Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Seeing the Beauty in Minutiae

When I am photographing I am most often drawn to the ordinary things of life. It may be because I lead, in general, a small life. I have my work. I have my family. I have my friends. I have my knitting/sewing. I don’t crave fame or fortune. I love home and work and calm and order, being useful.

Maybe that is why I see the beauty in the ordinary minutiae in my life and am drawn to photograph it. HHBL has learned to adjust to my stopping in the middle of walking somewhere to take a photo of something on the street, or perhaps something out of the ordinary at home. He didn’t even bat an eye a while back when he walked through the living room to see me, Big Bertha up to my face, photographing a row of mason jars full of dry beans that I had set up on the linen cupboard. I remember seeing those mason jars lined up in my pantry and knowing that I had to photograph them.

The neighbors in our “new” neighborhood haven’t quite adjusted yet to periodically seeing my spread out on the driveway photographing a leaf or a bug that has captured my interest.

To be perfectly honest I think that is what I am best at as a photographer, capturing the small and insignificant things that others don’t see. I love looking at big and grand landscape photography but I don’t have any desire to do it. I am awed by many of the top wedding photographers (Katelyn James OH MY GOSH Katelyn James), but I know that isn’t my absolute forte, although my Wedding photography is very, very good. In a large group of people at any given event I am just as likely to be taking pictures of peoples footwear as I am of the event itself.

I live a small life. I see the minutiae of it.

Breakfast 4-30-14

I have soft boiled eggs frequently for breakfast. I have mastered the PERFECT soft boiled egg and am about to start work on the perfect poached egg. But that is a post for another time. After breakfast was done and the dishes were sitting on the counter by the sink I turned around and saw the egg shell and just knew I had to photograph it. It spoke to me.

Like I said, small life = seeing the minutiae.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Son of a Flying Fig!

I can’t write what I actually said, multiple times.

2014-04-25 17.02.12

This is my latest project, well other than the usual socks and the Never Ending Mitered Square Blanket. The pattern is Sunburst but I was swinging between calling the project The Shawl of the Blood Moon or Cruella (because there might be some dog hair in it somewhere).

But she is definitely Cruella.

This is lace. I am fairly experienced at knitting lace. This may be DK weight yarn but it is still lace and the primary thing that you need to know about lace is that you cannot just willy nilly frog it back and then pick up stitches. The yarn overs will not allow it or if they allow it they will make you pay. The way to get around that is to run a “life line” every so often. A life line is a piece of contrasting yarn that is run through the stitches as sort of a place holder so that if you do (heaven forbid) make a mistake you can pull out your needle, frog back to a certain point and pick up the stitches that are held in place by your life line.

Life lines are a very good thing. They will and have saved my knitting bacon on more than one occasion. Do you see a life line anywhere on that piece of lace?

You are right, there isn’t one. I said to myself as I knit along on this piece, “Self, this is DK weight alpaca yarn that is sticky and won’t drop stitches easily. We don’t need no stinkin’ life line.”

As Jan and Ellen say on The Twinset Designs podcast……I was bitten by my knittin’.

First of all, I KNOW better than to knit with black yarn in the evening. I can’t see worth a darn. And when you combine evening (even a well lighted evening) with black yarn AND an interesting movie…..cue the theme from Jaws. I am past the contrasting color section, moving into the final black section, in the home stretch. I do the first row of the last section of lace…..and my count is off by one stitch. There is one stitch less than I should have on the first half.

Dangit! Dangit! Dangit!

I go back and physically talk myself through the first half of this row. All the stitches are what they should be but I am STILL one stitch short. Hmmmmmmmm. I know! I will just ADD a stitch right there before the SSK (slip slip knit) and we will be all good. Done! I finish the second half of the row……and I come up a stitch short on the count. What the every loving heck? Did I decrease when I shouldn’t have on this thing? That must be it, I decreased when I shouldn’t have. I will just add another stitch right here by the other SSK and all will be well. I do the wrong side row, which was just purling, although there are double yarn overs on the front which means you have to do those fiddly “purl into the back loop” stitches which are hard to do on black yarn at the best of times but I pushed on through the fiddly stitch pain and made it to the end of the row. I get half way through row three of the first repeat…….and I am WAY more than one stitch off.


