Friday, April 21, 2006


I promised Isie I would post this quilt top picture of snowball/nine-patch combination. Try to imagine the snowball with a more distinctive fabric design, Isobel –I was just using up some of the handed down greens from “our” stash. Also, a little smaller squares would work well, making the 9-patch medium/dark and the snowballs light/dark.

Isobel’s “orphans” came to me in 2-yd pieces and as generous as the supply was, I’ve managed to use about all of it up, save a shoe crate of 2-inch strips slated for cabins or pineapple blossoms. Anyway, I like the over all pattern the snowball/nine-patch combo makes. I call this “Irish Sea Shells” since its green and one orphan has a shell motif.

We had a full day yesterday – fixed a little food for Marie/Virgil, dropped by for a visit and then stopped to do a little spring cleaning at the church building. GF does the lion’s share of that job…it’s an old building with limited possibilities; but it smelled fresh and the windows were clear when we left it. Every cat in the neighborhood has been using the back yard as a sandbox…anyone know how to repel them? Would bay leaves work…I hear tell they repel ladybugs? I sprinkled some Comet along under the eave – as a short term measure to cover the stench. It would take a shovel to fix it, which I didn’t have.

Back at home, GF grilled some chicken for late lunch. I didn’t do much the rest of the day, but he went out with the weedeater to trim around some. He came in near dark saying, "The string trimmer ran out of gas before I did, but not by much." We’re to have thunderstorms today and he’s determined to have things ship-shape before we leave. Obviously his vacation syndrome is more productive than mine. Perhaps I should have added ‘breaking you back with yard work” and “blogging instead of packing” to list…..yes, it’s hopeless.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Georgia Fly Boys

Guess this is a sequel to the GA Farmers…same GA, same boy Phil, slightly different mania. Phil and Tim’s dad has been into planes since grade school. I noticed, after he started building his own that the little decoupage cruet he made in middle school has 10+ airplane photos among the other pasted magazine trivia. Should have been a sign!

GF always wanted to build a plane…it must have rubbed off. David has tried to fulfill that dream for GF by letting him work in the GA hangar. And, GF has done a little tinkering there – but is generally content to watch David work and fill in the progress reports from afar. They did go to Mexico, MO together for a few days of instructional assembly as David started his second plane – a memory they both treasure, I think.

Well, it’s a risky hobby…and much more addictive than quilting I’m pretty sure. One time Dave came in from taking GF on a “ride “– commenting that the wind was kicking up so there would be no more rides that day…not that I’d be interested. I promptly told him if he thought I wouldn’t do it, he’d be wrong. The next good weather day during a later visit, I got my ride. [But I didn’t tell Nines ahead of time.] What a thrill!

And I just love the picture of Philip taken a year ago. He was David’s co-pilot as he flew from GA to VA for the Teel reunion. Now isn’t that a memory!

Do I worry? Sure I do. Do I nag? Yeah, I do that too. But it’s like I used to say about GF on the motorcycle – God can take as good care of him there (in the air) as anywhere. I believe that …even when my heart quivers.


I think it was GF’s dad that used to say he wouldn’t trade his kids for a farm in Georgia. DS David is getting the farm and the kids…well, as you can tell he’s had the boys a while now. Meet Philip, Timothy and Bob the bull. Isn’t Bob the perfect name for a bull? He’s cute, too.

The boys came to Teelside for a visit last week and were nice enough to bring along their older bro and sis as well as their mom, her sisters and her mom. We had a regular party. It was a perfect spring day so we charcoaled burgers and franks. DDIL with sisters/mom brought fixin’s including potato salad, eggs, beans and buns. It could have been the 4th of July.

At one point I declared, “There are too many cooks in this kitchen!” But it wasn’t a complaint…between Karen, Juanita, Crystal, Beccie and me, the table and counters were well covered yet we were not in each others way at all. I remarked that GF, not a big man, takes up the whole kitchen when he lends a hand. I usually go elsewhere and let him have at it.

DDIL’s family left toward evening after a great visit. They’re all still so pretty!!! The sisters did most of their growing up on a place called Beauty Mountain, near the New River Gorge Bridge…and we always thought that fit.

