Thursday, January 31, 2008

Who's the Rhoda?

It's 6:32 am and already I can tell it's going to be an interesting day. Mark brought me coffee at 5 a.m. and we hustled around packing things we forgot last night. At one point I realized I was still wearing my Breathe Easy strip! Real romantic (and very Rhoda-like). The bus comes at 6 and off he goes into the wild Missouri weather (yes, we are expecting snow today). Then I sit down at the computer and write a couple of work e-mails and read about Britney Spears being taken to the hospital 19 minutes ago. Ultimately, I sashay over to the blogs and find my name on Mark Lipinski's under the "Friend or Foe" banner ( So THAT's what Labels are for!!! LOL

Someone apparently visited my humble blog and saw my Rhoda comment and -- can you believe it? -- DIDN'T GET THE REFERENCE! Ish! That's kind of like not knowing what a Moonstruck Martini is. Or what "May The Force Be with You." means. Nevertheless, if anyone ever comes back to see what it means, here ya go.

"Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion," 1995, starring Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino. Watch it: laugh, cry, bellow, groan and at one point you get to the scene where they are driving along the dusty, deserty highway and begin arguing about who's the Rhoda and who's the Mary in their relationship. They are referring, of course, to the Mary Tyler Moore Show, on which the character Rhoda debutted. Maybe you have to be a (wo)man who grew up in the 60's to understand the Mary character, who was obsessed with perfection but nevertheless plagued by imperfection . . . always nervous, insecure, but still "pretty" and well put-together with a nice body. Rhoda, on the other hand, is earthy, neurotic and has low expectations but is still filled with hope. She vainly tries to help Mary, but she is considered to be less "pretty" with big hips and a decidedly ethnic appearance. In my opinion, without Rhoda, Mary just blends into the wallpaper. Rhoda is Mary's lifeboat, her anchor . . . loyal, compassionate, solid. When I watch that scene in the movie, I feel it is silly to want to be The Mary, that The Rhoda is the more admirable character, but we're talking about Romy and Michelle, for whom the superficial identifiers are elusive and, therefore, of greatest importance at that moment in their lives. I know few people who embrace "anonymity."

So, my comment is not a compliment nor is it a criticism; not positive nor negative. It's an imagining . . . like hmmmm. As for the Mark Lipinski blog, the photo taken at the Chinese place in Mendham is super cute!! My daughter lives in Mendham Township, and I think that's where they get their take-out. I've never heard loud praise about the food, but whaddya expect? Gotta go to The City to get good Chinese.

Mark L and All De Little Pickles, I love your philosophy about quilting and your personal fearlessness and I'm seriously ill-equipped for "Foe-dom." Carry on, do your thing and pardon me if I peek in every once in a while.

Jeez, now I have to get ready for work. The sky is a peachy pink with lavender. What is that saying: "Red sky at dawning, sailor take warning." Snow's a comin'! Kiss, kiss P
P.S. It's Skypants -- one word.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning!

I guess at this point it's old news, but when I got to work yesterday I found out Chelsea was going to be at the Memorial Union, just a few steps away from my office, at 9:45. Dang! I had a meeting that started at 10 and didn't end until after 11, so I missed the whole thing. I would like to have seen her and talked with her a bit. I have a couple of ideas for "refashioned" Hillary campaign wear. I'll work one up this weekend and send it to her.
Politicians who completely disgust me: Claire McCaskill (traitor), Kenny Hulshof, Matt Blunt, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey.
Other than that, our weather is up to it's usual: This morning it was like May with temps in the 60's and now, just a few hours later it's about 20 and getting colder and very windy. Yikes!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday, Sunday

Or was that "Monday, Monday" the Mommas & the Poppas sang about? It was a great day: sunny and almost 60 degrees! I did two loads of laundry and hung it all outside to dry. Lots of ironing. You know my Sunday ritual is doing laundry and ironing while watching Sewing with Nancy, America Quilts Creatively, The Lawrence Welk Show, Quilt in a Day (with my fave Eleanor Burns), Martha's Sewing Room, Shay Pendray, Fons & Porter (if they would only just stop talking over each other!), Kay's Quilting Friends, and a final America Quilts with Sue Housman. What a treat!

I finished the ironing and then thought for a bit about how to use a basket full of 4" threadsaver pinwheels (some of which you can see in the photo of the xmas mermaid). I came up with a plan and went to the stash to search for just the right fabrics. When you have a stash the size of mine, searching usually brings results. I found two prints -- one from 1992 and the other from the late '80s-- and they worked perfectly. A little problem with the math at first, but it all worked out and I have a little corner finished already. Still gazing longingly at the pile of black, blue & grey fabric Meg sent for Kyle's quilt. When I got out of bed this morning, I was sure I knew what pattern I would use, but by the time I got down to the sewing room and looked at those fabrics again, I changed my mind.

