May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 NIV

Monday, December 13, 2010

Home For Christmas

We'll be home for Christmas.  That's the way I like it.  We seem to be establishing new traditions as Jon's family creates their celebrations.  That's fine by me.  But I still like to decorate a little.  We haven't had a tree for three years and that is also fine by me.  So here is my mantle filled with Santas from my mother and some of my own.  
 The table is ready for visitors.  First guests will come for tea on Tuesday. Thanks to dear friend La Donna who gave me a lovely holiday tea set.
One of my favorite Christmas decorations.  This nativity set was brought back from Mexico for us from my dear in-laws.  They are actually signed pieces by a known artist.  We've had this set for about 30 years.  I always think of Jean and Roy when I put it out.  It is so simple and beautiful.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful To Be A Grand Person

Thanks to this little girl, I became a grand-person (also known as Nahn Nahn) in February 2005.  She is now in kindergarten.  She attends an IB Spanish Bilingual School where she is honing her Spanish language skills.  Thanks to Mom and Dad, she's been immersed in Spanish since she was a baby.  And Mom and Dad are not of Latin descent.  They just wanted their kids to be fluent in a second language. 

Back to this picture.  This is GrandPerson's Day at Makayla's school.  We were invited for treats and to help with a special book making project.  Pop Pop was there, too.  He was taking the pictures.

Then in November 2006, along came this dear little one.  As you can see, she has a fashion sense that is definitely hers alone.  What you don't see are the cowboy boots that finished off the ensemble. Doesn't her name, Violet, just fit her perfectly?

 And here we are............The Sorenson girls. The taller one on the right is the darlingest dauhter in law a mother of sons could ask for (also known as Lissa).  We love each other desperately.  We play, chat, shop, and have as much fun together as we can.  We love being "the girls" of the family.  And we love our guys Pop Pop (the other grand-person) and Daddy (also known as Jon, son of Pop Pop and Nahn Nahn). 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Let's Try Another One (or two)

Isn't the monastery at Melk lovely?  That day was so glorious that it would have been hard to take a bad picture of it.  So let's move on down the Danube.  Next up......Vienna, Austria. 
The cathedral in Vienna is undergoing restoration.  Actually almost every cathedral, church, chapel, etc. we saw was undergoing some sort of restoration.  Years of pollution (and sometimes neglect) have taken their toll.  Vienna's clever way of dealing with it is to put up canvases that hide the work that is being done behind.  On the canvas to the right, you see a photograph of what it is supposed to look like without scaffolding.  
 Yeah!  The second picture uploaded.  One cannot go to Vienna without a visit to a coffee house.  Demel is one of the oldest and well known.  Besides enjoying our decadent coffee, we were able to buy candied violets for darling grand-daughter, appropriate.   

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One, Just One Photo

Blogger and I don't get along when it comes to including pictures in my blogs.  I don't think it is Blogger's fault.  I think it is the fault of my server.  The slowness and the glitches  (having to constantly restart the router) don't inspire me to blog.  So today I am not going to "upset" my computer.  I am going to pick out one picture from our recent trip to Eastern Europe and write a little about it.  That's it.  Only one for now. 
The Monastery at Melk, Austria
There was so much to much contrast in geography and buildings.  This monastery was among my favorite sites.  It's a living breathing working place with a high school for 900 students who commute.  It's chapel was over the top Baroque but here and there were examples of modern art.  From the terrace you could see the lovely little town of Melk.  We had beautiful weather for our visit and we enjoyed a leisurely walk down from the monastery back to our ship.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pretty as A Pumpkin

Running through the Haystack Maze


What is October without a trip to the Pumpkin Patch.  When my boys were little it was always Lombardi's Ranch in Saugus, CA.  This year we had the fun of heading out to Spring Hill Cheese Farm to their Peter Pumpkin Patch with Jon, Lissa and the darling girls.  So what if it was raining.  We had a great time.  Makayla milked a cow.  They both got "lost" in the corn maze.  Jon and Lissa had fun digging potatoes.  We all enjoyed tasting delicious organic cheese.  Oh.........we also bought a couple of pumpkins.

So....this is where milk comes from.

Digging for my own potatoes.
I like this one.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Poking Around PIQF

Yesterday I attended Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, CA.  It is one of the many shows put on my Manusco.  It's a large show with many, many vendors.  Since it is close by (a 45 minute drive), I could easily go for the day.  I also volunteered and spent some time at the Amador Valley Quilt Guild Raffle table.  Most of the afternoon, I spent seeing the show and vendors with my new friend Phyllis.  We have a common friend Barbara who lives in Indiana.

