An update, and thanks

You are a wonderful bunch—did you know that?

You have given me such support and I have been buoyed by it. Your comments and messages have moved me beyond my ability to express.

I’m back to give you an update, and am happy to say that the update is generally very positive!

After the stroke, Don was in the hospital and then an acute rehab unit for a total of six weeks.

He has been home for a month now, and is continuing rehab with outpatient therapies.

He is doing far better than I dared to hope when this all started. His physical strength is very good and he is mobile and takes care of his personal needs entirely. He has gotten back into the kitchen and done some cooking and we go out to eat regularly.

He has some deficits he continues to work on. He’s not driving yet and he has some issues with aphasia. He gets momentarily frustrated but is, overall, in a good place—I think he really understands how much worse off things could be, and is grateful.

I’m really, really grateful, for so many things.

My family has been terrific, as has his daughter. Even my mother, who suffers from dementia, has worked hard to be supportive and caring—once a mom, always a mom.

My sister has been an angel.

I never had any appreciation for all the therapists of the world—the physical therapists, the speech/language therapists, the occupational therapists. I have come to be fascinated with the knowledge they have and the work they do. And with their spirits and motivational skills!

We have friends, local and far-flung, who have kept in touch and offered endless, loving support.

And I count you among those friends. You have not let the fact that we’ve never actually met stop you from caring, feeling my stress and confusion, and offering calming, kind words.

It has meant so much to me!

I don’t know, yet, whether or when I’ll come back to blogging. I spend a ton of time now running the roads—driving Don to lots of appointments and spending time with my mother.

I’ve come to realize just how much time I devoted to blogging, to do it the way I wanted to. I have been using that time, lately, to weave. And the weaving has been awfully satisfying and important to me.

I’d like to be able to say that I am committing to being back here for real, that I’ll be posting and reading and commenting as I used to, but I don’t think that’s likely, at least for now.

I do want you to know, though, that my blog people—you and you and you—have meant so much to me through all this. I’m doing fine now, in part because of you.

Thank you so much.

Going Dark for Now

I’ve always become unsettled when a favorite blog pal suddenly disappears. I worry, you know?

So, while it seems odd to be writing my personal stuff here, it would feel odd not to as well. And I wouldn’t want anyone to have to wonder what ever became of me.

Don, my husband, had a stroke a couple of weeks ago. And then there were other medical complications and he is still in the hospital, with clear deficits caused by the stroke.

Suddenly, my time is full of things more important things than blogging.

I am hopeful that he will go to rehab soon and that he’ll regain a lot of what’s been lost. And I am hopeful that, someday, I’ll be back to chat with you about the things we all love.

In the meantime, take good care. I’ll miss you.

It’s Snow Big Deal

A foot of snow in mid-November is unusual but, in this region, it’s no big deal. Not really.

And it’s always fun to see what the snow and wind leave in their wake.

We often get amazing sastrugi but this time around we got twin peaks.

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The table on our deck and the porch rails are a couple inches apart, far enough to give us two identical shark-fin-shaped piles of snow, about 18 inches tall.

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And this spider’s lovely work was further adorned by the snow.

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My sister says it says as much about my housekeeping as it does about the weather. I say the web is outside and that doesn’t count as “housekeeping.”

In fact, the snow makes the world look clean and sparkly as the sun shines today. The temperatures will warm soon and this will all melt. And, then, inevitably, the next storm will come and pile us up again.

But we have a cozy house, a fireplace, cats to cuddle, and warming beverages.

Winter is snow . . . big deal.

What’s a Girl To Do?

What to do, what to do . . .

The news seems to be all about our leaders behaving badly. Lying, backstabbing, craven finger pointing.

It seemed sensible to visit some patriots and visionaries, and good, decent Americans.

These are not the only leaders who inspire me but I came face-to-face with this group recently.

These heroes lift me up. They were not perfect but they put country and democracy, imperfect though it may be, first.

These may not be your heroes, depending on where you live and your political leanings. But, surely, you can identify good, decent people who remind you that strong, selfless leadership prevails.

Let us focus on and be inspired by them.

Shades of Autumn (photo heavy again!)

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This has been an autumn of incomparable beauty in these parts!

Do I say that every year?

I believe I do and, yet, this year seems special. It might be because I have taken more than the normal number of opportunities to get out and enjoy this fall. I’ve taken multiple leaf-peeping drives with my mom, made that trip to the Wild Center with Don, and had a bracing walk in the woods with a friend.

I’ve sought out autumn color, in panoramic views.

And up close.

In the mountains.

And by the lake.

Bright.

And subtler.

In my own yard.

The best thing about autumn here, maybe, is that it shows up everywhere. Even on the ugliest commercial highway, I’ll see one glorious tree. Or in a muddy patch, one bright leaf. At every turn of the road, is a new reason to gasp out loud and stop and admire.

This year I’ve made a point to drive rural roads where there’s so little traffic I can hit the brakes, put the car in reverse, and go back to take a good look at a view I glimpsed out of the corner of my eye.

And try to capture it in a photo, or ten, to share with you.

And still, I never, ever, feel like the photos do justice to the scenes. The colors don’t sparkle, the leaves don’t shimmer in the crisp breeze, and photos can’t convey the glory of it all.

