Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The rat race has begun

My last stitching of 2019 was a little holiday runner for my geta bako (shoe cupboard) in the entryway.

A few of these blocks were made on the train into the city and back from the huge amount of rescue fabric I was sorting.
My youngest daughter went through the pack of finished blocks and arranged some into a small table runner ... not finished yet but packed as take-along work and the first stitches of the new year.

The feedsack quilt waits patiently for the dust to settle.

Kimie and her daughter Irene were the first to arrive.

We enjoyed part of one day at Toshimaen, an amusement park near our home. Of course Irene had to try out a few of the rides.

There were a lot of displays that were lit up in the evening just as we were leaving.

When my first daughter arrived just after Christmas with her daughter, they made another trip to the park for more of the exciting rides and displays.

Just outside the back entrance is a ToysR us, and of course that had to be checked out too.

The holiday seemed to race by. Kimie and Irene went off to meet up with long-time friends.
Julie Jr. and Naomi planned a date with an uncle and his family, and I got so distracted that I forgot I had to return for my english class... Oops!

Sunday after church, members gathered to prepare the special New Years food for the New Years homeless meal.

Daughter Norie brought flowers and greens from her garden and I made an arrangement in memory of my husband who had begun the homeless meals long ago.

There was a good turnout of helping hands, and besides 8 members of my family, many of my scouts came to help.
With the count of 19 people, we got service hours for my cub pack.

The scouts can count these hours toward advancement requirements. It was a great way to end the year.

Here we are together....

from left to right, Julie, Kimie, me, Norie, and my "daughter-on-loan", Renske.

Granddaughters were busy working in the kitchen.

Here is the group who showed up early on the first to serve the homeless. Nine of my scout group and my family included (six in the front row plus me in the second and Norie and Hiro at the back.
Church family, Scout family and my family ... a great way to begin the year!

 Raising kids who share my love of nature, nearly every day included a trip through parks and garden to enjoy the nature.

My daughter was interested in all these pine trees with belly bands made of straw.
Years ago, red pines began dying off because of pine blight carried by the pne-bark beetle.

These bands are tied loosely at the top and tightly at the base. The insects come down as the weather cools and get caught in the straw band. In the spring, these bands will be removed and burned.
It was refreshing to see so many large red pines in good health.

Another interesting custom is the way pines with wide heavy branches are protected from heavy snow with strings.

These techniques have made this old garden a wonderful place to enjoy lots of mature trees.

A display at the park gate set a new year mood.

Note a small Mt. Fujii and the olympic rings on display.

Another New Years outing was to the Hakone Open Air Museum.
We enjoyed a meal and a walk through to hills,

Lots of new sculptures ...

A hot foot bath ...

The newly renovated Picasso museum ...

and ... of course an interactive sculpture of nets for the girls to play on and in..

Of course, knowing my granddaughters, they all headed for the top.

Naomi tried out swinging on those hanging balls.

It was a fun adventure and at the end, we stopped at the Tenzan Onsen in Hakone Yumoto where we had dinner and a wonderful dunk in the bath.

I'm sure the girls will have a lot to share with friends upon their return.

Kimie and Irene lefton the weekend and Julie and Naomi left Monday after getting up at 4:am to deliver Onigiri with me ... the first delivery of the new year.

The house has become suddenly quiet.

I spent the day taking down the tree, packing up the ornaments, and hunting for things that have been moved in the busyness of these days.

The genkan now has a few mice on display to celebrate the year and the boar was packed up to rest for the next 12 years.

The mouse on the left, sitting among some cats, was made by my sister-in-law. She made an animal for display for each of the 12 zodiac years. The brown mouse is a bell and the little mouse is sitting on rice cakes among traditional new year's items. The brown owl holds my hankos as they are often needed to sigh delivery slips and the like.

The mouse or rat (same word in Japanese) is the first in line of the 12 zodiac animals. According to ancient Chinese lore, the rat had only a slim chance in the race to determine the zodiac order, Yet it's intelligence, agility, and quick thinking enabled it to win, as it hitched a ride on the ox to cross a fast flowing river and then jumped off over its head to cross the finish line first.

