) In any case we ultimately agreed to disagree on some things and come together on most. I suppose the moral if there is one is that this book sparked a solid dialogue between us about a crucial subject. By the way, not all of the book's contributors agreed on every level. What they do agree on is that something has to happen. We cannot throw away the next generation.I hope you read the book and plan to see the movie, maybe something will resonate for you too.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Time to step up

I am reading two books right now. I don't want you to think that this an unusual circumstance for me because I have been a reader for more than 65 years. Our mom was also a reader who only had a tenth grade education and she was reading to us from birth. She passed away at the tender age of fifty-nine, but she made sure we grew up with library access as well as a few comic books. She told me that I began reading at age four. I never stopped.

"Quilts, Masterworks from the American Quilt Museum" is a breath taking book for a quilter like myself. Every page an adventure or a confection or both. A book like this feeds my heart.

"Looking For Superman" is something different all together. This is a book about the failure of our school system. This book may well break my heart. I am a California girl transplanted to the mid-west eight years ago so my husband and myself could watch our granddaughter grow up. granted it has been an adjustment that I am still making. However, before leaving California I had become worried about education there. When I was growing up I remember that when a new student came to school from another state they often had to catch up. We had a wonderful school system. Things are so different now for all our children.

I am not only referring to the curriculum. A few months ago I had a talk with that twelve year old that literally broke my heart. Miss L. is a wonderful artist. ( I know, I am her grandmother, but she really is pretty good) She goes to a school that has a National Baccalaureate program that she is a part of. Art is her favorite class and she is in an art class this semester. The problem is there are so many students who have behavior problems that art is taking a back seat in this chaotic class.

In the scheme of things a below average art class may seem unimportant. There is more. L. told me that she has to be careful and responsible for herself every day. She says that there are fights every day. She has to be careful who she makes eye contact with, sit with, speaks with. A little friend stood up for a younger child and angered the bully. This older child later cornered her in the girls room and she had great difficulty getting out to tell a teacher what happened. Now her mother is worried about possible reprisals from the girl who had received a ten day suspension. I wake in the middle of the night and wonder how there can be any education going on in a school where there is also so much fear. I was never given reason to be afraid in my school. When my children were growing up and they were involved in a school day , I had a reasonable expectation that for those six hours they would be safe. They spent a lot more time in school that children do today. Education was going on!

My husband has witnessed physical fight among parents where the police had to be called! My daughter went to pick up L. a few days ago and as she sat in her car across the street from the school she suddenly saw what she thought was a fight going on right outside the school doors. When she realized there were no other adults in the area, let alone a teacher or school administrator she jumped out of her car and ran across the street. She is a teacher herself and did not think twice. Almost there and a teacher came out and started to break up what turned out not to be a fight but a beating! A big kid was beating the hell out of a small child.

I am afraid for our children. Not just because of the bullies, but because American education is so far behind approximately twenty plus countries. ( Can't remember the number, I am old and that is what happens) Ask a college English teacher if incoming freshman are prepared for college. There answer will make you sick. I know because that teacher daughter I just mentioned is a college teacher teaching developmental English. She would give you a real earful. It breaks her heart and mine.

Read "Waiting For Superman" or see the movie, hang out at your child's school, listen closely when you child is in the back seat speaking about his or her day at school. They are trying to tell us what is really going on.

I promise that this kind of post will not happen to often, but on the occasion of such injustice I will be back. This most intelligent generation is being given a raw deal and I don't want us to look the other way and take for granted that someone else will fix it.