Wednesday, April 25, 2012


These little shorts had a matching shirt some 65 years ago when our grandmother, Mimi (Ruth Anderson), gave them to brother Rick. He loved them and he loved Hopalong Cassidy. When he outgrew them, they were put aside until younger brother, Ken, grew into them. Ken loved them even more than Rick did, because not only were they Hopalong Cassidy shorts, but they had belonged to a hero, his big brother Rick. Somewhere along the way, the shirt wore out and was discarded. When the lining of the shorts became too tight, Ken cut it out, so that he could continue to wear the shorts in comfort and extend their life. When at last he could no longer squeeze into them, he still could not bear to part with them. And so, he kept them, packing them up and taking them along with him as he moved from apartment to apartment in his adult life. Still unable to dispose of them, he decided to give them to Colleen’s boys. By that time, Ken and I agreed they were too much a treasure, approaching heirloom status, to be worn, so I had them framed and they hung on the bedroom wall of the Paine boys’ bedroom. Boyish scuffling broke the glass and the frame but left the shorts undamaged and somehow they ended up back in my possession. I think it is time they were returned to their rightful owner, so I’m sending them back to Rick.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Look Out World, Here Comes Logan

And he's behind the wheel. He doesn't want to learn how to drive, he wants to KNOW how to drive. Today he seemed to have a hard time understanding why the car didn't respond telepathically; he kept asking why doesn't it turn the way I want it to, why does it start so fast, stop so fast/slow, etc. Soon he will learn that he is in charge and it will do what he directs it to (I hold out hope). Our first driving lesson in an empty parking lot went very well and we'll be ready to try it on the road in another week. By the time summer school and driver training starts, he should be getting comfortable. I'm sure he's going to be a good driver.
I'm healing nicely, the swelling is nearly all gone, and the colors are radiant. This picture doesn't do them justice. I'm bruised from my hairline to my chin, but oh, so grateful that I am only bruised. After a couple of slow days Monday and Tuesday, I was back in full swing for my birthday on Wednesday. Friend Andra brought me a to-die-for chocolate cake -- Logan just ate the last crumbs this morning. And friend Sharon took me to lunch on Friday. We were joined by fellow book club member, Molly, at the Twilight Inn. All you out-of-towners remind me to take you there when you come to visit. It's really good -- I had a wonderful steak salad and for dessert, berries with Grand Marnier sauce. Very yum. And great company.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm Fine

Today I took my first ambulance ride, first trip to a Springfield hospital ER and had my first CT Scan.
All to learn that except for an orbital tissue contusion (black eye, in lay terms) I'm fine.

The top picture is to show you all the pretty colors (I hear they'll be more glorious tomorrow) and the bottom depicts how far the gory thing protrudes. Both serve to show you how much I look like my mother.

How did it happen? I tripped over a curb and fell flat on my face. Nice people helped me and Steve picked up my car and brought me home. I'm fine, really.

Top This

I'm still sewing every spare moment, but not finishing much except the themed table toppers I've been making each month. Here are Spring Flowers, the third set. My goal is to make twelve, we'll see if I stick with it. I've been having a good time helping a friend make a T-shirt quilt as a surprise for her son's graduation. It's her first quilt and we're both pretty stoked about it. Part of my excitement comes from the sewing machine she borrowed from her mother-in-law. It's a 93-year old Singer (electric, not treadle). It's gorgeous and runs beautifully. It sews only a forward straight stitch, very even and balanced. What a gem!

The wild weather this weekend bypassed us for the most part. Lots of rain on Saturday didn't keep us us from having our planned garage sale and it didn't keep the buyers away either.The boys did the selling and got to keep whatever money they raked in. We plan to hold several more sales until we have some of the clutter in the house under control. When Ben and Logan realized that sales equal money in their pockets they became much more enthusiastic about disposing of stuff. I think we are finally making a dent in it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Crystal Bridges

 Yesterday's great escape took me to Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas. Friends Sharon, Sue and I drove through gorgeous springtime Ozarks country to the new (November 2011) facility funded by Alice Walton of Walmart fame.  The building was designed by architect Moshe Safdie, who according to his firm's website is . . ."committed to architecture that responds to human needs and aspirations and is informed by the geographic, social, and cultural elements that define a place." It's a slightly strange string of connected pods that appear to have been extruded into the landscape. A couple of the pods resemble armadillos. Yet it is quite beautiful and a wonderful museum. The interior space does a fabulous job of displaying the art. The works are at the right height, with plenty of viewing distance, and great lighting. And very attentive guards who make certain you do not violate the 18 inch invisible barrier between the viewer and the art.

