Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Red Peony

Memorial Day and peonies go together.

My memory of Memorial Day is three pound coffee cans sitting in the old refrigerator in the basement full of budding pink, white and red peonies waiting to be taken to the cemetery on Memorial Day.  All the week before the holiday we watched the peonies.  Would they bloom too soon?  Or not soon enough?

Here in the Pacific Northwest on this Memorial Day 2012, I sit at my window and see one red peony blooming and ready to drop in petals to the ground.  We have picked one that has already dropped its petals all over the counter in the kitchen.  I see twenty more buds  waiting to pop open once the sun warms them.  The scent will be marvelous.

I think about all those graves back in Hamilton at St. Stephan’s cemetery.  Many more than when I helped take flowers to the cemetery.  I think of the stories lost and buried under those headstones.  Not all of them lost though.  I’d best get busy and write them.

Their stories.  My flowers for the tombstones.


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I knit socks.  And probably anyone reading this blog knows that I knit socks.

Most of my socks I handwash in the bathroom sink.  I wrap them up in a bath towel to soak up the excess water, then I hang them on the shower door to dry.  Sometimes if the bathroom door gets closed, I walk in and wonder what the smell is.  I realize it is the smell of wet wool.

I just unwrapped yesterday’s socks from the wet towel and hung them up in the bathroom, along with the ones I hung up yesterday. (They can take up to two days to dry, according the thickness of the wool.)  What wonderful rainbow of color.  Blue in the shade of the late afternoon sky.  A deep red the color of a nice dark cabernet.  A green-blue-black that reminds of the colors in a dark thick forest.  A pink/purple stripe that’s just fun.

I need a bright yellow-orange, the color of the sun as it sets at Double Bluff.  Or a soft yellow like the Goldilocks rose outside my window.

I need a light green the color of the grass  that seems to grow faster every time Al cuts the grass.

I need bright wild crazy colors all mixed together.  But wait!  I have sock yarn in my stash named “Crayons.”  My direction is set!

I knit socks.  I make my own rainbows.

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Prosperity and Health

In February of this year I started a new book by Julia Cameron, The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of Enough.  Guess what?  It is about money.

I started working with Julia Cameron’s books in the late 90’s, beginning with The Artist’s Way.  Her books are about bringing out the artist that  is in all of us.  They consist of a twelve week plan, with activities each week.

The Prosperous Heart helps reveal my current relationship with money by Cameron’s usual practices of Morning Pages (three journal pages of freehand writing each morning), exercise and time for myself.  This time she added Counting.  I am to count every cent that comes in and every cent that goes out.  Now figuring that I started in February, I should be just about finished with this program.  But I’m not.  This morning my bookmark was on Week 5.  I haven’t kept up because of the Counting.  I never got past the first week in counting.  Each week I thought I would start counting, but I didn’t.  At the end of each lesson I was supposed to document what I learned from counting.  I skipped that question.  My fear got the best of me.

This morning I realized that unless I am counting, I will not get the benefit of the program.  So I am starting over.  I read Week One this morning.  I will count.  I will break through the fear.  I need to be accountable to myself.  “In knowing our spending patterns, we know ourselves,” Cameron writes in her introduction.

I love the word prosperity.  We usually think of money in relation to prosperity, but Cameron has a broader definition.  “I think prosperity is about having ‘enough’–having a life beyond need and worry.  It’s about more than prosperity in financial terms.  It’s more about being satisfied, about having a prosperous heart.”  I like that.

As I was writing this morning and planning on counting, I remembered a book of Cameron’s I bought several years ago on eating.  I found it on my bookshelf, The Writing Diet.  This book utilizes the Morning Pages and keeping track of  everything I eat.  And my feelings.  So I figured that if I am counting my money, I may as well count what I eat.  I am not happy with my weight and shape at all.

Cameron has four questions for me to ask myself when I want to snack:

1. Am I hungry?

2. Is this what I feel like eating?

3. Is this what I feel like eating now?

4.Is there something else that I could eat instead?

So I dug out the journal I used in 2008, when I started this program and wrote my breakfast, lunch, 3PM snack and my dinner.  We’ll see if have an evening snack to write in.

Maybe you wonder why I blog on my struggles with money and food.  Number 1, I don’t think I am the only person who has these issues.  If my struggles can inspire someone else to begin looking for answers, then I’ve added to the health of our world.  Number 2, this blog post states my commitment to my healing.  It is known that when someone shares a goal with others, they are more likely to work at it.

To my Prosperity and Health!

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Potato Salad

Summer picnics always meant my mother’s German potato salad.  No one else could make it like she did and no one tried.  If Mommy were being crowned Queen of England, she would have had to make the potato salad for the celebration.