So I did what any sane knitter would do. I tinked back to the beginning of the row and put it down for the night and came back to it today. In the light of the afternoon, after a 4 mile walk and some cleaning (we have guests coming for munchies tonight) I sat down to solve this burr in my Sunburst saddle. I decided that the best course of action was to go back to the rows of garter stitch in the main color right before you start the last lace panel. But I had no life line…so that meant that I had to tink back 4 rows of black yarn that included a BOAT LOAD of SSK’s. Right about now, if you are not a knitter, your eyes are glazing over. Just know that to “tink” back just means that you slowly undo your stitches one at a time, tink being knit spelled backwards. We knitters are SO entirely clever with our use of language aren’t we. With an SSK, if you are tinking it back you have to re-arrange the stitches because they get twisted and tightened if you don’t. It is a laborious process. And each row had 200+ stitches to tink back.


And it was black fuzzy yarn.


But it was finally done and I took a moment to let Max the Magnificent out because he had been alternately staring at me and whining to go out and then retreating to his bed when I muttered under my breath. Once that was done I contemplated the work in progress and realized that I had missed two whole rows of garter stitch (and decreases) on the pattern. Well THAT explains it. So I did the extra two rows and then started back up with the lace portion…..

And the stitch count AGAIN wasn’t right.


I take a deep breath and then tink back the 100 or so offending stitches. Take some time to calm down and look at the pattern. And I realize that I missed the two set up rows (and the decreases that go with them). Dope Slap me now. Set up rows all taken care of I spend a minute counting the number of stitches that I am SUPPOSED to have and it is correct.

That is when I realize that the two rows of garter stitch that I missed the first time around….I did as stockinette stitch.


I am not tinking it back. I am just calling it a design element. No one will ever know. And if you say anything I am going to have to kill you with my sharp and pointy sticks.

Friday, April 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol 256)


Greetings from the part of the country where we still have our furnaces on and it may never get warm. OK, that might be a bit on the exaggeration side….but not much.

Conversion Diary is hosting again this week so you know what you need to do. When you are finished tip toeing through the blather tulips here you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my ever expanding yarn stash (I might have bought some Christmas related yarn) over to Conversion Diary.

No matter how long the winter, blather is sure to follow.

Reason #1247 to love smaller Chez Knit. On Saturday I washed the windows and put in the screens. The entire task took me about an hour to do. Wash window, put in screen, move to next window, repeat. This is in contrast to the TWO DAY job that washing windows and putting in screens was a OCK.

That is right, TWO DAYS.

At OCK there were 50+ windows to wash, twice a year. And the screens were buggers to get in and out and store. I dreaded the task with fierce passion. No need to see out of those windows! We can just tolerate the build up of grime. So what if the screen are light limiting. We don’t need any light in the winter time! It is dark anyways.

But that is no longer my problem. 

Including the upstairs windows I have 16 windows that need to be cleaned.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I have been trying to put better blog and podcast habits into place. Not writing of my blog (which has suffered a bit but what can you do) but the reading of the blogs that I currently follow in my blog reader and the podcasts that I listen to. I have found that I am a “blog hoarder” of the first magnitude. I am unable to clean out the blogs that I follow, to decide that I don’t want to read that blog any longer. I might need them someday. Having a boat load of blogs in the reader means that it doesn’t take all that long before I look at the count of blog posts not read and it will be at 499+ and I will be discouraged. I like to think that when I post something to my blog that people take the time to read it and therefore I like to take the time to read others blogs with as much thoroughness. But if there is an avalanche of unread blog posts in my reader then the reading with intensity just isn’t going to happen.