Beccie and the grandchildren stayed around until just after lunch the next day. I used Nines’ no recipe rolls to make pepperoni rolls for supper and sticky buns for breakfast dessert the next morning. We had the usual entertainment – a woods full of roaming and a video after dark. I opened up ‘barbershop’ and cut four heads of hair (including GF’s) the next morning. Each head is different…Jonathan’s manageable, Philip’s perfect, Timothy’s Teel-cowlick impossible, but I did my best to suit them. I confessed to Philip that I really didn’t like the job, but was happy to do it because it gave me a chance to pat on them a little more than would be cheerfully endured otherwise.

As for Bob, I wonder how he’ll get on with Hannah’s new horse. Probably well – animals like company. I cannot remember the horse’s name (shame on me), but I do believe she is not slated for the freezer as is Bob.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Lord willing, we're going on a vacation. When we return these pear blossoms will be blown to the winds - a good thing, because unlike their apple and peach cousins, they don't smell as delicious as their promised fruit.

The time for the Teel Sibling reunion is “upon us” as they say. This trip (our second time to join the others) we are converging upon Branson MO. A short stay – Monday thru Thursday nights. We’ll be sharing a two bedroom suite with Aunt Eva and Uncle Lee. Now won’t that be nice! We’ll see a few shows together and hope for lots of visiting time, apart from or along with tourism.

Neither GF nor I are big touristy people. Our idea of a perfect vacation is a week (or better, two weeks) without radio, TV or telephone in one of the CCC built cabins at the state parks, (preferably Watoga, WV, where we honeymooned.) Second to that might be David’s Arizona desert tent or Nines’ Green Acres camper.

The last Sibling Reunion (and first for GF/me) was September 2001. We flew west the first week airports were open after 9-11. There was plenty of room on the planes! And we had great car tours through Yellowstone, Bryce and Zion. My favorite was Bryce! Someday, we might like to see the Grand Canyon – as time didn’t permit that extra distance south. I just can’t imagine any West Virginian not appreciating lovely scenery…no matter where it’s found. And certainly, we do like time with family, and so we’ll go to Rome to do as the Roman’s do (in MO) this time.

Anyway, back to this travel syndrome. The week before you pack your brain quits. A little voice keeps asking, “whatcha gonna wear” or “do you have those pants hemmed yet” or “why don’t you just make a list”? I dunno. It’s a fluid combination of anticipation and anxiety, so instead of listening to that still small voice you ...
· go searching through corners for something to do – like starting a new quilt or painting or defragmenting the computer;
· try on every shoe you own at least a dozen times without knowing which to take (of course not, silly, you don’t even know what they’re supposed to match yet);
· decide if they don’t match, but are comfortable those shoes are takers;
· resolve that you really need to figure out how to lose 10 pounds in 2 days;
· spend three hours a day trying to talk yourself out of cutting your hair off ;
· put your feet up and do YET ANOTHER sudoku puzzle;
· wonder if anyone would miss you if you went to the library instead; and
· forget about a good night’s sleep – it ain’t a gonna happen.

In the end, you'll pack those old faithful non-wrinklers and since most of those shows are country you'll dress normally – like the hillbilly you are. This effort ends with my last words to GF – “It’s hard to be funny when you’re frustrated” (or brain dead). But no matter - a safe trip will be our only appeal. TOGETHER, it will be fun and games and lots of Teel family stories. No one will even notice that one shoe is black and the other navy…..

....And if it's a family trip, it has to be a vacation...because you work awfully hard getting ready. Right Nines?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Orphans – Bless Their Little Hearts

I’ve been knee deep in a little half-square madness this week. Not at all what I thought would happen with my time, but it was such a pleasant meander that I couldn’t bring myself to put it away. Now that’s a nice way to deal with orphans.

