Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bye, Bye Bunions. Final Chapter

Today I saw my foot doctor, Dr. Ron Cervetti, for a follow up appointment.  His assistant took an lots of pictures of my feet using the trusty  x-ray machine.  I climbed onto the exam table and waited for the doc and a different assistant.
We looked at the films and the doc pointed out how nicely my bones were welding together.  "In another year it will look like all one bone," he smiled as he pointed to my skeletal feet on the wall.  He also pointed out that one screw was a bit high and if it bothers me, it can be fixed.  At this time, it is not noticeable at all.  So I say, leave well enough alone. 
I do not need to go back for another year and then it will be just to be sure everything healed as anticipated. 

As I look back over the last year, I am so grateful for modern medicine and a competent and caring doctor.  I was never in more pain from my two bunion surgeries than I was before I went under the knife.  I took all of his instructions to heart and tried to follow them to the letter.  As a result my healing was as I expected.  I love to walk down my lane to get my mail and round up the walk to a mile or two.  And I don't have pain!  A year ago, this was not the case.

I'm so glad I went ahead and did both feet back to back.  Would I do anything different?
Absolutely, I would cut my calorie intact back  while in recovery.  I ate too many carbs and with no exercise I have to figure out how to eliminate those ten extra pounds that settled in quite comfortably.

On to the next task...
And thanks, Dr. Cervetti. It's nice to be just another pretty foot in the crowd.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Lovin'

Tis the season for fresh veggies and I am in love.  My little square of heaven is producing a bountiful crop and is the best garden I've had in more years than I can count.

My garden had a late start due to my foot surgery and recovery time.  This spring was warm and beautiful and many vegetable crops were planted early.  Some folks were already eating radishes before I had my seeds out of the paper bag. 

One sunny day my brother, Larry and his family helped me sow the seeds.  Michael, Carly, Jane, Larry, Rick and I headed out to my back twenty foot square field.  For the past few years Rick and I have been building raised beds.   Rick got the backhoe and filled the bucket with good black soil and added it to the existing boxes of soil.  We all grabbed a shovel and worked the soils together.  In a few short hours we had butternut squash, carrots, swish chard, spinach, green beans, and mesclun seeds in the ground.  The plants also got their toes in the dirt - tomato, both sweet grape and celebrity, sweet peppers, broccoli, and brussel sprouts.  Michael did an awesome job of watering everything daily until all the plants were well established. 

I soon realized I needed at least one more spot for sweet potatoes.  In the past Rick fashioned my raised beds out of re-purposed lumber from the farm.  But, since Rick was in the thick of field work and fighting off kidney stones,  I didn't want to ask him for help.  Consequently,  a big box lumber yard got my money for a prefab raised bed.  I filled the square with a nice mix of soil, etc and my sweet potato plants had a new home.

As the lazy(?) hazy days of summer passed, giving my garden spot a drink became a daily event.  The days were so hot and dry, they plants were quite thirsty.  I also took my sacks of shredded paper and tucked the plants in bed with a nice coverlet.  The combination of raised beds, mulch and dense plants made the task of wedding almost non existent. 

Pule, Carly, Michael in front of our little piece of heaven.
As autumn approaches the fruits of our labor are readily apparent.   When the time of day arrives for meal preparation, we scamper to the garden and choose the ripe veggies, lay them in my basket, wash, cook and eat.  There is nothing finer than eating food I have grown immediately after harvest.  It was so worth any effort we put into it.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galations 6:9

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I live at Sew-N-Sow Lane E or Sew -N-Sow Lane N.  Perhaps if you have visited me you noticed our street signs.  Sewing, or is it sowing? Rick and I ordered them years ago with Christmas money.  So what do they mean?   What is it that I do?   Here's  a multiple choice question.  You have one minute.  Ready, Set, Go.