Plus I find that if I am threatened with a blog post tsunami I tend to spend too much time sitting at the computer or iPad trying to get through them. So, as of this week I am trying to clear them all out on a daily basis and then not look at the blog reader again for the rest of the day. So far it is working.

The same goes for Podcasts. I am trying to listen on a daily basis to the ones that have “dropped” into my Downcast app. Much more manageable and then it gives me time to work through the absolutely huge library of audiobooks that I have at the moment.

Our little area of the Frozen Northeast Ohio has a wealth of agriculture and Farmer’s Markets and Pick Your Own places.

This year HHBL and I are trying something new……a Poultry CSA. Specifically the CSA from Brunty Farms. Oh my gosh I am so excited.

I am basically a frugal person. I am the one who goes to the grocery store with my little notebook that has my shopping list with the items to be purchased, the coupon that will be used, how many to buy, what my final price will be and the sale that is going on. I am all about the savings, baby!


I have no idea what you are talking about.

But joining a CSA of any kind really isn’t about the savings. I am paying more for my poultry and my eggs when buying from Brunty than I am when buying from Giant Eagle or Heinens. And no, I do not buy ANY meat from Walmart, it may be cheap but who knows where it actually came from. And I have decided that I really and truly want to know where my meat comes from.

This was a two fold decision and one that it took me a while to come to. I want to know where our poultry comes from, since we eat a boat load of chicken (cluck) and I want to have a small part in encouraging our local farmers. If that means that I pay more for chickens then I will do so. I knew approximately how much it was going to cost and had been saving for that amount. I will let you know how they taste. If I were a betting woman I would think they are going to taste AWESOME. The best chicken soup I EVER had was in the interior of Mexico and was produced with a local chicken. I can still taste it in all it’s intense chickeny goodness.

I will stop now cuz I am making myself hungry.

Wondering what HHBL and I did for Easter?

Absolutely nothing.

We didn’t have anyone over. We went to the Saturday evening Easter service (which was PACKED) rather than Sunday because we knew that they would need every square inch of butt space in the pews. We didn’t even have anyone over for Easter dinner.

Nothing. Nada.

This was actually a conscious choice this year. I had thought perhaps we should invite people over to have lunch with us but we honestly just needed some very quiet time. Our lives have been so busy for the first part of 2014 with travel and work and stuff. We have been go, go, go. The weekend before had been SO full of people and talking and food and memories that I was all talked out.

Stop laughing.

So we planned for a very quiet day, which it was.

It was very good for us.

I have spent a ridiculous amount of time this week again fiddling with my iTunes. Why cannot I be someone who just lives with things as they are in iTunes. Why must I have my music “just so” in the perfect categories, all with appropriate album art attached and showing up in iTunes Match.

iTunes Match was really the problem this week. There was a bunch of music that I knew I had but that for some reason wasn’t showing up in Match. I figured out the problem but then it was a matter of converting the tracks to an AAC format and then refreshing Match and that takes time.

Obsessive? Whose obsessive?

The other big music project is going through all of our CD’s and making sure that I have the music in iTunes. HHBL and I have/had a VAST collection of CD’s at one point. I say “had” because I had already disposed of all of my CD’s before “the big move” last year. I went through every one of “my” CD’s by which I mean all the music that HHBL wouldn’t care about (all the Bluegrass and Klezmer music), made sure it was in iTunes, sold some CD’s on Amazon, traded in others for Amazon cash and donated the rest. HHBL is slowly going through all the rest of the CDs and then we will work on getting rid of those as well.

We are a lean mean CD machine.

However, that means that I spend time fiddling with my iTunes.

In the past week I feel like I have come out of “winter hibernation” as far as decorating at Chez Knit. Really guys, I have been a whirlwind of decoration. There are things up on the walls, I have rearranged some things and unpacked some things. Of course I still have pastel walls in many rooms but I figure if I cover them up then I can live until they are painted.

