Monday, November 20, 2017

Memory Monday...The Wedding! (Part I)

“In Marriage You Learn To Give Up The "Me ness for We ness!” 
― DeBorrah K. Ogans

We made it to our respective is also Christmas, my mother's crowning season!  And now, on top of that, she has a wedding to get through and a new grandson.  My sister, Judy, who is to be my matron of honor just gave birth on December 10th to her second son, David.  My sister and family did not live in Pittsfield so they, as well as my three cousins (who were older than we were...really closer to mom in age), I and Dagmar were all staying at Mom and Dad's along with my younger brother, Jack who was 13-14. Mom would not think of putting any family up at a local motel! And Dick showed up on the 28th, after Christmas.  He did stay in a motel as did his brother who was  to be his best man. His brother, Fay, had brought his girlfriend, Sarah with him.  I think Sarah may have still been in high school.  It would not do for her to stay in a motel so we had made arrangements for her to stay at a friend's house.

Judy with baby David- two year old Doug and my mom in the dining room.
There had been quite a few deliveries to the house of wedding gifts.  It was the custom then to spread gifts out for all to see...does that still exist today, I wonder?  Here I am at the front door collecting some to the gifts being delivered.  Brides-to-be did register at the local jewelry store who would stock up on the chosen silver ware pattern, crystal glass ware and china pattern so all anyone had to do was to go in, pay for what they wanted to send and it would be wrapped and delivered. 

Here I am at the door with little Doug, getting more deliveries!
My parents loved to party and were charter members of the Dance Club started many years ago when I was little.  About four or five times a year Dance Club would hold a big shindig with live orchestra and all!  It was a kind of rite of passage to get old enough to be able to attend DC as a guest!  The night before our wedding, there was a big Christmas dance held at the Legion Hall.  We all cousins who didn't partake in such festivities stayed home to babysit my nephews.  After the dance different age groups would head out to another of my friends had invited Dick and me out to her parents' house while the parents went to another house. I think Judy and her husband Jim may have gone back to my parents' house as she had just given birth to a baby not three weeks earlier.

I was twenty-three; had been out of college for a year; had worked for a year teaching; owned my own car...I was an adult!!  But around one or two AM, my mom calls out to Shulman's where we were partying, to tell me I should come home!!!  I needed my rest....after all....I was getting married the next day!!    A couple of Dick's friends from college were also was to be a groomsman and the other, just came along for the ride!  

I was furious with my mom....she and I were really very close and very much alike but we did tend to clash occasionally! Deep down I knew she was right, so Dick took me home and probably went ahead and partied without me!!  The next morning my mom serves me breakfast in bed!!!  My last meal as a single girl!!  Doug was my constant companion so he crawled up on the bed to help me eat!  

Doug helping me eat my LAST meal!
I have very little memory of the next few hours. We were to get married at half past the hour of three!
Again, my mom..who was an avid reader and lover of words and phrases...was very taken by using the "half past the hour" in stating the time on the invitation.  She had seen it in a book somewhere!  Several days later,  Dick made a comment to the me that he wished we had the time earlier because all his, dad,  little sister, Janice, two grandmothers and a grandad would have to drive back home late and in the dark.  Remember, they are in Missouri, across the Mighty Mississippi and about three and a half hours away.  I wish he had said something much earlier, but then we might not have known as mom kind of did it all while I was working away in Reno!                                                                                                                                                

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Very Artsy Weekend Plus

“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” (I say, every day!--JD)
― Charles Darwin,

     This past weekend was a very fun, busy one for me!  On Saturday, I drove to the The Black Walnut Cafe in Flower Mound to meet Andrea.  We had made plans to go on the Cross Timbers Artists' Tour and decided to meet for breakfast first.

     I put the address into my GPS and was just sailing along great!  Then I came to a complete stop on 121 Airport!  I could see my next exit just 1/2 a mile away which took me nearly 30 minutes to get to!  Needless to say I was a bit late, but no problems!  Although several of the NSAQA group were going to meet there, Andrea and I decided to take off on our own as we knew we wouldn't be able to see it all.

