Thursday, February 20, 2020

Our First Adventure in Panama

One of our first days in Panama was one of our best and most interesting. Our guide, Alex, suggested that we visit the Embera tribe. We pretty much did anything he suggested, because he knew a lot more about the opportunities than we did.

First we had a canoe ride over to the Embera village. Our canoe driver was Reigu. He was quiet with a nice smile and sooo helpful. (He spoke Spanish but not English.) Every time I turned around I saw him grabbing our bags and carrying them all for us, like a Sherpa, and he was also always present when we had to walk over bumpy, rocky paths to get to our final spot - the waterfall. His arm would be right there to help steady us or catch us if we lost our balance. Same with Alex. He was fabulous. I might write something just about him later on.

Such beautiful kids! The Embera people are small and appear to be kind and happy. They speak their own language and Spanish. They rely on tourists to provide an income and any extras we can. We brought along fruit which the kids loved. I also had some packs of gum in my pocket. You should have seen the kids jump to life when I pulled those out and handed them out. I mimed to them "sharing" since I only had a few packs with me. We did see them share, but boy were they grabby at first when I had those packs of gum in view. LOL!

They fed us a delicious meal of fresh fish and fried plantain. Yummy!

They (with interpreters) explained how they dye reeds and make their cloth. Unfortunately I couldn't hear most of what they said. Then they danced and we danced!

Alex helped find some families with young kids, and we gave them five quilts! Highlight of the day!

After all the dancing and hanging out, they set out tables of their wares to sell.. beautiful bracelets, earrings, various kinds of cloth, bowls, etc. Then we departed and got back on the water to find the waterfall.

arriving at the waterfall.. we jumped in and swam in our clothes. It was refreshing and so fun! This part of the trip was an "Alex Special." Most tourists don't get to go to the waterfall. We experienced many Alex Specials during the week.

Monday, February 17, 2020


I was very, very lucky to travel to Panama with my two sisters. We just returned home late last night. It was a fabulous trip! I will post more information and pictures in the next few posts. I'm just getting started sorting pictures but wanted to pop in and say Buenos Dias!

We rode a boat through the canal. We found a fabric store! I was in the process of buying that piece with the animals. It was wide and will be a great quilt back. Without knowing its exact address, we found the house our family used to live in! And we enjoyed exploring Panama City, a beautiful and modern city.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Oh, Dear.... If You Use UPS...

I have a Post Office Box address that I give to the world so they can send quilts to me for the QBB Fat Quarter Challenge. I recently got a message from UPS saying they had a box for me, addressed to my PO Box. UPS is not allowed to deliver to PO Box addresses, so they wanted me to provide my street address. I tried my hardest, but I couldn't get the web site or the 800 phone number to cooperate; next best thing was going in person to the UPS location nearby and try to get this problem nipped in the bud. Unfortunately, they couldn't find the package until... oh! Boom! There it is! It had already been returned to the sender. Shucks!

So if you are a quilter who uses UPS to ship quilts, please don't send them to a PO Box. You can always send me an e-mail, or leave a note here, and ask for my street address. I'll be happy to provide it!

Hoping the package eventually gets sent back to me. I'm bummed that I was just a little too late in my dealings with UPS.

FQC Coordinator for QBB

feeling bummed that I didn't manage to rescue that package in time

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Book Review: The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

A Chinese-American boy, abandoned by his mother at age 11, is ultimately adopted by a white couple in upstate New York. He spends his years wondering why his mother left and learning to adapt to his new surroundings. However, adoption and abandonment being such complicated experiences, his adaptation is never easy. Essentially the rest of his life constitutes a search for his "real self." He is never quite sure which culture is his: the Chinese culture of his first 11 years spent in New York City, or the white-American-suburban culture of his second half of life. The ramifications of abandonment and adoption are immense. This book is so well written! I loved the language. The nuances of emotions in the various characters, and inter-play between characters, were masterfully done. This is author Lisa Ko's first novel. I hope she keeps writing.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Update on Fat Quarter Challenge Quilts

This year (starting in November) I became the coordinator of the Fat Quarter Challenge (FQC) at Quilts Beyond Border (QBB). It has been fun to get so many pretty quilts in the mail!

Here are some examples. So far we have received 21 FQC quilts, so I won't show them all to you - just a sampling. Just imagine how much fun it is to receive these quilts and see them up close. That's the fun I'm having! And everyone who sends in a quilt gets their name in the drawing for prizes. Send five quilts? Your name goes in five times!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Book Review: The Sound of Gravel

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

The author grew up in a polygamist Mormon family, the 39th of her father's 42 children. She grew up in a colony in Mexico with occasional forays into California and Texas. Her family was large and poor. The story is similar to "Educated" which I also read recently. This family did send their children to school, but it isn't valued for very long. Many of them only finished up to about sixth grade.

Wariner endured a lot of deprivation and some abuse before finally finding happiness in her late teen and adult years. A captivating story, but too similar to "Educated" to have read so soon afterwards.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Book Review: Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Greater minds than mine have dubbed this book one of Waugh's finest achievements. Waugh himself was very proud of it and stated that only about six Americans will understand it. In that case, I believe I am in good company. I am not part of the six.

If you asked me, I would tell you this book is about friendship, love, family, religion, and lost people searching for meaning. Waugh himself says it is about religion. It's a story of a family and a few of their friends at the end of WWI in England, continuing up until the beginning of WWII. Brideshead is their family mansion.

Parts of it made for a good story; parts I had to slog through. I was happy when I reached the end.