Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Snow fences.

One of my most vivid early memories is a winter when we lived in Townville - a very small village in northwestern Pennsylvania. We lived on top of a hill with our driveway carved into the side of a small hill. I must have been 5 or 6 at the time, I don't think I was in school. But I remember playing out in the huge snowdrifts that formed right outside the door to the mudroom. Because we lived on a hill and were surrounded by cornfields, the wind would whip the snow into places that were extremely inconvenient. I can remember our driveway being completely filled in with snow. My dad and mom would put up snow fences or wind breaks, as an effort to keep the driveway and parking area a little more open. But the snow drifts that form by the snow fences were huge! At least they were to 5-year-old me. It's funny, those memories. I remember wearing a light blue snowsuit that was a little tight. I had mittens that clipped onto the sleeves of my jacket. Ugh, I can also remember sucking the snow off of my mittens and that awful texture of acrylic yard - I remember as if it was yesterday! I also remember visiting my grandmother who lived in town - right across from my uncle's funeral home. For Christmas, my uncle used to set up this little church with stained glass windows and painted with sparkles. It played Christmas music too and had a real bell in the steeple. I can remember standing there looking at it with my dad one night when we were visiting grandma and I asked him why the air smelled like styrofoam. He told me that what I smelled was cold - frigid cold. Too this day when the air is still, the night is dark, and it is cold, cold, cold, I can still smell that smell and it takes me right back to my uncle's little musical, magical church.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

I am thankful for

On this rainy day, I am sew thankful for:

  1. My grandma Pelz for teaching me to sew
  2. My sewing room/office/bedroom which although small, is very cozy and my cats love it as much as I do!
  3. Completing a nearly entirely paper-pieced quilt top
  4. Groups and individuals who, at the drop of a hat, will make quilts and donate them anywhere they are needed
  5. Bonnie Hunter. She is a designer/quilter that inspires me not only with her talents but with her outlook on life
  6. The quilts I've made that have been loved
  7. Being asked to make a special quilt. Even if I am unable to do it, it feels good to have been asked
  8. Verna's quiltshop. I am so thankful for this quiltshop and its owner. I can always find exactly what I need - whether it is fabric or advice
  9. a card that my oldest daughter made me recently. Such beautiful sixties flowers and a wonderful Robert Frost verse inside
  10. Seam rippers. They are the greatest invention ever!
  11. I can't live without my seam ripper.
  12. All of the people who spend 6 weeks piecing the same mystery quilt from across the country.
  13. I always love the Ohio Star
  14. Quilting has taught me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 
These are in response to #IMSEWTHANKFUL from American Patchwork & Quilting

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Grammar gremlins


Me - in dog form
It is interesting that when I happen to read a blog post after it has been published, words have been mixed-up, misspelled, and/or misused.  It is a little embarrassing and sometimes, I'm unable to decipher what I was trying to say!

I really should keep to the simply words: cat, dog, fabric, coffee, etc. Those words make me happy. Maybe not so happy today though.  Someone hit and killed one of my cats. I have about 5 cats that live outside my house - they have no interest in living inside with the rest of my cats and dogs.  They are all spayed or neutered. They are all very well fed.  They all have little cat houses that they can live in when it is cold.  So it's not very often that any of them hang out in front of the house on the road.  I don't know why the kitty was out there but he was hit and no one even stopped. It appeared that he was killed instantly.  

It's sad to know that there are killers who live on my road.  

Monday, October 26, 2020

My favorites.

 I feel so privileged to have been on the earth for a year at the same time as one of my favorite authors. My oldest daughter just recently gave me as a birthday gift, a beautiful hand-drawn card with the Spoils of the Dead written inside.  Somewhere along my internet journeys, I found a youtube video of Robert Frost reciting it.  If I am able to locate it, I will post.  In the meantime, here are the words and a recording of the poem. I don't know about anyone else, but the visuals my mind conjures while reading this are better than any movie.

Here is a link to a video of an interview with Robert Frost about a decade before his death: 

Spoils of the Dead

 - 1874-1963
Two fairies it was
     On a still summer day
Came forth in the woods
    With the flowers to play.

The flowers they plucked
     They cast on the ground
For others, and those
     For still others they found.

Flower-guided it was
    That they came as they ran
On something that lay
    In the shape of a man.

The snow must have made
     The feathery bed
When this one fell
     On the sleep of the dead. 

But the snow was gone
     A long time ago,
And the body he wore
     Nigh gone with the snow. 

The fairies drew near
     And keenly espied
A ring on his hand
     And a chain at his side.

