Monday, January 30, 2012

Memories of Melrose

Memories...the first 7 years.....

     When we first moved from the city to the country, the first person I met was Melrose Dano...always known as just Mel.  She made a point of introducing herself even before we were moved in.  In the course of the "Welcome to the road.  Come up for coffee, "  we discovered that she had worked with my father in the early 50's  and that was that!   I was immediately part of her family and they were part of ours.  It was as though we'd known each other forever.
     Soon we had a 2 pm the coffee and fried cakes were ready at Mel's.  She made coffee in a stainless steel percolator - coffee that was strong enough to strip paint and hot as Hades.  Not to worry.  You cooled the heat with a good splash of heavy cream.  The fried cakes were from a local bakery and warmed in the oven til the grease was a-bubble.  Yes.  she was definitely "old school,"  top notch ingredients and top notch calories.  Oh...and the conversation was wonderful.
     Mel had worked her entire life as a waitress at places considered to be quite fancy for the small city just 8 miles away.  She had stories to tell about all the "rich and famous" that had the good fortune to sit at one of her tables,  usually not flattering but always funny.  One exception...during WWII,  Mel made some "pretty big bucks"  welding Tank turrets at a local manufacturing plant, re-tooled for the war.  She was the quintessential "Rosie the Riveter."   She still remembered getting that first pay check and how she and her mother had cried for joy at the astounding amount.  It was also enlightening to hear of the crap she took from some of her male co-workers  and the  surprising support  from others....  more laughs as she put them in their place and eventually won them all over.
      Mel's mother had been a schoolteacher  who traveled the State working in honest-to-god, one-room schoolhouses; lodging with local families during her time there.  Mel always accompanied her on these trips after the death of her father.  Again, the memories and stories she told were a slice of history that could never be found in a book.
     As a result of several incidents in her life, Mel had vowed not to marry even tho she had plenty of offers and the rings to prove it.   It was only after WWII, when women were back in their "normal" jobs, that Mel met her soon-to-be  husband.  She was waitressing at a popular restaurant when she saw him enter.   In her own words, "He was so homely, he was cute!  I had to find out who he was."   That was the beginning of a loving lasting relationship that was evident in the way they treated one another.   They were a wonderful couple with wonderful humor and affection, telling stories of their honeymoon and early life together.   Mel always described him as really "mucho,"  a manly man.  His name was Elmer but he was known to everyone in the town as "Buck."  After his death in 1988, Mel lost a bit of her zing for awhile but soon recovered her sense of humor and independence...fending off several widowers who only wanted "a cook and some one to wash their dirty clothes."

       To be continued....

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pattern for "da Bear."

As promised, I are the pattern pieces and instructions for the Belly Button Bear. 
Obviously the top and bottom of both pieces have to be printed and overlapped ( at letter size.  8 1/2"  x 11".)  any questions, feel free to ask.  My sewing skills are just average and I can make this baby so it should be  easy for anyone.  Sure hope this works!

Okay now let's try the pattern pieces.

Back...bottom section
Front - bottom section

Front - top section

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stephen King and JFK

Added on 1/30/12   I am soooooo embarrassed about the typo on the date /title of Mr. King's book!   No excuse but a lack of attention.
Well...I can't seem to get any response to my questions.  No one leaves a comment and  no one likes polls right now, I guess, too much political hot air blowing around.  I am going to publish the directions for the Teddy Bear, but then it's back to writing...mine or some one else.
   Anyone read Stephen King's "11-23-65?"  I'd be interested to know what you think.  I've always been a fan, but lately the endings seem to have taken a very improbable turn, even for Mr. King , IMHO, that is.   The Kennedy book is no exception, but in giving the book a second ending, it brought things back to the level of writing for the rest of the book.  Wonderful story and writing with a clever twist on the "Time Travel"  theory.  I was a teenager when those events occurred and could "live" the story as it progressed.  I'd be interested to get the take from someone younger, someone not yet born when the assassination took place.
  So...tomorrow the Bear and then...  only the Shadow knows.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Can you hear me now?

I've been going over the stats for my blog pages and tho there have been quite a few "visitors,"  only 1 person has left a comment.  Is this a statement of the vapid quality of the contents  or a glitch in the blog that won't allow comments?  A couple of people have mentioned they couldn't leave remarks, so I'd like to know what' s happening. 
It would be nice if I had some idea of what people talk, art, how to's  or this, that and the other? 
I think my next post will be about my BB Bear.  the how to and pattern.  what do you think?
                           I love to make and give this little guy.  Easy pattern and safe for babies.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Wow!  Just decided to change just about everything about my blog.  Unless you're a member of my family, you probably could care less about my Books.  Ergo:  let's talk about anything of mutual interest, other peoples' books...the  Maybe a certain day for certain subjects.  You know, like "Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day."  On second thought, maybe not. 
Today it's baking.   Just how hard is it to make a cake from a mix?  It seems to be beyond my skill level today.  Granted, I was embellishing, making a coconut filling like the old Bundt Cake mixes, but I've certainly done that before.  LSS..all the ingredients were sitting out for my use.  Two eggs for the filling and three eggs for the cake.  Made the filling.  It was the perfect consistency and quite yummy.  Made the cake (remember, this is a mix) and poured it into the pan.  Put the filling on in precisely the right spot and shoved the whole thing into the oven.  Started cleaning up. Wash bowls and utensils. Put away ingredient containers.  Wipe the counter...wait.  Why are there 3 eggs sitting here?
I ended up patting the cake together with my hands while it was still a bit warm.  Even the glaze can't disguise the mess that is my cake.   I guess tomorrow It'll be a different subject, I hope one with more success.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Prompt: : write about being made fun of.

