I've often noticed that Presidents don't seem to catch cold. Also I've never seen a concert musician stop and sneeze, blow his or her nose or cough. Sometimes you just don't have time to have a cold. That's how I've felt this week. So I fought the cold I wrote about a couple days ago with simple remedies, mainly plenty of sleep, long steamy baths were a pleasure and I became so relaxed I could not hold my eyes open long when I thought I'd read for a while before going to bed. Some hot tomato soup and peppermint tea was also involved and, yes, I also had some chicken soup another day. That and determination -- do I believe in mind over matter? well... maybe ... Anyway, I haven't reached for the tissue box even once today and maybe a little cough or two this morning. I can't help wondering also if my new practice of tai chi played a role. It's supposed to be good for blood pressure and much else. A friend recently gave me a page printed from a Harvard Medical School website that listed several medical studies attesting the benefits of tai chi. None of them mentioned the common cold. Just wondering .... Doesn't that panda look like one contented little beastie?
Coming down with a cold is a bummer. Sniffle, sneeze, cough. The head seems to be all stuffy sinuses. I don't get a full blown cold very often but I've got one now. I'm about 30 hours into it; I figure the running nose will end in the next 12 or 20 hours and then it'll be a cough for a few days.
Of course this is a most inconvenient time. That's how colds happen, when you're thinking of all the things you want to do in the next week. I am not one to go to bed with a cold. I tend it with chicken soup, teas of various kinds and when the cough gets bad with Robitusin.
I have litle patience for the people who think a cold is a permission slip for them to cancel everything they have to do and lounge in bed, napping and reading and listening to their favorite music. I've always thought these physical problems were to be worked though. But a certain amount of pampering is allowed, like going to bed at 8:00 last night, lulled into somnolence by a long hot bubble bath. In fact, I may give myself the very same license this evening. Big deal. There's nothing earth shaking I need to get done -- although I really must get the chipped old nail polish off and put on some nice new polish. A cold isn't an excuse to be slovenly. So it goes. As they say, if you treat a cold with all the remedies available you can get rid of it in about a week; if you do nothing it'll run it's course in about seven days.
Happily, I've reached an age and am in a small enough apartment that I do not do big family dinners, I merely contribute, modestly. This morning, it is an apple pie. These are the after and before photos, I even admit that the crust is courtesy of the Pillsbury company.
As I stood slicing apples I realized that all over the USA millions of women were also in their kitchens (and a few men, I hope) preparing dinner. Thanksgiving began as a havest festival, we are told. Our history usually neglects to mention that havest festivals are as old as the beginning of agriculture. Some of us still grow our food, or some part of it, but most of us are modern hunter gatherers, roaming supermarket aisles gathering foods from many places around the globe. Apples are grown nearby but I don't believe these came from a hundred or five hundred miles away. However, I also made some spiced cranberries for the feast and those came from no more than 20 miles away.
I am not a party to the shopping frenzy that is a part of this holiday weekend. "Black Friday" and all the shopping in stores and online that is expected in the next few days is another kind of hunting-gathering. We are no longer an agrarian culture. We are a manufacturing/comercial culture. All those people in the big box stores and others, those surffing the web for the best bargains, are present day gatherers.
We talk about giving thanks, and I think the majority of people will pause, at least briefly, to consider the bounty on their tables. I know many have given time or money to organizations that will give dinners to the needy today ... in America. Around the world many, many are hungry and needy. A small proportion of people will remember that -- the destitute in the Philippines, refugees in and from Syria, and many, many others on every continent. When the day was designed for us to enjoy what we have, pausing even briefly to consider the less fortunate is difficult. However briefly, a moment of compassion will enhance our day.
Driving on Rte. 28, a two-lane road, lined with trees in greater proportion than the various homes and commercial areas along that 15 mie stretch, I was constantly in awe of the magnificence that has fallen upon Cape Cod for the last three or four weeks. Even the years I lived upstate in New York where brilliant foliage is expected, I sometimes saw great hillsides blazing in these reds, oranges, and golds and bronze, I never felt so enveloped with gorgeousness. Of course I have no photos of those specific trees because I was driving and I didn't have my camera with me anyway.