I do have to say that whenever I pass by the walls that now actually have stuff on them, I am all happy happy joy joy. It may have been that despite my feeling so at home in the new Chez Knit, I didn’t truly feel at home. A house doesn’t really feel like a home until you claim the walls as your own.

This Spring fever of activity hasn’t just been confined to the interior. I bought a small patio table and two chairs this week as well as several pots for the front step. Oh how I wish that it was time to plant things in those pots but I think I will wait until after Mother’s Day just to be sure. There is a new fern in a holder on the back patio and I am thinking about planters and herbs and flowers.

Egads I feel like a bear that has been released from her den. Except for that bad bear smell.

Because I am a supremely lazy individual and I seem never to actually be able to produce a #7….here are some Instagram photos for the week.

2014-04-18 07.54.44-22014-04-19 08.32.462014-04-19 11.44.24-22014-04-19 15.24.162014-04-19 17.42.05-22014-04-20 12.50.04-22014-04-21 09.32.382014-04-21 09.40.012014-04-23 11.52.04-22014-04-24 09.56.02

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Embrace the Middle Aged Chaos!

There are benefits when you get to a place in your life where you don't actually care all that much what others might think of you and your occasionally strange behavior. That isn't to say that I don't have moments of total and complete rock bottom non-existent self esteem periods of time. They happen, but they don't happen all that often. I got to about age 40 and said to myself, "If someone doesn't like me.....F*** it! I don't care."
Not even I can write that word on my blog. I might USE it on occasion (it is part of my favorite swearing phrase that I use ONLY when alone) but I cannot actually write it on what could be called a family blog.

Where was I?

Oh yes. So, this is how far I have come in not caring what others think of me.

On Monday afternoon I had to privilege of taking this fellow's Senior pictures. 
Long gone are the days when you went to a studio and took pictures like this......

Please shoot me. Can there be a more awkward photograph in the Senior picture pantheon of ackwardness? That is my, "Please just get this over with before I kill you" smile. You can see it in my eyes. You can also see the, "Oh my gosh I feel so awkward and inadequate" feeling in my eyes. It is there.

But now a days......because I really don't care what others think of me for the most part....and because I can.....I wore these beauties for the photo shoot.

AND I had my jeans rolled up a bit. 

AND I had clogs on, although not my Crocs.

I love being a 54 year old who can wear what she wants and say PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFT! to the world.
Poor Luke was probably just hoping that we would get the photo shoot humiliation over with as soon as possible. Especially considering at one point I had him standing in the middle of the road so that I could take some pictures there.

I say......

Embrace the Middle Aged Chaos!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nail Holes Are My Friend.

I know that this will come as a shock to many but occasionally….

I can be a procrastinator about things.

I KNOW! What a surprise. I am the girl that had my house unpacked (for the most part) and all the boxes left in the basement organized and on the shelves (for the most part) within two weeks of moving into Chez Knit. I do not like disorganization. I do not like clutter. I do not function well in chaos, so you can just imagine what last year was like for me as 2013 was sort of all chaos all the time around here. I was very glad to kick 2013 to the curb and greet 2014 with open arms and a big glass of beer.

But there was one thing that I didn’t do. I kept putting it off. I kept thinking that I couldn’t do it until I had painted walls.

There were absolutely no pictures of any kind up on any wall.




Bare walls in various pastel shades (gag). If you like very pale yellow or pink for your wall colors then I say embrace the pastel. But that is not my natural color pallet. I run screaming from yellow because we don’t get along. I put on a yellow shirt and people start asking if I am ill because my color looks so bad. To me, yellow is that kid on the playground who was always smiling and sunny and then took your pencil when you weren’t looking. Not that I am bitter or anything. And as for the pink walls….of which there are more than there should be. The only time that you should have walls that are pink is if you are a pre-pubescent girl with a frill complex.

