Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Catch Up

By Diana White

Hello, dear people!  I owe you a catch-up email, after Warren's very welcome Weakly Reader and Elloise's email and all.  So, let's see.

I had, if not the flu, a bad bronchitis.  My dear friend Claudia had the flu.  Our symptoms were similar - except I had no fever, only a bad cough that whistled when I breathed out, no energy, and no will to get up and get on with it.  Not common for me.  And she had body aches, headaches, some nausea, the cough, and the same lack of zip.  Uncommon for her.  We both are finding that it takes awhile to get back to what passes for normal - my usually-encouraging son Reid, family physician, told us to give it four to six weeks before we really were all the way back.  I think he was adding a week or two, for my advanced age.  

At least I had plenty of books.  I had been to the library just before I woke up sick, and - embarrassment of riches - also to Barnes and Noble, so I was well supplied.  The scary thing was not feeling like reading anything challenging.  So I put aside some of my concerned citizen books (in view of #45, I have found myself wanting to read some other viewpoints - like The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump).  And I picked up Newgrange and Stonehenge books; son Reid gave me a wonderful book on Newgrange, which set me off on a book-trek.  I re-read some of last year's Inklings; daughter Kay gave me a wonderful book about The Inklings - CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams, which started me off on almost a year-long trek to find all their writings; Barfield is the hardest to locate - he was a practicing attorney, and wrote only a few other kinds of things; who wants to read briefs!  And (blush) I read Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb and Debbie Macomber and mysteries and romances and easy stuff. Mysteries are my go-to quick reads.   And I have yet to dig into some of the English lit/history/see-the-big-picture stuff I'm gathering...of course, Newgrange added archaeology to the list.  

I cleaned out my sewing room last year, and set aside about three UFOs (a quilter's Unfinished Objects - we all have 'em) to finish.  There's one now, not quite finished, that I had almost decided to give Mary Sue Banks Burnett - but it wasn't ready to take to her in time.  I was blessed to get to the Hospice in Monroe, near Charlotte, to which Clyde took her, the last few weeks of her life.  We had four remarkable days, to visit and catch up and - just be together.  Not sure when I'll get that quilt finished now.  It'll tell me.  I think I'll know where it's supposed to go, too, all in good time.  And then I'll scrounge around in my sewing room and get going on the next thing.  If I live to be 100 I won't get all my fabric used up...

And as always, I am planning some quilty things to have done by Christmas, a perpetual Work in Progress.  This year, it's table runners.  I got a couple made last year, and they were greeted with glad sounds, so I'm encouraged.  And, o happiness, they don't take as long as a full-sized quilt, even hand-quilted.  Yes, I prefer hand-quilting.  I had two teachers when I started, in 1990 - they were sisters, and Libby was a machine quilter and Debbie was a hand quilter.  So I enjoy both.  But the handwork - that has always been my joy, even before quilts.  

Couple of art projects I have in mind, and lots of writing projects.  Still working on My Story.  It's about 200 pages now; I've told some of you, it's my Uncle Bob's fault.  He lived to be 104.  At 90, some of us received his collected writings, essays and memories and musings.  Like all the Cappses (my mama's people), he was a good storyteller.  At 100, he gave us the party he'd promised at his 90th.  We all got a present.  For at least a year before the 100th, he and his dear daughter Sue collected all his writing (yes, all the old yellow legal pad notes and jottings on cards and Christmas letters), she transcribed them all, gathered photographs, and put together for him what turned out to be about 100-125 pages with B/W photos and much family data, a BOOK!  It instantly became a family treasure, and went into extra printings - everyone wanted one for someone else.  Reid and Kay each got one - and immediately I heard, "Mama, this is wonderful!  If you start now, just think what you could pass on!"  So I started.  I'll write like fury for a few weeks, and get busy on something else and put it aside.  Then I'll go back and edit and get caught up again, and write some more.  Time to get to it again.  I won't even try to set an end date.  But I do keep a couple of back-up zip drives with what I have so far, so the children can have that at least, if I don't get the thing finished and printed and bound...

We don't travel much anymore.  We used to get in the truck, hitch up the camper, and take off, for a week at spring break when I was teaching, and for several weeks in the summer every year.  State parks are great places to camp; we could stay out much longer than if we'd traveled by air or train and stayed in motels.  Good memories!  Now, it's mostly traveling to family - Reid and his wife Alex are in Kingsport TN, Kay is in Knoxville, Ivan's son Don and his wife JoAnn are in Greenville, and many of my cousins are in Charlotte or near there.  Family is important - I'm trying to work out now, how to get together with Ivan's nephew Scott and his Tami, to give Jackson (almost 11) and Ava (just turned 8) their birthday and un-birthday presents; we had a conflict on Ava's birthday, so we're re-planning.  

My Agnes Scott Class of '58 has our (gulp!) 60th reunion this year.  How'd that happen?  I need to make reservations.  

And this evening Ivan and I are going to Mad Italian, for the fun of eating out on Valentine's Day; like some other older folks, we'll go early!  Hope you have special plans too.  I put one Valentine into Ivan's swim bag this morning before he headed out to the pool where he works out three days a week (started when he had Physical Therapy after some scary stuff).  He brought home red roses and baby's breath.  And now we're going out, and I'm not cooking.  Really, Life is pretty terrific.    

And that's the news from Diana Kay Carpenter Blackwelder White!