The conjoining of crisp nights and mild days (although yesterday was bitingly chilly) has given us an autumn that blazes in brilliance. I kept interrupting my passenger's conversation to exclaim on the beauty. I wasn't trying for silent awe but I was excited to be able to share the spectacle with another person. Usually we have the nasty end of some hurricane (last year, memorably, it was Sandy) that tears the leaves from the trees, or the balance of chilly and warm just doesn't happen. This year is a gift. I'm delighted that tomorrow I have another 10 mile drive on a two-lane road. Much too soon the leaves will fall and then the snow will also fall (not too much, I hope) although it, too, has its kind of breathtaking beauty.
A Quilter's Gathering is an annual quilt show inviting a number of New England quilters and quilt guilds to participate. For the past couple of years it has been held in Manchester, Vermont at a convention/exhibition Radisson hotel. I went with the Bayberry Quilter's guild yesterday, boarding a bus at 7:30 and returning about 6:30. The quilts shown here are not typical of those at the exhibit; they are ones I managed to get photos of before the battery of my camera quit. I was flustered by the camera problem and didn't write down the name of the quilter. I like the Warhol-inspired set of faces , the colors and the skill using different fabrics. I recently tried such an effort and found it devilishly difficult.
I like the selvage use in the tree -- this tree was trimmed with Halloween symbols because superstition was one theme of a groups of quilts and because the show was Thursday, Friday and today (Saturday) spanning Halloween. This is not a holiday I care to celebrate so I was turned off by the embellishments. But I was happy to see the selvages used. The same woman also made a cloak and a hood using selvages. I am regular reader of Karen Griska's blog, (see side bar). And I enjoy using selvages in quilts and am dreaming of making one later in the winter.
The show has an aura of New England about it; the earth, sky, forest tones of the fabrics, the frequent traditional block styles, a certain quiet strength and reticence. For me the most beautiful quilt was called "The Shell Collector" by Bethanne Nemesh of Allentown, PA, almost a whole cloth quilt, a central panel of quilting that showed her two children at the ocean and a border that showed seashells and such -- all in light blue and sandy beige, all expertly home machine quilted. The only pieces were an interior border of triangles to separate the central square from the border.
An astonishing quilt was called "Insanity" a compulsively pieced, reversible quilt with tiny stars about 3 inchs square in gold and dark blue, made by Dan and Carol Perkins of Rangeley, Maine. Dan did the piecing and Carol the quilting. It had 13,500 pieces of fabric, none of it paper pieced, points of the stars perfect (I think, I certainly did not examine every one). I just hope they had time to get out of the house and have a social life last winter when the quilt was being made. It was jaw dropping, I'll admit. But the overall pattern was too much like printed wall paper for my taste.
From a vender I purchased the catalog/book of the 2013 Quilt National exhibit and spent the drive home reading the artists statements and looking at those important art quilts and thinking about the quilt world where in textiles are used so variously -- all the fairly "quilty" quilts I saw during the day and all the works of art, each attempting to make a statement of some profundity, at Quilt National.
Karen Eckmeier, was the speaker today at the Bayberry Quilt Guild meeting. She has won big awards for her work at the annual Houston Quilt show. As she talked it would seem her work is simple and easy for anyone to do -- I don't think so. When I went up at intermission to look at the pieces she had brought along they are majorly complicated. She says she just plays with fabric ad builds her tiny towns easily -- with roofs, houses an windows. Hardly "just". These are highly complex constructions, arranged with a great design sense and a wonderful eye for color. They are balanced, whimsical, extremely detailed and breath taking when one is standing close to them.
Besides her tiny towns she talked about her landscapes -- which are, indeed small quilts. They are comprehensible to me, I can see how she does them and I can see the appeal of "accidental" landscapes, not knowing at the outset just what kinds of curves and lines you are going to cut -- but first you arrive at your work table with a selection of fabrics that will work well together and you experiment for a few years to get the sense of just what kinds of curving lines will work.
Her work is fascinating and I can well understand why it was award prizes. Her talk did not at all convince me this is something I want to try.
The guild's theme for next summer's show will be "scrap quilts". Delightfully during the show and tell period at the meeting 80% of the quilts shown were scrap quilts --- not because of the theme but because that's what the women happened to make. Many were stunning. I think the next guild show will be a delight -- the more so since I like scrap quilts more than any other kind of quilts.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!