Friday, September 29, 2006

La Familia

Yesterday we went down to San Anselmo for a mini-reunion at my cousin Ellen's home. Present were Dad's baby sisters Madaline and Blanche who will be 82 and 87 respectively in November. Also present were two of Blanche's granddaughters and some of their kids and two of my cousin Ellen's grown daughters. Pictured at right are Madaline and Blanche, the last two siblings of Dad's family left.

Below is a picture of Madaline with my cousin Ellen, an adoptions counselor in Marin County.

It was great to meet my Aunt Blanche's granddaughters Lori and Tammy, daughters of my cousin Barbara who couldn't be there. Laurie and Tammy both brought some of the kids, Tammy's boys are pictured below. The picture below has two of the kids, Ellen's daughter Camilla (in hat), Laurie, Tammy, Melissa and the boys.

Finally, there is a picture of most of "the girls", Ellen, Madaline, Blanche, Jan and Laurie. We had a lovely time and I really enjoyed talking about my Dad with his little sisters and seeing a few of the Brackett family members.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Finally done, the top to the comfort quilt for Norma and Dennis Viglienzone in memory of their son Caesar, who was killed in Iraq on February 1, 2006.

Everyone in guild wanted to "do something," but no one wanted to take the bull by the horns, so I did. Ironic, in that I am probably one of the members of guild most opposed to the darn war, but there you have it.

Norma's buddy Vandy procured the photos and transferred them to fabric and Phyllis trimmed them into two consistent sizes. Thank heaven for that, I might have stumbled on that step, but it allowed me to design from there. I used my Electric Quilt software and the Judy Martin's Stars and Sets program for the basic layout. Several months ago, we had a work party at Teddy Bear Quilts and members of the guild showed up to make blocks for the quilt and I assembled them and added the borders this week.

Vandy will quilt it and Betty will bind it. All I have left to do is make a label for it.

Also, ironically, I displayed it at guild yesterday after Norma left. Yesterday was International Day of Peace.

'Nuff said.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tahoe, Baby

We made a quick trip to Lake Tahoe for the weekend to hang out with Kate and Mr. B. while Dad was at a 2 day bachelor's party for a friend.

On Saturday, Kate, B. and I decided to ride the Heavenly Valley gondolas up to the top of the hill and it was worth every dime! The day was gorgeous, Friday's wind had cleared out the smoke from the wildfires in the Sierra foothills, so we had some pretty good views.

The weather was very cold when we arrived Friday, with a few snow sprinkles as we came down the hill into the Tahoe valley, but had warmed up considerably by Saturday.

This picture was taken from the top of the hill and is looking down on South Lake Tahoe, CA and Stateline, Nevada , two towns separated by a street that is more like an alley on one side of the road and a sidewalk on the other side. Obviously, the larger buildings are the Nevada casinos for those not familiar with this corner of the world.

Lake Tahoe is one of the prettiest places in California, in my opinion and certainly the prettiest in Nevada (I've lived there, I know.)

Finally, here is Mr. B, dirty face and all with me, his Nana. I found the "G is for Gondola" shirt at the gift shop and couldn't resist since it matches his eyes perfectly.

We had great fun playing with his dice and doing horsey rides on Nana and "Bop's" legs and playing "push-Nana-over-and-then-pull-her-up." Great fun!!

Until next time (in two weeks) buddy~

Thursday, September 14, 2006

And Now, Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Quilting

And yes, it IS another Sew-A-Row, this one for Moonlighters.

I nearly had a stroke when I got this one, having signed up to participate when it was a mere 12" Dresden Plate block. Little did I know that it would grow to be a 48 inch behemoth by the time it reached me! Not only that, the beautiful bright plaids from the center had not been carried out into the other borders, giving it a dull, country appearance which was OK, but not to my liking. The person before me added fans, but did not finish them as she had no buttonhole stitch on her machine. (Doh, pick another design!) Enough with the complaining. I knew what I needed/wanted to do immediately, but was mentally shirking from the job. All the way to Sisters in July and ever since then I'd been searching out bright plaids for the job, but found few.

