August 30, 2009

Grandmother's Flower Garden

i worked on that quilt today and yesterday. I had bought it for $10 at a garage sale, but it was unfinished. All the 'flowers' where done, and the surround to each flower, which connected the 'quilt' I, in my ignorance, thought it would be a piece of cake to finish this quilt. Well, no. I had started right after I bought it, oh, more than 11 years ago, but then got disgusted and gave up.
I've been reading on other blogs about the English paper piecing method - on - and I decided to get it done. I worked on it all day yesterday, and a good part of today. No, not done yet, but the holes in between the flowers are disappearing, and I am getting hopeful that it will get finished.

I just don't know how to do the backing... Anyone have any ideas?

August 28, 2009

Not going continued...

It's raining. There is a storm coming up the coast and I don't feel good about driving this distance in the rain.... I've done it too many times...

Not going

I am not going to Connecticut this weekend, as I had originally planned. I love to hang out with an old-time friend. She's been in my life now for 30 plus years, being there for me when my husband died. She was the one who listened when I answered the question 'if there is anything I can do for you', to which my answer was 'don't leave me alone'.
Linda showed up a few weeks later, and spent the weekend with us. The first of many weekends, some of them wildly exciting, like the one when we left the house at 9 AM in the morning, went to New York City, toured, checked all kinds of tourist spots (remember the lady with the boa constrictor around her neck?!), found all the nice bathrooms for the middle child, got tickets for a show, and came home at midnight. With three little kids. The oldest was 9/10, the middle one 6, and the little guy between 4 and 5. I owe her big! She's been such a friend over the last 30 years.... Such good times, such special time together. The Amish country near Lancaster, the Fingerlakes region in upstate New York. The day trip to Nantucket. The two trips she joined us in Germany, and from there we went to Switzerland. The time I went with her to Cologne on the Rhine River and we stayed in the little hotel with the room under the roof and mice running around. The Grand Canyon and Las Vegas trip. The trip to New Hampshire and up Mount Washington.
The countless places in New Jersey we discovered together, the trip to Cape May, the discovery of Ringwood Manor and Skylands Botanical Garden, to which I dragged every one of my European visitors, who all loved it.
The first time to Ellis Island in 1991. The times she brought down her Dad too, to my kids weddings, to my grnadson's first birthday, and the list goes on.
Thank you, Linda!
There is no way I could ever express my gratitude fully.

August 27, 2009


It was still warm this morning. Dark, though at 6 AM, I'm still used to it being light at 5 AM, guess I better get over that!
A low cloud cover, which made it seem darker. As I walked around the pond, the sun started to rise. And in the spot where it came up, the sky was clear. It was amazing, the clouds where lit up in red, orange, and pink - and the blues - just beautiful.

August 25, 2009

more photos from Martha's Vineyard

The whole family was there, my two daughters and my son. With their spouses and children. Oh, gosh, how nice it was to all be together!

August 24, 2009

Wedding on Martha's Vineyard

The bride wore white. The official conducting the ceremony wore a morning coat and a top hat. The groom wore a short-sleeved blue shirt, and the couple's two-months-old daughter attended the ceremony wearing a little white dress with pink flowers. There was a grove in the trees where the ceremony was held. The bride's sister was matron of honor, and her daughter the flower girl/bridesmaid. The bride's nephew was the ring bearer. The bride's grandfather had tears in his eyes after the 'I do's'
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There was a tent on the property, an old restored Model A Ford with a driver giving rides, who had to go home at some point to feed his cows. There was the ceremony in the grove, with a 4 piece brass band playing the ode of joy. There were hamburgers, potato salad, cole slaw, sausages, grilled fresh corn, and vegetable shish kebobs. All the produce came from a local farm, whose people the groom is related to.

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For dessert there were any kind of fruit pie, and hand-made chocolates from a local store.
There was music, and the bride's grandfather danced with the bride.
My family was all there, and my two oldest grandchildren enjoyed the wedding so much, we barely saw them. There were children running around, there were hay bales, there was an old tractor, although I was so busy visiting, that I don't remember if there were rides on that. There were Chinese lanterns, the bride's parents, whom I hadn't seen in eleven years. There were hugs and promises to see each other again soon.
Oh, it was wonderful!

August 19, 2009

Today we'll go here:

Off to Martha's Vineyard. Never been there, but it should be fun. We all will be there together, my three kids and their partners! Yeah! And my four grandchildren. Wait - when did that happen? Gosh, I can't believe I'm old enough for grandchildren.

Sunday or Monday: pictures.

Packed one suitcase - check
packed wedding present - check
packed baby present - check
packed something for in-laws - check
packed cameras! - check

August 18, 2009

oh, yes it did!

but I'm not happy with displaying my photos that way. I'll stick to the old way.

that didn't work

let's try again....

Still Hot

O Goodness, it's hot. Not my favorite.

I am assigned to pick up Jessie, Matthew is going to the dentist with his Dad. I'll wait at daycamp until the Dad shows up, so Matthew doesn't think he's been abandoned, going to the dentist is trauma enough for him.

