Sunday, March 27, 2011

Alice in Luckyland

My friend Mindy at  gave me a box of vintage Alice in Wonderland note cards.  I am kind of in love with the beautifully tinted Tenniel reproductions.  I am torn between using them to send out charming little missives to my friends or hoarding them away for my viewing pleasure only.

Even the little box the "correspondence notes" came in is adorable.  I just love the bright vintage colors of the box.  The note cards were from Mindy's grandfather's estate, so eight of the cards were sent out to eight of his lucky friends.  There are six of the original designs left.  As happy as I am with the thoughtful little gift there is one lone thing niggling at my brain.  I know it s silly, but I can't help wondering what the seventh image was?

Regardless of what that final images was I am just so lucky to have a friend who salvaged such a sweet little gift for me.  Thank you Mindy, maybe I will just have to send you a little "correspondence note" to let you know how much I appreciate the thoughtfulness.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Water Bottle Sling, Or More About My Knitting

To say I have an excessive personality is an understatement.  Sometimes I just don't know when to say when.  Case in point my new water bottle sling.  I have for years now taken a 32 oz Quiktrip cup full of tea to work with me every day.  Suddenly, the gods of grace cursed me with a string of teatastrophies.  I kept spillng all 32 ozs on some important piece of work property.  When a manager saw the damage and said, "Clean-up in aisle 7,"  I knew I had a problem.  My friends decided to help me out with a state of the art tea go-bottle.

But even state of the art has a drawback.  The darn thing was too big to fit in the cup holder in my car.  Aha, I said, I am knitter, I can knit myself a solution.  With the help of I found a pattern and cast on with some sock yarn I had in my stash.  I noted that the designer even commented on the pattern to not over knit the strap.   I am a big girl, I thought, I will need a longer strap.  I added about four inches to the 34 inch strap.  I mean if 34 is good 38 will be better.  Just like my long scarves, more is, well more.

The strap is too long, way too long.  Once my 32 ozs of tea is in my go-bottle and it is snugly slung in the sling it hangs almost to my knees.  I know I could have unraveled some of it, but instead I knotted the strap  and called it good enough.  So far, I have no complaints and no spills.  No clean-ups in aisle 7 for me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quilting Bee, Or Lucky Me

I know I keep pushing the luck thing, but you know I have been especially lucky since my birthday.  Not only did I get a beautiful wife, but my wonderful mother gave me one of her freshly minted quilts.  I spent the last year seeing this quilt lay around in various stages and then to see it in a big bag with the word "birthday" printed on the side, I was dumbstruck.  I know the hours and thought that went into such a lovely creation.  I could describe the quilt, but a photo is truly worth a thousand words.

Birthday Quilt

The blocks of flowers set with the pinks is so lovely and sooooo my mother.  The oval printed fabric in with the pinks and the flowers sooooo not my mother.  She in not an abstract oval print person, but she told me this fabric just jumped out at her and she thought it would be a good contrast to the pinks.  I say, and you can quote me on this, mom was right.  The quilt is a stunner. 

My mom has been working on quilts for years. She is actually what she calls a topper. She loves the process of finding a pattern, picking out the fabric, tweaking the pattern, and doing all the piece work.  Once she has the top pieced she usually sends it out to be machine quilted.  I love watching her as she goes through the stages of putting together a quilt.  She can hand quilt, but says for her the magic is in the piecework.  I don't care how we get to the end product I just love the results. 

This quilt is the second one of her creation I have blogged about ( ).  To be the recipient of another quilt is as I have said before, humbling.  All the time, money, and labor to hand something so precious over to another is a gift which has no price tag. 

Mom's signature on the back

As much as I love the top of my quilt; my favorite part is on the back.  My mother has started to "sign" her quilts.  I love that she is so ingenious to put her unique hallmark on the back of something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

And the Party Continues

Everyone and the Newlyweds!

As I mentioned  I got married on my birthday (just in case you missed it).  My birthday didn't stop there, my dear wife (and I mean that when I say it) threw me a small birthday party with some of my knitting buddies at the London Tea Room ).  Since it was a formal tea many of the guests wore hats and came prepared to drink tea and celebrate.

The Dapper Mr Harrison

Amy Looking Lovely

And of course we did drink tea, but none of them were prepared for the our surprise announcement of our recent nuptials.  I thought about making everyone wait until after we had tea and scones, but I was about to burst with the news.  Keeping a secret is not one of my strong points.  As soon as everyone was present and accounted for I stood up and told them about the best birthday ever.  I even brought the marriage license to pass around so everyone could see, we weren't fibbing.  Cheers of joy went around the table and more than a few cups of tea were salted with tears of happiness.  I am proud to say I didn't cry, I just bask in their love, beaming.  Who knew getting married would make me this happy?

