The definition of cogitate is: “To think deeply about something; meditate or reflect.”
I’ve been cogitating.
It’s hard to believe the last time I wrote a blog post was in May. The Covid-19 pandemic, turmoil, social unrest, and changes in our world have been truly mind-boggling in the past several months. I must admit, I’ve had to really take time (all while working harder than ever at home to meet deadlines and commitments) to really look inward and think about many things. I’ve challenged myself to examine old beliefs in new ways with a fresh perspective. I’ve been heartbroken at the state of our world and a little selfishly mourning the loss of plans made, trips cancelled, and a lack of a return to normalcy. Have any of you felt this way? Lost? A little adrift? Frustrated, sad or broken? Yeah, me too.
I’ve tried to post an update here on my blog many times but as I sat looking at the blank screen, the words wouldn’t flow.
Until today. I finally feel ready.
Rather than focus on anything negative (of which there is so much on social media), I choose to focus on the positive things that happened since I last wrote a blog post, because there has been plenty for which I am grateful.
We enjoyed a lovely week with our oldest son who was able to fly out from Virginia for 8 days. This was the first time our family has been together since Christmas. We went to the beach and spent time in the mountains. We played games — almost every night! We had rousing games of Settlers of Catan and the boys beat us soundly in Mario Party video games. Most of all, we laughed. A lot.
All you Harry Potter fans will enjoy this. We’ve been trying for over a year to get a family photo of us wearing our Hogwarts “House” sweatshirts. We finally remembered at 1:30am — just hours before Josh needed to head to the airport to fly back to Virginia!
Our son, Andrew, adopted a cute Tuxedo kitty he named Thomas O’Malley. This sweet, rough-and-tumble little guy doesn’t know he’s a small-ish cat (8 pounds). He thinks and acts like a big kitty and we’ve had fun getting to know his quirky mannerisms and frisky ways. He had a rough start in his life and Andrew found him through a local rescue. With lots of good food and love, he has rebounded and is now healthy and happy, plus he and Cheeto have become quite good friends! Andrew will be taking Thomas back to Virginia with him in the fall when he moves into an apartment with his brother.
During this time of stay-at-home orders, we’ve been able to stay at our cabin for extended periods of time. The days have been sunny and dry and the nights even lovelier; crisp and cool. The deck has been a place to be to really enjoy the weather.
We’ve taken lots of rides along the beach and in the mountains to enjoy the weather and beautiful scenery, all while having long talks and discussing current world affairs. And it has been these fabulous vistas which have helped keep us centered and focused with eyes heaven bound.
I’ve been working hard on mastering my sewing machine and all the amazing features and presser feet. Cheeto has helped, of course.
I’ve been teaching a FREE BOM Blitz class series on the Facebook Janome Sewing Classroom page. It’s been such an amazing experience! It has been a fabulous opportunity to connect with quilters from so many countries and from every state across our great nation, too. It’s not to late to join in the fun! You can download the FREE pattern and supply list; simply CLICK HERE. To order the kit, contact your local Janome Sewing Machine dealer OR CLICK HERE. The third FREE class is scheduled for Saturday, July 11 from 1 – 3 pm EST and the fourth and final class is scheduled for Saturday, July 25 from 1 – 3 pm EST. Even if you’re getting a late start, you can go back and make the first six blocks. This is a skill-building series and you’ll learn a lot. So please join me. If you have my Precision Flying Geese Ruler (or any previously named version of my ruler) plus a jelly roll bundle of 40 – 2 1/2″ strips and 3 1/2 yards of a background fabric, that’s all you need to begin! If all you need is the ruler, you can get one quickly; simply CLICK HERE.
I taught a virtual Mystery Quilt Class for the Vermont Quilt Festival the last Saturday in June. There were more than 40 of us on the ZOOM platform and it was such a fun time! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing and chatting with all the students who signed up and tuned in from points near and far (one person all the way from Germany!)
During this time of reflection and contemplation, I have also been getting in touch with my Mom’s fabulous pie recipes. I have conquered Banana Cream, Dutch Apple, Pecan, Pumpkin, and most recently, a delicious cherry pie!
As previously promised, here is my Mom’s scrumptious recipe:
1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar
2 cans Oregon Red Tart Cherries (in water)
3 TBLS cornstarch
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 TBLS butter
2 pie crusts (I used two Pillsbury Pie crusts, but you could make your own homemade crust.)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Drain the cherries and reserve the water from both cans.
- In a saucepan, stir the cherry water (juice) into the combined mixture of the cornstarch and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened.
- Remove from heat. Gently stir in cherries and almond extract. Add three or four drops of red food coloring, if desired.
- Pour filling into pastry lined pie plate.
- Optional — pour 1 ounce of kirschwasser (cherry liqueur) over the cherries.
- Dot with butter and lay crust over fruit. Sprinkle pie crust with sanding sugar. Seal and vent.
- Bake 30 – 40 minutes or until crust browns and filling begins to bubble. If necessary, cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil for the last 15 – 20 minutes to prevent over browning. Cool pie several hours to allow filling to thicken before slicing.
- Makes 8 servings.
And finally, this past weekend we quietly celebrated July 4th. There were no fireworks this year as our state is back to Phase 1 with the hefty rise in COVID-19 cases. So restaurants are closed again for dining in with take-out as the only option. I’ve been cooking. A lot. The hardest part is thinking up new and different dishes to prepare each day. Anyone else in the same boat?
But the bottom line is, I’m back. I hope to post many more blog posts here in the coming days and weeks. I hope you’ll drop me a line in the comments and let me know how you’re doing. Know, that I’m praying for you all and for our great nation to heal. In so many ways.
God bless the USA!