She told me her secret and when we moved to Washington I started making German potato salad.  When I took it to a picnic everyone enjoyed the treat, as German potato salad is not native to Seattle.  And we knew a lot of Midwest transplants.

Al and I would occasionally fix potato salad.  Matt and Patrick didn’t seem to care for it.  I thought the family tradition would die.

Last week Patrick asked me to make “your potato salad” for the Mother’s Day barbeque he and Tiffany planned for her mother, Carol, and me.  I was stunned.  I thought maybe since Carol was also from the Midwest that she had requested it.  But no, it was Pat.  In the past few years, while I was not paying attention, he began to eat German potato salad at our Fourth of July picnics.

Everyone ate it and just about a spoonful was left.

The tradition lives.  I will pass the secret to Pat and Tiffany, sooner than Mommy did to me. I don’t want to cook for my coronation.


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My Mother’s Ring

When Mommy died in 1991, Daddy gave her engagement and wedding rings to me.  Since I am not a much of a “diamond girl” or wore extra jewelry, the rings have remained in a box in our safe.  Every once in a while I would think about making something else out of the diamonds.

The ring has a center stone with three small diamonds on each side.  Mommy’s fingers had swollen over the years and the rings was stretched big.  The wedding band is thin and has both of their names and date spelled out inside.

A while back I began to think about having the ring sized to fit my right hand middle finger.  A couple of weeks ago as I picked up my rings from being serviced, I asked about having the engagement ring sized to fit me.  The price was very affordable so I made the decision to got for it.  I picked it up last week, sized, cleaned and polished.  It looks beautiful on my hand.

Where will this ring travel next?  I have a plan.  This year my parents would have been married 71 years.  On December 27, 2041 I will give it to someone.  Not sure who that will be, probably that person isn’t even born yet.  That’s the plan.  What a Christmas season that will be!

Do you have plans for your family treasures?

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Kentucky Derby

Last Saturday was the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby.  When Al and I lived in Kentucky there was always a Derby party to attend, many of them at our house.  In 1984 right before we moved to Washington, we had about 75 people celebrating the Derby at our house and saying good-by to us. (And all we had was a 30-inch TV, can you imagine that!)

My only time to attend the Derby was in 1974 with my friend Carolyn and her boyfriend’s family.  That was the 100th running of the Derby.  We sat in the infield, drank mint juleps, stood in long lines for the bathroom and I got sunburned.  I don’t remember the numbers, but there were a lot of us in the infield.  I didn’t see any of the race, just a bunch of horses flying by.  Watching the race wasn’t the point, it was the party.

The 100th running of the Kentucky Derby was my first “trip” on my own in my 1972 yellow Chevy Nova.  I graduated from nursing school the October before, gotten an apartment in January  and here I was traveling to Louisville from Cincinnati on my own.  I may have gone to Richmond where Carolyn and David attended Eastern Kentucky University and ridden with them.

I still have my 100th anniversary mint julep glass.  It was cracked on that day and repaired and sits in my china cabinet.

I also applied and received my first credit card for that trip.


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Crown Royal

Last Tuesday Al and I were eating dinner at Applebee’s and watching our Mariners lose to Tampa Bay.  One of the commercials was for Black Crown Royal.  My knowledge of Crown Royal is that it is an expensive whiskey that I don’t like.  But the bottle is packaged in a soft cloth bag inside of a box.  The bag has a drawstring and it is the perfect bag for a small knitting project like socks.  I have a purple one.

Last night Al and I went to Mo’s Pub in Langley.  (This was a good week for going out, we usually don’t go out this much, but I needed to relax from a very busy week at work.)  We sat at the bar with our friends Gus and Jan.  They were waiting for other friends of ours, Larry and Jan. So we joined them in waiting for a table.  Al noticed that the guy behind the bar, I think is name was Chris, had stuffed a purple Crown Royal bag into the corner and said, “Hey, my wife loves those.”  I looked over and he handed me several.  I was excited and then asked if he had any black ones.  He had some fun with me and acted affronted that I couldn’t be satisfied with purple and asked for them back.  I realized my mistake, apologized for not being grateful for the purple ones.  He smiled and gave me a couple more.  All in good fun.

Larry said he used to keep his marbles in a Crown Royal bag.  Matt has several.  He uses his to store his picture negatives, as a first aid kit with all of his Nikken wraps and to store is camera and video camera.

I now have four new purple Crown Royal bags.  Dare I start a pair of socks for each bag?  I have the needles.  I have the yarn.  How would I chose which to knit?  Another way to clutter my brain.  I think I’ll find other uses.

What other uses can anyone suggest?

Where did you keep your treasures when you were a kid?  Where do you now?

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