Julie and My Beautiful Wife

My friends showered me with amazing gifts.  I must admit I am like a kid about getting a present, love it!  I got books, yarn, a stunning new quilt from my mother, a hand knitted capelet, wrist bands, and so much more.  I feel so lucky to have such wonderful friends, I only hope that I am worthy of their friendship.  I also want to apologize if anyone felt left out by not being invited to the party.  I am so sorry, we were limited by size and finances as to how many we could invite.  I am so lucky to have so many wonderful friends I feel bad not inviting everybody I ever spoke to.  Next time I will think of a place better suited for a larger crowd.  We will have a free for all and  50 (omg I can't believe I am saying this)  is only 5 years away! 

Birthday Swag

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lucky in Iowa, Or How I got Married.

I never thought I would be legally married, never.  But I am in the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, District of Columbia, and Iowa.  How you might ask did such a thing happen?  Well sit back and let me tell you a story.  A good story about love, luck, and a trip to the great state of Iowa.

Wednesday my much beleaguered life partner, Natalie, called from Washington D C and said, "Since we both have Friday off, what do you want to do?"  Granted it wasn't just any old Friday but Friday, March 4, which has the distinction of being my birthday.  My 45th birthday if you are counting.  And if you are counting, the last two years my birthdays have been days marked by grief.  I wanted to do something special, something memorable, something to mark the change of luck in my life.  I really can't fully explain why, but as soon as I heard this question I only had one answer.

"Let's go to Iowa and get married,"  I said.

I heard Natalie say, "B...b...B..."  Silence and then, "We will talk about this later."

Later came and after much discussion (we are lesbians after all and nothing is ever decided without much processing), reflection, and a text message at 4:50 am eastern standard time that read, "Yes.  Why don't we go to Iowa and get married?  I love you." We decide to do the deed. 

But sometimes it takes a village or in this case a very persistent co-worker to make a wedding happen in 48 hours.  The great state of Iowa has rules for a marriage certificate and some counties are not as compliant as others.  Hurdle number one is the need for a justice of the peace in Iowa to do the joining.  Hurdle number two is the need for a witness that knows both parties.  Hurdle number three the three day waiting period before you can get married (so not giving Natalie the opportunity to change her mind).

Hurdle number two was easy my mom was enlisted to be our witness.  Hurdles one and three were a little more significant.  Thanks to the powers of google and fellow library assistant, Kim, it can be done.  After failing with one county to get the desired answers, she and I looked until we found my new favorite county in Iowa, Johnson County.  In the county seat of Iowa City, Iowa we found a Recorder of Deeds who had a great web page and the helpful suggestion of how to get pass the three day rule plus a list of judges and phone numbers.  A few calls and a few squeals later a plan was laid.  It was Iowa or bust.
 Friday morning with my mother (and her white mini-van) in tow we hopped on highway 61 and headed north.  I will admit to you my friends, I was positively simmering over with excitement.  I know my two favorite ladies in the world (mom and Natalie) were ready to make me ride on the roof to get me to shut up.  However, happiness brooks no deterrent, so they suffered my gushing patter on the four and half hour drive to Iowa City with no incident. 

The very awesome Carrie

We hit the administrative building at about 11:30 am central standard time like kids hitting the gate at Disneyland.  Our clerk's name was Carrie and she was everything you don't expect from a civil servant.  She was cheerful, helpful, and downright giddy to help us achieve the goal of getting us married on my birthday.  The day truly was a group effort with the employees of Johnson County doing most of the work.  Every time we showed up at the recorders office (a total of three times) Carrie was there to make our dream come true. 

This trip also required three trips to the county court house too, an awesome old building with old woodwork, vintage tile,  beautiful stained glass, and stairs, lots of stairs.  We met an amazing bailiff named Sue who made sure everyone knew we needed extra attention.  Sue kept the machinery of county bureaucracy moving for us.  By 2:00 pm central standard time Natalie and I were spouse and spouse. 

Judge Karen performed a beautiful and simple service, which I cried through.  We exchanged our wedding rings we bought for each other in 1992 and kissed in front of Judge Karen, Sue, and my mother.  Hugs went all the way around the court room and there it was we were after so many years MARRIED.  On our last trip to the Recorder's Office we picked up the actual Marriage Certificate and I said to Carrie, "I am so excited."

Carrie gave me a smile and said, "Do you think?"  I just can't thank the wonderful civil servants of Johnson County enough for all the help and attention, they truly were my heroes on my wedding day.

Judge Karen, Mom, and the newlyweds

On the four and half hour drive home my beautiful wife (and I mean that when I say it) asked, "Do you feel different?"

I could only say, "Yes, I feel empowered!"  What I didn't say then and I will say now, I feel lucky.  Lucky Natalie would have me.  Lucky my mother was with me.  And very lucky we live close enough to make it to Iowa in a day to get married.  I wish all non-traditional couple could be this lucky.