A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Monday, August 25, 2014

10 Books That Have Touched Me

There is a post going around Facebook these days, asking people to name 10 books that have touched them deeply. I can't remember if they are supposed to be novels, or nonfiction, or a combination. At any rate, I didn't respond, and now of course, I can't find it. But it did get me to thinking about what books have touched me through the years, and I thought I'd share my 10 with you. My list is a mixture of fiction and non-fiction.

One person commented on Facebook that these always reminded her of the old chain letters and she didn't want to respond. My thought on that was isn't that, basically, what Facebook is? An updated and modern version of the old chain letter? At any rate, I'm always looking for new books to read, so please feel free to share your 10 (or whatever number) with me via Comments.

1. Wizard of the Pigeons, by Megan Lindholm. I first read this book maybe 30 years or so ago, and it changed how I look at people in a most positive way. Especially "street" people. I guarantee if you can find a copy, and read it, it will change your view of life, too. I'm just now re-reading it for the 4th or 5th time)

2. Dune, (the series) by Frank Herbert. So many aspects of these books touched me, besides being a fun series. I think I've read them 5 or 6 (7??) times. They are my "thumb sucking" books – you know, when life throws me lemons, and no sugar for lemonade, I curl in a corner and escape to Arrakis.

3. Illusions, by Richard Bach. I read this book probably once a year. I have incorporated many of his philosophies into my life. And am working on the rest.

4. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See. A truly excellent book on the meaning of sisterhood.

5. Places Left Unfinished at the Moment of Creation, by John Phillip Santos. As I reached the end of this memoir, I started parsing the pages, then the paragraphs, and finally the sentences so that I could delay reaching the end. A beautiful book! He's a marvelous writer.

6. The Tao of Women, by Pamela K. Metz & Jacqueline L. Tobin. The Tao Te Ching reinterpreted for the feminine mind. It stays on my desk, within easy reach. Yes, I use it often, especially in my writing.

7. The Art of War, by Sun Tzu (or Sun Wu, if you prefer). I have several copies of this book, and have read them all. Each time, I'm touched by something I hadn't noticed before, and each time I learn something new. For being a master of war, I have the distinct feeling he'd prefer peace.

8. The Pern, books by Anne McCaffery. When I can cry over the death of a fictional 'watch wher' you know I'm touched. I mean, I've been touched. Oh, never mind. Great books.

9. Cloven Hooves, by Megan Lindholm. I absolutely love this book. One of the best love stories I've ever read. Not a romance, not by any stretch of your imagination, but a beautiful story of Love, in its true meaning and sense.

10. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie. I've read almost everything he's published. I love his poems, I love Fistfight, but this book is perhaps his most touching, at least for me. I have no idea why it upsets so many people; it's a beautiful and well-told story about what it's like to be brought up on today's reservation. It should be required reading for all kids and their parents!

10.1 Roads, by Seabury Quinn. This is a novella, and if you've got lots of money, you may still be able to find a single copy edition somewhere, and someone willing to sell it. My copy is in an old magazine, and I am NOT willing to sell it. Roads is the best, most touching, Christmas story I've read. Ever. And I don't even celebrate Christmas!

And there you have it. My list of 10 books that have touched me in one form or another and all in positive ways. Because I like to read, and do so every chance I get, my list is subject to change without notice. Also, you may have noticed I'm not real good in the numbers department ;-) And if you'd like to know what books I've read, and what I thought of them, check out my Rainy Day Reads blog at http://lenoragood.blogspot.com. I seldom review a book I didn't really care for--I seldom finish a book I don't care for--though now and then I do. And what books have touched you? Please, tell.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Two More Quilts and then....

I had two more UFOs to quilt, and decided to make Summer Quilts out of them. A summer quilt is one without the batt, for those nights when it's too cool for just a sheet, but too warm for a real quilt or blanket. The Red Hibiscus is my memory quilt for my mother—red hibiscus was her favorite flower. I was in the fabric store when the clerk put the bolt of that fabric back on the shelf right in front of me. I don't think her hand was off the bolt before mine was on. I had NO idea what I was going to do with it, so bought 3 yards and hoped it was enough. It was, and I have some left over ;-)
Red Hibiscus

The other quilt is a whole cloth quilt. Again, in wandering through another fabric store, I found this piece on sale, and it was too bright to pass up. It was a piece, so it was buy it all, or buy nothing. I bought it all, and cut it in half. I have enough to make a second quilt, just by adding borders, and I think they will go nicely on my twin beds, don't you?