Or if you are my friend, Bonnie, who would have only pink yarn all the time if she could.

For the past almost 8 months I had determined to myself that I wasn’t going to hang up a single picture until those walls were painted. Not going to do it no siree. I was just going to wander through my rooms and look at the blank walls and pretend that I was in a museum of modern art where someone had paid big money for a canvas that was painted alternate stripes of white and light gray and then called it art.

I look at those kinds of paintings (of which there is one in particular at the Cleveland Museum of Art that I am thinking of) and think, “I can DO one of those! Get me a canvas and some paint and you can make the check out to me once the paint dries.” Come on, you know you think the same thing. Jackson Pollock, Jackson Schmollock! People will pay good money for a Debbie Quigg once I get going on it.

Or not.

So here I have been, blank walls murmuring to me all day long, “We are so lonely. We are so plain. We are naked and ashamed, not even a fig leaf in sight.” I ignored them and went on about my day.

And then in a lightening bolt of thought (I do occasionally get those), I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I needed to put all the pictures up on the walls BEFORE I ever painted a thing. I needed to be able to play with the arrangements and where I wanted  pictures to go. Where were the patches of sunlight that would not be good for photos hanging on the wall and all of that. I needed to do all of that NOW because once those walls are painted and all fresh and lovely, I am not going to want to be all willy nilly putting holes in them. I was going to want to be able to put the pictures, paintings etc. BACK up on the walls in their assigned places.

If I waited to hang pictures up on the walls until AFTER the walls were painted then there would never be any pictures up anywhere because I would be too paralyzed with wall marring fear to ever put a hole in any wall.

So for the last three days or so I have been like a crazy woman with putting things on the walls. The hammer has been going with such lightening rapidity that it is white hot. Not everything is up because I have decided to re-frame a few things and there is an “art installation” project that I am not ready to tackle. That can actually be interpreted as I have a boat load of random little pieces of art that I am going to put up willy nilly on our huge bedroom wall but not yet. I am not sure I have quite enough things for that project yet.

Putting things up on the walls of your home just makes it feel even more yours.

Despite those dang yellow and pink walls.

Who DOES that!

Friday, April 18, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol 255)


Good golly I am late with these!! Conversion Diary is taking Friday off but I am still here with enough blather to cover over the pain of seeing anything Kardashian on the TV.

Your blathery antidote to all things KimYe

Evidently last weekend, even though I interacted with 8 bazillion family and friends….

No one bothered to tell me that I was sporting a chin hair that was long enough that I could have knit a pair of socks with it.

I discovered Hairzilla when I arrived home. I looked in the mirror and he was waving at me with abandon….until I plucked him out that is.

Thanks everyone.

I am finally starting to feel back in the “groove” of life. All the traveling and memorializing and visiting just took a toll on my poor and ancient body. Monday and Tuesday I walked through life as if my feet were encased in big blocks of jello.

I sat down in a chair on Monday afternoon to look at something and the next thing I knew it was an hour later and I had a mouth that was as dry as the Sahara, which means that I was most likely head back, mouth wide, snoring loudly.

Thank goodness no one saw that.

The Cuckoo Clock is finally back up on the wall and running.

You didn’t know that we have a cuckoo clock? Well I had almost forgotten it too as the poor thing has been packed away in a box in the basement for a bit over four years. The person who wasted a boat load of our money house stager insisted that we remove it and pack it away when we put OCK on the market the first time. And it just stayed in the box and languished. Until suddenly yesterday, as I was sitting and reading a bit, I thought….

I need to put the cuckoo clock up!

Random thought strikes again!

First I had to find the box, which wasn’t all that difficult as we have extensive shelving in the basement and most of the boxes are now grouped by who the box pertains to or the time of the year that it is used.

Obsessive? Who is obsessive? I just like to know where things are when I need them.

But I digress.

