Nita with Piet the pincher and Tilly the goat, Allardsoog 1964.
Today's fierce wind, responsible for sending the last leaves on our neighbor's weeping birch far beyond our yard, could dry the sheets I pull out of the washer in no time. Especially the fitted sheet would billow, a white sail going nowhere.
"Come help me stretch the sheets." That line rings in my ears as I take the laundry out of the machine.
After bringing the sheets in from drying on the lines outside our house in the Dutch countryside, Nita would hold up two corners of the foot end for me to take. I'd mark the page of the book I was engulfed in, or weave the hook or needles through my crochet or knit work.
We'd fold the sheet in half lengthwise and once again, and then the fun began. Grabbing hold of the folded ends of the fabric, standing the sheet's length apart, we'd brace our feet on the carpet and hang back like water skiers behind a boat.
Upon my mother's sign we'd regain our upright balance, and I'd hand her my end. Then I'd pick up the fold and hand that to her. She would place the material on the ironing board for a last special touch with the hot iron. Three sheets was all we had to stretch. Home economics dictated that the (still clean) top sheet would be moved to the bottom, only the bottom sheet was washed every fortnight. I always tried to make the moment of trust —putting all of my weight in the scale— last. Back then I could not know the feeling that goes with the memory would last a life time.
Today I put the fitted and flat sheets in the dryer, and remember my mother Nita († 12/29/2002), whose words of wisdom and folly continue to ring in my ears (or speak to me).
Monday, December 29, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Click on image for larger representation.
"Starlight" - ©1993 Judith van Praag
(Collage Xerox print, China ink, sonogram.)
Previously published in Creative Acts of Healing: after a baby dies (1999) and in So to Speak, a journal of language and visual art (2008).
Sunday, December 21, 2008
With only two servings of dog crunchies left in the manger we hope the pet store will be open tomorrow. Yesterday Gary put chains around the rear tires of our Ford Ranger and drove through the snow to the pet store; to find it closed. Down to one serving for tonight, we hope for OPEN sign tomorrow. If worse comes to worse, I'll cook some plain meals for our pooch.
As for the animals who are not so lucky to have owners who will fashion them something to eat no matter what, they and the Animal Rescue Site can use your help, always (I'm repeating myself), and especially now. Doesn't matter if you're snowed in, or can't get to the pet store for another reason, as long as you can get online, you can click on the purple button and bring in the crunchies for hungry animals.
Pass on the URL of the Animal Rescue Site for a wonderful belly filling chain reaction!
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Last night was our night on the town.
Thanks to Cindy, a colleague of Gary, we had tickets to the premiere of "You Can't Take It With You" at the Seattle Repertory Theatre and we got an invitation for the Holiday Party at FareStart headquarters. First we picked up our tickets and then we headed downtown where we found a parking place on 7th Avenue kitty corner from FareStart. Yes!
This was our first time to be inside the new building (unbelievable but true), but now that we've crossed the threshold we know we'll be back at the restaurant. The space is A-MA-ZING, tall ceilings, exposed age-old beams (from the beginning of Seattle), lofty lighting (flying saucers), and I was glad to see the uplifting collection of plates commemorating each of the fantastic guest chefs who give their time to work with FareStart students in an elevated position on a brick wall.
From the loft, where normally food is served as well (great location for spotting who ever else is dining inside, or who's walking by the building) the Fabulous Po'Boys serenaded the feasting crowd with their fab repertoire. Ed Johnson and Warren Payne sure no how to strum them strings!
The food at FareStart is always good. Whether you go for a first class Guest Chef's Night on Thursdays, or lunch, or are lucky enough to be handed a lunch bag prepared by FareStart Catering at an event, you're always in for a treat. So we thought we knew what to expect. Some tidbits to nosh on before going out for a more substantial bite, that's what we thought …
We couldn't have been more wrong. What we saw was a substantial spread of, yes, hors d'oeuvres such as spanoptika, mini burritos and spring rolls, yummy sesame fried drum sticks, but also vegetarian lasagna, a curry and to top it all off apple cake with a donut hole. After a very pleasant meal shared with other invitees, and many returns to the food counters, we left with our tummies filled and elevated spirit (and that after only non-alcoholic drinks).
Never underestimate the Powers that Be at FareStart, you're in for a pleasant surprise. Friendly people, and good food, what else did the doctor order?
Note to self: Return the favor and (as the red cards on the Christmas tree read:) Give the Gift of Community to FareStart Students!
Click on image to enlarge.
Oh, and by the way, the play was great (thank you Cindy!) ! You Can't Take it With You, the story about the 1936 New York family the Sycamores, is Just the thing to see in times like these.