They knelt in the leaves
     And eerily played
With the glittering things,
     And were not afraid.

And when they went home
     To hid in their burrow,
They took them along
      To play with to-morrow.

When you came on death,
     Did you not come flower-guided
Like the elves in the wood?
     I remember that I did.

But I recognised death
     With sorrow and dread,
And I hated and hate
     The spoils of the dead.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

My happy place

 From the outside, my house doesn't appear to be much of anything. There is work to be done - lots of work! It doesn't exactly appear dilapidated but, like I said, it is clear that there is work to be done. Now the inside - I LOVE the inside of my home - every bit of it. I have 4 dogs and 5 cats in the house. Not everyone's cup of tea but it is mine. But my most happy spot is my kitchen. I have a happy red formica table with 2 cheery red chairs (and a few other mismatched chairs in case someone stops by). When we first moved into the house, there was just one standard sized window in my kitchen/eating area. My husband and father-in-law replaced that with a huge bay window. The window is one of the highlights of my happy place. I can see our church out that window as well as the very, very old local cemetery (odd, I know but I love living near a cemetery). I can see 3 huge pinetrees, a forsythia bush that has been here since way before we bought the place, a rambling rose bush, and many, many birds.

Have you ever seen such a comfy cat?
I love sitting at my table with my old-fashioned tea cup filled with coffee while reading a book. I usually have a candle lit and as few lights on as possible. From my spot at the table, I can see the growth marks of my kids on the basement door.  I can see my dog Casper curled up in his bed. I can see my Coca Cola salt/pepper shakers, napkin holder, and other Coca Cola memorabilia.  

A Coca Cola radio that my youngest son and his wife-to-be gave me.
My first memories are a little odd.  I can remember my mom, dad, and big brother loving the show Green Hornet. I can remember one evening being called into the house to watch Green Hornet (hated it), have pizza (hated it then), and having Pepsi (hated Pepsi). Apparently I was a difficult child - what kid doesn't like TV, pizza, and pop!  I can remember having pizza and Pepsi when the family was visiting a family friend's home, the Copes.  I still didn't like any of it but those were always fun times with my family and friends.  

My first memory of Coca Cola was sitting at the little restaurant beside the original Hanna's Hardware store. It was such a big deal! It was just me and my dad and he bought me a sandwich and a bottle of Coca Cola.  I can't remember what we were doing other than going to the hardware store and probably visiting my grandma who lived nearly next door but I remember that I loved every single minute I ever spent with my dad.  To this day, I love Coca Cola in glass bottles and anything Coca Cola related. Which takes me.....    

...back to my kitchen.  My favorite spot.

Step one of a tomato pie

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

And it is Tuesday

 And this is Thimba. Apparently Thimba and I share our tea in the mornings.  That's alright.  For months, Thimba never came out from the corner of my bedroom.  I'm so happy that she is back and is an active cat again. Even if she does terrorize me in the middle of the night. Even if she does turn the computer printer on and makes blank sheets of paper feed through.  

I bought myself a new stove.  One that I chose that has features that I want.  I love to bake - I really do.  My only wish is that someone (other than me) would eat it.  Many times I will take half of whatever I made and take it over to my future daughter-in-law's grandparents - it really makes me happy to do it.  Back when we had church dinners, I looked forward to making something yummy and sharing it with the church members.

But I haven't been to church. It's been open since the beginning of September and haven't been there to attend or to play the piano. I don't know when/if I will ever go back.  I'm angry but I really haven't decide with whom I am angry. I'm kind of mad at God. So many horrible things this year and then I found out this morning that my cousin's 4 year old granddaughter has leukemia. I can't even say how I feel. I'm not close to my cousin and I'm not close at all to my cousin's son which doesn't make any difference whatsoever. There is a hurt baby and her mom, dad, sister, and brother.  Knowing this breaks my heart. The only thing I can do is make her a quilt and that is so incredibly lame but I know that for so many people, including myself, there is comfort in knowing that other people care and that other people wish they could share the burden.

So am I mad at God? I don't really think so but when my mom died unexpectedly, not a phone call, not a note, nothing from my pastor or other church members. On the other hand, my co-workers were Johnnys-on-the-spot and sent messages - just something to let me know they cared. 

I don't know. My feelings are all over the place. Mothers and fathers have been dying forever and what I am experiencing is not unique.  I need to accept that I feel sad, lost, like I don't matter. Maybe when I drag myself out of this suck-hole of grief, I will commit to try and never let anyone else feel that way.  