Whole Cloth
After getting these two quilted, and the edging sewn on (machine edging only) I folded and stacked the dozen quilts that will need hand sewing and got busy cleaning and dusting. My, my, my (as my favorite detective of the day, Lt. Joe Kenda, would say) but quilting certainly adds dust to the house. It took 2.5 days to get the house if not cleaned, at least de-cluttered ;-)

Then, it was time to pack books into the car, buy a collapsible 2-wheel cart to carry the box of books, get laundry done, the bed changed, the suitcase packed, and I was out of the house at 7.30 Friday morning. First stop was to fill Suvie Star Car's tank so she would get me to Albany, OR with a second stop at Campbell's BBQ on Powell Blvd at about 87th to meet a friend for lunch. I arrived about 5 minutes past 11, and he arrived about 11.15. For those traveling I-205 around Portland Town, let me tell you, this is an easy off-easy on stop, for some of the best BBQ I've had in a restaurant in ages. They have the usual beef, pork, and I think chicken, but the also have buffalo and elk! I had elk, my friend had buffalo. The red beans and rice were good, the greens not quite cooked enough to be truly soul, but pretty good. I imagine had I come a couple hours later, they would have been trop drawer! They had plenty of sides from which to choose, but those were mine!

Spent the night with my travel buddy, Kay, and Saturday drove about an hour back the way I'd come, to spend about 5 hours at the GeorgeKirby Gay family reunion to which I was invited, and asked to bring some of my Madame Dorion books, as one of her daughters by Jean Toupin was Gay's last wife. I sold some books, and made, I hope, some new friends.  Jennifer Gobin-Bales (a third great granddaughter of Marie by her daughter, Marguerite Venier) was there and brought her dad, Delbert. Someone thought it would be nice if he sat with me, and I'm so glad he agreed. What a hoot. We told stories and tall tales, and laughed a lot, and when I finally left, I was rewarded with a truly marvelous hug. Jennifer had best watch out, or I may end up adopting him myself!

Shortly before leaving Champoeg State Park, where the reunion was held, the descendants of George Gay gathered on the stage for a family photo, to which I was invited. It's nice to be part of another family. I left the park about 3.00 and headed back south on I-5, to meet up with Hwy 22, and took the North Santiam Pass to Bend, OR where my friend, Judith lives.

It has been about 60 years since I'd been to Champoeg State Park, and probably 55 since I'd been by Detroit Lake and across the North Santiam. My, my, my, how things have changed! I guess it's progress, but I'm not totally sure ;-)

Sunday Judith and I shopped at Trader Joe's—will the tri cities ever get a TJs??—where I did some shopping for a friend, and a tad bit for me, and then came on home. I put something like 750 miles on Suvie Star Car (fed her 3 times), and by the time I got home yesterday with only one pit stop, and one stop for a milk shake, I was totally worn out. I think this next week will be spent watching movies and reading books.

Speaking of movies, a highly recommended family movie: Nim's Island.

Monday, August 11, 2014

UFOs Are Mostly All Gone

Yes, I've been working my little fingers to the bone, but have just about gotten rid of all the UFOs. I have two more to dispatch today and tomorrow, and a third to start on, but it will take time.

Please remember the tops were done (except for one which will be explained later), so all I had to do was load it on the Beast Machine (aka Big Bertha), quilt it, find the fabric for the edging, cut that, stitch it together, and get it sewn by machine onto the quilt. All (that's kinda like that humongous word, IF, that's left to do is hold the quilt on my lap, turn and hand stitch the edging to the back, and tie off and 'pull' all the loose threads into the quilt so they don't show. Hand work like that is a cold weather project, when a warm quilt on the lap will feel good. NOT a triple-digit weather kind of fun thing to do ;-)

At any rate, here are some photos showing you what I've done. Yes, most of the UFOs are gone from my house – but it won't be long before they're back, disguised as different quilts!

All photos except those of Beast Machine were taken on a standard double bed to give you an idea of size.

These are Complete! Done! 

