Memorial Day….

Who doesn’t love a parade? In my childhood days, the first parade of the year was for St. Patrick’s Day. And it often happened that there was snow on the street corners, and the wind was whipping and bitter; but the idea of summer existed, we welcomed the idea that winter would indeed end. We stood and cheered, and listened to the bag pipers and waved to friends marching along, and visited with neighbors you missed while hibernating all winter long.

The next parade was the biggie, however.  Decoration Day! (Now called Memorial Day.)  I have old black and white photos of my Dad and Aunt Gael and various cousins as children at that parade, back in the 50’s. (There are no photos of us at most of the events of our childhood that I know about. There seems to have been a vacancy for ‘family photographer’ for years after Henri died and before I began.) The parade would pass by the front porch of 183 Victory, and we would watch with all of the older members of the family. We sat on the edge of the porch, we wandered up and down the stairs visiting with cousins and friends, we ran up and down the alley between the house and the funeral home. We had fun! We bought poppies from veterans, and waved our flags and marched along the sidewalk.

I don’t recall when we stopped going to the parade every year; I am unsure of whether the parade stopped for a while, or when the stepping off point changed, or if it was simply that after the funeral home moved up Victory we no longer had front row seats and ample parking.

But I do recall one year when Arlie was about 4, taking a folding chair and Daddy Gus to the corner of Hart and Forest and sitting him down to watch the soldiers and the bagpipers and the other marchers go by. I have a photo of Arlie and her little friend Molly, waving flags, and I remember  Daddy Gus wiping the tears from his eyes as the bands played on.

Ours is not a military family. We don’t have the old stories, the old soldiers who silently saved the world for us. But we do know what they do, and what they risk, and what they leave behind. We appreciate the sacrifices that their families make, we love the soldiers that we do know, who continue to make our world a safer place to live.

This Memorial Day the parade of my youth is hundreds of miles north, and I will be at work, near a military base.  But the meaning of the day, the sacrifice that our soldiers bear—it’s not something that can be measured, nor is it something that is to be left for one day in any event.

Happy Memorial Day. Have a safe and happy summer, and remember the reason you have this time to spend with family and friends at the beach or BBQ or even, like me, at work….

And now for something completely different:

An update on my studio cleaning. I have this photo of the fabric wall, completed.fabric after

I chose not to remove works in progress from the smaller containers on the top shelves at this time. The bins they are in fit relatively well, so I am leaving well enough alone.

I also finished a little baby blanket for a co-worker’s grandson, a super-preemie born back in February, who will probably be coming home within the next month!

alexander1 alexander

A simple patchwork blanket with fleece backing and blanket binding…a perfect snuggle for Alexander.

There was a post the other day, I didn’t send out a reminder, scroll down to catch up!

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27 books…27 Magazines

Oh, books, magazines, you are going to be hard.

Books mean a lot to me. I have them everywhere. I even read some of them. Others, I just keep for the pictures!

But books do not stay in one location in this house. There is the pile in the bedroom—reading, about to read, finished reading.

There are similar piles in the guest room.

And shelves in the studio, and the den and the living room. All full of books.

I want a “KindleNookSonyIpad”—an E-reader. I haven’t settled on which, I am curious to hear from those who have them already about their pros and cons. But even if I own one, I don’t truly see books going away in this house. Too many of them are reference. The photos, the how-to’s, I don’t know that E-reading is the way to go (or that it’s even supported well…)

The financial difficulty of replacing all the reference of my life precludes being able to assign new roles to all the bookshelves in the house. (Although if forced, I COULD reassign them to hold fabric….)

The joy of wandering through Goodwill or yard sales or other thrift stores, and investing a quarter or a dollar in a new author and discovering something special—that too will be gone with E-reading. The idea of having anything that I might want at my fingertips on vacation? In the car? Bored on my lunch hour?? Heck, yes!

Still. The books currently in the house–27 flinging. Right, get back on target.

Do you live in an apartment but have a shelf (or more) of garden books? Do you not cook but have a shelf of cook books? Think on why you have them. Is this about who you WANT to be versus who you ARE? Is it a temporary situation?

Some may be worth keeping, because they ARE special, and do have great information. Some, well. Fling them. We live in the information age. We CAN find the information again.

Travel is a great past-time, but travel books are often out of date by the time they are printed. As reference, the internet is far better, or contact AAA just before your vacation and get up-to-date publications.

Books about crewel, or needlepoint, when you can’t remember the last time you threaded a needle?? Fling.

That small bit of shelf of children’s books that you saved? Keep’em. (No more than about a dozen really special ones, unless you currently HAVE children in the house. In that situation, you keep them all, lol!) They bring back memories, and it will tickle your child some day that they still exist. They are a great thing to have if you have unexpected small company.

Novels you read and can’t recall? Fling. Novels you enjoyed, but the TBR pile is so overwhelming you can’t imagine the time you would ever read it again? Fling. (Write down the title and author, and get it onto your E-reader eventually.) Novels you have started to read more than twice and STILL haven’t finished? Duh! Fling.

Novels that you have written in the margins of, dog-eared, bookmarked and underlined passages of? They get kept. They are old friends. (Still, you may want an E-copy eventually.)

(Let me clarify this word FLING for this topic. This should read a bit more like ––Share— Give away to friends who read the same things you do. Introduce a neighbor to your favorite author. Donate the entire pile to your library for their book sale. Sell on Ebay, Half.com, put up on PaperbackSwap.com, etc. Save the whole bag/box till your next family gathering and put it on the counter for people to take as they please.)

Magazines are an entirely different sort of animal. My first suggestion is to not allow them into your home. Barring that, weed out the titles you subscribe to, keeping only the ones you actually READ when they are still fresh. Do NOT get sucked in at the grocery store line and toss them into your cart. Really, with magazines, you need to take a firm line!

I only purchase quilting magazines. And I try not to even buy them. I am seduced by the pretty colors of the quilts, yes, but even more so by the setting the photo was taken in, the clever title they gave to a block I own the directions to already (5 times, in many of the books I own)….

What I do with magazines like this is allow them to gather. When I have a large pile, I sit on the couch, or on the floor in the studio, with a stapler and rip out the patterns I really like. Staple together all the pages, and make a pile. The rest gets flung. (This pile should be moved to a magazine holder, of which I have cleared out a few that were being used for other things, like files)

I sometimes even hole-punch and put the patterns into three-ring binders. The fact of the matter is, unless I run out of THREAD, I need not another scrap of fabric, nor another pattern purchase in order to continue quilting—unless I live to be 300!!!

Oh, and tomorrow is March 1. (Happy Birthday, Jeanine)… Go back to the blog at the end of January and REPEAT the digital photo process!!)