pens or pins? that is the question...

What's one to do when the heart and hands enjoy words and fabric, the pattern of paragraphs and quilts to an equal enthusiasm? To solve my dilemma I'm writing the print that stirs me and sharing the journey of blending fabrics into quilts and wearables, the discovery of old--be it quilts or friends, and the pleasures of today. Come...have a visit with me.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

MEMORIES--when did it happen?

 Think of the technology words that have come into our vocabulary within the last ten years--web, email, blog, surf, post...and on it goes. Do you remember your first computer? My original purchase was a big IBM. My father-in-law generiously gave me 1/2 the purchase price--a total whopping shared total of $3000! I raised the other half.

Out of the box and plugged into the circuit, the IBM computer was really just a fancy typewriter. Regardless,I loved its' ability to change fonts, correct paragraph alignment and spelling. I loved the connection to a printer and the school teaching mimeograph/ditto days fading into the background, to modern technology efficiency.

And now, fifteen years later, I'm still exploring the advances of computer possibilities.  Websites and surfing are taken for granted. I email notes instead of calling. And we all set up sites to sell our products, blog our thoughts and share family pictures. I love modern tech--isn't it a great way to go?

And this week--I've pushed my little netbook computer skills in the fast lane everyday. I've looked up weather forecasts, book writers, ordered on-line, read countless emails and blogs and worked on my book. BOOK?

Yes, it began with a simple plan-- a short story, a memoir about mom's cooking. I love to remember, especially the talents and personality of mom. So, I decided to record family stories about her cooking style, a la my post WWII childhood. I began reflecting on mom's classic menus and her cooking transition from a bride in the 40's to her senior days at the end of the 20th century. The nostalgia blew me away! I remembered mom's pot roast. Do you remember yours? I remembered mom's cream pie. And your moms'? I remembered birthday parties, Christmas holidays and mom's food gifts. And yours?

I couldn't record my memories fast enough and I knew I had to record my own cooking journey. The food saga continued and I wrote and wrote. Now, multiple pages later I have the beginnings of my book. I have a working title, chapter headings, a preface and chapters.  FUN!--the middle letters of M-E-M-O-R-Y.

To polish and expand my memoir forward to include  cooking in the first decade of the 21st century, I've googled  multiple food sites, looked at magazine food  ads and read old/new cookbooks. I've looked in strangers grocery carts and observed their intended purchases. (some of their "food" I don't know the content or the purchasing aisle--totally unfamiliar to me.?) Yesterday I stood in front of a mag rack and read every food title. Yes,  FOOD is still "in"; we still like to eat; we like to write about food and we like to share the bounty.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may be saying --"hey, wait a minute, I thought Ali hated cooking."  Ironically, you remember my post of last summer--I Hate to Cook?! Well, the distasteful part is the routine, not the creative journey or the part that recognizes the importance of food in connecting family and friends. Food is another word for bonding, comfort, language and  love. That is the play and fascination I find in my food journey of 60+ years--from jello to sashi; from a live chicken in mom's back yard to chicken nuggets in today's freezer. It is the daily cuisine, creating memories, one bite at a time.

The food journey has endless roads and detours. I recommend you explore yours. What was your first food disaster? Your biggest party? What is your comfort food? Do you detour to the chocolate aisle?--or the organic produce? (I look for dark chocolate every shopping trip!) Do you love or abhor hosting dinner parties? What laughter or soul talks do you remember--over dinner? I love you--readers. And oh, the food memories we share.

My book is in first draft. It's rollin' down memory lane. I'll keep you posted. And in this food journey I'm traveling I've found the "coolest" sites. I suspect you will enjoy googling these blogs and sites:

If you are considering writing your food memoirs check out the excellent book, Will Write for Food by Dianne Jacobs. Her new book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles and web entries.

Speaking of food, keep me posted. What fabulous food have you discovered this week? I love to collect recipes!

