The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Grandma's Wisdom

        I used to think my grandmother--the one I knew the best--was soooo not with it. I was a pre-teen and then a teenager, and knew everything.
        Or so I thought.

       My grandmother quilted and crocheted and knit and baked, and she did it all at lightning speed. There were occasional moments of levity over her projects (never in front of her). She got to the point where pins would accidentally get sewn into the layers of quilts. It was like a more pointed version of the "King Cake" (the one where you're lucky if you find the tiny plastic baby in the cake around Mardi Gras). Before you fell asleep, you quickly found the pin, and would work to weave it out of the batting and stitches and cotton fabric.

       I couldn't learn the handwork my grandmother did from her. She wasn't a patient teacher and was unable to slow down or explain. Years after she died, I learned to quilt from my mother (who had learned from someone else other than her mother) and learned to knit--the left-handed or German way (even though I'm right-handed) from her sister.

      This past week, something that my grandmother said over and over--something that I thought was totally silly--came back to bite me in the butt. I was knitting a scarf with variegated yarn. I'd bought three skeins, found I needed a couple more, and when I went back to get some more from a different store, as I continued to knit, I found that the yarn didn't quite match. It was close, but off enough that it bugged me.

       Make sure it's all from the same dye lot. My grandmother would meticulously check the dye lot numbers when buying yarn. Inside I'd laugh, figuring machines made it, it was all the same.

       I guess Grandma had the last laugh this week, when I had to unravel a bunch of the scarf and go with a different plan.

       Here's a few other things I learned from my maternal grandmother:

  • There's something satisfying about keeping your hands busy.
  • People-watching results in some amazing sights.
  • Dance shows are entertaining. (She loved to watch "American Bandstand." I love "So You Think You Can Dance.")
  • A slice of chocolate chiffon pie can solve most problems. (Hers was the best.)
  • Good gravy is next to godliness. (Her gravy--like silk, so rich and full of flavor.) 
Here is a photo of my grandmother when she was a teenager.

     What did your grandmother teach you? A mind with a wounded buttocks wants to know...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Off the Page


     Later today, I'm heading to a book club meeting. A book club of just two--my granddaughter and me.

       A couple of years ago I read Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer's Between the Lines. (Samantha van Leer is Picoult's daughter.) It's a YA/tween book about a girl and her fairy tale book. The twist: the characters are tired of doing the same things over and over, many of them are unhappy with their role, and when the book is closed after the girl goes to sleep, the characters are free to move around in the book's scenery.

      The girl, of course, falls in love with the prince, and the two of them try to get him out of the book and into her life in a real life way.

       Off the Page is the sequel. My granddaughter gobbled up Between, and for Christmas, I gave both of us a copy of Off the Page.

        We're meeting for a late lunch so we can discuss the first four chapters. And I'm a chapter behind.

          I gotta leave and read...