“Brain on Break” gives family a good laugh

We had some snow a month or so ago, real snow. The kind that comes down in huge flakes and you  can see it piling up in a very short time. I know, I should not be reminding some of the country about snow. You may still have some on the ground, but snow in Bellingham is the good kind. It comes, looks pretty and is usually gone in a day or two, giving schools a snow day, and the rest of us something to talk about that isn’t rain.
It was that heavy snow day that Sea was looking out the window and said to me, “Do you see those three baby eagles on the tree out there?”  I looked… and sure enough there were three lumps on the branch of the tree with snow hats. Now I know baby eagles don’t sit on the lower branches of a tree. But it was an unusual day and my brain was on vacation (a snow day). I got out my camera to take pictures of the baby eagles. I even went really nuts and called my daughter to bring out her good camera and her steady hand as my pictures tend to be a little blurry.

photoThen I took a minute to think… actually use my brain for a minute. Those were not baby eagles. They looked more like baby owls, little lumps with snow hats.
Well, it is spring, and they are still there, three baby lumps, more commonly called pine cones. They are still looking out toward the water. They are enjoying the ever present rain and I assume the rare sunshine as well.
And every time I look at them I remember the snow, and the day I lost my brain and fell for that inane comment about baby eagles. And Amelia’s family can also laugh about it… but not to me.
pine cones otterlandingI assume soon the baby eagles/owls/ pine cones will fall off and do what baby pine cones do, and I will  not be reminded every time I see that branch of the day I lost my brain. I will try and hang onto my working brain a little longer.

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putting my grands to work

Does anyone really care what an eighty year old person does or thinks? Well, I guess my kids do. They call me when life is exciting or different for them. They tell me what my grandchildren are doing. And the ones who live near by drop in with a chore they are wiliing to do (pressure wash the front fence, work on the dock) or decide where we will have lunch on Saturday.
As for what I do…. I had my two little grands perform child labor a week or so ago and had them take out all my yarn boxes for me to sort through. They did it in record time and asked what else they could do. Little did I know that a great source of labor is so near. And yes, I paid them! Labor prices are somewhat different from when I performed child labor. My sister and I washed the windows at the Cape house one summer and were offered ten cents a window.  Needless to say, we got into arguements. So we pleaded, and got a raise, ten cents for each side. That way we could watch eachother through the window and avoid the chatter.
When a hurricane hit the Cape one fall, we were paid a penny a nail for all the nails we could find in the sand near where the barn collapsed. (That was very boring work as I recall. Washing windows is more fun when you can make faces at your sister and write notes on the panes and then wash them away.
So I will continue to knit until my hands hurt and dream up more quilts to make with the mounds of fabric in my basement. I suppose some day I need to employ that child labor to help me weed through the fabric, but I have to finish with the yarn first. That may take months!

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just thinkin’

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hWe had lunch out last week and the very young waitress hung around after asking if our meal was “tasting fine.” It was a beautiful sunny day, which is rare around here , so she asked if we had plans for the afternoon. My answer was that we were going to the grocery store. Not exactly something fun for a sunny day. She hung around a little longer, so I told her Sea would read his book in the car.
And this brought to mind a story which I told her as she was still standing there smiling.
I am a quilter, and visit any and all quilt shops even if I have no reason to buy one more inch of fabric. I stopped by a favorite shop one day when we lived on Cape Cod. Two ladies were chatting with the owner as I wandered around and petted the fabric. Suddenly two huge men emerged from the small room set aside for visiting children. “Got it all sorted,” they said. “Looks pretty nice now.”
I had seen this room before filled with kids toys and usually in disarray. The owner smiled and thanked the two men.
“Every quilt shop should have a book store or a hardware store next door.” That was my addition to the conversation and got a huge nod of agreement from the two couples.
“And the grocery store,” said one of the wives.
“Oh,” I asked, “What do they do when you go to the grocery store?”
“They push each other around the parking lot in the carts,” was the answer.
So I repeat my suggestion and add yarn shops to the list…. a hardware store or a book shop. Lets keep those men happy so we can enjoy ourselves.

