Sunday, November 29, 2015

Shhhh----We Are Waiting

We have come full circle and we begin again--

The first Advent candle

The Little Gospels from the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

The Stable

Monday, November 16, 2015

Quiet Monday, Hectic Weekend, and Everybody is Sick

Last week, oh, I think Thursday, the wind blew.  Like a hurricane.  And I, brilliant soul that I am, was out walking around in it.  Now, I am an old lady (hee hee) and have known for many years that I can't handle real air very well and definitely not windy air. So, I should have known better but I had to walk into the school to get Bean and I had no choice. 

It didn't take but a few hours for whatever blew up my nose to start bothering me.  I was allergy sick.  Then the Hubs followed suit, then Bean and now dear daughter.  We all have it and we all feel miserable but, as they say, the show must go on.

This weekend was a bit hectic.  My mother in law will be celebrating her 94th birthday on Wednesday so this weekend we had a reunion of sorts.  She has four children, all still living, four in-law children, eleven grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.  All but a few came for this little reunion.

We had a lovely dinner at Cousin's Barbecue on Saturday night followed by cake in the activity center at her retirement community.  Yesterday, most reconvened to have lunch -- fajitas from Rosa's -- and more fellowship.  It was a good time and I think she enjoyed it. 

Three of her granddaughters were captured in this lovely photo

Jan, Bri and Jill
My daughter posted this photo on FB saying that all they needed was Sarah, Rachel and Rebecca.  Well, they couldn't attend but they sent their picture to be part of it all and here they are --

Rachel, Sarah and Rebecca
All such beautiful girls -- I wish they could have all been together for a photo.

And, some of the younger generation --

Mateo, Bean and Dante
Nothing like bonding over video games -- Spy Mouse specifically.

It was a good day -- hopefully there will be a repeat next year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Oh, It's Sewing Time Again.....

Most everybody who reads my blog knows about Bean.  What most people don't know is that I have three other grandchildren -- Nathan, 8 1/2 yrs., Kathryn, 7 yrs. and Emily who is about to reach a milestone birthday -- 1 yr.

I don't talk about these three grandchildren much because their parents don't want their photos on the internet.  I completely understand that and I completely respect that.  I am very careful when putting most any photos up anyway and I certainly don't want to go against their wishes.

However, my daughter-in-law contacted me last week and was wondering if I would be interested in making coordinating outfits for K and E for an upcoming autumnal photo op.  I said sure but time was short so it would have to be something very simple.  I sew but I am not all that great so I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew for the time allotted.

We decided on a simple little skirt for K in autumn colors.  I went to my favorite quilting shop -- Quilter's Stash in Hurst -- and found this lovely French General fabric from Moda.  The finish is almost that of a polished cotton although not quite.  It lost a bit of that finish when I washed it prior to sewing but washing is necessary as I don't want it to shrink the first time out of the box.  So, here is the little 1 hour skirt.

Since I was sewing and going by measurement only, without the children, it is a guess that it will fit.  I went by Mom's measurements though so hoping for the best.

And, for E, I decided on a coordinating fabric to be made up into one of those little jumpers/dresses that lap over the shoulder and button.  I used to make these, romper style, for E's father when he was little -- complete with grippers in the crotch -- so I am familiar with the style.  So, here it is as well.

It is much smaller than it looks here and I am sorry for my glare-y white freezer in the background.  This fabric is from the same French General collection and the colors, of course, match perfectly.

E is going to wear this as a jumper over a tee or onesie in cream and K will be wearing her skirt with a cream turtleneck or something similar.  Our weather has turned colder now and so something long sleeved would be appropriate and I think they are going to be very cute in their fall photos.

I wish I could show you a photo of the girls in the outfits but unfortunately that can't happen.  I am just hoping that the measurements were correct and that they fit them.  I think they turned out lovely and will be a nice complement to a photo session in this nice, crispy weather.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Everything Old is New Again

It recently occurred to me that I have sort of been a "sandwich generation" person all my life in all sorts of ways.  I was smack in the middle of myself and four cousins -- all girls -- and the only brunette.  I spent my 40's sandwiched between caring for children and caring for ageing parents.  I am spending my 60's caring for grandchildren and very aged mother-in-law (although there isn't a lot of caretaking going on as much as being "on hold" for any emergency).

It also came to my mind that I am a "sandwich generation" person in another respect.  Being a baby boomer I have lived in the middle of post-war times and the technological age.  This is where things get dicey.

When growing up, in the 1950's, we lived a modern life.  We had indoor plumbing, refrigeration, freezers, cars, vacuum cleaners, washers, dishwashers, radio, television, two newspapers and mail delivery.  I don't remember life without these things and now we can add all the more modern amenities to that list -- computers, cell phones, tablets, e-readers, digital everything - it is mind boggling.

So, why, when I have never known a time when I didn't have modern conveniences would I be gradually employing  methods of doing things that belonged to my grandmother's generation? 

For instance, grocery shopping.  I have a large fridge/freezer and a supplemental freezer in my laundry room.  My idea of stocking a pantry is buying up a ton of canned goods, dried items like beans, rice, fruit, copious amounts of flour, sugar, baking supplies -- I like to cook from raw ingredients rather than processed mixes -- however, we can't really do that anymore, now can we with the BPA in the cans.  Buy frozen?  Yes, that is one solution.  But, I find myself throwing out so much produce that I am inclined to shop like our grandmother's generation did -- every couple of days.  I really don't like grocery shopping so that would sound like a nightmare, wouldn't it? It sort of is but not nearly the nightmare of worrying about poisoning yourself with canned food.  Hmmm.  Quite the dilemma.

