I Can Sew

As is quite apparent by past posts I have made, I can sew. In all my life I never thought of sewing as something people consider a special skill. That is what I was told recently, I have such a “special skill”. How I can make something out of nothing? People will actually take a garment to a tailor just to have a hook and eye sewn in. Or if they do attempt it themselves, it is a major accomplishment. Now I am in no way belittling that person, because there is a big reason for it. Sewing has become a craft of the past. My children learned because I did it. But if you were not that lucky, how do you pass it on? Now they aren’t all good at it, some totally suck. But if any of them had to sew on a hook and eye, they could. Or they would ask their mom, lol. The point being, these skills that have survived through the years have for a reason. But if we don’t pass it on, then what?

When the zombie’s come . . . ok so that is a little farfetched. But think about it, we have bad storms and power outages. A few years back just here in our area people lost power for up to two weeks, for us it was 10 days. Think about it that way. We knew the power would come back on soon, but what if it didn’t?

So here is my challenge to you – do you have a skill you can pass on? Then do it! Take a moment, take some time, and pass it on.

My most recent sewing project – a bag for my Big Cuz!

I also taught myself how to wrap a stone.

Making a Difference

There is something I want to share. I need to give a little background to get there, but honestly it is worth it.

I know I have mentioned our “Village” in the past. It is comprised of all the wonderful people who become part of our lives in a very special way; part of the village. We have a group of boys (now referred to as the guys) who became part of the village through the wild child. She went to high school with them, and one-by-one brought them home. We adopted them all, and they call us Mama and Papa to this day. One of them came by last night with his new girlfriend. We gave our stamp of approval, which was a very easy thing to do. For his birthday she arranged for his best friend (also one of the boys) to fly in from Oregon to surprise him. I think she is a keeper. During the conversation we reminisced about shared experiences over the years. I pulled up some pictures and we swapped stories. One thing he said was that the best meals he has ever had were eaten here. It reminded me of another conversation with one of the guys.

Pizza Night – a house full of hungry people and loads of homemade pizza!

One of the wild child’s guys had a dream of being a chef. He would often come over early to watch Hubby and I cook and ask questions. For his birthday one year I gave him an abbreviated version of our cookbook. I selected recipes which I had hoped would help him grow. According to the wild child he attempted to ‘tweak’ my macaroni and cheese recipe. The rest of the guys smiled and said it was good. She told him the truth. Then she explained that first you follow the recipe and get it right. Then you can tweak it to make it yours. It is nice to know your child listens 😊

A few weeks later she invited him over to help him make the macaroni and cheese the ‘right’ way. While sitting on the couch in my office I could hear them talking. She was so good at instructing him, and he was eager to learn. As they were cleaning up he thanked her for allowing him to experience cooking in a gourmet kitchen. Yes, he called our kitchen “gourmet!” Later that evening I walked into my kitchen and looked around. Humm, ok, I see his point. I hadn’t really thought about it, but Hubby and I have managed to collect quite the assortment of appliances and gadgets. We have spent a lot of time reading and watching shows like Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” and pay attention to having multi-taskers and not things with just one use. Which brings me to what I said at the beginning of this post.

On November 12, 2012 I made a post “Guts and Glory”. Hubby treated me to tickets to see Anthony Bourdain. Friday he took his own life. Not quite four years ago Robin Williams did the same (In Memory, Aug 14, 2014). Two such different people, both ending their own lives. Both leaving this world a lesser place without them.

On a personal note these two men added so much to my life. Also, in very different ways. Robin was joy, laughter, and what talent he had. We could easily express the loss. Anthony, well he was such a very different man. He was thought provoking, he made you ask questions, look for answers, and not just settle. I grew through having his words in my life. I didn’t always agree with him, but he made me think.

I look around my kitchen, at how much both Hubby and I have learned and grown. So much through the influence of people like Anthony Bourdain. We both love to cook. For me it is the entertainment, for Hubby it is giving people he cares about something wonderful to eat. Bourdain made me want to learn more, experience more, eat different foods, and explore different cultures. His words helped me have the courage to go to Iceland with just the youngest, and I will be forever grateful for that.

Poutine made with Hubby’s smoked meat. So yummy!

When the wild child texted me about Anthony Bourdain’s death she expressed the need to do something. Oddly enough I was in the process of editing a brochure for a Suicide Support Group. When I told her what I was doing, her response was, “There you go, making a difference.”

Sitting here I am reflecting on the lives of these two men. Then on my own life. They both made a difference in my life. In turn inspiring me to make a difference. They are gone, but their inspiration to me and others is something that will continue on. It was a very convoluted road to get to my point, but I hope it was worth it.