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labor of love

From Amelia, daughter to Fran – author of this blog:

So mom, I let you know a month or so ago that I wanted a new quilt.  The one you made for me when we moved here 7 years ago is beginning to have frayed seams.  Besides, it’s always fun to think about what a new quilt might look like in a bedroom.

You asked what colors – and what pattern – and we exchanged pictures found on the internet went to quilt stores together as a part of our regular Saturday outings.

I think you found you had bit off a bit more than you really wanted to chew – I like a bit of drape on a Queen sized quilt and the pattern I ended up with has a lot of pieces to put together to come out 100″ square!

After a few orders of fabric, a few trials of patterns and color combinations, I think you – and me – came up with a winner.  Thanks mom.  Looks good on your bed, I can hardly wait to try it on mine. quilt

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more snow

More snow… and it is March.
Well, someday a million years from now when I am hanging over my cloud checking up on my great,great, great, great, great…….. grand kids, someone will discover that my cockamamie idea is true. I took physics in high school and in college and learned that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Thus, when they send rockets into space from Florida or Texas or other parts of the world, the earth has a miniscule reaction. I know… I’m nuts, but it as good an excuse as any. That is why there is snow further south than when I lived there.

Stir Crazy quilt is growing

Stir Crazy quilt is growing

As I stay home and rework my “Stir Crazy” quilt because it is too icy to go outside, I will maintain the truth of my insanity.
I taught school in Bellingham for many years, and every year promised my class that, if it snowed, we would go outside and enjoy it. I made that promise remembering my high school English teacher, Mrs. Peckham. She was a very tough teacher. There was no fooling around in her class, but one morning it started to snow… heavily. This was in Worcester, Mass where snow isn’t that unusual, but there was a new student in this class. Sue was from Florida. Sue stared out the window at the white flakes falling heavily and we all watched her. This was something new, very new. What was snow like? Mrs. Peckham watched her too and long before the bell rang for the end of class, she sent us all outside to introduce snow to Sue.
I know snow was not unusual in Bellingham, but watching the flakes fall, and sticking out your tongue to catch them and trying to roll a snow ball…. we all need to do that once in a while. I even told my Florida students we would go outside to enjoy the snow if we had any. They knew it was a useless promise, 40 years ago. Now, well maybe not so futile. And if we send off any more rockets, Florida will be snowbound all winter and Washington state can have year round spring. (not hot, just warm please… I will be sending my directions from cloud nine.)

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completed button quilt

Here is a picture of the completed quilt described in entry from 2/11/2014


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stir crazy

Note from Amelia, eldest daughter of Fran, who is the primary author of this blog

Usually on Sundays I receive a note in my email-box titled “slice.”  I open it up and there will be a few words such as “new gasket” or “button quilt” prior to the contents of a letter my mom intends for me to copy and paste into this blog.  (See previous entries on blog.) Sometimes there is a note about an accompanying picture to be found on her Picasa site.

I’ve learned over the past few years that while she calls me her editor, mom really doesn’t like me to edit much of her writing at all – just fix the capitals and periods and take out occasional repeats of words.  I’ve learned to respect my mom’s “voice” and let it shine through her writing.  Sometimes when I visit on the weekend, I get to hear her read her “Slice of Life” out loud, which is a real treat.

I kind of pushed mom into this blog writing enterprise because I thought she’d enjoy a new creative outlet.  I created the blog, told mom about it and encouraged her to send me her writing and I would enter it.  In the beginning, mom felt like she had to come up with something every week.  She combed through old letters and memories and shared about her childhood, teaching experience and connections to events happening in present day.  Lately, she has become more relaxed about her writing, sending me an entry only when she’s inspired to write.  She does enjoy reading the comments and has made some interesting connections through this blog.  Plus, her far flung kids – my siblings – get to see what mom is up to and thinking because she doesn’t “do Facebook.”

So the weekend has come and gone and mom hasn’t sent me a slice – but she did send two pictures which summarize her activities.  A blizzard of snow falling all day on Sunday kept her housebound so she did what mom usually does when she’s cooped up – start a new quilt project which she has aptly named “Stir Crazy.”

enough already

enough already

stir crazy

stir crazy

Posted in amelia, fran, otterlanding, quilting | 5 Comments