Those born in the rat year, (1924,36,48,60,72,84,96, or 2008 are in for a lucky 12 months. The rat is associated with family and fertility so expect a year of hanging out with parents, siblings, or kids)
Well, it sure did start that way!
The rat, as a highly perceptive animal, can sense its environment and know when to act. I will be looking forward to a very productive and successful year ahead.

And ... on my door is the first quilt I made after coming to Japan years ago. It is a simple New Years decoration with items used to celebrate the new year. Games children play, a mallet of good fortune, pine, plum and bamboo, and maybe a sip of sake in that gourd.

Here's wishing all my wonderful blogging friends a very happy new year!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Changing times ?

This has been a very strange fall. We went directly from hot humid sauna weather to early winter.

Trees began dropping their leaves without changing color.

Other plants seem to be confused as well. The spider lilies around the neighborhood only sent up one or two flowers from beds that are usually full. The white ones came into bloom at the autumnal equinox but the red ones were about a week later.

Usually they pop up suddenly within days. A few weeks ago, what looks like a spider lily popped up in the pot beside my gate. The flowers are still opening one-by-one.
The strange thing is not only the timing, but the color is a light purple.

I have never seen one this color and I'm wondering if it is a volunteer hybrid.

I have a number of agapanthus, and when I looked at that pot hanging on the fence, what should I see but a flower of the same color there. Definitely, they are not the same.

What is really strange is that the agapanthus blooms in early summer. Another confused plant... Maybe competing with the newest addition to the garden?

And, with most of the toad lilies finished, there, in the same front bed was one just beginning to open. A confusion of the purple flowers all at the same time.

Our usual winter is a season of bright blue skies. I remember one winter when my parents visited, every day in the month was sunny. These days we have revolving sun, clouds, and rain. The wind rattles the shutters and there are plenty of green leaves falling along the street (from my own plum tree) that I go out to sweep several times each day. If I don't get them swept as they fall, I will have to walk farther to pick them up all the way to the corner.

Coming home from my cub scout meeting, I see the Tokyo Tower, usually lit ln warm red tones has taken on a different look.

Maybe for the holidays? I always pass tourists? taking selfies as I walk to and from the station.

The moon will be full on Christmas eve ... but will we see it? Rain is predicted .... though I think the weather app on my cell phone should get the pinocchio award, as it is wrong most of the time ... or does it not rain because I carry an umbrella on those days?
Well, sometimes I come out of the train station and before I step out into the pouring rain, I check the app once again. Well, it says "Partly cloudy" I must be under the cloud at that time and by the time I get home, the rain will be back in the cloud.

After watching the lights installed each Monday morning as I drive to church to pick up the onigiri for delivery, The street running between Aoyama and Harajuku station is now lit each night.

I noticed on Thursday that music was playing on speakers along the street and the lights were going off and on in a variety of patterns.

Years ago this custom ended... maybe to save money or protect the keyaki trees ... but I think these lights attract lots of shoppers and tourists to these high end shops. A few years ago, the custom returned.

And, a bit of a sad change to my neighborhood is the number of lovely large old houses being torn down.

The crane is parked in what was a lovely rose garden last week. Those roses bloomed all year long, even in the winter. That is rather rare because Tokyo soil is really not very rose-friendly.

I have watched many of these houses and gardens lately completely wiped off so this seems to be the new normal.

One huge space was filled with six new homes (all only a foot or two apart). The most recent is all flat now waiting for the next step. Gone was a big beautiful Black pine that had been trained to make a bridge over the path to the entry.

My daughter snatched up a number of bulbs being bulldozed from the garden.

The place along my small street was replaced with an apartment building with 8 apartments that can't possibly be any larger than a 9x9 foot room with bath and toilet and maybe a small kitchen sink and hot-plate.

Tomorrow, home will be a bit more lively with the coming of the first of my holiday visitors. After promising myself to get things sorted and picked up, I am still struggling to make space for visitors to sit. At least the bedding has been set up and the lights are on the wee tree. I think I will let the granddaughters put on the decorations when they get here. I'm sure they have plans for things to do and time will fly with choir duty and homeless feeding tossed in as well.