Finally, I contacted the original block maker and she provided me with scraps of some of the fabrics used in the center and away I went. I happened to have a small piece of 30's red that exactly matched the center of the original plate, so I added that as a 1 1/2 inch separator and made 40 (count them forty) double flying geese 5 inch paper pieced blocks. I do adore the Electric Quilt, in which one can design a foundation for any block in any size and print the papers. I opted to paper piece for accuracy as I would rather take the time to do that than fool with getting them perfect the other way.

The meeting for distribution of the projects is September 20th and I'm really hoping to win this one. I've gone from hating it to being very attached to same. If I am the lucky winner, I may replace the black corner squares with additional double geese so they look like they are going around the quilt, like so. I would also finish the fans just inside the red border with stems and appliqued leaves to give them the appearance of flowers.

Sew, keeping my fingers crossed, I'll win it and get to realize my ambitions. If not, like all group projects, it was a great experience in that it forced me to stretch a bit, and I've come to realize that this kind of thing, rather than repetitious, block after block the same sewing is what really floats my boat and keeps me coming back to my Bernina for more.

What else could a girl ask for?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Cojones, Chutzpah, Call It What You Will

You must check out Keith Olbermann via GreyHair and Crooks and Liars. I didn't know journalists like this existed anymore. Makes me want to re-watch "Good Night and Good Luck."

Amen brother.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Thanks to Nancy, NP

Thanks to my pal Nancy, NP for telling her story about cross party registration. It brought back memories of my year in third grade when JFK and Nixon were vying for the presidency in 1960.

I came home from school one day, most likely in September or October having enjoyed a copy of "My Weekly Reader" in class--remember those? Being in a newspaper family, things like that made a real impression on me--a paper of my own to read! This particular issue had a picture of John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon on it, shaking hands (likely this one).

I proudly showed the paper to my Daddy and pointed to JFK and proclaimed, "This is favorite!", whereupon, my father patiently but firmly explained to me that no, Mr. Nixon was our family's candidate. Oh well, perhaps another time......

My father's words made a big impression on me at the time and when I was able to vote in a national election, of course I voted for our man Dick Nixon. (Maybe they shouldn't have let us under 21's vote after all...)

After that election, embarassed and living out of California and away from prying eyes of neighbors at the polls who might report me to the old man, I changed my registration to Democrat in an overt act of defiance to the parents. Several years later, I voted independent for Anderson too.

Life goes on, I moved back to California and registered Republican. Eventually, I was working in the insurance business for a die-hard Republican (aren't they all??) and just kind of hung in with them, though my heart wasn't in it particularly. I remember my boss saying that the day Clinton was elected for his first term that it was the worst day of his life. (Being only 30 at the time, he had no idea how it can get as life rolls on. )

Enter my hubby. Blue to the bone. Like my pal Nancy, I came out. We were having a weekend trip to San Luis Obispo and walked past Democratic HQ and we stopped in so I could re-register, and who should be there but a Pediatrician who had fled Visalia and was now living in SLO. So, I registered and there has been no looking back. My pal Chris, who has known me since I was 13 said, "Its about damn time--you always were a Democrat, you just didn't know it!" She was so right and I have never looked back.

When I say "I'm forever blue, I mean it!"

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Here he is, in one of his favorite grandson, the fabulous Mr. B., known to others as Benjamin.

Clutched in his left hand are his bathtub crayons, actually soap. He was coloring the sides of the tub and absolutely shreiking with glee. Then his Mama, the ever-ironic Kato observed that perhaps crayons that write on walls weren't such a good idea.......good thing his Grandmas didn't buy them, Mama did.

I can't wait for next weekend when I get to see my little sweetheart at the timeshare--Lake Tahoe!