Saturday, November 28, 2009

Fall In Sepia

           A peaceful walk near meadows where young calves
and their mothers grazed


Trees stood barren and dark
as the sky lay a drizzle of misty rain
upon us


It all looked as though this land was under a settling 
sleep that we should not disturb

Our voices echo off the hills
"Hello over there!"
Let the quiet enter again

When leaves fall we see
the gracefulness of trees

Crossed trunks seem to be
in embracement as their
roots clasp the earth

Thursday, November 19, 2009


     My love put this beside our bed last night.  He 

has been working in the home of a elderly couple 

who no longer live there....the mother deceased and

 dad is in a memory impaired home.  He found it

 amongst some newspaper on tattered paper.   He 

copied it out while he ate lunch on their floor...a 

quiet house filled with the memories of a life now 

gone.  Which of them found this and clipped it for 

the other?  My love thought of me and it filled my 

heart thinking of him while he sat alone and wrote

 it down.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sewing... a skill from the past

     Raise your hand if you remember how to sew!  I happened to go into JoAnne's Fabric Store today (a joke of a fabric store!) and realized that the fabric stores of the past have faded away.  This store was dirty, disorganized, there were empty shelves where lovely sewing baskets use to be, messy button display stands, and oh my, the choice of fabric seemed so limited and cheap in quality.  
     My sewing days began in 7th grade.  It was then that I was required to take Home Economics where we were to learn to cook simple dishes and how to sew.  Our sewing assignment was to learn how to sew an A-line dress.  It was a fun class with a patient teacher.   I wore my dress to school along with the rest of the girls in the class at the end of the semester...I assume I wore it only once. 

     My Nan was quite a seamstress having sewn some of my clothes while I was growing up.  Once I had learned the task of sewing she helped me from time to time on some of my sewing ventures.   Some worked and some didn't work the way I had hoped but she was gentle with me and my endeavors. I would bring back hip tapestry fabric and tell her I wanted to make a maxi-dress with a certain look and she would help me find a pattern that sounded like what I was talking about and we would attempt my plan.  

     Once I was married my dear sister-in-law Sue taught me the art of curtain making.  She is a whiz at sewing anything and I felt lucky to have her give me all sorts of ideas even if I couldn't do it.  The best direction she gave me was going to New York Fabrics in Hayward which was a huge fabric store with an inventory for every project one would want to tackle.  From upholstery, to decorative, to quilt makers calico the list went on and on.   Just as you would walk into the store a sign was posted of "No Food or Drink Allowed", as if I would!  I would walk the aisles, up and down, touching them, pulling out the fabric to see what it looked like in it's full width.  The store had employee's who would keep the bolts of fabric neat and orderly often coming by where I was smashing the fabric bolt back in the tightly packed stands they were displayed on.   Always polite about your looking at the fabric they would remove the bolt I tried to put back neatly and they would redo it making sure the long "T" shaped pin was placed back in the exact location at the top with the fabric folded down neatly on a diagonal to cover it.   

     By far my favorite store was Fabric Lane in San Leandro.    The ladies who worked there were beyond my expectations!  Walking inside this store you were greeted with a "Hello, how are you today?" from the cutest little ladies you could imagine.  They all wore aprons with nifty little pockets to hold a tape measure, scissors and pins.  They all seem to be the Grandmotherly type with grey hair neatly coiffed  with a hint of hair spray to hold it's shape.  No overdone makeup just a dusting of blush and a bit of lipstick.  Today we would think they were following us around too much but for me it was just common courtesy. They really wanted to help me.  I would pick out the fabric I wanted and walk up to the large cutting table with my plan of what I wanted to sew usually on a scrap piece of paper.  If it was a window I would give them the measurements of it and tell them what I wanted to do and they would help me figure out exactly how much fabric I needed.  Did I want to double the width or triple it?  Did I know how to match the repeating pattern when I would sew the seams together and know how much extra fabric to allow for this?  Yes, they would help me with a smile every time.  The store was spotless with everything in it's place.  They seemed to have every item one could need for any sewing project and never seem to be out of stock.   It wasn't a craft/fabric store like they seem to do now.  