AND .... In today's mail was a postcard stating that my Partnership block will be in quilt #14 at the Tokyo Dome quilt show. There is a discount ticket included in the card but it is more expensive than other years. Still, January will be starting and ending with lots to do.

Warmest Holiday wishes to all my blogging friends.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

A rather lonely week....

A week ago Friday, I said goodbye to Nikko who has been part of our life for the last sixteen and a half years.

As a puppy she had been abandoned in the hills of Tochigi.
Found by my youngest daughter and son on a trip to Nikko, she was brought home in a box, skin and bones and so dirty her white coat hardly could be seen.

Though I really didn't want a dog, my daughter said, "If you don't want her, I'll take her back." How could anyone abandon that puppy along the road ... or take her back.

She went with me to the bathroom and came back somewhat cleaner. I pulled out the old dog bed and set her in the sun to dry.

At that point, I hear... "Well, if we are going to keep her, we need to give her a name."

Lying in the bed with the late afternoon sun sparkling on her fur, I thought since she came from Nikko a name meaning sunshine would be fitting.

As it turned out, this was a dog filled with a sunny disposition.

She was kind and gentle with children and even babies who lay across her back.
She got along with other dogs and even cats. She liked to run and chase sticks and balls and tease us with squeaky toys.

When I first took her to the vet, he said she was about three months old. Counting backwards, that put her birthday on valentine's day.

Paul loved that dog and took her along when he biked to the supermarket. He would leave her tied outside to the fence while he shopped and come out to find her surrounded by admirers.

Since I had taught her to sit and wait when being fed, until I said "itadakimasu", (said before partaking) Paul would bring her a nice snack and show off her talents before those admirers.
Here she is waiting for the word to enjoy a birthday cake Paul had brought home for her.

A month or so after Paul died, I was shopping at the same store with Nikko waiting outside. When I came out, one of her admirers pulled a package of treats out of her handbag saying she had been looking every day for Nikko to come there.

Nikko went with me to almost all Scout events and made friends with many scouts and scouters.
They knew they could bribe her to do all kinds of tricks with just a piece of cheese.

Here she is at camp Zama after having a run with this boxer.

She loved camp and knew that dead food could be found under any picnic table. She would sometimes escape in the night to make the rounds of campsites to check out the tables.
She would ride beside me on the front seat of the car, and when we crossed the bridge over the Tama river, She would know we were going to camp and get all excited for the last of the trip.

Nikko was not allowed on furniture ... at least when I was home... though she did sneak onto Paul's bed when I was out, and he allowed that even though she chewed holes in his quilt and destroyed the down comforter.

She shed white hair every minute of every day throughout the year. I probably had dog hair in every quilt I made and I'm sure what she left behind I will be dealing with the rest of my lifetime.

If you come to visit ... don't wear black. 
The contents of that plastic bag is about ten minutes results of a brushing.

Norie removed almost that amount on her last few days.

By the time we went to camp in June, Nikko had begun the first stages of doggy dementia.
She was walking in circles.

The circles became smaller and smaller as the months went by and she often got all tangled up.

Her appetite was still good but gradually I had to put her in diapers. She slept long hours when she was not circling and in the last weeks her balance was poor and she could not walk far. In the end, she stopped eating and she could no longer stay on her feet or get up alone.

Euthanizing a pet in Japan is not done by most vets. Even Friday when we carried her to a vet who might comply, they said they could give her an IV that would keep her alive a few more days, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday ... three days when my schedule kept me out most of the day...

Did I want my dog to die whimpering and  kicking on the floor all alone with no one to come to her rescue? Lying quietly on the table for several hours of discussion, they finally agreed that three more days would not add quality to her life.

Saturday, Norie rode with me to Jindaiji temple where my former dog was cremated. Everyone was very kind. They even marked down the price, and when I got back home, the doorbell rang and there was a pretty bouquet of flowers sent by the vet's office.

