01 April, 2015

So Close


     This is a repost from April 13, 2009.
I hope you'll enjoy reading (or re-reading) this timeless story; it's a sad reminder that timing is, indeed, what it's all about!

Holy week always calls to mind an experience that I had when we lived in Europe over ten years ago. The American Women's Club had planned a day trip, by bus, to Milan. I was excited about going, I knew this would be my once in a lifetime experience to view Leonardo Da Vinci's 'Last Supper' on the wall at the Cathedral Maria del Grazie. We arrived in Milan shortly before noon and traveled as a group to a nearby restaurant for a leisurely lunch before we all took off for an afternoon of sight seeing and shopping. Only two of us were headed for the cathedral and the painting, everyone else peeled off to go shoe shopping. We hiked the seventeen or so blocks, stopping to check our map several times along the way, and arrived just shortly after 2:00 PM. We planned this intentionally knowing good and well that almost all European shops and businesses close between noon and two o'clock for extended lunch hours. We entered through a dimly lit side door to be greeted by an extremely elderly lady sitting at a table surrounded by handwritten signs, in every language imaginable, she appeared to be manning the gate post through which we were required to pass; and she looked quite stern. As we approached she started furiously pointing to one of the signs, written in a language I didn't understand. I had a sudden, sinking feeling that something wasn't quite right when my eyes fell upon a sign scrawled in English, I couldn't quite believe what I was reading. I looked at my friend for confirmation, she had discovered the sign at the same time I did: "No Last Supper viewings after 2 PM!" We were confused, seeking clarification we turned back to the woman at the gate, she continued to point and gesture toward the sign. We were too late, it was that simple, we'd missed it by only minutes. It reopened to the public the next day, at 9 AM, we'd be back in Geneva by then. She offered to sell us a "Last Supper" postcard. We each bought one. We strolled through the garden as we exited and looked at some beautiful statues and some artwork on the walls, but the sheer disappointment over what we had missed was palpable. So close, and yet, so far. My Dad always says that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, I'd have to agree with that. We boarded the bus later in the afternoon for the ride back home; our group was showing off their purchases, lovely Italian shoes and leather purses. We each had a map; and, oh yeah, a postcard!

Life is Good!
...timing is everything...

30 March, 2015

Melting...

The frozen shoulder has melted, for the most part; I graduated from PT today and have been released to do the exercise regimen at home from now on. It's all good. This morning I returned to putting on my jacket the same way I have for my entire life (until this occurrence) right arm in first and then reach around with the left arm to find that left sleeve; for me that was a huge milestone! I had to reteach myself to put on a coat, jacket, blouse, whatever by placing my left arm in first... or rather it was the pain and mobility limitation that drove that learning curve. It is extremely difficult to retrain the brain to perform an automatic, ingrained motion. Try it. Something as simple as slipping on a coat is nothing you ever even think about... until you can't do it! I am grateful today for Othopedic medicine, cortisone and a very skilled physical therapist. Frozen is nothing I want to repeat, unless it's a Disney movie; melting is better.
Life is Good!

28 March, 2015

Vintage Find

Saturday is Egg Day at our house. Both Mr. Goodneedle and I try to limit our cholesterol intake and decided a few years ago that we would celebrate breakfast with an egg only once a week (bacon only makes an appearance a few times a year); it's cereal the other six days. After the recent pantry clean-out and reorganization success I was spurred on to tackle more cabinets in the kitchen. You know how that happens... one thing leads to another, and another, and another. It's the If You Give A Mouse A Cookie syndrome; read it if you're unfamiliar, you'll understand. Anyway, during the height of this clean, purge and reorganizing frenzy I ran across this vintage egg cooker. I believe that we've owned it all of our married life (closing in on 40 years), leading me to think it was a wedding gift. I haven't used it in decades and decided to put it to use for poached eggs a few Saturdays ago, for old times' sake. I filled the receptacle with water, broke the eggs into the egg cups and pressed in the button. Uh-oh! I couldn't release my finger from the button without the appliance shutting off. I had already committed the eggs so I called quickly to Mr. Goodneedle to start the English muffins in the toaster while I kept the button depressed manually. The eggs cooked up perfectly, just like I had remembered; but I figured that the faulty on/off button had rendered the appliance defunct. Nope, not at all. After breakfast he took the egg cooker down to his "fix-it" shop and repaired the switch; it was a simple fix, he reported. We were back in business. This vintage find has been pressed back into service, at least on Saturday mornings. It will also hard boil eggs, with dyeing day coming up it'll see double duty this Easter weekend.
What treasures are hiding behind closed doors at your house?
Life is Good!

