Thursday, March 28, 2013

And Off They Go

Ben and Logan will no longer step up into the big yellow school bus. Their school transportation has been replaced with

newly-licensed Logan driving his new car. Ben is less interested in cars and driving so he is content to ride shotgun with Logan and borrow my car when absolutely necessary. He hopes to get by at UC Davis without a car, depending on his bike for transportation.

Like this picture, it's all been a blur. Hard to believe it's been nearly twelve years since Ben and Logan came to live with me. Ben will be at home only a few more months and in only two years, Logan will head off to college. It goes so quickly the second time around!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

What if . . .

I've heard that the estimated value of a West Point education is $500,000 -- cadets pay nothing and receive a monthly stipend. Like all the other service academies, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Naval, it is entirely funded by the Federal government. Collectively, they turn out approximately 5,000 top-notch warriors every year. The graduates spend at least five years in service to the nation after graduation. Many choose a military career.

What if we established a new National Service Academy dedicated to waging war against the destruction of our planet? Yes, a Green Academy. Talented high school graduates would spend four years in intense study, and perhaps would be required to present a "solution" to a major issue as a graduation requirement. They would then serve five more years in graduate work continuing to study and work on applying their "solution." They could opt for a career in the field. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Springtime in the Ozarks

I can finally admit to myself why I love snowy days. It's because everything just stops for a little while. Suddenly, there is nothing I have to do. School is cancelled, travel is unwise. Best thing to do is hunker down, read, sew, plan cozy meals with the food already on hand, and drink a warm beverage. Oh wait, I've just described a typical day for me. But I enjoy it most when it appears to be the wisest course of (non)action.

A couple of things are different about this snowy day picture from my front porch. My car is sitting in the driveway. That's because Logan's new car is sitting in the garage. I'll post a picture of him sitting behind the wheel once he has his license and it's all official.

The other thing that is different is that my neighbor across the street has not shoveled her driveway. It worries me. She must be ill or out of town. She has never before missed an opportunity to scoop up the snow into neat little windrows along the edge of the lawn, getting out very early so she can get it done before it melts lest she be left with nothing to scoop.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Joy, etc.

Baby Audrey Ash, friend Sharon Harmon's expected granddaughter (due the middle of May), is the new owner of this colorful quilt that was lots of fun to make. 
 "Rhapsody in Red" is the name of this quilt. I'm not sure how practical it is. The fabrics were not pre-washed and I'm afraid the reds will run. The colors are kind of off in the photo above, the one below is a little more representative of the true colors. I'm not sure what to do with this quilt, I will probably try to sell it on Etsy.

This third quilt was so much fun to make. I call it "Joy, joy, joy." It's my favorite of all the quilts I've made to date and I'm sure that love and happiness are in every stitch! I'm sending it to my nephew and his wife, Scott and Sherry Blair in Carson City. I've been working through the family handing off quilts this past year -- one nephew remains, Jason and his wife Kim. I think I have one in mind for them, but it isn't even started.

I keep trying to wind down my quilting activities, but the addiction is so intense, I'm always planning several quilts ahead. I know I have to make at least one more like the one I'm sending Scott and Sherry, because I'd like one for myself!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

All Hail!

All Hail, Blue and Gold
Thy colors unfold
O'er loyal Californians,
Whose hearts are strong and bold,  
All Hail, Blue and Gold
Thy strength ne'er shall fail;
 For thee we'll die,
 All Hail! All Hail!

Hail to California,
Alma Mater dear;
Sing the joyful chorus,
Sound it far and near.
Rallying round her banner,
We will never fail;
California, Alma Mater,
Hail! Hail! Hail! 

My father taught me these songs when I was very young. I'm sure I knew them and the California Fight Song ("The Sturdy Golden Bear) before I was eight years old. Seward "Bud" Blair was a proud alum of Cal Berkeley and a loyal supporter of their football team (the magical Pappy Waldorf years, Jackie Jensen was a star quarterback). We sang all of these songs at each football game.

My father was one of the second generation members of his family to attend the University of California. My brother Ken and some of his cousins were among the third generation and fourth generations. Now Ben will be joining their ranks as a member of the fifth generation when he goes to UC Davis in September. I am so pleased for him.

Notice of his acceptance arrived via email yesterday and was filled with information about what to do next. Today he is busy working on plans. This is big folks, this is definitely one of those major forks in the road. I have great hopes for his academic future and am so proud and happy for him.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Precious Moments

Sometimes I worry that the boys are missing out because I don't have the stamina or the money to take them on an exotic vacation over spring break. A ski trip for instance. I was able to do that when my older grandkids were growing up. But this week we are staying home and Ben and Logan have never been skiing.

However, a couple of nights ago, I went to bed early, curled up with a book (the last chapters of Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver). Logan lay on the bed next to me using my Kindle Fire to watch a movie. We didn't talk, but we lay side by side for an hour or so, just breathing the same air and feeling the warmth of our nearness.

This morning, Ben woke me up at 6:45, turned the light on dimly, sat on the bed by me and gave me a fifteen minute detailed description of the dream that had awakened him. I lay there quietly as he threaded his way through his recollection. Somehow, I felt honored that he would awaken me to share his dream. It was a wonderful way to start the day.

I am grateful for the stillness these older years give me -- that I don't have the need to be constantly in motion and that I do have time to lie still and just be. It is a joy.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Grandma, I Need a Costume

Producing a costume with less than a day's notice is all in a day's work for a grandmother/parent. It happened again yesterday. This time the challenge was to create a witness in the Moby Dick trial. This character had 30 days earlier been rescued and fortunately escaped being cannibalized. He was an ordinary sea-faring man of the early 1800's. Who knew what he would wear in a court room? My best guess was that he would look something like today's Amish. So between Goodwill and the furthest reaches of Ben's closet, this is what emerged:
In creating this costume, I drew upon my experience morphing an eight-year-old Danny (I guess I really should call him Dan, but I just can't, especially when I'm remembering him at age eight) into Han Solo of Star Wars fame. Madeline had invited Danny to a Star Wars-themed birthday party and he chose to be Han Solo. And he was the only Han Solo at the party. All the other attendees were Princess Leias.

But, I digress.Surprisingly, a Han Solo costume is not very different from that of a 19th century shipwreck survivor. Han wore black pants, a light colored Henley shirt with a little bit of a stand-up color, and a black vest fashioned from an old black tee shirt. Ben is wearing black scrubs (from his Winter Drum Line outfit) an olive green shirt (Goodwill - $3.00), a black tee fashioned into a vest, and a straw hat.