Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Inspiration in Our Lives

I like creating altars in my home. My alters are always a composite of pieces of art, plus "found" objects in nature that resonate for me. 

Once I even converted a deep shelf in a linen closet into an alter. It called to me as a "place of silence" and I spent hours in that closet with candles lit as I struggled with life and its issues and the natural process of spiritual and emotional maturation.

For me the everyday objects of my life carry profound meaning that speak to me and nurture me on a deeper level of knowing and being. But I have to be willing to "see" and prepare myself to "listen" by quieting the chatter in my mind. I have consciously wrestled with this Unknown Angel (my name for it) since the mid-70s. 

On this altar the nest, the hand releasing the transformative life symbolized by the bird rising from the nest, the eagle on the right symbolizing the power of faith to "raise us up on eagles wings". 

We each prepare ourselves for that great next adventure in life in our own powerfully personal way.

A Gaelic prayer lies on the alter:

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the shades of night to you,
Moon and stars always giving light to you. 

At this time in my life my brother Dan is slowly dying of cancer as well as congestive heart failure. He entered Hospice care last Friday in Tulsa OK.  We four siblings have been extremely close since we all lived together overseas twice during our teen years. Dan and I have been especially close the past 18 years since he moved us from Virginia to here on the island. Thank God for the Internet.  We now Facetime 3-4 times a day for I have told him to call me anytime he needs company. I even prop up my iPad while I am cooking or doing dishes so that I can be with him and give him a sense of family and home. 

Here is my brother with two of his friends  during his training time in preparation  to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with the Outward Bound program in East Africa in 1964.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Irving Berlin and Songs of Sequestering

 “How we love sequestering, 

where no pests are pestering” 

My music-history-loving husband, Gary, has created a radio show based on his selection of songs whose titles somehow tie into 
songs centered on sequestering...... “how we love sequestering, where no pests are pestering” (a line from Mountain Greenery, 1925), the opening song.

Tune in April 10 or 13 (3-6 pm Pacific) 
for Some “Songs of Sequestration”

By Gary Alexander

I’m planning a talk or panel on the centennial of “The Jazz Age” in July (if the event doesn't get cancelled), but my main musical interest is what I call “The Great American Songbook.” 

Before cruise ships were ghosted from the oceans of the world in March, I won my fifth crown in “Name That Tune” on the annual Jazz Cruise in the Caribbean February 6, hosted by clarinetist Ken Peplowski, with the Jazz Cruise musical director Shelly Berg at the piano (pictured below).

Pianist Shelly Berg, “Name that Tune” host Ken Peplowski, and Gary Alexander on The Jazz Cruise February 2020.   Photo credit: and The Jazz Cruise

On Friday, April 10 (repeated Monday, April 13), I’m planning a program of songs devoted to our enforced national sequestration, beginning with “Mountain Greenery,” a 1925 Rodgers & Hart song containing the lines “how we love sequestering where no pests are pestering.” 

After that, I’ll segue into a dozen categories of songs, beginning with social distancing songs (like “Too Close for Comfort”), then some nesting-at-home songs, like a rousing World War II song by Eddie Cantor, “We’re staying home tonight my baby and me, doing the patriotic thing.”

“We’re Staying Home Tonight
My baby and me
Doing the patriotic thing.
I’ve got my income-tax return to hurdle,
And she’ll be saving mileage on her girdle!

Don’t want to roam tonight,
We’re snug as can be,
Being alone is so sublime.
While I sit in my slippers, and munch a piece of fruit,
She’ll iron out the wrinkles in my Victory Suit.

We’re staying home tonight, my baby and me
Doing the patriotic thing.”
--Lyrics by Frank Loesser for the movie, “Thank Your Lucky Stars” (1943)

A more modern expression of the same idea is by the late Bill Withers: “Just the Two of Us,” followed by similar titles like “Just You, Just Me” and that perfect oxymoron “Alone Together.”

There are a wide variety of songs about wanting to travel or eat out (but we can’t). It used to be we can’t afford it, but now we don’t dare. A small sampling would include Sinatra’s seductive siren songs, “Come Fly with Me,” “Come Dance with Me” and “Let’s Get Away from It All.”

I’ll have a special tribute to New York and their great spirit in taking the biggest brunt of this battle, and then songs about how are cities are closed down, with tunes like “It’s a Lonesome Old Town” and “Lonely Town” from the same Bernstein show that brought us “New York, New York” 75 years ago. Two generations will “Come Together” (if that is allowed these days) when Billy Joel and Tony Bennett celebrate Tony’s 90th birthday in “A New York State of Mind.”