And yet every year I try.

So here you have Autumn 2019. It was all an autumn should be.

The big rains and wind came a couple days ago and took most of the leaves down.

And we are reminded again of the evanescence of beauty, the moment that passes too quickly, that “nothing gold can stay.”  We must appreciate the gold, and the good, while we can.

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ScrapHappy: Fusion Redux #3

When last we scrapped happily together, we had finished doing the blanket stitching around the outside of the squares.

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The blanket stitch is attractive in its own right but its real purpose is to serve as the base of the crocheting. Without the crocheting this would be just a bunch of cute squares but we’d have to use them as coasters.

I am absolutely not going to try and teach you how to crochet! I have seen the crocheting many of you do and me teaching you would be like the local yoga instructor trying to teach Gandhi about meditation.

I am an accidental crocheter at best. I learned out of desperation while living in a cheap motel for 6 weeks, with no access to my chosen crafts.

I know three stitches—slip stitch, single crochet and double crochet. I could learn more stitches but the truth is I don’t even really enjoy crochet. I have a death grip on the hook and my hand is always sore. I do it now only as a means to an end, the fusion quilt.

All of this is said to make the point that the crochet on fusion squares can be simple and basic and, even if you don’t already know anything about crochet, you could learn enough, quickly, to make a quilt like this. If you don’t have a friend you can teach you the basics, the internet is full of tutorials. That’s how I learned.

On the other hand, if you already now what you’re doing, you could do something way more complicated and interesting for the borders on your squares and make the crochet a bigger part of the look of your quilt.

What I’ve done around my squares is start with single crochet and do one stitch in each opening created by the blanket stitch. I go around once and then I go around again and do a double crochet stitch into each single crochet. At the corners, though, I do three double crochets into one corner stitch, to create the fan shape that eases around the corner.

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Like I said, super simple, super basic. But the possibilities are endless for the crocheting. If you want ideas, search on Pinterest for “fusion quilt.”

After you’ve done all these steps on all your squares (however may that is—for me, it’ll be about 112, if I remember correctly), the time will come to crochet everything together. At some point, I’ll tell you what’s entailed in that, although you can probably figure it out.

My progress to date is:

20 squares finished and blocked*

12 squares finished but not blocked

6 squares blanket stitched and ready for crochet

5 squares ready for blanket stitch and then crochet.

* The blocking of these squares makes a huge difference. I lay the crocheted squares face down on my ironing board and use pins in the four corners to slightly stretch and flatten the edges. I spritzed them with a water bottle and leave them to dry.

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Blocked or unblocked–you choose.


ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Email Kate at the address on her Contact Me page. She welcomes new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let Kate or Gun know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so they can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry (that’s me), Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

Adirondack Extravaganza: The Wild Center (photo heavy!)

Nothing lights a fire under a lapsed blogger like a blog-worthy outing!

And we took a quintessential autumn outing this week—to the Wild Center of the Adirondacks.

I’ve written elsewhere about this region of upstate New York I call home. The Adirondack Park is “the biggest natural park in the lower 48 states. It can hold Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks inside its borders.” 

About 20 years ago, the idea surfaced to build a natural history museum in the ADK Park.

Does that sound boring? It is anything but!

From that initial germ of an idea came the Wild Center, an amazing outdoor/indoor set of experiences that explains, informs, and celebrates the environment in these mountains.

Making the trip in autumn gave us the bonus of a glorious drive.

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The Center is in the town of Tupper Lake, about 1.5 hours by car from our house.

I could relay all kinds of facts and figures but the website does that better.

I’ll just show you some photos.

Planet Adirondack, a huge globe in a darkened hall, allows visitors to see storms across the earth in real time.

The animal inhabitants of the region, some living, some still informative in their preserved states.

Art of the indigenous peoples of the region and a place to make your own art

And a display to warm the heart of a weaver.

The Wild Center opened in 2006 but just a few years ago they added the Wild Walk. And what a wild and wonderful walk it is!

The attention to deal is amazing

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Lots of information

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. . . and inventive ways to bring it alive

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A small vignette along the way

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The seat of the swing says “Soar from tree to tree”

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Every inch of concrete walkway is imprinted with twigs and pine needles

The Wild Walk rises gradually from the forest floor to the level of the treetops.

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I can’t imagine a better place to teach about and honor the wonders of this region. And, even better, it’s all accessible to people of all generations and abilities!

We have many reasons to return:

  • to see the otters playing in their waterfall. They were shy the day we were there;
  • to see the place without marauding hordes of 12-year-olds. We arrived just as many buses unloaded kids on field trips;
  • to get a photo of me on the spider web! I really, really wanted that photo  . . . but not with hordes of 12-year-olds;
  • and to absorb more of the vast amount of information and experiences offered.

The lovely news is that we were given free passes to return! When we were leaving, I asked at the main desk for a phone number so, next time, we can call ahead to ask about the school trips (and avoid them!) The admissions manager overheard me and gave us passes to come back, as well as that phone number.

If you were visiting me and wanted to understand this part of our world, I would take you to The Wild Center.

And I would show you a moose:

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