Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113: A Labor of Love
When you are only 13 years old and decide to sew a patchwork quilt for your parents, it’s a labor of love. That’s what my daughter did 25 years ago amidst her very busy life as a middle school student.
She sewed our Christmas gift that year (and I think it took all year!)…by machine and by hand and presented her father and me with a quilted king sized bedspread, which has lasted to this day.
Six hours of driving (almost) nonstop. Highways to city streets to country roads. Following the GPS lady’s directions – every minute bringing us closer to our CovidCation. The weather was beautiful – almost too good to be true.
Faster and faster we drove (well I did…my husband’s foot is not as leaden as mine).
We were out-running a virus after all.
Get my lunch out of the backseat please! The car was packed with 2 coolers, 2 suitcases and laundry baskets full of necessities. My gluten free toaster in one of them. As we learned bringing our kids to college, laundry baskets work out well for car trips…as they can nest when they’re empty for the trip home.
It occurred to me that travel by car meant I could bring Full Size Bottles of whatever I wanted. So I did.
My laptop and our cameras…carefully packed. We remembered the tripod for a group photo. Paw Patrol bubbles (but of course). Decks of cards. Guitar.
We arrived at the lake house in the Pocono Mountains around 6:30 pm.
Within a minute a short blonde 4 year old came running out…Grandma! And somehow he was up in my arms with his arms wrapped around my neck, legs encircling my waist. I don’t know how I picked him up but I must have. The first full on leap into my arms hug since February. Far too long.
After that, my daughter and I shared a good long hug. Face to face for the first time in 6 months. Then hugs for my son-in-law, my son and his girlfriend. We had tested and quarantined and stayed safe. Carefully planned and orchestrated.
All those hugs felt so good.
Of course we were joined by the two family dogs: Lutra and Taco (who have been featured in this blog before). They enjoyed themselves immensely as well.
We were in our own little bubble.
A four day pause from virus fears.
What a sight to see.
No social distancing…except from the family swimming across the lake.
(Grandma which one is the dada and which one is the mama? Grandma I think the bigger one is the dada….)
Never mind that my husband and I spent our 42nd(!) wedding anniversary Wednesday in our condo garage…wearing our finest face masks & work clothes. Emptying out our 2 storage units for hours. Yeah, we still have too much stuff, but oh well.
The Mold Remediation Company was scheduled for Thursday to clean all 32 units plus the entire garage.
It took hours to move all of our crap stuff into our parking spaces. We were joined by our fellow masked condo dwellers…many initially embarrassed by the exposure of hidden “treasures.” I can’t believe I still have so much stuff. The thing is, there used to be SO much more before we downsized. So, don’t worry about it.
Talk about lousy timing. But that’s 2020 for you.
[Never mind that I alerted the Condo Board to this issue 3 years ago and they didn’t listen to me. I told you so.]
Never mind that even after 4 repair attempts, the refrigerator’s lights still don’t work…and is limping towards its last days.
Never mind all of that.
On Tuesday we braved the local hospital’s outpatient lab to get Covid-19 tests, so we could be sure we weren’t infected (we aren’t). Even though we have no symptoms.
Because we are going on a CovidCation.
Today we are driving to the middle of nowhere in the mountains of Pennsylvania to a house by a lake. We will enter a Covid tested bubble of love…to spend a quarantined 4 days with our “kids,” their spouse/partners, grandson and 2 dogs…most of whom we haven’t seen in 6 months or more.
My 4 year old grandson has been asking me on facetime…
Grandma are you excited to go to the lake house?
I sure am!
Never mind that we spent the better part of yesterday (Thursday, right?) moving our crap stuff back into the cleaned storage units. Followed by packing up clothing, supplies (so many supplies when you are older), and food. Hoping we made enough lists and remembered everything. The option of “we can buy it when we get there” is no longer okay…to stay safe.
If the stars align and health prevails, we will soon be on the road today: Friday. Six hour car trips are a huge challenge physically – and I haven’t attempted one in 3 years, but…
I’m excited to go to the lake house!
My daughter made a spreadsheet of the menu and I am also excited about that. We might even make s’mores – and I’ve been told they will be GF (Gluten Free aka Grandma Friendly).
Is it just me or does Valentine’s Day seem like a really long time ago?
Was it only one month? Four weeks exactly…on February 14th…when my husband handed me this stunning bouquet of six yellow roses?
Happy Valentine’s Day! We tried to figure out how many Valentine’s Days we had spent together, but settled on “over 40…”
Since that day, my life has taken off on an alternate trajectory. Or so it seems.
The morning of the 15th we discovered water had leaked into our bathroom from the condo above us. Our upstairs neighbor left her faucet running unattended into a clogged sink. Water poured through our bathroom ceiling. In condo land, she isn’t held financially responsible. And so it began…the reports…phone calls…repairs…cleanup…costs. The worry about mold. The hours I’ll never get back. Finished just yesterday.