    As you can see from the pamphlet with map inside, there were 23 stops spread all over the Flower Mound, Lewisville, Highland Village, etc. I wish I had taken more pictures but two of my favorite spots were:
Barbara Oliver Hartman at her sewing machine demo'ing in her studio
Barbara explaining her system of sorting colors
One of many of Barbara's award-winning quilts hanging in her home
Another artist I really admired was Mark Clark who custom makes musical instruments out of oddities. Please be sure to go to his link to see even more of his unusual instruments!
Mark Clark with one of his many unique instruments
More of Mark's instruments and workshop in the background
Another favorite of mine is Dianne Hicks; she does a variety of mixed media but especially watercolors and paper making. And I love her studio!  Very unique! And a couple, Gloria and Richard Gatti, who are weavers with wonderful looms and a lovely yard and green house!

     On Sunday I met my daughters and SIL for lunch at Gloria's in the Montgomery Plaza area. Then Marti, Andrea and I went on to Casa MaƱana to see a wonderful performance of Evita!

Me and my babies!

Although I was very familiar with the music and story line, I had never seen the stage play before and was thoroughly entranced!  So much so that I have checked out a biography of Evita Person to get the behind the scenes story.

     On Monday, my NTAQ group met; there were only five of us but we still had a great time and terrific art to share! Our challenge this month was a Modigliani "Gyspy Woman with Baby".  It is alway so much fun to see how each of us interpret the challenges.

Gypsy Woman with Baby

And here are our works of Art on this subject:
Heather chose to emphasize the oval shapes in the painting, particularly the eyes, a prominent shape in all Modigliani's paintings.
Wendy also concentrated on the ovals and linear lines in the painting..the collar, for example.

 Andrea also emphasized the oval shape in her quilting. You can enlarge any of these pictures to see the quilting closer.

I chose to do a more realistic but abstract interpretation of the challenge.  I have not quilted mine yet but will probably just do straight vertical lines.

And here are all our challenges...laid out on one of Wendy's lovely rugs!

After our challenges, we had a big round of show and tell...except me!  I had nothing else to show.  I am working on a couple of art works at home but they are still on the design wall!  Maybe next time!

      The following are by Wendy...several of these are also hand quilted with perle cotton thread! And the backs of her quilts are almost as interesting as the fronts!! Some of these are baby quilts for others....lucky babies!


   Bethany also does many of her works for other people.
A Christmas quilt for a cubicle!

  Heather had one of her abstracts that she is doing for the TEXtile SAQA Conference in San Antonio next spring.
An abstract of mud cracks at the Rio Grande/Big Bend
Kay does a lot of dyeing of her own fabric as well as incorporating commercial fabric in her work.

Kaffe Fassett fabric
A whole cloth hand-dyed fabric for the back
And then we had lunch and a yummy cake for dessert made by our hostess, Wendy!  Next month, a new challenge and out to eat together to celebrate Christmas!!!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Memory Monday

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 
― Lao Tzu

    It is December...our wedding date is set for December 29, 1963.  We chose that date because then Dick could be home for Christmas as well as getting married!  I have asked my supervisor for time off to go home. He said he couldn't give me that time as it was right at their busiest season...Christmas!  So I just quit...I knew I could get another job when we got back. I worked up to the day we were leaving, Friday, December 20.
    On that Friday, when I got back to the rooming house where I had been staying, I discovered that Dagmar had somehow stepped on a piece of glass and had slashed one of her pads on a front paw.  My landlord who just adored her, had taken her to the vet and gotten stitches in her foot. So here she was all swaddled up with a huge bandage!  I wish I could remember his name; he was so nice!  He was the first gay person I had gotten to know and he set the standard for future encounters for me. He would not let me pay him back for the vet bill which was a real blessing as I was pretty low on funds!
   So the three of us, Dick, Dagmar, and I, take off for Missouri (Dick's home) and Illinois (my home) on Saturday, December 21. We have plans of driving straight through in my car as it was in better shape than Dick's!  As we travel East, we have several mountain ranges to cross.  It is getting towards late after noon and it has been snowing for awhile.  As we approach the Rockies, we stop to put on chains to start up into the heights.  We get part way up this one steep slope and the car won't go any farther so we stop at a little roadside motel to spend the night waiting for the snow plows to get through.

