Sunday, December 31, 2017

Out With the Old, In With the New

...or "Why Star Wars, The Last Jedi was the perfect movie to watch on New Years Eve."

Let me start by saying "I loved it!" It was wonderfully Star Warsy, with all of the noisy, crashing, smashing battle scenes and improbable escapes. 

But that's not why I have always loved the original Star Wars movies, and the last one, The Force Awakens, the first of the "modern era".  For me it has always been about the characters. I have always loved Luke and Leia and Han and Chewbacca and the funny little droids. We lost Han in the last movie, but finally Luke and Leia reunite, if just briefly. 

However, this movie is about establishing a new order. The old characters are aging, and in fact, in real life we have lost Leia, Carrie Fisher. New characters are arising, characters we can care about. The era of the Jedi is over.

I left the movie with tears streaming down my face. I don't expect young people to get why I have reacted so emotionally, but here's why.

I am one of those old characters in the scheme of things. My time is passing on. The young people, my kids and grand kids and their cohorts, are the  ones building their lives and influencing their world. They are the inheritors of the life force we have handed down to them. 

Out with the old, in with the new, is a phrase we say at New Years, but not so fast.  Like Leia and Luke in this film, I am still a force to be reckoned with.  

We got a glimpse in the film of the youth that will be the new order, or perhaps I should say, the new Resistance. They will be wonderful, and we can count of Star Wars movies into the future.

It's hard to say goodbye to old friends. Luke and Leia will be gone, but their power lives on. And for those of us old characters still around, we will still radiate our power in the lives of those we are close to. The Force is with us.

Happy New Year. May the Resistance live on in 2018. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Boxing Day and An Update

We didn't box anything up on Boxing Day, but we did plate up a bunch of cookies to take with us to Whidbey Island.

We made the trip across the sound to spend some time with Tom's brother Dave, his wife Vicki, sister Jan, and Dave and Vicki's daughter Julie, her husband Dave, and their kids Sara and Brian.
 Whidbey Island got Christmas snow too, and while the snow was gone from the beach by Tuesday, it still lingered around the lagoon. 
 The California Reeders had decided to come north for Christmas and spend it at the island cabin. The snow was an extra special gift. 

We had a good visit with all of the bunch, and most of us went out to lunch together in Langley.  After lunch we walked over to the Bud and Bernice Reeder memorial benches to pose for photos. 

Here are the three siblings.
 And here are the rest of the bunch, minus Brian, and me, since I am behind the camera. 
That was Tuesday. Since then we have kept busy at home, going through Christmas gifts, putting away a few things, and dealing with technology issues.

We had our hard drive scrubbed before Christmas, and then Comcast sent us an updated modem. All of that meant lost programs and devices that needed to restore communication with each other. On top of that, I lost my credit card just before Christmas, and the new one finally arrived in the mail today.

As of right now, I think we have everything working, iTunes restored, Carbonite backup reconnected with the computer, and after typing in lots of email address, I think my email address book is once again complete. I have changed my credit card info on all accounts where it was the method of payment. Tad, our tech guy, stopped by to clean up a few other things. Whew!

Now, since the weather is nasty, I think I'll have to dust off my stationary bike out in the garage and do some indoor exercising. 

At least I can read my book that way. I won't find time otherwise. :-)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Quilt

It was early November when I started this project.

I had heard about tee shirt quilts several years ago, and I knew we had a collection of Jake's rock concert tee shirts from his high school and college days in a crate in the attic. I finally decided this was the year to make that quilt.

I am not really a quilter, so of course I didn't really know how to do that so I went on line, where, of course, you can find everything you need to know about anything. I found several good tutorials, then began to plan my quilt. 

Wash the tee shirts, separate the shirt fronts, and sometimes the backs, from the rest of the shirt. Use a template to make the final cut, centering the graphics. 

Lay the panels out to create the design and number of blocks. 

Oh my, this is a bigger project than I imagined. Can I do this on my sewing machine, or do I need the services of a long arm quilter machine? I checked into that - too expensive! I'll just have to see how it goes.

Take measurements, then off to the fabric store for flannel for the backing and iron on interface to stabilize the tee shirt fabric. I chose a flannel fabric that looked very much like shirts Jake wore during the Grunge Era when he was in high school.

The process of assembling the quilt top went well, but I was still worried about how I would make the "sandwich" - the top, the filler and the backing.

We worked on the dining room table, Tom lending assistance to get everything lined up and pinned together with safety pins.

 Sewing the leading edge was fairly easy. Tom helped manage the bulk of the rolled up quilt. I just did "stitch in the ditch" quilting, sewing over the seam lines.
 It was trickier stuffing the roll under the sewing machine arm, but with the walking foot on my machine I saw that I could reverse direction once I got to the middle without the layers bunching up. Relief!

Then it was time for applying the binding. No way could my hands handle hand sewing a blind stitch around this 90 x 65 inch quilt, so I used the machine and top stitched.

 And sometime in the week after Thanksgiving, the quilt was complete! Yay! I had been rather wrapped up in it. :-)

 I kept it a secret from family members until the revealing Christmas Day. Jake had already received a fleece lap blanket from Jill, so as he opened it, everyone joked, "Oh, another blanket". 
 It took him a bit of time to find a corner to peek in and see anything but flannel, but as soon as he got a peek, he said, "Oh, it's my tee shirts!" and jumped up to unfurl the whole thing.
 Of course he loves it. But he also knew all about tee shirt quilts. He informed me that "it's a thing."  I guess he knows people who have them. 
Now he does too, and he was perfectly fine with my rescuing his shirts from the attic and cutting them up. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Very White and a Very Bright Christmas

White as in SNOW. Bright as in Merry and Bright! Our Christmas day certainly was both!

