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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Amused, and actually laughing


Awhile back I swabbed my cheek and sent it off to find out who I am. Well, let me tell you. Forty percent of my genes originated in Kenya. Less than ten percent are Western European. The majority of the rest of my maternal DNA is Eastern European. Latvia, Slovenia. Hungary, Croatia. And on and on. And my mother-in-law thought she married a Bohunk.

This all is my “motherline”. Lacking a Y chromosome, my father’s ancestry cannot be traced. I would need to persuade a male relative to contribute a swab of cheek cells, too.  I am totally out of brothers, and down to three nephews, one of whom might be willing to participate. 

My mother was two percent Irish, half Ulster and half Cork.  My Dad was all Irish. I think. It may be worth asking my nephew to participate, simply to learn where those ancestors migrated from, to Ireland.

And, how about Sweet Home, Alabama. I am so proud of all the African American women and men who sent Doug Jones to the senate to fill Jefferson Davis Sessions’ vacated seat. A lot of groups reclaiming their voice.

I went to breakfast this morning with the friend I first made in the counselor’s offices; the one who got a sweet note from my brother Mel, when they were fifth graders. Most of my friends are like minded, and Linn and I exchanged a happy high five across the table this morning. Mel reveled in politics; Watergate was his specialty.  Were he alive today he probably would be constantly apoplectic. Mel had one daughter; Walt had the three boys.

The quilt we commenced last night apparently is a “meant to be”, too. You know how some things just fall into place. Simple pinwheels though they be, Laura is setting the blocks so nicely that it hurts my heart to quilt this with a sewing machine. My sister quilts professionally, but I know full well her schedule is booked six months in advance.



Laura, sewing blocks last night

I also know things happen, so I called her today and told her about the quilt that deserves professional quilting—before Christmas. I explained Laura’s beautiful sewing (Jan expected no less; Laura was the meticulous student!), and said my plan was to ask Kay to present the quilt top only to her mother and then bring it back from Texas to be quilted, or, was there the teeniest, tiniest possibility Jan had time to squeeze in a not difficult queen sized quilt before Kay and her boys left for Texas.


Finished pile right, a few left to do, left

If we deliver the quilt next week, before Friday, Jan can do it on Friday. We certainly can deliver it in good time. Laura and I fly to Wisconsin that Friday, but Kay can find her way back to Jan’s studio, in plenty of time before she leaves Saturday to drive to Texas.  I do like this sort of present.


Why we cover potential cat futons


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Yesterday yields tomorrow, which is today

For the first time in six years, Laura was sent home from school yesterday. I could tell you, for not wearing enough clothes, but that's not the real picture. 


Leftover picture of Laura's cheesecake. 
I bought her a spring form pan several cheese cakes ago.
Brilliant.

The phone rang at 8 a.m., when I am barely considering being up. The kid was sick, and number nine to be sent home, before first bell. When I picked her up, she was wearing those stupid leggins.  Possibly the fleece lined pair, otherwise, they're thin. A summer tee. The plaid blanket she received for her birthday. No coat. Less than twenty degrees out. Apparently delirious when she left, but was reprimanded for thin thinking, nevertheless.

Laura went back to bed until supper time, and so did I. In case I was catching something. After supper, Kay came over and, in her inimitable way, made my day.



She wants to make a quilt for her mother for Christmas. Math equals 25-12=13 days, if she gets up early to wrap it. Or, a day on the plane to Texas. Whatever. She thinks she and Laura can construct and quilt it in two evenings and one weekend. She might as well be a daughter of mine!



Today I started putting together the pinwheels. I'm not strong enough to rotary cut them, but I can sew them this far and then work on the cut pieces. 



It is snowing something fierce, too. I have to get Laura after school to stop at her sponsor's house (academic year abroad) to get her paperwork signed. No, my steps are not shoveled, my car not cleared. I think I'll start at 2 to leave by 2:30. I need to engage a snow shoveler.

12:30. I have ninety minutes to sew some more blocks.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Birthday party survival plan

Laura came up on and turned into her sixteenth year in good order. She wanted a party. 


Our neighbor Cathy recognized my distress, and offered to organize it. Back when my girls were in school, every birthday was celebrated at a restaurant of their choice with friends of their choice.  They thought it was really cool, and you know what this teen-age inept mother thought.


This is what Cathy did. But, wait, it gets better. And, keep an eye on the helium balloons that go missing.


The party. Edibles were East of Chicago pizza, which we highly recommend. It's almost as good as Laura's homemade. And, root beer and cherry coke. And, thank God, water. And, Laura's fab cheese cake. Gone, gone, gone. No pictures.


Some  of the prezzies.


The organizer, and her grateful neighbor. Then we all went to the movies. 


We (the young women) saw Coco in one theater, and the organizer and her grateful neighbor saw The Orient Express in the theater next door.

Orient ended fifteen or so minutes before Coco, and Cathy and I stood in the lobby looking for a current picture of Kenneth Branaugh. Well, Cathy was all over her phone; I was amused. He did come up looking OK, though.

Then, Coco began exiting. First, a hall of adults, moving quickly and looking backward, followed by such howling and wailing. Literally, a sound chamber of banshees. The Coco adults were gone before our six teens arrived, some supporting others. 

Laura, Lexie and Meredith were holding up Anneka, Annie and Kayla, the howlers. That was so SAD, the three wailed in unison. Cathy and I had splitting sides and sore ribs, both from holding it in and losing our composure.

It was dark and it was snowing, and it was time to get back, so three teens with composure and two adults with some composure, herded the three sad-o's to our cars. I had Meredith, Anneka and Annie. Before the door was shut, Anneka swooped up the balloons from the floor. "They're still here," triumphant and recovered.

"How will you get a hole in it?" Annie's little voice. "Just like that!" Alvin's chipmunk voice rejoined. "Oh, My, God," pass it to me. Don't let any out. Three chipmunks travelling home. Grandma (Jo by now) in the front seat, ribs aching, eyes streaming, Bob Dylan, Everybody Must Get Stoned...

Say ON-A-Kuh. It makes the story even better.