Then comes Sound of Silence: “Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars” and a gorgeous song called “Turn up the Quiet” for those suddenly quiet nights at home with no movies, restaurants or shows.

The final hour takes us back to our “Dear Departed Past” in a series of nostalgic songs by Dave Frishberg about baseball’s opening day and what “My Country Used to Be,” including a “Walk Down Wall Street,” with Ira Gershwin’s trenchant verses to songs during the Depression era, beginning, “Let it rain and thunder, let a million firms go under, I am not concerned with stocks and bonds that I’ve been burned with” (the verse to “Who Cares?” 1931) or “The more I read the papers, the less I comprehend, the world and all its capers, and how it all will end” (the verse to “Our Love is Here to Stay,” the last song George Gershwin wrote before dying in July 1937).

The final 20 minutes includes five songs of hope about getting back together again, written in trying times: Frankie Laine’s “We’ll be Together Again” (1945) and Bing Crosby’s “I’ll Be Seeing You” (1944) for families split apart by war, with soldiers perhaps not coming home, then “Pick Yourself Up” and “Smile” from 1936, a Depression year, and closing with “Look for the Silver Lining” from 1919, the last year in which America suffered a killer plague like this.

This program is not archived but streams live audio from 3:00 to 6:00 pm Pacific Daylight time Friday, April 10, repeated Monday, April 13 at the same hours. Most computers can link here, but if not go to and click “Listen live” and follow the instructions to listen live.

Another great find about sequestering songs!!  

This one thanks to Irving Berlin and Ron Wasserman.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 

Now here is the whole radio schedule typed up in a slightly different format if you decide to follow along.

APRIL 10 & 13: Gary Alexander’s “Joy Spring” on streaming audio, 3-6pm 

“Songs for Sequestration”

3:05      Mountain Greenery                      Bing Crosby                   3:38      (“How I love Sequestering’)

      Social Distancing Songs (+ a bit of “Get Back” by the Beatles)     
3:09 :08  Too Close for Comfort                 Bricker and Harris           3:12      Stay six feet away  
3:12:50  Close to You (though far away)      Frank Sinatra                  3:56      For enforced separations  
3:17:20  Don’t Fence Me in                       Johnny Mercer                2:35      For those Western states

      Nesting-at-Home Songs
3:20:20  We’re Staying Home Tonight        Eddie Cantor                  1:53      1943: “The patriotic thing”
3:22 :30  Just the Two of Us                       Rebecca Dumaine            4:22      Hit song by Bill Withers
3:27 :20  Give Me the Simple Life               Lorez Alexandria             2:15      “a cottage filled w/love & laughter”

      Wish We Could Travel (But Won’t) Songs
3:30      Let’s Eat Home                           Dave Frishberg               3:00      World travelers dining at home
3:33:30  Let’s Take a Walk Around Block   Doris Day                      2:39      Instead of a world cruise
3:36:40  I Wish I could go Traveling Again  Stacey Kent                    4:07      Forgetting the hassles of travel
3:41 :15  Let’s Get Away from It All           Frank Sinatra                  2:09      Dreaming of global travel

      Great American Standards about Sequestering
3:43:45  Don’t Get Around Much Anymore Tony Bennett, Mike Buble 2:41      Missed the Saturday Dance
3:46:30  You’d be so nice to come home to  Jackie Ryan                    4:51      Two People
3:51:40  Alone Together                           Catherine Russell             4:10      Hunkering Down
3:56:10  Just You, Just Me                        Lorez Alexandria             2:23      …how long will it be?

      Lonesome Songs
4:00      It’s a Lonesome Old Town            Woody Herman               3:00      Empty village
4:04      The Lonesome Road                    Frank Sinatra                  3:53      Empty streets
4:12:20  Lonely Town                              Chris Conner,                 4:12      Empty cities

      New York Medley
4:17      New York, Toddlin’ Town            Broadway cast album       1:29      A Tribute to the Apple
4:19      New York, New York Medley       Mel Torme, G. Shearing   6:00      The hardest-hit city
4:25      Do You Miss New York?              Dave Frishberg               3:57      For ex-New Yorkers
4:29:30  New York State of Mind               Billy Joel & Tony Bennett 6:40      From Tony’s 90th birthday party

      Come Together songs: Forbidden Actions now
4:36      Come Together                           Pam Bricker, Rick Harris  4:36      (Don’t you dare)
4:41      Come Fly with Me                       Frank Sinatra                  3:17      Airports are ghost towns
4:44:30  Come Dance with Me                   Frank Sinatra                  2:30      No dancing allowed

      Quiet Songs: From too much talk…to too much quiet?
4:47      Turn up the Quiet – Love Dance     Jeanie Bryson                 8:35      Turn off the TV, quiet descends
4:56      Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars         Frank Sinatra/Jobim         2:45      And the stars appear again