A.  Sewing - the art of cutting apart fabric and putting it back together in a new piece.  Used to create items.  Or as the dictionary states:
sew  (s)
v. sewed, sewn (sn) or sewed, sew·ing, sews
1. To make, repair, or fasten by stitching, as with a needle and thread or a sewing machine: sew a dress; sew on a button.
2. To furnish with stitches for the purpose of closing, fastening, or attaching: sew an incision closed.
B.   Sewing to complete something
sew up Informal
1. To complete successfully: Our team has sewn up the championship.
2. To gain complete control of; monopolize.
3. To make sure of: campaign strategists who were trying to sew up the election results.
a needle and thread or with a sewing machine.
C.   Sowing - scattering of seed, to spread over a large area
sow 1  (s)
v. sowed, sown (sn) or sowed, sow·ing, sows
1. To scatter (seed) over the ground for growing.
2. To spread (land, for example) with seed.
3. To strew something around or over (an area); distribute something over.
4. To propagate; disseminate: sow rumors.
To scatter seed for growing.

If you chose, "D", all of the above you are correct.  Congratulations. 
 Sewing is has been a hobby of mine since I was twelve years old.  My first project was a pair of  bright pink and white striped pajamas.  My older sister, Audry, was an avid seamstress at the age of nineteen and decided to share her love with me.  I still remember stitching the crotch seam all the way to the hem of the pants and her laughter as she saw my "lovely work".  I mastered the task of ripping out quite early in my career.  I managed to complete them and wore them until they were beyond rags.  
   Two years later I entered high school, and all freshman girls were required to take  Home Economics class.  When it came to sewing skills I was sure I had them all.  After all, I HAD made my own pajamas two years earlier, and a quilt for eighth grade history class.  So I cut my out my sleeveless dress using a pattern. Yes, I said dress, I made a dress.  Back in those days, slacks were not allowed as part of our dress code.  It was skirts or dresses.  But I hurried through, thinking I knew what I was doing.  It was a pitiful dress.  The facings were bulky and didn't lay neatly and smoothly.  I was sure I would never wear my atrocity.    Final grade: C minus.
  That was the last C minus I ever received in my life.  It was a slap in the face and a wake up call to reality.  There is always something new to learn.  And so the quest to educate myself was instilled down deep.  No matter how much knowledge I have acquired, there is always more to discover, ways to hone my skill.
   Stitching my own clothing became a hobby of mine.  Without the funds to purchase fabric, my mother and I went to  thrift stores and purchased old skirts.  I took them apart, using the skills instilled in me by Audry, and remade them into new stylish items.  By the time I graduated high school I was making my own jeans, tops, etc.  By then, the dress code changed to allow slacks.  Dresses became a thing of the past for me.
   My first major purchase after graduation was my own sewing machine.  In college I used my skills to earn extra cash by doing mending for the girls on my floor.  I continued to sew for the pure pleasure and graduated from my own clothing to my family's things, for marriage and family came quickly in my life.  During those early days of our marriage my sewing contributed to the family budget.  I created everything from our underwear to jackets and everything in between.  I used to say I only bought our socks, shoes and winter coats.  I learned the art of finding bargains and could squeeze a family of six clothing needs out of six hundred dollars per year.
   My love of sewing never waned and I am moving back into designing and creating my own clothing and my grandchildren.  As my embroidery business slows down, due to my choice, my sewing will become more prominent again.

I also like to sew things up, in the sense of finishing projects.  I have lots of things I love to do, decorating my home with items of meaning to me, quilting, gardening, cooking and sometimes cleaning.  I get a great deal of satisfaction in a project completed and well done.  

Lastly, I love to sow.  Jesus called his disciples to be fishers of men, to sow his seeds of love and devotion to Him as the walked their journey of life.  Taking the knowledge instilled in my  walk on this earth and sharing it with others brings me joy.  Sometimes I haven't enjoyed the 'education' I have been given, but as I finish my course, I see the ways I am asked to sow for the Lord.  
   NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) comes to mind.  I spent yesterday afternoon sharing this wonderful organization with strangers at a health fair.  Sowing the seeds of understanding to the hurting.
   CEW (Christian Experience Weekend)  I have received many blessings as I worked these weekends, sowing the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and reflections of them working in my life.   
   TEC (Teens Encounter Christ)  A weekend for high school seniors.  I have spent more of them with youth than I can count.  I always come away feeling so awesome to be used to sow the seeds of faith with our next generation.
  And last, but not least, is sowing seeds of faith and love in everyday situations.  The brief conversations with check out clerks, customers, family, friends are an opportunity to sow the message of our Lord, without preaching.  A touch, a smile, an understanding nod, to listen to them with all my being, is a way to spread His message and for this I am grateful to be a part of His plan. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Knock on my kitchen door