The photo? Taken in France, in Kayserberg, a little town in the Alsace region. In the spring. I'm trying the photo thing out again.

August 17, 2009

Hot Hazy Humid

Was the weekend. We went swimming on Saturday. Matthew, Jessica and I. After dinner, and we stayed in the water for over an hour. Jessica swims like a little fish. She is hard to see when I'm in the water looking against the evening light, and she is diving. We had so much fun!
The kids stayed over. Yesterday morning we went to Walmart to get sewing machine needles, so I could finish sewing the doll quilt. I let Matthew go in his pj's, which amazed him. I knew from former battles with MY children, to let some things go, besides, his pj's just look like a short-set.
Jessica picked out a fabric that is gathered on one side, and picked out the ribbon to go over the shoulders - looked so cute.

August 14, 2009

Tomorrow Matthew and Jessica are coming to stay overnight. Matthew already picked to stay in Oma's bed for the night. What will we do? I have no idea yet. Maybe the old standby, to go down to the school and play on the playground.

It's fun when the kids come over. Last weekend it was Jackson who spent the night. He totally set the tone for his stay. Decided when he wanted to watch TV -in the kitchen - on the chair, right in front of the little TV. Then the play with the old toys that belonged to his uncle. Didn't matter if they were complete, he lined them all up and then moved on to the next thing.

Tomorrow's guests are a little older, I'll have to find something for them to do. Any suggestions?

August 11, 2009


Today I was reading in one of the blogs I follow that someone's father broke his hip. Or the top of the upper thigh bone. That happened to me about 6 years ago. On the day after my daughter's wedding. I had spent the day in NYC with German friends sightseeing. I probably was a bit overtired from celebrating, but we had a marvelous time. I remember thinking 'be careful, the streets are crooked, you are almost at the car'...
Then stopped worrying,we ware in the parking garage where we'd left the car in Hoboken. Wouldn't you know it, in a space where I didn't expect the road to be crocked, I stepped in the pothole, fell over and broke the very top of my left thigh bone? At the time I didn't realize I broke the bone, I had my friends pick me up and help me to the car. Went home, accepted help to the bed, spent the night sleepless, and realized at some point that I had to go to the hospital.

So waited until my visitors were awake, and asked them to drive me to the hospital. They wheeled me in (after finding a wheel chair), and I announced I had broken my leg. Yesterday. Of course no one believed me, especially after spending the night at home, but x-rays revealed, yes, I did. I sent my German visitors on their way with my car, since they only had a few days remaining to sight see.
The orthopedic surgeon arrived, and confirmed, yes, broken bone. He gave me the option to either let it heal (not so good in his opinion), or to have it operated, and insert an artificial hip. Or partial replacement. Okay, operation I said.

Back a step - my oldest daughter had just moved back to NJ. First day on the job in NYC. My son was in training somewhere. My just-married daughter off on her honeymoon. Who should I call? No numbers for working son and daughter! So I started with a friend, who was nice enough to come from work. Then my daughter-in-law - never occurred to me to ask her to call my son, my co-mother-in-law of the newlyweds.... Figured that was enough.
Well, my daughter (the one working in NYC) called me after a couple of hours - I asked how she knew, and she said, she was at lunch with a couple of people, one of them got a call and asked Erika who she knew in the My brohter, she said. And knew it was about me. Poor Erika, took the rest of the day off and came and stayed with me in the hospital.
The whole thing was quite dramatic.

August 9, 2009

My last photos of the WTC

A girlfriend and I went to Liberty State Park in Jersey City to go for a walk. I remember Cirque de Soilel had a big tent in the park. It was a humid and overcast day, it was sometime in August, and I was due to leave for Germany soon.

We just meandered in the park, walked, talked, took pictures.

Didn't even occur to us that it may be the last time I would see the WTC. Weird.

August 6, 2009

September 11th

Here I was in Germany, just arrived at my Mom's house.

Heard that everyone I knew was fine. Turned toward the TV and saw the awful truth.
Heartbreaking. Anyone who reads this post is old enough to remember that day, and I will not drag up your emotions any more.

The next day - I couldn't believe I could sleep - I tried to find a flight home. Nothing. Okay, back to my mother's house again. Phone calls, checking, then finally hearing, well maybe tomorrow... So my brother drove me again, with the huge suitcase, another case, and in the airport I sat. And waited. And checked counters. Always with my luggage. No, no luck that day. So I took the train back home again. Finally on Sunday, when I got to the airport, I was accepted as a stand-by to fly to JFK Airport in NYC. I hugged my brother again, thanked him again, and made it through the two security check points to the flights to the States. This was maybe 10 AM in the morning.
And I waited. And I saw others take off - to Denver, to the West Coast, to Dallas, to Houston, to Chicago....
And then it occurred to me to think about maybe going somewhere else other than being stuck as a stand-by on the last flight out of the day. So up to the counter I went 'Is there another flight to the East Coast today?'
'yes, there is a flight to Washington, DC and one to Boston'
'is there a seat available on either flight?'
'well, where do you want to go?'
'I don't care, I can get home from either'
'you have to tell me which airport'
'okay, I'll pick Washington, DC'
'yes, there is room on that flight'
'may I have a seat, please?'
'go over to that counter over there.'
Me, going over to that counter.
'I'd like to get on the flight to Washington, DC'
'Do you have a ticket?'
'No, I have one for Newark, and I'm on stand-by for JFK, but I'm afraid I won't be able to go home today, and I'm good with getting to Washington, DC'
'Well, you can't get on that flight!'
'Why not, I was told there are free seats'
'That's true, but your luggage is booked to JFK and you have to go there!'
'I don't care about my luggage, keep it! It's only dirty laundry and chocolate!'
(huffy expression, typing away)
Me breathing fast.
'so, can I get on that flight?'
ticket agent hands me the paper: 'here is your ticket'
I couldn't believe it. Asked:
Am I on that flight?
Then the question, which I should have asked:
'When is that flight leaving?'
Answer: 'in about 20 minutes'

