Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The tree of my childhood

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The Chinaberry Tree

Because my mom knows more than I will ever know, I have been asking her a few things that I have always wanted to know. I asked her what she knew about Chinaberry trees, like the one we have always had on the corner of our lot. She said that the tree was here when she moved in...which was in the l940's. She said that the reason they don't have very many is that Chinaberrys spread their seeds everywhere, and you have to work hard to pull them all out. She said they grow like weeds. She said that the reason everyone doesn't have one is that they got rid of them.

Somehow, that wasn't the answer I was expecting. I thought that maybe, like gooseberrys and hyssop, they were old fashioned and that people weren't able to get them anymore. I thought the answer was a little more exotic than...they are weeds and we have one because we let it grew. Gees.

I used to climb this tree when I was a child, and each branch was a room, like a livingroom or diningroom or bedroom. I had a lot of childhood memories tied up in that old tree. One time, in sheer exuberance at being alive, I jumped up and wound my arms and legs around the lowest branch. I was 16. The limb broke. I landed on my back with the wind knocked out of me for several minutes. I think some of my life's exhuberance went out the window with that fall.

So, Chinaberry weed or no, here is a picture of the clusters of clear orange berries with black centers that mean so much to me, and so little to everyone else.

Have a great evening.

My mom's Chinaberry tree

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Wal-Mart and other things

I am here taking care of my mother in Oklahoma. It is a good place for me to be, and mother is getting stronger every day. She is thriving on my good nursing, my good cooking, and the round the clock attention that she is getting. She can't get this care anywhere else, and I am going to stay another week to make sure she is really strong and back on her feet again before I leave. She is a little wobbly, and needs some strength and exercise, but she is determined to live at home, and I am determined to make that possible for her.

Each day I go on a little "outing", and that usually involves going to Wal-Mart, since it is about the only store there is in town. We are in the middle of Oklahoma, and Wal-Mart is big. Actually, my favorite thing about going to Wal-Mart is to see all the cross country semi trucks and campers that have made the Wal-Mart parking lot their temporary back yard. Lots of people in vans, trucks and campers pull in for a snooze or a safe place to spend the night. Today I saw a big double truck full of horses. This big truck was like a rolling horse motel. It had inside and outside stalls, and little doors for each horse, and behind the cab was a very tricked out dune buggy. The truck was beautiful, and so were the horses behinds...all I could see of them anyway.

Mustard hamburgers are big here. Today I was thoroughly tired of my salt free home cooking...so I treated myself to a Sonic mustard burger. It tastes just like the l950's and reminds me of dates and sock hops. They load the cup with shaved ice, and I parked at a nearby park in the beautiful sunshine of a fall afternoon and enjoyed my time out.

The weather is gorgeous. In the East, I hear it is windy, rainy and cold, and it seems unbelievable that the weather could be so balmy and lovely here. I am enjoying it, and now that mom is strong enough to be left alone for a few minutes, tomorrow I'm going to take a walk around the block to enjoy it a little.

Oklahoma is OK,...and so are we.
Have a great day.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

All the news thats fit to print

That is the slogan of the New York Times, or used to be. Gosh how I love the New York Times. I used to get the Sunday paper every Sunday, and loved reading through all the sections. It is hard to get, and you have to reserve a copy to get it. I am not getting it here, that is for sure.

Hello from Oklahoma, where the wind comes right behind the rain. Today is a perfectly beautiful sunny day, mild and bright. The forecasters, however, say that we may have storms this afternoon. I don't see how, but...

My mother is recovering from a slight heart attack. I am here to take care of her. I have been here since Friday, and plan on staying at least another week. She is much stronger, and able to do more for herself. The first night I was here, I was up every two hours, to help her, but I don't have to do that any more. I am glad that I am not a new mother! Whew.

I am a good nurse. I am probably the best nurse my mother could have. I know what she likes to eat, and I prepare tasty and healthy meals with her no-salt, limited sugar, diet. She loves fruit with her meals. Pork chops need applesauce, chicken saute needs mandarin oranges, you get the idea. My mother has always been like that. I was looking at an old cookbook in which she had added clippings from long ago. Almost all of them are for meat dishes with fruit in them. That's just her favorite.

Today I made cranberry sauce, and she is going to have roasted Rock Cornish Game Hen & green beans. Also, a meal is not a meal without a potato, so that will be on the menu too. After cooking all this delicious food, I was hungry, and ran out to get a pizza for myself last night! I was hungry for someone else's cooking, even if it was little Caesar's. Pathetic, huh?

If there is one thing I miss, it is being able to sit down and create new jewelry. I miss that the most. My friend is going to send me my tools and some beads, and I will make a trip to Hobby Lobby to find some pretty beads to make keychains. I am going to have to hurry to get things ready for two craft shows that I have in November. Time is running out.