Enjoy the week, my friend,


a favorite read: ALL of Ruth Reichl's books. Ruth is a food writer with a great collection of memories. I'm reading TENDER AT THE BONES.Her website is fun:

a favorite scripture: This week I'm reading the Psalms.
Take time to grasp God's word: Psalms 106:1-5

Praise the Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;his love endures forever.
Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare
his praise?
Blessed are they who maintain justice,
who constantly do what is right,
Remember me oh Lord, when you show favor to your people,
come to my aid when you save them,
that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may share in the joy of your nation
and join your inheritance in giving praise.

AND a cool sight with short stories, etc. ESPECIALLY written by women over

Sunday, September 26, 2010

thinking backward--thinking forward

                    Thinking backward, thinking forward--the last of September is here. August and its' sunny days are gone and October's pumpkins are soon to be. So I ask, what did you do with your last thirty days?

                         Different seasons push and shove our schedules. Rushing and "too much" seem to fit the holidays, busy birthday and celebration family days. Sometime (if lucky) the winter cold snowy days slow our schedules. But September? I rarely recall this early fall season with so much crowded into the calendar.

                          For me, my September calendar prepared for San Antonio guild teaching commitments and a four-day hosting of Sue Spargo's fabulous Quilting Adventures' fall seminar. Next Barbara and I participated in a team of three and judged the annual quilt show in Ft. Worth. Next I went to Roswell for a second judging schedule.  The awesome (and I do mean over-whelmingly awesome) responsibility of judging best quilts among over 250 in each show celebrated quilters that excel in their craft, as well as quilters showing their first quilt. 

             And if the September calendar  wasn't crowded enough, the New Mexico cabin was screaming to be re-stained, so hubby and I have looked at a zillion stain colors, hired men to help us and prayed for weather adaptable to outdoor wood staining--no rain please! The staining process has had numerous snags of wrong mixtures, shortage of inventory, etc. Hopefully, the renewed house finish will be completed soon.  In between, my sister, daughter and I had birthdays!-in different degrees of celebration. Whew!

                             I only recount this crazy schedule to ask you to reflect on your schedule--was there any BEING TIME or was the month consumed with DOING TIME?

                   Amid all these busy September journeys I realized I was missing a key component of daily health-BEING TIME.  Simply stated "being" by Webster is conscious existence. I add to that definition the state of rebuilding your heart and soul, your energy and your dreams. 

                          My psychic requires down time. For me that includes phone visits with my daughter, sister and friends. It includes an hour thumbing through a magazine or musing at a book rack (home or store). It requires a cup of fresh coffee, a square of dark chocolate, a walk through the fall foliage or sitting near the fireplace and reflecting. I need reading and studying God's word to remind me of His strength, His promise and His grace. I need to touch and play with fabric, stitch on my current project and anticipate the next. I need computer and blogging time, reading of favorite authors and re-reads of favorite books. No apologies here. These needs keep me healthy.

             But what about you?  and  your schedule:
           In the last 30 days did you have being time?  
  • Did you bring your heart to your mind?
  • Did you laugh spontaneously or applaud a happy accident?
  • Did you connect to a friend or relive a joyful memory from days gone by?
  •  Did you make a call to check on someone else (and strengthen your being by putting them first?)
  •  Did you cook creatively, stir and brush paint for the visual joy of blending colors or dig in the dirt for the simple pleasure of the smells, beauty and pleasure of planting plants?
  • Did you photograph God's trees, dirt and rocks? or sketch your favorite?
  • Did you spend precious time with friends, grandchildren or hubby?
  • Did you take time to rest, exercise and reflect? Did you give yourself an early to bed?
  • Did you celebrate someone's joy or mourn their grief?
                       These are being exercises. Being time is reflection time. It is the exact opposite of "mult-tasking", hourly calendar booking, making lists of have-to-dos, juggling money and zoning out to the TV.  Being time is recognizing and respecting the mind and body of ourselves and others. Reflection is respecting the God given merits of simply  b-e-i-n-g.

                   The last week of September is here. Equinox has come and gone. And in one of these  busy September moments this timely quote, magnetically attached to my friend Michelle's frig. spoke to the day--to b-e-i-n-g.

                   Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.             EMERSON

October is nigh. Make time for b-e-i-n-g.

Til then.


a favorite read: TIN HOUSE--a quarterly of the best in short stories.

a favorite scripture: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1>