Posts Tagged ‘Saint Olaf College’

A Turning Point That Wasn’t

October 16, 2019

Last year at a memoir-writing workshop I wrote an outline of turning points in my life. This past week I was reminded of a career path I didn’t take and how grateful I am for that. When I graduated from college, I considered applying to the State Department. My father – a long-time civil servant – sorta kinda maybe talked me out of it. I found a different job, didn’t like it, moved to another city, married, moved across country, and discovered quilting. The brilliant career I dreamed of never materialized, but I’ve made art, contributed to my community, and even co-authored a series of sci fi novels (shameless self-promotion, you can buy the latest one here). Not too shabby, all things considered.

Whenever I wonder about the life I might have had, I remember 1979 and the hostage crisis in Tehran. Bruce Laingen (pictured above) was stationed there, the highest-ranking diplomat among the 52 U.S. Embassy workers held in Iran for 444 days. He was also a graduate of my alma mater, Saint Olaf College. In my imagination, I could see myself getting sent to Iran for my first posting, maybe even meeting Laingen at an embassy function and mentioning that I too was an Ole grad. Then the revolution would come, and I would be running for my life. That’s when I breathe a prayer of thankfulness for my (relatively) calm and peaceful existence.

Laingen died recently at age 96. He grew up on a Minnesota farm, interrupted his education to serve his country in World War II, then returned to complete his degree before continuing his service in government. The Iranian hostage crisis brought him to the world’s attention, and he responded with dignity, calm, and presence. He earned every bit of respect due him. I am very grateful to Laingen for showing America at its best.

Luck and wisdom!

From A to V

September 7, 2011

The applique tile quilt is taking over my life. That’s not bad, but it is odd. I’m used to getting psyched about a project, then having something else sneak in and become a time sink. That’s why there are stacks of UFOs all over my studio. Here is the latest block:

Here is the collection so far:

I am at work on the last block, and I have some ideas about the lattice and borders. I also came up with a design for the last of The Computer Ate My Homework series. With a little bit of luck and a whip-crack of discipline, I’ll get those done this coming week.

The 146th Caledonian Club Scottish Games were held over Labor Day weekend. One of their vendors, appropriately named B. Coole Designs, sells way cool patches. This year she had puns:

pi + rat = pirate

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the patch. I’m not really into pirates – haven’t been since the kids started making their own Halloween costumes – but how could I resist?

I am into Vikings, having been the affirmative action student at the last bastion of Norwegian imperialism on the North American continent – aka Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, the town that shot up the James Gang (but that’s another story). One of the other vendors sold Viking-style costumes. I didn’t really want the costumes, but I did want the ribbons used to embellish some of the garments. A few booths down, I found some:

I may make a small quilt and steal the first vendor’s slogan – Vikings: still better than pirates or ninjas.

So there we are, the end of the run from applique to Vikings.