Being where I need to be, doing what I need to do, and being the best nurse that I can possibly be seems like the thing to do for now. Mom is 96, had a bad scare, is weak and needs my help. I'm here mom.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 13, 2006

My "happy" pumpkin Posted by Picasa

Bah Humbug!

It is Friday, the 13th. I refuse to believe in these old superstitions. Maybe it is because I have a black cat living across the street that crosses my path about three times a day. I figure, if they won't let me believe in Santa Claus anymore, then I don't have to believe in their darn black cat Friday the 13th superstitions.

Halloween is not my favorite holiday. As a child I hated it. I was afraid. The doorbell would ring, and we were expected to have fun answering to some unknown ghoulish looking thing. Are you kidding? That is fun? I like things to be sweetness and light. I'm so terrified when I watch a horror movie, I might as well quit, because I have my hands over my eyes and my fingers in my ears the whole time trying to block out the scary music. I'm even scared of the music!

Halloween decorations aren't even pretty. Orange and black isn't a great color combination, and there is a reason people only use that combination on Halloween--it is too ugly to use the rest of the year. Add to that the idea the children are expected to go out and trick or treat, and get a bag or bucket full of candy, and then NOT eat it! My mother was death to chocolate. She refused to let us have chocolates in the house, and when they came into the house for some reason, she hid them in the closet until they were old and moldy and had to be thrown out. So...why bother with collecting all that candy if your mom is going to threaten you with sin if you eat it?

When I was a little girl, I hated to go trick or treating. One year, when I was about five, I succumbed to the pressure to go out around the block. It was cold that night, and I insisted on dressing in my little pink hoop skirt ballerina outfit with the little sequin tiara. No coat, just me in my little sweet ballerina dress. Scary? Not. Anyway, I got about four houses away on this dark and cold night, and RAN back home crying. I was cold. I was scared. I hated Halloween! And I don't believe I ever went trick or treating again.

People in New England go all out with the orange and black. Lawns and doorways are decorated with ghouls and spiderwebs. They start decorating with these awful colors in September, and we have to look at it for two months. Who thinks that fake cobwebs and cheap paper witches are a nice addition to a home? Not me. I just don't get it. Halloween can go the way of the black cats...and stay across the street!

Have a great Friday the 13th!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A bright picture for a rather dull day Posted by Picasa

Mom is better

I'm not going to try to keep a log of how my mom is doing here, but just a note to let everyone know that she sounds a lot better today than she did yesterday when I talked to her briefly. Her heart problems continue. The nurse that I talked to tonight seemed charmed by her, and said she seemed fine on his shift, and that she was laughing earlier. That was really good to hear. I'm planning another trip to go see her and help her home from the hospital. When she is hospitalized, I go into a slump myself. It is hard to keep things exciting when I'm in a constant state of worry.

Another poncho is almost finished, and if I'd ever get this pattern of lace exactly right...I'd be able to give one away. Maybe one of these days.

Have a good night.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Making Jewelry and waiting for word

Today I am making jewelry and waiting for the phone to ring. Mother was taken to the hospital in Oklahoma City after calling an ambulence because she couldn't get enough breath. Her heart doctor decided that he wanted her where he could be close to her so she was transported today. I will find out more when I call this evening. I'm certainly happy that I have something to do while I worry.

Purple Crazy Lace Agate gemstone with pearls & crystals Posted by Picasa

Unakite gemstone & pearl watch with a magnet clasp Posted by Picasa

The Hour Glass Gift Gallery

In the past year, I have been selling my jewelry at The Hour Glass Gift Gallery in Melrose, Massachusetts. It is a wonderful store, full of beautiful artist-made items. They sell my crocheted necklaces in all kinds of sparkly colors, and today I took in seven beaded watches. Here are some of the watches I took in there today.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Flowers blaze on the deck Posted by Picasa

Harvest time Posted by Picasa

The Wool Tour

George and I just got home from a wonderful day in the country. We picked up my friend Connie this morning, stopped for our Dunkin' Donuts (like any good Bostonite would), and headed for a bead show in Marlborough. We didn't know what to expect, and our expectations were exceeded! Beads everywhere! I found that the importers who had booths were selling things at half of the prices marked, and sterling silver was selling for 50 cents a gram. A bargain! I bought lovely gemstones, Bali silver, gorgeous clasps, sterling chain and copper findings. THEN we found an importer who sold colorful and interesting rhinestone pins. We made a haul. Then we went to the car and had a bottle of water, and then we went BACK and bought MORE rhinestone pins.

After our beading frenzy, we drove up to Henniker, New Hampsire, and the first stop on the Wool Tour that takes place every year. I wanted to show Connie my favorite yarn stores, and old hangouts when I had a farm in Londonderry and knit about 23 hours a day. We went to the Wool Room in Antrim, and met up with my old friends Ann and Brian, and had a great time looking at the very plush and "hairy" angora rabbits and seeing all the antique spinning wheels. Ann taught me how to spin, and we have always loved to go there and see her. She is so sweet and gentle. I remember my Saturday mornings with her in "class". Just she and I, two spinning wheels, and a small wood stove cranking the heat. Wonderful.

