Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rest in Peace Baby June

Young people today have a whole load of handsome vampires to swoon over, drop dead gorgeous "mean girls" to emulate and "achy breaky" daughters to hold up as role models. Special effects are common in today's movies as well as realistic storylines -- well, except for the vampires. Girls of the 50's and 60's were different -- oh, we had our role models and our "crushes" (Russ Tamblyn comes to mind) but our cinematic satisfaction came in the form of the musical.

Movies during that era (could I possibly have referred to my life as an ERA -- ouch!) were gorgeous, costume clad, bigger-than-life romances with fantastic scenery and happy endings. Every ingenue could sing and tap dance her way through life's challenges and end up winning the guy and keeping her reputation in tact in the process.

I don't know too many girls who didn't want to "wash that man right outta their hair" or who didn't want to be one of those seven brides for one of those seven brothers (again, Russ Tamblyn comes to mind). The beauty of the Asian culture was depicted in "Flower Drum Song" -- who didn't just melt watching Nancy Kwan dance and who didn't just love the innocence of Miyoshi Umeki. It didn't matter if you were the "good girl" or the showgirl, everybody fell for the bad boy in "Guys and Dolls". I don't know one girl my age that didn't yearn to hang out on the fire escape and watch those tight-jeaned chorus boys dance their way through the West Side of New York telling their teenage angst Story. Did I mention Russ Tamblyn?

I am sure that every girl my age secretly pictured herself dropping that shoulder strap and pulling off that glove in "Gypsy" even though, being the demure, innocent things that we were ( we WERE!) we wouldn't admit it. What a life that movie depicted -- hard times, children working to support parents, sibling rivalry, the urge to "get away" and the determination to be somebody -- that is timeless and universal it would seem.

So, the world has lost one of those glamorous performers in the person of June Havoc. She was born Ellen Hovick sometime around 1912 (she didn't really know herself since her stage mom had lied about her age so much-- seems she had multiple birth certificates) in Vancouver, Canada. When her parents divorced her mother took her girls on the road living the vaudeville life in an effort to support themselves and be in the limelight, something their mother, Rose Hovick, always wanted for herself -- talk about living vicariously through your kids.

June was the talented sister with Louise taking a backseat. Louise only came to her mother's notice when Baby June, as she was promoted, ran away to be married at age 13 .. or 14 ... or 15...whatever. In order for the "show" to continue, Louise had to take over. By that time, Louise was no longer a child but a young woman -- she couldn't carry on the "Baby June" persona so she had to move on to the next thing which was burlesque which involved baring a little skin. After the initial shock and humiliation of this new act, Louise, now known as Gypsy Rose Lee, continued in this line of work the rest of her life. It is well documented in the movie "Gypsy". If you haven't seen it, which I can't imagine anybody on the planet not having seen it, rent it, get some popcorn and Kleenex and enjoy.

That, however, wasn't the end of Baby June. She married the boy she ran off with but the marriage didn't last. She moved to Hollywood in the late 40's and pursued an acting career that she would work in until as recently as 2003. She was also a writer. She passed away March 28, 2010 of natural causes at the age of 97.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Language -- Funny You Should Say That

I was in school a long, long time ago when chalk boards were black not white, when girls wore dresses and boys pants rested at their waist not their knees. I grew up doing homework having spelling tests, doing math problems at the kitchen table (evens one night, odds the next), I learned to write in longhand and I discovered great joy at doing book reports on books I took from the public library.

I learned a lot in a seven hour school day with one teacher but one thing stays in my mind to this day and that was the declaration that the English language is difficult to learn -- lots of rules and exceptions to those rules -- lots of "i's" and "e's" and "c's". We struggled to remember that "receive" isn't "recieve" and that "there, their, and they're" aren't even close to the same thing. We learned "principles" and were sure we didn't want to have to visit the "principal". It was fun, it was hard and we learned.

