It was quite a year! January was snow, snow and more snow!
In February I lost my Aunt Ruth who was like a second mother to me. In other parts of the world so many were lost. We watched the news as Egyptian President Mubarak resigned after wide spread public protests. Richard Engel's broadcasts became part of our daily lives. As they speculated about where Libya would follow, oil prices rose 20 percent and the price of gas became and issue. It was the first time in my life that I considered how much it would cost to go anywhere. We still kept warm.
And had Valentine's Day.
In March everyone watched in horror as a 9.1 magnitude earthquake created a giant tsunami that swept the coast of Japan killing thousands and causing damage to a nuclear power plant - a nuclear disaster that is still being assessed and will reach far into the future. Civil War in Libya was inevitable. Richard Engel broadcast from Libya and the news media tried to decide how it would spell Gudaffi. I was working on a new repair commission. A cotton crazy style quilt from the 1900s - maybe as late as the 20's but I think not.
And, March 20th, (today my grief still papable) I lost my Katie. The best cat in the whole world.
In April the whole world watched the Royal Wedding of Katherine and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. We were welded to the set, we needed some good news! I got up at 4 am to see the pre-show, served tea & Champagne to Natalie who joined me and just in case there were no newspaper pictures - I took some off the TV set.
In May they captured Osama Bin Laden. People cheered but cheering for a death felt funny to me. So I was just quietly glad it was over.
In May Maggie and Breezy were friends. And then Ruby happened.
Breezy went nuts when she couldn't get to Ruby and she attacked Maggie instead and has been attacking Maggie ever since. Our happy kitty home has been a bit of kitty hell ever since! We don't really know what to do except separate them. Breezy is mostly in the basement (her favorite place anyway) and the den. And Maggie stays on the main floor of the house. It requires a lot of opening and closing doors to keep them separated but we have tried everything else we know.
Also in May, some kittens were born.Louise, my long time friend (46 years) and Jimmy's god mother needed back surgery. She also needed to have her upstairs bedroom moved downstairs to the ground floor of her Levitt house. I knew I couldn't do it by myself so I called the in the calvary. Not all calvary wear hats but...
Richard, I said, you have to come now! I need help! And Richard arrived the next morning from North Carolina. Yea, for the Calvary! Richard as you can see, besides being game for cleaning up and moving furniture, was pretty cheerful about doing it.
Robin road in from Madison, CT! Louise's mom, Pauline, had passed away a few years ago leaving an extensive book collection in the first floor bedroom. We donated over a thousand books to the Island Trees library - who were very happy to have them. Dispite working not stop for a total of almost five days, we had a pretty good time together and felt good about giving Louise a place she could recover more comfortably.
Also in May...
And on the almost last day of May, while we were grilling our Memorial Day dinner, a tree branch fell and tore off the wires and electrical box from the side of our house.
No lights, no power, no water, no cable... fortunately we have good friends and we could continue to party.
Phil in Lake Waramaug.
Chuck at the grill.
Deb and me.
Susie, Phil & Chuck. A good time was had by all...
In June, my grand daughter, Hannah, had her Bat Mitzvah.
The grown up Hannah.
The real Hannah and her brother Michael, reading one of my favorite books.
Also growing up...
Sammy and her big sister Maggie. Maggie took to her right away.
Also in June, more tree fell and took out our electric and cable a second time. We tried to get paid by the town but after a month of pictures and explanations and letters and emails...well, what were the odds anyway.
But there was a concert at Wisdom House.
Walks in the White Memorial Nature Preserve.
Lobster, literature and Sammy. We saw one of two of our favorite movies of the 2011 - Midnight in Paris - twice.
And Phil finished his second year teaching English and Journalism at Hartford's Journalism and Media Academy.
July saw the final mission of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. And the long awaited final episode - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. Phil took me the first night and then I went again with Holly. Fabulous! I will miss looking forward to the next one.
(internet photo - harry wiki.com)
Harry how you have changed! (imdb internet photo)
I was almost finished working on a cotton crazy quilt owned by Susan Cummings and starting to work in earnest on Maria Campbell's fabulous silk crazy quilt from the 1880's.
July was hot but knew how to ignore it.