There was the box, just like I knew it would be. Upstairs it went. Unpacked it was. Also in the box, for some unexplained reason, was the weather radio that I had looked all over for. Hmmmmm.

Because I am obsessive careful about packing the clock was intact, the chains were not tangled, the parts were all there. Up on the wall he went and he has been very happily chirping out the hour and the half hour for the past 24 hours.

And yesterday happened to be the birthday of this man (Not Papa but the fellow on the right)….


My dear friend, Werner, who along with his wife Gudrun, brought HHBL and I the clock as a wedding present when they came all the way from Germany to attend our Marital Day.

I love that clock.

And I have absolutely no idea why Papa and Werner are eating a bratwurst in a hamburger bun.

It is the little things that make you happy.

I now have a screen door on my house. The door was always there but it had a glass insert, a good thing when the weather is cold, but not a good thing when the weather is warm and you want to have a nice breeze blowing through your house because you hate air conditioning.

I would look at that door last summer, when the sun would beat down and the glass would head up and no breeze could blow, and I would wish that it was a screen door.

I was sad that it wasn’t a screen door.

I would long for a screen door.

And then last week, I was fiddling around with something by the furnace in the basement and I noticed a screen propped up behind the furnace and hiding behind an errant ceiling tile. I knew it couldn’t be one of the screens that we had taken out of the windows in the fall. Those are all stored in a different part of the basement. But where had it come from? And then it struck me like a lightening bolt on a golf course.

It might just be a screen insert for the door. I am pretty good with spacial things and it looked like it would fit.

And it did.


Now if it would just stay warm.

Here I thought that this summer was going to be long and lazy and full of days with nothing to do…..

And we now have every weekend with something planned. Or almost every weekend it would seem. How does that happen? Oh sure, there is baseball for HHBL and that happens most Saturday mornings. And then there are the people coming to visit here and there (Hey Jon, tell Kathy to call me so we can schedule your visit!) and there are several concerts under the stars that we are going to and there are several weddings that I am helping coordinate at church and there are the Pre-Marital mentoring sessions that have been planned and there might be a visit to see Mimi. And there are photo jobs.

I am going to need a vacation from my summer activities

Because I don’t have ANYTHING to do today (like finishing the editing on two jobs PLUS setting up a PASS gallery for some photos for a friend PLUS billing PLUS cleaning my office) I had to spend a boat load of time researching how to color code my calendar on my iPad. I have no idea why but I like to have my calendar color coded. I started doing that when all the progeny were still at home and we had three children with different schedules plus two adults with different schedules.

I needed color coding.

And now my iPad (and therefore my iPhone) calendar is color coded.

I am so happy.

And as usual, here are some of the Instagram photos from this past week.
2014-04-11 09.41.30-22014-04-11 20.16.56-22014-04-13 07.31.51-22014-04-13 18.34.00-22014-04-14 10.21.05-22014-04-14 14.21.13-12014-04-14 17.44.02-22014-04-14 20.04.192014-04-15 18.46.352014-04-16 09.37.17

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Have No Earthly Idea


Yes, my progeny. Always serious. Always willing to pose for just the right picture.

Knowing that I am going to put this on the blog just because I can.

I have no EARTHLY idea how they got this way. It is a mystery.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Life Worth Celebrating

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, "She couldn't have actually taken a picture at her own father's memorial could she?" If you are thinking that then you haven't been hanging around here for very long. The thought that I should put the wide angle lens on Big Bertha and take a picture when I got up to speak popped up in my little cranium about a month ago. I dismissed it as just another one of my crazy thoughts....but I just couldn't get rid of it. It just kept popping into my gray matter and rattling around in there and would not be denied. And so, when I got up to speak.....I stopped to take a picture first. Dad would so have understood.