I was elated, excited, relieved, and still felt like I was in a movie, the circumstances just seemed so unreal.
I had time enough to call my mother and tell her I was on the way to Washington, DC, please call the girls, let Erika know I'm coming to Wash. (she lived in that area at the time), good bye, I love you...

I sat by myself on the flight. Next to the window. And thought. Long flight. We finally approached America, Canada first. Then the flight down the coast, Newport, RI, Shelter Island, NY - do you remember the weather that fall? Clear, not a cloud in the sky for weeks on end. It didn't rain for ages. Well, my flight home was on the 16. of September, still at the beginning of the clear weather. I could see Long Island, and knew when the city was coming closer. Yes, we were 30,000 feet up, but I recognized it all, and got more tight inside the closer we came. Was it real? Had I just imagined it?
You could clearly see the smoke coming from Ground Zero.
And I got to see it not only once, no, because of increased air traffic with everyone coming home finally, we had to circle over NYC 3 times. Three times we had to fly over New York and that awful scene making it so very real.
And behind my really minor and benign story are the people burning, the people jumping, the people in the planes.
I was relieved a bit when we continued on to DC.

The first thing I had to do after getting off the plane was claim my luggage. Not that that was important to me, I was advised in Frankfurt to do that first hand, to make their life easier. Okay, fine.

Then finally I could step outside and be with the rest of the US. My wonderful son-in-law Jim was waiting for me. How happy I was to see him! Erika had to work, but was waiting at their home by the time we got there.
What a wonderful reunion! I loved seeing those guys and being with them!

They had already made plans for me to get home.
They drove me halfway up to the NJ Turnpike, where Nicole was going to take over and bring me home. We even had time for a dinner at a Crackerbarrel, precious family time together, which we all needed.

August 5, 2009

September 11

I just have to finish this story. I have told it numerous times, but never written it down. And it deserves it, small though it is in the greater scheme of things.

The World Trade Center was a big part of my New York experience. I love living this close to NYC, even though sometimes months pass before I get a chance to go to the city again.
I would take all my European visitors to the WTC, my parents, my CT visitors, my girlfriend, when she visited with her husband, and two daughters, my godson, when he stayed with us for one year, my sister-in-law, once a girlfriend of a girlfriend with her baby and a woman from my little town in Germany - and the list goes on. Most of the time I would go up to the platform with the visitors, my daughters opted to stay down and wait for us a couple of times. I loved it. I loved it on rainy, cloudy days, when you weren't allowed up top, I loved it on sunny days, I could never get enough of walking around the top, over the tower itself, about 10 feet from the edge. We tried to pick out the 'hill' we came down on Rt. 80, pick out landmarks, point out where JFK airport is, name the bridges, admire the Brooklyn Bridge from up high, and look for familiar buildings.
Once we got treated to a brunch high above NYC, we took a limousine into town, and felt like millionaires. I had drinks in the bar high above New York. No, I never worked there, I didn't know the towers that intimately. But I used the PATH coming from NJ, I remember the loooong escalator which is still there - it seems weird to ride it up, even after all these years.
On my way to work in the morning, coming down the hill on Rt.80, right before the 'Morristown, Rt. 202' exit, you could get a glimpse of the towers. I would judge the weather by it. If you could barely see the tops of the towers, it was humid, on a clear day, one could see them plainly, and on rainy days you'd miss them all together. When walking in the city, or coming out of a subway stop, you could orient yourself on the towers in the distance, knowing they were south of you, and pick the direction you needed to go from there.

No, I didn't know anyone who worked and or perished there. I worked with a woman who lost her son. We knew a college friend my daughter, who worked near there, and on that terrible day walked from Ground Zero all the way home to 96th St. For those of you not familiar with NYC, The WTC was below 1st. St., in a part of town, where streets still have names.

(on an aside note, this is the same friend who found himself in Thailand during Christmas, when that tsunami hit. He luckily was out on the ocean on a boat/ship, and they noticed very little, but then he frantically searched for friends once he got on land, and yes, everyone in that group was fine)

There is a huge hole now where the towers stood. Yes, I know there is construction, but I'm talking about the hole in my heart. And I know I'm not the only one. The 'locals' still miss the towers. No, no one talks about it, but they do.