Here's a photo of a dream kitchen.  I used to think it was mine, but am having second thoughts.  When it comes to remodeling the kitchen I think this one has too many doors.  I have a great problem with flat surface disease and open door policy.  In other words, if there is a counter, I feel a great need to fill it up.  And if there is a door, I have a tendency to leave it open.  Luckily for me, Rick has flat surface disease as well, but my door habit drives him up the wall.  So maybe I should have all open shelving for my new kitchen.  I can envision clear jars with black labels and all my staples lined up in neat rows.  One or two flat surfaces for food preparation and baskets for the incoming and outgoing mail.  And speaking of food preparation...
    Rick and I are different.  There is a book called, "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus."  Well, when it comes to food likes/dislikes it must be the case.  Rick and I are opposite on food preferences.  When we said "I do" years ago the two became one.  It works well, he eats the meats and desserts and I eat the fruits and vegetables.  We have a balanced diet.  The only trouble comes in when I don't get enough protein with my half of the meal and he doesn't eat enough veggies and rarely any fruit.  But the real problem arises with the fact that what I enjoy eating, he doesn't like and what he likes to eat, I can't due to food allergies.
I just found out two days ago the homemade spaghetti sauce I have been feeding him for thirty years, he doesn't really like.  Good grief!   I guess I will make two meals each time.  One for him, one for me.  Day two someone will always have 'planovers.'

Monday, August 20, 2012

Waste not, want not.

I enjoy spending hours in my sewing room.   According to my husband, Rick, I cut fabric apart in little pieces and sew it back together.  And it brings me a great deal of satisfaction.
My roots are anything, but luxurious, so I have a tendency to save every scrap if the measurement is at least one inch by 4 inches.  That's enough to insert a splash of color on any given project.

To create a gift from leftovers, is relaxing, yet challenging.  This weekend was an opportunity for me to have a blast.  My granddaughter, Lauren, is celebrating her fifth birthday this week.  According to her mother, she needs nothing!  After a recent conversation with Lauren, the decision was made to give her a purse. 

Lauren's favorite color is purple, so I dug through my treasures.  I found the perfect pieces.  Remnants from my great niece's lavender and green quilt fit the bill.

 The largest piece was a great size for the exterior and and lining, all in one.

  Interior and exterior pockets were formed with coordinating scraps, along with the handles. 
Even the zipper came from the "perhaps you can find a use for this, Mona' box. 
 A three by three inch block became an "L" so all would know this was created just for Lauren.  

The hardest part was figuring out how to put the entire creation together.  Buying a pattern was not an option for me when I decided to create my 'silk purse out of a sow's ear'.  It was early Saturday morning and stores had not even considered opening up.

A wallet is an absolute necessity to a young woman with a purse.  It took less than an hour to stitch a trifold, with a spot for bills, coins and favorite photographs.

  A package from a set of pillow cases made the ultimate sacrifice as it was cut apart to form picture windows that fold out upon opening.

I finished the final hand stitches on Saturday evening around the campfire with relatives.  

I am excited to wrap her 'one of a gift' and watch her face as she unwraps a 'grammie gift of love.'

Sunday, August 19, 2012


S -Sewing - one thing I never tire of doing is creating things with my machinery.  Do a little bit each and every day, even if it is only for 10-20-30 minutes or so.  This is in addition to the items for customers.   First project - baby blanket for a new great nephew,born in May.  Next item will be finish the wedding gift for last month.  Watch for photos of completed items.

T- Technology -  I love to learn new things to do with technology.  I have several programs I wish to learn.  Spend an hour, two or three each week to until both are easy to operate.  First one to master is Home and Landscape.  (Maybe a remodeled kitchen is on my horizon)  Next will be a tablet for designing. Then find a new one to learn.  Continue to challenge my brain.

R- Research - I have a curious mind.  Spend a some time each day learning about a topic that interests me.  A half hour would be good.  First topic - wildflowers for Iowa and how to do manage.   I love the idea of small gardens at the end of each of our lanes to greet everyone who comes to our little piece of happiness.