     When I had my girls that store was there for my sewing foray of baby clothes and receiving blankets.       I met my challenge with collars and zippers.  Still there were many other clothes I could do.   Sitting down at the oversized tables in the rear of the store were huge books filled with clothing or home projects.  I would pour over the pages just imagining what that would look like once sewn.  I loved looking at buttons as there were so many cute buttons for baby clothes.  Little bunnies, or pastel alphabet buttons, pearl white buttons in all sizes, just an endless supply of them on twirling racks.  Then there was rickrack trim and lace trim of different colors, and appliques galore for decorating.  

     I still have my sewing machine that I got in High School.  It needs some work as it has never been cleaned.  I still enjoy sewing as it feels so good when you finish a project.  My last one was a quilt and some curtains for the kitchen.  My daughters have used it from time to time as well for one thing or another.   Sometimes I think a new machine would be nice especially one that self threads since my eyes don't see like they use to.  But then I would have to deal with the dirty JoAnne's Fabric store and that bothers me.  I guess I will just have to overlook the ill kept floor and just touch the fabric and dream of what I could make.


Monday, November 16, 2009


Go, Sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them
The summer flowers depart
Sit still 
As all transform'd to stone,
Except your musing heart.

~The Autumn~ 
 ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning~

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fall's Treasures...

     I don't know why I love Fall.   Yet when I take a walk this time of year it captures my attention.    From the crunching leaves I walk upon my hearing becomes attuned to the different sounds it can make.  I can hear other people walking from afar with the scrunch, scrunch sounds under their own feet.  My eyes see the fluttering leaves that fall from the oak trees I pass or those down the trail I am on.   They fall onto my hair or shoulders to come home to my house where my love pulls them off of me knowing that I have been out on a walk.   The leaves rustle upon the ground when the wind blows sending them skittering on down to a new place to lay until the next breeze moves them on an on.   The color of fall can be so dull and sad with the lifeless faded grey brown of the oaks, yet the next tree could be a flaming red Japanese Maple.   I pause to watch this free show of nature.   Bushy tailed squirrels are busy gathering nuts, jumping like daring acrobats from ground to a fence to a tree.  A flowing motion of their bodies that stop to look at me looking at them, twitching there tail to and fro and then they are off.   I look down and there I see what they are after.   Large acorns all over the ground in a bed of oak leaves.   I remember my daughters collecting them and bringing them home.   I tell myself to bring a bag next time and do the same thing.  Maybe use them to decorate my Thanksgiving table or nestle a candle amongst them in a vase or bowl.   Smooth and oblong, they feel good in one's hands.   Little acorn hats are harder to see but I find them there too.  They remind me of a hat a little fairy might use.   

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sonic Booms and War Games

     You feel a Sonic Boom as much as you hear it.  This incredibly loud rumble and shocking reverberation hits you and your heart falls to the bottom of your stomach.  It persists all the while you are hoping it stops as you are scared of what may happen.   The closest I can give an example of  is when we had the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 as that was the worst earthquake I had ever felt.   You're stopped dead in your tracks wondering when it will stop.   While a sonic boom does not move like an earthquake, you feel the jet's power all the same.  And then it's gone.   A fading away of the deafening sound that was there.   

     This happened maybe a handful of times that I can remember growing up in the Salinas Valley but those few times were enough.   In the 60's we lived not far from Fort Ord where the base was going full speed because of the Vietnam War.  Driving by the base on the way to Monterey we could see the soldiers practicing on the sand dunes in their khaki uniforms and helmets, sometimes with camouflage of nets and debris concealing them.   Kneeling to shoot at targets or running to whatever else they were asked to do.  War games to watch but they were not doing anything like that.  They were learning survival.  These boys were being prepared to ship out and fight.   Something I knew nothing about.

     Many nights I would lay in bed looking out my window and see bright lights flashing and lighting up the sky.  Like a fireworks show without the colors.   You could hear the blasting sounds that came with the display making it hard for me to fall asleep.   I think I was most scared if we took Reservation Road from Highway 1 at night which ran closest to the base.  On that road the display and noise were far louder than a child cares to see or hear.  Those soldiers practiced day and night and seemed like they did it every day of the week.  I never could understand this world soldiers lived in.  I was only a casualty of their drills till we moved away in 1972.  A year later the last troop was sent to Vietnam.  In 1994 the base was closed.



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