I told Nines that if these ever made a quilt top, I’d have to call it “Forever Melancholy.” Most of the squares, before I dissected them, were remnants from my “Melancholy Mama” quilt. I’m convinced I’ll carry some melancholy trailers to my grave. Once the squares were trimmed, I semi-sorted colors and looked in my 1000 Great Quilt Blocks (Maggi McCormick Gordon) for 4-8 patch variations. These orphans struck a scrappy sampler-like bargain, but I’m pleased enough to be anxious to get it all sewn up. Hmmm...perhaps I can put that on the slate for Monday morning while GF is escorting Aunt Margaret to the doctor. And you know, I might even be able to cast off those half-dozen 3” melancholy squares, if they won’t fit in the border. Sooner or later even orphans get old enough to move along.

But if you’re looking for perfect points, don’t. Like their adopted mama, these little orphan bones are old and their little joints are too arthritic to match perfectly. Besides, perfection could never be as rewarding as this was. My favorite square is the "Balkan Puzzle" - 2nd on top row.

The Perfect Gift

Only Isobel would think to so cater to her DBIL. Here he is, using the banded headlight she sent him for its first chore – a recalcitrant door knob. I can’t count the times over 40+ years that GF has run out of light before he ran out of job. But no more! He came in from weed-whacking about 8 p.m. last night asking, “Can I come in?” Imagine his surprise when I answered, “I don’t think so, I think you need to put your headlight on and cut weeds a while longer.” Just joking! I’d been pining for his company over an hour already.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Every good cook knows it takes special stock for really good soup. Greg’s Fish Chowder is no exception. (See prairiequilts.blogspot, "The Chicago Quilt Show".) And now, just look where Greg stores the stock for his quilting creations! WOW!

A few years back I went for a short visit to Pat and Greg’s and spent some time pressing and color collating their quilt stash. [I say “their” because Pat is good with a needle, too, and not everything in the stash was hand dyed, orange or grey. *VBS*] Greg was a little apologetic as I labored long over the sorting process, but he needn’t have been. Looking through and feeling all those lovely textiles was truly a wonderful experience. I grouped them as best I could into the bookshelf with glass doors that served as a stash cabinet at the time.

Since then that stock/stash has really moved up town! How inspiring it must be to choose swatches from that new cabinet – an absolute work of art! The new storage shed was made by our (Pat’s and mine) brother, Andy. As you can see, he’s quite an artist and woodcrafter. Greg has invited me back to see his new neat stash several times – and someday I won’t be able to resist taking him up on that.

And by the way, Greg knows a whole lot more about foods and cooking than I ever will! We should ask him about fish stock, too.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Plumb Daffy

Spring has sprung. Wow! The birds sing, the grass is green, wind chimes play constant refrains and the daffodils nod their graceful golden heads in gentle April breezes. Dr. Zhivago is one of GF’s favorite videos…and depressing as it is you have to admit it has breathless photography. We are always taken by the daffodil scenes and that likely inspired GF to plant daffodils all over Teelside. He’s still spreading them around.

The loveliest of our varieties came from dear Emma Haid's and Uncle Carl's bulbs. Have you noticed on country drives that former homesteads (sans buildings) are marked with clumps of daffodils or candles of heaven? I like to think our yellow cheer will multiply and bloom after we’ve moved to the latter, better place.

Evabeth is off making here TV commercial debut this morning, butterflies and all. GF asks, “In her stomach?” Well, maybe, but I was referring to the wreath of butterfly or sweetheart clips her mama likely spun into her hair. I know she’ll do well and am eager to hear all about it.

Were I so inclined it would seem a perfect time to start Spring House Cleaning. Would I were…sigh. Noodle city for me instead. I’ve started a little 10 x 12 landscape of Nines (former) barn, and figured a way to handily set it aside (off the kitchen table) briefly. The sewing machine is back out…I declare it has a mind of its own and hops up on the table while I’m dreaming. For lack of other ambition, I’m joining boney half-squares today. I could or should be adding something to my travel wardrobe – GF and I are to go to Branson for a Teel sibling reunion the last of this month – but nothing strikes me as that important as yet. This is definitely a loose-ends season. Either that or my dull wit refuses to be peaked.

