Friday, February 26, 2010

The Happiest Day of My Life

. . . was February 26, 1964. Patricia Colleen and Kevin Michael were born at 7:22 and 7:26 P.M.
6 pounds 10-1/2 ounces and 6 pounds 4 ounces. Perfect in every way. Still are.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

  • The Snooze Button -- Even though I'm a morning person, I hate to wake up to an alarm. I like to hit the snooze button and get up before it goes off, feeling like I'm in charge, not the bloody clock. (Am I a control freak??!!)
  • A Full Night's Sleep -- a rare event. I tend to worry about the world and things I have no control over like could Sarah Palin really get elected President? Or what will happen to Africa? Why don't middle-easterners participate in the Winter Olympics (could it be they have no snow?)?
  • Weather Events -- I love snow -- I feel like a kid on Christmas when I wake up to a fresh snowfall and the world is white, the road is unplowed, and no cars have left their mark. On the other hand, people who fuss about their untrammeled snow and don't let the kids play in it annoy me. I love downpours, watching the rain from a snug smug place like inside my warm and dry house or my car sitting on high ground. I like to watch the river rise and am amazed when the dam becomes swamped. Tornado warnings thrill me. I don't wish harm to anyone, but I get very excited hunkering down in the cellar listening to the stormcasts on the radio, daring to go out every once in a while to check on the storm's progress. I'm thrilled by thunderstorms with lightning strikes so close the house shudders, and lightning so constant you can read by it. Sometimes I go outside and randomly click away with my little point and shoot camera hoping to be able to catch a photo of lightning bolts in the sky (so far, no luck). I even like ice storms. I stay well-provisioned with food, batteries, flashlights, and blankets so we can remain house-bound for several days if necessary. I follow the weather reports religiously and try to read the sky. Along with the weather, I love watching the seasons unfold -- Missouri is a great place for all of this.
  • A Sandwich Made by Anyone Else--doesn't matter how simple, what kind of bread. Plain peanut butter and jelly on white bread, bologna, stuff I would never crave or fix for myself somehow becomes gourmet fare when presented to me ready to eat.
  • The "A" Vegetables -- asparagus, artichokes, and avocados. That would be my favorite birthday meal (you could toss in Dungeness crab, fresh San Francisco sour dough bread and a nice glass of white wine and finish it with strawberry shortcake made with homemade biscuits and real whipped cream).
  • My Birthday -- no matter my age, I am still a little girl on my birthday. Presents no longer matter, but I feel like a princess all day long. I thank my mother for this -- she had five kids, but she always made a big deal of each our birthdays. She told me in later years that she felt the mother should also be celebrated on a child's birthday. I agree. After she was widowed and we were both single women, we alternated the responsibility for celebrating my birthday. One year I would choose the restaurant and pick up the tab and the next year it was her turn.
  • Our Local High School -- astounds me. Many extra-curricular activities involve bringing kids in on buses from other schools (or busing them out if the event is held somewhere else): Basketball (girls and boys) volleyball, wrestling, football, band, choir, speech, ROTC, and I'm sure there are others. Every night of the week (except Sunday -- after all, this is the buckle of the bible belt) school buses from all over southwest Missouri idle in the parking lot. These activities call for a tremendous commitment on the part of the teachers who sponsor the events. Teacher salaries are very low here (of course, employment opportunities are fairly limited, too) so support of these activities is a real sacrifice and there are some very special people involved. Parent participation is extremely high as well.
  • Textiles -- I love fabric. The texture, the colors, the feel of it, the smell, the way it drapes, folds, cuts, takes the needle, everything about it appeals to me. If I had it all to do over, I would follow a path paved with cloth. I'd weave, spin, dye, and have my hands on the glorious stuff all day long.
  • Having Ben and Logan in my life I grieve for Robin every day yet I am so grateful for the wonderful children she left behind. Life without them is unthinkable. The rhythm of our lives gives me peace. I love morning when I wake them up so they can go to school and I realize anew they are with me -- we are a family. Watching them grow astounds me -- I suppose it would be more surprising if they didn't, but I still marvel over inch they add to their height, each increase in shoe size, that their pants become too short on a regular basis, etc. Nothing is ordinary -- all is extraordinary.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Eat Your Greens!

Friend Irene pointed me to this recipe because I'm always mentioning all the arugula our CSA provides. Here's the list of ingredients:
  • 4 strips thick-sliced smoked bacon
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces arugula

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anna Farfalla

I don't know why this quilt is named Anna Farfalla. While sewing, I try to get the quilt to tell me its name. Farfalla (Italian for butterfly) is obvious, but I don't know where Anna came from -- it just happened. She will be finished as soon as I affix a label. Now I need to give quilting a rest for a bit and clean my messy house! But first, I need to go get a pedicure -- can't possibly clean house with dull toes.

Snow is forecast for the weekend, I hope they are wrong because we plan to go to the Kansas City area. Ben rides the bus to Blue Springs on Friday where he'll spend the night in a hotel and play the next day at a Winter Drum Line Festival. Logan and I will drive up on Saturday to take in the performance, pick up Ben, spend the rest of the weekend with Kevin and Rachel, and celebrate Kevin (and Colleen's) 46th birthdays. So, no snow, please.

Yesterday, I went to the eye doctor for a check up on my eye that was treated with an injection of a chemo drug last May. At that time, there was macular bleeding from myopic macular degeneration (it's a little different than age-related macular degeneration). Last May I was legally blind in that eye. Today, although a blind spot remains, I can read the smallest print on the wall chart and the hand held card. Even the doc is a bit amazed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Quilts for Kids

Downy fabric softener promotes Quilts for Kids by providing willing quilters with kits for making quilts which go to children in need: Head Start programs, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals,
Shelters, etc. When you fill out an online form, they send you a quilt kit. The fabric and pattern for this quilt arrived five days after I submitted the form. A week later, the quilt is done and I'm ready to put it back in the mail. The quilter donates the batting, thread, return postage, and her time.

More snow forecast for today, I'm expecting a snow day with no school tomorrow. The timing would be good, Ben is kind of sick, but won't admit it and I'd like to see him get some rest.