Sojourn at Karen’s


When I went to Karen’s to spend what we thought would be a  maximum 10 days there, I hauled along every possible thing I could think of so that I would have plenty to do. I took my unfinished quilt (still a dozen appliquéd squares to stitch before the binding can be sewn by machine), some other hand-sewing (I prefer small-volume projects that fit on my knee without being bulky), a ball of parachute cord for making birdsavers, a bag of old handwritten journals, and several novels.

It ended up being a 5-day retreat instead of 10, and that was fine; Karen’s husband had had his fill of R&R’ing, and I was happy to come home, too, even though having their house to myself was a pleasure. But did I get a lot done while I was there? Nope. I read books by Kent Haruf and Anne Tyler. I made a *pasta casserole one night, which fed me for three or four more meals. I read through one old journal, picked out the letters tucked into it and my youngest sister Joan’s wedding invitation from 1998, and typed up a few of the entries for keeping. (The journal itself will go into a fire.) My friend Bev came and spent one night with me too; we lit candles, sipped red wine, and talked till our lips fell off.

I didn’t touch a sewing needle or tie any birdsaver knots. I visited only two of the five homes I had planned to visit in or near my home town. Yet there wasn’t a moment of boredom; I was content simply to look out the windows.

*Scott’s nephew Ryan and his three kids were over for supper last night and I made MACARONI AND CHEESE DELUXE to eat with leftover roast chicken. He liked the pasta so much, he said, that if he were a dog, he’d lick out the casserole dish.


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