The genkan is now nice and clean but there is still dog hair in every corner and it is so lonely to come home to an empty house. I sweep the leaves and walk alone.
People who walk past stop and ask about the dog.
Even yesterday as I went to the department store to shop, two women stopped me to ask about Nikko.

In one more week, I will have two daughters and two granddaughters visiting. The house will be full and surely there will be more family coming around. The choir schedule continues, and because of some taking holidays, I am often the only tenor holding my part. The tenor section is the smallest anyway so even one gone leaves a big gap.

My feedsack quilt is all basted and folded on the sofa but still waiting for the first quilt stitch. Fabric being sorted is piled everywhere and not a lot of time left before it must be set aside until later. Riding the train into town and back I have assembled a small runner of Christmas print scraps for my genkan shoe box top.

Several friends have also lost pets this week ... but my son has added a new kitten to his family. Hopefully, one of these days, another dog will find its way into heart and home....

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A crazy busy week

Friday night I put the last coat of varnish on the advent ornaments and Saturday morning I packed them in bubble wrap and took them to the main post office. I didn't even take a picture, but used pictures of past ornaments to decide the colors.

They were pretty much the same except the present had the bow on top and I substituted a crown for the ball.

I was relieved after walking all the way to the main PO that they were open on a Saturday because our local one is closed.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the package made it to Oregon and was delivered in less than a week. Hopefully they will all fit in the numbered pockets of the calendar and will be a happy countdown to the holiday.
Since my Saturday english class was cancelled, I went into town for our church's homeless luncheon. Since my husband was responsible for making this monthly event a part of the church service, I like to go if I happen to have the day free. Another scout leader and two scouts came so we could count ten service hours for our unit.

Sunday included the usual choir practice and the anthem and was followed by rehearsal for the coming "Choir Sunday" , followed by another rehearsal for the Christmas concert. I usually do shopping for the week along the way home  from church as I have to get off the train at the main station, then ride again to my stop ... but I was so tired I decided to postpone that part of the trip until another day.

Monday was the usual 4:00 am departure for onigiri delivery and then off to school. I did the weekly shopping on the way home from school and that was a good move as the store was less crowded and the check-out lines shorter.

Tuesday I had a date with the dentist which is near the school, and went from there to school for a second day.  Wednesday I had a date with the Toyota shop to look into why my car was pulling slightly to the left. It was fixed in less time than it took to drive there and back and there was no charge ... but I need to go back this week to have the brake pads changed.

Thursday evening was another very long choir practice and Friday I went to Nishimachi school to help with the quilt. We are just about finished piecing the background and will soon begin adding cherry blossoms to the scene. I enjoy the group effort and hope I can make contributions that are worthwhile. While there, I was able to pick out some white kimono silk.
I had been asked to alter a wedding dress by a church member, She had ordered it from China on line and the fit was a bit off. The white silk was just what I needed to alter a very low neckline in the back. Friday night I set to work and Saturday morning I again went into town to buy hooks and eyes for the project. My regular sewing shop was closed and I had to waste time hunting for an alternative plan. Luckily I found something that worked and after my english class I was able to finish up the dress and get it packed up for Sunday delivery.

We have had a long run on rainy cold days but I was able to grab a short bit of sun to take a picture of the feedsack quilt so far.

At this point I am thinking of adding a small one-inch border around the applique border. I will choose something very light ... pale blue or pink or maybe green. I may have some light lavender in my stash. If I get back into town this week I will see if they have a yoyo making kit. I am also hoping for a day to lay out and cut the backing for piecing. If I am lucky I may find time to get this basted.

It might be nice to have a warm quilt to sit under while I work now that days have become rather cold.
This week is another trip to the dentist and the Toyota place, more choir rehearsals and a meeting with my old quilting group. Also on the list is figuring out where to put my fabric collection and get the place tidied up for family time. Then... there is a thanksgiving outing to fit in. Never a dull minute! AND, unless my cell phone app is lying, there is going to be another week of rainy days. That should keep me indoors some of the time!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Getting ready for Christmas

Monday was my usual 4:am onigiri delivery ... going out to the parking lot in some light rain.

