Saturday, July 20, 2019

International Sisters, Apricots and the Color Pink

When life gets so busy that it's hard to find time to write even one blog post per week, surely it's a sign that a relaxing summer is not on the calendar! Yeah, life is crazy. But it's mostly good crazy. 

The word of the week last week was APRICOTS. We picked several cases every other day, and so far have been able to find neighbors, friends, family, and the gang at Weight Watchers to take them off our hands. Even the birds have been enjoying them! To be sure, we've kept our share. After a couple hours picking and sorting, we come inside and begin processing. I'm channeling Bubba Gump here when I tell you we are making apricot jam (regular and low-sugar), frozen apricots, apricot puree, canned apricots, apricot fruit leather, and dehydrated apricots. And eating them warm from the tree by the dozens. If I had remembered to take a picture of the tree, you would see a definite depletion of the apricots compared to last week's picture. We are probably past the halfway point. Hopefully.

We did take time out for a doctor appointment (more about that later in the post). One day we had family over to learn how to make jam, and on Wednesday I had Cousin Kim and my friend Bonnae over and we sewed all day. It was heavenly. So, despite everything, I managed to crank out some pink blocks for Scrappy Saturday at Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge link-up.

First were 18 nine-patch variation blocks.

And then I sewed four 9.5" strip blocks and six 4.5" strip blocks. No plan yet for the smaller blocks. I just have so many pink strings that I wanted to use more of them. There are still plenty to add into other projects or wait their turn for next year.

Next up were the International Sisters blocks. These are the delightful former African Queen blocks that were re-drafted by my friend Preeti. I started making these in May with the color orange, then progressed to blue in June and now pink in July.  I ended up making dressing nine Sisters. Two are twins, and the ninth one was a little late to the party, but they are all present and accounted for!

I was so inspired by Preeti's thoughts and words as I read her blogpost this week, Women of Color. Political news is never fun and games, but when our country's President stoops to telling women of color (U.S. Congresswomen, no less) to "go back" to their "crime-infested countries", we've hit a new unacceptable low. This IS their country! Our country. All colors, all political beliefs, all religions, economic levels, education levels, abilities and interests. Our strength is in our diversity. As Preeti observed, when one woman is attacked, each of us is under attack.

Good people can agree to disagree politically (or in other areas) and still be friends. Or at least polite. We should not allow anyone to demean women! Bullying and hatred need to be called out and crushed whenever it is given voice or action by ANYONE.

It truly pierced my heart to hear those words. So, to calm myself, I began sewing International Sisters. First were the twins. They may have differing complexions, but they are definitely sisters. I decided to name them this month. But I'm not matching names to complexions because each one is a symbol of a sisterhood that goes beyond the color of their skin. Meet Malala and Rosa.

Here are Ilhan, Ruth, and Tammy D.

Florence and Maya.

Coretta and Harriet. Coretta's dress is from fabric sent to me by my friend Sally, and Harriet's dress is made of some fabric I brought back from Kenya last year.  Speaking of Kenya, it was one year ago this month that I was there, and the desire to return burns as strong as ever.

And finally, in a show of sisterly solidarity, here are all my International Sisters to date.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The doctor appointment I referred to above was for Bruce. The cancer in his right forearm (just above the wrist) is back. The MRI shows that it's near where they did the tissue transplant 2 years ago. This tumor is deep, but the good news is (a) his chest scan was clean and no lymph nodes are involved, and (b) they can operate to remove it without taking his hand or forearm. The surgeon will take out the tumor and affected tissue, and unfortunately some ligaments. Bruce will lose the ability to open his hand more than halfway, but should still be able to, after therapy, use his fingers to type, play the guitar and perform other fine motor skills.

In general, we're optimistic. It helps that we've been through this before and know what to expect. Specifically, the initial surgery (or surgeries) will remove the offending tissue, while subsequent surgeries will attach his hand to his stomach area for tissue grafting, then detach it after 3 weeks once circulation and viability is established. So, we're looking at 3-4 surgeries over the next couple months, beginning August 7. Please keep a good thought for my dear Bruce in your heart.