This is what my mom would call a 'pity-party'. She would be right.  But it is my blog and I can whine.  

Monday, October 12, 2020

Another Monday


I love the view from my deck!

Apparently Thimba also loves tea!

It looks like snow but it's not. 


It has been a rough few days.  My father-in-law had a heart attack early Thursday morning.  Thankfully, 2 stents later, he is back at home.  I wonder if any of us will ever not feel anxiety when the phone rings? It seems as if a phone call only brings bad news these days.  

Saturday my daughter, sister-in-law, and I started to empty my mom's house - well, her kitchen.  We didn't get too much done except divvying out the canned goods and other food because there was another showing early that afternoon. We will have to get up there and really get cracking - especially if the house is sold soon.

I'm so tempted to just say that 2020 absolutely sucks but that's not entirely true. I'm thankful that my brother made it through a medical issue that could have really been fatal. And even though my heart is broken because of the death of my mom, my brothers and I have really bonded and it has been nice to be in regular communication with them. 

I'm thankful that Pappy Decker returned a month after he 'broke out' of an upstairs window.  I'm thankful that after several months of self-imposed isolation, Thimba has decided to rejoin her feline brother and sisters. 

 There are a lot of other things to be thankful for and somedays it is easier to remember than other days.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2020


 It is raining today - finally! It's been raining steady for the past few hours and I'm loving it.  Rain today matches my mood.  My brothers are meeting with a realtor today about selling the family home. I know it really isn't a home anymore - mom and dad are gone and the rest of us are spread out in our own parts of the world. But it was a home once and there are many great memories attached to it. So many good things happened there and, as in any home, quite a few not so good things happened there as well.  I can remember my brothers getting in trouble for goofing off during dinner time. I may or may not have been the one responsible for making them laugh.  I remember having to sit at the dinner table until I eat every. last. one. of. those. peas. on. my. plate! It's funny because I love peas now! I remember when, right before 4th grade, our house burned while the entire family was at a parade in a neighboring town. A next door neighbor saw the smoke and broke in to save the house. When we returned from the parade, all the neighbors were waiting for us offering any help that we needed.  I'll never forget living in the basement of the house for months and months while the rest of the house was being rebuilt.  It was a time of togetherness none of us will ever forget!  

We had so much fun there! I remember all the Christmases, all the Thanksgivings, all the other non-holiday times! I can remember my dad and my uncle eating tons of corn on the cob and hotdogs when we would have our summer get togethers. I remember the baseball 'field' we had right outside the bathroom window - how we never broke a window is a mystery!  I remember laying in the front yard looking at the stars on summer nights with the neighbor kids.  I remember my dad and my brothers stapling hemlock boughs and lights along the eaves for Christmas. 

We had some really terrific times there - when my kids were young, we would have dinner at my parents every Sunday. It was a reprieve for me since at the time, I was a single mom and having some time to laugh and joke with my parents was essential to my mental health.  I honestly don't know how I would have made it through the early years without having that Sunday dinner to look forward to. 

So I started this post a week ago and the second showing of my parents' home will be later this morning. As of right now, every thing is still there. I am not looking forward to packing bits and pieces of our lives and deciding what stays and what goes.  It is going to be sad, no doubt about it.  But after the initial sadness of packing, I think thoughts will quickly move toward fun memories.  It's a great house and this family has grown.  It is time for the house to be 'home' for another family.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Welcome Autumn!

October's Party
By: George Cooper

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came�
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.
Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."

Monday, September 21, 2020

Goodbye Summer.


A very special recipe

It was a very good weekend! It was a very busy weekend! For the first time in a very long time, I made spaghetti sauce using my own tomatoes. For years I've planted tomato plants and never had enough ripen to make spaghetti sauce.  But this year, we moved the location of the garden and I had a great deal of success!  The recipe I used for the sauce is the one that my husband's grandmother used.  I can still remember the Saturday she came over - a short little 90+ old girl - with all of her canning paraphernalia. My daughter sat on a tall stool and wrote the recipe into our cookbook as 'little grammy' dictated each step. I'm so glad that we did!  Memories are made in strangest, most obscure kind of ways.  And this year is all about the memories we've made.  

These made me cry - alot!

A little post-canning relaxation

Just some of the spaghetti sauce I canned

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

And it is Wednesday.

Sometimes the only thing that helps is a cold IPA and a trip back in time. And yes, the cat was home.


Snow fences.

One of my most vivid early memories is a winter when we lived in Townville - a very small village in northwestern Pennsylvania. We lived ...