Friendship quilt on your bed; from the 1940s, when friends embroidered their names on squares and Grandma pieced them together in a quilt.

Friendship quilt on your bed; from the 1940s, when friends embroidered their names on squares and Grandma pieced them together in a quilt.

Mom's first quilt--"Birds"--she did the hand-stitched centers, the Grandma and aunts helped her piece it together. (She was 14)

Mom’s first quilt–“Birds”–she did the hand-stitched centers, then Grandma and aunts helped her piece it together. (She was 14; now she’s 94.)

Yard statue of fairy reading. (All photos by Marylin Warner)

Yard statue of fairy reading. (All photos by Marylin Warner)

Dear Mom,

Kansas has really scored its share of snowstorms  recently.  All across the state schools have been closed, along with interstates and main roads, with snow accumulations up to 15” in many counties. Where you are, in southeast Kansas, the total was only about 4”, but that was snow over ice.  Today everyone was digging out and enjoying the sunshine, but already the weatherman is saying there’s more snow on the way.

What a perfect time to plan for the last three days of February!  This is the kind of planning you’ll enjoy, Mom.

February 26 is TELL A FAIRY TALE DAY.  You can cozy up under one of your quilts and think of—and maybe tell—some of your favorite fairy tales. Or I’ll tell you two of your favorites: “Jack and the Bean Stalk” and “Cinderella.”  When you used to read or told us the stories, you sometimes added a twist. You’d stop in the story, maybe during a sad or scary part, and say, “What do you think should happen next?” You gave us chances to make the stories our own and give them the endings we liked.

February 27th is NO BRAINER DAY.  Seriously.  Created in 1995 by Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith, “American’s Premier Eventologist” chosen by INSIGHT MAGAZINE , No Brainer Day is a time to kick back, stop over analyzing everything, and do those things that are simple, easy, carefree and satisfying.

(NOTE to surgeons, traffic controllers, SWAT Team Bomb specialists and all high-focus, no-wiggle-room-for-mistakes people, if you want a No Brainer Day, call in sick before doing this.)

February 28th is SLEEP ON THE JOB DAY.  Supposedly, many overachievers do this regularly—they call it taking Power Naps—and they take them in bathroom stalls at work, in their cars in the parking lot, and between the stacks in the reference room or among the supplies in the janitor’s closet.  Covert Op naps; think of them as “multi-task relaxing,” powering up for the rest of the day.  Or, if you do it only on the designated day, Feb. 28th, the method is up to you.  (Same NOTE above applies here…)

These three days are for you, Mom. While it snows outside your window, stay warm under your blankets and quilts.  Dream of fairy tells that end with happy thoughts, and when you’re awake in your recliner, enjoy the simple beauty of contentment and rest.  You’ve spent a busy lifetime teaching, caring for family and friends, cooking and cleaning, sewing and reaching out to anyone who needed your help. You deserve happy naps and sweet stories with no pressures.

Love, Marylin

Our dog Maggie in the snow.

Our dog Maggie in the snow.

February snow in Kansas.

February snow in Kansas.


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren, Quilting projects, Special days in February

52 responses to “FAIRY TALES, NAPS, & NO BRAINERS

  1. You make me long for snow days. I miss snuggling under warm hand-made quilts. At least it seems as if the drought is over. I’ll try to remember no-brainer day and sleep on the job day– although Feb. seems like no-brainer month to me. Did you mother enjoy Rapunzel? Snow White and Rose Red? Those were two of my favorites.