Adventures with Big Cuz

I must clarify something before I begin. I did something a bit out of the norm for me. Usually I see things through the lens of my Canon, and not necessarily experiencing it. So, this time I opted for my phone camera more often. You will see an assortment of photos in this post, some from both cameras.

A special two weeks was spent with my Big Cuz (BC). She flew out for a visit, and we filled it with such wonderful memories. She moved to the states when she was 20 (and I was 10) but has lived most of it on the west coast. We had a lot to show her, and she just loved all the green!

The first thing the oldest and I did was take her to breakfast at our favorite place, the Blueberry Café. We then had a family dinner night with all the kids, and Hubby’s parents too. They had just come back north from Florida for the summer.

The next trip was out to Yellow Springs, and one of the special shops there I knew BC would enjoy. Then it was off to Young’s Dairy for fun, fried cheese curds and ice-cream. BC had never had cheese curds until here, and it was such fun introducing her to them, and the local wildlife, lol.

The Friday morning of Memorial Day weekend the wild child and I drove BC out to New Jersey to visit other cousins there, SZ and BZ. On the way we stopped in Pittsburgh at the Duquesne Incline Railway. If you look back at the wild child and my visit to Chattanooga last August, we checked out the Incline Railway to Lookout Mountain. It was such fun we really wanted to see what Pittsburgh had to offer. Although not as long or high, it had its own charm. The car was authentic, and level, not on an incline with stairs like in Chattanooga. At the top we ate lunch at a restaurant with perfect food for the hot day, and a fantastic view!


Back on the road to New Jersey we arrived that evening. The next morning, we all headed into Philadelphia for the day. We walked around a bit and settled on seeing the National Constitution Center. We saw a performance in the round theater that literally brought us to tears. We walked to the City Tavern and had a wonderful meal. I just love the ambiance of the place, and of course the food!











The next morning cousin BZ brought home some yummy donuts. Yes, a bacon donut! Then SZ drove us to the American Treasure Tour in Oaks, PA. What and adventure that was. There was so much to see. You just have to experience it to understand. Player pianos, music boxes and calliopes, doll houses and miniature scenes, and walls lined with old vinyl record jackets. We were driven around a display of old cars, a giant Snow White and the 7 dwarfs, a castle made of popsicle sticks, the first car you could buy from the Sears catalog, and so much more.











We then went to our favorite market Wegmans for lunch and the English aisle. We ate tons and stocked up on English foods. BC was so excited to be able to get thing she hadn’t had it years.

We went back to NJ by way of a wonderful covered bridge. On a side note. BZ showed me how to take pictures with my phone using a word. What a wonderful way to get that shot I wouldn’t have otherwise. I stuck the phone out the window and said “capture”, and here we have it!

What was really funny was later I was taking a picture of BC, and another word you can use is ‘smile’. I said “smile” and through clenched teeth she said, “I am smiling”. Guess “capture” is a better word, lol.

The next morning, we headed into NYC by way of the train. As I walked out of Penn Station this is want I saw. Keep in mind I only took my phone with me. This was the first time in NYC without my Canon. It felt strange at first, but then I was really experiencing the city. It was fantastic!

The reason we went to NYC was to meet up with other cousins that were visiting their son who lives there with his family. BC hadn’t seen them since they were children together, and it had been about 13 years for me. We all had lunch and walked to the Magnolia Bakery for the best cheesecake in the world!

BZ, SZ and the wild child went to see the 9/11 memorial. We older ones went to have a good old English cup of tea, and chat. It was such fun catching up, and meeting cousins we hadn’t yet met.

Back on the train to NJ we munched on big pretzels bought at Penn Station, reflecting on a wonderful day. Early the next morning we headed home.

The next adventure was the oldest and I took BC to SunWatch Indian Village. She enjoys the Indian culture and has seen a lot in the southwest. She has taken me to see Tuzigoot, and Montezuma’s castle on visits to her.

During all of this I was sneaking away to work on graduation gifts for my twin nieces. I wanted to make them something special, so with the suggestions of the youngest I made them personalized messenger bags. We took BC to the graduation party, and she got to meet more of the family. Not only the girls and their parents, but Hubby’s Uncle and cousins came into town for the celebration.

Our last adventure for BC was to go to Cincinnati to see the Terracotta Army at the Cincinnati Art Museum. The oldest, her husband, and the youngest went with us. On the way home we stopped by Ikea to get Swedish meatballs for dinner. The next day we put BC on the plane back to Arizona. We are all so pooped, but what a wonderful time we had <3