Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 10 - What I Carry

Often posts with this title are lists of what someone carries in their purse or in their car.  But we carry things so much more important--memories.  I am grateful for the material things I have, but also  for memories of my childhood, of my own children growing up, people I've known, places I've seen.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September 8 - Birds

I am grateful for the small black birds sitting on telephone wires, like scattered notes on lines of music.

Friday, September 7, 2012

September 7 - Time

Soon it will be the end of Daylight Savings Time and we'll receive a gift.  An hour. Sixty full minutes. All ours. All free. I know it's just the hour we lost a few months ago, but it feels as if it's free. Now I know the purist would say that the hour actually came at 2 a.m. and that we all slept it away but who wants to accept that? Not me! You've got it, but you don't even know you've got it? I don't think so.

I plan to spend my extra hour early in the morning,  picking out fabrics for some quilt blocks, drinking a cup of tea, and listening to the birds welcoming the dawn.

I'm grateful for the time I've had and for any time still remaining to me.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6- Morning Routine

My morning routine is rather boring.  I get up, get dressed, brush my hair, use the stationary bike, eat breakfast--always the same breakfast-- brush my teeth, and begin the essential household chores which need to be done every day.  It's routine.  It's nothing special.

And I'm grateful I can do it every single morning.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 5 - Water

The word for today was "hydrate", but I'm not quite sure what to make of that.  I'm starting to think that the list I posted had to do with taking photographs, not writing posts, but never mind.  Today  I'm going to write about the more simple word: water.

To have running water is a luxury I take for granted until I don't have it.  When we lived in the country we had a well which ran on an electric pump which meant if the electric went out there was no water.  No water to wash with, drink, flush toilets, water gardens, give to the animals, do laundry.  I learned early on to have water stored away for these emergencies, but I was careful to ration it and it was never enough.  When the electric came back and the water flowed again I breathed a sign of thanks. 

I live in town now and when the electric goes off we still have water because the town has an emergency generator.  Every month we get our water bill I think it's too high until I remember what it's like to not have water.

And then there's rain. In The Probable Future, Alice Hoffman writes of a taxonomy of rain:  fish rain, rose rain, daffodil rain, glorious rain, red clover rain, boot polish rain, swamp rain, and the fearsome stone rain.  I live in Oregon.  I know all those rains.

Water is so important and so common that it's easily taken for granted.  I am grateful for it always, no matter if it comes from the earth or the sky, even when I complain about winter rains.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 4 - New School Year

The year begins when school begins. Then the big orange-colored school bus scurries like a beetle along all the country roads, pauses long enough to gulp down the children, and is gone. ~ Rural Free: A Farmwife's Almanac of Country Living, Rachel Peden

Today is the first day of the new school year.  I woke up at 4 am this morning and it's still dark now, but soon I'll hear children talking and giggling past my open doors and windows as they walk to the elementary school, two blocks away. 

I remember every year my Dad would wake us up on the first day of school singing "School days, school days, dear old golden rule days" and would make us a special breakfast to celebrate.   His birthday was September 5th which often coincided with that first day of school.  Tomorrow he would have been 90 years old.  Happy birthday, Dad.

And then there were all those years I was up early to make John's breakfast and lunch and then waking up little boys to get them ready for school.  New clothes, new lunch boxes, new back packs filled with new pencils and notebooks.  

I am grateful for schools and children and teachers.  And memories.  And new beginnings.

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3 - Family

One of the best things I've done in my life is to marry John and have children.  We have four sons--all of them different and all of them wonderful. We also have three terrific daughters-in-law, one of whom is expecting her first child and our first grandchild in November. We are truly blessed.

And that brings me to an aside--grandmothers, a subject which has, not surprisingly, been on my mind.

I was born in northern Ontario and lived with my grandmother, my mother's mother, from the time I was three until we moved to the United States when I was five. I'd see my parents and brother on occasion but it was my grandmother I lived with. I'm not sure why this was; whenever I asked my parents why I was rebuffed. Even as an adult, I've asked my aunts but no one has ever given me any answers. I have some guesses, but I don't know. I'm not really complaining as I loved my grandmother very much and feel very fortunate to have had the chance to know her.  Except for a e few elderly aunts, I think there are few alive who remember her.  But, oh, I do! I do!

She was a grandmother who would patiently answer all my questions and sing me songs and tell me stories she made up. She'd bake little pies, just for me. She loved flowers, especially roses, and was a talented and dedicated gardener known in her small town for her "French" (raised bed) garden. She always had the first ripe tomatoes, no small feat in a place where a heat wave was 80 degrees!

In the summers, she'd let me stay up late to see shooting stars and the Northern lights and make brown bread and butter sandwiches for picnics at the lake. She'd wrap me up in so many woolen clothes and scarves when I'd go out to play in the winter snow I could barely walk. She could enter my child-like world without any effort. When her friends came in the afternoons for tea, which weren't formal affairs at all, I was always welcome and everyone would make a fuss over me. She loved to play the piano and she sang all the time.  She was always smiling.

