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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Coming down from Shangri-La: my stress quilt

I planned this project before my crazy month began, as a sort of meditation, but it has become much more than that. I cut up hundreds of tiny pieces of fabric before I went up to Wesleyan to help Ez finish up his last semester and sewed on his bed, in numerous hotel rooms, on the plane, in the waiting room, after I got home, during spare moments on graduation weekend, then in libraries and more hotels as I killed time waiting for my Yale reunion to start, then when I got home before Hannah arrived to do wedding errands. By then I had finished this top and started another - and the second one is done now, too.

I did them both by hand, one stitch at a time, and now I'm hand-quilting them. I have this excellent hoop I got at the Goodwill for $2.98 and am slowly, slowly stitching my way across the "flimsy." My stitches are not neat or small, but I start each one with the intention of making it as well as I can. The project makes a fine companion to silence.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A couple more!

Gene's cellphone picture of Hannah and Derek.

Ezra's friend Evelyn rides Jethro.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hannah gets hitched.

Belinda was nice enough to mail me her cellphone pics taken at noon today! I'm happy and proud. And exhausted.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BP exec spills coffee.

Totally worth a few minutes - an oasis of amusement in the midst of despair over the ruined Gulf...

About infant health care and health care reform

My brother's family was close to destroyed in a major hospital in Los Angeles: my only nephew's brain damage is severe and absolute and my sister-in-law almost died (and has permanent health problems) after she was allowed to bleed, and bleed, and bleed in the emergency room because no doctor was willing to take responsibility for her situation and so they all let her sit there ... so this hits close to home...

From a doctor friend on my Yale listserv about health care in the United States:

"Latest issue of The Lancet shows that the United States has higher under age 5 mortality than Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Cuba, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, all 20 countries in Western Europe, Malta, Israel, Chile, United Arab Emirates, and Canada. So forgive me when I have to take "We have the best healthcare in the world, and healthcare reform will ruin us" with just a tiny grain of salt."


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Finally! Durham Chapel Hill Complaints Choir video on YouTube

Paul Deblinger worked for three weeks to try and synch up our video with the "soundtrack" we recorded later that day inside the Montessori School. Now you can see what you missed!

Monday, June 07, 2010

A busy few weeks: Ezra graduates, Hannah arrives for pre-wedding preparations...

May 19: Packed my bags and drove to McLean VA to spend the night with my future mekhuteneste Deborah. We don't have a word in English for the relationship between me and my daughter's future mother-in-law, so I must resort to Yiddish!

I fell asleep driving and it was only the rumble strip that saved my life - I woke with a start at that loud noise, saw myself inches from the guard rail at 65 mph, swung the steering wheel fast, and almost hit a huge truck in the lane next to me. Rumble strips = amazingly wonderful invention.

Deborah made me a great dinner, we kvelled about each other's children - how lucky that I love my future son-in-law! - and watched a gruesome Netflick.

May 20: Hugged Deborah goodbye and left for Middletown Connecticut, trying to be careful on the road. Arrived in the afternoon and started packing Ezra's belongings. Reminding me of the complaint's choir plaint: "My fuel-efficient car is far too small to carry anything."

May 21-23: packing, eating too much, seeing Ez say goodbye to his friends, going to lectures, and doing a LOT of hand-sewing on my stress-reduction quilt, about which perhaps more later. My brother Charlie who I haven't seen for years came to the graduation and it was wonderful to lay eyes on him.

EZRA GRADUATED!!!! If you know us you know how much that means.

Also present: my daughter and her intended, my ex and his wife and Ezra's two half brothers, and Ezra's grandparents. An after-graduation trip to a distant Whole Foods for lunch started as an unnecessarily complicated aggravation and ended with a wonderful game of frisbee played by some while others sat under the gazebo and, again, kvelled.

May 24: A lovely last breakfast with the ex's family - and Ezra's friend Evelyn who entertained us with a shaggy dog story about her night and the reason she was sitting in the back of Ezra's driveway for half an hour and didn't notice us coming, going, coming, going, and finally leaving for breakfast without her, necessitating my making a trip back to campus to fetch her...

Then Hannah and I went to "Affordable Fabrics - everything $2 a yard!" and she got stuff to start her own quilt, and we said goodbye, and I commenced wasting time for a few days before my college reunion began.

May 24 - 26: Visited bunches of libraries, got a lot of translating done on my current Jacob Dineson book, ate at McDonalds.

May 26: arrived at house of college friend Joanie. She made a great dinner, we talked and talked, went out to her music barn and sang. I slept soundly through a huge thunderstorm and left for New Haven the next morning.

June 27-29: 35th reunion of the class of 1975. Realized how much more diverse my children's college experiences were - my class looks like a sea of white men (there were a hundred or two hundred girls and a thousand guys in my class, the third year of women at Yale).

Further, while back in the day these very white guys were somewhat disguised via bell-bottoms and long hair, an awful lot of them now have reverted to type - I felt like quite the outlier, though luckily at least one person was further out the x-axis than I (you know who you are) and we spent a lot of time together!

The last reunion I attended was ten years ago, only weeks before Ezra got sick. I had a fabulous time that weekend and Old Campus seemed like Brigadoon; under a magically erected (ok, no, erected by hard-working Yale employees) tent great conversations and warm hugs took place all day long. I was dazzled, it seemed an enchanting community, one I'd have liked to live in permanently, but it disappeared and everyone went home.

This time, well, goodness, within the last ten years, which have been pretty lonely, I have come to crave silence and solitude. At this reunion, I had to take many breaks from the fun to be alone. Luckily I had my translation project ...

Still, it was a wonderful time and I was happy to meet classmates I never knew the first time around.

May 31 - June 4: I was on the road for home by 6:30 am because I missed my donkey, and besides I knew Ez was home alone. I re-commenced what I call ...

Redneck Beautification Projects
  1. The original tub and shower in the guest bedroom have been awful since I built the house - my framer subtracted incorrectly and there was an inch gap between the tub and the wall which caused many problems. Got old tub removed and a lovely new tiled shower put in (thank you Bob).

    Gave the old tub to Jethro and Superman for their dinner bowl. Well, maybe that was a step in the wrong direction but it amuses me.

  2. The original tile job in my pantry (done by me) was so lousy the tiles were cracking and coming undone. Got pantry retiled (thank you Bob).

  3. Why does the typical kitchen sink installation have a JOINT behind the faucet? It's always gross back there. Got the sink removed and replaced by an old-fashioned country one-piece sink and back-splash (thank you Bob).

  4. Got the old water-tank replaced (thank you Doug).

  5. Got a friend's son - at an inordinate price - to help me and Ezra fill the truck with red-neck paraphernalia - including the old sink and old water tank mentioned above, which have been decorating the property for weeks, and a broken chair which was actually a project (but a project that was never going to happen) - also 1,000 large pots for gardening, but I am not going to garden ...

  6. Took the huge load to the dump and found that we, the citizens of Orange County, who used to get free dump-tickets and could push everything out of the truck bed into a huge heap that got compacted by bulldozers, now pay $22 to dump a load at the waste-disposal facility. Had to drive to separate locations for metal and non-metal and had a guy watch us constantly as we sorted the rest of the load and dropped it, item by item, into different dumpsters. Wow. Grudgingly admit I approve.

  7. Painted the downstairs bathroom and put up a curtain to hide the huge bookcase full of tools, sandpaper, etc. ...

  8. To be continued (sigh)...

June 5: Turns out, things were so bad around here that after all these efforts to clean out the Augean stables, Hannah arrived and didn't even notice the improvement.

In the couple days she's been home, we've switched gears and re-commenced wedding projects. That will be for a future post.