8/24/13

Finding the Tunnel

It's a new and better day. Honestly, my thoughts were in such a jumble yesterday. I thought I would be telling you that I wasn't seeing the light at the end of this tunnel of pain, but that I was at least seeing the tunnel. Instead, I couldn't even find the tunnel. It helped when Mike got home and we spent some time talking. He's a good sounding board, in addition to being good for a fair number of other things. Reaching things on high shelves and opening jars come to mind. In any case, he helped me put things in perspective and to know where to go next with my pesky knee. I'm not going to go on about it any more...at least not right now...so don't be afraid to read on.

Before I leave that topic, however, I just want to say that, like anyone else, I am prone to sitting in my own wretchedness after a day as disappointing and distressing as yesterday was. Deciding to bake a pie rather than succumb to melancholy was an experiment in maturity.



For one thing, on my best days, I am no more than a novice when it comes to making pie crust. The crust on this pie gave me some trouble...mainly because of the warm weather. It was hard to work with, and it wanted to tear. I pushed on, patching where necessary, and cutting out those little leaves to cover my sins. The thing about pie crust is that it is very forgiving. Loaded with butter and shortening, it simply melts into itself as it bakes so that only the most discerning eye will notice the patchwork.

Also, cutting and peeling those apples, possibly with more aggression than on a better day, was surprisingly therapeutic. I did manage to nick my little finger with the peeler, not an uncommon wound in my kitchen. It was well worth it to hear that satisfying "chunk, chunk, chunk" sound as I was chopping up the apples, all the while punctuating each "chunk" with a word better left unspoken in polite company.

All of that to say that the pie was absolutely delicious. The combination of Gravenstein and McIntosh apples was the best I've tried to date, and the crust was my best ever, flaws and all. It was flaky, not a bit soggy, and with a perfect hint of sweetness. It was therapeutic to make it on so many levels.

I'm going on about it a little at length for my own benefit as much as anything. Hopefully, by writing it down I can remember it the next time I find myself in a funk. Here is what I hope to take away from this experience: Bad days and disappointment are a part of life. There is no way to avoid that. To sit in a bad mood is optional. In fact, I can multi-task. I can be in a bad mood and still bake a pie. And just maybe, the bad mood will lift, as it did yesterday.

Today I finished up the True Hope quilt. It turned out so pretty. I made this with my cousin Rebecca in mind, and from what I understand, she's been checking her mailbox daily looking for it. It's good to know that it will be in the hands of such a loving recipient. It's coming, Reb, I promise! So here it is. It ended up at 53 x 60 inches.



Of course, I'm like anyone else, and I see every flaw. It has love in every stitch, however, and so I ignore the flaws and focus on the love. I'm betting Rebecca will too. 

It's a little hard to let this one go because of the quote that inspired its name: "True hope is swift and flies with swallow's wings." It's from Shakespeare's King Richard III. I was at a particularly difficult time in my life brought on by chronic intractable pain in virtually every joint in my body. So precarious was my emotional state at the time that I had taken to riding light rail to downtown Portland for doctors' appointments rather than brave the traffic. As I got off the train in front of one of our local hospitals one day, I noticed bronze plaques in the sidewalk. That is what they said. I remember the moment I first saw them as if it were yesterday. A message from the Universe not to give up hope. I think Rebecca will appreciate the quote as well, and that is why I decided on this particular quilt for her.

Here's how it looks from the back:


Updated to say I'll be linking up to the Finishes Party at:


So, I thought I might make pasta sauce today, but I'm going to put that off until tomorrow. The tomatoes could use one more day to soften and ripen, and besides, I need a couple of things from the grocery store before I can proceed.

Mike is uncharacteristically not busy with some man-type thing today, and so we are going to go shopping for hiking poles to take on our trip. I've never seen a need for them before, but now I'm thinking they will be a good idea. Recently, I did some reading on hiking poles and discovered that they had become unbelievably high tech and complicated. It's hard for me to believe that such technology is important in a tool that my grandparents used to pick up off the forest floor, and then discard when they were finished with it. So, with that in mind, I'm taking my engineer spouse with me to help me decide what price is warranted and worthwhile. I'm guessing we'll come home with one of the less expensive models, and it will serve it's purpose just fine.

I hope your weekend is getting off to a good start. As for me...bring it on.

20 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sherry said...

Your "patchwork" is even beautiful on your pies.

Scrapatches said...

Your pie looks perfectly yummy and your quilt looks perfectly wonderful. Hope you are feeling better soon, Petting the kitties usually helps me when I am in a blue mood ... and also baking ... and quilting ... ;) Pat

Nancy said...