Into the Wild Blue Yonder -- Daddy's Memory Quilt

Horse Heaven Hills -- a paper pieced project; either a wall hanging or table runner
Summertime -- table runner

These quilts are ACOs (Almost Completed Objects) ;-)

A Little Bit of Sunshine, on the Beast Machine

A Little Bit of Sunshine

Memories of Martha on the Beast Machine
 Martha was my 'Other Mother' - I actually knew her longer than I knew my own Mom. She loved bright colors. This will go on my kitchen table when finished. (Removed when dining ;-) )

Memories of Martha

Warm, Raggedy Flowers

This is a ragged edge quilt, the squares of which I one at a quilt retreat a few years back, and those are raw seams you're seeing. Each square is quilted, and sewn to the others. The squares are flannel back and front, with a batt in the sandwich. I will need to sit and cut every quarter inch on each seam and each flower, half way to the seam. Then it must be washed, and then dried - in 5-10 minute increments as the fuzz is unbelievable, but when done, it will be soft and fluffy and very, very warm. Probably go in my Frog Room.

The colored squares are from a skirt my Grandfather, aka Skipper picked out for me when I was in 4th or 5th grade. My mother raised the hem, let the hem down, and I wore it until I couldn't wear it any more, and I saved it for years, because I just couldn't throw it away, or give it away. I finally made a quilt from it.
Skipper's Quilt

Snowballs from a kit

Hard Duty in Honolulu

When my Uncle Carl was in the Navy, in WWII on a troop ship heading for the South Pacific, a general announcement went out asking if anyone could type. Uncle Carl, being bored, allowed as how he could type, and his orders were summarily changed. Instead of going to the South Pacific to see battle, he was stationed in Honolulu where another of my Aunt and Uncle (in-laws to Carl) lived and 'took care of him.' Carl often talked about the flowers and how he loved them.

 This is a little table topper made of squares I won at a quilt retreat some years ago, and the leaves are all signed by whoever made the square.
Quilt Retreat Memories

Black and Gold
When I lived in Florida, 9 or so years ago, I tried my hand at paper piecing something. I was confined to the sofa with a broken ankle, so it was something to do, and I found this pattern in a book, and well, one must do something besides read (I did a lot of that, too). This, and the one above it, are both about 52 inches square.

Monday, August 4, 2014

UFOs In My House

Yes, I have UFOs in my house, and it's finally time to get rid of a few. And what, you may be asking, are UFOs doing in my house? Alas, they reside here.

Daddy's Memorial Quilt: Into the Wild Blue Yonder
If you're a quilter, you've already figured it out – Un Finished Objects. Quilters have week-long retreats designed to finish UFOs, so I'm having my own, private, mini retreat (just me). Or, perhaps, this will be a maxi retreat, as it may take me a week or two of concentrated effort, maybe even three! ;-)

Right now, my list looks like this:

Daddy's photo, part of the label

  • ·      Sew label on finished quilt
  • ·      Trim and edge quilted quilt
  • ·      Sew buttons "seeds" on finished watermelon table runner
  • ·      Finish pulling threads on otherwise-finished Horse Heaven Hills table runner
  • ·      Quilt the quilt loaded on Big Bertha
  • ·      Quilt the following quilts that are ready:
  • ·                  Mother's Memorial Quilt
  • ·                  Uncle Carl's Memorial Quilt
  • ·                  Grandma & Skipper's Memorial Quilt
  • ·                  Memorial table topper from quilt retreat
  • ·                  Wall hanging made in Florida
  • ·                  Flower quilt
  • ·                  Snowball quilt
  • ·                  Quilt I made for my bed
  • ·      And, once those are all quilted, they need to be trimmed and edged
  • ·      Finish sewing all the quilts I've cut out and started
  • ·      Buy more flannel and finish flannel quilt
  • ·      Finish hand quilting wall hanging started in Oregon
  • ·      Finish hand quilting another wall hanging started in Oregon
  • ·      Edge and frame my "art quilt"
  • ·      Clean up the mess.

Mother's Memorial Quilt: Red Hibiscus

The list will change as more UFOs are found, and as items are crossed off.

There will be more photos, but probably not until next week. But you get the idea, yes?