26 March, 2015

In The Begininng...

The year was 1983. A local fabric store was offering a beginning quilting class and I really wanted to attend. I discussed it with Mr. Goodneedle, we tallied up the projected expenses (how could he know then what would be spent in the years to come!) of that one class and we agreed that it would be my Christmas gift. It was a sampler class; I met the teacher (my dear friend of 32+ years now), bought my supplies and the "book" (magazine) and eagerly waited for that first session. I remember that Ann, our teacher, brought a Maple Leaf quilt to display (in addition to her sampler) and I sat in that class, staring at her Maple Leaf quilt, thinking to myself that if I could ever make anything that pretty I would stop right then and there. Ahem.  I worked diligently on that sampler quilt whenever I had a free moment, at that time we had a seven year old and a three year old, there weren't many of those moments to be had. This sampler was hand and machine pieced and completely hand quilted, lap style. I dug out the quilt and that beginning "book" yesterday, along with my hand-written class diploma; Ann came out to Chez Goodneedle for a sewing and catch-up day, I wanted her to see that I have kept all of these "firsts", the important things that define my life as a quiltmaker. I think she was impressed. This quilt, my very first one, is worth much more to me than money could ever buy. Begun in 1983 and completed in 1985 I can still recall the feeling of pride and accomplishment when I took that last stitch in the binding and knotted off the thread. But even greater than that was what followed: I carried this just-completed quilt upstairs and placed it over my sleeping son who happened to be home from school sick that day. He opened one eye, surveyed the quilt, and declared himself "covered with love". I've been making quilts ever since! I am deeply grateful to Ann for starting me down this road, I look back over these past thirty two years and I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without quilting; the friendships, the adventures, the creative endeavors and, of course, the quilts. They will live on, well past me. I look forward to another sewing and catch-up day next month with my dear friend and mentor, this time we may actually switch on a sewing machine! In the beginning there was a young mother on a tight budget with a deep yearning to stitch a quilt of her own... the rest is history!
Life is Good!
   

23 March, 2015

Fun...

...and done!
"Alphabetically Speaking" ~  33" X 38"
Pattern: Little Letters from Temecula Quilting Company

The back's pretty cute too!
Life is Good!

22 March, 2015

Wait Time...

There is a great lesson to be learned here. I am a little short in the patience department and I know, that as a child of God, I continue to be a work in progress... every day of my life. The words that are especially important in this quote, for me, are "active waiting" and "enduring".  I tend to ask for patience in the form of a prayer something like this: "please grant me patience to... (insert whatever)..." and then am repeatedly disappointed when patience isn't instantaneous! Groan. So, as I learn to wait actively, and endure that active wait time well, my prayer is evolving; nowadays it sounds more like this, focusing on what is key: "please be patient with me, God; I know that you hear every prayer of my heart and that your timing is always perfect. Help me to grow stronger in my faith as I endure wait time and open my eyes and heart with gratitude for what unfolds as I do."
...and then, there was this, 
popping it's head up through the pine needles... 
the Sweet Variegated Iris that I planted
last spring and had totally forgotten about.

Life is Good!   

21 March, 2015

My Newest Loves

The containers are cute, they feel good in your hand and fit in your back pocket. The lotion is smooth, delicately scented, and rubs in without a trace. Your dry hands are so yesterday. I'm addicted to Berry Blossoms (pink) but there's also Cucumber (green) and Fresh Flowers (blue).



Look for these, you'll like them... they're less than $2.

This new love has quickly become an addiction: Blue Bloods. We stated watching this compelling drama series on Netflix, beginning with the pilot episode and have just completed season #1, it's great.  I don't know where I was when this series debuted, living in a cave? I'll admit we don't watch much network television, with the exception of Jeopardy!, and even that we record to watch later so that we can skip the commercials. I'm thinking we must have missed the ads for this with all of our fast-forwarding! Anyway, if you've been a cave-dweller too you might want to check this one out; it's current on Friday nights with all of the earlier seasons available on Netflix. You'll be hooked if you're not already.
Life is Good!