     Weeks before we left Reno, we had purchased our rings at the Post Exchange on Elmendorf AFB, shopping spot for military for anything  and everything you would ever want at a much cheaper cost!  We bought pretty simple but very elegant gold bands.  So when we stopped at the motel, I was embarrassed to get a room as a single person so I made Dick dig our rings out of our luggage and put them on before we could register! What a ninny I was!  Anyway, we got a small room, very rustic, with a gas heater.  I thought I could smell gas so I didn't sleep well all night!
     The next morning, we headed out, following the snowplow, and made it to our destination.  We stopped in Missouri first as it was the closest point going East. Night time is approaching and of course, this is winter and the days are noticeably shorter.  We stopped in Chillicothe, Mo. so Dick can call his parents to tell them we would be there very soon...only about 30 miles out. When he got back into the car, I asked him what he said, and he replied, "I told mom there was three of us."  I said, "oh, my gosh!  she is going to think we have a baby!"
      Looking back I think he probably did that on purpose because when we got there....they seemed to be very happy to allow Dagmar, my Huge German Shepherd with a bandaged up foot into their home....rather that than an out of wedlock baby!  They weren't the kind of people to have animals in their house, but they very nicely gave up their own bedroom to me and Dagmar.
      The next morning, I came out of the bedroom, having not showered in three days, greasy stringy hair, Dagmar walking in front of me first.   As we came down the hall and into the kitchen there sat Dick's Grandad Dodds who had been there for quite awhile and, as I was later told, had no intention of leaving until he got to meet Dickey Lee's bride!  (Dick's name to everyone in the family and community).
Gilbert Dodds
     And this sweet family welcomed me with open arms!  With all my baggage!!  That day, after we ate breakfast, we drove to Pittsfield, Illinois, to my home so Dick could met my dad! Dick spent the night and then went back home to spend Christmas with his family. He would be returning on Saturday, December 28, the day before our wedding.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Memory Monday

“Songs and smells will bring you back to a moment in time more than anything else."  Emily Giffin

Back to the old rooming house and my job in Reno...I am working at a Penney's as a sales clerk...a big first for me, but a great experience! I met several people for whom this was a career choice. I remember there was also this floor manager, a guy, of course. All the career women practically bowed down when he came around. This was early 1960's when women didn't have a whole lot of say yet in the workings of the world. Rumblings of Women's Lib were just a faint distant echo. I was never too impressed with "power" but even without my bowing down, I did become one of his top sales charm and wit! (She says modestly!) So he kind of had to tolerate me and didn't give me too much static.

(A little aside...I have seen all my life that men can only diminish women if women let them...if women act like an equal, they are most likely treated as such. It is the demure, eyes down women who get treated like second class citizens!) Now that I got that off my chest....obviously he was not a favorite of mine. He was pretty young but "getting ahead"! I wonder what ever happened to him.)

Anyway, we all had Thanksgiving Day off. Dick and I had been invited to the home of one of his supervisors from the base. She was a civilian who had been military...a strong woman.... she and her husband had a lovely home in the hills of Reno. They didn't have any children so they made a habit of "adopting" some of the guys who weren't able to get home for the holidays. Only one thing marred the experience for me. They had this huge gray cat...having not really been around cats too much, (we were more dog people) I wasn't sure how to greet this big guy! And, for some reason, some cats make me sneeze and wheeze like crazy.
Big Gray Cat
     This obviously is not the same cat because this was 54 years ago. Of course, the cat came around me, sensing that I was probably not wanting him to, as I sat quietly sipping my wine before dinner.  Trying to be polite, I did as one does when meeting new dogs.  I held my hand out, palm down for him to sniff me. I thought it would be the way to greet a cat too.  Well, that furry SOB  didn't sniff me!  He reacted with a lightening slash and tore a slit in the end of my finger!  I didn't want to say anything because our hosts seemed to think the world of the beast! So I excused myself to the bathroom where I ran cold water over my wound trying to stanch the blood!  It finally did slow down; I bound it up in a couple of tissues, and went out to dinner, keeping my wounded hand concealed whenever possible. Then, of course, I began to have an allergic reaction, sneezing and wheezing, to the point we had to excuse ourselves!  I told Dick on the way home what had happened and he was all sympathy but thought I should have spoken up.  Well, I said I hadn't wanted to ruin their hospitality, which, of course, I had done anyway.
      Looking back on the experience, the cat probably could smell Dagmar on me and his fury wasn't at me but at the scent of my beloved dog!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

NTAQ Challenge-My Process

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” 
― Seneca

    For the month of November, my local art group, North Texas Art Quilters (NTAQ) has the challenge to be inspired by a picture by Modigliani .  Modigliani is one of my favorite artists...his paintings are so full of emotion and, although his characters are usually not realistically proportioned, that feature adds to the beauty of them.