All this made me feel that I better get the oil out and grease up my Ashford spinning wheel to make some beautiful handspun yarn. Nothing like a trip to these quaint shops in the middle of the blazing colors of fall in New Hampshire to make one feel that it is time to spin! I bought skeins of red wool for socks, and a pattern for a charming cable tea cozy. Christmas is coming! Anyone want a tea cozy? I hope so.

Tonight we turned the heat on for the first time. I'm happily crocheting another poncho and watching the Yankees lose. Go team.

Have a great night.

Fading flowers Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Big yellow truck

I had a reminder today of something that I truly believe--people are nice. I was going into the post office, like I do almost every day, and a big yellow truck was on the narrow street in front of the post office, and he was in a great hurry. His bigness made him unique on that little street, and his horn made him loud. A lady was crossing the street with her kids. The trucker was a little peeved at having to wait. His time was important. Ours wasn't. He, and his big yellow truck stood out in the crowd. His impatience and rudeness made him unique.

I am usually amazed at how nice people are. Every day, at the post office, grocery store, department stores, everywhere...people hold the door for me and smile. It seems to me that we all know we are all in this together, and we might as well be nice about it. Every day I have cars wait for me until I make my left turn in front of them. Every day I meet strangers who smile and say hello. Sometimes when we hear the news, we hear all the bad stuff about people--the killings, kidnappings, the lack of moral values. I have begun to censor what information I listen to. It seems to me that life is short, and that hearing everything the TV has to say is TMDI...too much depressing information. Every day I meet people who are nice, and polite, and would come to my aid if I had to ask for something.

The truth is that these small random acts of kindness aren't news.

Have a good day.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The edge that almost put me over the edge. Posted by Picasa

Learning something new

Yesterday I spent about an hour trying to learn how to crochet the lace pattern on the bottom of my poncho. I do not know how to read a crochet pattern since I am a knitter at heart. But, having no one around here to teach me, I just had to do it myself. The internet is a wonderful thing. Lion Brand yarn had a "how to" site on this specific poncho, which is called the "Coming Home Poncho", since it was popularized when Martha Stewart wore one similar the day she left prison. A friend she met in prison made it for her, and I kept thinking that if that lady in prison could do it...I could do it! I was also secretly grateful that I was not sitting in prison somewhere crocheting.

I had a long tail of yarn, and sat at my computer struggling through learning this pattern, ripping out everything at least 20 times. The yarn was getting rather ragged and so were my nerves. But, by looking at the picture diagram, I got the idea of what they were talking about, and I slowly worked through the four rows of lace that finish this poncho. Hurray for me. Learning something new is a good thing. If we all learned one new thing ever day, we would be doing good.

My mother exercises her mind by reading hard books, or looking up words, or trying to do puzzles that work her brain. She says everyone's brain needs exercise. She is always right.

The next poncho is going to go a lot easier. I'm still not sure that I followed the lace pattern exactly as it is written, but, the poncho is wearable and who knows...maybe I can find a new friend who knows how to crochet.

Have a great day!

My "Coming Home" poncho I just finished Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Thank you Michael, for the beautiful flowers. They are a wonderful surprise and a cap to a fine day. - Mommo Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 02, 2006

A poncho I am crocheting...the very same as the one that Martha Stewart made famous by wearing when she got out of prison. Lion Brand Yarn calls this pattern "Coming Home" which I thought was hilarious. I don't crochet often, so even crocheting a poncho can really be quite exciting! Posted by Picasa

A sleeping Thunder Posted by Picasa

I can get really excited about small things...like the cigar boxes my brother gave me. Posted by Picasa

New watch faces that I ordered from an Ebayer in Florida and some really remarkable hand made polymer beads by an artist who sells on Ebay. By the way, her Ebay ID is TLS Clay Designs. I can't wait to start making some really pretty beaded watches to sell at the craft show in November. Posted by Picasa

Simple Things

I hate to admit how tired I am after a long flight home, a very busy weekend trying to catch up, and a busy morning at church on Sunday. I also have a backache which I think is the result of being curled up in a small airplane seat for eight hours on Thursday. I will get better, and I look forward to it.

Today I am concentrating on the little excitements of everyday life: a nice cup of white tea (my new favorite), a little crocheting on my new poncho (pictured) and some catching up on letters and paperwork. The little things seem more fun to do when you come home from a trip. I am enjoying having a fast computer ready at all times, and enjoying having the time to design and plan and execute my jewelry ideas. Unpacking is my least favorite thing to do. Possibly because I always overpack, and taking out clothing that I never wore on the trip is a reminder of how silly I can be. Oh well, silly is not the worst thing.

Have a great day.