Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I am hoping the beautiful weather we have had since Sunday means that spring is really here in MD and I will not look out front and see all the magnolia tree blossoms brown and withered because of a frost. The crocuses are happily sprouting, the daffs are gaily waving, and the grackles are chasing everyone else off the rail of the deck when we put the bird seed out. I must say that the cardinals are giving them a run for their money, as are the squirrels. Though I am not fond of feeding the squirrels, the past two winters have been so hard, and the squirrels have been sharing. I must admit that finding the holes in the chair cushions so they could pull out the stuffing made it really easy to decide we need new cushions for this year.

Well, I was going to try and verbalize the out of sorts feelings I'm experiencing, but Lou is ready to go to the store, so Safeway and CVS it is!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Times change, or do they?

When Sarah was in middle school one of the projects she had to do involved asking an "older" person about their life and what they had lived through. Since her grandparents had already been hit up for this type of assignment, she asked to talk to her great aunt. We arranged to go to Cleveland and visit, and I would tape the interview so Sarah could concentrate on her questions and later refer back to the tape for detail. My Aunt Dorothy spoke of being raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, remembering the first time street lights went on. She spoke of being sent to a "big city" to find a Jewish husband, of living through World War II and many other things. She spoke of the wonders of technology. Sadly for us, she passed away four years ago, just before she turned 18 for the 64th time (she was always 18, every birthday). I thought about that afternoon the other night when Lou and I were talking to Sarah on google chat. Lillian taught me how to hook up the camera to the laptop (this laptop does not have one built in) and we were chatting with Sarah before she went to bed. She is in London, studying at Sotheby's and had just returned from a class trip to China. How Aunt Dorth would have loved that! Not just the trip, but that we were visually and verbally communicating across thousands of miles. This is such a different world we live in-not just for those of Aunt Dorth's generation, but for me, too. When I went to college, we were allowed to call home once a week, and used the "person to person" collect call signal-usually asking for the dog, good thing they had people names. Now, with cell phones and no extra charge for long distance calling, I talk to Lillian a few times a day while she is in Arizona. The kids stay connected electronically so easily with phones and computers.

And yet, this week I saw a picture of a young boy trying to hit a baseball. I believe this is his first time in organized ball. His family will be going to games, watching the winning and the losing for months and enjoying being outdoors. It made me think of Lillian's years of Y ball in California. Some things don't change, and that's a good thing.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mechanically inclined

Not generally two words that describe me, but they fit today. After about 7 years of talking it to death, Lou and I went out to Sears last night and bought a new garbage disposer. I did not grow up with one, we did not have one in CA, and we tend to compost as much as we can so it did not seem like it was at the top of the list of things to do. However, water drainage was extremely slow, and when it was used, it was really loud. So, we did a little comparison shopping online, then went to Sears. Today was installation and big surprise: nobody cried, nobody yelled and more importantly-nobody swore. That may be a first. In fairness, I must admit we had to go to the hardware store twice. Once before we started to get plumber's putty and tape, just in case. Then, the pipe from the disposer to the drain was too short and it wasn't a match-we needed something longer and flexible. However, the lady who reviewed the model we bought and said installation took about 20 minutes should be ashamed that she lied. it took us a couple hours, with a few breaks and the hardware store trip. the only thing that hasn't been replaced in the kitchen in the last year is the stove-and since I don't cook, and the oven works fine, I really don't care It is nice not to hear the dishwasher, or the disposer and the ice dropping into the bin of the automatic ice maker.

Today started witha soft rain falling and as predicted it is now a much heavier fall and the winds are picking up. The temperatures are still high so it's actually kind of pleasant outside, just wet. I do hope the power stays on tonight.

The first of the crocuses bloomed yesterday, and the narcissus and daffs are pushing up in the flower beds. It will be so nice to have spring arrive. We bought some sweet pea and sunflower seeds when we picked up the pipe (I had a gift certificate and they don't give cash back so we had to spend over ten dollars). the pussy willow is budding in the back as is the lilac in the front. Soon, the scents of spring will be all around the house.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Textile Museum

Today my chapter of the Pomegranate Guild had a presentation and tour of the Ikat exhibit at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC. Simply defined, Ikat is a particular technique of dying and weaving material. This material was then made into coats. The exhibit pieces were really beautiful, and really challenge the idea that "nothing" culturally was going on in mid-Asian in the 18-19 centuries. It was a multi-layer dying process, starting with yellow and going on through indigo.

More interesting to me, though, was a smaller exhibit on "recycling" textiles. Most people think immediately of patch quilting which makes use of various usable parts of clothing, etc., but this exhibit also showed a vest made from a native American ceremonial mantle, exquisitely embroidered pieces that had become tent decorations, a jacket made of a combination of woven materials, and a few other interesting pieces. So, we're not talking the last 40-50 years here. I cannot imagine the time it took to hand embroider some of these pieces, one explanation said two to three years.

Every time I start to think I have some talent, I see something like these exhibits, and realize that I have a whole lot more to learn. It's exciting!