The present generation is having it's own problem with the introduction of texting language. Why spell out "laughing out loud" when LOL will do and EVERYBODY understands and can spell it -- I have never seen LOL mispelled. Young people text like our generation talked on our pink or turquoise princess phones. It has been reported that texting is replacing talking amongst tween and teens -- they prefer the "written word" -- the meaning of that debatable. So, I guess it is no small wonder that the verbal communicative skills among the young adults is suffering. Have you ever stood in a checkout line, making small talk with the young person behind the register and have he/she look at you like she doesn't understand a word you are saying? They don't. It is almost frightening to think that these non-communicative upstarts will be voting adults in the not too distant future. This is a "generational thing" not unlike the "generational thing" of the 60's -- we don't understand, they didn't understand but we could read, spell and speak -- possibly too much and too loudly.

But, I have to wonder what happens when dealing with a person of similar age -- why is there a breakdown in communication? Why is it hard to follow direction? How in the world does "I like it very short in the back and close on the sides" somehow translate into "ah, let's give M a modified mullet -- yeah, that will work".

I guess next time I will have to text my preferences -- what is the code for "short in back"?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday Play Date

Saturday was our play date with the g-kids. They are growing up so fast and their personalities are developing rapidly. One likes to make funny noises and the other gets tickled at it and imitates -- quite well, actually. One like to build, the other wants to do the same. They both love books and enjoy reading the same thing over and over. Running is quite popular and time-out is routine. One can count to eleven and say MOST of the alphabet -- the other is quite fascinated by socks. One readily apologizes for any perceived misdoing and it usually involves a kiss. The other loves to bump heads and rub noses. Their vocabularies are growing by leaps and bounds. They are bright eyed and healthy and full of energy -- much more energy than we have.

The day included tinker toys, books, three mean games of Hi-Ho Cherry-O, books, lunch, books, puzzles, books, naps, quiet time, putting money in the penny bank and saying prayers. It was a good day. I need geritol. And knee replacements. I am happy to say that the eyes in the back of my head are still in great working order -- guess once a mom always a mom and when you acquire those back head eyes, they are there forever. Gramps was the reigning champion of building, I was the soother of hurt feelings and tear dryer. It was a good day as I watched these kids I could see my own at that age -- it was like I could do it all over again from a different perspective. Being a g-parent is great. My mom was right -- it is wonderful to be able to play and spoil and love them and then give them back!!

As much as I am shocked at reaching a proper grandmotherly age, I love it and really enjoy the time with them. I think today I am fully recovered. Ha!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Months ago I was using these sorts of fill-ins as a way to remember to post every day and I, somehow, got away from it. So, I am trying to start again so here I go!

Friday Fill Ins

1. The right word escapes me.
2. Leave and shut the door quietly, please
3. Up , up and away!
4. Behind the sewing machine is where you will find me.
5. Ooh, what is that cute little puppy in Monique's photo?
6. Spring finally springing is a good idea.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to watching "Who Do You Think You Are", tomorrow my plans include the two cutest kiddos on the planet and Sunday I want to relax and sew.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Unconscious Mutterings Week #373

I haven't done one of these in a long time and, since I am obviously procrastinating doing the laundry I think now is a perfect time to do another! So, here goes -- don't expect brilliance.

1. burrito -- yum
2. spike -- railroad, Snoopy
3. tougher -- sirloin
4. mock -- turtle soup
5. slurp -- mock turtle soup
6. knock -- knock, who's there?
7. conference -- call
8. madness -- stop the madness, Susan Powter
9. minds-- are a dangerous thing
10. connection -- DSL

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bean's Quilt

While Bean is busy growing and practicing gymnastics and practicing her "Gig Em" sign, Nona is busy creating a baby quilt. Mommy and Nona went to the fabric store, The Quilter's Stash, in North Richland Hills a few weeks ago and spent two hours auditioning fabrics for this little quilt. We came home with twenty two different fabrics and a package of Quilter's Dream batting -- the most wonderful batting on the market, IMHO.