  2. If I didn’t have to drive between Colorado and Kansas, I wouldn’t mind blizzards, ice and snow. Like you, I love snuggling under quilts, and our house is full of quilts made by my mother, my grandmother and aunts, and even some I helped make. I remember mom reading us Rapunzel only once; after I suggested she cut her hair and escape from the tower on a hair-rope, I don’t remember us reading it again…

  3. I love the idea of a no-brainer day. I may have to take advantage of that. 🙂

  4. Power naps for no-brainers? Where do I sign up?
    I love your snow photos, they look very peaceful.

  5. Just watching breakfast news and a review of the papers, well only half paying attention but, apparently there is an article about an experiment taking place in the UK where people are watching a 15 minute digital film. They have a headband on that is wired up to the digital machine and the idea is that the power of thought allows them to change the ending of the movie if they don’t like what they have just watched! Your Mom was clearly ahed of her time Marylin.

    There are two doors to my office, always wide open except when they occasionally are both closed. It seems, staff and contractors think I am having a power nap, as if I would 😉

    And finally, and unfortunately I meet people every day who clearly HAVE LEFT THEIR BRAINS AT HOME ASLEEP UNDER THE QUILT Gawd they annoy me no end ….. I realise, I do, what you were saying but but but

    • My dad dropped out of college to help his dad during a hard time, and from that point on he was self made and self educated. He built a very successful corporation by getting up very early and hitting the ground running. But to do it, every day he took a 15 min. power nap at lunch (or slightly later if he had appointments). While Mom fixed his lunch, he could lean back in his recliner, close his eyes, and POW! within a minute he was snoring. You always add such interesting comments, Tom, that get me started on other thoughts! Love the British flavour!

  6. Your quilts are really beautiful, and what a lovely idea to have your friends’ names embroidered on one. I have a tablecloth with lots of friends’ names embroidered on it, that started as a souvenir of a family I stayed with in France when I was 20. Over the years it has become filled, a reminder that I have been fortunate to have friends, some of whom are long gone.

    • What a lovely idea! Tablecloths, quilts, all embroidered with friends’ names! I like that. We have a framed quilt piece on our wall that says, “Those who sleep under a quilt, sleep under a blanket of love,” which is perfect for our family as we have many homemade quilts.

  7. Hi Marilyn, Boy I really need the no brainer day! Seriously, I love your blog and am glad I found you. Would you consider adding some more share buttons on your website (like Facebook)? I’d like to share your stories on my Facebook page and that would make it easier. Blessings, Joanne

  8. Jim

    The grandkids cuddling under the quilts and sipping hot-chocolate after frolicking two hours with Maggie in a foot of snow. There’s a 5-star day that’s certainly a no-brainer! Good job, Mor Mor.

    • Thank you, honey. We had quite a day in the snow, didn’t we? I kept hoping Grace and Gannon would fall asleep, but it’s just as well they didn’t. They certainly don’t need “power naps,” but we do when we’re with them. Only our dog Maggie can keep up with them, and even she has to hide and take a nap.

  9. Amy

    I’m in tears as I am reading your beautiful last paragraph…

  10. Thank you, Amy. One of the saddest things about my mom’s dementia is that she doesn’t remember all the good and loving things she did, and all the people she means so much to now. I remind her, but most of all I want her great-grandchildren to know how special she is.

  11. Marilyn, this is a lovely post. I love the warm wishes for your Mom. It makes me long for comforters to fend off the cold, tons of snow during a school week day, and a day to celebrate one of the holidays you mentioned. 🙂

    • Judy, from her picture window is a wide-open view of a snow-covered field. Inside, she snuggles under an afghan and her fleecy blanket and takes a warm nap. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon when you’re almost 95!

  12. Marti Smith


    Love this post, Marylin! The love and labor that were put into these quilts is evident in every meticulous stitch. Our dogs are frolicking in the powder, as well… aah!  Marti

  13. Enjoyed your post again. Afterwards I happened to check another blog I follow (David Lose) and discovered he had written this piece on forgetfulness. http://www.davidlose.net/2013/02/forgetfulness It has some lovely thoughts about God’s remembering us.

    I think you might like it too.

