Saturday, August 24, 2019

Keep Him, Please

Trump took off for the G7 at Biarritz yesterday after one of the wilder weeks in US history. He took off even though he questioned why he had to go at all, since he doesn't think any of the other members listen to him.

I hereby order Biarritz to keep him, please.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Lesson Learned

I have been quilting approximately 40 years. I came to it relatively late and certainly not from a hand sewing background or family tradition. I did make clothing both for myself and my husband and children and I did some embroidery back in the 70s when everyone did embroidery but I was not taught how to do any of this stuff by some master. Sometimes that means I am the equivalent of a goofy foot snowboard rider, doing the stuff backward. Case in point happened this week. I am quilting along on the Washingtonian. Like many people I had gotten one of those soft silicone collar thimbles trying to keep my finger bunion (I don't know any other way to describe it) from getting painful. I quilted the entire center of the quilt with my new pink thimble but my progress seemed slower and slower. Finally I threw up my hands and dug out a metal thimble--it was brand new so I didn't have to worry about any holes in the top from quilting through the metal or snags to pull the thread.

Well let me tell you, no matter the minor pain from the metal thimble, it is so much faster it is just like night and day. With the silicone thimble I had a hard time making small stitches and a harder time stacking stitches before pulling through. Now I am back to my better quilting and I am stacking up to 8 stitches on the needle before I pull it through. What I thought was an age related problem turned out to be an equipment problem. Duh!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

New Beginnings

One of my proteges starts medical school on Monday. She had her "transition" ceremony on Friday where she was given her white coat. She always had her heart set on being a doctor but had such a hard time as an undergraduate at Harvard that she wasn't sure she would make it. But she took a gap year and both added classes in biochemistry and worked in a lab at the university hospital in Salt Lake City. She wants to be a family practice or internal medicine doctor because she wants to be the first and more constant physician. She also wants either of those fields because she wants to begin paying her mother back for all of her hard work and all of her sacrifices as quickly as she can. I have known her since she was 14 and have helped her along the way with tutoring and advice and sometimes just a hand to hold or a friend to visit. What a journey it has been.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Some Conclusions Are Possible

Like most people, I have dealt with friends and family members who have psychological and psychiatric issues. That's one big reason I try to avoid comment on mass shootings in the US because the reasons behind the shootings are never easy and they are rarely clear.

The two shootings over this horrific weekend are a case in point. The first shooter, who is variously described as 19 or 22, left behind an electronic manifesto that pointed to Trump as an exigent factor in his actions. He is still alive so there is reason to believe that we will learn more about why he says that but that alone does not outline his reasons for driving diagonally 600 miles across Texas to shoot indiscriminately at people at a WalMart.  It is way too easy to blame Trump for the divisiveness in the country and claim that and only that is why anyone can kill a 6 year old and a 70 year old.

The Dayton case is different in that the shooter killed his own sister and only fired for 1 minute before being killed himself. It is hard for me to believe that was an unfortunate coincidence but the information is not available as yet.

Does Trump incite violence, hatred, and fear? I don't think anyone who listens to him from any part of the political spectrum could say no. He performs as a reality TV personality where every action and every statement is larger than life and intended to get a reaction. Does his rhetoric target minorities leaving them as the butt of his jibes? Not exclusively as he certainly uses the Bush family, the McCain family, and other white opponents as targets.

But what is clear to any reasonable observer is that Trump speaks to divide, he speaks to inflame, he speaks to demonize as if the only point of any action is to demean or insult the opponent. Having the bigger bully pulpit, his voice carries more weight. When mentally disturbed people listen, they might just feel a message or call to action. Even when ordinary citizens listen to Trump they react in reprehensible ways so tying Trump to violent incidents is easy but not the only truth.

Beyond that, guns are too accessible. They are too powerful. They are clearly too dangerous.  I grew up in a military family. My father was a paratrooper in the Pacific Theater during WWII and he never let us even have cap guns--and he was from east Texas where shooting, and guns were and still are part of the culture. When we visited his sister in 1956, I carefully counted the bullets on her gun belt and declared that she didn't have a 45--it was a 92. I was five at the time. The Dayton shooter only shot for 1 minute according to reports, and yet he used two guns.

Do you feel safe yet? A good man did grab the long gun of the Dayton shooter but he still killed more people. When is too much enough for action?

Breakfast Pizza

Most of the home made pizza crust recipes we use make two pizzas so we nearly always have a lump of dough in the freezer. I saw a recipe for a breakfast croque madame pizza and thought it would make a great breakfast and I was definitely right. We added some home grown sliced tomatoes and a little bit of chopped kielbasa to the recipe and when we make it again (which we will because it was delicious), we will shorten the second cooking time as the eggs came out a little too done for our taste.

There are many recipes online for this so you don't need me to lay it all out but basically you make a dijon mustard flavored bechamel (1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp flour, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tbsp dijon mustard), spread that on a home made or purchased pizza dough, cover that with grated swiss cheese and some pieces of prosciutto, bake briefly (2 to 5 minutes) in a hot oven(450F), break some eggs on top and bake again (8 to 12 minutes depending how done you want your eggs), sprinkle with fresh spinach and red pepper flakes and serve. We added some chopped kielbasa and some sliced fresh tomato from our garden.

Very, very delicious and if you already have a pizza dough waiting it only takes a little while.

Friday, August 2, 2019


My husband and I planted this hardy hibiscus last fall. It's called Starry, Starry Night for obvious reasons. The deer love to eat hibiscus so we had to surround it with chicken wire but at least the flowers get to strut their stuff. There is no scale apparent but this is about 8 or 9 inches across.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Some Progress

Hand quilting can be fun or it can be boring. Sometimes it's almost meditative but the current quilt hasn't reached that point yet. My mind has been wandering as I sew along thinking about our two remodels (best not to think about those), the animus toward the US shown by Trump (best not to think about that), what project I will work on next--that's worth thinking about.

I have several ideas flitting around in my brain and in my mind's eye. One is to use a previously completed single feathered star block as the center of a quilt that uses a diagonal block set put into a background of improved 9-patch that then has a floral applique or broderie perse border. Another idea is to make a bunch of bright red and yellow feathered star blocks and make a real eye catching border for that.

An idea that has been bumping along is to utilize some blocks that I got at an estate sale to do something. The problems with those are two-fold--the blocks are a real mishmash of old-fashioned blocks--some lady of the lake, some coffee cups, some crazy patch--just a real mishmash. The other problem is that these are all in small calico prints of a type that was used at least 30 years ago in colors that were also popular then. They are beautifully made, all hand sewn, but apart from the 21 lady of the lake blocks, most are not the same size even if they use the same fabrics. And even when they use the same fabrics, the blocks don't fit together so I don't know what the original intent was.  I bought them because I didn't want them to get thrown out but now I have someone else's UFOs at my house.

Perhaps you are more gifted than I. I like some but not all of the blocks--I am particularly fond of the one with the real jeans pocket and can see that as part of a child's quilt--and I like the coffee cups though coming from Utah they are more likely to be hot chocolate cups. Anyway if someone out there has a brilliant use for these, I am sure we can figure out a way to send them to you. They only cost me $5 in toto so far so any postage or shipping charges would hardly break the bank.

And welcome to the person who subscribed to my very limited number of YouTube videos.