Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Here we go again!


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My friend Ruth Hirsch and I spent nearly the entire month of October on a 4,400 mile road trip! Last year about this time we road-tripped to Fargo and back, this year it was the east coast. First stop: Paducah, KY and if you're a dyed-in-the-wool quilter, you know what that means! A stop at the National Quilt Museum. A banner of my quilt Star Flower hangs out front, but the quilt itself is now 'resting'. The others on display, especially the new exhibit of award-winning long-arm machine quilted works of art, were amazing as always. And my friend Diane Gaudynski was teaching that day, so I got a hug and a very brief visit with her.

Progressing on through a total of 16 states, we spent a week in Philadelphia just simply having fun. There was a visit to the Eastern Penetientiary's Haunted House with lots of screaming and laughing and clutching at each other in fright.... then there was the CSI murder scene investigations at the Franklin Institute, and of course, all the historical sites: Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Elfreth's Alley, and more. But probably our favorite thing of all was the day we spent at Longwood Gardens, enjoying the beautiful grounds, the conservatory and noon organ concert, and the flowers...oh my, the flowers were everywhere. What a beautiful fall day it was to see them all.

Display of quilt tops at JCCFS
Then it was on to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where we visited the exhibit of the quilts from my Squares and Triangles book at the People's Place Quilt Museum. And, of course, we bought a few mementos and gifts for friends and family along the way. Next on the agenda: a week at the John C. Campbell Folk School near Brasstown, NC. The fall foliage and the food cooked by the staff at the school were highlights of this week. But the entire week was fun. Ruth took a class about making cloisonne jewelry while I taught a class of 8 wonderful ladies about making string quilts, Elsie's way. The products that were produced that week were all so beautiful. The end-of-week show & tell featured not only the string quilt tops and cloisonne, but wood turned items, food from the soup & bread class, clay pottery, newly caned chairs, stained glass pieces, blacksmithing products, great fiddle music, and a photography presentation. And the fall weather gave us warm sunny days, two cool rainy days, and a dusting of snow and frosty windows on our day of departure.

Next, it was on to Wilmington, NC and a day at the beach. Growing up as a land-lubber in landlocked Oklahoma, I love the ocean. It is such a rare treat to spend a day walking barefoot in the sand, listening to the waves break and make landfall. It was a cool day, but sitting in the sun, you didn't notice it. Another lecture and workshop there, and then an intense drive through North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi in a single day found us arriving and Kerry and Hilary's house for a couple of days of play with....you guessed it.....MORGAN!

Morgan & Ruth
I got a little cuddling in between spurts of playing with blocks, and peek-a-book, and lunch time. Then it was off to Memphis with Kerry and Morgan for some good barbecue, a visit to the Loraine Motel and the Martin Luther King memorial there, Beal Street, and the Peabody Hotel to watch the march of the Peabody ducks as they left the fountain that evening for their penthouse playground via the elevator.

So, by now, you probably know how difficult it was to come back home to face a daily routine again. But it was a joyful homecoming, too, because it's always nice to sleep in your own bed. However, this week has not been a usual week at all. We accepted an offer for the sale of our house in Dodge City, and there is still quite a bit of things we need to finish up out there before closing...mostly moving stuff out of the garage, and finding new places in Ponca City to put them. And then there was the earthquakes! Yes, I said earthquakes! The first happened in the middle of the night, unnoticed at our house. But the 2nd one was big, happened late in the evening, and was very frightening to me because of how unexpected it was. We had no apparent damage here, but the entire house shook for a minute, and made all kinds of creaking noises. Others to our south were not as lucky, and lost chimneys, walls, and suffered structural damage to houses that for the most part did not have earthquake insurance. There was a third perceptable tremor Monday night while at the same time there were tornadoes striking in other parts of our state. This probably was not the best year to move back to Oklahoma....record drought, record heat, record earthquakes, record flooding, record tornadoes and all in the same year and the same state.

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