As a museum building and art collection it is world class. I get muddled when I find my thoughts drifting to what it took to acquire the great wealth necessary to build and sustain this fabulous place. How many sweat shops, how much child labor, how many ravaged rain forests, how many small businesses forced in to bankruptcy did it take to make merchandise available to the people of WalMart? Many people were visiting the museum the day we were there, a mid-week, off-season, non-holiday week. But they did not look much like WalMart shoppers or employees. In a way, it felt like another layer of creating wealth for a certain class of people from the efforts of a poorer class, and I feel a bit elitist and guilty for enjoying it. And at the same time I feel gratitude for the effort to support, maintain, and share this civilizing element of our culture. I'm so confused! 

As wonderful as the museum was, the company was even better. Spending the day together was a wonderful treat.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Easter was hard. It was the eleventh anniversary of the attack on Robin that resulted in her death three days later. I want to move beyond recognizing the anniversary dates of tragic events, but I'm not there yet. I tried in clumsy ways: drinking too much wine and then dropping and breaking the glass candy dish Bernice had given me as a birthday gift. Maybe next year will be better.

Saturday afternoon, I fell into panic mode, realizing I had planned nothing to celebrate the day with the boys. So, I rushed out to the candy store and got them each an Easter basket. That helped a little bit.

We gathered with the Maples clan Sunday noon for dinner. As always, Julia had a nice meal -- for me the highlight was the fresh asparagus from her garden. Prepared with prosciutto and Parmesan cheese, it was divine, darling. This is the third year for her asparagus and it's now yielding enough to serve at a family dinner. Wait till next year! We celebrated March and April birthdays of me, Nick, and Alicia. Alicia's ten-month old twins, Isaiah and Xavier, who are living with her in Buffalo, made their first appearance at a family event. In the picture, great-grandma Julia holds Isaiah (I hope I got the right name attached to the right baby). They appear to be thriving. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Summertime in the Ozarks

Same dog, same day.

 The dogwood is glorious -- a full three weeks earlier than any previous year. The tips of the blossoms are just starting to turn brown, it's just about finished for this year.
And the cows have already begun using the ponds as wading pools. Notice not quite every tree is in leaf, but it is very green. A late frost would be devastating. Here's hoping it doesn't snow on the dogwood this year! Roses are blooming, dandelions have already gone to seed, yellow oak pollen sifts over every car left outside for a couple of hours, and kleenex sales are up. 

Big important news! Ben has been accepted to GLADE (Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems). What that means is that he gets to spend a week at the Missouri State University Field Station at Bull Shoals Lake working on habitat restoration and preservation. He labored all last week over his application, essay, and project proposal and learned yesterday he has been accepted in the program as one of 16 high schools kids from Southwest Misssouri. Here's the text of the letter of recommendation from a former teacher (actually librarian):

I am writing to highly recommend Ben Maples for the GLADE 2012 session.  

Ben is exactly the kind of candidate I believe is a great fit for the environmental features of the academy.  As a young man he has planned for quite some time to pursue a career in entomology and already has a great appreciation for the subtle changes in environment and the impact that will have on future generations.

Ben is a very quiet, introspective young man.  He excels in many areas but particularly loves not only his “bugs” but high school band as well.  He has excelled in the high school band program developing leadership qualities in this program.

Ben has a gentle spirit and is very kind.  He shows kindness in many ways, especially to his grandmother, who is his primary caregiver.  It gives me hope the future generation is both caring and compassionate.

I have seen many young people pass through my life as a school librarian.  Ben is one of the outstanding ones, who will make a difference in this world.  I am proud to highly recommend Ben to an outstanding program which will help on his journey toward making a difference in the world.