Bean's mommy has a wonderful plan for her room, I guess I would call the style "Americana Cozy" and that is all I am going to say about it. She chose a wide variety of fabrics from her inspiration wall decor and each, in it's own way, evokes memories for me as a lot of it comes from vintage or reproduction lines. The style of the quilt is very simple -- 4.5 inch squares, randomly set. The colors are wonderful and have a way of setting off each other. I arranged them in a truly random way, only making sure that I didn't put two identical squares next to one another.

I had been thinking about doing some Welsh quilting on this -- a technique I would like to explore -- but Bean's mommy wants it to be a soft, cuddly quilt and the extensive quilting found on Welsh quilts might make it a bit more stiff so it will be simple quilting. I am not sure how I am going to quilt it yet but I think, whatever I do, I will do by hand. Quilting by hand creates a softer drape and besides, I haven't done anything by hand in a long time and I have been wanting to do something so this project, not being too big, seems the perfect thing.

I had thought about finishing the edges with prairie points but, in a way, it seems too stark for a baby quilt so I will probably just choose one of the fabrics and do a simple binding -- maybe with the lovely rose fabric with the meandering flowers. I want this quilt to be used and soft and washed and dragged around -- a proper working quilt -- not something just folded and put away because Nona made it.

I will be backing it with muslin for two reasons. Muslin comes in very wide widths and I really don't like seams on the back of my quilts. Plus, muslin washes up very nicely and just gets softer with age and it needles well. So, that, coupled with my Quilters Dream batting will make a lovely little wrap for Bean!

Tomorrow will be the starting point. I hope to have it basted and in the hoop so I can sit back and be in hand quilting heaven -- the most relaxing hobby I can think of other than napping. I will post photos of the finished product when it is, in fact, the finished product.

Simple Woman's Daybook, March 23, 2010

Outside my window I see a cloudy sky with the sun trying to peek through -- it looks like it is going to make it.

I am thinking that I really haven't accomplished much today and I am wondering if that really matters.

I am thankful for the warmer weather.

From the learning rooms I am learning about traditional Welsh quilting.

From the kitchen absolutely nothing is going to come today -- it is my kitchen day off -- randomly chosen.

I am wearing black slacks and a striped shirt.

I am creating a baby quilt for Bean.

I am going to have to decide what my "quilt as desired" desire is.

I am reading "Bramwell Valley" -- silly, silly book.

I am hoping to get a better nights sleep tonight.

I am hearing Ellen Degeneres in the background.

Around the house I am systematically decluttering -- I have been watching "Hoarders" -- scary stuff.

One of my favorite things is my cat -- so demanding, forces me to think about something other than myself.

A few plans for the rest of the week is to finish the baby quilt.

Here is a picture thought to share with you:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oh, Spring, Where Art Thou?

Today is the first day of spring. It is supposed to look like this:

This one of our pear trees, yesterday, when it was spring. However, today it is winter again, complete with snow and wind and freezing temperatures which could mean ice and probably the end of the lovely pear blossoms.

I haven't heard, officially, but I think this is probably the most peculiar winter in the history of, well, probably the entire planet. It isn't supposed to be snowing. We had the a/c on yesterday. I know this is Texas and the old saying goes "if you don't like the weather in Texas, just wait a minute and it will change". I think every state lays claim to that old saying but here it seems to be especially true, this winter at least.

So, I guess I will go curl up with my e-reader and finish the most ridiculous book ever published -- Bramwell Valley. I didn't say it wasn't a GOOD book, it is quite funny, but not my usual fare. It was, however, free from B&N and, until I have a little more faith and confidence in my Nook, I will continue to download "free". If you want to read something really, really silly, check out Bramwell Valley -- it won't disappoint.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood -- for sure! First off, I can hear -- praise the Lord! Secondly, it is sunny and dry (trying not to jinx things here)! And, I got my hair cut -- a little wonky but cut nonetheless.

