Almost forgot to post - I started quilting my 911 quilt quilt last night.
9/28/2001 07:21:00 AM
Ron arrived back home on Wednesday. Extremely tired from working nights and not sleeping much days, so the first order of business was catching up on some sleep. We're still talking here and there about what happened while he was there. He did do some void searches and he found a staircase in one area but no victims were there.
One of his comments was that life in general is returning to normal in the city. He said by the end of the week someone in fire/rescue garb was less likely to get stopped on the street by others. He mentioned that he went back to "his" pub, Mulligans, to say goodbye and thanks and that it had given him a little normalcy to have a "regular" place to go for meals.
I showed him some of the 911 quilt progress online and then the quilt itself. At dinner last night he asked me what the little triangles meant. I said - what do YOU think they mean? No, he said, I asked you first! So I explained what I thought the various design bits came from - the sudden break in my reality after hearing the news - the deep void of grief at first and then the lesser early grief, fading into a grief-tinted period. To me the little triangular bits might represent the idea that even during grief, normal life pops up to show you that life goes on - you laugh, you see a pretty flower or sunset, you experience love.
He said - wow, totally different. His take - Normal day on the left, and then the bombing in the center and all the smoke, dust and ash on the right. To him the triangular bits represent all the things which fell from the building including people and steel.
I guess that's a success! - when you can look at a piece of art and see something in it based on what's in your head. It might not be exactly what the artist was thinking but it made you think about something and interpret it using the artist's symbols and work.
September 21, 2001 Friend and former co-worker Karen emailed me:
Mike and I had just gotten into the office when we heard about the first plane. In my last "innocent" moment, I believed that the plane crash was an accident. A few moments later, news of the second crash travelled through the office, and it was at that point we all knew it was no accident.
Many of us gathered around a television set in a small conference room on the 3rd floor. When we all saw the first footage of the Pentagon in flames, a dark, unspeakable outrage filled everyone in the room. It was so thick that I almost passed out. (I've never fainted - or even felt like fainting - in my entire life.)
But I probably don't need to tell you the rest. You experienced it yourself...
To me, Karen is expressing the transition that so many of us went through in those minutes after the first crash. Disbelief yes, but more like a grasping for what we could believe. And then that belief was gone. It wasn't an accident. No twist of terrible fate, no failure of metal or technology.
As the days pass, one thing that comes back to me over and over again is that humans did these things. To each other.
I am a human. Would I be capable of this? What makes me different from this? I heard a woman on NPR say that as she passed a mosque in her neighborhood, she turned her head away because she couldn't look on the Muslims "with a gentle eye." I wondered how you could just clump anyone of a certain heritage together this way? Were ALL Germans evil? More immediate perhaps - if we should look at ourselves and see a white person, should we associate ourselves with McVeigh?
Oh wait - a bit of silliness. Wait a minute - that would mean I do silly things in my sewing room. Oh..... I guess that's true sometimes.
9/23/2001 10:16:00 PM
Worked on the 911 quilt last night, but today I worked on the quilting for that first october quilt while watching, listening to and crying with the prayer service in NYC. Except for Bette Midler, it was a stirring service. (I like Bette - but no one seemed to have told her that this was a memorial service, not a pep rally) CNN liked it, go figure.
They could have concluded with the words given by Imam Izak-El M. Pasha, a chaplain with the New York Police Department, at the conclusion of a meditation on the burdens felt by many Muslim Americans during the crisis. For a wonderful selection of quotes from the service go here
Talked to Ron today. He is staying in the same hotel, going to the irish "pub" Mulligan's he found last time. He says that the feeling is very different down there, since they have definitely switched to recovery. A huge crane is supposed to be coming in tonight to remove some of the really large pieces. Things are still being sifted through after they're removed to Staten Island.
I guess from what he said that they had found a void which led to an area of an underground parking lot. Firemen went in, team with dogs went in and found nothing.
I was thinking that they should use some of the dust to blend in with whatever they build, in whatever monuments or memorials they build. No doubt it would actually contain molecules of the victims.
I needed to go to Walmarts today - a rather surreal experience in normal times. To add to my confusion they are rearranging the store. I came home with the mundane things on my list but I sprang for four "best of" albums: Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, The Beatles (the 1 album) and John Lennon (Lennon Legend). I guess I needed a little break from the familiar celtic music we normally have going.