I love your quilt and your quote--I will remember that one.

I would love to hear about your hiking poles: what your thought processes were in choosing the ones that you did, assuming you did. Also, some feedback after you use them. I have been trying to decide if I should get some--I really need them, I think, but am a basic cheapskate, too. Would love to hear if you think they are a worthwhile purchase.

Betty said...

I don't think there is much in life more frustrating than a doctor that has the attitude "I don't see the problem, so you must be fine". I've been there a few times myself. Baking a pie sounds like good therapy though. I'll have to remember to give it a try.
I'm sure Rebecca will love the quilt!

Debbie said...

I had to smile about your funk! For me, when it is all pressing down on me.....I bake! And apple pie soothes a lot of things.
My nastier funks require much more aggression. That is when I clean, so beware of this female with a vacuum, that means she is hotter than a hornet!

Sheila said...

Glad you are having a better day Barbara. "True Hope" is beautiful and your pie looks delicious. When I have a crust that doesn't come out the way I want it to, I call it "rustic". Have a great weekend :)

Patrica said...

Marvelous! I'm thinking about those hiking poles too since I'm now on the down side of 60 but I'm already a clumsy person and so am afraid I'll trip myself. lol

Donna said...

I think so much of your funk is based on frustration ... So many things are still unknowns. Most of us are so much better off when we have a clear cut plan of action. The pie looks fantastic ... Hope you're feeling better!

Junebug613 said...

It's good that you can work through your funk. That pie looks marvelous. And so does the quilt. Rebecca is a lucky lady. I'm sure she will appreciate it even more, if she knows all the background behind it. It's good to have someone around who is knowledgeable in technical stuff. My guy isn't an engineer, but he's really smart about all kinds of stuff.

Marei said...

Well, Barbara, I need to revise my thinking of so many years. I've always said when you have a pity party to make sure there is cake (& ice cream...that goes without saying) but now I'm going to allow "pie" to be enjoyed during said party. You know I'm sorry for your pain and I'm sorry for the angst. Both will get better. Hopefully soon. :)

Brown Family said...

I think your cousin will love the quilt and the quote that inspired it. We have several walking staff's but none were bought at a sporting goods store. Most were bought at craft fairs and are wood. They can help stabilize you on trails, especially if you have any bad joints.

quiltzyx said...

I love it that your cousin is already checking the mailbox for her quilt!!! She will be snuggling under those loving stitches in no time at all. :D

It's also good to know that about pie crusts, just in case I ever decide to turn on my oven... lol

AND now you might be getting a cool new 'toy' for your trip too - ALL good things!

Tami C said...

I sure feel for you having to put up with that horrible appointment with the surgeon after having to wait two hours. Getting a second opinion is always a good idea when you don't feel completely comfortable with what you are told. However, an arthroscopic procedure has been know to do a lot of good for a knee that isn't working right. I'm glad that your Colorado trip is back on because September is a beautiful time out here.

I really liked the cute leaves on the top of your delicious looking cake! I'm glad that peeling your apples provided some therapeutic relief to your aggression. I get a lot of relief from peeling potatoes. Making clam chowder helps a lot too!

Your True Hope quilt turned out just beautiful and I'm sure Rebecca will just love it! Does she read your blog? If she doesn't, I bet she would enjoy knowing how the quilt came by it's name. Have fun pole hunting.

gpc said...

Beautiful quilt! I am a fan of kitchen therapy. I remember, during one very difficult time in my life, baking and baking and baking just to keep my hands busy. What I couldn't eat or give away, I actually trashed, because the baking was so necessary to me that the waste seemed acceptable. The best ever use for knifes and rolling pins! Good for you on getting hiking poles -- my search and rescue instructor says that everyone should use them, they can be lifesavers for anyone.

Vicki W said...

It sounds like you got through the turmoil very well yesterday. Baking and sewing are always good therapy! The quilt is fantastic!

Dana Gaffney said...

I do think pie can fix just about any mental state, but I eat it not bake it. Dog biscuits are my go to "need to hit something", the dough is hard and needs to be beaten down, works everytime.

Diane Wild said...

The message today from the pastor was about getting "bent over" with things in our life. I, too, get bent over with frustration of having to do everything on my own and aging body aches and pains. I must remember to stand tall. Making pie is good, eating pie is better. The quilt is wonderful. Hugs.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

My hubby loves his hiking poles. He takes them all the time. No, he doesn't have bad knees, but, the poles prove quite helpful at all times.

desertskyquilts said...

Love the quilt and the story of where you got the name idea.

Kate said...

Congrats on the finish! Sounds like it's going to a good home.