I was dreaming about delphiniums this morning. When we lived on South Garth, we used to take a daily stroll around the John Stewart Park -- a private park that is owned by the neighborhood association. On West Parkway there was a house that had a delphinium garden. Delphiniums are not easy to grow here; our weather is completely unpredictable and the soil is good for making bricks, that's it. So, if you are going to grow any sort of decent flower garden, you have to amend the soil relentlessly. When we moved to our current location, I ordered lots of delphinium plants but they all quickly perished once July rolled around. However, I found a welcome substitute: larkspur. Easily sprouted from seed, I wound up with a meadow of larkspur every spring. They were so pervasive just from self-sowing, that I had to uproot them to control it. They were like weeds; they need no soil amendments whatsoever. Unfortunately, they are a bit poisonous, so although it is tempting to use the blossoms on cupcakes, it is verbotin.

Then I wanted to mention I found Mark Lipinski ( and he apparently lives just a bit west of Meg. I imagine he is a fire sign. I also imagine that in his relationship, he is the Rhoda. I'm not awestruck by his quilts, but his message seems appropriate: don't get all hussified about your quilts. They're just quilts, use them, have fun with them, enjoy them. I'm all for that! Of course, I should talk, what with my closet full.

I don't care what anyone says, I will NOT vote for Obama. I was sorely disappointed that Carolyn Kennedy says he would be "a president like my father." What does that mean? That he would stall on civil rights issues, balk with an unclear mind about threats to our borders and democracy, send thousands of young men to their death in useless military actions, consort with the Mafia and call girls, use innocent, mentally ill actresses as pawns in a sick sex game, or die by an assassin's bullet three years into his term? Hmmm. In any case, I won't be voting for any Republicans either. Have you read their platforms? Absolutely medieval, I tell you.

Tomorrow starts another grueling week of work for which I get paid in gruel. Kiss Kiss, P

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Publication Leads to Boredom

Arctic air has blasted us today. I'm simply NOT venturing outside. I have a ton of ironing to do; I've already made the beds and swept the floors and emptied the waste baskets. But on the coldest days, I always think about the garden and how it will soon be blooming! I am also VERY happy to have made so many cozy, warm, colorful quilts!

I'm totally in LOVE with my Solomon's Seal plants and I want more. Not an easy plant to find, but once it's established it is a stately friend spring through fall. Still searching for these, but while Googling I found a company that is having a 50% off perennials sale right now: American Meadows ( There are fantastic bargains on hostas, clematis, peonies, sedum, echinacea, hollyhocks (my all-time favorites), butterfly weed, and many others. They also sell 50 cent seed packets for gifting.

Can't find anyone who wants to share sweet potato plants, so I'm just going to order all twelve, plant them in pots and maybe sell the ones I don't need at a garage sale or something.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Whole Lotta Quilts!

My camera's not really sharp, but this is a knee-high pile of quilts I made since July. Details of some can be found in the picasa album. Most are ufo's, but there are a few "new." The quilts made in 2007 are not all in this photo, either -- there's another pile made in the earlier part of the year.

I'm very BAD at dating and signing my quilts and I'm afraid my memory is not good. Now, bear in mind I quilt to relieve stress. Can you tell I have a lot of stress in my life?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Christmas Mermaid

Then there is Melinda Jenkins. Melinda, PhD, now works in New York City coordinating health informatics for mental health. When I met Melinda, she was sewing a canvas tent on a treadle machine; she and her husband Ed Rothwell were going to live in the tent. It was December and freezing cold. I lived in a cinder block house that had been converted from a laundromat in a trailer park and the treadle machine sat proudly in the living room of that four-room structure. When she became pregnant, she and Ed had to find a house to rent that they could afford -- both being students, it wasn't easy. Eventually, Blake was born and Melinda made almost all their food from scratch -- soy milk, bread from flour ground in a grain mill, yogurt, etc. Again, another child was born in the bed (in a different location) and we visited to see the pretty little boy. Ed said "We're thinking of calling him Hart Fountain." Appalled, I exclaimed "Are you KIDDING? The kids at school will call him Fart Mountain! Please, have MERCY!" So Melinda asked, "What do you suggest?" and immediately I replied, "Gabriel." And that is what he was named. He is a photographer.