Instead of getting better, I'm still processing apparently. I got through the first week of Apple Store Training. I worked on quilts. Bottom line is that I'm weepier now than I was last week. As I was telling Ron about this we were both saying the prospect of dropping bombs and engaging in warfare is scary. Is it only so for those who remember Viet Nam? Gulf War? As Ron said - why drop bombs on Afghanistan - to kill some badly needed goats?
Making real progress on the 911 quilt. An email that another friend sent today sparked some ideas for the center portion so that's what I worked on tonight
9/21/2001 11:31:00 PM
Ron's gone back to NYC today to do some rope descents into a large void they have discovered. He expects to be gone 5 days. Here's a few photos from his last trip down there, since the original posting has gone into archive at this point.
9/21/2001 07:35:00 PM
Almost made it through the week. One more day.
I've made some progress on the 911 quilt, despite being tired and confused and perhaps still a little shell shocked.
Ron's going back to the city tomorrow, probably for five days.
I forgot to post here that my amish-inspired nine patch won 2nd place in the unfinished category at East Side Quilters' annual open house. There were some beautiful quilts there and a few inspired by last week's events which had us a bit teary.
Tonight my guild, East Side Quilters had our annual open house. We advertise the meeting and serve light refreshments and welcome visitors. The main activities though are two-fold. We present our "charity quilts" to the organizations that we're giving them to. Tonight we gave about a dozen quilts each to Unity House and Davids House in Troy. Both serve displaced people, homeless people, victims of violence etc. Davids House is really a place for displaced families. We give our quilts and could probably give that many each month and not fill the need.
The other thing we do is have the results of our yearly challenge. This year's challenge was to make something that involved a ninepatch block. And to tie it somehow to a famous line, bit of poem, title, song verse etc. We had lots of entries this year, from very traditional to not. I won second place in the unfinished category for my amish nine patch. My theme was "Order from Chaos."
There were several small quilts made in response to last week's terrorist acts. One woman could barely describe her quilt and her reason for making it.
Quite a contrast from my day today. Day two of training. I keep wondering - doesn't your face hurt from all that smiling? I don't know what to make of it, but it ain't good. And yet it seems pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things. And as I keep reminding myself - I need a job, I need a job.
"Heroism, the Casucasian mountaineers say, is endurance for one moment more." -- George Kennan
I think now that the terrorist attacks have affected me more than I was willing to think. I started my new job today and I just found it difficult to deal with the ever-cheerfulness of the group. I found it hard to even go. I found it hard to go to sleep last night. I gave myself umpteen peptalks about how I really need to get a paying job and regain some independence and security. I made a promise to myself that I would stay at the job for a week.
At ten o'clock I almost left. actually I almost turned tail and left when they "welcomed" us into the room where we were first meeting. I felt like a sullen cranky outsider. The only woman other than myself and the trainer is the manager. When she told me how I was the only "girl" and how they had really wanted to have a better mix.... well. I stayed in my seat and mentioned to my neighbor that I had worked in a print shop with all guys and I wasn't afraid of them. For the record, I'm not a "girl." I'm a woman.
Ron's going back to the city sometime this week after having a go-around with his office about arranging the coverage of his hours in order to go. As I said to him tonight, on day 7 there are no heroes. The people still working are not flush with the excitement or the anticipation of the great rescue. There are only people dedicated to finding and recovering whatever remains there are in that pile of rubble, so they may be returned to their families and afforded a dignified end. there is no glory there. The conditions are not exciting. There is no adrenaline rush generated by the stench of bodies.
Ron's back home as of Saturday night. He may be re-deployed in a couple days but that remains uncertain. He was pretty tired, so I expect to hear a lot more about his experience tomorrow. After they'd gotten back to the area, he called to say he was at a local hospital having bloods drawn and various tests to establish baselines because of all the hazmat exposure.
I spent part of today at the VFW post with East Side Quilters. I got the binding on the winter grant quilt. Tonight I was about to start quilting on October Sky but instead started a new quilt. I think it's coming along pretty well.
My husband Ron has gone to NYC. He'll be part of a relief team of the Capital District Urban Search and Rescue Team (Part of the State Emergency Management Agency). He expects to be gone about 48 hours and that he'll be doing search and rubble work at the WTC site. Since he's smaller than many fire/rescue guys and has much climbing/rope experience, he sometimes gets the dubious honor of going into small places - because he'll fit.
For his "day job" Ron is a full time paramedic for the Town of Colonie
Here's a site with incredible views of the WTC taken by someone on their way to work. Amazing shots showing more detail of the heat and impact damage than I had seen previously.