Loved this quilt.  The quilter used her daughter's Australian T-shirt for the large block and then chose fabrics to compliment it.  I especially love the shadow box setting.
There was an exhibit of quilts with Maui as the theme.  They were all quite nice.  Since Lissa calls Hawaii her home state, I took a couple of pictures.
Had to take a picture of this since I also participated in this TQS Block of the Month for 2008.  I only finished 9 of the 12 blocks. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Sometimes life aligns and paths intersect in order for two friends to meet and catch up with each other.  Such was my blessing last week when I had lunch with Jodi Thurmond my former head of school from Seneca Academy in Maryland.  She was out in Southern California staying with her daughter who had just presented her with grand-baby number two.  We were traveling down to Southern California for Jim's 45th HS Reunion from Burbank HS.  We e-mailed, connected, called and met for lunch.  It was fun to catch up on news, share the joy of meeting the new baby, and just laugh and have fun being together as "retired ladies who lunch". 
Leslie and Jodi together again

Betsy and baby Ryder
I worked at Seneca Academy off and on for 9 years.  It was where I learned to trust myself and have confidence in myself as a teacher.  I made many, many dear friends. The first class I taught there was kindergarten.  The next year I followed that class to First Grade.  Just this summer, I received a picture of one of my students graduating from HS.  Her grand-mother was my teacher's aide. 

Seneca Academy - Darnestown, Maryland

Cathy Scarborough
Walking for a good cause.

Hey Katie!
Nancy ready for the first day.

Diane Blake
JoAnne lived in Northern California at one time.
Sue Anne always greets them with a smile.

There is always time for lunch with friends.


Monday, September 20, 2010

A Little Project

I enjoy friends and activities.  I like keeping busy and trying to be creative.  Recently I was asked to make a small quilted wall-hanging for a fund raising raffle for my P.E.O. group.  It needed to somehow tie in to Alice In Wonderland.  The first attempt was 2/3 of the way finished when I decided I didn't like it and it wasn't turning out right.  So I gave a whole day to making what you see in the picture.  Small - 15" X 15" but cute.  If no one puts in raffle tickets for it, I think I will. 

The Inspiration of Alice - Dream and Don't Be Late

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Remembering and Reflecting

Yesterday was September 15, 2010. Stephen would have been 34 years old. We, his family, lived a fairly normal day, remembering and reflecting on our very much loved Stephen. At 5:30 p.m., we gathered at Crown Memorial Beach to raise a toast, to talk and laugh, and to send flowers out to sea so they could reach the far corners of the earth that Stephen wanted to visit. Some memories of yesterday.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It Doesn't Seem Right

I get it and I don't get it. I know that life upon this earth is not forever. I know we will all die but I just wasn't expecting that I would ever experience my son dying before me at the age of 32. It just doesn't seem right.

Intellectually, I know I can and will go on. I know that God still wants me to experience joy in my life. But sometimes I get this strange feeling that I don't deserve to be joyful when I've experienced such a terrible loss. It's like I feel that sadness is some sort of penance I'm supposed to pay. But that is not what I really truly believe.

I know my faith and my God will see me through this particular time of sadness. I'll probably always deal with sadness at this particular time of year. Stephen would have been 34 this year. I miss him. I miss him terribly. I will strive to honor his memory and talk of him to friends and family. I won't forget him. I will talk to him as I go about this life and as the spirit moves me to communicate. I will listen and look for signs of his life around me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

It All Begins With Kindergarten

You get married. Six years later you begin a family. The children grow up, complete college, get married (or maybe not) and then they have children. Now you are a grandma. That's the cool part. Know one ever tells you how wonderful it will be to be the grandma. You get a special name and all the hugs and kisses and love you could ever want.

Then one day it happens. That grand-daughter that was the first one turns 5 and is ready for kindergarten. The beginning of her "official" school years. Time really does pass in the blink of an eye.

From this:
To this:

As her Nahn Nahn and as a former kindergarten teacher, I send my love to this little one as she begins the great adventure of learning. But of course, she's been learning all along. What I really want for her is that she continue to love learning and that she will always seek out truth and goodness. She is a bundle of potential just waiting to happen. Watch out kindergarten. This is just the beginning!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Applique? Not Me!

I don't do applique. At least that is what I've always told everyone. That doesn't mean I have never done applique. I've given it several different tries, using several different methods. I just don't have the patience most of the time. But that said, I did manage to start and finish a rather big applique project. Please note it was started in January of 2008 and this is now August of 2010. That would be about two and a half years to completion..........a lot of life interfered along the way.

It all began with a car accident that pretty much laid me up for several months. At the same time, was starting their first Block of the Month series. I decided to give it a try.It seemed easiest to go with similar colors that the designer, Sue Garman, was using. Not very imaginative but remember.....I don't do applique.