By the time I returned to the parking lot after the delivery, rain was falling heavily and I returned home with one very wet dog.

With a bit of time to mop up and change clothing, I was off to school.

It was nice to be back after a long break...  My boss having taken time off after having her baby.

The rain stopped during the afternoon but by the time I got home it was dark and I was tired. It was all I could do to take care of the dog and heat up a bit of dinner before hitting the sack.

Tuesday I finished assembling the 4th border for the feedsack quilt and hand stitched it in place. I am quite happy with the results so far. It is sitting on the sofa while I consider the next step and get to work on something more urgent.

My #1 daughter had the original Advent calendar, made when my kids were small. A year or two earlier, I made a new hanging to replace the old one that had been made of felt and not outlived the moths. Then, the hanging items that had been made of home-made clay succumbed to the test of time  ... so this year I had decided to carve wooden ornaments like I had made for the other kids.

I cut the pieces from wood during the summer while I had my electric saw out at summer camp and began roughing out the figures. Half were stashed in a baggy ready to be fine tuned and half in another baggy waiting to be roughed out. Well, My daughter lives in Oregon and an Advent calendar needs to begin on December first ... so ... this is going to have to make it into the mail soon. The time for dithering is over!

Today I finished roughing out the second half and then worked on sanding and putting in the detail. Tomorrow I will begin the painting. It will take several coats of paint because it soaks into the wood. Then I will have to put in the hanging loops and coat them with about five coats of varnish. Hopefully I can have them all boxed up and ready to fly by the end of the week.

When I laid them on the tray for a picture, I noticed one was missing. Where could it have gone? Maybe it fell off the table into the wastebasket with the wood chips. I had dumped that basket into the waste bin with the garbage ... so, first thing to do was go through all that stuff and check. Yuck! Well, I didn't find it there, so I began to look under furniture and other stuff where I was working. Finally I did find it down in the sofa ... just as I was wondering if it would take less time to cut a second one.

Now all are ready to begin the painting. My fingers have a few nicks. When I teach the scouts woodcarving, I tell them what they will probably be doing if they get a cut. cutting toward themselves, being distracted, trying to cut off too much at once, working when tired, and rushing to finish. Yep. Rushing when tired is dangerous. I have made bench hooks for the scouts to use to hold their work so they don't need to cut toward themselves but I didn't bother to go and get one for myself. One bandaid later ....

If the sun comes out tomorrow, I hope to get a picture of the quilt so far,   Hopefully I can get the painting done before I have to run off to choir practice, and I am really happy to get this far with the end in sight.

Monday, November 4, 2019

A bit of sun and a bit of progress

Taking advantage of some rainy days, three borders have now been added to the feed sack quilt.

Once it is ready for quilting, I plan to add a bit of embroidery to the border.

I am considering a one-inch outer border made from strips of leftover feedsack fabrics. Not quite sure if it is needed or the fabrics would be strong enough for the wear edges get.

I have also been thinking of centers for the flowers in the borders. I had thought of vintage buttons but they might get caught on things once it is on a bed.
Then I thought of making small yoyos. They were rather popular back in the days of feed sacks.

The flowers and butterflies and vines are now pinned in place on the last border.  This can be rather addictive but I will have to take a break to finish a whittling project that needs to be in the mail within a few weeks.

Cool fall days have replaced the sauna of summer ... a sudden swing from t-shirts to a down jacket.
A few more layers above the quilt on my bed ...

The last Sunday in October, I met with my scouts at the entry tori gate to the Meiji shrine.

The plan was to cover the requirements for rank advancement in the area of "Duty to God".

Luckily my assistant had printed out the requirements for different ranks so we were able to run through them all.

The requirements are written for BSA members assuming everyone has access to materials in their own language and belong to a church. My group, being from  all different countries is not likely to find a book  in their school library to read about the pilgrims.

We had to learn a song and a prayer ... fine for those with church traditions.
My goal in choosing the Meiji shrine was the long meditative walk through beautiful nature.
There were lots of tourists and worshipers too. We could talk about respect for religions other than our own and how both Shinto traditions and Buddhist traditions and holidays are part of the local culture.