9/13/2001 05:12:00 PM
The basic conflict in our world today is not between nations. It is between two opposing beliefs. The belief that you can overcome evil with more evil, (and, of course, those people are busy multiplying the evil). Now this is the official position of every major nation in the world. This is the war way. And the belief which is my way (and Iím sure it is your way. Iím sure many people can relate to this.) The belief that evil can only be overcome by good. That is the basic conflict in our world today. -- Peace Pilgrim
An eye for an eye, and the whole world would be blind. Mahatma Gandhi
For a report from a person close to the scene, click here.
I'm making the binding for two grant quilts while listening/watching to reports on yesterday's sad news. Last evening as I drove down from the adirondacks, the northway was eerily quiet for a long ways (didn't see a car until near Lake George!) and the sky was notable for the lack of contrails. As I neared Albany, the huge new over-highway sign declared that the Albany Airport was closed and all flights cancelled. By then it was dark and the bright yellow letters were shocking against the night.
This morning - it's clear here, few clouds, still no commercial planes, although a few large planes presumably military have been going over since around 3:30 AM.
I spent the day yesterday with family and friends and their family and as we travelled around the lake where my parents live each summer, I think each of us wondered at the beauty and wondered - does it look different now, a few hours after the world changed? Can terrorism change our view of the world? I believe it should instead change how we act towards others. We are all people who live in the same world. We all have families and friends and we should all be enjoying them and the nearest horizon and sky without worry or anger. These are the treasures we can hold in our hearts.
9/12/2001 01:33:00 PM
I've been gone for a few days, up to visit my folks at Brant Lake and think some things over. It's good to get away but much of that new calmness was blown away by Tuesday's terrorist attacks in the US.
Up until then my Mom and I spent some quality time bonding with each other and our sewing machines. In the evenings we fished on the beautiful lake and enjoyed the peace.
Here's what I worked on:
on the way home, I saw a large sign at the corner of rts 9/20 and 150 that said "Terrorists are Cowards"
Here are a couple shots of the outer border on the winter quilt
9/06/2001 10:34:00 PM
whoooo hooooo! a little random link-following this morning led me to a new photo-blog - http://www.pixelpile.org Such a pleasure to see some familar names and their latest work. So I've updated my own blog to link back to it. See the cool little link graphic on the left?
Because so many people are doing such cool things with GreyMatter web log software I added a link to that too. Maybe someday when I have less to do.... LOL
I have now completed the first round of sewing for about half the number of blocks I need for my nine-patch top. yikes. The good news - I found I probably cut almost exactly the number of strips I need for the whole thing! Interesting that perhaps I made an educated guess and it worked.
9/06/2001 04:38:00 PM
I've just scoured the kitchen floor, and I'm about to do the dishes (after lunch - why have left over dishes????) and that's it for cleaning, for the day. When I say scouring, that's what I mean - pail, brush, rag, hot water and spray bottle. I learned awhile ago from some other cleaning guru that floors can be cleaned better and sometimes faster that way than with a mop. I know that the floor is clean now because the water in the bucket stayed clean after the last go around with the sponge mop.
I'm mortified by how dirty the floor was. Maybe it's time to extend my clean sink to the floor?
One of the problems is that the floor looked dirty when it was new -- just an ugly design and color. Who decided that a yellow grey background with specks and a pitted surface would be a great floor covering design? But still.
I'm such a bad housekeeper.
I worked a little while on my nine patches last night. I think I'll take a break from grant quilts for day or so and see if I can move that quilt along a bit. I'd like to have something to show for the challenge, even if it's only the nine patches pinned to the black fabric.
It's interesting to have these piles of five inch strips and just pull three here and three there. I sew two together, sew two together and set the last two in a pile. After awhile, I pull my chain out of the machine, flip the pile of strips over and sew them onto the chain. Keeps them in the correct order.
Of course, I probably need to stop and iron seams and cut up the pieces sooner or later. Perhaps I should take up painting instead.
Finished the quilting on the winter quilt. Was hoping to get that quilt and another trued up and ready for binding, but I guess it wasnt meant to be. Picked up chinese food for Sue and I and shared with Naomi. Pat came with a salad and we talked about what we would offer to donors/sponsors. Hammered that out. Will start with letter writing in a bit I guess. We have til October as a reasonable target of putting an ad in.
Then I worked a little on the NYQuilts! binding - did about 2-3 feet and one corner. big whoop. Talked to naomi about doing the next NYQ raffle quilt.
Mainly we sat around and chatted. Afterwards we tried to go out for ice cream but place was closed. Bummer!
