Labor of love.

Dear friends,

I had the most wonderful holiday weekend — four days to be exact — nestled in the comfort of family, food, and love’s labor.

Kate was home from college with no agenda other than relaxing and catching up on family time.

Mr. Mom was home and, with the mountain burden finally lifted from his psyche, happy and present. (As opposed to restless and distracted — not that I’m criticizing him, but holy cow it feels good to be on the brighter side of that ordeal).

Only Parker was absent — busy earning money in Missouri’s productive hay fields — but still popping in long enough to share a meal or two with a family hungry for each other’s company.

Since no one had an agenda, since everyone was content to just be (with long stretches of “being” in front of the television to keep up with the US Open), I was happy to putter. And my puttering consisted of light cooking and cleaning with some heavy-duty sewing.

You could have guessed, couldn’t you, that I would tackle another project during the long weekend? I started Friday morning and finished Sunday night and couldn’t be happier with the results.


This one is going in the mail today to a friend. That’s all I’m going to say, lest I ruin the surprise.  But few words don’t mean few photos, so here’s another view:


And another:


If ever I worried I might someday become a crazy cat lady, I can now release that fear for I have become the crazy quilt lady. I’ve definitely descended deep into the rabbit hole, but it’s become a labor of love, a vast creative outlet that offers an irresistible opportunity to stitch up a tangible and lasting expression of my love and admiration and send it to an unsuspecting recipient.

It’s like the quilt lottery, only you don’t have to buy a ticket and I’m the real winner (with huge recurring payoffs in joy).

With gratitude {for long weekends with my favorite people and pastimes},

Joan, who thinks a quilt with an inspired back is a lot like a purse with a pretty lining . . . delightfully unnecessary but so worth it

So long sweet summer.

Dear friends,

This is how I spent my last weekend of summer —

Cooking (grilled salmon, pasta, assorted salads, barbequed chicken, baked french toast, biscuits and gravy, green chili enchiladas and more) . . .

baking (apple pie, apple-pineapple crostini) . . .

decorating (tablescapes, new arrangements for the mantle and buffet, flower arranging) . . .

and mothering (big hello and goodbye hugs,  staying up late for long talks, relaxing on the sofa with every person and critter in our household piled on with me, watching movies, passing out money and, of course, all that cooking).

It was three days of bliss I won’t soon forget. I even worked in a couple of naps, some leisurely reading, and lots of the US Open. It was the perfect end to summer, a much-needed respite before the busy fall, a luxury for a homebody who’s called away all too often.

With gratitude {for 72 hours of full-nesting},

Joan, who feels a new sense of energy and says bring on the fall

Rainy days and Fridays.

Dear friends,

The view from my kitchen window.

I woke up to pouring rain this morning. We are in the midst of a long and severe drought, so it is a welcome, blessed relief. Over the last two months, we’ve had nothing more than a sprinkle or two, but today it’s a gullywasher. We’ve lost more than a couple trees and shrubs on our acreage, so I imagine the plants that have managed to hang on are soaking it up as fast as they can. Mr. Mom and I feel as if we are one with our little patch of ground, its undulating meadow, its meandering creek, its tall stand of trees that is home to turkeys and deer and squirrels and rabbits and birds of many feathers, and together, we are grateful.

I’m off work today, so a rainy day thrills me even more. I love to putter around the house in inclement weather. I’ve got plans to finish a project a two, maybe catch up on my ironing, cook something wonderful but simple for supper, and pack.

Mr. Mom, Parker and I are taking advantage of the long weekend to travel to Oklahoma and visit Kate. She can’t come home until Thanksgiving because of her tennis schedule and you know what they say — if Mohammad can’t come to the mountain . . .

If her coach doesn’t mind, we hope to sit in on a practice session. I’ve been glued to the television this week watching the US Open, but who needs Serena Williams if I can watch my CupKate and her team whack the cover off the tennis ball?

I wish all of you a lovely holiday weekend, filled with rain if you need it, or sunshine if it suits you better.

With gratitude {for nature’s timing, which often is everything},

Joan, who’d love to hear how you’ll be spending your holiday weekend

The rain began again. It fell heavily, easily, with no meaning or intention but the fulfillment of its own nature, which was to fall and fall.
— Helen Garner