  1. A beautiful post and such lovely blocks to commemorate this period in time.
    Sending healing thoughts for Bruce!

  2. Awesome beautiful blocks.
    I hope all goes well for you husband and that he heals quickly.

  3. Love your sisters! Praying for a positive outcome for Bruce.

  4. Oh my goodness, Cathy, I'm so sorry to hear Bruce's news. Not the news I'm sure you wanted at all. I will definitely be sending my best, most positive thoughts your way. Your Sisters are wonderful, and I so agree with your thoughts on what's been going on in our country this week. For me, it is scary and so hard to understand. Maybe if we just keep sewing, we'll get through it! Hugs to you!

  5. Are you sure Bruce isn't just trying to get out the apricot business?! All kidding aside, I do hope the surgeries go well and he heals quickly. The blocks are all beautiful and the more I see the International Sisters, the more I consider making some of my own. (No, Katie, no. You do not need any more projects!)

  6. So sorry to hear about Bruce's cancer. My thoughts are with you. You ladies are lovely. Unfortunately I agree that it is a shame that the president and many others feel as they do. Unless you are a native American Indian all of us and our ancestors came from someplace else. Are we all supposed to go back?

  7. Sending prayers for both you and Bruce--hoping this will go as well as it can for you both...Not easy I am sure. Sending my best....
    I love those 18 nine-patch variation blocks...and of course my all time fav the string blocks...
    I now wish I had sewn my legos onto muslin --but am thinking of doing my rows of three
    onto muslin for I won't have to pull this big baby through my machine...
    ooof-dah!! Our dewpoint is 80 and temp is 93--it is so HOT and sultry--thank goodness for AC...hugs, Julierose

  8. Who knew apricots could keep a person so busy? I bet they are delicious!
    I hope that your Bruce will have a quick and uneventful healing.

  9. I have goosebumps and tears in my eyes as I read this blogpost!!! I am with you my sister as you create these strong and brave symbols of sisterhood, while honoring the remarkable women whose courage and resilience is a beacon for us all. I am sending good wishes and healing vibes for Bruce. May he have a smooth surgery and a rapid recovery. Lots of Love and Hugs to you!!!

  10. Beautiful Sisters added to your extended family. Sending quilty hugs as you go through another round of surgeries with Bruce!

  11. Love your Sisters blocks. Will keep Bruce in my prayers. Hope his surgery goes well and he has a rapid recovery

  12. Sending healing vibes for Bruce; will keep both of you in my thoughts as you progress through this challenge! Thanks for sharing the International Sisters! I have been trying to come up with a quilt idea to express some hope and optimism at this dark time, but have not had any inspiration. Your sisters are a great expression of love and solidarity!

  13. Here's hoping Bruce has a speedy recovery.

  14. You and Bruce should know that you have a big community wishing for successful surgeries and rapid recovery. So disheartening to have the cancer return. Your international sisters add diversity to your collection and I agree with your commentary of the events of this week. I wish everyone would commit to more civility and respect for the opinions of others. And get out and vote!

  15. I'm so sorry that Bruce (and you) have to go through the surgery again...but I'm glad it won't be more involved. I love all of your international women and that you have enough apricots to feed them all.

  16. Keeping Bruce in my thoughts and prayers.

  17. This post gave me such feelings of gratitude. That there really are people in this country that share my views and thoughts. Gratitude too, that there was good news to go with your not so good news. I will keep positive thought about the surgeries Bruce will endure. And even more positive thoughts about the outcomes!

  18. This post is full of big thoughts and big feelings. I'm sending you and Bruce big hugs! Support and concern from a like-minded blog friend heading your direction. I hope sewing and apricot arbitrage helps give you a little joy and distraction :)

  19. It amazes me what they can do, medically, surgically now days to keep people/get people healthy again. If it were not for the innovations in these areas I would have been a widow long ago! We have so much to be thankful for! Keep the hope going, for God is GOOD! And love your dressed princesses, for we are all princesses!

  20. Hi Cathy! I just got a chance to read your post now. {{{Hugs}}} a bunch for you both and many prayers are heading your way. Knowing what lies ahead can be a good thing or a curse. Therapy can really make a difference, and I'm happy to hear that the surgeries will remove the tumor. Fabulous news that his chest x-ray is clear and no lymph nodes are impacted. I look forward to hearing an update. Your International sisters are just fabulous. ~smile~ Roseanne

  21. Keeping good thoughts and sending them your way, as well as all the virtual hugs I can muster! Hoping everything goes smoothly.
    And I love your International Sisters and the message they send. An attack on any of us really is an attack on all of us.


I appreciate your visit to my blog and love your comments!