Then there was the Vera Bradley remake.
It has possibilities. I'll have to make a few more before I know if it's worthwhile. In the meantime it was fun and I got to use some of my hand painted fabric.
In August the refrigerator died. It took $89.95 to pronounce it dead and $900 and 24 hours to replace it.
Ice, food, August... we lost all the freezer stuff but ate a lot of expensive grilled steak.
Then we went to the Lowell Quilt show and the Jack Kerouac museum/park with Louise & Mimi. We had a blast. I didn't really get a chance to write about it and some who went to the show and blogged about it did not put up pictures of the quilts they had taken without the persons permission. Sigh... I wish I could be that good but I really want to remember them here.
My favorite (after Deb's).
Marvelous hand quilting!
This is part of a quilt - just the bottomo corner. Michael would love this!
This is a box of indigo chunks. The packet from Pro-Chem Dyes, is much easier to use.
Jack Kerouac's Typewriter. How cool is that?!
Speaking of being on the road...
Sammy would prefer that we not leave home without her!
Summer vegetables are lush and abundant. The local corn is sweet as sugar.
Summer soup! Gravlox and cream cheese on baguette.
Lazy summer evenings on the lake; putting our feet up and dreaming a an endless summer. Not a lot better than that. There were rumors of a hurricane that might come up the east coast. There would be time to think about it tomorrow.
Tomorrow came on a Thursday when I drove to the True Value Rental store at 6 am and waited for them to open. I was their first customer. I asked several questions and then pointed to the generator that I wanted, paid the bill for a weeks use, and had them put it in the trunk.
We took all the furniture off the deck and tied the rest down. And then it started to rain.
It came down in buckets! Cat's and dogs! Maybe elephants! But the basement stayed dry! YEA!!
The frogs dried out.
And I clipped the rest of the basil for pesto. It was September and Phil was going back to school for his third year of teaching.
Marie (a good friend of my friend Louise) was visiting so we took the opportunity for a short girl trip. Louise, Marie, Mimi and I headed north and visited "The Mount" Edith Wharton's Estate. If you haven't read The Age of Innocence its a timeless read. It won the Pulitzer in 1921. The saying "Keeping up with the Joneses" is said to refer to her father's family.
We were lucky to be inside a wonderful little coffee shop later that afternoon when a wild squall came though.
Our next destination was the Hancock Shaker Village. It was a fascinating place.
This was one of the stones on the pathway into the village. There were many of them with different quotes on them but this was my favorite. But who was Theodore Roosevelt Chickenhouse?
The Shaker Village kitchen. One hundred people; three meals a day. Other than the head cook everyone rotated with a turn at everything including the kitchen. I would have been lobbying for the head cook position as soon as I got there. You are only seeing about a quarter of the kitchen. It was a warm place in the winter and you could almost smell the soup. The gentlemen that did our tour, John was very personable as well as knowledgable and patiently answered hundreds (yes, at least that) of questions as we kept him talking close to an hour after the tour had ended.
This is their famous "round" barn. Built in 1836, it could house 70 cows that could eat while being milked. Wagons could also enter and leave without having to back up.
And who was Theodore Roosevelt Chickenhouse who liked to drink cream out of a saucer?
Why a cat, of course! Mimi found out because she bought the postcard with image of a Anita Potter and her cat Theodore Roosevelt Chickenhouse.
Some of my favorite relatives came to visit, Don all the way from Alaska.
Donny, Phil and Drew. Donny lives in Anchorage and Don & Drew are brothers, son's of my father's sister, my favorite Aunt Mary. Mary taught me some valuable life lessons, including how to appreciate a good bottle of Champagne. She and my Dad died 6 weeks apart in the year 2000. I'm sorry Phil didn't get the chance to meet them.
Drew, his daughter Laura and his "significant other" Trudy. Trudy and Drew have been birding together for probably more than 30 years (feel free to correct me) and she's a gem. Trudy is a math teacher and helped Phil pass the math part of his Praxis test so that he could teach in CT. Laura lives in Chicago and went to University of Chicago for Paleontology. I love it when they visit - there is enough curiosity and brain power to share among ten people and our conversations always range far and wide, there is always more to say and when they leave I can't wait till they come back!