Monday, August 31, 2009

Kind Of Blue.....

No, not Miles Davis!
No, not ennui!
It's a blue ribbon! I won a blue ribbon! My very first ever!

Yes, I'm unabashedly tooting my own horn here, but you've got to appreciate the history. I've never been particularly good at using my hands: I received terrible marks in penmanship, never could type very fast, and generally have issues with anything that requires small motor coordination! For years I avoided knitting because I was sure I would be terrible at it. Shortly after Jess was born I decided to make a leap and I took knitting lessons from a kind and patient woman and I was hooked. I wasn't terribly good at it, but I had come to peace with my lack of perfection and just enjoyed the process.
So...when my good friend Lynn suggested I enter something into the Northwest Washington Fair held each year in Lynden, I stuttered and back stepped and said, "Oh no, my things are not fair quality." But she kept goading me and I decided to give it a try. I won 3 ribbons! A blue, a red and a patriotic! And they even give you money! Who knew? I contemplated quitting my day job, images of me spending delightful days knitting a myriad of objects flashed through my head until I did the math and figured I'd be making about 2 cents/hr. at it. Ah well, the check paid for the gas up to the fair, I guess!
And about the fair, I had no idea that such things even existed until I moved here in 1978. Surely there must have been a state fair in Maryland where I grew up, but I never heard about it! I LOVE the fair. We spend hours there touring every building, spending extra time in the sheep exhibits, the draft horses (BIG horsies!!), the cows, the bunnies and of course the needlework exhibits. I envy the farm kids who raise animals and enter them in the fair, how fun and rewarding that must be. Almost as rewarding as winning your first blue ribbon at age 61!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Enduring Friendship #3

Newest member of the family is Darcy, front and center!

One of the great "mysteries" of life is the way that God weaves people into and out of our lives. How else can I explain that several years ago I met a woman that I attended the same private school with in 5th grade in Maryland? Her husband worked at the same company that mine did. Or try explaining how I met a woman who was dear friends with an actual relative of mine, not one I'm familiar with, but one who shows up on my family tree with the last name of Ridgely? I did write her and explain the "coincidence", but sadly she never responded. do you explain the fact that my "second home" is in a town I'd never heard of until almost 20 years ago when Wally and I met Mauri Macy at THE FIRS which has begun a long-standing friendship that now includes Sherry Macy and that our daughter ended up attending college in this town and now teaches in it? Small world, eh?

Mauri and Sherry embody the word gracious. Their hospitality knows no limits, their friendship is genuine and precious and I truly, truly wish we were not separated by so many miles. Whenever they host us, we feel like "family" and they treat us this way. I love our conversations, our shared passions, and the easy way we fit into their world. We treasure them and wish everyone had a Mauri and Sherry in their there is a real path to world peace!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hangin' Out

One of my favorite "chores" during summer break is hanging clothes on the line. This activity appeals to me on so many levels: it's meditative; I love being out in the crisp breeze in the early morning hours; wildlife seems undeterred by my presence (birds dip in the birdbath only 5' from me, raccoons trot through the yard on their way to the cherry tree) and no matter what chaos is going on in the rest of the world, I can still order my wet clothes--shirts, pants, socks...very fulfilling!
So it's no surprise that I tend to gravitate to art that deals with laundry day, and my latest addition is a "landscape" quilt that I've just finished. It's one of Ryan McKenna's designs and was really fun to put together and looks fabulous when completed, mostly because it's a great design and the batik fabric does all the "work". I like it so much that I'm working on another of her designs that includes my other passion....sheep (not only are they darned cute, they are a renewable resource as any knitter will tell you!). Stay tuned.....

The clothes on the line are actually separate from the rest of the quilt...3D if you will!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hats Off To You

A group of women from our church gather monthly for sit and knit sessions. Usually I am not able to attend as I am yet to be a lady of retirement leisure, but this month I was invited to the English Tea event. We were to dress appropriately. I was in a quandary as I had a dress, but thought a hat would be just the perfect accompaniment; but, alas, I didn't have one. So I made a visit to the local Goodwill and found a lovely cherry red straw hat. It was pretty smooshed after being stuffed into an overcrowded hat rack and it boasted a really unfortunate braided something-or-other around its crown. I thought it was was worth rescuing, so I paid the exorbitant $1.00 and brought it home, removed the braided thing-amajig, put it on top of a plastic bowl, sprayed it with water and let it sit for a few hours and....viola....a lovely summer hat.

Here we are in all our finery. Lynn (2nd from the left) is in her usual "good form" and has dressed and "stuffed" herself to the hilt. Um, let's just say that this is not her usual "profile". She was the spitting image of Nanny McPhee. She cracks me up! Just a sampling of the delicacies we shared along with good company and, of course, knitting!
We drove down to Seattle on Sat. to pick Jess up for a brief one-day stay. We stopped on the way home at the street fair in Marysville and spent a bit of time in an antique store where she found a fabulous hat and an old French phone. She looks every bit the part of a Gibson Girl and I couldn't resist the urge to snap a shot!

Friday, August 14, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

All this heat and rain have created some interesting sights in my container garden this summer. The sedums have bloomed some of which resemble something from a sci-fi movie! The baby Madrona tree that we purchased in June has grown 6 new leaves, in spite of the fact that the fellow we bought it from said they were very slow growing. Me thinks it likes where it's planted! And the beautiful blue morning glories are creating an ever-changing show for us daily. They bloom in the early morning and the blooms are gone by nightfall, only to be replaced by another set of blooms each morning....very cool!

Monday, August 10, 2009

They're Baaaack....

We have an abundance of wildlife passing through our neighborhood, despite the fact that we are in the "city". We live across the street from a wooded park which affords us with ample opportunities to enjoy animals that would seem unusual for an established neighborhood. We have a pair of Barred Owls who nest in the park every year; this year we had a pair of Coopers Hawks nest there and I spent an afternoon watching the young'uns chasing each other through the trees while Mama waited and watched nearby. On occasion we have coyotes wander down he middle of the street, as well as deer. There is a family of skunks who have chosen our front yard as their "freeway" and they make a pass in the middle of the night about once a month and always, always, always stop somewhere very close to the open window in our bedroom which causes me to wake up in the middle of the night with my eyes burning and my nose screaming for relief...oh joy!

And...we have a family of raccoons who nest and raise their babies in a huge fir tree in our neighbor's yard. Raccoons have an interesting habit, they always "do their business" in the very same place, every day and that place is our backyard. We have tried numerous ways of discouraging them from doing this, with modest results. The best trick we have found so far is to lay down chicken wire and then cover it with branches...a pain to move every time we have to mow the lawn, but much more desirable than doing nothing.

This year they also discovered my bird bath and have taken to visiting it to wash in before they head to our other neighbor's yard to eat all the cherries in their cherry tree. Now imagine a diet rich in nothing but cherries and their daily visit to our do the math! Yep, it's all part of the "grand design"! Annoying, but we wouldn't have it any other way.