Early on a dark, snowy winter morning, my mother, my brother and I boarded a train to leave for California to join my father who'd left before us to find a job and a place for us to live. We were entering the country illegally (something which was straightened out years later) so my mother only told me we were going to visit him, not that we we were going and never coming back; she was afraid I might say something about going to live with my father at the wrong moment (we were entering using visitor visas) and be prevented from entering the country.

I can still see my grandmother standing outside the train window smiling, with tears running down her face, blowing kisses as the train began leaving the station.  I couldn't understand all the tears then; I believed we'd only be gone a few weeks, but it was years before I saw her again and then it was only briefly.  In the intervening years we wrote to each other and I've kept and treasured her letters.  She died in 1967.  I still miss her.

I am grateful for my husband, my sons, and their wives, and the little one who is coming.  And I'm grateful I had a kind and loving grandmother who showed me how I want to be when I, too, become a grandmother. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Quilt for the Little One

This is the quilt I'm working on for my first grandchild, due in early November.  It's a Kaffe Fassett pattern, made from his fabrics.  It's very colorful and bright, but not pastels, just as my son and daughter-in-law requested. 

September 2 - Reading Material

I do love books.  Well, that shouldn't be much of a surprise.  I'm a librarian, after all.  And, I'll admit it, it's physical books I love. 

I have little interest in e-books.  Oh, I can see how their portability has advantages, but I can throw a paperback in my purse and go and that's enough for me.  I like the look of ink on paper and the weight and feel of a physical book.  There's no maintenance  required; I don’t have to turn it on, charge it up, or update the software. I just pick it up and read it . Then there's the expense of an e-reader.  Because it's pricey, I'd  worry about how I stored it and where I kept it and about losing it or dropping it. Not so with a physical book.

When our sons were small, John and I bought three used eight-shelf wooden bookshelves from a university book store as they were "upgrading" to metal shelves. Th photo above shows two of the shelves with a few of the many vintage children's books I've bought throughout the years.  A second bookshelf  is in our bedroom and holds a portion of the knitting and quilting books I've collected.  The third one is in John's office and holds his collection of vintage vinyl records.

I'm not even going to talk about all the books in smaller bookshelves in the spare room and in the sewing room or the books stacked on tables and desks and chairs throughout the house or the boxes and boxes of books stored in the shop.  In fact, I get many of the books I read now from the library.  This is a very good thing as I often read ten or more books a month and when I get them from the library I don't have to buy them or figure out how to store them or sell them.  I just have to remember to return by their due dates.

As far as magazines go, I only read a few knitting and quilting magazines I get from the library. Sometimes John finds used Smithsonian and Popular Mechanics and I might glance through those.  I read a lot on the Internet--e-mail, blogs, skimming through news sites, and yes, Facebook and Twitter, but if I'm not careful I could spend all day on that so I try to limit it.

There are many kinds of reading material  and ways to read and I'm grateful for them all, even those I don't use.  I'm also grateful I have good eyesight and the intelligence to comprehend and analyze what I do read.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Books Read - September, 2012

1.Until Thy Wrath Be Past by Asa Larsson
2. First the Dead by Tim Downs
3. Don't Look Back by Karin Fossum
4.  Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum
5. The Indian Bride by Karin Fossum
6. The Skeleton Box by Bryan Gruley
7. Robert B. Parker's Fool Me Twice by Michael Brandman

September 1- Home

Home is where the heart is is one of my favorite quotations.  John is retired and I work part time, and while we have both the time and money to travel, we are happy to stay home.  I especially love this time of year when the weather is still beautiful and I can leave all the windows and doors open.  The backyard has  rose bushes and a herb garden, a clothesline and an apple tree.  I can hear our chickens clucking, wild birds singing, the snick-snick of a neighbor's sprinkler, and a dog occasionally barking in the distance.

On the days I'm not working, I spend the mornings doing housework and the afternoons knitting and quilting, sometimes reading or listening to music, and occasionally napping.  John works in his office and shop a good part of the time and throughout the day, I'll bring him some coffee or iced tea, show him what's come in the mail, give him a kiss for no reason at all. 

There's a difference between home and house.  I live in a house, but having John with me makes it home. And I'm very grateful for that.

30 Days of Gratitude

One of the very first blogs I followed was Willa's. She's starting a series today, 30 days of gratitude, consisting of a post and a photo.  I'm just going to do a post a day with occasional photos.

This is her list which I'll use, but I reserve the right to change a few of the topics.  

1. Home
2. Reading material
3. Family
4. Comfort
5. Morning routine
6. Hydrate
7. My hobby
8. Warm
9. Work
10. Lunch
11. Beautiful
12. Green
13. Take a note
14. Artist date
15. Gratitude

16. My obsession
17. Memory
18. Animal instincts
19. Exotic
20. Take a walk
21. Alignment
22. Time
23. Wrap it Up
24. Golden
25. Sky
26. Love
27. Bloom
28. What I carry
29. Patterns
30. Joy