Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Remembering Mom

Mother's day has come and gone.

The weekend was crammed with activities, and I didn't have much time to reflect on the occasion.

Often a highlight of my weekend is a visit on Skype or Facetime with one or two or more of my children (and sometimes grandchildren)

As a mother of six, plus the sons and daughters-in-law, and a fine selection of "Kids-on-loan,"I have been overly blessed.

To my own parents, I was a trial most of my life, the black sheep that was "never going to to amount to a hill of beans".
This is the last picture of my mom, taken in 1983 with my dad.

By that time, my own wonderful children were beginning to show that, though I might be lazy and stupid, I had managed to raise an exceptional group of kids. How proud my parents would have been, were they alive last week, to hear the news that my daughter, Marie, had been selected by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, as one of the Commonwealth's "Unsung Heroines in 2017" Selected as "A woman who, without fanfare or recognition, uses her time, talent, spirit, and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others"
In a ceremony at the Massachusetts State House next month she will receive a citation from the Governor.

This news put a special glow to my weekend, and indeed the days that follow.
Friday I was off to "Cub Camp", where I was to manage the leather working station for the Saturday program.
After an evening of prep work, I woke to the sound of rain. Well, rain had been expected. The crafts went well, as did the rest of the activities. My pack cleaned up on the awards in spite of the weather and after a box-oven cake, I departed the campsite so that I could make an early departure on Sunday for choir. I had to warn members too keep a distance because I was still reeking of campfire smoke.

Norie and family showed up for a dinner to celebrate the day and I have been enjoying the leftovers.
With Leia, we had some good rounds of a game of number twelve dominoes. (using the old set I once played with my granddad.)

As for quilting, it runs in the genes.

This "Storm at sea" quilt was made for me by my mother.

Believe it or not, I was allowed to chose the pattern and storm at sea remains one of my all-time favourites.

The strange thing is, though I also chose the fabric, I hate pink.
I selected it because I was such a tom-boy and I thought I should have something a bit more feminine.
Actually, green and blue were the colors I liked best and probably would have made a spectacular quilt.
By now I now know how much love goes into a quilt and the hidden blessings.(and maybe hopes that someday I would straighten out and fly right.) It is a piece of my mom's love that was there all along.

This morning, on the step-tansu above my bed, the orchid cactus had begun to bloom.

This one has become so big and top-heavy that I worry about it falling off the step.

Having been on the run since Friday, it was time to make the rounds with the watering can.

I notice several other cacti in bloom and a few that were "stealth-bloomers" while I was out in the woods playing with the boys.

Two cacti above the white cat have flowers  and this halo of pink has been the start of the blooming season for many years.

It needs re-potting as it keeps growing toward the sun in the south and no matter how often I rotate the pot, it is in dnger of tipping over as it leans.

Trouble is, that is a spiny little sucker ... and I don't know how to go about re-potting it. Maybe I need to take it to a store that sells those and get advice.

Another orchid has begun to open outside my garden door.

This one is a rescue and just tucked in among the spiked fronds of my umbrella palm.

The Spanish moss also came with the orchid.

There are a couple dozen more flower buds getting ready to follow.

And ... hanging from my laundry pole, is another item rescued from the same garden as the orchids.

It looks like  it might be some kind of begonia.

Behind it is a very heavy ball of Staghorn Fern.
That was an earlier rescue from the same garden and luckily made it through the winter. ... I think I brought it in a few days when we had snow, and hung it from the shower curtain bar.
It seems to be happy here outside my window.

Tonight I caught the train home as usual, around 8:pm ... and as usual it was a sardine can with barely any room for one's body above the feet.

We rode one stop and at that station, everyone was required to get off. The train stood empty a while and finally took off  and as trains came and went in the other direction, the platform became more and more crowded.

Finally, another train pulled in. Of course it was already crammed with people and since I was one of the last off the earlier train, standing in the front, I was shoved into the already packed car by those waiting behind. There weren't even enough hand-grips to accommodate that multitude of commuters.
Hard to believe that there are times when I can actually sit and do a bit of piecing during my rides into town and back.
No explanation of why the train was removed from service so I will probably never know.

Well, time to give Nikko her late night walk and take out the trash for tomorrow's collection, and get my stuff laid out for school tomorrow. That is one routine that isn't likely to be interrupted.


  1. Lazy and stupid are NOT words I'd use to describe you. Of course, my parents had me checked out by the March of Dimes, when I was little, to see if those things applied to me. I just did what I wanted, and ignored the rest. I was also a tomboy, and still don't like pink (unless it is HOT pink). Kids grow up, and turn into different people, most of the time. Congrats on your daughter's award! See, stupid and lazy couldn't have raised a kid like that, especially with 5 other kids to raise at the same time.