"Gypsy Woman with Baby"
    Please excuse the lines on my  picture but that is how I chose to create my challenge! The first thing I did was to draw vertical lines throughout the picture...not equally spaced.  The I divided up the space with horizontal lines determined by the change in color or value.  I then chose my palette and began to cut up my strips of fabric.

Cut up strips and the beginning of the sewing.
     After sewing the first strip, I could use it to determine how the sections of the next one should be according to the divisions I had made in the picture.

The famous seam ripper!

    Whoops! The wrong orange...Seam ripping is an integral part in my design procedures!

     So this is what all the strips look like before sewing them together vertically.  Because they are not the same width, and because I didn't make many of them wide enough to sew together with out loosing part of the design element, I had to come up with a different solution to put it all together.  I lined up the strips on my design wall and tried a few ideas.

Layout #1
Layout one sewn together would make the width about nine inches!  Loosing much of the design.

Layout #2
       This layout was too spread out...creating too much of a distortion.

Layout #3
     This layout seemed to fit best....sewing very narrow strips of gray in-between each vertical strip of pattern without loosing too much of the over all look.
Final layout
So this is my final "Gypsy Woman with Baby" except for the quilting.  That part will have to be postponed for a few days because I am trying to get another work done by November 10.  SAQA is sponsoring a show titled "Life Along the Rio Grande"; the finished work has to be a specific size.. 32" x 48".
      There are so many subjects....I went through my pictures from when Dick and I spent some time in Big Bend National Park...Javelinas, road runners, cactus...then I came across a couple of photos I have of a Century Plant with "the Window" in the background.  I decided to paint the background and add the actual plant in fabric as well as some of the foreground plants.

My painted background 
I do have quite a bit of work to do on it with just six days to go....but I seem to work best under pressure!  Will keep you posted!!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Memory Monday

“In some darkened corner, an evil troll named Karma was rolling on the floor laughing, hysterically.” 
― Belle Malory

     The date is November 22, 1963.  I have the day off and am going to meet Dick at Shakey's Pizza.  He is getting a haircut and then we are going shopping for a wedding suit for him.  Most people we knew didn't do the tux for guys routine at weddings...just a nice, dark suit!  I have just come downstairs at my rooming house...In the common living room just off the entry way is a television set around which are gathered many of my fellow roomers.
     "John F. Kennedy has been shot in Dallas, Texas.  We are now at Parkland Hospital where doctors are working feverishly to save his life."  I join them in utter shock!  Then Walter Cronkite comes on the news and, with tears in his eyes,  announces that John F. Kennedy has died!  The death had been announced at 1:00PM Dallas time; it is only eleven in Reno.  Still in shock, I drive to Shakey's to meet Dick.  He and his boss are the only ones there.  There is no television there...this is before the days of Sports Bars.  They did not know the latest news.

     What do you do?  Of course, Dick's first thought is he needs to get back to base.  The country is on red alert.  So we have to go suit shopping at another time.  I don't really remember what I did the rest of the day...probably went back to the rooming  house and got Dagmar and went to the park with her.  That was my usual form of solace.
     We did at some point get a suit...I had gotten my wedding dress the summer before and it was just waiting at home for me.  We were young and just starting our lives together so, although I will never forget the shock of the assassination, our concerns were how was this going to affect our lives personally, Dick being in the service...Vietnam was barely in the news yet. And this was before instant news from social media so it was not in your face all the time as now. We didn't even have 24 hour television yet....and only a handful of CNN or MSNBC, etc.
      Dick had put in for a two-week leave to be home for Christmas and to get married.  We were a little nervous about whether that would happen or not. And of course my mom was worried to death about me...her baby 2000 miles from home and the world in a total upheaval. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Book Reviews

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” – Erasmus
My new  (used) purchases!
     I'm not as bad as Eramus (see quote above)  but I do like my books and am a real sucker for book sales!  The public library here in Fort Worth has a used book store and a couple times a year they have a huge book sale.   I had not attended the sale before, so last weekend, I thought I'd check it out!  OMG! The paperback books were .50 cents each and hardbacks were $1.00.  And almost all of them, at least the ones I got, were in very good condition.  Now here is my true confessions!  I got 25 paper backs ($12.50) and seven hardbacks ($7.00).