What an amazing day it was, filled with family and friends, joy and tears and more than a bit of laughter. We started the day off with a family lunch where 100+ of us were served "Deconess Casserole" in Evan Welch hall (not the actor but a former chaplain at Wheaton College and my great uncle). Every church has their own version of a deaconess casserole and these were a delicious chicken filled thing. Dad would have had a second helping I am sure. Tables were filled with families (mine takes up 8 spaces by themselves) and friends all there to celebrate and remember.

Then it was on to the service, a one hour celebration that ended up lasting.....two hours. There were hymns and organ music and......bluegrass. I wish you all could have been there to hear the memories of a man that my words cannot do justice to. I am sure that once HHBL is finished with the video editing I will show you a bit, whether you want to see it or not.

HHBL and I, Pilot Man, TMO and The Favorite Oldest Niece all spoke. That is only natural as we are all family and had happy and varied memories to share. But Mimi had also asked four other people from Dad's life to speak, to give flesh to other aspects of my father's life covering family, friend, school and colleague. There was David, a cousin who really could have been Dad's brother, they are so much alike. David echoed a theme that we heard throughout that day, that my father (and my mother as well) had taken someone under their wing and ministered to them, had mentored them, had shown them kindness and love and generosity. In Mimi and Papa's world there is always room for more family, whether it is the family you are born with or the family that you choose.

There was Dad's great and dear friend, Gilbert Bilizekian, who was a part of the Parental Unit's "Book Club" for many years. His description of my father's ability to listen to a long and wide ranging conversation with opposing views, eyes closed as if in slumber, and then when all were done speaking to condense that conversation into a precise and pithy conclusion, was wonderful to hear. I hadn't seen Gilbert in so many years although I often speak (over the blogosphere) with his daughter, Christiane, the wonderful blogger over at Taking On Magazines One Recipe at a Time. When we greeted each other before the service began he grabbed my face, as if he was still seeing the child I had been, and kissed me on both cheeks. Gilbert has always been one of my favorites.

Coming from California to speak was Dad's college roommate, Dr. Arthur Ammann. What an amazing thing to hear him flesh out a younger version of my father and their time together at Wheaton College. Dad was only 16 at the start of his college years, taking the 18 year old Art under his "wing" and teaching him about photography and how to pull pranks and not get caught, appropriating study space in an unused room in one of the college towers and filling that space with a radio, desks and mice on which they did experiments and then made their own microscopic slides in order to study the disease process and what healthy cells looked like.

My father's partner, Dr. Dwight Kett, spoke about my dad in his capacity as a doctor and surgeon. All dad's partners are amazing and capable physicians but the consensus always was that if a problem arose, they wanted Dad to be there. His knowledge and experience in his medical field was vast. He was cool and calm when "under medical fire" and always knew the right path to take. He had courage to act with calm conviction that the path chosen was the right one.

All spoke about my father's courage both in his career and in his life. He stood for his principles and what he knew was right and proper. His command of the English language was amazing. There were very few words that he couldn't define and his use of those words was impressive to say the least. Always erudite, knowledgeable about an absolutely vast array of subjects, filled with good humor and an inexhaustible supply of puns, always willing to go the extra mile for whoever needed his help or advice, he was a true Renaissance man and the family rock around which we gathered.

And finally there was Uncle Dean, speaking both as pastor and as brother-in-law. He summed up what my father would tell you if he had been there. That whatever my father was, that it was all to Christ that his knowledge and experience pointed. That Christ was all.

The rest of the day and long into the night was filled with family and friends, coming together to enjoy each other's company and share memories. I cannot tell you how many times I said that I was so glad to see people but really hated the REASON why I was seeing people. Al the mailman and his lovely wife, Sandy, were there, cousins from many different states, my sisters of the heart were there, even friends from HERE were there (thank you SO MUCH Dottie and Tony!!). The party started at the church and then continued at the house where we consumed a lot of pizza and wine (Dad always did like a good glass of Cabernet) and capped off the evening with a fire in the fire pit.

Dad would have loved it.