U-  Understanding.  Never can have enough of that.  Spend time each morning reading my daily scriptures  and devotionals as I enjoy my morning brew.

C-  Clean.  One of my downfalls.  I am not normally a neat and tidy person.  I have to work very hard at overcoming my 'Flat surface disease'.  Spend a few minutes each day cleaning up after myself.  First place to tackle - my sewing room.
T- Teaching.  I have learned lots of things as I journey through life.  Blog about them, work on your writing ideas.  As I put my fingers to the keys, I learn more about myself and my goals in this life.  Journal daily.  10 minutes at the end of my day.  Blog on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Monday- sewing project completed during the previous week or new technique learned.  Wednesday - Health related.  How am I doing with keeping the temple of my body?  Friday - Spiritual writing.
U-  Underwear, socks, towels, jeans, t-shirts and sometimes dress clothes.   Dirty laundry is part of life, part of running a household.  Wash, dry and Put Away the laundry once a week.  No more baskets in the front room.  Period.  Maybe I should check into a laundry closet for us...?
R-  Reading and/or relaxing.  If I wish to work on the craft of writing, I need to learn about the great ones before.  Spend time each day doing some of both.  My goal is to strive for 20-30 minutes before I retire for the night.  First book(s) Kristin Lavransdatter - the trilogy and then return them to their owner.  Next book:  Wedded to War.

E-  Exercise.  As middle age spread is catching me quickly and my lack of stamina has become painfully apparent, I need to find a routine I can adhere to, happily.  Goal - Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday - aerobic exercise of some kind.  I think I will try using my elliptical in the basement and watch Andy Griffith tv shows.  In between, walk, walk, walk.  Park my car as far away from the door when in a store parking lot, walk to the mailbox for mailing letters and getting mail, and last but not least, go to the farthest bathroom in the house when mother nature calls me.  And speaking of her, drink lots of water so she comes often.

There, now I have set up some extra STRUCTURE for my life.  Follow my blogs and see how I am doing as far as keeping my goals.  I figure, school has just begun in our area, so young people are getting structure back in their lives after  lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are over.  It's a great time for me to get some STRUCTURE  back in my life.

Wish me luck, no, wish me structure, stamina and determination to follow through.  Till next time.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dr. Mom fired as dietician

“Have some, it’s good for you!”
These famous words are spoken on a daily basis by most mothers, wives, grandmothers or anyone who is in charge of the dietary needs of others. I am no different.  I cook for myself, my husband of thirty-seven years and was chief cook/bottle washer as we raised our four children.  I made sure they had their milk, vegetables, fruits and protein.  Homemade chocolate chip cookies were always on hand for treats, along with ice cream, and popcorn.  Rick is a rather finicky eater, so I did not force vegetables he didn’t like on him or the children.  Instead I served what all would eat – green beans.  We ate lots and lots of green beans.  And we were a happy family of six.  Well, mostly.

Eight years ago I was diagnosed with macular degeneration.   One year later a doctor added high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol to my chart.  In an effort to avoid a pill I began a quest on the best options in my diet to help control my new maladies.  I should add I also have sensitivity to sugar so I watch my sweets and carb intake.  Throw in my body’s inability to handle chocolate, eggs, chicken, turkey and alcohol and you have my diet in a nutshell. (I can eat nuts!)

I love research so I checked internet sources to find foods that can aid in halting macular degeneration.  I discovered a few foods were things I enjoyed.  Blueberries, high in the antioxidant I need, became a daily breakfast item.  I mixed in non-fat plain yogurt (calcium); rolled oats (cholesterol buster); chopped walnuts (for my heart and brain); ground cinnamon (blood pressure) and ground flax seed (heart and brain health).  I also discovered dark leafy greens were great for the eyes, so my daily regimen of eating spinach, romaine lettuce, swish chard or kale was added.  I have always loved eating those foods, so it was no big deal to me.  I try to eat small meals as opposed to three large ones.  Did I forget to mention I watch my weight?  Yup, middle age spread hit.  Almonds high in nutrition became my go to snack.

