Sunday, May 31, 2009


Our neighborhood suffered a tragic loss today. Early afternoon, just before a communion service, Woodlawn United Methodist Church at the end of my street was discovered to be on fire. Everyone made it out safely, but this landmark church, built in 1912, did not survive.

I still can't believe that I sat on my porch all afternoon only two blocks away obliviously working on the quilt show layout. The wind was blowing away from my house and the train trestle blocked any view of the devastation on the other side. I heard a few sirens, but we're not that far from the fire station and that's not unusual. About mid-afternoon I discovered via a post on my neighborhood's Yahoo group that the church was on fire.

Only when a friend and I left for dinner did we drive out that way and were stunned to see the church utterly destroyed. The beautiful stained glass windows could not contain the fierce heat and had burst onto the street. The antique fixtures and furniture were nothing more than tinder for the all-consuming fire. By the time we saw it, only a portion of the left side of the building was left standing. The tower to the right was gone. Amazingly still in place was the main roof truss still holding the chain for the massive chandelier that hung over the sanctuary.

Even as I write this, firefighters are still at the church continuing to work in the dark to prevent any hot spots from re-igniting. Reports say the flames seemed to come from the basement initially. The fire marshall will hopefully have more to tell us in the days to come.

On this the day of Pentecost, a congregation knows that the church is not defined by its building, but by the family that worships within and that the power of God prevails in our lives in the face of destruction and loss. That something new and better can rise out of ashes and that the Holy Spirit can work through believers to bring about true community and to support those in need.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gotta get me one of these

This is my laundry on my neighbor's clothesline.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Some kinda wonderful

So I made a pecan pie Friday. Used Minnie Miller's Mississippi Pecan Pie recipe from the Come On In cookbook. Minnie cooked at the Mississippi governor's mansion for 15 years. Recipe says she made this every day for William Winter when he was in office. I can see why.

This thing almost overflowed the pie shell. The house smelled amazing. Had to let it cool completely, which meant overnight.

Neighbor Peggy had family come into town for the weekend, so I passed half of it on to her. I couldn't give her something I hadn't tasted and then I couldn't give her a pie with a hunk out of it.

Here's that recipe -

1 pie shell
0.25 cup butter - room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
0.75 cup corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1.25 cup pecans

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs all at once. Stir in corn syrup, then vanilla and pecans. Pour into unbaked pie shell.
Pre-heat oven to 400F and bake for 5 minutes. Then turn oven down to 325F and bake for 45 minutes.
Let cool completely before cutting.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What's in your driveway?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Game on

It's often said that squirrels are just rats with good p.r. Well, they don't have a lot of good p.r. around my neighborhood - getting into folks attics, digging up perfectly good plants, antagonizing the pets.

Today I planted seeds. It remains to be seen if they will stay planted as the squirrels are all about visiting their old pecan hiding places and retrieving said bounty. And this applies to new places that weren't even here in the fall. Anything with fresh dirt looks like an invitation. Someone is on squirrel patrol under the bench.

If all goes well, I will have coleus, phlox, impatiens, chives, and basil peeking out from the dark soil in about 7-10 days. If not, I may have to make a run to the local garden shop for some bedding plants. But I prefer seeds if at all possible. For one thing, they are cheaper. For another, it's just fun to see something appear out of nowhere, watch it grow, and then eat it a couple of months later.

On the quilting front, I have completed Peggy's second president's block. She wanted flowers this time and I found this picture of a block in a Japanese book over at Mrs. Schmenkman's. (I love her blog. Always so inspirational.) I worked up a paper-pieced pattern in EQ5 and this was the result.

I also completed the embellishment of my small recipe quilt. The sleeve and the label are now attached and it is ready to be part of a larger work entitled "The Cookbook." There are a total of 11 recipes in all created by fellow members of the Birmingham Art Quilters.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Birthday Girl

Today is Maisy's birthday. She is 9. She's holding her own for a 9 year old, too. A few years back I heard that they reworked the formula for calculating a dog's age in human years. The first 2 years together count as 25 and each additional year as 4 years. So that makes her 53 as humans go. That means we are as close to the same age as we will ever get. (She's a little older.)

Her birthday always falls during our busiest season at work - our year-end ballet production with about 170 students grades 3-12. Maisy's first birthday was celebrated at a scene rehearsal. I made 40 cupcakes for students and staff and some friends brought her presents.

That's my sweet dancer friend Stephanie singing along with all of us 8 years ago. You can tell where Maisy's attention was.

Because of this year's production, I haven't been home much this week. (Stephanie's been busy, too, as she is on faculty now.) Last night I brought home a cupcake leftover by some of the dancers. Maisy could smell it as soon as I walked in the door. So after she ate her supper, I put it in her bowl, stuck a lit candle in it and sang Happy Birthday. She looked the same way as she did in this picture only without the hat. As soon as I blew out the candle that thing was gone in about two bites.

Happy Birthday, Sweetpea!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

April Bee Block

Bee meeting is coming up this week. Here is Jeanette's block. Mine is the only green one so far. Can't wait to see what she does with them.

Maisy got a bath and a haircut this week. She and I hosted Otis the pug for a couple of days this week. Otis belongs to my friend Nell and is a few months younger than Maisy. They have grown up together and Nell and I swap dog sitting when necessary. That is a very nice thing.

This afternoon, I decided to snap a shot of the two together on the porch. Otis doesn't tend to wander far, but Maisy will take off at the slightest thing. Her staying put for this picture is nothing short of a miracle. She was off-leash and a squirrel was running across the curb in front of the house.

I couldn't have planned this pose if I had tried. So funny.