The taters and onions are in the ground and this could be a lettuce planting day. The herb garden needs refurbished as well, so there will be lots of room for cilantro. I’ve taken to adding fresh leaves from the grocery to salads for a wonderfully zingy lift! It would be great to have an ongoing supply. Seems we always get a taste for fresh greens well before danger of frost lifts. Maybe the Lord knows the worth of anticipation and hope. I expect so. Think ASPARAGUS, Aunt Luanne.

As for double was a downloading error I chose to keep. First it wouldn't download and then it pasted twice...suits the daffy title, at least.


Aren’t baby pictures wonderful! (Only an insecure teenager could disdain them.) So often they show much of later, more obvious personality traits. This is a perfect example. I can just see Patsy’s sweet, albeit timid, soul in that baby pose.

Pamela Joan and Patricia Anne Brady – known to family as Penny and Patsy. We were roommates throughout our childhood. And we were also womb-mates; but, as you can see we were never identical. She was the red head; I was the brunette. She was shy; I was probably obnoxious. Still underneath all the external differences we are alike in many ways. Last year’s Miller Family Paper featured a snapshot of us unconsciously standing in an exact arms loosely folded position. Funny.

Back to childhood days – it’s so nice to have a playmate for every childhood memory. Patsy was better at play than I. She learned to ride a bike far sooner; I still can barely wobble on the smoothest of surfaces. You almost have to know how clumsy I am to appreciate how much I admired her agility and energy. She did lovely cartwheels all across the yard. Cousin Gene has a slide of her straight-as-an-arrow headstand…with all that beautiful red hair fanned out on the grass. [I did learn to do a walk-over, but – pride goes before you know what – in an effort to do just one more fell straight down mid stride and broke a collar bone.] Did I mention being clumsy? Anyway, Patsy never was.

DH thinks shyness can seem a curse to a child. I’m sure it’s painful, but it always seemed sweet to me, too. Patsy still has a quiet way about her that my children find restful. And perhaps it is goodness and generosity coupled with that calmness. And practical – I think my twin sister invented careful practicality. She’s a nurse and a superb one. One evening before surgery I looked up to see her standing in the hospital doorway. She’d driven six hours to cheer me up beforehand; to clean me up and show me how to get out of bed without hurting so much afterward. She took a leave of absence from her nursing and came to live with and care for our mother the last months of her life. Pat worked in oncology for years, so she knew better than we what Mom would face and how to make her days most comfortable. (After Mom’s passing, I discovered a frock hanging in the closet with a large circle missing from the skirt. Patsy had used the satin in that skirt to make a donut cushion for Mom. It could have been an heirloom – her maid-of honor dress from my wedding - but I’m glad she saw fit to use it more practically!)

Pat still nurses at a Hospice facility near Toledo. Her patients (including home-bound husband Greg) are so blessed to have her. Some would think working with terminally ill patients, as Patsy has done most of her career, a struggle. I think she looks at it as a gift to give…to make her patients’ last days as dignified, comfortable and well-cared for as possible. It was that same precious gift that she gave to our mother and for which we owe her an eternal debt of praise and gratitude.

There is a difference with twins. In many ways we grew up about as close as other siblings. Our adult lives have kept us largely separated, but there is a bond – some indefinable connection – that circumvents all outward distance. Do I love her more? Well, maybe. Yet love aside, she is that part that completes me as no other family member can. My dear treasure … that only a twin may know!

The glamour shot was taken on our 50th birthday. That was nearly 12 years ago, now; so we’ve changed a bit…not that glamour shots much resemble the shootee, anyway.

P.S. About the names...‘cause some of you will be curious. Mom wanted to call the twins Penny & Patsy. Dad didn’t care for Penelope (I probably wouldn’t have either as a child, but I think it a very sweet name now), so I became Pamela. I started spelling my nickname “Peni” about age 13 – I was laid up for three months after walking out in front of an auto and was a bit stir-crazy, ready to escape a bed-bound personality. Today I spell it both ways (Thelma Sue) and might be tempted to revert entirely to Mom’s P-e-n-n-y version were it not for a lovely little namesake, PeniJean. ;c) Some signs of adolescence stick around and prompt endless explanations.