Now I'm back to the border of the winter quilt. Lay FLAT darn you.
9/04/2001 01:15:00 PM
Besides some wonderful local peaches and some nice bananas, I wanted to say that I'm enjoying a wonderful new-to-me product: Stonyfield whole milk yogurt. I happened to luck into french vanilla. This is like a whole 'nother animal as they say. Where most yogurt in my experience is tart and custard like, this is smooth and non-tangy and more like a stirred custard. It's very rich tasting.
I bought it on my way home from the doc's office. As I read labels to see "what's in there?" I found nothing questionable in this and better yet, a cup delivers 45% of the RDA of calcium. What's not to like about that? I've been slicing up a peach or two, or a banana and a peach and spooning on a goodly amount of this. Wonderful. Almost sinful tasting. although I don't generally go out of my way to get organic products this one is definitely a keeper. The price differential is minimal and the pay off in taste and nutrition is GREAT.
Have some with your favorite fruit or granola or cake today!
9/04/2001 01:46:00 AM
Phew - finished tinkering with my blogger template and it's looking pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Added a lot of links to the right - places I go or ones I recommend. at left - some other blogs, which I hope to add to in the future.
Went shopping with Gail and now own two new items of clothing:
a lovely ball outfit - sleeveless top and full skirt of a red/black sheer, flocked fabric.
A pair of jeans.
These are the first jeans I've owned since around 1985, so it was an adventure. Interestingly, they were a size or two smaller than I expected. They cost a bit more than either of the ball outfit pieces.
9/03/2001 05:35:00 PM
I was reminded of the wonderful choices from the NPR top 100 the top 100 musical selections from the last century. Wide-ranging musically, with lots of good commentary by the composers, musicians and/or scholars. An interesting overview of recent music.
The one that sticks out in my memory was the one about Patsy Cline's rendition of "Crazy." She hated the song, didn't want to do it, was almost tricked into doing it by her producer, did one take and left in a huff. Truly one of the clasics!
Anyway, interesting browsing and educational too. :-)
After puttering around for awhile this morning, I decided that I just didn't feel like driving to Altamont by myself to be at the Scottish Games. Although I would have enjoyed the music, I would not like the reminder that I was there by myself. Shortly after making this decision Ron left for who knows where. I went for a walk and he still isn't back.
There are too many things I enjoy doing in my own company to have to deal with doing things by myself that I have enjoyed or enjoy more doing with others. and I don't need to travel that far to listen to music.
So that's it for now. I have totally run out of reasons not to finish the winter quilt's quilting, so I guess I'll make some coffee and get to work.
9/02/2001 02:41:00 PM
Yeah. I sewed 22 pairs of 3 strips together... For those not really into quilting enough to understand that, I sewed for instance: green/blue/green + blue/green/blue That's a pair. Each set of three strips will give me three units of that color combo. Swap the two sets in the pair and you get the units you need for a nine patch block:
Here's the units
Long story short: I made enough to make 44 of the 200 nine patch blocks I need.
Tonight my sewing machine seemed loud to me. I was worried. I decided I'd take a break from quilting for a bit before starting the dreaded background bits of the pieced border (man that's starting to sound like something on the order of a Russian novel). Anyway. I cut up a lot of the strips I'd cut right after the Vermont show.. Then I thought - hmmmmmm even though I just cleaned my machine maybe I should look and see if there is a bunch of thread down there or something.
Yikes - it was full of lint! duh.
Cleaned and oiled that sucker and sounds much better. The only thing I can think is that it was the switch to cotton and a hand-dyed cotton thread. I didn't really have any problems with the hand dyed stuff in terms of breakage but it feels, even to my fingers, very uneven. Anyway. I've been using poly in the bobbin and I guess I'd forgotten about the lint.
Seriously though - I cleaned it last night!
Anyway. I have about 30 sets of strips sewn together. That's a pittance. I think I figured I needed about 200 nine patches. It's a good diversion. Maybe I can do it next time I need a break. I'm a long way from having 200 nine patch blocks. A long way.
9/01/2001 11:09:00 PM
Words of wisdom for today. A little politeness and civility goes a LONG way. Yes they do. Way beyond good intentions.
9/01/2001 07:39:00 PM
Tonight's dinner menu - baked split chicken breast with fine herbs, rice pilaf and fresh corn on the cob. Belly up to the table folks!
Cool clear day today with brisk winds. what's not to like about that, after that oppressive heat and humidity last night?
Ooops - there's the timer for the corn. See ya around the butter dish!