We observed at least three wedding processions.

We saw children dressed in Kimono to celebrate an early "Shichi-go-san"... the 7, 5, 3, age celebration for children...

Another procession coming through the gate...

                                      A display of chrysanthemums.

                                 Another display of bonsai and mini garden layouts....

                                            Cases of Japanese sake, donated to the shrine ...

And, across from the sake,  a display of casks of wine donated by winemakers.  I guess there will be plenty to serve all those wedding guests.

It was a very long walk to the inner area and back and the kids still had plenty of energy at the end. I was glad to sign off their books after covering their remarks. (and glad to get a seat part of the way home). With so many days of rain, we were lucky to have a dry day for the outing.

Then rain set in again until Saturday when we had a weed-a-thon. Three bags of weeds now waiting for tomorrow's trash collection and multiple service hours for our unit...

Somewhere in between I fit in a birthday with a big multiple skype with my kids. I think I needed a bigger screen to get everyone in view. What a joy!

The cookie fairy showed up and put in a day of hard work ... and a few got left for me to share with friends.

And, if I needed to feel even more loved,

... look at all the flowers that joined the party...

Not much room left for meals on that table...

Well, time to wind my clock and get back to the tasks at hand.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Rainy day flowers

A week of rain means progress on the feed sack quilt border.

I wanted to use some of the smaller feed sack scraps in the quilt and I thought an applique border would be a good way to do it.

This is the first long border, now all stitched and ready to add to the quilt.

I have begun selecting flower petals for the second long border and once they are in place, I will add the vines and leaves.

The top and bottom borders will also have flowers and I am thinking of adding a butterfly to each corner. Somewhere I saw a picture of a vintage quilt with butterflies made from feed sack fabrics. I think I made a sketch of the design but have yet to find which book I sketched it in.
Well, there is still time to find it as that will come at the end of the last borders.

Tuesday, while basting flower petals, I watched the enthronement ceremony of the new emperor on TV.

It was very serious and formal, and just as the deep purple curtains of the canopied throne were being pulled apart to reveal him in all his glory, the rain that had been falling for days came to a halt.

Then, a bit later, as he unfolded and began to read the written proclamation of his ascension, the sky turned a bright blue with the sun shining through my curtains.
I heard from a friend that he had seen a rainbow along with the sun.

The rain has now returned in force, but it was nice to have an opportunity to air my bedding in the sun and hang my wash.

I am wondering how the weather went so suddenly from a sauna to sitting indoors in a light down jacket. The dogwood trees in the park are dropping bright red leaves but others have yet to turn color.

The Hototogisu, named after the spotted Little Cuckoo, has begun to bloom in the front hedge and along the garden path.

In english it is called Hairy Toad Lily. The best part of this flower, beyond its beauty, is it is fine with excess shade and thrives on neglect.

This one has come up amid the azalea bushes along the west side of the house, making up for the lack of blooms (only one flower along the whole length of hedge) this year.

Tomorrow we will fill our rainy day time with a visit from the "Cookie Fairy". The expected produce to be Halloween cookies. Whoever would have thought Japan would have embraced that holiday!!!
Certainly, it was unheard of years ago, and even when my own kids were young, we could actually enjoy a meal without having to jump up and run to the door for trick-or-treaters.

Friday, October 18, 2019

rainy day work

Between train rides into town and down time at home, the feedsack stars got joined together.

I was a bit worried I would not be able to get all those points to meet, and was even thinking of adding sashing, but this time I am satisfied with the results. Each star has two setting fabrics matching at least two of the colors in the print. Two weeks ago I laid the blocks out on the floor of the church fellowship hall before choir practice and tried to get a good balance of colors.

This is a rather dull picture taken on the park fence on a very cloudy morning. In fact, it began sprinkling as I took the quilt down and started home. Actually, the blocks look a lot brighter.