And then there is the housekeeping.  I make my own laundry detergent -- there is something comforting about knowing what goes in that since it is up against your skin and skin absorbs everything.  I actually like doing it.  But vacuuming is another story.  I have a lovely little vacuum cleaner - she is red and her name is Ruby.  She is a Miele and cleans like a dream.  However, more times than not I find myself with broom or dust mop in hand, dust cloth swishing the furniture.  Why?  Why have I morphed into my mother -- every time I get out the dust mop I see my mother with hers madly cleaning our original "tiny" house.  My aunt wasn't like that - she loved her vacuum cleaner.  My mother, not so much.  Maybe it is genetic? 

Ever since we re-vamped our television viewing opportunity -- chopped the daylights out of cable and went back to an antenna, Roku and Tivo -- I have turned the tv off. It no longer runs 24/7.  My house now feels like my childhood home - we didn't have the tv on all day, just when some specific soaps were on -- I distinctly remember "Secret Storm" and "The Edge of Night".  We only had three channels back in the 1950's and it signed off at midnight so our viewing pleasure was limited at best.  We read alot, did cross word puzzles, played games and such.  Now I am reading a lot, doing cross word puzzles, and playing games even though one of them is electronic. Oh, and puzzles -- love puzzles.

I have had a love/hate relationship with technology since it first came into my home.  I have had every generation Nook that has been manufactured and I might add the last one is a complete bust.  I do like the Nook Glo-light for reading but the rest of them are sort of miserable.  I have been looking at an ipad or a kindle but I really like my little netbook and have opted to not replace the Nooks yet -- maybe something about me still carrying physical books around has something to do with it.  I prefer physical books.  Yes, they are harder to tote around and I can't carry a whole library in my purse but I can't read a whole library at one time either. 

So, this morning as I stood at the sink washing a load of dishes -- by hand rather than loading the dishwasher -- it occurred to me why I am travelling back in time so to speak. 


I see my mother and my grandmother.  Doing things the old fashioned way reminds me of a gentler, less complicated, and yes, probably happier, time.  Not that I am not happy, I am very happy and I am very blessed, but the world was happier.  I feel like I can draw the drapes, put on the radio, wash my dishes and close out all the bad going on in the world.  It must be contagious because the other day, in the car, I was trying to interest Bean in listening to a CD but her response was "oh, Nona, just put on the radio"! 

So, I will probably go on doing things the "old fashioned" way, dating myself and making myself feel like an dotty old lady but that seems to be my happy place as I keep going back there more and more -- lot cheaper than therapy, wouldn't you say?

Now, I am off to the store.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

1 November 1969

Today is the 46th anniversary of the passing of my grandfather, James William Davis.

My grandfather was born in 1896 in Scranton, Pennsylvania to James W. Davies and Dinah Webb Davies.  He was one of twelve children born to the couple and the second born in the United States.  James Sr. and Dinah immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1889 or 90 (sources vary) with three children in tow, at least three left buried in Wales and then went on to have several more here.

Their name was "Davies" but when starting school, the "sister school" as he called it (the neighborhood Catholic school, probably St. Ann's), his name was inadvertently spelled  "Davis" and he remained a "Davis" for evermore.

He was not a large man.  He stood 5'4" in his prime and he still wore a boys size shoe at his death.  His height shouldn't have been a surprise to anybody as his mother could stand upright under his outstretched arm.  Of his own four children, the tallest grew to be 5'6". 

What he lacked in stature he made up for in spirit -- as did all of his children.  A feisty bunch they were.  Many people said my grandfather was mean and I have to admit that I can see where he would come across that way but he was never mean to me.  However, if you slammed the back screen door too many times he would get annoyed and let you know not to do it again but mean?  No.

In fact, I adored him.  I always felt very secure with him.  There were many times when I was hurt or sick that he was the one to haul me to the doctor's office.  There were times when I needed something for school and he was the one that would make it.  I remember one time we were in the yard picking up pecans  -- well, he was picking them up and I was toddling behind him pushing pecans back into the ground -- those little trees were still coming up when he passed away. 

One of my favorite things to do with him was eat.  They had a small kitchen with a little drop-leaf table and we would eat together.  My mom and I went to their house almost daily -- they just lived on the next street (you could see their house from our backyard) and we would eat pork and beans, or fried potatoes but the best thing was the Welsh rarebit.  He didn't put beer in it but he had a little tiny pan that he would melt that cheese in and spread it on toast and it was delightful! And tea and toast.  Always tea and toast.

I wish that I had talked more to my grandfather about his childhood, his life in Pennsylvania, his life in the mines at age 11.  I wish I had known more about his parents and relationships with his siblings.  I got snippits, of course, and can visualize a bit but I wish I had been more aggressive in my questions.  But, I am thankful for what I know, thankful he was my grandfather and such a big part of my life and thankful for the things I learned from him.  I miss him to this day.

Oh, by the way, I still have the little drop leaf table.

I miss you PaPa.