conversation with Russ
“Did you say you plan to publish my writing?”
“Well, sort of. Amelia will post your saga on my blog. Otter Landing.”
“Well, we may not be able send it every day. But we will when we can.”
“Who is going to read it?”
“I am not sure… Maybe just family.”
“Whew…. Yip yip!”
It was the regular Otterbees day to meet, share quilting ideas or knit or whatever we generally do every Wednesday morning, mostly talk about events in our lives, past and present, the various dogs among the tribe,and occasionally show the current quilting project. Today it was Wanda’s baby quilt. It was also our last visit until June because I am going on a trip. Or rather a Cruise, to Alaska and won’t be back until the end of the month.
We enjoyed the various chocolate treats they brought, knowing chocolate was my
favorite… Also knowing,I am sure, that I will not be lacking in chocolate or good food for the month. Sea says we are taking this trip so I won’t have to cook.
I was doing some work in my office and I kept hearing a yipping sound.I kept looking for
the source of the yipping . It is even amazing that I could hear it. Then I realized it was one of the critters sitting on the window sill protecting it from dust and smiling at me while I work…Quietly… Yep yip yip
The very smallest critter was making the yips and would not stop til I picked him up and
dusted off his brow. Yip yip
“Just what is all this noise about?” I asked, knowing that these silent critters and I can
“It is my turn,” yipped the little dog. “You talk dogs all the time in the other room. I have
heard it and yet you never share what a well behaved, well trained, quilt little dog I am.”
“Okay, ” I patted Russ on the head and started to put him back on the shelf.
“Wait a minute!” yipped Russell, Russ for short, “You took Kirby and Wisdom
Huckapellet and some teddy bear on one of your trips and I think it is my turn. I am very small. I won’t take up much space in your small suitcase and I have always wanted to see Alaska…Whatever that is…”
“Okay . Can you write about the trip? The others all wrote something.”
“Sure … I can type on that IPad better that you can…so Alaska is a place…? IS it big?
How do we get there? What….. Why…/when?”
“We leave next Tuesday. Amelia will drive us to Seattle where will meet with our fellow
passengers at a Hotel and when we are all gathered there, we will be taken to our ship.”
“Ship….????? I can’t swim. Or I don’t think I can swim….”
“You don’t have to swim. We will board the ship and even be shown to our room. You can
come along, but please don’t try yipping. I am not sure dogs are allowed on the ship.”
“I will be quiet. You won’t even know I am there. I promise…. And I will write about your
adventures every day… Can I go…????”
Are you ready?
Where are we going?
Actually we were going out to lunch, a common quest at any noon time. The real question was what restaurant? We have about four favorites so the choice was limited to one we hadn’t been to last time.
As we are driving (I am at the wheel) Sea looks at the various houses along the route. I think he is looking for a future home for Katie to move to as she wants to be near to her grand kids… twin girls. It reminded me of a time many years ago when Sea was driving and I was asking the question.
I was pregnant with number four, who if you read old blogs calls herself number five. The other three were almost five, four, and and two years old. We were living in a three bed room house in Alexandria, Va. and the new baby was due in a few months.
Where are we going?
The route was very close to where we lived and the road we turned into was a dead end circle with seven or eight houses under construction. There was an agent available. I could see the signs. We pulled into the unfinished driveway of the only house with a tree.
“That one,” says Sea, and we all piled out of our VW bus and walked to the front door and into the house. It was nearly finished. We could move in, in about a month. Some of the others were still under construction. We looked over the split level four bed room house. It had a dish washer! It had a finished basement for a play room. It had a dish washer!. It was all new… with a dish washer.
The agent gave us the time line. We could move in about a month before baby four was due… on Christmas day. We took it and went home and started packing and getting ready for the move. Baby four came a week early and grandparents didn’t feel they could handle the rest of the crew so Sea took baby leave and stayed home with the three in the new house, organizing etc. (and began to understand my glee at having a dish washer.)
Sea and the crew came to take me home from the hospital right before Christmas. It was Bill (4)who asked the best question about fat Momie, now somewhat slimmer and holding this wee thing in her arms.
“Momie, do you have a zipper?”
And I went home to my brand new house and a dish washer. Hoooooray! and one more member of the crew.
I had an idea…. late Saturday night I had an idea.
I had bought some fabric with tiny birds on it. I wanted to make a table runner for Sia.
I found some green fabric already stacked to make simple octagons.
I have been staring at a particular quilt pattern in a magazine for months, trying to figure out how to make it.
BINGO… Idea blossomed.
