Author: LindaLee

Midday Matinee – Political Withdrawal Syndrome

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster since the election. Sometimes I think it is a withdrawal from intense volunteering and other times I think it is my desire to withdraw from the craziness that is consuming post-election politics. In either case I was in dire need of a productive non-political activity as an antidote to my PWS. I picked knitting. I have been knitting since I was six years old and our next-door neighbor taught her daughter and me how to knit. We made slippers. In a spectacular example of poor teaching method, whenever we made a mistake she’d just rip it out and tell us to start over. I quickly taught myself how to fix my mistakes before she noticed them. When I teach people to knit I show them how to pick up the dropped stitch or recover from whatever went wrong. I also tell them about the Amish quilters. These women are capable of making a perfect quilt. Their skills are amazing. Towards the end of each quilt they intentionally make a mistake because “only God is perfect.” Mistakes are good things – learning opportunities even. Knitting is full of life lessons. If I am knitting from a pattern, I always check my gauge to...

Read More

Midday Matinee – An Olfactory Bridge

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Growing old: I played bridge with 11 other women the other day. I will be 64 in December and one of the women is a contemporary. The others are old enough to be my mother. A couple of them are excellent bridge players and some defy description. They have such a shared history and a shared love of the game and each other that they table talk in ways that would make most even mildly serious bridge players cringe. You don’t have to have ever played bridge to relate to what follows. Those who are older have many new hips and knees amongst them. There are three breast cancer survivors, one who had polio early in life and the aftershocks are quite visible, several have pacemakers, two use walkers and others hobble along with their canes. Several wear hearing aids and I wish that more of them would acknowledge that they need them. I am taking  mental notes as I watch these women who have all grown up and grown old together. They shout with love at the one who forgot her hearing aid. They ask about the various physical therapists they have seen and how ‘good’ or helpful they are. They pass on rumors about not eating broccoli...

Read More

Morning Feature: To Strive Together

We usually think of competition in terms of individuals winning or losing: “every man for himself.” But to win meaningfully and progressively, we must turn to the Latin root of competition: “to strive together.” We do our best when we help each other. (More) We think of competition in terms of winning and losing: “every man for himself.” It is one of the strongest paradigms in our culture. We often treat winners as if winning proved their superior human worth, and treat losers as if they didn’t even show up. Sometimes winners just got more lucky breaks. As Ann Richards said of George W. Bush, “Poor George. He was born on third base and thought he’d hit a triple.” Or as John Raese, the loser in the West Virginia Senate race said, “I made my money the old fashioned way. I inherited it.” What about the rest of us? If you weren’t born on third base or didn’t inherit a family fortune, are you destined to be a loser? Does this way of thinking about competition – “every man for himself” – serve our progressive values or help us grow as a country? Since you’re reading this, I’ll assume you are saying, “NOT.” I was one of twelve out of a public high school class of over 800 whose parents thought that four years of Latin was an important...

Read More

Midday Matinee – Quilts, UFOs, and Democrats

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Quilting was once a very thrifty way to recycle bits and pieces of salvageable scraps of used clothing into a bed covering and give them one more opportunity to be useful. If a shirt or dress was beyond mending, the good parts were cut into pieces for quilting. This was done by hand using scissors and you can imagine that some rather irregular shapes were cut. It gave pioneer women a creative outlet and some of the early quilts are indeed works of art. The quilting bee was a community gathering to quilt – sewing by hand through the top layer of pieced pattern, the middle or batting which provided warmth, and the bottom layer – and visit with their neighbors. Quilting today uses many of the same block patterns our great grandmothers used but now we mostly go out and buy new fabric and cut it up using a rotary cutter so that we can then piece it back together. The logic of reusing bits and pieces of fabric no longer applies. How very modern. Some quilters wear t-shirts with the phrase, “She who dies with the most fabric wins.” I can imagine my great grandmother saying, “Wins what?” or “What a waste.” Most quilters have a stash...

Read More

Midday Matinee – Together and Alone On a Roller Coaster

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. My Dad took me on my first roller coaster ride when I was 8 years old. This coaster was a work of art: a beautiful, old, wooden-framed structure painted glossy white. Part of it extended out over a lake, which added to the sense of danger. The cars made a clacking noise when climbing and a screeching sound when in free fall. I exited wanting to go again and my dad headed for the bushes and promptly emptied the contents of his stomach. I was jumping up and down, excited by my first ride and he was green and shaken. There are limits even to a dad’s love and I think we discovered one of his that day. People’s emotional reactions to life’s big crises remind me a bit of that roller coaster ride. Some of our cars are slowly chugging uphill and that’s usually not too scary. Some of our cars are stopped at the top of a loop waiting. Some of us at the top raise our arms in anticipation of the coming thrill while others close their eyes, grit their teeth and hope to simply endure the ride. Not everyone hurtling down and experiencing the g-forces (3.5 to 6.3 Gs according to Wikipedia) screams in delight....

Read More