  2. No matter how sad, or bitter, some of our youth memories may be, Mother's Day is always very special in our hearts... I had a difficult relationship with my mom - encouragements, trust and joy were veeery seldom. She died 24 years ago, aged only 64, and yet I still miss her (or do I miss the mother I would have loved to have ?). When she passed away, I didn't get anything from her, not even a scarf (and you're so Lucky, Julie, having a quilt made by her)... which led me to think this wouldn't happen to my 4 kids, and I started quilting. I wanted to make things that would warm them and would be passed to them. So, in a way, I'm grateful to my mom, although IF she'd seen my quilts she wouldn't even have believed I made these - she didn't think me capable enough. She always told me "you've got 2 left hands, you can't do things properly" Of course this induced a huge lack of confidence in myself and it took me yeaars and years to overcome this... Now I'm stronger & so proud of my kids, my dear husband and may I say, of myself :D
    All this to say I know what you mean, Julie.

    Oh, you must be so proud of your daughter, heartful congratulations ! And happy (belated) Mother's Day, my friend ! You're a wonderful mother & grandmother, and a GREAT woman !


  3. I agree with Cheryl - lazy and stupid are not the words that describe you, in fact the opposite is true. It is unfortunate that your parents and family couldn't accept your differences from the mainstream, but I hope, and it seems, that you have got past carrying the weight of their negative view. The pink quilt is beautiful, although I agree that it would have been more so in blues and greens! Lovely flowers! Oh I would like to see the flowers in Japan!!

  4. Your quilt, in pink, is a treasure, and you must have inherited the sewing genes along the way. Yes, they would be both so proud of you, and for Marie, that is indeed a wonderful honour. Parents sometimes expect a whole lot more from their children, and are not able to accept us as we are. You are an achiever in the more than 100% region, I am always stunned at what you do in one day, far less a week or more. Never doubt yourself Julie, you are a trooper and your children and the next generation will always know how generous and loving you are. XXXX

  5. Please congratulate Marie for me! And Happy belated Mother's Day from another black sheep - ;))

  6. You are one of the busiest and giving woman I know, and your children are a reflection of that.
    Love the quilt, really beautiful and a treasure to have.


  7. Your blooms are gorgeous!! Glad you rescued the plants. I was an awkward tomboy, who could not meet my parents wishes on a regular basis. I turned out ok. I am taking care of my handicapped brother, after years of bad health for my parents. Happy Mothers Day and congrats on your daughters honors!!

  8. Congratulations to Marie-San. What a VERY proud mother you are! You and Paul did a great job with your children! A lot of people have trouble with just one! (It was touch and go with two for me!)

  9. Why do people need a black sheep? Some parents can't see that THEY have failed the child, rather they claim that the child has failed them. They should of course celebrate the best in their child and see the uniqueness as the treasure it is.
    When it comes to child abuse, it is often a vicious circle, and the ill-treated child will treat her/his own child badly. You once told me that 'No way, this is not going to happen'. You have indeed lived by that rule, and given the very best treatment, love and support, not only to your biological children, but also to those you have fostered, and all the Scouts and students, too. It is not surprising that the result can be seen in Marie's achievement, and the love your children and grandchildren show you.
    You have all the right to be a very PROUD mother, grandmother, leader and teacher.
    Thank you for being my friend and sharing your story with me.

  10. Julie, many congratulations on your daughter's achievements ! It's clear that you did a tremendously successful job in raising your children. :-)
    I too was the "black sheep" of my family, an awkward tomboy during a time when girls were supposed to be super-frilly and dainty. I'm sure I disappointed plenty of female relatives who wanted a quiet little girl in pink lace and pink ribbons. So, I know how that goes.
    Your flowers are really beautiful. We always enjoy seeing the photos of your gorgeous and interesting plants.
    Thanks again, many congratulations to you and Marie, and blessings always, from Daryl Lynn on behalf of Marina. :-)

  11. Sounds to me like you are the 'white sheep' born to a black sheep family. You just followed a different path. Thanks to women like you, we are seeing more female professionals in engineering, science, and many other fields. Congratulations to your daughter. It is so nice to see the hardworking quiet ones get recognition and rewarded for their dedication.

  12. Your talents and enthusiasm for life are shining examples that I keep close to my heart. I've never met a more talented and sweet person - too bad that often when we follow our own path, others make it hard for us by disapproving, instead of helping us along. You've managed to overcome and raise a wonderful family - what a great honor for your daughter and a tribute to her parents. Just keep being you - we love you for who you are!!!