Friday, April 11, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Vol 254)

Here we are again, gathered around the blather table, looking at the steaming heaps. You know the guide lines. When you are done here you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of Kathleen Sibelius' departure, over to Conversion Diary.

Blather that can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

1. Tomorrow is my father's Celebration of Life. Bittersweet to be sure, as any celebration of life would be. But it will be a party as well as we have people coming from 17 different states and 2 countries.

What an amazing thing that is!

There was already a boat load of laughter last night when the first of the cousins rolled in.

Cousin Kristen and I. We haven't actually seen each other since I was in high school and she was a bit younger. I believe at that point in time I chose to go and read a book upstairs rather than play with my cousins. Pilot Man evidently picked up the sibling slack on that occasion.

He is a nicer human being than I am.

And today is the 24th anniversary of Kristen's 25th birthday. I will let you do the math on that one.

2. I am now the posessor of my father's favorite towel.

I was actually unaware that he had a favorite towel until Parental Unit Mimi handed it to me. It is not the largest towel in the world nor is it the softest towel in the world. And I can only say that it is not a color that I would call lovely. But Dad and The Towel met on a lonely stretch of road where the towel had been lost by some unlucky person. Papa stopped and rescued it and then they were together from that point onwards.

Such a love story. Sniff.

So The Towel and I are now united.

3. The warm weather has finally arrived....and then it is supposed to snow, possibly, on Tuesday.

I won't repeat to you what I actually said when someone told me that there might be snow on Tuesday.

This is a family blog after all.

4. I did my morning two miles by walking around my old neighborhood. Oh what a strange experience to walk the sidewalks of my growing up. When did some of these houses get so small? And the walk to my Jr. Hi and High School always seemed long to me but really, the Jr. Hi was about 4 blocks away, my grade school was about 5 blocks and my high school less than a mile. Of course my high school is no longer there, it was replaced last year by a VERY NICE grocery store with a fabulous wine and beer department.

You can see where my priorities are. Produce? Meat? Dairy? Oh what a nice ALCOHOL department.

I was also able to walk past my grandparents old house, which is about 4 blocks from the old homestead. When last I passed that ancestral home (well, they did live there for 10 years or so) I stopped my car and took a picture with my iphone.

Almost immediately a man's head popped out of an upper window and questioned me about I was doing. When I explained that my grandparents had lived in this house years ago he was very friendly and invited me in and showed me all around and explained about their MASSIVE renovation project. This picture was taken in November, today I walked past again and the renovations to the front door are almost done and the very large addition on the back is in process. My favorite part of the "tour" was to see this...

The absolutely tiny bathroom with the only corner toilet that I have ever encounter. Once their kitchen renovation is completed this little space will be gone. For some strange reason that makes me sad.

I will just add it to my collection of "bathrooms that I have known."

Don't ask.

5. My father was the master of the well crafted flame email. No need to shout when a pithy and dagger like turn of phrase will do the trick. He didn't have to do it often, but when he did it was masterful.

I channeled my inner "Don" this week to deal with the roofer who didn't show up for two separate appointments and didn't call to tell me that he wasn't going to show up, thereby wasting my time on not one but two separate occasions. I do not take kindly to people needlessly wasting my time and then not returning phone calls. I prefer to start this kind of process with a phone call rather than email....but after three phone calls with no reply, and having to use my quiet but angry voice (ask the progeny, they know that voice) I resorted to email. It was a masterful piece of writing if I do say so myself. There were some particulary pithy phrases.

I had a reply in less than 30 minutes.

Thanks Dad for the legacy of the pithy flame email.

6.This is my mother's old address book. Folks, this is how we did phone numbers and addresses in the "old days". You should see this beauty. It is held together with duct tape and a rubber band and the pages are loose and filled to capacity. It was the thing from which all knowledge flowed when I was growing up.

7. And as is my usual custom, here are Instagram photos from my wierdly chaotic and roofer filled week.