The first block. Uh oh! What have I gotten myself into? I decided to do fusible applique with an invisible thread zig zag stitch around all the motifs. That's a lot of curves and turning the block. But I finished it and felt quite proud of my accomplishment. I also used a lot of stash fabrics along the way.

Four months later and look what I have managed to finish. I'm one-third of the way done. I'm on a roll.

Six months later and I'm half-way there. I was also healing pretty well from my car accident and life felt good enough to make plans for a trip in the fall. Had to wonder if there would be time in the fall to finish these blocks.

Nine months, nine blocks and reality hits. These blocks are beautiful but they are a lot of work and more often than not, there are zillions of circles to applique. I'm just not having quite as much fun as I was. SO...........I decide to announce to the TQS blog community that I am stopping at 9 blocks and that is what I do. Turns out to be a wise decision since by the middle of October, life took quite a few unexpected turns.

But back to the present.....August 2010......Two and a half years later. The quilt is finished. I didn't know it at the time, but there was a reason for it's existence. I learned patience along the way and I learned new techniques. I stretched my sense of color placement and used up fabric from my stash. And I had an angel friend help me out through a difficult period of my life. It just seems right that this finished quilt should go to her. It's taken awhile but I hope she will like it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Diary of a Storage Solution

Family Researcher Guy (that would be the dear husband) gave up a couple of precious computer search days last week to install a storage system from IKEA for my guest/office/sewing room. Here is how it went.Four Darling Sewing Machines need to be stored along with all the other accouterments of the sewing quilting life.

First the room must be cleared of all things against the best available wall for a storage system. Drop-down desk can stay. All other stuff goes out to the living room.

Let the building process begin. Each shelving unit has 25 cubbies. That means there will be 50 new places to store stuff.

Once it is up (and boy is it heavy!), you need to make sure it fits. Also need to measure to make sure that the second one will have enough room.

For a good fit, the baseboard needs to be removed. Well Looky There! Once upon a time, this room was painted blue. Fortunately we have extra wall paint to paint over the blue. It will be on the bottom in the back of the cubbies. Chances are it won't be very noticeable. But we'll paint anyway.

Hooray! Both units fit against the wall. The second unit is built leaving out one partition in order to have room for the printer when the desk is installed.

And there you have it! Storage solutions for my room. An extra 5 cube unit was added above and another was set up against a wall near the end of the desk unit. The installer (Family Research Guy) spent time securing everything to the wall. Though "stuff" is on the shelves, final organization has not yet been determined. There are still doors, drawers and basket configurations to figure out. But there is always time when you are retired.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Gift for Amy Elise

Amy Elise is the newest daughter of Mike and Jeni. She was born on July 30th. To me, she represents God's continuing love. Mike and Jeni were such good friends to Stephen. They cared for him and about him as he struggled through his last few months. Stephen knew they would marry and indeed they did in September 2009. And now they have welcomed Amy to join them and Jeni's dear daughter, Rebekah into their family. Congratulations to all. I can't wait to meet her.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Scandinavia Interupted for a Trip to Sisters, Oregon

Summer activities just keep moving along. About a week and a half after coming home, my dear friend (and "other mother" to my children) arrived for a visit. Barbara came just in time to enjoy the Annual Fourth of July Parade in Alameda. The weather was perfect as we sat on the curb and enjoyed a true small town tradition.

Tuesday after the Fourth, we were joined by Phyllis, Barbara's friend from San Jose, for a road trip to Sisters, Oregon for the annual Sisters Quilt Show. Along the route north, we saw the magnificence of Mount Shasta and other mountain peaks in the volcanic valleys of the Pacific Northwest.On Thursday of our excellent Quilt Tour experience, we visited the Sisters Garden Club Home and Garden Tour. Here is a little of what we saw.
Poppies of all kinds everywhere. Incredibly beautiful colors.And quilts hanging out in the open among the gardens.
Friday night we attended the Picnic in the Park. It was a very organized event with high school volunteers bringing the food to the tables. The high school jazz band played in the background. Alex Anderson gave a retrospective of her quilts and Jean Wells-Kenan (the show founder) was honored for being inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame.Saturday......................the Show! In order to secure a good parking space close to downtown, we left at 6:00 a.m. to drive from Eagles Crest Resort to Sisters. We sleepily arrived there around 6:30 a.m..........yawn, yawn. First stop was for coffee. Note that quilts are already starting to be hung up around town.
And now that we were awake, it was time to start seeing the show. We lasted until about 1:30 p.m And here is a little of what we saw.....including some "quilting celebrities".