There was a happy four day interlude during a trip – which may be my last one for a long while – to Washington DC to spend time with my children and grandson.
Reports of a new virus started popping up in the news during that visit – the 3rd week of February – but I paid it no mind. That’s happening in China after all.
Then a week ago, news of a crisis affecting one of my sisters activated an intense worry-filled texting chain and phone calls with extended family I had not been in close touch with for many years. However, as many of us realize, a crisis – a matter of life and death crisis – can open a space and lower boundaries – at least for a while. Because…it’s family and you love them. We reach across the divide…anxiously searching for answers. Solutions. Each day and night fraught with worry. Feeling helpless and intermittently hopeless. Emotional support can only do so much.
Today is looking somewhat brighter. Hopefully her crisis has passed enough to be manageable. For now. We cautiously breathe just a bit easier.
The texting chain has now switched to the coronavirus and its affect on all of our lives. Another serious and potentially deadly situation. More anxiety piles on.
Sixty four texts greeted me this morning filled with humorous memes, cartoons and reports of people searching for toilet paper. Long lines at the grocery store. Stockpiling in case of quarantine. The family texting chain continues. Desperate for connection. In a new crisis.
IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE ONE OR TWO OR MORE PHOTOS OF YOUR CHRISTMAS AND/OR HOLIDAY MEMORIES.
Christmas memories fill up my photo albums. All the best ones involve my family…when our children lived at home and we celebrated together.
Choosing just a few was indeed difficult…
One of my favorite memories was the year my son was a fast moving – very curious – toddler. At the tender age of 13 months, he was able to dash from one end of the living room to the other, quicker than we could catch him.
The Christmas tree presented a special challenge that year…as he was fascinated by those shiny things hanging from the branches. As well as the colored lightbulbs strung on green wire. Which he could unscrew, shouting HOT! HOT!
Barricades were in order…until we removed them on Christmas morning.
Which presented the perfect opportunity for ornament inspection and removal…while daddy and big sister were opening their stockings and getting their pictures taken.
However, nine years later….he was the expert at hanging the ornaments up ON the tree.
…I look forward to seeing the nostalgic moments that are most special to you. Past holidays, times with family and friends, travel moments, or just something that reminds you fondly of days gone by – it’s your call. Give us a small peek into the things you’re nostalgic about.
A few weeks ago, our new friends who live down the hall invited us to share Thanksgiving dinner with them and their extended family. We were honored. Also grateful, as we were not going to be able to spend it with our adult children and their families.
It’s an unusual kind of apple pie...I warned my friend. The apples aren’t peeled. There’s no top crust… I also have to make it gluten free.
She was fine with whatever I wanted to make.
It is also huge…filling a lasagna pan.
At Thanksgiving, there is no such thing as moderation. Ever. Especially when it comes to pie. The turkey? The stuffing? And all the rest?
Just the path to pie.
In Thanksgivings past there were always at least 3 kinds of pie at my table…to go along with family shenanigans and card games (as shared in my 2018 Thanksgiving story). I miss all of it.
The most popular? “Hearty Apple Pie” – each slice 2 inches high by many inches wide.
Well, it has been a few years since I made this pie. After downsizing and moving and spending Thanksgivings by ourselves, there was no need to make one until now.
I still had the old family recipe.
As I assembled the ingredients yesterday, I thought…what could go wrong?
First step: substitute gluten free flour blend for the real thing. Press into the pan.
Doesn’t quite look the same, but should be fine in the end. It’s PIE after all.
Next step: Core the apples. Can’t mess that one up.
Next step: Slice apples in the food processor.
Um…the food processor doesn’t work. I tried a different outlet. Nope. My husband and I tried several variations of blades and positioning of the “pusher assembly” and the cover. Still nothing.
Find the directions!
A fuzzy memory rose to the top of my aging brain. This was the new(ish) food processor we had gotten about 10 years ago. It had replaced the nice simple one from 1978. Back when there were no complicated safety features. When it was your own fault if you stuck your finger in when the blade was running. Back when you popped the blade in, snapped on the cover (the only safety feature) – added the apples through the hole in the top…and voila! sliced or chopped results.
Not anymore. The current small appliance companies are in the business of saving us from ourselves. Which, in many cases, is necessary. As it turned out, there were 3 different steps and clickings into place that I had to perform before even one apple could be sliced.
I was annoyed for 2 reasons. First that I had forgotten what to do and second, that it had become necessary to make devices so complicated that I had to remember this sequence in the first place. (probably a third reason as well – that I was turning into the old fart I never wanted to be…complaining about newfangled stuff…).
Anyway, after much huffing and puffing and locating the directions…success.
Next step: Mix with lots of yummy spices. No holding back here.
Next step: Transfer to the waiting piecrust.
(fyi: covered apples with brown sugar, almonds and dots of butter which look like cheese…but aren’t)
After baking: Extra Large Apple Pie ready to share.
(where there’s no such thing as moderation)
Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #74: Moderation