Like all good dieticians, I was eager to share my new found knowledge with my husband.  He likes to snack so I put out the almonds, baked with no salt, of course.  Salad, one meal each day for me, had spinach added to the romaine lettuce.  I started gradually with the spinach to get him used to it, and as he tolerated it, I added more until it was half and half.  To make it more filling, I sprinkled chopped almonds on the top.  The added crunch was a nice touch.  I felt like such a good wife when I noticed him add spinach to his sandwiches or to his salad when we were at a salad bar.  He has his ‘honeymoon style’, you know, ‘lettuce alone’, while I enjoy mine with dressing.

I tried to share my hummus, blueberries, kale chips, etc., but Rick was adamant, he didn’t like those things and was happy with the way he ate.  I found out this week, that all the things I was trying to feed him, some successfully, were the absolute worse things for him.  After three days of testing at the Mayo Clinic, we met with a dietician.  Rick’s plague of growing kidney stones was being fed generously by the diet I was putting before him.  No more spinach, almonds…  We learned the reason he could grow a 7mm stone in a few short months.

No longer will he believe me when I say, ‘have some, it’s good for you.’  Yup, Dr. Mom was fired this week, at least as a dietician. In spite of my misguided attempt to help him, Rick still loves me.  Now, we just need to get the rest of the answers.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Grammie’s Joy

Today my heart fills full, brimming over the top with affection.  I once heard that a child’s name sounds sweetest when rolling off the tongue of the mother.  However, I take this thought a bit further.  When a grandmother talks of her grandchildren, the spoken name has pride, affection, and admiration in one word.
Yesterday marked the final day of my gift to my granddaughter, Cavanaugh, for her fifth birthday.  She had dreams of taking ballet class, but with her parent’s work schedules, it was next to impossible.  My gift to her was a year’s worth of taxi service to her dance class.  I will never forget her expression as her arms squeezed my neck.  I was smothered in kisses, and “Thank you, Grammie!”
From September through May, my Wednesday afternoon and evening was reserved for Cavanaugh Anne Rottinghaus.  I’m not sure which of us was more excited, Cavanaugh or me. Her Kindergarten teacher told me how she squealed all Wednesday in anticipation of her Grammie picking her up.  I cleared my calendar so nothing interfered with our time together.
The weekly ritual of helping her into her tights and leotards made us both giggle.  She loved it as I tugged and lifted her off her feet as she wriggled into the snug spandex.  We both knew she could change clothes herself, but we relished our comedic antics. 
Snacks were a big part of our Wednesday afternoons.  Many days I stopped at a local store and allowed her to choose a snack.  Fruit snacks or fruit roll ups were her favorite choice.  Some days she chose a gooey chocolate cupcake with sticky white frosting and pink coconut.  Other days it would be a fruit pie with a bottle of frosty milk.   The feel of her tiny, soft hand in mine as we skipped past parked cars in the lot will be tucked in the recesses of my soul.
 On occasion I would pack her favorite ‘Grammie’s house’ treat: pecans, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, dried blueberries, raisins and cranberries.  My splurge was a skinny French vanilla latte, as much for the taste, as for the caffeine to ensure I stayed alert until me and my car were safely home that evening. 
Once we arrived at class, I had forty-five minutes of me time.  I worked on computer projects, but mostly I got acquainted with others waiting for their little darlings.  Every fifteen minutes Cavanaugh raced through the double doors to change her shoes for the next style of dance.  The forty-five minute class taught the basic skills in ballet, tap and jazz.  I knew she could change her own shoes, but I just enjoyed the process, and so did she.
Our forty minute commute to her home after dance class was the time of asking me questions concerning God, Jesus or anything on her five year old mind.  She often sang softly, her heart singing what she was feeling.  Most days it was about her love of God, her family and beloved animals.  The radio remained off so I could inhale the sweetness of a child.  I was amazed at her voice, the clear tones and melodic rhythms she could produce.  Some days she felt like spelling words and we played games of phonics all the way. My heart swelled with love for this little creation of God.  
In January, Cavanaugh changed schools and attended the same school her older brother, Kile.  Wednesday afternoon soon included Cavanaugh and Kile.  While Cavanaugh danced, Kile and I had precious one on one time.  We played a word game, Hang Man, and often times he stumped me.  That made him grin with delight.  He loved the dice game, Yatzhtee.  I carried the five dice and cup in my purse and we rolled the game.  Before long, the siblings of others in Cavanaugh’s dance class began joining in the fun.  We sat on the floor, talking, and playing the game.  When the little girls were finished with their lessons, everyone returned home with smiles, most of all me.
The final weeks of May, 2012, were dress rehearsal at the studio, pictures, and final dress rehearsal at the Center for Performing Arts.  Because of Trela and Eric’s hectic work schedules, I happily took Cavanaugh for dress rehearsal and photos at the studio.  I was a bit squeamish applying makeup to the flawless skin of a six year old, but knew the bright lights on stage would wash out her complexion.  With great care, I painted the elfin face of my beautiful grandchild.  The look in her eyes let me know how special she felt at that moment.
Cavanaugh and Carly
May 19 was the big day at Gallagher BlueDorn at the University of Northern Iowa campus.  I attended the one o’clock show with Carly Kies, my niece.  After a two and half hour performance by countless talented dancers, our time of dance class was over.  It is a time in her life that I will always treasure, the moments of joy we shared.  Happy Birthday, Cavanaugh.  I sure loved giving you this present.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Prom Night!