  14. @tomstronach: Saturday’s with @ishbelstronach are like being wrapped in a cosy quilt chillin, laughing, movies, books, music, reading and eating good food and a wee dram to end the day

  15. Thanks for sharing these fun holidays, Marylin. I especially love ‘Tell a Fairytale Day’…maybe I will have to do a blog post on that. We are supposed to get more snow tomorrow as well…hope it doesn’t come to much…there is a great talk at 1:30-4 at the community room at the Police Station on Kelly Johnson…something about a Woman as the Hero in books…based on the Joseph Campbell Hero/Mythology idea. One of my SCBWI friend’s friend is giving it and it sounded really interesting.

  16. Jane Thorne

    You are so lovely Marylin 🙂 x

  17. Alice

    The quilts are so lovely–treasures.

    • These are two of my favorites, Alice. The one Mom made of all the birds is charming, and each bird has some extra touch that shows it’s my mom’s beginning creation. The Friendship Quilt with all the signatures embroidered by her family and friends is a perfect way to point out certain names and tell Mom stories of the person, now that she can’t remember.

  18. Thanks, Marylin. And I like the encouragement to just ride out February and get moving again in March!

  19. Love the snow.., beautiful.
    And the quilts are precious!

  20. Hi Marylin,
    You must know how much I love quilts. I’ve made a few in my day and I love to paint them. Your mom was a talented woman. Maggie is so sweet. I can’t wait to read a fairy tale, kick back, and then sleep on the job this week. 🙂

  21. jakesprinter

    What a lovely post Marylin 🙂

  22. Patty B

    Beautiful quilts! What a treasure for your family to have. Your mom is very talented.

    • Her “first” quilt is my favorite. She chose all her favorite bird patterns and carefully copied them so she could embroider the silhouettes and blossoms or tree leaves around them. When I was a young girl, she told me stories of making mistakes, of tearing out some to redo them but for others to turn the mistake into a little flower or something to cover the mistake.
      As I commented on your wonderful blog, the “Service” post’s poem was one of my mother’s favorites.

      • Patty B

        I can’t remember where I learned the same advice about mistakes, it only makes the piece you are working on more special. I am glad the poem reminded you of your mother. memories are a very special gift.

  23. We got a dusting of snow over the mountains last week, which is always a treat for us here in Santa Barbara. But it’s back to normal now, though the nights and early mornings are chilly. I keep warm with a beautiful quilt, made for me recently by a good friend. Quilts are like sunshine.

    • If you want a REAL treat, Darla, we could send you a LOT of snow from either Kansas or Colorado! But you’re right about quilts, especially those made by friends and family, wrapping us in sunshine. So much love goes into quilt making.

  24. A lovely post communicating your story and your mother’s. I must remember to have a No Brainer day. I think it will be a wonderful day when researchers discover what or how much dementia patients are processing and remembering. I would like to think that your mother does have some ability or some remnant facility to remember clouds and fairy tales but is just unable to communicate it. I was watching a 5 month old baby the other day using her hands and fingers to try to understand her environment and that made me think of the way that some dementia sufferers like to feel and touch something all the time.

    • I’m so glad you shared this. My mother’s humming and patting her sore arm, even as she’s napping, shows how much she’s filled in the voids of her dementia with touching to experience her environment.
      And since I don’t know how much she might remember or respond to, I still read aloud and talk to her about memories and stories she used to like.

      • I don’t know much about dementia related issues but I do know that almost every family has an older member or relation with dementia difficulties, so our communities must develop the skills and knowledge to make life as good as it can be for our vulnerable ones. I like that your mother hums; I will hum along for awhile with her. Humming is happy like buzzing bees.

  25. Humming is happy like buzzing bees–what a perfect description!
    You’re right that our communities must develop the skills and knowledge to care for the vulnerable members. One way is to share what we learn from research and experience and figure out together what works. All of us, if we live long enough, will supposedly be affected by dementia.

  26. Nothing beat a warm quilt. I love these days you’ve listed. Can we do them even if it’s not official? They are too tempting!

  27. Nice snow and your dog is beautiful! 🙂

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