So, I have energy and I am rip roaring and ready to go to work finishing up some projects. One I can't show you because it is a gift but just suffice it to say that it will be lovely.

The second I can't tell you about either because of the same reason. However, here are some of the fabrics involved in the creation.

The third I can tell you about. It is a baby quilt for Bean! DD picked out the fabrics -- all colors taken from a set of pictures they are using in the baby room. She chose 22 fabrics as seen below and, if my math is correct (which is always suspect) it will take 7- 4.5 inch squares of each to make up the top. It is going to be true patchwork -- just a mishmash of fabrics and wonderfully soft Quilters Dream Batting. I want it to be cozy and cuddly and just the right size for the baby.

The design decision that has me a bit perplexed is the finishing. I am thinking about prairie points but then, I see a solid binding as well to sort of frame all those prints. I was going to make the squares smaller but have decided on the 4.5 in. because enough of the print will be visible -- any smaller and I think they would mostly turn into "solids" or just "textures". Since there will be no borders or anything I think I am going with either a plain, solid binding or maybe plain, solid prairie points. I dont know but that decision is a way down the road, I will deal with it then.

I am thinking I am going to use my new accuquilt cutter for this. After all the deliberating over buying the thing, I have yet to remove it from the box. This might be the perfect time to try it but......on scraps first. I generally have a huge learning curve on things of this nature.

So, that is what is taking up my time right now. Lots and lots of sewing and planning and cutting and designing and not a lot of confidence even though I have been doing this for almost thirty years! I guess I will always be a novice. Hmm..

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Better late than never, as they say but since I was not feeling up to par, blogging was put on the back burner. However, now it is time to play catch up.

I was born on my grandmother's birthday -- February 28. I guess that was my one distinguishing factor. My name should have been Rebecca since there was ALWAYS a Rebecca in the family -- my mother broke the chain and named me after a popular tune. At any rate, I always thought it was special being born on MaMa's birthday.

My grandmother Rebecca Madge Foreman was born in San Antonio in 1902. She led a very unremarkable life being part of a large family with many aunts and uncles and cousins. She attended Lavaca Street School which I believe is where the current central office of the SAISD now stands as well as Pauline Nelson Elementary School, also SAISD. She won the Palmer's Handwriting contest for her outstanding penmanship. She left school at eleven to become employed at a store downtown -- I can't seem to recall the name of the store -- Joy? A bit later she went to work at the telephone company where she stayed until her marriage in 1918 to James W. Davis who was stationed in San Antonio during basic training in World War 1. Sometime later that year, after armistice was declared, she joined Jim in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I am not sure how long she lived in Scranton but the family had moved back to Texas by April of 1921 when my aunt was born. They remained in Texas the rest of their lives.

Rebecca had four children -- Velma, Bette, Jimmy and Linnie and four granddaughters -- Joy Lynn, Diana Jean, Melissa, Penny Gail, and Lori Ann. She was a good grandmother making clothes, costumes, taking care of us when we were sick, providing stability when things were shaky. She was always a pillar of strength in my mind. If there was a problem, MaMa and PaPa could take care of it.

Rebecca -- who, to my knowledge, never went by the name Rebecca but rather Madge -- outlived Jim by almost 20 years, passing away in the mid 80's. To this day I recall hearing the stories about how, when they moved to the "country" (which meant old Castle Hills, on Castle Lane) she had a cow that she milked. She also raised pomeranian puppies and had chickens. That was a side of my grandmother I just couldn't get my head around. Well, ok, maybe the puppies. I remember her having a huge, grey persian cat named Pretty -- it was a sad day when she lost that cat.

It was a sad day when we lost my grandmother but I have so many good memories of her -- going shopping and eating at Casa Rio -- EVERY Saturday, tea and toast at her kitchen table almost every day, her house, her Spanish Geranium soap -- yep, that was MaMa.

So, Happy Birthday to you MaMa. You would be 108 years old! Wow, that is a whole lot older than 60 -- you are making me feel good once again!