Some facebook group friends said I should finish this without a border but I am considering an applique using the leftover feedsack scraps. Maybe on a muslin solid. To my thinking, a border would hold all these randomly colorful blocks together. Somewhere I saw some simple flowers that used a variety of prints... and maybe a vine and leaves. There is no rush so I may experiment a bit before I decide. Maybe I can find some inspiration in my collection of books...

The weather predictions include more rain in the forecast. It has actually turned rather cold and I added a light down comforter to the quilt on my bed. I was rather looking forward to something between the sauna days of summer and pulling out winter sweaters.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Indoor work

When typhoons bring wind and rain, sometimes it works for the best.

In preparation for the typhoon, I checked up on my outdoor plants.

This night-blooming cereus has been producing a big bud, and since I missed the bloom on the last one, I didn't want this one ruined by wind and rain so I brought it inside and put it on the bookcase above my futon.

Lots of things were cancelled because of the looming storm, but I decided to go on with my Cub pack meeting on Friday evening. We cancelled our raingutter regatta because it needs to take place outside on the roof of the American Club and not so good in wind and rain.
The regular meeting went well with new members joining, and we ended in time for families to go home without worry of storms.

Saturday, I was to sing with a small choral group at a wedding. It was probably a good call, but sad that the wedding was postponed. I feel sorry for the family who had put so much into the planning, but I enjoyed being able to attend my English class and be nearby for any possible wind events.

As it turned out, my area was not hit hard. Lots of rain fell, and as I was taking Nikko out regularly for her business trips, I was able to clear the sewer drains to keep the walkways from becoming lakes.

The wind gusts were not so hard, but I could hear much stronger wind screaming high above. None of the plants blew off the wall. One wet dog spent her time inside.

 The night-blooming cereus rewarded me for it's rescue...

and, to tell the truth, I might have missed the bloom had it been outside.
I have to admit it was a bit hard to turn off the light and shut my eyes.

It blows my mind that a flower this lovely only opens in the dark of night and blooms for only a few hours. By morning it was a hanging finished bulb.

It causes me to wonder what beauty we miss each day because our attention is elsewhere ...
so many things that are here and gone before getting our attention...
even people who are here and gone before we really get to know them...

Morning brought bright blue skies and sun. Though many trains were not yet running, I was able to attend church, and there were enough parts in the choir to sing Monteverdi's beautiful "Beatus vir" with flute and violin joining the accompaniment.

With extra indoor time, I was able to work on this year's Stewardship banner.

The quilted words at the bottom, "Anywhere, Lord, any time, don't show up with this lighting but will be at eye level when it is hung.

This is taken from the spiritual. I added a few extra four-letter words to fill the cross.

I thought the background would be more interesting than a solid color, and in a way, represents the theme as it takes a variety of many colors to make a rainbow and a variety of talents to keep a church active.

I still need to add the hanging sleeves and buy some dowels.

I took Nikko to the park water tap and gave her a shampoo so she could dry out in the sun and washed down the genkan and entryway tiles.

Seven rows of feedsack stars are sewed together ... thanks to being able to actually sit on the train with connecting lines being down and people staying home.
And ... what should really be getting my attention? The giant spoon syndrome that had turned my livingroom into an indoor disaster. 

Monday, September 30, 2019

Another finish

Well, the border linked hearts don't really show up very well, but it is now done and bound and labeled and ready to pass to the next step on its way to Austria.

Next in line should be a stewardship banner, and I have a plan in mind, but the committee is yet to discuss let alone approve the plan. Hopefully I won't be backed into the corner at the last minute.

I am thinking of beginning to sew the feedsack blocks together. I need to make one more block and then lay them out for arrangement.

The spider lilies outside my front gate have finally bloomed. I think with so many tall buildings cutting off all but about 30 minutes of sun to the garden has made a big difference on the timing and amount of blooms my small garden produces.

Even the toad lilies are much later producing buds this year.

The weather is a wee bit cooler.
I have been leaving Nikko outside between the front door and the gate during the daytime. The space is a bit bigger than the genkan. Of course she knocks over flowerpots and tracks dirt all over, but it is easier to sweep up than the scrubbing down of the genkan tiles.

Tonight I will leave her out a bit longer until I return from church ... and see how it goes.