Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Dusty Beat Up Singer Sewing Machine

What could make a woman of a certain age carry an old beat up sewing machine up to a second story apartment? I didn't have to do it alone, thank goodness!  My son, Juan, who was visiting helped me.  What motivated me though was that I see this machine as a treasure.  There is a little bit of history here.

When I asked my sisters if either of them was interested in the sewing machine,  I  was dreading one would say yes but they didn't, to my surprise.  How could they not see how beautiful she was?  I yelled a big "Yes!" inside my head as the last one said she had no problem.  For some reason it had been my dream to get it.

You see I learned to sew on that machine when it still did not have a motor and I had only a twenty dollar allowance.  I so remember peddlling the machine to work the clickkity clack of the gears as the neddle whirlled.  If I went too fast the cable would get undone and it would end up slowing me down because I would have to get down on my knees to put it back in its groove.   I didn't want that, so I had to learn to understand the old dear.   I finally got in tune with the ole Singer after watching my mother sew and  it was where I eventually sewed several "granny " dresses, a soft flowery fully lined empire dress, shorts, tops, A line skirts, and even a purple bathing suit. I loved it just as it was.  Even when my mom added the motor,  I still wanted to use it the old fashioned way and I did for several years until I graduated from college.

Eventually, I got a good job and  moved to my own apartment and  got my first pay check.  What was the first thing I thought of buying?   Would you believe a sewing machine.  I really wanted an old fashioned sewing machine but mom said no,  I had to get something modern, electric.  I respected her opinion especially when it came to sewing since she came from a long line of seamtresses. So of the few times my busy mother of five had time to shop, she excitedly went with me.  We went to Sears.  It was the early 1970s and after looking over all the machines and the money at hand,  I bought the equivalent of a Cadillac of the Kenmore line.  It zig zaged, made button holes, blind hems,  and funny designs with these sage green fitted plastic shapes that you popped into a gear and the machine obeyed.  Though I found it efficient, yet its lack of simplicity made it cumbersome but I nevertheless used it.  But I never forgot the Singer.

Years went by and I even moved to the States and got two other sewing machines.   One with a very husky European name, mind you.   In spite of that, I always looked nostalgically at the Singer sitting idle in Mom's storage room but mom said she still used it.  She in fact had taken some sewing classes at a community center and turned out a whole slew of cookie cutter cotton button down blouses that became her trademark. That was about ten years ago.  More years went by, and by then mom was moved to a nursing home and finally this year I moved back to Puerto Rico.  Adjusting to life here and falling into a routine,  it wasn't till a month ago when I entered her old house that sits vacant, that I discovered that this treasured sewing machine was just sitting there in a room gathering dust and much worst, bugs!  I knew I had to get her back!  

Unfortunately she is no longer in pristine condition.   I know it is going to take work.    She had been abandoned and termites have taken a liking to her wood but I hope to restore her.  Perhaps I can find some spare parts. I don't know how I am going to do it.  What I do know, is that I am going to try to put her back like new. I can see myself taking it apart, dusting off the cobwebs, lubricating the wood, and oiling the wheels.  Perhaps I will hear her whirl and the familiar clickaty clack. That would be music to my ears!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Janette Oke Novel

Just finished reading The Bluebird and the Sparrow.  For some reason, I always thought Janette Oke's books were shallow only to find they are quite profound.  I think my misperception came from well meaning movies that could not convey their originals.  Many times we are expecting the story line to be centered around a romance when her novels deal with a character's personal growth as an individual in their journey with God.  In our day of sensuality and lost virtues, not that God didn't make sex for enjoyment in the context of faithful committment, love and respect in marriage, many times the romance becomes the central theme.  It is refreshing to read a novel where a person's thinking and their spiritual values interact with the trying, tearing, and excruciating realities of life.  "Where is God when it hurts?" Reality. 

Mrs. Oke's stories deal with all sort of life issues and do not shy away from presenting the difficult side to each life issue. I have read stories about someone running away from an alcoholic abusive home and forgiving, a story about kidnapping, outlaws, and rescue,  and another about the hardships of life and sacrifice in marriage.  The book I just finished also dealt with mental illness and its roots.  These stories are told with simplicity and insight which give me a new respect for the author.

Though you might think you are only reading for entertainment, you might be surprised to question the lies and misconceptions you have believed.  Be ready to grow.

Thank you Mrs. Oke for your work done for the Lord.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Beautiful Hazy Day

Flamboyanes in flaming bloom, birds are singing, sails unfurled in the distance, puffy clouds rising overhead, and I'm sitting here and taking it all in.  Thank you Lord for another wonderful day!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Planting Orchids on Trees

Planting orchids might not be that difficult after all.  What you need is air, a tree or a dried up coconut or sphagnum moss.  Then tie down your plants to the tree using a strip of old hosiery or panty hose making for a tight airy fit.  Rainwater can sift through yet it holds the plant in place.  You can add a tad of dirt and sphagnum moss to the pocket surrounding the plant.  You can also use a flexible plastic matting as well.  Once the plant has attached its roots the matting and/or hosiery can also be removed. 

Beautiful Mystery Tree

Does anyone know the name of this tree? That is what I wrote originally because I did not know the name of this tree, but I dug deep and consulted my handy guidebook Tropical Trees and Blossoms, and though it didn't have the best picture, it gave me a lead.  Then I googled Bead tree and was able to contrast my tree with images and it turned out to be the one and the same.

 The mystery tree is called a Bead tree in many parts of the Caribbean.  It is also known as Jumbie-Bead, Sandle Bead, Red Sandalwood, and Circassian.  What I found astonishing is that it is original to China!  That is right.  It is also found around the world in the tropics.  They even have them in Australia, tropical South America, Central America, southern United States and in a host of other countries.  The things you learn trying to identify a tree.  You can find out more information at: http://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/v3/eafrinet/weeds/key/weeds/Media/Html/Melia_azedarach__(Melia).htm 

Cruz de Malta

Cruz de Malta, Maltese, or Jerusalem Cross are some of the ways this plant is known.   I always wondered why it was called Jerusalem Cross.  Where was the cross?   Well you have to look deeply and intently to find it but there it is in the center of the flower: a very thin tiny cross...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Found a home

The little nest found a home. It doesn't look out of place, does it?  Did you notice everything  used to make this nest?  It's fascinating!

The View from Fogo de Chao

The other day I had the opportunity to go to El Fogo de Chao in San Juan which is right next to the Carbe Hilton Hotel.  Just as the food is delicious and they offer a very gourmet Salad Bar, it also has a spectacular view just outside its windows.  Look at the pictures--they speak for themselves.

Early Morning Walk 2

So nice to see raindrops on the plants.  There was a mishap though because of the stormy wet weather--a bird's nest lay on the sidewalk.  I asked the custodian a few minutes later if they would put it back up on the tree and he laughed which definetly was a no. His no was a yes to me.  The little nest, that grand construction of twigs and twine, will now find a little nook in my porch garden.  Perhaps another little bird will occupy it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Just a Puddle

This morning I headed for Pueblo suprmarket
and it had rained.  It was overcast and with a hint of approaching showers and so it was.  Later in the day we had stronger showers and even a thunderstorm.  In fact, it rained so hard that a local San Juan medical clinic had to be closed for the afternoon because of flooding in the area of Martin Peña.  It is almost midnight and I can hear the pitter patter of raindrops falling softly against my window and on  the terracotta tiles below.   What a beautiful sound it is when this island has been in a drought.  I know many many people have been praying. Thank you, Lord for the rain.  Gracias, Señor por la lluvia!!'