Then I had lunch with Amelia after a trip to the book store. She bought a book called “What do you do with an idea?” by Kobi Yamada
She wrote my slice for me…an idea, the stuff, the design…. and I am off and running with a slight break for lunch. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
We were talking about quilt rules one day with my Otterbees…. how to miter a binding, or a border. I listened and when asked how I did it, I just told them…. “my way”. I chuckled when I found an article about “rules” in an Australian magazine. They listed rules that are now all broken…bindings, perfect points, coordinated colors, hand quilted….the list goes on. In the 40 plus years since I have been making quilts everything has changed. But if you attend a quilt show, or meander through a quilt magazine, you will see some fantastic art.
Thirty years ago, when I lived in Florida, I joined a quilt guild for the first time. I had made quilts for my kids beds but never took a class or learned the “proper” way to sew, quilt and bind a quilt. I used my tiny Singer featherweight machine to stitch the pieces and quilt the tops.I made quilts to put on the kids beds for a reason. A very large quilt, that goes from floor to floor on both sides of the bed and foot to top over the pillow makes making the bed easy. Just pull it up and no one knows if the bed is properly made, the sheets tucked in, or, in fact, if there is anything hidden under the bed, like yesterday’s clothes or old toys.
I entered three quilts in the quilt show in Florida, machine sewn and machine quilted. They were hung in the show but the committee that awarded prizes was not sure what to do with a machine quilted quilt. So they made a new category. I was awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes for my three quilts in their own category… and the only three in the show. My husband calls them attendance prizes.
Today it is a whole new story…. machine sewn, machine quilted, crazy array of fabrics, strange shapes- Quilting is in a whole new era. I don’t enter quilt shows today. I have another venue for my quilts.
I have had some hung in a local church. I have a few that have made it to a day care center. I gave some to a local hospital for their long halls and to a children’s hospital for the kids who have come in for long term care. I have seen them in local libraries.My daughter has some she hangs in her preschool class room. Of course my kids and grand kids all have quilts.
I was rewarded this week in a new way . A local children’s rehab office moved to a new location. I had made a few quilts for their bare walls and was curious if the quilts made it to the new location. I had to go and see and was rewarded hugely. My Eric Carle Brown Bear and The Hungry Caterpillar quilts were hung on the walls. In fact as I was given a tour of the rooms prepared for children’s rehab and play, colorfully decorated with bright colors and equipment, I saw one of my quilts on every wall, even one hung backwards as the design was faded but the bright fish fabric on the back was perfect . I was thrilled and am currently making a new fish quilt for their wall and another for a wall they missed.
This is my reward -award-for doing something I love to do, making quilts my way for people to see and enjoy, but not to pick at and ponder how they were stitched or bound.
I would wake up with one thing on my mind. I had to write something for English class. It was the standard weekend homework assignment. I don’t recall if there was a topic given occasionally. I just recall “write something”. We were given two grades. The top grade was for content, the bottom for those nit-picky things english teachers worry about: spelling, grammar, paragraphs etc. I remember this because I recently came across one of my weekend themes.
It was written one Sunday afternoon about sitting in my room, pencil in hand and trying to think what I would write about. I turned down an invitation for tea with my mother. I did nothing, according to my writing but write about doing nothing and somehow the afternoon turned into dinner time. I put a period at the end and turned it in Monday morning. The top grade was an A. The bottom grade wasn’t but then it never was. No one is perfect.
In those days I didn’t have TV, or an i-phone. I didn’t text … go to the movies…. have a date….not even a typewriter to write with, just a pencil, though I might have had to rewrite it in ink.
What is it kids do today on Sunday afternoons? It was a different world back then. How boring it would be for a teen today, but I don’t recall being bored, just annoyed that I had to ruin a weekend writing something. Needless to say writing it on Friday never entered my mind. Never do it ahead of time was my mantra….
Sunday 2015…. homework… write something for Tuesday. We live on a lake. This past month the fog has come in so we can only see the docks of the people on either side of us, the tall trees on either side of our dock, an occasional parade of ducks. The houses on the hills across are gone. Shangri-La created every morning. It is quiet, but then I have not put on my hearing aids yet so, of course it is quiet. Sometimes I can hear an eagle screeching at its mate on the trees near by.
Is this any different from 1950…. Now I have a life time of memories to write about. Many I have covered already. I will think of an event… oops already wrote that. You would think after all these years there would be more stories but today it is the fog, the quietness that
seems to be on my mind , like that Sunday 65 years ago when I sat and stared out the window and watched the afternoon fade away.
(see Nov. 1, 2011 —