My mini library
   I don't think I ever showed off my mini library. When I was having my fireplace done, I had the guys put in a few shelves behind my front door...which is to the left in the picture, and a coat closet to the right. Probably half of those books are already read...many are books I want to keep but with my new purchases, I need to sort out and get rid of some of the read ones.  The nice thing is I can donate them right back to the library so someone else can get a bargain!
      Anyway, what with sooo many books to read, I still listen to audio books when doing mundane, exercising, etc.. So I have several audios to review for you as well as a couple reads.

     An audio book, non fiction, which is not my favorite genre, but I like every once in awhile.  This is about the William Dodd family (no "S" so no relation) who is the Ambassador to Germany from 1933-1937. His wife, son and daughter, both young adults, joined him.  The book described the period very well.  For one interested in pre WWII Germany would enjoy this book.

     A typical suspense/crime novel (audio)...good Baldacci!

     A suspense who done it....really kept my attention....but not to spoil it, the ending was disappointing to me.  I'd love to hear from anyone who reads what you think. This was an audio for me.

     This is a ringer!  I was really taken by it...although it was an audio, I think it would be a really good read.  Involving some interesting characters...interesting setting...intrigue galore!

     Another audio suspense...characters one can really relate to...the suspense is subtle, kind of quietly   comes on you. It was read with an English blue collar accent, not quite cockney, because I could understand it.  Would probably be a good actual read.

     This was one of my favorites!  It follows the life of a North Korean woman from probably early 1920-30's to modern times...her struggles and joys...her children.  Really describes the people, locale, and politics of the time. Very apropos for our times!  I listened to this but may have to read it sometime. The author was interviewed on NPR just recently.
     And now a few "real" books I have read recently:

     If you are an Andrew Wyeth fan, you will appreciate this book. One of his most famous paintings is "Christina's World"; Christina was a real person, a neighbor of Wyeth's in Maine and Kline's book is a well-researched story of her life, intertwined with Wyeth. I loved this book!

By the author of "A Man Called Ove", Fredrick Backman, comes a story of fantasy, childhood, neighbors in conflict and coming together when threatened.  Backman did it again...completely enthralling.

   This is not a new book, but one that has been on my shelf for awhile.  The reviews for this are very diverse!  It seems to be either a hate or a love book.  I must have been in the right frame of mind to really like it...the main character is not a very endearing person...I wanted to just slap her silly about every other page, but the over all story really grabbed me...even brought me to tears a couple of times!

I don't think I ever reviewed Harper Lee's "sequel" to "To Kill A Mockingbird".  I have had this book for quite awhile and resisted reading it.  I loved "Mockingbird" so much and had read some very unfavorable  reviews that I was afraid it would ruin Atticus Finch for me.  It didn't; he is still a wonderful character...this is not nearly as gripping as "Mockingbird", but still a good read.  It's almost like two different sets of characters to me.

     One of my favorite authors, Anita Diamant, and one of those for women only books...guys would not appreciate nor understand the relationships between these two women.  And this is the first of three "Cancer" books that I have read lately!

   This book was a pick for one of the two book clubs I am in, a non-fiction. It is not one I would have probably chosen for myself, but, in a way, that is one of the many perks of belonging to a book club.  My book reading is expanded by the different types of writing our members like and exposes me to a new way of looking at things.  This was the second of my "cancer" books; it is non-fiction; a real gripping autobiography of a young woman, thirty-eight I think, who is dying from cancer.  It is a very quick read, conversational in form. I would recommend it but be forewarned, it is a hard topic!

     And my current read, also a book club choice for this third cancer book, but also a story of legal rights, family, love, fear.  This is a very good read...I am about halfway through and am thoroughly intrigued by what may happen.  Even though I haven't finished (and I am not one to  read the last page to find out what happens!) I will recommend it as a book to read.