      Matt Dennis Rolls Back the Welcome Matt
5:00      Back in your own back yard          Matt Dennis                   3:05      The Welcome Mat is withdrawn
5:03      In the Gloaming, by the Fireside     Matt Dennis                   2:56      The fireplace reading returns
5:06      Let’s put out the lights & go to bed Matt Dennis                   2:46      Then early to bed

      The Good Old Days as told by Dave Frishberg
5:10      Dear Departed Past                      Dave Frishberg               6:20      The way it was (we think)
5:16:30  Play Ball + Matty                        Dave Frishberg               5:18      Baseball’s opening day (delayed)
5:22      My Country Used to Be                Dave Frishberg               3:18      When did we stop making things?
5:26      A Walk Down Wall Street             Dave Frishberg               4:36      What happened to my savings?
5:31      Quality Time                              Dave Frishberg               3:58      What yuppies used to do

      The Daily News: Ira Gershwin’s Verses about tuning out the News
5:35      Who Cares? (verse)                     Ella Fitzgerald                3:05      Let a million firms go under…
5:38      Our Love is Here to Stay (verse)    Liz Thomas                    3:47      The more I read the papers…      

      Finale: “We’ll be together again” songs – all written in bad times
5:42      We’ll be Together again               Tony Bennett, Bill Evans  4:36      Written in 1945: World War II
5:47      I’ll Be Seeing You                       Frank Sinatra                  2:46      Popular in 1944: Troops separated
5:50      Pick Yourself Up                         Rosemary Clooney          2:49      Written in 1936: Depression
5:53      Smile                                        Cyrille Aimee                 3:18      1936 for Chaplin’s “Modern Times”
5:57      Look for the Silver Lining             Rosemary Clooney       

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Quilters Rally to Make Masks for Covid19

"When catastrophe is sequential, it eventually trains its survivors to greet terror with the serenity of the enlightened."

 Public Making of Masks for the 2020 Covid19 Pandemic

When did it begin?

Public Making Masks

So-called “Simple respiratory mask to make:

March 17, 2020

March 18, 2020 – fb AQSG Members only
checked my emails and I got blog notices with patterns on March 18 and March 20 about making fabric masks from from Blogovin Daily Digest. I get this because of Barbara Bracken’s blogs that I am signed up for.

March 19, 2020 - Seattle

March 19, 2020 – Could Quilters solved the Mask shortage?

March 20, 2020 - Seattle

March 20, 2020 – Mayor Cuomo asks commercial businesses to make masks

March 20

March 20

March 20

March 27, 2020

March 21, 2020- How to make an easy face mask that's washable and reusable with spare fabric

March 23, 2020
March 24, 2020

March 25, 2020

March 27, 2020

March 27, 2020

March 27

March 28, 2020

March 28

March 29, 2020

March 29

March 30, 2020

March 30

March 30

March 30

March 30

March 31, 2020 -Seattle

March 31, 2020

March 31

March 31

March 31 - India

APRIL 3, 2020

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Mystery Quilt

Quilts Usually Enter My Collection Wrapped in Mystery

It's solving the mystery that is so entertaining and exciting.  
Unfortunately, I haven't solved this one's mystery yet.

The bare facts:

Unknown Quilt Maker(s)
"Rebecca Hendricks Davis Age 9"
Cayuga, New York
68 x 81 inches
Circa 1890

Here is what the seller had to say:

I have never quite resolved my questions about this charming scrap quilt. Maybe you can "put together the pieces." 

The traditional design is called "Maltese Cross" or "Album Patch." This quilt pattern was commonly used for "signature" or "friendship quilts" ~ the center white cross often hosted people's names, usually applied in embroidery or ink.

Here's the mystery: Only one block has a name:

A corner block has a piece of paper stitched diagonally across the center. Written on that paper in pencil: "Rebecca Hendricks Davis Age 9"

The cloth on the other half of that cross also has pencil inscriptions. One square says "Cayuga NY 1848" and the opposite square says "Quilted 1898."

It appears that the quilt top was MADE (pieced together) in 1848. The fabulous array of printed cottons supports that date.

Then it seems that the quilt is telling us that 50 years later, in 1898, someone(s) finished and lightly hand quilted this beautiful piece. The printed back and the binding fabrics are consistent with 1898.

Now, what about the nine year old girl, Little Rebecca? Was the quilt made BY her? FOR her? As a memorial for her?

Well, whatever the story, this is a wonderful quilt with such gorgeous mid-19th century prints. The prints are lively ~ and the various, whimsical borders and grids.