When the Rothwell family moved to Kansas City, I bought their old Maytag washing machine. It must have been '78. I finally had to replace it five years ago. I don't know what happened between Ed & Melinda, but like most couples joined in the 70's, they parted. Melinda was very creative (as well as being somewhat obsessive about diet, etc.) and at one point was making and selling cloth toys. I was lucky enough to receive a mermaid (hopefully, pictured here), which has taken the top spot on all my xmas trees since I received it. I have never had or seen a doll I loved more.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rear View Mirror

So I have become the sort of person who learns about people and events from the newspaper. Today, an article about Cindy Mustard reminded me of her father, George Miller. He was on the Board at Columbia College and I was the president's assistant. He was the only board member with composure, if anyone even knows what that means these days. He'd been educated at Le Rosey and was, therefore, in possession of a bit more culture than the other local yokels who served on the board. People need to know (and most of my age do) that to serve on a board requires nothing more than a hefty bank account (or the promise thereof); neither knowledge nor culture are criteria for eligibility.

George had this long, low white convertible that he drove well into the 80's; it had to have been either 50's or 60's vintage. He had a "girlfriend" who worked at the college. Ruth Price was the Director of Financial Aid, had bright, bleached blond hair and was quite petite. He would pull up into the circle drive in front of the administration building and honk outside her office window, signifying lunch time. It wasn't every day, of course, but it was so cute. They would drive off with the top down in spring/summer/fall and Ruth would be wearing a pretty silk scarf over her bouffant hairdo.

Cindy looks just like George. She seems to have inherited her father's composure. She is a sixth-generation townie and represents her family well, not like the horribly thin, vain evening-gown-clad socialites whose photos constantly assault us in the local (yokel) media. She gives to the community, just like George, but does much more for the needy. She's quite a hero to me.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Some Girls

Sadly, today is Megan's last day of employment here at the college of wage slavery. She's a bright spirit, full of joy and promise. I will miss her, but I'll be seeing her around. She is, after all, my headband, apron and handbag muse! Here is Buddha "christening" the apron I made for her (Amy Butler fabric). I imagine many fragrant, chunky apple pies fresh from the oven when I look at this photo. Megan will thrive wherever she goes!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Poet Laureate

Yesterday, I read in the paper that the Governor had named Missouri's first Poet Laureate and he chose Walter Bargen. I've only been to Walter's house in the woods once, before he'd finished building it. He'd invited us to a party, but I can't remember if it was for a birthday or some other occasion. Corless was there and brought her guitar, but for a while we sat on the hill and sang '50s angel songs: Johnny Angel, Earth Angel, Angel Baby, etc. Since the house hadn't been finished yet, there was only an outhouse. Unfortunately, I was born an urban chick so just the thought of using an outhouse filled me with dread and I went home as soon as the urge became apparent.

Walter's poetry is not bad, so try it if you are inclined. I'm including the url that lists his books, one of which was printed by my friend Karlene Gentile, and a url where you can hear him read four of the poems. I like what I've read of my friend Mike Naughton's poetry, but I haven't seen it all and he is not published (yet).
(Hear him read four of his poems at this site)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tornadoes in January

Lots of storms rolling through yesterday: sirens going off, people wandering about in the hallways trying to decide if they should go to the basement or stay in the hallway, moms worrying about their kids, me worrying about my husband driving around in solid sheets of rain (imagining skids, ditches, dashboards -- knock on wood). Of course, all the weather drama brought the change in temperatures from 75 down to 55.

I keep thinking about my garden. Wonder if I will have the strength to plant and maintain it. Brussells sprouts, sweet potatoes, okra (because I love the blossoms), wax beans, anaheim peppers, arugula, bok choy, red and yellow pear tomatoes, patty pan squash, and basil. These are wax beans from last summer's plants -- the initial harvest. They seem easier to digest than the green version.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Boredom leads to publication

This is a message in a bottle, that's all. I don't intend to attract attention, sell you anything, or try to make myself feel brilliant by posting my "uniquenesses." I will just be here for a while.

This is a Spools Quilt that I made a couple of months ago from blocks I hand-sewed over five years ago. These UFOs eventually come together. I have a lot of photos of UFO quilts I have completed over the past four years and I will be trying to post them.

I've also started choosing seeds and plants for our garden. I am so excited about coneflowers and goldenrod . . . how well they do in our soil! Pinetree Seeds is my favorite catalog because the packets are smaller, so they are cheaper and you don't have to worry about storing leftovers. They also carry a fine selection of sprouting seeds, perennial plants, bulbs, etc. This year I am going to try planting sweet potatoes.