   Countless proms are taking place around the county tonight and I am taken back to my high school days.  And the fact that the only prom I ever attended was my senior year.  It was also my first date with Rick.  I didn't know it then, but he would become my date for the rest of my life.

   Why didn't I go to any other proms?  Because there weren't any at my high school.  Another big why?  We made a different choice for ourselves.  I still remember the meeting my Junior year.  It was a joint meeting with the Senior class.  We asked them if they would rather have the money for their class trip to the Ozarks or have us throw them a prom. (Back then, the Junior class raised the money and put on the prom, the Senior class put on the Banquet).  Anyway, the vote didn't take long at all.  There was no prom, just a banquet.

     I didn't have a date for the banquet, so I went with a group of friends.  We were a mixed group, probably about six of us.  I did feel bad that I didn't have a boyfriend because only people dating went as a couple.  But there were lots of us in the same boat, so we went together and had a great evening.  I can't remember the food, but I remember the entertainment.  A senior girl, Shelly, sang "Puppy Love."  She was amazing, but that's all I  recall, except the dishes were fancy.  The memories were made afterwards.  No, we didn't have post prom.  Our group decided to go to a movie.  "The Godfather" had been released and everyone was going.  But my mother had forbidden me to see it.  Yes, I was eighteen, but I still lived at home and what my parents decreed was law.  I found a pay phone, fed it a quarter dime and called home. 

   "Mom, the group is going to the movie, 'The Godfather' and I don't have a different ride home.  I don't know what to do.  I know you forbid me to go see this.  What should I do?"

   I don't remember her exact words, but in essence she told me it was okay.  She didn't like it but what she did like was the fact that I called and asked her instead of going and hiding it from her.  I shared with my group her reaction.  They decided not to go, I think mostly out of respect for my mother.  Instead we found a shop at the mall that had pin ball machines of every description.  We had a blast, and I gained new respect for my mother and for my friends.

   When it was my turn to be a Senior and the Junior class gave us the same choice we had given the previous year.. We had the same conclusion.  You see, we had to earn all of the money for our trip ourselves and if the class hadn't worked hard enough we had two choices:  1.  No trip.  2.  Cough up our own cash by babysitting, working for local farmers, etc. Parents were non existent when it came to prom, class trips, etc.  Not only did they not get involved, but they did not pay for it either.  So to have a chunk of money handed over to us was very attractive.  We didn't even have a banquet that year.  We did have Senior Skip Day, but that is another blog.

  So the only prom I had was a first date with a guy I had met only two weeks before.  And that is a story I must tell.

   On April 29, 1973 I needed a ride for a church activity in a town two hours away.  I felt it was super important to get to it.  I called our parish's associate pastor and asked him for a ride.
"Sorry, Mona, but my car is full."  After he heard the extreme disappointment in my voice he added, "You might call Rick Rottinghaus, I think he has room.  He is taking Rick K and Don K, but his car would have a spot for you."
"I don't know him!"
"You know Don K and Rick K.  It will be okay."