My Small Art Quilt: Foggy Day at the Oregon Coast
 There are UFOs in my house, and they need to go!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Back to the Blues and Beyond

In June of 1813, a group of men, led by Reed, departed Fort Astoria to head back over the Blue Mountains to the area of present-day Parma, ID and Caldwell, ID. Both Marie and Pierre were hired – he as a hunter/trapper, she as factotum of the 'fort' they would build. It was Marie's job to feed the men who were there, dress the hides they brought in, and keep them in moccasins, as well as to raise the two boys. This time, she did not have to walk a mile or two to live separately from the men. She and the boys stayed in the cabin while the men went off to build other cabins and trap.
White Pine dugouts. Similar to the ones made of Cottonwood and
used by the Hunt party. These are at Sacajawea State Park in Pasco, WA.

For the most part, the Snake were friendly, though they weren't all happy to have these intruders in their land. By mid-January 1814, the cabin was filling with hides and preserved meat. On 14 January 1814, it was bitter cold, and snowing when a friendly Snake came to the door to warn Marie that some "Dog Snakes" were going to the other cabin where Pierre and some men were, to kill the men and burn the cabin.

Stone at entrance to Madame Dorion Memorial Park*
Marie quickly bundled the boys and headed out to warn them. Unfortunately, she arrived too late, and all were dead, or dying. She managed to run off the horses belonging to the Snake, saving two for her boys and herself, and one wounded man, who died the next day. When she and the boys returned to the man cabin, all the men were dead and scalped. Marie and her boys were alone. She managed to get a small amount of food, and one knife from the cabin, and headed back across the river and up into the Blue Mountains.

She had no idea who she could trust, so she trusted no one. If they saw anyone, they hid. With no men to protect her, it would have been too easy to kill the boys and take her as a slave. When they came this way two years prior, the snow was deep, but apparently not as deep. Also, there were many and a few horses to help beat the trail down.
Walla Walla River near Wallula, WA. Note how barren the hills once
away from the water.

No one knows where she camped for the winter. Many believe they camped near present-day Hilgard, OR, at a place well-known to the local tribes. I believe she would have gone as far west as she could, hoping to get out of the snow as she did on the previous trip. I also don't think she would have camped near a popular place due to fear of being found. I think she would have tried to go possibly as far as present-day Meacham, OR area, hoping to get out of the snow. At any rate, she and the boys build a small wikiup and spent between 50 and 55 days alone. As their two horses died, they were eaten. Although I doubt food was plentiful, I doubt they starved—they would have set snares and traps for whatever rabbits, etc., they could find and eat.
The bridge built in 1931 for old Highway 12 and named in honor of Marie.

When Spring came, they made their way down the north side of the Blues, and across the plains and hills, by which time they were starving, and eventually into the Walla Walla village of Wallula. Fortunately for her, they were friendly, and helped. A few days later, some of the Astorians came through, on their way back to Saint Louis, and when she told the story, they figured out the 50-55 days Marie and the boys were alone. They offered to take them back to Saint Louis, but Marie decided she liked the Northwest, and declined their offer.

The same bridge, now decommissioned and used by anglers.
She and the boys went up the Columbia to Fort Okanagan, where she married Louis Joseph Venier and had a daughter, Marguerite. When Venier died, or went back home, she and her family returned to Wallula, and Fort Nez Perces where they stayed for a few years. She married again, Jean Toupin, and added more children to her family. She worked for the Fort, as a guide, interpreter, and when the Whitmans came through, she was the factotum of the fort.

In 1841, Toupin took a land grant in French Prairie, Willamette Valley, Oregon Country, and they moved. Marie was known to help all who needed it, she made moccasins for children and adults, and truly was beloved by all who knew her. When she died in 1850 at the age of 64, she was given the great honor of being buried inside, under the steeple, of St. Louis Catholic Church (near present-day Gervais, OR).
Sagebrush  near the bridge
 Truly, Marie was the first pioneer woman to come overland and settle in the Oregon Country. She also gave birth to the first white children (though she was Ioway, her husbands were considered "white" and their children were also considered "white") in the Oregon Country – the baby born in the Blue Mountains in 1811, and Marguerite, born at Fort Okanagan.

*To read the memorial stone shown above, click here.  Please note, there are a few errors.
1. Marie's husband, Pierre Dorion, Jr. did not travel with Lewis & Clark. That was Pierre Dorion, Sr., and he did not make the entire trip, he only guided them through the Sioux territory.
2. The original location of the fort is now under Lake Wallula, made when the McNary Dam flooded this portion of the Columbia river.
3. The Reed party did not head out in Winter but in June.
4. I found no reference that she ever lived in Walla Walla, WA and if anyone has information that she did, I would like to hear from you.