Being made fun of....hmmmm.  Not usually a pleasant experience, but if we're lucky we can find the humor and poke fun at ourselves.  A while back I had a gathering of friends at my home.  We were all gathered in the kitchen as usual and I'm sure a bit of wine or other spirits had been passed.  I remember standing at the stove, preparing some culinary masterpiece , I'm sure and probably talking trash about politics or the state of the world in general, when one of my friends remarked , "You certainly are sarcastic."  I stopped everything...turned to my friend and said, "Sarcastic!  Who, me?"   The entire room burst out laughing for evidently they had come to the conclusion quite some time ago that I treated most people and things in a very sarcastic manner.  I was the only one surprised but upon consideration had to agree.  I'm trying to be better but it's become second nature to me, so it's a struggle.  Long story, and all whenever the word is mentioned, we all say, "Who, me?"

On a different subject, has been suggested that a writer's blog contain more varied and interesting things than just little brags and blurbs about writing.   Recipes, photos, craft instructions, games, links, etc.   Anyone have an opinion on that.  Of course, I want people to be interested enough to come back but how do these things pertain to the craft of writing?  Should there somehow be a  connection?   How would one accomplish this?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Prompt: : write about "the last time..."

The last time we had an actual Ballroom Dance lesson was at the Opera House Ballroom.  There were couples there from both sides of the border and I must say that our neighbors to the North were exceedingly stuck-up.  We Americans just didn't dance or teach dance properly.  Now there may be some truth to this, but after all...they were our guests.  Back to the story...the instructors were teaching some advanced turns for Samba and even though we can barely manage the beginners' steps we decided, "why not?  Maybe we can use the turns in another dance."  So it started.  Three instructors going around observing the 20 or so couples trying to move it and shake it and our favorite teacher wearing a mic. walking everyone through the steps of a double handed, over and under, behind the back, double turn that had us so tangled up we could no longer move.  Teacher comes over..."chuckles...Well, how do we fix this?  Patti, you need to lower your left elbow."  I reply into the mic. ,"I can't."   Everyone laughs, including myself,  because it's well known that when I get flustered I confuse my right and left.  Instructor points to my left elbow, pointing awkwardly toward the ceiling, and says," This one."   "Oh." I say.  "Okay."  By this time the other instructors have gathered round to see the action...sort of like the way you just have to look at an accident...and Teacher gently unwinds our arms and legs one step at a time so that we actually complete the turn.   We left soon after.  It was winter and we had a long drive home.  Right.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Writing prompts

There is a group that I belong to that issues a "writing prompt"  everyday.   The idea is to take the prompt...  start writing about the first thing that comes to mind and continue for 10 minutes.  I've done a few on the site when the "prompt"  was something that struck a chord, but have been telling myself I needn't do the subjects I didn't like.   A rationalization, a poor excuse.  It has been suggested that I put those im"prompt"u  writings here.  I guess I'll try it for a bit and see what happens.  Starting tomorrow.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

more books

to continue my lists of books...
"Polliwog Pond"...another nature based picture book, detailing the life of a Leopard Frog, from egg to polliwog and all the changes that occur as "she"  becomes something entirely new. 

"Bonjour, Beatrice"....a fictionalized account of my mother's 3 year stay in an Ursuline Convent and Boarding School in the Montreal area after the death of her father in the flu epidemic of 1918.  she was only 8 years old when this happened and was reunited with her family after contracting Scarlet antibiotics radio, TV, Cell phones, only school and dormitories and nightgown rules, oh yes...and lots of prayers.

I'm currently working on three new books....all of them a departure from my usual genre.  Have found that multitasking in writing is not my forte.  Need to pick one and finish at least a first draft.  Will talk about these later.
    Here is a  drawing I did of Beatrice in a realistic version of the uniform of the day.   Black garbardine, black stockings and sensible shoes.


Sunday, January 1, 2012


I hope everyone enjoyed bringing, ringing in the New Year.  Started with a visit to the kids , more presents for E and a lovely lunch.   Nothing much in the evening, but did turn on the tube to watch the Ball drop at Times Square.  Sometimes I think that it would be great fun to be there and share all that excitement, but usually the feeling passes like Scrooge would say like " an undigested bit of beef."
One more day of Holiday time and things will have to get back to normal.  Is there such a thing in anyone's life?   By normal I mean actually doing some writing on a regular basis and even submitting a picture book or two to some bewildered editor who will say..."OMG!  I'm so lucky to have found this ms. today.  Quick, this wonder worker...this gift to the children of the world and let us offer her a wonderful deal! "   Wow.  I really can write fiction.
I just remembered  that I was making a list of my books.  I really must get organized.
Perhaps tomorrow.   Happy New Year to all and Sundry!