   And so it was set.  I had my ride.  The first half of the trip I sat in the back seat, my nose buried in the book, 'In Cold Blood' by Truman Capote.  On the way home, Don K and Rick R jumped in the back seat which forced me in the front bucket seat of Rick R's 1968 Rally Sport Camero. Four hours in a car with Rick R.  We got to know each other.  I found out it was his eighteen birthday on the return trip, so  I proceeded to sing "Happy Birthday" about every five miles. Could I have been any more annoying?  Sure.  We stopped at a diner somewhere for a hamburger and he handed the clerk at the cash register a five dollar bill.  As he reached out for his change (yes - change!) I quickly cupped my hand above his so it landed in mine.  I did give it back to him, but laughed the entire time.  As we pulled into my driveway, the guys in the back seat egged Rick on.
"Who ya takin' to the prom, Rick?"
"I was thinkin' of asking Mona Kies." Rick replied.

I was embarrassed as he turned to me,
"So do you - want to go to the prom with me?"
"Let me check my calendar."  as I dug in my purse for my pocket agenda.  "Yes, I can go, but I won't wear a dress."
"Fine, I don't care, then I don't have to buy you flowers."
"I don't really care about flowers, anyway."
"Okay, then. we'll go - I don't buy flowers, you don't wear a dress."

From the back seat I heard,
"Oh Mona, do you want to go to the prom?"  "Just a minute, let me check my calender." in high squeaky voices, followed by laughter.

Rick and I went to the prom, May 12, 1973 and had a great time.  Before he let me out of his car later that evening, he asked me out for the following week for a movie.  I accepted, but left my hairbrush in his car accidentally. (I still hear about this as a ploy. It was an honest mistake, really!)

Some time during the following week he called.
"I decided I don't want to take you to a movie Saturday night."
Long, long pause followed by my reaction. "mmm, oh..."
"I want to take you to a birthday party for my sister."
"Okay." I answered with bewilderment.

We did go to the birthday party.  We walked into a stranger's home and he proceeded to leave me in the front room with his mother, sister and countless other women.  I knew no one in the room and he joined the men in the basement.

We made it through our second date and both of us revealed our true colors at the very beginning of our relationship.   When we said our vows two years later, we had some kind of inkling what 'for better, for worse' might mean.


Friday, April 20, 2012

The Hulk

Scissors, Cookies, Quilts

I began a new online writing course this week.  I have decided to share my homework as I complete it.

Lesson One had me look at a special object in my life and write the memory it evoked.  So as not to tarnish the lesson, I asked Rick, my husband, to retrieve anything he chose from my display of treasured antique sewing items.  I call the display my tribute to my heritage.  It holds two wedding gowns crafted by my maternal grandmother, along with photos of the brides.  One is her own dress, 1914, the other is my great paternal aunt's wedding gown, 1915.  Other objects are scissors, the bonnet worn by my mother on her baptismal day, sewing notions, sewing basket, and a 1915 sewing magazine!  Rick chose an pair of my Great Aunt Mary's buttonhole scissors.  I was allowed up to 200 words to write my reflection.  I hope you enjoy it.

     My fingers caress the smooth metal of the antique sewing scissors and I am once again that little girl visiting my great aunt, Mary.  The uneven squares of concrete sidewalk greet me as I skip my way to the faded wooden steps leading into her home.  The slanted board floor of the porch peeks from beneath worn woolen carpet.  I open a heavy, chocolate oak door, pausing a moment to peer beyond the lace framing the glass.  Aunt Mary, in her floral house dress and contrasting apron, welcomes me with the offer of oatmeal walnut cookies and a glass of ice cold milk. 
     I glance around.  I see a bed covered by an heirloom quilt, the worn oak floor and scattered rag rugs.  Her treadle sewing machine sits amidst piles with scraps of color.  Her hours are spent creating quilts.  Each one is a gift, sewn by pumping the pedal. Kaleidoscope blocks create the finished top, quilted with warm flannel and tied with shimmery cotton yarn.  Each new child in her life is presented a quilt sewn with love.  Extras are donated to a local nursing home.  “For the old folks,” she quips, with eyes that are witness to eighty-five years.