While most of you have posted your Christmas by now and are moving on, I have been busy - still- so here goes: The Reeder Family on Christmas Day.
We woke up Christmas morning to a winter wonderland. White Christmases are very rare here in Seattle. Having had trouble sleeping, I was up before the sun and turned on all of the outside lights and the Christmas tree. Then I headed to the shower. When I emerged, Tom had gone downstairs and turned on Christmas music. We hugged with tears in our eyes over the magic of it all. 

I took my camera as I went out to get the newspaper, grabbing just a few minutes to appreciate the scene. 

 Snow on still blooming roses.

Then it was time to load our sleigh - the old purple mini-van - and navigate the roads to Jill's house. 

When we arrived everyone had just extracted themselves from bed. We oldsters were the early birds. 

We unloaded the "sleigh" and then assembled to open stockings. 

The kitty got hers first. 

 Purr liked her bug. 
 Next came breakfast preparation. Irene decorated the wreath bread. 
 Breakfast is served.
 After a little clean up time, it was ready, set, go time at the piles of gifts. We do open them one at a time, which takes a lot of time. It was all time well spent, good times for all. :-)
 Isaac is really into clothes, and yes, he likes pink. Even his soccer shoes are pink. 

Star Wars Porgs are the "thing" this year. 
 Irene liked her cat sweatshirt.....
 because it has a pocket for a cat!  Mr. Whiskers wasn't sure, though, and he might be a bit over sized for it. Purr fits just fine. 
 Have I told you that Irene is a budding artist? She gave me one of her paintings, a wonderful mountain and meadow scene, like my favorite place at Paradise on Mt Rainier. I love it!
 Jake was curious about why he was getting a blanket. But there is much more to this story, which will be revealed in a post of its own. 
 Irene traded her cat hoody for her new giraffe pajamas, and hugged last year's gift giraffe, who was invited to the party. 

After gifts there was a bit of a rush to get the turkey started on the BBQ grill.  We stuffed all the sorted gift wrapping into recycle or non-recycle bags and piled up the boxed to be reused. 

Then everyone settled in to play with new electronics or take a nap or read their phones, or....

As for me? Well, I chose to go outside and play. I made a snow lady. 

Then I rang the doorbell to get attention and made Irene take my picture. The kids did come out on the front porch and applaud me. 
 There was lots of cooking going on in the kitchen, but this time all I did was stir the gravy. Well, I had made the stuffing the day before. Tom managed the cooking of the turkey. Thank you, Jill and kids for doing all of the rest.

The table was set.
 The turkey was off the grill and resting. No, it isn't burnt. It is blacked from the applewood smoke on the charcoal grill. So yummy. 
And then there was more eating!
Followed by clean up and cookies, and some game playing,  before we loaded up to return to our own homes.

It was a Merry and Bright Christmas Day.  

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Eve

Jill and the kids came early to our house. The Seahawks were playing the Dallas Cowboys in a game that would eliminate one team from the playoffs.

After making the stuffing for the turkey for the Christmas Day dinner, I was happy to sit with them for a while and enjoy the game, and for a change, it was enjoyable! A 21-12 victory.

Of course everyone was on their devices during the game. It's a requirement. There are lots of time outs and commercials, after all, and the kids were trying out new technology from their Colorado grandparents. 

It was before the game was over that it began to snow.

After the game, as it got dark, I got busy in the kitchen, making Swedish meatballs. The kids, totally unprepared for snow, raided our coat closet for coats and hats and gloves, and went outside to make some snowballs. 
 Jill followed them out long enough to get a few photos, but she said it was hard to get them to stand still long enough for a pose. 
I had to laugh when I saw the hat Isaac was wearing, an old straw hat of mine. There must have been some magic in that old straw hat they found. 

Isaac made a mini-snowman on the patio picnic table for me to enjoy. 
We had a lovely, candle lit dinner in the dining room, with outside lights highlighting the snow covering the trees outside.

After dinner, Irene lit the nativity pyramid, and we all gathered to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas. 
As the snow continued to fall and accumulate, worry about getting back home began to creep in. Jake had already decided to stay at Jill's house rather than going back into the city. But we got them out of the driveway and up the hill and on their way.

Tom and I finished cleaning up and putting away. We decided not to make a gift delivery run to Jill's that night but wait until morning, hoping, of course, that we would make it with the load of gifts and the turkey and the stuffing and the cookies. (We did)

After settling in to watch some TV and catch up on blogs and Facebook, I read a post from one of our blogger friends that stated he always went outside on Christmas Eve to soak up the peace.

I decided about 11:00 to do the same. 

 I walked around the back yard, where the only prominent sound was of my boots crunching in the snow. 

I walked out the driveway to the street where I met a man walking and exchanged a few greetings.  As I looked back through the trees to the house, it all just looked magical. 

 And then, filled with Christmas Magic, I returned to Tom inside, where midnight soon brought us to Christmas day, and time to try to sleep.
Of course the visions of sugar plums and lists and other Christmas emotions kept me awake, but it is, after all, a very special night.